The Orioles have come to terms with their first round pick (5th overall) Matt Wieters. The 21 year old catcher is expected to receive about a $6 million signing bonus, which is the largest amount received up front in draft history and the second largest in draft history behind 2005's first overall pick Justin Upton. Wieters and his agent, Scott Boras, held out until the final hour before the August 15th deadline. They were reportedly seeking a deal similar to Boras' client Mark Teixera, who received an eight figure major league deal in 2001.
In the end, the organization's tactics appear to have paid off. Wieters will be receiving a figure much closer to the $5 million the Orioles had offered in the past than most observers anticipated. The Orioles have a long history of avoiding Scott Boras clients and had not selected a first round pick represented by him since Ben McDonald in 1989. Wieters became the second deal the organization worked out with Boras on the day of the trading deadline, as they were also able to sign 5th round pick Jake Arrieta.
The 6-5 Georgia Tech product is a potential middle-of-the-order threat at a premium defensive position. Wieters has the potential to hit for average and for power from both sides of the plate. Although durability concerns are common for tall catchers, Wieters is an above-average defensive player as well. He immediately becomes the top prospect in the organization.
There have been no indications of when Wieters will join the organization, though he is expected to get limited action in short-season Aberdeen before their season ends in about three weeks. He will also likely play in some form of professional baseball league this fall. Teams are allowed to send one player who has yet to reach double-A to the advanced Arizona Fall League or Wieters could be sent to the newly re-formed Hawaii Winter League.
Michael Hollman is the Senior Writer for Inside The Warehouse and can be reached via email at Publisher@InsideTheWarehouse.com