Saturday, November 8, 2008

Reality Check: Mark Teixiera & Other Free Agents; Our Shortstop

Not that anyone knows or can predict what is going on Mark Teixiera, or any free agent -- but there has been huge talk in these parts (the Washington and Baltimore area) about brighter days ahead.

From the Washington Post: It took two days, but the Nationals and Orioles finally seem to be entering the transactional white noise emanating from the GM meetings in Dana Point, Calif.

According to both's Jon Heyman and's Bill Ladson, the Nationals hope to surprise this offseason by signing legitimate stars. Both writers say the Nats are focusing on a clean-up hitter, with Mark Teixeira their top choice. Naturally, Teixeira's price tag may eventually prove prohibitive, but that may just push them down to the next tier of big sticks, with Prince Fielder and Adam Dunn serious possibilities.

Just as tantalizing for Nationals fans is the prospect of Matt Holliday, whom the Nats have reportedly discussed with the Rockies more than once. The Rockies are likely to look for middle infield help -- that's one area where the Nats have plenty of prospects -- and pitching. Hard to think of which pitchers Washington could cobble together to make an offer come together, but if they could come up with any that would be a fit for Coors Field, that'd seem like a deal to pull the trigger on immediately, right? Or would the Nats require a window for contract extension talks? Funny how having Scott Boras as an agent complicates things, isn't it.

The Orioles are starting to make some noise as well, with the San Diego Union Tribune reporting that they're still interested in Padres shortstop Khalil Greene. So are the Reds Tigers and, as of last night, the Blue Jays, though both the Red Sox and Padres put the kaibash on the rumored "Coco Crisp for Khalil Greene" talk from Monday.
Ok, first let's start with Teixiera.

You all know how I feel about him -- he's like the girl who says she will consider going out with you and thus gives her phone number hoping she'll call or text you; however, you know she's out of your league -- so, you'll never get the magic call no matter how hard you wish.

I like positivity, but I am also a realist.

I've been there, and Oriole fans will feel that way once you find out he'll go to where the big money is and for only a winner -- which means the Red Sox, Angels, or Yankees.

The Orioles and Nationals should throw out an offer to him and ugh, Scott Boras -- something astronomical -- to see they'll bite.

I think the end result will be "don't call us, we'll call you..."

Folks, he ain't coming to the Mid-Altantic to play ball full time, no matter how he wants to play near home or he says it will be a dream. Money and prestige will steer him, not sentimentality.

I have a very strange feeling that the Red Sox will end up with him...

As for our shortstop situation, as you know -- we need one for sure. It was a revolving door of guys last year and we ended up with Juan Castro to finish off the season.

Naturally, he filed for free agency this week. Now, we need someone to fill in that position.

Below are our free agents available at shortstop, courtesy of MLB Trade Rumors:

Willie Bloomquist (31)
Orlando Cabrera (34) - Type A
Alex Cintron (30)
Alex Cora (33)
Craig Counsell (38)
David Eckstein (34)
Adam Everett (32)
Rafael Furcal (31)
Nomar Garciaparra (35)
Chris Gomez (38)
Jerry Hairston Jr. (33)
Cesar Izturis (29)
Felipe Lopez (29)
Tomohiro Nioka (33)
Nick Punto (31)
Edgar Renteria (33) - Type A
Luis Rivas (29)
Juan Uribe (30) - Type B
Ramon Vazquez (32)
Omar Vizquel (42) - $5.2MM club option for '09 with a $0.3MM buyout

Who do you think fills the bill? None of these guys fits what I'd be happy with, but Orlando Cabrera would be a decent place holder until we get someone younger in the fold.

ed note: As someone reminded me who left me a post -- he'd cost Baltimore two draft picks -- so maybe signing him wouldn't be smart unless it was a last resort move.

Khalil Greene might a be good candidate to play shortstop for us -- he's young and has power -- but his career numbers are nothing to be happy about, and the question is what would the Padres want in return?

Edgar Renteria might be a good choice -- if it was 2005 -- but he's seriously regressed at the plate, and always been subpar in the field. I'd pass on him for now, unless you really cannot find anyone else.

Perhaps we can sign him -- if we have to -- to a low-level deal with incentives, and hope he can find the magic again at the plate. Baltimore isn't going upwards in the AL East , so maybe it might be a good place for him to get back on his feet after a putrid year with Detroit.

Felipe Lopez had a nice little comeback after being exiled from the Nationals when he was released and found new life in St. Louis; however, he's got one hell of a rep as a bad seed, and also a grouse, despite the potential he showed years ago. He might come affordable, and we can hope his ability might finally be manifested after nearly dying in Washington; alas, it's really buyer beware with him.

At this point, I'd be kicking tires and hoping for the best, or see what can be acquired via trades.

But right now, looking at the list, Orlando Cabrera may be the most attractive option for us -- for the moment.

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Anonymous said...

Orlando Cabrera?!? really?

Why would the Orioles sign a Type A free agent as a place holder and give up 2 draft picks? The draft picks are far more valuable to the Orioles at this stage of their development than having a solid, but unspectacular SS for the next few years. If the O's are going to give up their draft picks to sign a free agent - I hope that it is an impact player - either power hitter or power pitcher - not an aging SS. If you are just looking for a stop gap for a year or two - better to roll the dice on anyone else on the list than Cabrera. Also, I would only want Greene if he literally cost the Orioles nothing in return but money (i.e. a very very low ceiling prospect at best, plus cash)

Maryland Orioles' Fan said...

I think the Orioles at this point just want someone long-term for that position, and if it costs them two picks, then so be it.

Like you, I would really prefer someone on the right side of 30, but besides Cabrera, Furcal and a few others, I don't see anyone worth really getting unless we are looking for strictly a defensive whiz (which would help if we could get decent starting pitching).

I just don't see anyone in the lower levels who can fill it adequately.

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