You Wanted This …..

February 19, 2009 |

For several months, Orioles fans have collectively beckoned for their 2nd baseman to get a long term deal.  Well, your wish has been granted.  And, as we hear so often in life – be careful what you wish for ….. you might just get it.


This is no knock on Brian Roberts.  I think he’s a great guy and he’s certainly a respected member of this baseball community.  He’s good for the Orioles.  He’s good for Baltimore.  But, is he good for a team that is entrenched in rebuilding …..


I know, a tangible number of fans are jaded and openly question the rocky road of this everlasting journey in rebuilding.  But, let’s remember Andy MacPhail has only been on the job 19 months and this team has changed significantly during his stewardship.


Erik Bedard and his surly attitude were swindled upon the Seattle Mariners for a package of prime young talent.  Miguel Tejada and his B-12 injections were shipped to Houston for a mix of prospective and major league returns.  The Jay Gibbons’, Kevin Millar’s, Jay Payton’s and Ramon Hernandez’s are gone, too.


In the wake of these deals, the Orioles are younger and more prospective.  The 2009 season awaits Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Troy Patton, Brian Matusz, Matt Wieters and others.  Do these guys share a common trait?  Yep ….. they’re all 25 and under.


These players are also “Andy’s guys.”  He either drafted or signed each of them.  Indeed, Andy MacPhail has followed a plan of reinvention or rebirth, since he arrived, in June, 2007.  But, it won’t happen overnight ….. or in 19 months.


This is exactly why I’m left scratching my head over this Brian Roberts deal.  It doesn’t fit the mold of what Andy’s trying to do.  B’Rob is gonna be 32 when his new 4-year deal kicks in.  And, 32 is OLD on this team.


Let’s be brutally honest – whether we love Brian or not – his game is not built on power or the tools/characteristics of a player who remains productive into his mid-late 30’s.  The B’Rob game is to play spark plug and make things happen when he gets on base.


What happens to fast players when they get into that 33-35 years of age stage?  You guessed it, they slow down.  And, don’t mention comparisons to Rickey Henderson or Tim Raines – they were freaks of nature.


What really leaves me perplexed is I don’t think Brian Roberts could have yielded such a deal on the open market.  Heck, I don’t think he could’ve came close.  Remember, Orlando Hudson – who is basically the same player – is still looking for a job.


You can bet on this ….. if Hudson would’ve signed a 4 year/$40 million deal with the Giants or Dodgers, there wouldn’t be a Brian Roberts LoveFest, in Ft. Lauderdale, on Friday.  The Orioles are clearly overpaying for the popular infielder.


In the end, I’m not upset about this new Roberts deal.  He’s a GREAT person – we all know that.  But, the Orioles overpaid and they took a distinct detour from the MacPhail renovation project. 


From a public relations perspective, this is a win.  However, from the baseball perspective, I honestly believe the Orioles would have been better served to let Roberts walk and covet the compensatory draft picks.  Or, they could have stuck to a more sensible 3 year/$24 million-ranged deal.


I’ll bet anyone that Brian Roberts is not an impacting force on the 2013 Baltimore Orioles.  But, he’ll take a bite out of that season’s budget.  Yeah, yeah ….. the Orioles got all that MASN money to spend, right?


Perhaps, they do have piles and piles of cash.  And, is this a reason to make bad deals?  Is the money gonna evaporate if they don’t spend it within the next few months?  Of course, not.


I’ve said this a THOUSAND times ….. spending money, because you’ve got it – is exactly what put this country in the spot it’s in !!!!  Wake up !!!!


The Orioles don’t compete in 2009 and they don’t compete in 2010.  Fast forward to 2011….. if they do compete, will a 33 year old 2nd baseman have an impacting effect?


Maybe we’ll find out …..