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MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #1 by ofahn » October 24th, 2012, 3:27 pm

I thought this was very well written and provides another point of view on what the Orioles should do this winter.

Agree? Disagree? Please explain WHY?

By Ben Nicholson-Smith [October 24, 2012 at 12:13pm CST]

The Orioles will look for answers on the right side of the infield and pursue pitching depth.

Guaranteed Contracts

Adam Jones: CF: $85.5MM through 2018
Nick Markakis, OF: $32MM through 2014
J.J. Hardy, SS: $14MM through 2014
Brian Roberts, 2B: $10MM through 2013
Wei-Yin Chen, SP: $8MM through 2104
Tsuyoshi Wada, SP: $4.1MM through 2013
Dylan Bundy, SP: $3.7MM through 2015
Wilson Betemit, 3B: $1.75MM through 2013

Arbitration Eligible Players (estimated salaries)

Darren O'Day, RP: $2.2MM (third time eligible)
Jim Johnson, RP: $6.9MM (third time eligible)
Jason Hammel, SP: $6.5MM (third time eligible)
Mark Reynolds, 1B: $8.9MM (third time eligible, non-tender candidate)
Robert Andino, 2B: $1.8MM (second time eligible, non-tender candidate)
Lew Ford, OF: $600K (second time eligible, non-tender candidate)
Omar Quintanilla, IF: $800K (second time eligible, non-tender candidate)
Nolan Reimold, OF: $1MM (first time eligible)
Matt Wieters, C: $4.6MM (first time eligible)
Chris Davis, OF: $3.3MM (first time eligible)
Brian Matusz, RP: $1MM (first time eligible)
Tommy Hunter, RP: $1.8MM (first time eligible)
Troy Patton, RP: $800K (first time eligible)
Taylor Teagarden, C: $800K (first time eligible, non-tender candidate)
Steve Pearce, OF: $700K (first time eligible, non-tender candidate)

Contract Options

Mark Reynolds, 1B: $11MM club option with a $500K buyout
Luis Ayala, RP: $1MM club option with a $100K buyout

Free Agents

Randy Wolf, Joe Saunders, Nate McLouth, Endy Chavez, Jim Thome, Nick Johnson, Bill Hall

The moves that led the Orioles to their first postseason berth since 1997 weren't particularly splashy -- certainly not the sort of deals that generate much hype. But Dan Duquette's plan worked, and the Orioles came within a game of playing for the American League championship. Expect more relatively low-profile moves as Duquette looks to reinforce the team this coming offseason.

Like most playoff teams, the Orioles enter the offseason with many pieces in place for 2013. Yet they do have needs on the right side of the infield and uncertainty in left field. Pitching also figures to be a priority for Duquette and the team's front office executives.

Though Mark Reynolds recovered from a slow start to hit 15 home runs from August 1st on, the Orioles will likely decline the $11MM option on the infielder's contract. He'd then be eligible for arbitration, though with a projected salary of $9MM, they might decide to non-tender him. While Reynolds could be a fit at the right price, it might take some time for this to play out since the Orioles can't cut his salary by more than 20% until the November 30th deadline for teams to tender contracts to arbitration eligible players.

Second base presents another challenge for Duquette, who has a number of options at the position. Brian Roberts can't be relied upon at this stage, Robert Andino didn't hit much this past year and Ryan Flaherty's hardly a sure thing. Andino could be non-tendered with a projected salary of $1.8MM and unimpressive offensive numbers.

The free agent market doesn't offer many compelling alternatives at second base. Kelly Johnson would add a lot of swings and misses to a lineup that already includes more than its share of high-strikeout hitters. Maybe a contact hitter such as Marco Scutaro would be a fit. Even at 36, Scutaro continues to provide versatility and reach base. Alternatively, Skip Schumaker doesn't appear to have a significant role on the Cardinals anymore. He's a solid hitter against right-handed pitching and boasts a career on-base percentage of .345, so the Orioles could target the 32-year-old in a trade. Players with on-base skills figure to appeal to Duquette, who spoke of improving the team’s on-base percentage last offseason only to see Baltimore finish the year with a .311 OBP that ranked 23rd in MLB.

The Orioles could also add a left fielder if they intend to improve their offense next year. Josh Hamilton would represent a significant upgrade for an offense that finished 15th in MLB in runs scored this past season. He'd almost certainly require the largest contract in franchise history, a commitment owner Peter Angelos would have to approve. Angelos has spent on premium players such as Albert Belle and Miguel Tejada in the past, so a major free agent signing wouldn't be unprecedented. Nick Swisher and Melky Cabrera are among the other intriguing free agent corner outfielders, but the Orioles could simply rely on internal options.

Nolan Reimold has had success in the past and could remain in the left field mix next year. The Orioles could also look to re-sign Nate McLouth, who played well in Baltimore after signing with the team midseason. Endy Chavez, another free agent, probably won't return.

Adding a prominent free agent outfielder would be expensive, and the Orioles already have $53MM in pre-existing commitments for 2013. With an extremely large arbitration class that could cost $30MM next year, they don't appear to have a tremendous amount of payroll flexibility. While Duquette has indicated that the Orioles will have enough resources to “continue to field a highly-competitive team,” that doesn’t mean they’re going to spend at the top of the free agent market.

It won't be surprising if the Orioles pursue starting pitching again this offseason. Though the Orioles already have a number of rotation candidates, including promising prospects Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, they could look to acquire an established pitcher to join the likes of Jason Hammel and Wei-Yin Chen in the rotation. Perhaps Edwin Jackson or Ryan Dempster will be a target. Free agent left-hander Joe Saunders could be of interest to the Orioles, who pursued him last offseason before acquiring him from Arizona in a mid-season trade. At the very least, Duquette should pursue minor league free agents in case a Miguel Gonzalez-like contributor can be obtained for a modest guarantee.

Orioles relievers were among the best in the game at inducing ground balls and limiting walks and home runs this past season. Remarkably, they maintained this level of production while pitching the fourth-most innings in baseball, 545 1/3. Still, it makes sense to pursue relief help. The Orioles should exercise Luis Ayala's option following a strong season from the right-hander, and they shouldn't stop there. Adding another left-handed reliever could make sense given the team's righty-heavy bullpen and the possibility that Brian Matusz and Zach Britton will be starting.

As mentioned before, the Orioles have a large arbitration class with an MLB-leading 15 players eligible. The group includes non-tender candidates in Reynolds, Taylor Teagarden, Steve Pearce, Lew Ford and Omar Quintanilla. It also includes multiple extension candidates in Hammel, closer Jim Johnson and catcher Matt Wieters (pictured). As an All-Star caliber player entering his prime, Wieters has a strong case for a long-term deal. Though the Orioles will presumably look to obtain control of free agent years on an long-term deal, agent Scott Boras may advise his client to sign for three years or less so as not to delay free agency. Unless the Orioles can obtain team options or lock Wieters in for free agent years, it'd be better to go year to year in my view.

It sounds as though the Orioles have some interest in bringing Jim Thome back as a bench bat and designated hitter. Some of the team's other free agents -- Chavez, Randy Wolf, Nick Johnson and Bill Hall -- aren't expected to return.

A year ago this time it seemed like no one wanted to take the Orioles' GM job. Now, as Duquette prepares for his second winter in Baltimore, the franchise seems far better off. Yes, the team has some significant offseason needs, but with many key players in place and promising young players about to contribute at the MLB level, there are more answers than questions for the first winter in a while.
Read more at http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/o ... oVWKpV1.99


http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2012/10/o ... ioles.html
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #2 by MaineSkin » October 24th, 2012, 4:46 pm

I'm not in favor of bringing Jim Johnson back for $7M as a closer when they have young K arms who experiecend high leverage situations late I the year (Arrieta, Hunter and Strop). As much as a restructuring for Reynolds seems like a no-brainer, his defensive at 1B in the 2nd half was arguably that of a GG, but I'd still move on and give Davis 1B. That frees up enough money for what the Orioes need which is a workhorse #1 in Shields. This will add a veteran presence and make a Shields, Hammels, Chen, Tillman, Bundy rotation with Gonzalez and Johnson sprinkled in threw out the year.
Matusz cannot get RHH out, so why not have a dominate pen, again! Hunter looked ridiculous and that HR/FB % has to normalize.
Scuturo just seems like a must at this point with Schoop not having the highest ct%. Don't get me on Roberts and Swisher will be way over-values in a power strickened market.

How a out this 18yr old out of Japan? I thought this is why Duqeutte was signed bc of his scouting prowess and overseas connection. Also, how is that other Japanese SP progressing we signed last year?
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #3 by Jordan Tuwiner » October 24th, 2012, 4:46 pm

I agree that Scutaro would be nice but I think he ends up back in SF. Ideally, I'd like to see them find a starting 2B, maybe by moving Hardy there or by trading for one. If they do that I could see them non-tendering Andino and having Flaherty as the utility guy.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #4 by Jordan Tuwiner » October 24th, 2012, 4:47 pm

MaineSkin wrote:I'm not in favor of bringing Jim Johnson back for $7M as a closer when they have young K arms who experiecend high leverage situations late I the year (Arrieta, Hunter and Strop). As much as a restructuring for Reynolds seems like a no-brainer, his defensive at 1B in the 2nd half was arguably that of a GG, but I'd still move on and give Davis 1B. That frees up enough money for what the Orioes need which is a workhorse #1 in Shields. This will add a veteran presence and make a Shields, Hammels, Chen, Tillman, Bundy rotation with Gonzalez and Johnson sprinkled in threw out the year.

I don't agree with trading for Shields but selling high on Johnson makes sense.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #5 by ofahn » October 24th, 2012, 4:59 pm

MaineSkin wrote:I'm not in favor of bringing Jim Johnson back for $7M as a closer


I had also suggested earlier that we trade Jim Johnson. For me, his salary is not an issue. I just see him as a replaceable (as apparently you do) asset that could get us a substantial return. It might just be two highly rated prospects, but that would go a long way to help stock a pretty barren farm system.

Your post was the kind of well considered and articulated statement of your opinions that we need more of. IMO it deserves a Reputation Point.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #6 by ofahn » October 24th, 2012, 5:03 pm

MaineSkin wrote:That frees up enough money for what the Orioes need which is a workhorse #1 in Shields.


I find it difficult to believe that Tampa would trade Shields to us. I'm sure they now see us as a threat.

Frankly, I wouldn't be willing to give up much for him because we would only have one year of control and the draft pick we would get when he left wouldn't be worth what we paid for him.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #7 by ofahn » October 24th, 2012, 5:11 pm

Jordan Tuwiner wrote:Ideally, I'd like to see them find a starting 2B, maybe by moving Hardy there or by trading for one.


I really see moving Hardy as the best solution; however, I don't think he would be willing to do that unless Brian Roberts told him it was OK. IMO Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are becoming the leaders of this team, but Brian and Nick Markakis are still the most respected.

I remember when the team wanted to move Cal to 3B and Mike Bordick said he didn't want to play SS unless it was OK with Cal. I hope that Brian will do the responsible thing and tell Hardy to prepare for 2B just in case Brian isn't ready to play come ST. Brian should also be honest with his team and himself about February 1st and tell Buck if he has doubts he'll be ready.

In a worse case scenario we trade for Headley and Hardy prepares to play 2B. Then Roberts says he's ready to play 2B and proves it. We just send Machado back to AAA until Roberts breaks down or becomes ineffective. It would be a good problem to have.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #8 by birdwatcher55 » October 30th, 2012, 12:19 pm

I wonder if we let Hammel hit free agency in view of his injury plagued season?? 8-)
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #9 by ofahn » October 30th, 2012, 12:42 pm

birdwatcher55 wrote:I wonder if we let Hammel hit free agency in view of his injury plagued season?? 8-)


Oh SURE, right after we release Patton.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #10 by Jordan Tuwiner » October 30th, 2012, 12:43 pm

birdwatcher55 wrote:I wonder if we let Hammel hit free agency in view of his injury plagued season?? 8-)

Why would the team release the closest thing they have to an ace?
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #11 by ofahn » October 30th, 2012, 12:46 pm

Jordan Tuwiner wrote:Why would the team release the closest thing they have to an ace?


You mean that would be a BAD thing?
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #12 by birdwatcher55 » October 30th, 2012, 2:40 pm

3 reasons: He can't stay healthy. He is in his walk year. We have to chance to obtain compensation picks 8-)
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #13 by Jordan Tuwiner » October 30th, 2012, 2:44 pm

birdwatcher55 wrote:3 reasons: He can't stay healthy. He is in his walk year. We have to chance to obtain compensation picks 8-)

I don't think so. He wouldn't deny the offer.

He was healthy for 2/3 of the season and has been healthy most of his career. I see no reason why he can't stay healthy next year with an off-season of rest.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #14 by LA Detective » October 30th, 2012, 6:19 pm

I am actually one for signing Hammel to a 2 year extension if the med staff believes his knee is not a continual problem. He looked like a guy who turned the corner and all has clicked. If it was not for his knee he would of pitched in the AS game in July..

If his knee isnt a problem I do think he can put up 210+ innings, low 3 era and 16-19 wins next year...Then its big fat contract time...I beileve an extension would be approx. 60% salary of what he would be getting if goes and has a big year ..It would make him a bargin for us..He is also young enough to be in his prime the next 3 years..

There just arent that many aces out there and their not available. He is the closest we have to one right now.

I would wait until Feb to do this when he reports and takes his physical and starts throwing.
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Re: MLB Trade Rumors Offseason Outlook For The Orioles

PostPost #15 by ofahn » October 30th, 2012, 6:46 pm

LA Detective wrote:I am actually one for signing Hammel to a 2 year extension if the med staff believes his knee is not a continual problem. He looked like a guy who turned the corner and all has clicked. If it was not for his knee he would of pitched in the AS game in July..

If his knee isnt a problem I do think he can put up 210+ innings, low 3 era and 16-19 wins next year...Then its big fat contract time...I beileve an extension would be approx. 60% salary of what he would be getting if goes and has a big year ..It would make him a bargin for us..He is also young enough to be in his prime the next 3 years..

There just arent that many aces out there and their not available. He is the closest we have to one right now.

I would wait until Feb to do this when he reports and takes his physical and starts throwing.


I have been thinking along the same lines. IMO a three year contract (which covers next year's arb issue) for 30M would be fair. I don't see him as a #1 SP, but he's a solid #2 and you can't have enough of those. If the kids develop like we hop then Hammel would be very attractive trade bait for someone.
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