The O’s roster is not short on lovable characters. Manny is not only exceptionally talented, but also one of the most charismatic players in the game. Chris Davis has jaw-dropping power, which has led fans to gravitate toward him. Fans rejoiced when the Orioles signed him to a mega-deal despite any real strong, publicized report of any other suitors. Adam Jones is one of the faces of MLB (Face of MLB) and the kind of man any team would be proud to have on their roster. JJ, Zach Britton, Tillman, Schoop, the list goes on and on, but where is the love for the guy who has arguably been the second best player on the team this year. Why are fans so reticent to love Matt Wieters?
Time and again this year, Wieters has come through with clutch at-bats, played stellar defense, and has (knock on wood) stayed healthy. Even with all this in mind, it seems to me that you’re hard-pressed to find many fans that would list Wieters as their favorite Oriole. As a matter of fact, Wieters has been the target of more criticism than seemingly any other position player on the team (especially from Jim Palmer).
From the moment Wieters joined the big league club in 2009, O’s fans have kept him at a distance. While being labeled as a plus defender, Wieters switch-hitting bat is what had scouts salivating. Matt came up with unbelievable expectations and ranked as Baseball Prospectus’ #1 prospect in 2009. For whatever reason, it has always been believed that Wieters would bolt Charm City given his first opportunity to do so. As a matter of fact, fans seemed almost disappointed that Wieters signed a qualifying offer prior to the 2016 season. Fans have anointed just about every other catcher that has come into the organization as Wieters’ successor (see: Steve Clevenger), and then subsequently called for the team to trade Wieters due his high value.
It is long overdue, but it is time to give Wieters some love. The guy could’ve left this past offseason and gotten paid. He didn’t. Granted, with the year he’s having, he will really cash in come November. But don’t write him off quite yet. He’s under contract for the remainder of the year (and who knows, maybe his love for Baltimore will keep him around).
The dude has been a rock for this team and a leader throughout his time here. He’s a perennial All-Star and a huge part of the turn around this team has experienced under Buck. He’s the Orioles manager on the field and does a hell of a job handling the pitching staff (I don’t want to hear the bull about him “calling bad games”). Go out and give the guy his due, he’s one of the best. Years from now, when he’s being inducted into the O’s Hall of Fame, we’re going to regret not loving this guy like he deserved.