Orioles manager Buck Showalter predicts own catcher will sign with Yankees

The way Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter sees it, the New York Yankees should be doing back flips if the result of the Biogenesis PED scandal results in an Alex Rodriguez suspension, and the longer, the better.  Based upon the cleared payroll, Showalter went as far to predict that his own two-time All-Star catcher, Matt Wieters, would probably defect and be wearing Pinstripes in 2015.  According to Paul White of USA Today Sports:

“If Bud lets them get away with that, they’re under the luxury tax,” Showalter told USA TODAY Sports. “If they can reset, they can spend again and I guarantee you in two years Matt Wieters is in New York.”

The “that” referred to is avoiding paying Rodriguez’s ~$25M salary in 2014, enough to put the Bronx Bombers under the luxury tax and back in the role of free agent “buyer”.

The eye brow raising amongst the media and fans is why he would mention a cornerstone of his own team (in the middle of a pennant chase) as the free agent pawn?  Was he backhandedly trying to suggest his catcher should defect?  Was he suggesting he wasn’t getting full effort from the two-time gold glove Wieters?  Did he hope it would spark Wieters offensively?  It appears the best explanation was that of thinking his comments were “off the record.”  According to Eduardo A. Encina of The Baltimore Sun, Showalter regretted making the comments, but stood by them as what he definitely said:

“I said it and someone decided to print it,” Showalter said. “It’s unfortunate, but what are you going to do? … It all boils out from the idea that we’d like Matt to be with us. We like him.”

Showalter is still behind his big catcher Credit: AP/Elaine Thompson

Showalter is still behind his big catcher
Credit: AP/Elaine Thompson

Not that any team would do something underhanded to avoid salary, but particularly in the Rodriguez case, it’s clear that he will never perform to the value of his contract and ANYTHING the Yankees could do to get relief would be explored by the franchise.  You wonder if after this contract, and the Albert Pujols 10-year similar deal (and his recent injuries), if those might be the last contracts exceeding 7 years and putting the player well into their 40s by the end.  Because for injuries and natural degradation of performance, owners and General Managers have to recognize that it’s not good value.

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