The Baltimore Orioles appear poised to throw a veteran into the battle for the starting catcher’s spot. Today they announced that they signed former Tampa catcher Jesse Sucre to a minor league deal. If Sucre makes the club out of spring training, the deal guarantees him $850,000.00. It also grants him a March 22nd opt-out date.
The contract includes an invitation to big league spring training, which usually means that the player will be given an opportunity to compete for a starting position. In six big league seasons, Sucre’s a .223 hitter. However he’s a .996 career fielder behind the plate. The Orioles could use his experience.
Catcher might be one of the big position battles this year in camp. The Orioles still have Austin Wynns and Chance Sisco on the roster, both of whom are rookies. More than anything else, this move tells me that the Orioles aren’t looking to have to young catchers behind the dish in 2019. Both Sisco and Wynns are probably interchangeable, and if Sucre ends up on the roster I suspect that both will see time in the bigs and in triple-A. Time will tell.
On an unrelated note, former Bowie Baysox manager Gary Kendall has been named the manager at Triple-A Norfolk for the Orioles. Kendall’s been a rising star in the organization for some time. Worth keeping an eye on over time as managerial jobs come available.