SARASOTA, Fla. - Orioles fans bring up the topic often. That is, the question about a possible long-term contract for catcher Matt Wieters. The two-time All-Star is clearly a player that any team would have interest in locking up long-term.
But when is the time right for those contract talks? It doesn't seem to be now, as Wieters has three years to go before he could entertain possible free agency after the 2015 season.
I asked Wieters if the team has approached him at all about a long-term deal yet? Wieters didn't say yes or no to that question when it was posed yesterday.
"As far as for me, that is what I hire an agent for," he said. "At this point, I am getting ready for the year and if something were to ever develop, I'd pretty much tell Scott (Boras) to present the information. But as far as being ready for the season, that is what I'm trying to do right now."
There may not be any urgency for talks now on either side because Wieters does have a full three years remaining under team control. That is a long time.
"Yeah, especially in baseball," Wieters said. "I am not thinking of going anywhere else right now. I am thinking about getting ready for this year."
Boras has a reputation as an agent that seems to prefer his players to hit the open market before they sign any long-term extensions, but Wieters said that doesn't necessarily mean he will be doing that in three years.
"Ultimately, I'll make the final decision," Wieters said. "Scott is going to present the information to me and he's a great agent and has been doing it for a long time, so I fully trust Scott. Right now, I am going to let him handle everything on that side and when we get to a point, then I'll have to make the final decision."
Is he a player that would not be in favor of any in-season contract talks?
"You know, once the season gets here, I'd rather focus on the year," Wieters said. "Like I said, I am here for three years no matter what, so it's not like we have to get something done during the year. We love Baltimore and right now we are happy and excited for this year."
Now he is gearing up for a season that could see five teams in the division play winning, possibly contending baseball.
"It's going to be tough," Wieters said. "You have five teams that feel they can win. It's what makes the AL East great. You have teams with high payrolls and low payrolls and they all do it a different way and still win."
Wieters agreed with a reporter's assessment that the good vibe from late last season in the O's clubhouse has carried over and that the team has a quiet confidence.
"That is always a good description of what you want," he said. "You don't want cockiness and you know it is not going to be easy, but you have to believe, and that is probably the better term for this team. We believe in here.
"Last year we were able to do what we did because we had guys that bought in and just wanted to improve and we knew what we were capable of. Same thing this year. No matter what someone's situation is in this clubhouse, everyone is working toward the ultimate goal of winning the World Series."