The wisdom of bringing back Moeller

The last few weeks have been hectic and rewarding for catcher Chad Moeller. His wife, Nicole, gave birth to the couple’s third child (and second son), Cash Benjamin, on Nov. 23. And earlier today, Moeller and the Orioles reached agreement on a minor league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

The Orioles declined Moeller’s $850,000 option so they could remove him from the 40-man roster, but they also made it clear that they wanted him to stay in the organization. And Moeller never wanted to leave.

“They told me how they felt about me and that it was going to be a roster issue for the off-season. It wasn’t a money issue,” he said. “The contract basically stayed the same, minus some parts that would have been nice. But I understand it’s a business and where I fit in this game. I didn’t see any reason to wait around any longer when I already knew what I wanted to do, as far as coming back and not switching teams again. I didn’t see any reason to prolong it any longer.

“I had a pretty good idea that most of the other situations would be similar to this one, as far as contractual-wise. Rather than wait until January or February, I wanted to have it done.”

Moeller must be viewed as the leading candidate to back up Matt Wieters, though he’ll have competition from a group that includes recently acquired Michel Hernandez and
Craig Tatum.

“I know I have to compete with other guys. That’s understood,” he said. “You’re always competing in this game, and the minute that stops, you’re pretty much done and kicked out. If you don’t perform, they’re going to be looking for someone else. So for me, this doesn’t change anything.

“I signed there with the intent to be the backup catcher with Matt. There’s no question that was my intention and that’s why I signed there.”

Moeller is viewed as an ideal tutor for a young catcher and pitching staff, so he’s in the right place.

“That’s pretty much hitting it right on the head,” he said. “Those are definitely things I bring that younger players won’t because they haven’t been through all the different situations. I tend to work well with young pitchers. And as far as my ego getting in the way, with Matt having all the playing time or my name not being in front, that’s the last thing I want. This is what I enjoy doing. This is how I take care of my family. And while I’m out there, I want to help these guys do as well as they can. And I want to see Matt grow and become a superstar and see this staff grow and not make the same mistakes as last year.

“For me, it’s fun to see the progression and growth, and that situation’s not for everyone. It would probably deter some. For me, it’s almost ideal.”

Just like his last few weeks.

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