Wednesday, November 24, 2010

No Arbitration for Uehara and Troubling Warehouse Strategies

The Orioles have declined to offer arbitration to RP Koji Uehara and SP Kevin Millwood.

Millwood was a no-brainer; he may have accepted. Uehara was not though. There is a market for Uehara's services this offseason, mostly due to performance as a closer over the last three months of the season. Uehara showed the ability to close and that skill is still overvalued in the marketplace.

There was a good chance that Uehara would refuse and sign elsewhere, netting the Orioles a supplemental draft pick after the first round in the 2011 amateur draft. If he accepted, I can't imagine he would receive more than $3 million in arbitration. That would allow the Orioles to either retain his services or trade him to a team that wanted his services more. (A similar situation happened with the Braves and Rafael Soriano last offseason..the Braves were able to move him when his arbitration number didn't match their budget.) As it is, the Orioles now receive nothing.

Maybe Andy MacPhail was afraid he would get something closer to his $5 million salary he has earned the last two seasons and he would probably know more about this than I would but it seems a strange decision to lose Uehara for nothing when you could have taken the chance to get something for Uehara's departure.

Speaking of MacPhail, according to Jeff Zrebiec, he was very disappointed that the team missed out on Victor Martinez. I really hope MacPhail is working the PR angle here because if overpaying Martinez was their grand plan for the offseason, I'm worried about the team's philosophy. As I stated yesterday, Martinez was not going to be the primary catcher for Baltimore and while his bat is elite for a catcher, it's rather ordinary for a first baseman. He hasn't even really caught that much over the past three seasons, only 246 games over that span. The chances of him remaining a team's primary catcher anywhere over a 4-year deal are slim.

If the Orioles were putting all their eggs in the Victor Martinez basket, I'm worried about their sanity.

1 comment:

Sean said...

Both the Sun and MLBTR are saying that Koji would have gotten $6-7 million in arbitration.