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The Orioles aren’t waiting around for Matt Wieters

Duquette said the O’s will get a catcher before January. Scott Boras says Matt Wieters might not sign until January. Do we connect those dots?

MLB: Boston Red Sox at Baltimore Orioles
If Duquette and Boras both stick to their guns, Matt Wieters’ time as an Oriole is probably up.
Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Dan Duquette appeared on 105.7’s Hot Stove Show on Thursday night. When he wasn’t in the middle of a rant against the writers who rate the Orioles farm system poorly, Duquette opened up - as much as he ever is capable of doing, anyway - about some of the Orioles offseason pursuits. One of the things Duquette said is that he expects the Orioles to find a catcher before January.

This is interesting because it’s not really Duquette’s style to pin himself down and set a date where he hopes to accomplish something like that. The other thing about it that makes it interesting is what Scott Boras, agent to Matt Wieters, said about free agency and his catchers, as transcribed by MASN’s Steve Melewski:

“Well, the clubs that need catching are pretty well defined,” Boras said. “And some are thinking about moving players to make room for him so, the timetable always on catching, I don’t know what it is, I can’t think of one I’ve represented that didn’t sign in January.”

If Boras is waiting around to find a deal for Wieters, he may find the door back to Baltimore closes on him. It’s not definite from that quote above that Wieters couldn’t reach an Orioles reunion contract before January comes along, but you probably won’t want to bet your mortgage on Boras doing something outside of the usual Boras pattern of action.

One report puts the Orioles as working towards a deal with recently-non-tendered Arizona catcher Welington Castillo. FanRag Sports described the two sides as “building momentum towards a deal.”

That doesn’t mean that the O’s will sign Castillo and won’t sign Wieters, of course. MASN’s Roch Kubatko checked in on the rumor and said, “Nothing is imminent.”

It could all be a smaller version of the grand game of chicken that the Orioles and Boras played about Chris Davis last offseason, with lots of back and forth and rumors coming out about the Orioles talking with other high-priced players like Justin Upton and Yoenis Cespedes, as if they were trying to say, “See, we’re serious! We’ll do it!”

Wieters definitely doesn’t seem to fit the mold of catcher they say they’re looking for, and ought to be looking for, since it’s hard to imagine he’ll sign for the kind of veteran one- or two-year stopgap kind of contract they would give to somebody else.

Still, if there’s one thing the Orioles have shown, it’s that, absent some kind of physical concern, they’ll spend to keep “their” guys - for better or worse.

Mark Trumbo seems to become one of “their” guys after just one season, given how sticky their interest in him seems to be despite an initial absurd price tag. And also despite, you know, the fact that Trumbo wouldn’t solve any one of their problems.

Wieters, the former future savior of the franchise, is definitely one of “their” guys, even if he never turned into the hyped “Joe Mauer with power,” or even Joe Mauer. The main reason to be anxious about the O’s signing him to another contract is that it’s money they can’t spend on making their outfield defense better.

The idea of the O’s spending $10+ million a year on both Wieters and Trumbo for next year, given the team’s needs, is really not appealing. But if it’s money that’s mostly only there to spend on “their” guys, then they aren’t necessarily missing out on other opportunities by signing either one.

If the Orioles are really determined to sign a catcher before the calendar turns and Boras is really determined to wait, then that will be that and one of the longest-tenured Orioles will be moving on. But maybe someone will blink and something will still get worked out.

What do you think? Should the Orioles spend much effort trying to bring Wieters back to Baltimore? What kind of contract is the most that you would want to give him?