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Making a case for Caleb Joseph

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Posted at 6:34 AM, Feb 14, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-14 06:40:10-05

Spring training has begun without Matt Wieters in Sarasota.

The 30-year-old switch-hitting catcher is still without a deal as he remains a free agent on the open market.

There's no guarantee he'll be back in Baltimore so the Orioles have to look at two options: Caleb Joseph or new addition Wellington Castillo.

Castillo comes from the Arizona Diamondbacks hoping to bring a little more pop to the lineup that already is full of power hitters. He's hit at least 13 home runs the last three seasons -- two better than his counterpart Joseph's career high of 11. Last year, Joseph didn't even tally a single RBI, let alone home run.

But Joseph has experience starting with the club. He filled in for Wieters when he went down with a season-ending elbow injury in 2014 and again in 2015.

The 30-year-old played in 100 games in 2015 and is more known for his defensive prowess and rapport with the pitching staff.

Baseball Prospectus looked at his value with the glove when compared to Castillo and there's virtually no comparison.

When looking at the past three years, Caleb Joseph's defensive performance is worth about 30 more runs.

Joseph's bat is far from his best attribute, but when he was playing more of a regular role in 2015 he showed the ability to generate extra-base hits -- 28 of his 75 hits were for extra bases.

Joseph has another advantage in his favor. Castillo leaves Sarasota to play in the World Baseball Classic for the Dominican Republic next month, leaving Joseph more time to work with the Orioles staff.

The Orioles lineup has plenty of sluggers already that could change the game with one swing of the bat. Securing the backstop with a reliable catcher may keep the Orioles in close games when the lineup isn't clicking.