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Orioles lose out on Colon because they wouldn’t spend $20 million they already have

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Orioles lose out on Colon because they wouldn’t spend $20 million they already have

Posted on 12 December 2013 by Drew Forrester

Remember the ten million bucks the Orioles saved on Jim Johnson?

“We’re going to re-allocate those resources” was the quote from head honcho Dan Duquette when asked why the Birds would dump the American League’s most successful closer over the last two seasons for the equivalent of some weekday passes to the Baltimore Aquarium and a $500 gift card to Petit Louis.

OK, well follow along with me for a minute or two and let’s once again get a clear picture of just how the Orioles go about their business when it comes to spending (the fan’s) money and improving their roster.

So, they saved ten million by giving JJ the boot.  That’s math point #1.

Duquette openly admitted the club was heading to the winter meetings in search of more pitching.  Starting pitching.  Better pitching.

Depending on whether or not you believe the talking heads from Baltimore who are employees-in-law of the Orioles through MASN Sports, the Birds were more than just tire kickers on Bartolo Colon.

They evidently wanted him.  But, only for one year.

No pun intended, but the skinny on Colon is simple.  He’ll be 41 next season.  He has a recent history of PED use, a 50-game suspension, and, well…let’s just say, he probably hasn’t done a sit up this century.

He also gets hitters out.  With great regularity.

So, the Orioles – again, you have to decide if you believe the folks down in Florida covering the meetings – showed interest in Colon and essentially said, “If you’re willing to take a one-year deal, we can talk about the money.”

Colon and his agent were able to pry two years out of the Mets.  Two years, $20 million.  Colon will spend ’14 and ’15 in New York.

Now that we know the general parameters of the contract, it’s fair to say Colon was in the neighborhood of a $10 million a year pitcher.  He MIGHT have signed for $14 million for one year (not saying I would have done that, just saying that’s the reality) but the terms of the deal he signed in New York indicate he considers himself a $10 million-ish a year pitcher.

A quality starting pitcher in MLB — I mean, a real quality starter like Colon — is worth WELL above $10 million a year.  But, at 41, and with his testosterone levels always a concern, it appears $10 million is what Colon is worth these days.

The Orioles would have given him $10 million but NOT $20 million?

I’m not sure Colon would have taken a 2-year, $20 million offer from the Orioles, but for all we know, his directive to his agent might have been, “Take the first $20 million, 2-year deal you get. ”

Had that come from the Orioles on Tuesday instead of the Mets on Wednesday, he might very well be in Baltimore.

It appears the Orioles were interested when the asking price was $10 million, but no longer interested at $20 million.

Yet, they saved $10 million by giving Johnson the boot and had $10 million removed from the books when the Brian Roberts contract expired.

I went to Glen Burnie High School, but I think that’s $20 million.

So, if I’m reading it right, the Orioles passed on Bartolo Colon for ten million dollars.

Here’s what the apologists will say:  ”I wouldn’t give him a second year.  He’ll be 42 next season.”

Correct, he will be 42.

So, at age 41 you’ll take a chance on him, but at age 42, you won’t?

Cop. Out.

If you don’t think a 41 year old pitcher shouldn’t get $20 million over two years, fair enough.

But, when you wanted to give a 41 year old pitcher $10 million and you really think he can help you, what’s another $10 million?

After all, that’s your MAXIMUM exposure, right?  He might steal $10 million from you in 2015 if he falls apart, but that’s all you lose.  And, what if you give him $20 million for two years and his stat line looks like this:

2014 — 33 starts, 194.2 IP, 18-10, 3.29 ERA, 1.200 WHIP

2015 — 27 starts, 163.2 IP, 11-9, 4.17 ERA, 1.314 WHP

In today’s market, that’s not worth $20 million?

Of course it is.

The Orioles passed on Bartolo Colon because they MIGHT have been burned for $10 million in 2015.

What about the Markakis contract?  How exposed have the Orioles become on the back end of that thing?

What if — and I don’t think it’s happening — they were to sign Nelson Cruz for $50 million for four years?  Your exposure there would be MUCH greater than the $10 million you MIGHT lose on Colon.

So, for roughly ten million dollars (give or take $2-3 million), the Orioles removed themselves from the Bartolo Colon chase.

Ten million they have, by the way, after removing $20 million from the books.

Oh, and they’re getting $25 million in new TV money to play with in 2014.

They needed a quality starting pitcher.

And they passed on him because of ten million bucks.

That’s called:  cheap.

 

 

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