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The Move We All Saw Coming

Yesterday Orioles manager Dave Trembley made the move that's been in the works since before spring training started by sending down the team's top prospect.

Matt Wieters will report to Class AAA Norfolk at the end of the weekend after an impressive spring where he has hit .343 with one home run and five RBI.

Wieters, 22, is ranked Baseball America's top prospect and is already being considered one of the top catchers in the majors right now.

The decision is more than likely financial - by waiting to put Wieters on the big league roster, the Orioles gain another year of service out of Wieters, keeping him under team control for a total of seven years once he's called up.

Wieters, to his credit, seems to understand the situation and has accepted it.

"It's fun wherever you are, but it's even more fun up here," said Wieters. "I'm excited to be playing in Norfolk. It's a different level of competition for me. I just want to go there and work hard and get back as soon as possible."

Last year Wieters spent time in Class A Frederick and Class AA Bowie where he combined for a .355/.454/.600 line and 27 home runs and the Orioles hope to see his continued success in Norfolk.

Though Wieters only needs to spend the first 12 days of the season off the major league roster before the Orioles can claim the additional year, the team may keep him in Class AAA to continue to develop.

Of course the flip side to this is that the embodiment of a successful future for the Orioles is leaving the clubhouse.

By CJ Holley  |  March 27, 2009; 8:29 AM ET
Categories:  Orioles  
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All that "under team control" doesn't mean they can't sign him to a long-term contract a couple years into his major-league tenure like the Mets did with Wright and the Nats are trying to do with Zimmerman, right?

Posted by: Juan-John | March 27, 2009 3:42 PM | Report abuse

Juan-John, they could sign him long-term at any time. However, his agent is Scott Boras and Boras has a tendency to not sign long-term deals that give up free agent years if he believes the player is a special talent. And from all indications here, Weiters is that type of special talent. So the Orioles are just protecting that 7th year knowing it's likely Weiters will be testing the market whenever he's able to becuase of his agent and talent level.

Posted by: jdmetz1 | March 28, 2009 11:45 PM | Report abuse

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