A silent thought I have rattled around in my brain for a while now may start to sound more realistic. If the Orioles do not re-sign Chris Davis, Matt Wieters deserves to play first base.
Now, before you come after me with pitchforks and torches, listen to my reasoning.
Chris Davis will sign a deal worth a lot of money this offseason, and I would prefer the Orioles not be the team to give it to him. I like Davis a lot, as much as any other Orioles fan, but I can’t justify spending the kind of money he will get on a 200+ strikeout guy who can disappear t the plate for weeks to months at a time.
For a little background to that claim, last May, Davis had a slash line of .196/.301/.464 with seven home runs and 14 RBI’s. June through August saw Davis hitting .262 with 23 home runs and if not for his .318/.463/.748 September/October, I project Davis would have finished with a batting average ten points lower and 4-5 less home runs.
Am I making those numbers up? Well, not quite. I simply calculated the batting average, got the mean of April through August, as with home runs and substituted those numbers with what Davis actually got, if he were to continue on the pace he did. I will just go give myself a wedgie now.
This does not take away from the capabilities Davis has that Wieters does not have, but those capabilities do not make Chris Davis worth more than $20 million a season. MLB Trade Rumors projects Davis to get a 6 year, $144 million deal worth $24 million a season.
All of this pretty much adds up to Davis waving bye-bye to Baltimore, leaving first base vacant and in need of a new host. That new host can be found in the person of Matt Wieters.
Matt Wieters has been getting compared to Joe Mauer (with power) his whole career, so he might as well follow Mauer to first base.
In 2011, Joe Mauer made his first appearances at first base regularly, which was in his ninth season. Before this, he never saw play time there. After 2013, Mauer’s 11th season, he has not see any action behind the plate since. This upcoming season will be Wieters’ ninth. What could it mean? Well, nothing.
This is all speculation, especially since we do not know what the offseason plan is for Dan Duquette and his team. I just hope some big white board in the Warehouse says “Alex Gordon” and is circled with arrows pointing to it, but that is beside the point.
I feel Caleb Joseph has earned the full time catcher job, proving to be a better defensive catcher than Matt Wieters has ever been. Another thing Joseph has over Wieters is that he is a way better pitch framer. StatCorner has reports on catchers and their framing going back to 2007 and Wieters has significantly fallen more every single year he is in the league.
Is pitch framing the only statistic that backs up this argument? Of course not; let us take a look at catcher’s ERA. For those that do not know, catcher’s ERA is the ERA of the pitching staff under than specific catcher. In 2015, Joseph had a CERA of 3.66 while Matt Wieters had a 4.40 CERA.
For 2014, Joseph had a CERA of 3.03 with Wieters had 3.93. Going into years where Joseph was not on the team but Matt Wieters held most of the catching duties, he had a 4.32 CERA in 2013 and a 3.80 in 2012. Score another one for Caleb Joseph.
I truly feel that Caleb Joseph has earned the starting catching job for the Orioles with proving that, yes even in smaller samples, he is better than Matt Wieters. Wieters is still a better overall hitter than Joseph still, and a $15.8 million salary grants you starting duties somewhere; I just do not feel it is worth it to play him at catcher anymore.
This leaves DH and first base and I feel that the Orioles resources this offseason should go towards outfielders and pitching, not another first baseman unless absolutely necessary.