The Arizona Diamondbacks are one of several teams searching for answers at catcher this offseason and they are the newest team linked to top free agent catcher Matt Wieters. According to Nick Piecoro of AZ Central, the team has signed veteran catcher Jeff Mathis, but they will continue to search for help at the position. Piecoro reports that general manager Mike Hazen is indeed searching for answers and a few names that have come up include Matt Wieters, the top free agent catcher available, and possible trade targets in Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez.
Wieters, now age 30, has spent the entirety of his career with the Baltimore Orioles, but earlier this offseason, the team chose to move in a new direction, not offering the eight-year veteran a qualifying offer. The Orioles recently signed free agent Wellington Castillo, whom the Diamondbacks non-tendered earlier in the month, effectively ending the possibility of a Baltimore reunion for Wieters. Several other teams, including the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals have been linked with the free agent catcher in recent days.
The Scott Boras' client figured to draw considerable interest on the open market, but that has yet to happen, as teams seem hesitant to offer big money to the catcher, who hit just .243 last year. Scouts have also said that he has begun to decline behind the plate. His pitch-framing metrics have not been good the past few seasons, but he does still possess a big arm behind the dish and is a capable backstop of controlling the running game.
While the Diamondbacks would have interest in Wieters if the price were feasible, Piecoro notes that the more likely scenario is adding another minor addition to the catching ranks and then going from there. While they will continue to keep tabs on Wieters, they will also look at acquiring a catcher through trade if they are unable to find something they like on the open market.
The Diamondbacks are said to have inquired on Boston's pair of catchers Blake Swihart and Christian Vazquez. Both are young catchers and Swihart was at one point a couple seasons ago, the top catching prospect in the game. He is known for his incredible athleticism behind the plate and also for his offensive prowess. Vazquez is someone Boston really likes behind the plate, especially on defense. He is considered one of the best defensive catchers in the game with his ability to handle the pitching staff and control the running game.
Boston is unlikely to move either of these young catchers any time soon, but as Mike Hazen continues to preach, they will continue to sort through all of the options in order to fill the holes necessary in their system.