Baltimore Orioles: Is This Former O’s Backstop An Option?
The Baltimore Orioles are in the market for another catcher. Is reuniting with Matt Wieters an option?
The Baltimore Orioles have plenty of catchers in their organization, including three on their 40-man roster, but general manager Mike Elias wants to add another catcher to the mix this winter.
At the major league level, the Orioles have defensive-minded Pedro Severino who broke out a bit with his bat last year, a still young Chance Sisco, and Austin Wynns, who is a perfectly fine Triple-A/emergency depth catcher. At the minor league level, the Orioles have 2019 No. 1 pick Adley Rutschman and Brett Cumberland, the No. 29 prospect in the Orioles’ organization, according to MLB Pipeline.
With Severino putting up very solid numbers in 2019 (.249 average, 13 HR, 44 RBIs, .740 OPS), Sisco showing some improvement offensively and Rutschman’s defense and overall greatness soon to be a fixture behind the plate, bringing in another catcher is not necessarily a huge need.
However, with Rutschman still a little ways off, adding a veteran option at catcher on a one-year deal is something the Orioles could look into. On Tuesday, MASN’s Orioles beat writer Roch Kubatko threw out the idea of the Orioles giving old friend Caleb Joseph a look.
Joseph, a former 2008 draft pick of the Orioles and major league catcher from 2014-208, could be non-tendered by his current club, the Arizona Diamondbacks, a team that kept him in Triple-A Reno for the majority of the season.
If Joseph is indeed non-tendered, he would become a free agent and be open to sign with the Orioles, if they choose to do so. However, should the Orioles instead look at another former familiar catcher?
While Joseph has been a lovable underdog story throughout his career and will always have a place in the hearts of O’s fans, he could not stick with the Diamondbacks each time they gave him the call, finishing his season with a .211 average and a .513 OPS in 41 plate appearances. He had just two extra-base hits.
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His career stat line reads .223/.270/.620 with 31 home runs in 422 major league games. Despite these numbers, Joseph has been able to stick around because of his defense. However, his offensive production has continued to decline over the last few years and there are other options on the market still putting up decent offensive numbers to go along with their ability to help lead a young and inexperienced pitching staff.
The Orioles should bring back Matt Wieters as that veteran option to help develop and mentor what is sure to be another young team in 2020.
Wieters, 33, was a player I thought Baltimore should bring back before last season and is definitely the guy the team should bring back this year.
Wieters served as Yadier Molina’s backup in St. Louis last season, hitting .214, with 11 home runs and his highest slugging percentage (.435) since 2012, all in just 168 at-bats for the Cardinals. His wRC+ of 81 was similiar to his 2018 output and 20 points better than his 2017 output as the full-time man behind the plate with the Washington Nationals.
Behind the plate, Wieters threw out 42% of baserunners (26% was league-average), stopping 8 of 19 runners in their tracks. He provided enough pop at the plate to be a viable option as a backup at the MLB level and is valuable as a major league backup.
Bringing back the former first-round pick and four-time All-Star in Wieters on a one-year deal is the move for the Orioles. Fans in St. Louis seemed to enjoy having his veteran presence on the roster, as discussed by our friends over at Redbird Rants. But what about Baltimore Orioles fans? Do you like the idea of bringing back Wieters?
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