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tim27

Baseball Prospectus' take on the O's offseaon

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Mission Accomplished? If the Orioles wanted to prove that they can be a destination for free agents after all, then yes, mission accomplished. Now, if only there was some actual method involved in their selection...

 

To be fair, the Orioles wanted to address two major problems—their bullpen, and getting better offensive production from the outfield corners and first base. The bullpen expenditures are pretty massive, and the Orioles are about to find out that guaranteed pay doesn't make for guaranteed performance with relief help, especially with guys as reliably unreliable as Williamson or Danys Baez, or remarkably nondescript, like Walker or Williams. After last summer's late-game mayhem, you can forgive them for being a strange blend of punch-drunk and eager, but they're going to be pretty disappointed by what they're going to get for the $43 million or so they've laid out to stock the pen with experienced help.

 

The suggestion that they've found sufficient offensive help is even more disconcerting. It isn't that the Orioles haven't found potentially adequate regulars, it's that "potentially adequate" is the upside of their moves. Signing Payton and Huff makes me think back on the days when signing Lee Lacy and Fred Lynn was supposed to solve their outfield problems, back in 1985. Even more than Lacy back then, Payton just isn't going to be a good regular in a corner now, as he goes from the insurance policy the A's ended up having to use to someone the O's are paying as if he's always going to hit .298 to compensate for the absence of any real ability to put runs on the board. The nicest thing you can say is that Payton's an insurance policy against Corey Patterson's revisiting the Dusty Zone, but if that happens, it isn't like Payton will be the difference between one rung in the standings and another.

 

Like Lynn, Huff is an ex-famous person signed after his peak, except unlike Lynn, Huff's peak casts a much shorter shadow. Already 30, Huff's not a great bet to match his career averages of .285/.342/.477, except for perhaps the OBP, and if you're getting .272/.341/.456 (his PECOTA projection) out of your left fielder or first baseman, you'd better be getting a lot of offense from other spots in the lineup. Instead, you'll get guys like Payton or Kevin Millar getting 400 or 500 plate appearances, plus Melvin Mora's continued tumble, plus Miguel Tejada a year older. This isn't a team raging against the dying of the light—there hasn't been an escape from darkness since Pat Gillick left town, and hiring veteran temps en masse at inflated prices is only good news for the veteran temps.

 

What Reason Why? Even if it removed a notional insurance policy against Adam Loewen having to go back to the minors or Jaret Wright's being Jaret Wright, dealing Rodrigo Lopez made all sorts of sense. The pen's too crowded to have fit in Lopez in the meantime, and if something goes wrong, they'd be better off bringing up Hayden Penn. Plus, they get back a 40-man roster spot, and both Miller and Burch throw hard and might make it up as big league relievers in the not-too-distant future. It was pretty much an ideal bit of dumpery for an organization that needs talent and had little use for Lopez.

 

Obscure Good Move: If Beltran's elbow is sound after losing most of 2006 to Tommy John surgery, he might be a nice in-season upgrade once the Orioles recognize the limitations of guys like Scott Williamson and Todd Williams. He used to be a flamethrower coming up through the Cubs system, so if he's not one of those unhappy examples of a guy who doesn't bounce back from the ligament transplantation, he could sneak into the picture. House really can't catch all that well, but when the alternative is Bako, he's a worthwhile pickup. If something bad happened to Ramon Hernandez—or something good, like a trade to someplace relevant in the present for blue-chip prospects—House and Bako wouldn't be the worst filler solution behind the plate.

 

What's Left to Do? Not a lot. Resolve arbitration cases with Erik Bedard and Corey Patterson. That, and prepping themselves for a few rude awakenings, but a few foreheads are no doubt already calloused by past repeated head-slapping over one misfortune or another.

 

Summary: Total team payroll's going to wind up someplace in the vicinity of the mid-80s in millions of Angelos money. Off the top of my head, I'm not sure if that's the most expensive fourth-place team ever, but for all of the activity, I'm not sure if anybody in the AL East needs to notice or care. The team's raison d'etre should still be about breaking down the veteran components to acquire a better supporting cast for Cabrera, Bedard, Loewen, and presumably Markakis. Spending lots on the dreck assembled won't achieve that, but it might help sell some tickets in the early going.

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This is a little harsh imo- w little to no mention of the upside in the starting rotation and the improving farm system- but it really isn't that far off base from a realistic to pessimistic viewpoint.

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Man needs to research facts a little better, Loewen will not see minors again, he has a clause stating he goes on waivers before taking a minor league demotion, meaning someone will snag him unless he has a total meltdown and O's think he lost most of his value. Barring injury I think 12-15 wins from him are likely.

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I noticed that myself. Regardless, I think we all take Loewen making progess- even rapid progress- for granted. Its as if nobody has learned the lesson Daniel Cabrerra acts out for us every season: Pitching, especially young pitching, is extremely volitaile.

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This is a little harsh imo- w little to no mention of the upside in the starting rotation and the improving farm system- but it really isn't that far off base from a realistic to pessimistic viewpoint.

 

Ya think! His comparison of Huff at 30and Fred Lynn at the tail end of his career was preposterous at best. I agree that Payton isn't going to set the world on fire, but he wasn't a bad addition....although kind of expensive for a 4th OF.

 

I agreed with his sentiment about Mora but though his applauses for dumping Lopez for no return was silly.

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Ya think! His comparison of Huff at 30and Fred Lynn at the tail end of his career was preposterous at best. I agree that Payton isn't going to set the world on fire, but he wasn't a bad addition....although kind of expensive for a 4th OF.

 

I agreed with his sentiment about Mora but though his applauses for dumping Lopez for no return was silly.

 

payton is a particularly horrid signing considering the guy you have in center.

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ti27,

I was put off by the Lynn/Huff comparison.Before injuries derailed him, Lynn looked like he was on the way to the HOF. Huff has only looked like that when he was seen driving north on the NY State Thruway.

 

You also missed on the Loewen remark, but overall it is an excellent synopsis. Payton is an expensive 4th OFer signed for 2 years. He has been better known for what he can't do than what he can. (In fairness, he overcame a lot of injuries early in his career.)

 

The BP is improved, but that is faint praise. They spent a lot of money and possibly agreed to contracts too lengthy in years. There are still questions marks there.

 

The Lopez deal was fine as they got as much in return as could be hoped for.

 

The improvements might make for a better team to watch, but I don't see any movement up the ladder in the AL East.

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Man needs to research facts a little better' date=' Loewen will not see minors again, he has a clause stating he goes on waivers before taking a minor league demotion, meaning someone will snag him unless he has a total meltdown and O's think he lost most of his value. Barring injury I think 12-15 wins from him are likely.[/quote']

 

you're nitpicking his point. he's basically stating that they have fall back options cuz loewen may very well NEED to go back to the minors.

 

you do realize he has little to no control, right?

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This is a little harsh imo- w little to no mention of the upside in the starting rotation and the improving farm system- but it really isn't that far off base from a realistic to pessimistic viewpoint.

 

this review is about the big club, so discussing the minor league teams would be off topic, especially if this was part of an over all review of all 30 teams.

also, this is a review of the off-season moves, so rating the in-house talent would also lead the article away from its purpose.

what you're looking for is a review of the team, those come out just before the season starts. :)

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this review is about the big club, so discussing the minor league teams would be off topic, especially if this was part of an over all review of all 30 teams.

also, this is a review of the off-season moves, so rating the in-house talent would also lead the article away from its purpose.

what you're looking for is a review of the team, those come out just before the season starts. :)

 

Well anyone with any sense knows that offseason moves aren't made in a vacuum. They supplement what you currently have. For instance, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for the Os to have signed Lugo but I read articles stating it was absolutely neccessary for the Red Sox to do so. Why? Because of the players each team currently had at the time.

Personally I think the Os had a decent to fair off season. I'm not enamored with all of thier moves individually but collectively Im okay with them. (Although I absolutely detest the Britton trade.) One of the strengths of the team is the potential of the starting staff and I think the bullpen help, and Jay Payton's defense, will help them realize thier potential. So to look at those moves without taking into consideration the current state of the franchise isn't really fair. That's all I meant by that.

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I'm not joking about this. The author is a transgender. Used to be Chris is now Christine. Has always ripped on the O's. Usually correctly.

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I'm not joking about this. The author is a transgender. Used to be Chris is now Christine. Has always ripped on the O's. Usually correctly.

 

what? LMAO

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I'm not joking about this. The author is a transgender. Used to be Chris is now Christine. Has always ripped on the O's. Usually correctly.

 

While that may be interesting on a personal note, it has nothing to do with the writer's ability to cover the O's.

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While that may be interesting on a personal note, it has nothing to do with the writer's ability to cover the O's.

 

Exactly.

 

As for the article, it pretty much sums up my feelings. I think the bullpen signings were ok - I didn't like the contracts, but I'm hopeful the players involved will live up to them. I think the odds are against that, but there is a chance there.

 

I'm not a fan of the Payton signing, and obviously I think having Millar as your starting first baseman is a big issue. I'd feel a lot better about the Huff signing if there had been another major move for a big bat with it.

 

Without that move, I don't think it's going to help much offensively, and he's likely going to be a liability if he plays LF. If Markakis gets hurt, you're looking at an OF of Huff, Patterson and Gibbons/Payton. Patterson's going to need to turn into one of The Incredibles to cover the ground needed out there if Huff and Gibbons are out there at the same time.

 

I just think there were a number of opportunities that they either missed or didn't explore for whatever reason, and the final result of this offseason is pretty disappointing to me. "The most expensive fourth place team," which is what is likely going to happen, is a sad state of affairs.

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While that may be interesting on a personal note, it has nothing to do with the writer's ability to cover the O's.

I said he/she is usually right on with the O's criticism.

 

link:http://www.washblade.com/2004/4-9/locallife/sports/sports.cfm

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you're nitpicking his point. he's basically stating that they have fall back options cuz loewen may very well NEED to go back to the minors.

 

you do realize he has little to no control, right?

 

The point is that by virtue of a clause in his contract Loewen CANNOT be sent down to the minors, whether he needs to go there or not. So the fallback options are relevant only in the case of injury or trade.

 

BTW, in terms of control Loewen looks like Greg Maddux compared to Cabrera. Of course, even I would look like Maddux compared to Cabrera. :D

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Well anyone with any sense knows that offseason moves aren't made in a vacuum. They supplement what you currently have.

 

that's true. but why would a review of off-season moves include commentary on Bedard, Tejada, etc.?

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Well anyone with any sense knows that offseason moves aren't made in a vacuum. They supplement what you currently have. For instance, it wouldn't make a whole lot of sense for the Os to have signed Lugo but I read articles stating it was absolutely neccessary for the Red Sox to do so. Why? Because of the players each team currently had at the time.

Personally I think the Os had a decent to fair off season. I'm not enamored with all of thier moves individually but collectively Im okay with them. (Although I absolutely detest the Britton trade.) One of the strengths of the team is the potential of the starting staff and I think the bullpen help, and Jay Payton's defense, will help them realize thier potential. So to look at those moves without taking into consideration the current state of the franchise isn't really fair. That's all I meant by that.

 

I am surprised that you are so down on the Brotton trade. He was a "one trick pony" getting further exposed all of the time. Wright has his issues, but i thought that it was a good risk to take.

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I am surprised that you are so down on the Brotton trade. He was a "one trick pony" getting further exposed all of the time. Wright has his issues, but i thought that it was a good risk to take.

 

IMO this trade will work out to the O's benefit.

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IMO this trade will work out to the O's benefit.

 

 

I agree, Britton was fading fast.

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I agree, Britton was fading fast.

 

maybe

 

but he's still young enough to give him the benefit of the doubt. I'm indifferent to the trade because Wright is not a good pitcher, but Britton was only a middle reliever. ultimately, if Wright sinks as a starter, at the very least, he'll be able do the same job in the BP that Britton would have done.

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that's true. but why would a review of off-season moves include commentary on Bedard, Tejada, etc.?

 

I wasn't really expecting commentary on Tejada but its pretty obvious why the Os spent money on the bp this year: Last year it sucked and they have a group of young starters they want to protect and cultivate and they need the insurance of a veteran pen.

Also, I don't see why its such a terrible idea to over pay a guy like Bradford or Walker 1 mil or so a year for 3 years when they fill a need, and its a brilliant bold move to overpay a guy like Soriano 5 mil a year for 8 years when he doesn't even fufill a need. It doesn't take much thinking to say everything the Os do is bad.

The Bullpen moves imo were necessary and though Ill admit Baeyz was a stretch none of those contracts is going to tie anybodys hands.

The same logic extends to Huff. The Os are undoubtedly a better deeper team than anytime in the last nine years and they have no albatross of a contract. They had a plan this offseason and they got a lot of it done. They probably aren't ready to compete this year but starting in 08 I think this team has a chance to compete for a few years running.

Basically, my problem with the writer and the article was not so much they wrote an offseason review without mentioning the roster more in depth, its that they wrote an article with faulty facts and logic and little to no understanding of thier subject.

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I agree, Britton was fading fast.

 

Keep this in mind in regards to Britton: We're not selling jeans here! The guy had a ridiculous year in the minors in 05 and had a lot of success last year as a rookie. His era was 3.35; his real era was 3.49; his k/bb was over 2:1; he gave up less hits than innings pitched; he did about all you can ask of him. Sure he's fat, and Im not saying hes Ray or anything, but I bet you he can do what Baez can do over the next few years and for quite a bit cheaper. I dont want to sound as if Im double-talking here because I was just defending the Os pen moves, but I think they should have passed on one of those contracts and just kept Britton. This is all doubly true because I don't see what we can expect from Wright and really what the hell he does for us, unless hes moved at the deadline for a real prospect but we saw last year how well that worked out.

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I wasn't really expecting commentary on Tejada but its pretty obvious why the Os spent money on the bp this year: Last year it sucked and they have a group of young starters they want to protect and cultivate and they need the insurance of a veteran pen.

Also, I don't see why its such a terrible idea to over pay a guy like Bradford or Walker 1 mil or so a year for 3 years when they fill a need, and its a brilliant bold move to overpay a guy like Soriano 5 mil a year for 8 years when he doesn't even fufill a need. It doesn't take much thinking to say everything the Os do is bad.

The Bullpen moves imo were necessary and though Ill admit Baeyz was a stretch none of those contracts is going to tie anybodys hands.

The same logic extends to Huff. The Os are undoubtedly a better deeper team than anytime in the last nine years and they have no albatross of a contract. They had a plan this offseason and they got a lot of it done. They probably aren't ready to compete this year but starting in 08 I think this team has a chance to compete for a few years running.

Basically, my problem with the writer and the article was not so much they wrote an offseason review without mentioning the roster more in depth, its that they wrote an article with faulty facts and logic and little to no understanding of thier subject.

 

o.k., I understand

 

personally, I'm glad they were aggressive in rebuilding the BP. the author may think they paid too much, but I like the fact that they were willing to do what it took to get the guys they wanted.

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