will ever be game-changers, so it wouldn’t bother me to see either one of them dealt this off-season, but both have shown some major league upside and shouldn’t be dealt unless it’s a last resort kind of thing. That said, Hardy or Bartlett would be an overall upgrade over the light-hitting Cesar Izturis and in order to get something good, you have to give up something good.
What will the Orioles do this off-season?
You know the answer to that.
The club’s annual off-season spending under MacPhail has been mostly an exercise in effort and not much more. They’ve mainly spent money just to show they’re still breathing. And all that’s done is earned them three straight years in last place in the Andy-era.
Who will they sign?
My guess goes like this:
If Beltre takes the deal in Oakland, the A’s will most certainly part company with Kouzmanoff. If that happens, I see him in Baltimore.
I think Derrek Lee is a natural to be in orange in 2010. The Orioles can remind him that they can extend his career a year or two by letting him DH and his thumb injury might be just enough to keep teams from throwing good money at him. I’m guessing he signs in Baltimore for somewhere in the neighborhood of $8-9 million a year for two or three years.
It wouldn’t surprise me to see MacPhail pull off a deal for J.J. Hardy. I think he’d rather part ways with Jason Berken than Hernandez, but Berken’s 2010 injury makes him too much of a liability for any team to take a chance on via trade. I’ll assume IF a deal for Hardy is made that Hernandez is the pitcher who leaves town, although Matt Albers might be packaged with a minor-league pitcher and the Twins could bite on that.
The Orioles need a veteran starting pitcher, too, but there aren’t many available worth looking at for anything more than a one-year deal.
Jon Garland? Carl Pavano?
Sure. Either one. Or not.
Cliff Lee is the only free agent pitcher really worth pursuing and we’re not signing him unless somehow all other 29 teams drop out of the league.
I’m guessing Kouzmanoff (if Beltre signs in Oakland) and Derrek Lee will be your off-season signings.
And I’m about 90% sure that whatever the Orioles do in the off-season, it won’t be enough to satisfy a disgruntled fan base that is literally begging for the team to make a winter splash unlike any they’ve made in the last decade.