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The Matt Wieters Dilemma

Matt Wieters has proven he is the best defensive catcher in baseball but whether he is durable enough to squatting behind home plate is the problem.

Matt Wieters has proven he is the best defensive catcher in baseball but whether he is durable enough to squatting behind home plate is the question.

There can be no debate what Matt Wieters is best at. Ever since he was first called up to the Major League, Wieters has proven to be the best defensive catcher in the game and he has two gold gloves to show for it. He also calls a great game, getting the most out of his pitchers every time. That is what creates such a difficult problem for Buck Showalter this year.

Wieters has struggled to stay healthy throughout his career, especially the past two seasons. Since the start of the 2014 seasons, Wieters has played in only 101 games. A lot of those durability issues come from the strain of catching. He had to undergo Tommy John Surgery in 2014 because of the stress on his arm from constantly throwing throughout games and making blazing strikes to second base to pick off base runners. That flared up again this spring and though all test came back showing no injury, it does create a cause for concern. He also has problems with his knees because of the grueling nature of having to squat for nine innings that is only more taxing because he is 6-foot-5, 230-pounds.

On November 13, Wieters avoided free agency by signing a one-year, $15.8 million qualifying offer. Giving him that much money, the Orioles clearly wanted to keep their former first round draft pick out of Georgia Tech, but if he cannot stay on the field then he has zero value.

Though Wieters’ best attribute is his defense, he is still a reliable hitter. He may not have met the Hall of Fame-expectations he had as a hitter when he first came up, if he plays a full season he can be booked for 130 hits, 20 home runs and 70 RBIs and that is worth keeping around.

So what do the Orioles do? Do they use Wieters for his defense while risking another injury, or do they keep his solid bat in the lineup and move him to a different position, possibly either first base or designated hitter?

Over the past two seasons while wieters has had to deal with his injuries, Caleb Joseph has emerged behind the plate. His presence makes makes it quite an interesting situations too. He could start for a lot of different teams in the league, but still is not nearly as good as Wieters in any area of his game.

If Wieters moves out from behind home plate, the team loses something behind the plate, but if he stays there, they risk losing it anyway and would then lose his bat as well.

Wieters is one of the core guys on the Orioles and was a major reason why the team finally broke through and made the playoffs in 2013. Before he had to undergo surgery in 2014, he was having the best start to his career as a hitter and seemed to be back on track when he returned for the second half of last seasons. But Showalter is in an inenviable spot having to make a tough decision about where to use him.

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Corey Johns

Editor in Chief
You could say Corey was born to become a sports journalist. His father won a national championship coaching college soccer. His mother is a baseball fanatic who hasn't missed seeing an Orioles game since 1983 (literally, sometimes it's annoying). His great uncle was a big-time boxing promoter and his maternal grandfather was once a department head at the Baltimore Sun. Basically, sports and journalism run through his blood. He played just about every little league sports there was when he was a kid and was a multi-sport athlete in high school; even playing in the first-ever high school sanction Rugby game in the country. Eventually he retired from sports as an undefeated Maryland state Rugby champion as a high school senior. Perhaps lack of athletic talent has more to do with the retirement, but he will tell you that it more had to do with a great desire to jump right into media. Upon his graduation from University of Maryland, Baltimore County as a triple communications major, Corey started the So Much Sports network and has continued to grow his websites and continues to work to make them premier sports media outlets.

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