13 Days …..

March 23, 2009 |

Will the thought of having Gregg Zaun anchoring the duties behind home plate, for the month of April, be unbearable? Better yet, would the presence of Matt Wieters have a significant impact on this Orioles team?

Remember, we’re only talking about April …..

Over the weekend, I had an opportunity to talk baseball, hometown style, with Tony Pente of orioleshangout. In fact, we talked a couple times ….. over beers on a Saturday night and during the Sunday Morning Blitz.

To summarize our conversations, we pretty much agreed on everything – including the impending plight of Matt Wieters. If you’re a Baltimore Orioles fan, there is little to gain your excitement. However, whether Wieters makes this team is one of the celebratory moments, or is it?

Honestly, I don’t really think it’s a tough decision ….. and it shouldn’t be !!!! The sobering side to springtime and a new baseball season is it’s a business, first and foremost. And, the decision to keep Matt Wieters in Baltimore, or send him to Norfolk, will be based solely on BUSINESS.

You’ve heard it thousands of times – it ain’t personal, it’s just business. And, if you’ve got a chance to keep Matt Wieters in this organization, without a year of turmoil related to contract negotiations, do it !!!! It makes sense.

If the Orioles keep Matt Wieters off the Major League roster for the first 13 days of this 2009 season, they’ll have contractual control over him through the 2015 season. Whereas, if he starts the season on this team, they’ll have control over him through the 2014 season. It makes a difference …..

In fact, if the Orioles delay Wieters’ promotion until June, his arbitration eligibility is postponed until after the 2012 season. I’ll say this – if he goes to AAA and rips the cover off the ball, the Orioles should probably compromise with the fan base and promote him in early May.

That’s right, they can keep control over Wieters’ rights for the next seven (7) seasons, but they’ll have to exchange arbitration figures with Scott Boras, prior to the 2012 season. Uh-huh, Scott Boras is part of the potential implosion, isn’t he?

Indeed, Scott Boras is part of this package, and he’s EXACTLY the reason why the Orioles must be conservative in their approach to starting the ticker on the “Wieters Major League Service Clock.” Remember, it’s just business.

You can really relate this subject to many life-impacting decisions, right? If you were paying a simple mortgage installment for the next few years and had the chance to postpone a substantial rate increase, by 12 months, would you do it? You’re damned right.

In fact, I wanna meet the first slapdick who calls his lender and asks “can you increase my mortgage rate today?” Postponing financial obligations is purely good business practice, so long as your assets aren’t affected.

And, this asset won’t be affected …..

That’s right, don’t think Matt Wieters is gonna be upset with the Orioles over this “frugile” move. He understands the economics of the game/business ….. and so does Scott Boras. As Tony Pente said, “he’s the same guy who signed his contract just 3 minutes before the deadline.”

And, lets remember, the Orioles floated out a very generous offer to Matt Wieters, when he was drafted. The proposal was in line with the salaries and bonuses for top draft picks. Still, Wieters/Boras held out to the very last minute. Why? It’s what they do – it’s a business. Matt Wieters and Scott Boras have established a precedent and they will do it, again. It’ just business.

You can bet on this – if Matt Wieters is as good as everyone thinks, Scott Boras is gonna end up hanging the Orioles over the barrel. It’s coming – as sure as Ned Beatty fell victim to the hillbilly, in Deliverance. So, why not postpone it for a year?

And, please, don’t even think Matt Wieters is signing an extension, beyond the 2015 season. If you’re even considering such a pipedream – remember these three words – SCOTT FREAKING BORAS. I’m not saying the Orioles won’t resign him or he won’t get a statue outside Camden Yards, but they’re gonna pay for it – through free agency.

I’ll say it, again ….. Matt Wieters and Scott Boras are not gonna be pissed-off about a short trip to Norfolk. They understand the intricate nature of “baseball business.” This is simply a formality.

Now, there is another consideration, as well …..

Matt Wieters’ professional experience has basically been limited to a half-season at AA-affiliate, Bowie. Thus, it’s plausible to suggest Matt Wieters hasn’t really paid witness to good pitching, yet.

Yep, there’s a distinct difference to hitting minor league hurlers and college arms, as opposed to stepping in the box against Josh Beckett, AJ Burnett, Scott Kazmir and Roy Halladay on a consistent basis. The difference is absolutely HUGE.

Matt Wieters is a “Can’t Miss Prospect.” And, we all know there is a long, littered line of guys who couldn’t miss ….. and they ended up missing. I’m not about to say Wieters is overhyped or not capable of legendary statistics. But, he’s not a sure thing.
Let him get some swings at AAA, while affording the Orioles some sensible business tactic. It might end up benefiting Wieters and it will certainly end up benefiting the Orioles. To be honest, it’s not a big deal.

After all, we’re talking about 13 days …..