Baltimore Orioles Optioning Steve Clevenger Instead of Caleb Joseph is a Mistake

By David Atlas
Caleb Joseph
Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

What is Buck Showalter and the Baltimore Orioles’ management thinking? To make room for Chris Davis to return to the active roster, they have elected to option Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk. Many thought Caleb Joseph would be the obvious choice, but apparently that isn’t so.

With the recent acquisition of Nick Hundley, the Orioles had options as to who would be the team’s catcher, but most thought Hundley would split time with Clevenger who performed admirably when Matt Wieters went down with an injury. However, the club has opted to give Joseph more chances at the major-league level. This move obviously has to do with defense because Joseph has been a disaster at the plate.

In only nine games, Joseph is hitting a mere .043/.154/.043 with no home runs and only one run batted in. There’s only one word to describe Joseph’s success at the plate and that would be terrible.

However, defensively, Joseph has been quite impressive. In eight games behind the plate, he’s yet to commit an error and he’s thrown out four of 10 base-runners trying to steal for an extremely high caught-stealing percentage of 40.

While Joseph has been good defensively, is that enough to offset the lack of production at the plate? Clearly the Orioles think so, but I don’t.

Steve Clevenger hasn’t been lighting up the stat sheets at the plate either, but at least his offense is passable; in 24 games he’s hitting .243/.300/.378 with no home runs and eight RBIs. Throw in the fact that Clevenger is a left-handed hitter and the move is at least a bit puzzling.

Defensively, Clevenger hasn’t been as good as Joseph, but he’s far from a liability like Joseph is at the plate. Clevenger is yet to commit an error, but he’s only thrown out 15 percent of base stealers. You could even argue that the pitcher’s delivery has a lot to do with Clevenger’s lack of success throwing people out.

When it’s all said and done, the Orioles are sending down the more well-rounded player in favor of a younger prospect who’s only doing one thing well, and that just doesn’t make much sense – not to me anyway.

David Atlas is a Baltimore Orioles writer for Rant Sports. You can follow him on Twitter (@DavidAtlasRants) or add him to your circles on Google+.

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