Orioles fans, meet the man who, for a while at least, will be blocking your dreams from coming true:
Gregg Zaun returned to the team that drafted him in 1989, finalizing a $2 million, one-year contract with the Baltimore Orioles on Thursday.
The 37-year-old Zaun is expected to replace Ramon Hernandez as the starting catcher, at least until the team’s top prospect, Matt Wieters, is ready.
Zaun has 14 years of experience to draw upon in working with a young pitching staff and newcomer Koji Uehara of Japan. Zaun has a .251 batting average in 1,114 games with Baltimore, Florida, Texas, Kansas City, Houston, Colorado and Toronto.
With his guaranteed money this year and his buyout for 2010, that means that, no matter what, the Orioles have to pay Zaun $2 million. Between that obligation and what is likely a strong desire to keep Wieters from achieving super two status, you can probably expect to see Zaun starting through the All-Star break or later.
Is that as satisfying as seeing the best prospect in baseball? Nah, but hey, Zaun is Rick Dempsey’s nephew, and that has to count for something in Charm City, right?