More on Joseph’s non-tender and his letter to fans

Catcher Caleb Joseph, non-tendered Friday night by the Orioles and a free agent for the first time in his career, is drawing interest from a handful of teams.

It didn’t take long.

Plenty of clubs are checking on available catchers, but the market is flooded, with MLBTradeRumors.com providing the latest update:

Drew Butera
Robinson Chirinos
A.J. Ellis
Yasmani Grandal
Chris Herrmann
Nick Hundley
Caleb Joseph
Jose Lobaton
Jonathan Lucroy
Martín Maldonado
Devin Mesoraco
James McCann
Wilson Ramos
René Rivera
Stephen Vogt
Matt Wieters
Bobby Wilson

The Orioles negotiated with Joseph’s agent up to the 8 p.m. deadline but multiple proposals fell flat. Joseph made $1.25 million this summer.

A return isn’t out of the question, but Joseph could find a better offer somewhere else. In the meantime, he tweeted a letter to fans yesterday morning:

To All of Birdland:

My dreams of being a professional baseball player became a reality in June of 2008 when the Orioles drafted me. We have experienced some ups and downs together and it’s been an honor and joy to be with the same organization for over a decade.

What I’ll try to forget is the zero HR/RBI and testicular explosion of 2016, pooping my pants on my debut, dressing up as Pam Anderson and eating too much ice cream after Wins!

What I WILL NEVER FORGET is the way the fans, staff, and my teammates embraced me and my family. To each and everyone I came in contract with as an Oriole and all of its affiliates I want to extend my sincerest gratitude for the love and support you showed us over a decade. I married my wife and had two kids while being an Oriole. Baltimore will always have a special place in our hearts. This isn’t “goodbye,” but hopefully “see you later.”

caleb-joseph-sidebar.jpgThank you Birdland!

Much Love,
EutawBackstop, Brooke, Walker, and Nora

As I read this tweet yesterday, it reminded me again that Joseph has a wicked sense of humor and one of those personalities that is sorely missed when absent from the clubhouse. Reliever Tommy Hunter also comes to mind, though Joseph is the master of impressions.

Also, I haven’t covered many players with a deeper affection for the Orioles than Joseph, or who are more appreciative of being in the majors. He cherishes every single day. And every single.

This is a guy drafted out of Lipscomb University in Nashville back in 2008 who didn’t escape the minors until 2014. It was a big deal just to receive an invitation to spring training. The media ate it up

Joseph spent four seasons at Double-A Bowie and built a reputation as an offense-first guy who would need to change positions. He was used in the outfield and first base until, as the story goes, Brady Anderson intervened and pushed for the organization to keep working with Joseph as a catcher.

We’re in the player-development business. Make it happen. Something along those lines.

The tables have turned with Joseph, now regarded as more of an asset behind the plate. He’s a career .224/.271/.353 hitter in 402 games.

As soon as Joseph was non-tendered, I wondered if the White Sox would have interest because they’ve already lost two catchers and need someone to pair with Welington Castillo. We’ll see.

Hold onto that list of free agent catchers because the Orioles might need to borrow it. They have Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and Andrew Susac on the 40-man. Martin Cervenka is held in high regard, or was by people who used to be in the organization, but he was left unprotected in the Rule 5 draft and hasn’t played above the Double-A level.

This team needs to sign or trade for a veteran.

It’s hard to predict what’s going to happen with so many changes in the front office and below it. I sensed that Sisco was ticketed for Triple-A Norfolk to start next season, allowing him to gain more experience and confidence, but all bets are off.

The new manager and his staff will make that decision, perhaps with input from the new head of baseball operations and his new assistants.

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