27 July 2011
Colby Rasmus and the Orioles
Posted by Jon Shepherd
RHSP Edwin Jackson (acquired from ChiSox)
RHRP Octavio Dotel (can be bought out at end of season)
LHRP Mark Rzepczynski
OF Corey Patterson
3 players to be named or cash
It boils down to a good, but not great starting pitcher; a right handed relief pitcher having a great season; a good young relief pitcher, a lower rung outfielder who can play every position, and a bunch of organizational guys or money. I'd say that here are the corresponding players from the Orioles organization:
RHSP Jeremy Guthrie (extra year of control)
RHRP Koji Uehara (extra year of control)
RHRP Jim Johnson
OF Felix Pie
3 relatively unimportant players or cash
I would put Guthrie ahead of Edwin Jackson here by a nudge. Guthrie playing for a solid team should see his wins bump up, which means he should be a relative good deal this fall during arbitration and potentially a solid type B level free agent the following season. Koji Uehara costs about the same as Octavio Dotel and is likely to be a type A free agent in a little over a year (though the compensation might not be as good as it will be at the end of this season, so that might be a push). Jim Johnson is not a lefty, but is probably a better pitcher than Rzep. The rest is about the same. I think these are pretty similar packages.
Of course, we have to ask: would the Orioles benefit from having Colby Rasmus?
The Orioles' outfield next year would look like this:
Colby Rasmus LF 260/340/450 20hr
Adam Jones CF 280/330/470 20hr
Nick Markakis RF 300/350/420 15hr
That may not look like much, but those numbers are a vast improvement over this year. Orioles' left fielders have a collective projected WAR of -2.0 while the above projected line would be about 3.5 WAR. That would be a swing of about 5 wins for the outfield alone. Guthrie alone is likely a loss of 3-4 WAR with Koji and Johnson account for about 2-3 WAR. The Cardinals should make out in the short term. The Orioles would like break even in 2013 and then take the lead in 2014, Rasmus' last controlled year. It looks like a fair and useful deal to both sides. The Cardinals get good performance cheaply over a couple years while the Orioles try to develop an all star potential.
With free agency, the loss of Guthrie and Koji/Johnson may not be as significant. Similar production might be gained by signing either Edwin Jackson or Mark Buehrle as a starter and someone like Jon Rauch, Jason Frasor, or Octavio Dotel. That will require an additional expenditure of around 5-8 MM more next year with the difference between the two sets of players.
Oh well. Maybe MacPhail has something up his sleeve.