Sunday, January 29, 2012

Plugging along

The Baltimore Orioles continue to plug along this offseason making tiny moves that, while solid, divide the fanbase. Some feel that the Orioles are making specific targeted moves, like an engineer replacing a key cog or spring to make a glorious machine operational again; others feel that the team is rearranging the deck charis on the Titanic, on Alderaan and the Death Star is approaching.

The Orioles recently signed journeyman bat Wilson Betemit. Betemit's nine season career has taken him to eight different teams. Betemit resurrected his career last year spending time in Kansas city and Detroit. In almost 100 games and 350 ABs between the two teams he put up a .343 OBP and a .795 OPS. The Orioles are considering him the primary DH going into 2012. Betemit most certainly does not have the power numbers one would expect the DH to have but I don't feel that the Orioles need to worry about power numbers.

According to NBC Sports' Hardball talk, the Orioles' lineup is very intriguing. To them, the Birds have a very realistic chance at having eight players in the starting nine hit 20 or more homers. If that is the case then Betemit's primary job as DH is to maintain his high OBP, which is the one basic offensive statistic in which the Orioles were well-below league average last year.

The Betemit signing is a point to the engineering metaphor I mentioned earlier. This is the type of move that Billy Beane would have made a decade ago. Betemit's contract is for two years, with a third year option at a very affordable $3.25 million. If Betemit's option triggers the whole thing could cost the Orioles six million dollars. This is a good deal.

The Orioles are still linked to free-agent journeyman starter Edwin Jackson. Jackson is supposedly listening to offers from many teams and the Orioles may or may not have made him a specific multi-year offer. The Orioles' rumored offer is for either four guaranteed years or for three and an option. Jackson seems to be deciding between taking the multi-year deal or taking a one-year contract from the Boston Red Sox. For someone like Jackson, who has more frequent flier miles than he has career wins, the thought of a solid multi-year contract must be comforting but that means playing for a team that will most likely be on the short-end of the stick for a long time. On the other hand you could continue your rambling-man ways and play for one year in New York or Boston knowing there is a good chance you could either be traded or dropped after one year yet again.

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