Catcher Matt Wieters was made available to reporters in a conference call earlier this morning. Here are some of his comments regarding his first Rawlings Gold Glove Award:
“I take a lot of pride in the award,” he said. “It’s definitely something I always work at to get better, and to be able to win a Gold Glove, I’m honored to be in the same class as the other great catchers in the game defensively. It’s an honor, for sure. I’m very blessed to be able to win the award this early in my career.
“I think it’s a tough award to win because different coaches are going to see you at different times. We have some guys, like J.J. Hardy, who could have won the award, but you’re not always going to get the votes. Just to be considered in the same class as the top three or four defenders at your position is pretty special.
“I definitely feel like I improved. The more reps and more game experience you’re going to get, the more comfortable you get and the more natural it’s going to come to you out there. Also, our pitchers did a great job cutting down their times (to home plate) and that helped me with my stolen base percentage. That can really open some eyes and that’s something that really helped me this year.
“I definitely take pride in my defense. Defense should not go into slumps. Just being focused throughout the game to keep yourself in the game and ready to go.”
The Orioles have earned 61 Gold Gloves since the award was created in 1957, second-most in the American League behind the New York Yankees (63) and 19 more than the next-closest team, the Minnesota Twins.
Though Wieters was outstanding behind the plate, he never made the assumption that he’d win the award.
“I don’t think you ever think it’s a foregone conclusion, especially with the names you’re up against,” he said. “It’s all in the eye of the voters and how well you played. I felt like I had a very good year defensively, but (Alex) Avila and (A.J.) Pierzynski had great years, too. I just feel very blessed and excited that I won this award.
“It’s a good feeling inside, which is nice to have. It’s something you can look back on, but it’s not something you think is going to be given to you every year. You have to keep working to get better.”
The honors keeping rolling in for Wieters, who made his first All-Star team over the summer.
“I think they’re both huge honors to be able to win this early in my career,” Wieters said. “The Gold Glove is pretty special, because you’ve got other coaches voting on it when they’re able to see you day in and day out. And the All-Star Game is something you always want to play. But the Gold Glove is nice because it comes in the offseason and you can enjoy it for a little bit. With the All-Star break, you’ve got to get yourself focused for the second half of the season.”
Wieters said he’s keeping track of the GM proceedings.
“I’m definitely following it,” he said. “It’s something I like to do throughout the whole offseason. I keep in touch with the media outlets and see where it’s going. I liked a lot of the moves we were able to put together last year, and I’m always excited when we’re able to put more moves together and move forward. Getting a GM in place is the first move that needs to get done.”
With Craig Tatum claimed off waivers by the Astros, Wieters was asked what he’d look for in a backup catcher.
“I think it’s all what the right fit is,” he replied. “Craig was a guy where me and him were able to work well together and sort of bounce ideas off each other and that’s sort of one of the things I like to look for, a guy who’s going to be able to read swings or help with video to where we can throw ideas off each other and learn from each other. I’m sad to see Craig go because we were able to have a very good relationship of talking about hitters or talking about pitchers or game-calling strategy. And that’s what I’d like to have in another catcher, somebody I can bounce off ideas.”