By Matthew Taylor
“They got the deal done. You can tell the city of Baltimore that the old evil owner stepped up and took care of things tonight. We had to fight to the end.”
-Orioles Scouting Director Joe Jordan
Cards fans, coming off of a World Series victory last season and a 2004 appearance in the Series, are bummed about their team’s sub-.500 record this year. O’s fans, meanwhile, are excited about the very prospect of .500 baseball after nine straight losing seasons. Any hint of progress spurs excitement among Birds fans in Charm City.
Which brings us to the Matt Wieters signing. As if the last six games against the Red Sox and Yankees haven’t done enough to boost Baltimore’s baseball spirits, folks are downright giddy about getting Wieters in the fold. Just check out what they’re saying in The Sun.
“By the time the Orioles got top draft choice Matt Wieters to sign on the dotted line last night, it was no longer only about the can’t-miss college catcher with the sweet swing from both sides of the plate.It was about the Orioles keeping faith with their fans.It was about the front office proving that the past isn’t always prologue.
It was about maybe – just maybe – the franchise turning a corner after nine years headed in the wrong direction.And maybe it was about redemption, because Wieters was on the verge of becoming the newest symbol of everything that has gone wrong with the Orioles organization over the past decade.”
“The Orioles signed 38 of their 48 picks, including 11 of the top 12. Wieters was a must, especially with no second or third rounders this year. The Orioles held firm, but also didn’t let their stubbornness get in the way. They kept negotiating right down to the final hour, with owner Peter Angelos getting involved. And I have no problem with Wieters getting a major league deal, if that’s the case. It shouldn’t take long with this kid.
Easily overlooked last night was the deal signed by TCU pitcher Jacob Arrieta. This also is huge news. The Orioles think they got a steal with Arrieta in the fifth round, just as they apparently did with Timothy Bascom in the fourth. And you never can have enough pitching.
The fact that it’s college pitching makes me even happier. Just don’t bring up Beau Hale.
Now it’s time to turn our attention to the rest of the season – the race for third place, Dave Trembley’s future as manager.
And, please, start throwing dollar figures at Erik Bedard. Legitimate ones. Nothing insulting. “
“And with the Wieters signing, the Orioles carefully navigated the brinkmanship situation of losing their top pick (he would have become draft-eligible again today) and getting the kid at a reasonable price. MacPhail was patient, took the talks with Boras to the deadline, and Wieters finally took the six large.
More learned observers of the Orioles, such as colleague Pete Schmuck, have made the case that the significance of the Wieters signing is that it sends a clear message to the rest of the clubhouse that the organization is prepared to do battle with the Yankees and Red Sox. Lately, the players have shown that with their bats and gloves. And they’ve done it showing a remarkably dogged determination and persistence. And hopefully, the organization is willing to do the same with its checkbook, even if it is in carefully weighed and deliberate steps.”
An “O” for Optimism?