JUPITER, Fla. • President's day came and went, pitchers and receivers had long reported, and the first spring training matches were about to appear on the MLB network. Matt Wieters was returning to college, not to work.
On February 25, the two-time Gold Glove Award winner and former All-Star receiver, who was not yet 33, received his first off-season contract offer.
It was his only contract offer, he said.
"I would have liked to have a few more choices," he said Thursday morning. "Made easy with me."
Wieters jumped on the offer of the Cardinals' minor leagues and on the lean gambling time promised. The veteran receiver will earn $ 1.5 million if he is part of the team, according to a source. As a free major league player, Wieters is also entitled to a non-participation clause in his contract to become a free agent towards the end of spring training if he learns that he will not be part of of the team. Francisco Pena has the same right.
Wieters arrived at the camp on Thursday morning to find a recently opened locker for him along the perspective wall and the No. 32 jersey waiting.
It's now a duel between these two to sit behind Yadier Molina.
"At this point in my career, being a part of a competitor is important to me," said Wieters. "It's not often that you're 10 years old in what you can learn from a guy who's almost 20. So I'm going to imbibe as much as I can from Yadi and m & # "Definitely support him to learn what he knows about his staff as much as possible".
Wieters will begin taking part in memory sessions next week. He may be allowed to play as early as next week as the Cardinals make a three – day trip on the road to the other side of Florida.
Wieters works at Georgia Tech, his alma mater. He was trying to simulate spring training as much as possible with field exercises, catching exercises and batting exercises for weight training. When asked if he was feeling around February 23 as if the independent and iced baseball agency was going to freeze him out of the game, Wieters said no.
"We must hope," he explained.
The Cardinals want to pit Wieters against Pena for backup work in the majors. Pena got the job a year ago at the spring training, ahead of the future Carson Kelly prospect for the position he was supposed to inherit. The Cardinals struggled to find substitutes for Molina, who has captured more than 75% of the Cardinals heats since coming into play for the 2005 season.
As a hit-kicker, Wieters offers Molina a striking left-handed complement, which could give him an edge in addition to his decorated CV. If the Cardinals are looking for a way to start the script for Molina's backup – and thus leave for the veteran backstop – Wieters gives them that option against right-handed pitchers.
Wieters said that there was an apparent interest in having it signed by Oakland Athletics. But that never showed an offer.
Like a handful of veterans who have signed agreements for minor leagues in recent weeks, Wieters described a deal that was largely unfolding without him just two years old. after signing an agreement of more than $ 20 million with Washington. Some players mentioned the curious experience of receiving several minor league offers on the same day. Wieters not. He had it, was not sure that there would be others and became cardinal.
"I still have the feeling of bringing a lot to a baseball team," Wieters said. "You just have to hope that this will eventually happen.I've been fortunate to be a good organization, such as the Cardinals, to say," Let's get him into the camp "."