Catching up on the catching situation (and other notes)

Cal Ripken Jr. is attending today’s Browns-Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium. However, he won’t be coaching either team next season. He may answer the phone if they call, but he’s not actively searching for a job.

I’ve decided to start killing rumors before they gain steam.

As I’ve written numerous times, the Orioles still must decide whether to make catcher Matt Wieters the $15.8 million qualifying offer in order to obtain a compensatory draft pick if he signs with another team. There’s no doubt that Chris Davis and Wei-Yin Chen will get one, reject it and test the market.

The qualifying offer amount is determined by averaging the top 125 annual salaries in the majors. Teams can make the offer until five days after the World Series, and players have a week to accept or decline it.

I’d be surprised if Wieters accepted it with Scott Boras as his agent. It’s a gamble on both sides. There are people in the organization who question whether paying Wieters close to $16 million would prevent the Orioles from spending in other areas. Wieters could accept it and use the one-year deal as a platform, similar to Nelson Cruz, and cash in next winter after re-entering the market. But there’s no guarantee that he’ll have the type of season that makes teams back up the truck to pay him.

No player has accepted the qualifying offer. Wieters could be a pioneer of sorts, but I don’t expect it to happen.

The Orioles should make the offer and take the draft pick if he leaves. And if he accepts it, you’ve got Wieters for at least one more season. Just don’t use it as an excuse to shut down the rest of the offseason.

They still need to make a run at Davis and Darren O’Day. Still need to upgrade the rotation.

Wieters went 12-for-27 with two doubles, two home runs and six RBIs in his last eight games.

joseph-catching-white-sidebar.jpgCaleb Joseph returns next season, but Steve Clevenger is out of options. The Orioles feel better about his defense and have always liked his bat.

Don’t bring Chance Sisco into the discussion. Sisco, 20, is one of their top position prospects, but he’s not ready to replace Wieters or serve in a backup capacity.

A scout from outside the organization watched Sisco at Double-A Bowie and described him as
“an athletic catcher with a chance to hit.”

A chance? I see what he did there.

The scout likes Sisco’s short left-handed stroke and gap-to-gap power, describing him as “a doubles guy,” but added that he has “light-years to go defensively, the worst defensive catcher that I saw above the New York-Penn League this season.”

Sisco doesn’t really profile at another position, according to the scout, so he needs to keep focusing on his work behind the plate. Joseph also had his detractors and became a utility player at Bowie, moving to first base and the outfield, before the Orioles decided to keep him at catcher and continue his development.

You know the rest of Joseph’s story, and Sisco is more highly regarded as a prospect. Don’t rush him and don’t give up on him. Just keep working with him.

Sisco batted a combined .297/.376/.415 in 75 games at Single-A Frederick and 20 at Bowie. He hit .340/.406/.448 with 27 doubles, two triples, five home runs and 63 RBIs in 114 games at low Single-A Delmarva last summer.

The same scout rates first baseman Trey Mancini as the Orioles’ top position prospect, saying, “It’s not even close.”

Mancini, 23, won the Brooks Robinson Minor League Player of the Year award after hitting a combined .341/.375/.563 with 43 doubles, six triples, 21 home runs and 89 RBIs in 136 games between Bowie and Frederick. He won the Eastern League batting title with an adjusted .330 average.

“He’s way beyond everyone else. There’s him and then the others,” the scout said.

“The ball explodes off his bat, he can hit and he has power. A potential middle of the order bat. He’s ahead of Christian Walker.”

First baseman/outfielder Chris Parmelee has elected to become a minor league free agent, according to SB Nation. Parmelee got off to a sizzling start with the Orioles after they purchased his contract, but he cooled considerably and was designated for assignment on July 31.

Parmelee batted .216/.255/.433 with seven doubles, one triple, four home runs and nine RBIs in 32 games. He was 7-for-50 with three RBIs and 13 strikeouts in July.

Parmelee accepted his outright assignment on Aug. 9 and may have been included on the expanded roster if not for a broken left forearm sustained when he was hit by a Matt Moore pitch.

For the first time in franchise history, no Orioles starter tossed a complete game over the course of a single season. The previous low was one complete game by Jason Hammel in 2012.

The Marlins and Pirates also failed to record a complete game this season.

Chen held opponents to a .170 average (27-for-159) with runners in scoring position this season, lowest among all qualifying starters in the majors.

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