The Washington Nationals agreed to terms on a one-year contract with a 2018 player option with catcher Matt Wieters on Friday. Additionally, first baseman Jose Marmolejos was placed on the 60-day disabled list with a left forearm strain. Nationals president of baseball operations and general manager Mike Rizzo made the announcements.
A four-time All-Star, Wieters joins the Nationals after eight years with the Baltimore Orioles where he won two Rawlings Gold Glove Awards and helped lead Baltimore to the postseason in three of the past five seasons. The 6-foot-5, 230-pound catcher is a career .256 hitter who has clubbed 20 or more home runs in three of the five seasons in which he’s played 100 games or more, and posted at least 10 longballs each of those five years.
In 2016, his first full season after returning from right elbow surgery, Wieters earned his fourth career All-Star selection. An All-Star for the American League in 2011, 2012 and 2014 as well, Wieters appeared in 64 games (starting 57) for the Orioles in the season’s first half, hitting .258 with nine doubles, nine home runs, and 37 RBIs. He finished the season with 10 game-winning RBIs, his most since 2013, and clubbed his 100th career home run on June 6.
A stalwart behind the plate with a strong reputation for guiding the pitching staff - Wieters has posted a catcher’s ERA of 3.98 or lower in three of the past five seasons - he has thrown out 30.4 percent (150-of-493) of attempted basestealers in his career. In 2016, he caught 31.7 percent of runners (20-of-63).
From 2011-2014, Wieters led all American League catchers in RBIs (248) and slugging percentage (.438), ranked tied for first in home runs (72), second in doubles (89) and at-bats (1,653), and third in games (457) and hits (417). He tallied the second-most catcher caught stealings in that span as well, nabbing 84 of 248 would-be basestealers.
Marmolejos, 24, is a two-time Nationals minor league Player of the Year (2015, 2016). Added to the 40-man this past offseason, the first baseman hit .289 with 45 doubles, five triples, 13 home runs, 74 RBIs, 64 walks and 87 runs scored in 136 games between Single-A Potomac and Double-A Harrisburg in 2016.
Rated by Baseball America as the No. 26 prospect in the Nationals’ system entering the 2017 season, Marmolejos was signed as a non-drafted free agent in June 2011.