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The Orioles are going to get nothing from Matt Wieters, this season or in the future

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The former super-prospect's Orioles tenure is ending with a thud.

Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

It goes without saying at this point that a lot of things have not gone right for the 2015 Orioles.  But put aside the fact that 2015 was supposed to be the team's window; win or lose, one thing that was supposed to be waiting at the end of the season was the near certainty that, even if the team lost three of its top players (Chris Davis, Wei-Yin Chen and Matt Wieters), they'd be able to extend qualifying offers to all three, and hopefully replenish their farm system from some of the hits it's taken to plug holes in the big club during the last four years of contention.

That has panned out as far as Davis and Chen are concerned; there is no doubt that the club will extend the two pending free agents a qualifying offer at the end of the season, and no doubt that they will reject that offer in favor of a multi-year deal, netting the Orioles two compensatory draft picks if they sign with other teams.  But Wieters has gone from no-doubt QO recipient to extremely doubtful in a very short amount of time.

Wieters, of course, never panned out in a way that matched his mega-prospect status.  His bat never played as the big-power, big-average threat it was supposed to be.  But for several years running, he was still one of the more valuable catchers in the league, a switch-hitting 20-homer guy who continuously managed a staff of middling arms to above-average results, and held the baserunning game in check.  You could do a lot worse than that.

In a very short burst in 2014, one that may have been nothing more than a hot stretch, Wieters was having the best offensive campaign of his career when he went down with Tommy John surgery affecting his throwing arm.  The recovery period lasted a bit longer than expected, but more concerning, Wieters has been terrible since he made it back.  He still doesn't catch on back-to-back days, and when he does, his defense (already declining in 2013-14) has been nothing to write home about, and he's slashing a paltry .256/.289/.397 at the plate, without an extra-base hit since August 20th.  He's chasing pitches outside the zone and staring at strikes down the heart of the plate -- nothing about his all-around game looks right at all.

This is the worst possible outcome for the Orioles.  They're paying Wieters $8.3 million, in the middle of a tanking season, for virtually no production (certainly no production that Caleb Joseph couldn't generate).  He's struggling so badly that he would almost certainly accept the $16M qualifying offer if the Orioles were to extend it.  The reality of his market as a 29-year-old catcher coming off of injury and poor performance is that he'll probably look for a one-year "pillow" contract anyway, one probably worth much less than $16M.

So, among 2015's many indignities, the Orioles don't get production from Wieters, and they won't get a draft pick when the season ends, either.  The Orioles have little reason to pursue Wieters as a free agent, with all the other holes they'll have to start plugging, and with Joseph looking capable of taking over.  This means that we're almost certainly seeing Wieters' Orioles tenure come to an end with a deafening thud.  It's not the saddest thing in Baltimore baseball right now, but it's one of them.