As Spring Training begins for the Baltimore Orioles, the defending AL East champs are concerned about the health of catcher Matt Wieters, who missed much of 2014 with an elbow injury.
Real talk: if the Baltimore Orioles have any intentions on defending their American League East title, they will need Matt Wieters healthy and behind the plate. As Spring Training begins, the O’s are unsure if either scenario becomes a reality by opening day.
More from Baltimore Orioles
- MLB Rumors: Cardinals budging on Arenado, Orioles-Ohtani package, Yankees backup plan
- MLB Rumors: Shohei Ohtani, Angels, Dodgers, Rich Hill
- NY Mets: 4 monstrous trade packages for Justin Verlander and Max Scherzer
- MLB standings ordered by hard hit rate: Struggling Cardinals still cracking bats
- MLB Rumors: Nolan Arenado trade condition, Padres open for business, AL East trade tactics
Wieters played in just 26 games last season, as a right elbow injury resulted in surgery for the Orioles’ backstop, who hit .308 with five homers and 18 RBI in his brief 104 at-bat campaign. As of now, the team is unsure as to whether Wieters is best fit behind the plate, designated hitter or a possible return to the disabled list.
Baltimore had planned to use Wieters at DH last season, but chose not to because of concerns of furthering the injury to his right elbow. According to MASNSports.com Orioles beat writer Roch Kubatko, the team may plan to revisit that option if the at-bats don’t negatively impact his elbow.
Wieters’ injury could lead the Orioles to carry three catchers to open the season, which will make camp even more competitive considering the team has six backstops on the roster. Caleb Joseph, who caught 82 games last season, would be a near-lock to own one of the spots despite the fact he hit just .207 with nine homers and 28 RBI. The team liked his defensive ability and feels his bat will improve with more time.
Steve Clevenger, J.P. Arencibia, Ryan Lavarnway and Brian Ward are also in camp and provide a variety of skills that would make each an intriguing option as the third catcher. Clevenger is more of a defensive specialist, while Arencibia is a former top-end prospect whose chronic inability to make contact (lifetime .207 hitter) offsets his power. Lavarnway is a former Red Sox prospect whose defensive skills are lacking, while Ward is best known for a 50-game suspension for drug use in 2012.
Having a third catcher will cost someone a roster spot, as Steve Pearce and Delmon Young may have to compete for the final outfield spot, which could leave David Lough as an odd man out as well. The Orioles want Paul Janish on the roster due to his defense at shortstop, making the issue more intriguing.
Matt Wieters’ Elbow may turn out to be an interesting Fantasy baseball team name, yet it could be the trigger point for the Orioles during March, a trigger point that will greatly impact if Baltimore can hold off the rest of what will be a tight AL East.
More from FanSided
- Joe Burrow owes Justin Herbert a thank you note after new contract
- Chiefs gamble at wide receiver could already be biting them back
- Braves-Red Sox start time: Braves rain delay in Boston on July 25
- Yankees: Aaron Boone gives optimistic return date for Aaron Judge
- MLB Rumors: Yankees-Phillies trade showdown, Mariners swoop, India goes to Seattle