Orioles: Bon voyage, Gregg
Congratulations probably are in order for Gregg Zaun, who now gets to play for a contender after the O's sent him to the Tampa Bay Rays for a player to be named, Let's hope that player is given a name soon, because I'm still getting asked who the Rays sent here last year in the Chad Bradford deal.
Of course, there was no player in the Bradford deal. The O's got the waiver price and saved some payroll. This time, there apparently will be an actual prospect, though I wouldn't get too carried away fantasizing about who it might be.
The move makes sense for one reason. It relieves manager Dave Trembley of the obligation to play Zaun twice a week and tell him in advance when he's going to play. He felt like he had to do that, but likely won't make any promises to returning backup Chad Moeller, who was elevated from Triple-A Norfolk. Moeller is a pure backup, so he'll play when needed. He'll still probably get a start or two a week, but Wieters is the clear No. 1 now.
Looking back over the past few months, I remember there being some concern about whether Zaun would embrace the mentor role with Wieters or whether he might become a problem when he ceded most of the playing time to the club's top position prospect. I know Zaun wasn't thrilled when Wieters came up, but he did what he agreed to do when he signed as a free agent last winter and he was more effective with the bat in the backup role.
Now, Zaun gets a chance to play some competitive baseball for a change. Wieters assumes his rightful place as the full-time full-time catcher (and that's not a typo). And Chad Moeller gets rewarded for staying in the organization after being the odd man out at the end of spring training. He's a solid reserve catcher and a good guy.
Perhaps the guy who will miss Zaun the most is Jeremy Guthrie, whose statistical split between the two catchers leaned heavily in Zaun's direction, but that might be another reason for the deal. This is the Wieters era, and everybody is going to have to get used to it.
Associated Press photo