If you are reading this, then you most likely already know my stance on the Orioles catcher. This is the last article I will write on the topic for this season; as I would like to clear the air with everyone who disagrees with me (which apparently from the responses, is about everyone anyway). I do believe Wieters is a good catcher, I do believe he has helped the Orioles and I do believe he is one of the many pieces that has propelled this team from (pardon my language) utter shit into a contender.
My personal thoughts may differ from the greater Baltimore/Maryland area, but moving on from him in the offseason could benefit this team a great deal looking into 2013 and beyond. I do not believe he is overrated nationally as he is probably the 5th best catcher in baseball, but here in Baltimore he is revered as the greatest thing since Ray Lewis; he is nowhere near that realm of respectability. I have heard he is the only untouchable on the Orioles roster, on more than 10 different occasions, which I find disrespectful to others on the roster especially the centerfielder.
While Wieters does have a gold glove and can hit for power, as he has certainly displayed over the past several weeks since my last article on him (basically throwing somewhat of a wrench in part of my argument), Adam Jones physically carried this team offensively all season. Look at Orioles.com or MLB.com or ESPN.com or anywhere else you get your baseball news, and it will all show the same exact thing; Jones leads the O’s in all major hitting categories.
This has been true all season long, with little protection in the lineup, as Markakis is now on his second major stint on the DL, Mark Reynolds did not come on until August and Wieters has spent 90% of the season below the .250 mark. Now Jones had his slumps over the season, but has been consistently the dominant factor in the heart of an otherwise underperforming lineup. He also leads all of the MLB with the most walk off hits this season; coming up big when it counts most. Jones too has a gold glove for a premium position; if anyone, he should be the only untouchable on the team, which the Orioles build their future around.
That is besides the point, as the idea of moving Wieters came about following one of the best organizations in baseball. He is a classic catcher in the mold of a Charles Johnson (which I previously stated months ago); as he can do everything asked of his position well, but can you really say that a guy hitting .250 (which is by far his best since the beginning of the season) is really one of the best players in the league. He struggles at certain aspects of the game, but makes up for it as a smart, heady guy, with a good arm. That would be a very valuable asset for teams with most of their roster in place, looking for someone to put them over the edge; the Texas Rangers come to mind, as they have fallen just short two seasons in a row. Don’t you think they would pay handsomely for a guy like Wieters? With the team they have put together, not only in the majors but in the farm system, they could send some highly touted players to Baltimore for his services behind the plate. A realistic sample trade, which is fair to both teams includes:
Baltimore Orioles send Matt Wieters to the Texas Rangers.
Both teams can improve problem areas without reaching beyond their means. The Orioles will obviously need to fill a hole behind the plate, but have a golden opportunity to fix several key issues with the roster for the foreseeable future. I understand that catcher is more valuable than any of those positions individually, but combined, if the Orioles get 2-3 young starters for several years, the thought has to cross Showalter and Duquette’s mind.
Now maybe nobody wants to give up enough to make it worth-while, but it never hurts to explore a trade. Moving Wieters now may change the Orioles to a consistent contender, similar to the move the Rangers made in 2007 to put themselves in their current position, amongst the league’s best. They sent Mark Teixeira to the Atlanta Braves for Elvis Andrus, Nefalti Feliz, Matt Harrison, Jarrod Saltalamacchia and Beau Jones. Besides Jones, each of those players has made at least one All-Star appearance; each is 27 years old or younger. That is the type of haul that turned Texas from a possible playoff team, to back-to-back AL champions; that is the type of haul the Orioles could receive for Wieters from that very team.
I don’t think anyone would ask, “Is this a joke?” then. Or would they?