One down, a half-dozen or so still remaining.
With the Victor Martinez signing in Detroit, one of the names on the Orioles off-season wish list is already crossed out. (BTW, I still don’t believe the Orioles actually offered him $48 million knowing full well that he didn’t really want to come here and be a full-time first baseman and once-a-week DH and catcher. Since when did the team start making “cosmetic offers” for the sake of looking like they’re doing something?)
So, Martinez is out.
The much-discussed suspects are still out there. Adam Dunn was offered arbitration by the Nationals, meaning the Orioles would have to fork over draft picks…and he will command a bigger deal than the one garnered by Martinez. Adrian Beltre is coming off of an MVP’ish season in Boston and will look for one more Brinks Truck sort of deal with his fourth team in the last decade. Paul Konerko – who has already snubbed the Orioles once in his career – is either staying in Chicago or leaving, but most people think the Diamondbacks are trying to figure out a way to bring home to Arizona. And Carl Crawford – the best overall baseball player available in the off-season – is looking for a home, but the Birds would evidently rather have a combo LF offering of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.
Derek Jeter is also looking at his options.
I can’t imagine he’d ever really leave the Yankees, but that’s one call Andy MacPhail should make, just to see what the response is when he kicks the tires with Jeter’s agent. It’s not my money, so I don’t really care how the Orioles spend it, but I can think of worse things to do with your cash than giving it to the best winner baseball has seen in the last 15 years.
If Beltre signs in Oakland — where they’ve evidently offered him $64 million — that frees up Kevin Kouzmanoff, a decent “professional” player who fits in perfectly with the Orioles annual off-season shopping efforts — he’d be relatively cheap, having earned $3.1 million with the A’s in 2010.
Kouzmanoff is half-a-journeyman, with a .258 career batting average and a fairly reliable glove at the hot corner, coupled with spurts of power and an average of 31 doubles in the last four years. Downside? Plenty. He only walked 24 times a year ago, had a .283 OBP, and this time last year, the A’s were the only team who came calling when he was available after a 3-year stint in San Diego. That Oakland might non-tender him this month tells you something too.
Kouzmanoff will be 31 in 2011 and could probably be had for a 2-year deal in the $4-5 million range. Having seen firsthand that Josh Bell is