Do the Baltimore Orioles have backup plans?
Two areas to watch for the Baltimore Orioles in 2015 of course will be catcher and third base. Matt Wieters of course is coming off of Tommy John surgery, and Manny Machado his second knee surgery (albeit on the opposite knee) in as many years. There are varying reports as to the availability of both players for Spring Training and Opening Day. In fact, I would submit that unless they’re able to play at least half of the Grapefruit League schedule with the Orioles, they won’t be available for Opening Day.
So naturally the question at hand is what do the Orioles do if they’re forced to go to plan B at either position? Well first off, it matters how long either player is going to be out. If it’s merely a 15-day DL situation perhaps so as to give said player some rehab games, that might be an easy fix. But I’m talking more about long term plans if need be.
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With Matt Wieters it’s pretty simple in a sense; the O’s found their backup plan last season when Caleb Joseph was finally promoted to the big leagues. Granted he’s not Wieters behind the dish, but not many people are. Steve Clevenger would probably slide onto the roster behind Joseph to back him up, shoring up the roster behind the plate. That’s the easy part of the equation.
The more difficult part is third base. If Machado is somehow not able to join the team at the beginning of the season, what do the Orioles do? I’d be shocked if the O’s brought in “another option” at third base, that is unless Machado isn’t looking to return until mid-way through the season (which again I don’t think will be the case). I wouldn’t be surprised to see Chris Davis slide over and play third base, perhaps with Steve Pearce at first. I suppose that you could also flip those two, however my personal opinion is that Davis is more solid at third than Pearce.
Ideally, none of this is going to come to pass – if both players are ready to go, that is. And quite frankly, the O’s are going to need both Wieters and Machado from the get go. While the Orioles will certainly be in the mix and in contention to the end, I would submit that the division is going to be a bit more competitive this season. Time will tell…for all of this.