The Baltimore Orioles should consider bringing back Matt Wieters
The Baltimore Orioles have a weakness behind the plate, and should consider re-signing Matt Wieters
The Baltimore Orioles catching situation is not exactly superb at the moment. Right now the O’s have just two catchers on their 40-man roster: former No. 1 prospect Chance Sisco occupies one spot, while 28 year-old, second-year man Austin Wynns occupies the other. However, Matt Wieters is still available, and it might be time for the Orioles to look into signing him.
Sisco disappointed with the bat in his rookie season in 2018, posting a .181 batting average and a .557 OPS. This poor hitting led to a mid-June demotion to AAA Norfolk.
While Sisco threw out base-runners at a solid 31 percent clip, Orioles’ pitchers had a 5.02 ERA with him catching; a statistic probably not as concerning as it looks with the pitching staff the O’s put on the field last year.
However, it’s still a bit concerning and maybe there is some correlation there, as some of the pitchers the Orioles had in the rotation last year were guys with solid to above-average success at the MLB level in the past (Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner).
This is one reason why the O’s should consider bringing back former catcher Matt Wieters on a one-year deal. It sounds crazy but he is guy who is familiar with the organization, is known to work well with pitchers, and he put up better numbers than people may realize last season.
Wieters has been well-regarded by the pitchers he’s previously worked with, and in an article from the Washington Times written by David Driver in April, former Nationals starter Tanner Roark praised the game Wieters called for him; “I was trying to be aggressive…(Matt) Wieters called a great game” Roark said.
The former Orioles’ first-round pick in 2007 is coming off two seasons with the Nationals, which included just 76 games played in 2018 due to a hamstring injury.
More from Birds Watcher
- Baltimore Orioles Sign RP Mychal Givens
- Gunnar Henderson: Destroyer of Four-Seam Fastballs
- Which Current Baltimore Orioles Pitchers Have the Best Curveballs?
- Orioles News: Should the O’s Pursue Eovaldi? + More MLB News
- Should the Baltimore Orioles Consider Signing Nathan Eovaldi?
However, Wieters was not awful last season when he did play. He had a .238 batting average, which was better than Royals’ All-Star catcher Salvador Perez who hit .235 in 2018.
Wieters also had a solid .330 on base percentage, a department in which the Orioles could use some help; the Orioles’ OBP was 29th in the MLB last year at .298.
Also, after a down defensive season in 2017 where Wieters threw out just 25 percent of baserunners, he threw out 37 percent of runners in 2018, good for nine percentage points above the league average.
With the current market and the fact that Wieters only played 76 games last season, he would be a guy the Orioles could easily pick up on a one-year deal. He could split time with Sisco and be a veteran presence for Sisco to learn from.
Wieters will only be 33 this season. We’ve seen guys have a resurgence in their mid-thirties before. He’s comfortable with the ballpark and could be a veteran presence on a team with only a few of them. Teams including the Orioles should not give up on the career of the four-time all-star with two gold gloves.