Things are bound to heat up at the Warehouse over the next two months. With their first round selection in today’s Amateur Draft, the Orioles selected Georgia Tech catcher Matt Wieters at #5. Wieters was projected as the top position player available; he fell to the Birds because he’s represented by Scott Boras, who’s about as popular in MLB front offices as Peter Angelos at Bethlehem Steel.
So, Angelos vs. Boras. Should be an interesting two months (they have until August 15th to sign Wieters). And you thought there were no more compelling heavyweight fights left! By all indications, it will take a major league contract and approximately a $10 million bonus to make Wieters an Oriole. But because the Birds have no 2nd or 3rd round picks this year, perhaps the organization decided to take a gamble and offer Wieters the big bucks. We shall see.
Wieters will probably be major league ready by 2009, at the latest. He’s a switch-hitting catcher with power who also doubled as the Yellow Jackets closer (he reportedly has a mi-90’s heater). Remember how Earl Weaver always coveted left-handed hitting catchers? They are a rare species. I can only think of Joe Nolan and Mickey Tettleton. Wieters should be able to surpass those two in our collective memories if he’s as good as advertised.
One other interesting note. Scott Boras also represents Mark Texeira. Perhaps the Wieters negotiations will be a prelude to another signing? We’ll have to see…Also, Jim Duquette was seen on the recent West Coast trip sitting with Boras at a game. I’ve heard rumblings that the Birds are unhappy with Duquette, believing he’s a little too "open" with the media regarding information (which is a sure way to find your office at the Warehouse empty one morning). But if it’s Duquette who’s laying the groundwork, opening a dialogue and establishing a relationship with Boras, wouldn’t that mean something as far as credibility in the industry? Lord knows, the O’s need all of that they can garner. It’s been few and far between for a while…
Add Billy Rowell, Brandon Snyder and Nick Markakis to the list, and the Birds finally have some depth in the organization as far as position players. I know it’s far too easy to find the problems of their own creation over the last decade, but give the Orioles some credit for taking the best player in this draft, regardless of his agent. That’s how it should always be done. After all, when Wieters hits 27 homeruns in 2010, nobody’s going to care about Scott Boras.