Baltimore Orioles: Who catches in 2018

Odds are that the Baltimore Orioles are going to have a new starting catcher in 2018 – either Chance Sisco or Caleb JosephWelington Castillo is expected to decline his club option and hit the free agent market. It’s obviously not a foregone conclusion that the Orioles don’t bring him back as a free agent, I just don’t see it happening.

This is a lot easier to stomach after Sisco came up at the end of the season and looked really good in his first action as a major leaguer. He obviously still has a few things to learn, and would be a work in progress, but the steady hand he showed makes letting Castillo go easier. That combined with the fact that Joseph’s been an Oriole and seen action for some time is also comforting.

But who starts? Sisco wasn’t drafted and brought through the Orioles’ system to be a backup. At some point along the way he will be the starting catcher. However you could make the argument that Joseph wasn’t either. Personally I thought that they should have considered Joseph the starter this season as opposed to paying Castillo. I’m of the opinion that he earned it.

Odds are that if Sisco is the starting catcher, Joseph will accept that with the dignity and grace that he’s shown since coming up to the Orioles. He’s never ceased to just be happy to be a big leaguer. And the fact is that due to injuries and splits, he’s always seen his share of action.

And if in fact Sisco ends up being the starter, there’s no reason to expect Joseph would only see the field on Sundays or in day games after night games. So I expect the catcher position to be more of a platoon system than anything else. Perhaps we see somewhat of an open competition through camp, but both catchers will see their share of time.

If I had to pick one name as the starter for the sake of picking someone, I’d go with Caleb Joseph. Showalter trusts him and he’s deserved it for some time. But again, I think both guys see their share of action come the regular season.

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