Yesterday was perhaps the first busy day of the off season for the Baltimore Orioles. Catcher Matt Wieters was not given a qualifying offer for 2017. This means that he’s truly a free agent in the sense that he’s not a protected free agent – to use NFL terminology.
In essence, Wieters is now free to sign with any other team, and they won’t have to give up a draft choice to the Orioles. My personal opinion is that this is a mistake on the Orioles’ part. Are they worried that Wieters would once again accept the qualifying offer, putting them on the hook for a $17.2 million contract for next year? I don’t think that he was going to accept it anyways, so in my mind the Orioles just gave away a draft pick. With that said, they have as good a shot as anyone to sign him.
The Birds did make a qualifying offer to Mark Trumbo, and he has until November 14th to accept it or turn it down. Most of the time players turn it down and test the waters in free agency. But of course this means that wherever Trumbo signs that team will have to forfeit their top draft pick to the Orioles for 2017. That is of course unless the team that signs him is the Orioles.
Again, this is why I don’t understand why the Birds aren’t giving Wieters a qualifying offer. What do they really have to lose? He’s expected to be the top catcher on the market this year, although obviously there’s always the chance that he stays in Baltimore. If the Orioles are thinking there’s a good shot at that happening, perhaps that’s why they didn’t make the offer. But they also did that with Markakis a couple of years ago – and he walked.
In other news, Buck Showalter is a finalist for the Manager of the Year award, however he wasn’t nearly as happy about that as he was angry about an apparent snub. Closer Zach Britton was not named a finalist in the Cy Young voting. Instead, three starters were named finalists. And Showalter didn’t hide his feelings about the matter (quote courtesy of Roch Kubatko, MASNsports):
That’s a real poor reflection on the people who are evaluating him. God bless the three guys in front of him. They were doing it every fifth day and he’s doing it every day. I’m not so sure any of those guys could do what Zach does.
This guy had maybe the best year in the history of relief pitching. He should have finished in the top three in MVP, OK? He should. There’s nobody in baseball who’s more valuable to their team than Zach Britton is to the Orioles.
Now I’ve made my opinion clear in another incarnation of this column over time – I don’t think that relief pitchers should be Cy Young award winners. I don’t think you can compare what someone does over one inning to a starter who’s doing this for between 5-9 innings every fifth day. However let’s also keep in mind that Britton saved 47 games this year and didn’t blow one. Over 67 innings of work, he posted a 0.54 ERA. So do we not think he’s at least worthy of consideration?
Incidentally, that quote above is partially why so many players love Buck Showalter. The guy takes up for his team and then some. It would have been simple just to say that the voters made their decision and so forth. But he kind of went the extra mile on this one. But that’s how he’s consistently been – a manager who looks out for his team and his players.
Going back to Trumbo for just a moment in closing, I have serious doubts as to whether he remains an Oriole. But he did express an intent to stay remain with the Orioles towards the end of the season. However whether he’s willing to accept what the Orioles offer is another story. And that’s not to say that the Orioles are trying to low ball him; they just recognize that they’ll need that money more for the likes of Machado and Schoop.