For starters, I was shocked that Matt Wieters accepted the qualifying offer from the Baltimore Orioles yesterday. This is a good thing for the Birds, because while Wieters will make approximately $15.8 million this season, he’ll also be an Oriole. Furthermore it gives the O’s an opportunity this winter to potentially work out an extension at some point – before he hits the open market again.
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As has been covered ad hoc (both here at Birds Watcher and elsewhere), Chris Davis is the big story this winter for the Orioles in terms of signing. Will he stay or will he go? However could the O’s now have the opportunity of having a trick of their sleeve if in fact Davis leaves?
Another question has been who’s on first if Davis signs elsewhere. (Yeah, I did that!) Undoubtedly, a journeyman platoon player isn’t going to cut it in terms of replacing Davis. However the fact is that a lot of catchers play some first base later in their careers in an attempt to save their knees. Over the course of his career, Wieters has played in four games at the major league level at first base – including three in 2015.
Call to the Pen
So if Davis walks, would the Orioles consider playing Matt Wieters at first base a bit more frequently? My personal opinion is that first off the Birds are a better team with Wieters behind the plate. However that’s something that I would certainly consider doing if I were the O’s, because not only would it be beneficial to Wieters as an athlete (to not e catching as often), but it would help to solve the sudden problem of needing a semi-regular first baseman.
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Furthermore the Orioles don’t lose too much defensively with Caleb Joseph behind the dish. And for those saying that this is a bad idea and that the Orioles would be stupid to pull a stunt like that, take a look down the pike a bit. Washington’s Bryce Harper was originally a catcher – and a darned good one at that. He’s never caught a day in the big leagues.
At the end of the day, the Orioles’ hope is that they can re-sign Davis and have him at first base. According to Dan Duquette, Wieters accepting the qualifying offer has no bearing on the club’s ability to re-sign Davis, which would make sense. They wouldn’t have made the offer if they couldn’t have followed through. Time will tell, but if in fact Davis is elsewhere next season perpetually having Wieters on the roster gives them some infield flexibility.