Tuesday, January 5, 2010

The Oriole Windfall for 2011?

Late last season, I took a look at all the money that was coming off the books before the 2010 season. From the looks of it, the Orioles should be in a similar situation before 2011. In a season that will be much more about developing youngsters than free agent contributions, it is interesting to me how things will cascade going forward. Here's a quick breakdown of the salaries committed to by Baltimore for 2010. Some contracts and arbitration numbers are estimated. Figures are in millions. All current and future committed salary figures are from Cot's Baseball Contracts.

Millwood, Kevin $9
Roberts, Brian $10
Markakis, Nick $7.1
Gonzalez, Mike $6
Uehara, Koji $5
Atkins, Garrett $4.5
Wigginton, Ty $3.5
Izturis, Cesar $2.6
Scott, Luke $4
Matusz, Brian $.868
Meredith, Cla $1.25
Albers, Matt $.68
Guthrie, Jeremy $2.5
Jones, Adam $.5
Johnson, Jim $.45
Pie, Felix $.45
Andino, Robert $.45
Aubrey, Michael $.45
Bergesen, Brad $.45
Mark Hendrickson $1.5
Hernandez, David $.45
Mickolio, Kam $.45
Reimold, Nolan $.45
Tillman, Chris $.4
Wieters, Matt $.5
Moeller, Chad $.9
Mora, Melvin $1
TOTAL $65,398,000

If the Orioles do nothing else this offseason, they will have basically the same payroll as they did last season. At this point, I would rather let Michael Aubrey or Scott Moore fill out the last corner infield spot than the available free agents. Matt Holliday is not coming here. Maybe they add a risky pitcher like Sheets or Bedard to a 1-year deal. The O's payroll should be right around $70 million.

Now, the expiring deals for 2011 in millions:

Kevin Millwood $9
Melvin Mora $1
Koji Uehara $5
G. Atkins $4.5
T. Wigginton $3.5
C. Izturis $2.6

That is $25.6 million in expiring contracts. That brings the payroll down to about $40 million in guaranteed contracts and "minimum" salary guys. Throw in increases for arbitration, maybe an extension for Adam Jones and you get something closer to $50 million. Tops.

Atkins and Wigginton can be replaced by Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder. You would have to fill shortstop and maybe a spot int he rotation through free agency. The point is, Andy MacPhail has given this team a ton of flexibility going into 2011. How? Only two-year deals maximum for free agents and obtaining young, cheap talent through drafts trades and then retaining them with fairly reasonable deals.

The lineup could look like this:

1B Brandon Snyder
2B Brian Roberts
SS Justin Turner/Robert Andino/FA Shortstop
3B Josh Bell
C Matt Wieters
LF Felix Pie\Nolan Reimold\Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
RF Nick Markakis
DH Nolan Reimold\Luke Scott

BN Justin Turner
BN Random Backup

SP Jeremy Guthrie
SP Brian Matusz
SP Chris Tillman
SP Brad Bergesen
SP Jake Arietta

RP Mike Gonzalez
RP Jim Johnson
RP Matt Albers
RP Kam Mickolio
RP David Hernandez
RP Brandon Erbe
RP Cla Meredith

That payroll could look something like this (I've included an arbitration raise for Guthrie and Scott and the beginning of an extension for Adam Jones):

Roberts, Brian $10
Markakis, Nick $10.6
Gonzalez, Mike $6
Scott, Luke $6.00
Matusz, Brian $0.868
Meredith, Cla $1.75
Albers, Matt 0.8
Guthrie, Jeremy $3.00
Jones, Adam $10.00
Johnson, Jim 0.8
Pie, Felix $1.00
Andino, Robert 0.8
Snyder, Brandon 0.45
Bergesen, Brad 0.5
Bell, Josh 0.45
Hernandez, David 0.45
Mickolio, Kam 0.45
Reimold, Nolan 0.5
Tillman, Chris 0.5
Arrieta, Jake 0.5
Erbe, Brandon 0.5
Wieters, Matt 0.5
Moeller, Chad 0.8
TOTAL $57.218

That's really cheap. It allows for the signing of veteran starting pitcher if one of the young guys flames out or a big corner infield bat if Bell or Snyder can't cut it. With lots of room to spare.

I think 2011 is the year that MacPhail is targeting. He'll have a better idea where his holes are and have plenty of cash to address them. This offseason, his biggest task is not to screw it up with a long contract to a middling free agent. (See Huff, Aubrey or Walker, Jamie)

He has done that. And it will pay dividends.


Matthew Taylor said...

Great post. I hope you're right. This certainly provided me with some sense of optimism.

What a great counter the 2011 Orioles could be to the '96, '97 Orioles who won but did so at a great cost to the franchise - literally and figuratively.

FrostKing said...

Nice to see it laid out. This does indeed look the plan - and a good one at that.

jkloster said...

Hey Heath,

Awesome breakdown. With the economy the way it is, I think we're going to see a lot of teams clearing contracts and looking towards the 2011 offseason. If Andy MacPhail can lay off that unnecessary, mediocre bat like you said, the O's could be in business by then.

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