I for one am actually in the camp who says Matt Wieters should wait until he cannot qualify for Super 2 status before being called up. Many people don’t share that opinion because they think he will make the difference between winning and losing, but that simply isn’t the case. The pitching staff is so bad right now adding a young catcher, while he will surely hit, will not do anything to help in the area of calling a game. The Orioles mantra is that they aren’t planning on winning games this year anyway.
Many scouts say that Wieters reminds them of a cross between Joe Mauer and Mike Piazza which has to say something for his potential. Potential can be a dangerous thing (see Felix Pie) however Wieters is a consensus can’t miss guy. His talent is not in question and he was probably more “born ready” than Lance Stephenson. The main issue is the fact that Scott Boras is his agent and Peter Angelos does not care about fielding a contending baseball team.
What Players Are Eligible for Arbitration? (baseball.suite101.com)
A player and club who cannot agree on a contract may agree to salary arbitration, provided that the player has enough service time in the majors. The following players are eligible for arbitration:
(1) Players with at least 3 but less than 6 years of service in Major League Baseball;
(2) The top 17 percent of players with at least 2 but less than 3 years of Major League service. These are known as “Super 2” players. To qualify as a Super 2, a player must have accumulated at least 86 days of service in the previous year. Historically, the cutoff point for Super 2 status is 2 years, 128 days of service, though the requirement has been as high as 2 years, 140 days in years past.
Wieters will be the everyday starter when he is called up; therefore the Orioles want to make sure he does not start 86 games this year because he will then be able to go to arbitration a year early as a Super 2. I don’t have to tell you that he will be in the top 17 percent of players in that range of MLB experience so really the focus is on how many games he will play. The reason the Orioles cannot give a specific date he will be called up is because they have to determine that as the season progresses (rainouts etc will play a factor). His call-up date is generally assumed to be in late May or early June based on the schedule.
If Wieters were not projected to be a star this issue would not be the problem it has become. Everyone would love to keep a franchise catcher around for a long time and by temporarily holding him at Norfolk the Orioles may just be able to hang onto him longer. Hopefully they will be able to sign him to a long term deal three years from now (assuming he is who we think he is) and buy out his arbitration years and the first couple years of his free agency. Considering Scott “test the free agent waters” Boras is his agent being able to avoid potentially nasty arbitration cases and keeping him from free agency as long as they can is the best bet.
In this area I would plead with you to have patience because I honestly believe they are trying to do the right thing.