Monday, December 6, 2010

Thoughts on the Weekend Deals: What it Means to the Orioles

Lots of Hot Stove goings on over the weekend. Here's a quick look at how it all impacts the Baltimore Orioles.

Jayson Werth Signs with the Nationals: The Nats signed Werth to an insane 7-year, $126 million contract. If Werth was 26 or 27, maybe this wouldn't sound so nuts but Werth is going to be 32 in 2011 and is coming off a career season. It's hard to imagine a scenario where this contract turns out well for Washington. As I said on Twitter, I would rather the Orioles did nothing than give someone a silly contract like that.

Ken Rosenthal seems to think that the Werth deal puts pressure on the Orioles to overpay for a free agent now but in his column about the signing calls the contract "insane". I hope the Orioles don't feel any pressure to do something colossally stupid.

Twins Tender Contract to JJ Hardy: If the Twins had decided not to tender Hardy a contract, he would have been a reasonably priced solution for Baltimore's shortstop vacancy. Now, he may still be a reasonably prices option after arbitration but the Orioles will have to work out a deal with the Twins to make it happen.

Adrian Gonzalez traded to Boston: Much sturm und drang among Oriole fans when this deal went down. But I went over the prospects the Red Sox sent to San Diego and Baltimore could not match it. For prospects, it would have started with Zach Britton and Xavier Avery. Then they would have had to throw in some major league talent to sweeten the pot, probably Brian Matusz or Adam Jones plus a couple bullpen arms or Jake Arrieta. That's the minimum. The team is just not deep enough in talent to put together a package like Boston did. And if they did, the team would be so gutted of talent, Gonzalez probably wouldn't want to sign an extension anyway.  It was never in the cards for the O's and Gonzalez, not this offseason.

However, with Gonzalez in Boston, Kevin Youkilis will move over to third base. The Sox now have no need for free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre. With Oakland removing themselves from the pool of Beltre suitors, that basically leaves the Angels and the Orioles as viable destinations. Beltre is a guy worth overpaying for. I stumped for him last offseason and the argument still holds up:

Beltre will only be 31 (now 32) next season and while he has flaws as a hitter, his glove more than makes up for it.

He has good power but he's a free swinger (although his walk rate is better in recent years than when he came up). His home/away splits for his career lean heavily toward the road since he has made his home in Dodger Stadium and Safeco Field for his entire career. His OPS is nearly 100 points higher on the road.

He would be an extremely dangerous hitter in OPACY and as long as he's healthy going into the 2010 (now 2011) season, I wouldn't have an issue with a 4 year contract for him. I probably wouldn't be upset with a longer deal either.

Good power, great glove. It works.

I would have some slight trepidation about a deal longer than 4 seasons now and anything past 5 would put the contract in the Jayson Werth range as far as risk. But the Orioles should go hard and see what it would take to get him to Camden Yards.


The Oriole Way said...

I'm not sure I agree that the O's wouldn't have enough to deal for Gonzalez. Yes, the deal obviously would have started with Britton (who is probably about equal to Kelly in prospect status), and may well have included Avery (I'm not a prospect maven, but the two seem to have similar skill sets, while Avery is a year older and has advanced to AA; perhaps I'm wrong, but they seem like similar prospects, too).

Thus, it comes down to the third player in the deal (plus the PTBNL, which doesn't seem to be a major part of the trade). Matusz (especially) or Jones has far more value than Rizzo, so I don't think that's a fair characterization of what the Padres got in return. No, the Orioles don't have anyone comparable to Rizzo in their org (if they did, they wouldn't trade for Gonzalez), but maybe the Padres would have accepted Tillman? Perhaps you add in Nolan Reimold or David Hernandez as a sweetener. Point being, I think the O's could have the necessary talent.

Now, I'm not saying that I think this would be a good trade given the O's stage in the rebuilding process and the rest of their big league roster, but I think the O's had enough talent to get him.

DempseysArmy said...

Sure, they had enough but it would have been more like 4 guys plus a player to be named. It would have gutted the prospects that are left and at least one guy on the major league club. Would have set the team back 2 years on the rebuilding path.

The Oriole Way said...

I think you mean his line drive rates have fallen: 2010 was a career low. He basically turned line drives into infield flies in 2010. That could be injury or swing-tinkering related, or it could be a huge red flag.