13 November 2012

Measuring Bullpen Management: Bucking Up the Bullpen

A common thought among many of us is that much of the Orioles' success in 2012 was largely dependent on the bullpen.  An fWAR breakdown shows that the bullpen (6.4 fWAR, 5th) was better ranking-wise than either batting (15.3 fWAR, 25th) or starting pitching (10.2 fWAR, 19th).  The bullpen was largely constructed with existing pieces, half of the return for the Guthrie trade, and a small late winter free agent signing.  A more thorough discussion of the various pieces of the bullpen can be found in an article Jon Bernhardt wrote in August.  This post however will take a look at whether bullpen performance can be attributed to a manager.

Generally, conventional wisdom has it that individual relief pitchers are a widely varying lot in terms of performance.  These pitchers put up about 50 innings or so each year, which really is not enough time on the mound to statistically inform an assessment of future performance.  However, it may well be that a manager (or perhaps a manager with his General Manager) may actually be able to create a high performing bullpen on a relatively consistent basis.

A Hardball Times article suggested using WPA - WPA/LI as a measure of bullpen performance that would be useful in assessing bullpen management.  WPA is the acronym for Wins Probability Added.  This is calculated as the difference in win expectancy before and after an event. LI is the Leverage Index.  It is a measurement of how consequential a specific scenario is based on the inning, outs, score, baserunners, and baserunner position.  By using the two statistics in concert, you arguably have a measure that gives you a context neutral wins added metric.

To test whether this metric would give an indication that managers have skill associated with using a bullpen well, I decided to take the last five seasons of several recent managers.  I compare each manager's mean for WPA, WPA/LI, and WPA-WPA/LI (ANOVA).  WPA will inform us simply if certain teams wind up with better outcomes for winning based on reliever usage.  WPA/LI will neutralize all situations and measure reliever ability in general (similar to wOBA).  WPA-WPA/LI is being used to inform us about whether relievers actually perform better in clutch situations.  If one of these statistics indicate an actual skill then the numbers associated with a manager should be (1) repeatable and (2) result in managers being different from each other.  Of course, this assumes that these things are, in fact, measurable.


WPA WPA/LI WPA - WPA/LI
Bob Melvin 3.75 0.83 2.92
Bruce Bochy 2.98 0.13 2.84
Joe Giraldi 7.37 4.88 2.49
Buck Showalter 5.61 3.67 1.94
Terry Francona 5.56 3.69 1.88
Mike Scioscia 1.94 0.13 1.81
Ozzie Guillen 1.86 0.31 1.54
Joe Madden 4.42 3.21 1.22
Ron Gardenhire 2.78 1.59 1.19
Charlie Manuel 2.60 1.49 1.11
Ron Washington 4.35 3.25 1.10
Bud Black 1.74 0.80 0.94
Dusty Baker 2.76 2.19 0.56
Joe Torre 2.81 2.28 0.53
Jim Leyland 1.16 0.90 0.26
Ned Yost 1.00 1.29 -0.29
Tony LaRussa 1.28 1.74 -0.46
Eric Wedge -0.80 -0.15 -0.66
Bobby Cox 0.31 1.63 -1.31
Interestingly enough, both WPA (p=0.12) and WPA - WPA/LI (p=0.45) were not found to be significant in this study using this data.  However, WPA/LI was found to have significant differences within the population (p < 0.05).

So who typically has a good bullpen based on WPA/LI?

Joe Giraldi 123~5~~~~~~
Terry Francona 12345678~~~
Buck Showalter 1234567~~~~
Ron Washington ~234567~~~~
Joe Madden 123456789~~
Joe Torre ~234567890~
Dusty Baker ~234567890X
Tony LaRussa ~234567890X
Bobby Cox ~234567890X
Ron Gardenhire ~234567890X
Charlie Manuel ~2~~567890X
Ned Yost ~234567890X
Jim Leyland ~~~~567890X
Bob Melvin ~234567890X
Bud Black ~234567890X
Ozzie Guillen ~~~~~67890X
Bruce Bochy ~~~~567890X
Mike Scioscia ~~~~~~7890X
Eric Wedge ~~~~~67890X
The above table shows groups of similar performance.  The bold numbers indicate how managers differ.  Most managers belong to their own specific number, but 7 (Baker, LaRussa, Cox, Gardenhire, Yost, Melvin, and Black), 9 (Leyland and Bochy), and 0 (Guillen and Wedge) are shared.  For instance all 1s are not significantly different from Joe Giraldi and Joe Giraldi is significantly different from groups 4 and 6 through X.  Eye-balling it there are essentially three tiers:
Tier 1
Giraldi, Francona, Showalter, Washington, and Madden
All five of these managers get consistently good performance out of their bullpens and, as a whole, have significantly better performance than groups 9 through X.  Joe Giralid's pens have produced very well making his group significantly better than all of the others except 1, 2, 3, and 5.  This actually provides a potential argument for leaving Washington out of this tier.  However, the relationships of his performance with the other managers' performances appear to fit best in group 1. Only Showalter had multiple GMs in this grouping.
Tier 2
Torre, Baker, LaRussa, Cox, Gardenhire, Yost, Melvin, and Black
This group appears no different from anyone other than Joe Giraldi's bullpen.  Torre, Yost, and Melvin account for the managers for more than one GM.
Tier 3
Manuel, Leyland, Guillen, Bochy, Scioscia, and Wedge
The bullpen performance out of this group are notable in that they are not included in some of the upper performing groups.  In fact, their performances are significantly worse than everyone in Tier 1 except for Francona and Madden.  Only Wedge and Guillen were managers under different GMs.

The above study shows that good bullpen performance when measured as context neutral does tend to relate to specific managers.  However, it is unclear exactly what is resulting in these managers having good bullpens.  It does not appear that certain managers are adept at putting their pitchers in certain scenarios to get the most out of them, but that may simply be a limitation in how I tried to measure bullpen management.

11 November 2012

Sunday Comics: Our AL Manager of the Year Finalist

Buck Showalter's a finalist for AL Manager of the Year. Now we just have to keep our fingers crossed and hope the man takes home the much-deserved award - he's got some fairly steep competition.

Anyhow, in honor of his nomination, I did this!


10 November 2012

2012 Orioles Retrospective: Stu Pomeranz

I had never heard of Stu Pomeranz before I saw him pitch for the Orioles in Spring Training this year. I came away relatively impressed, thinking Pomeranz would be able to contribute to the O's bullpen at some point during the season.

Injuries kept him out for much of the season, but Pomeranz did get into three games in Baltimore in May, pitching 6 innings with 3 K's, a walk, and 7 hits (including a two-run home run) allowed. His minor league numbers - split between Double-A and Triple-A - were slightly more impressive; 23.1 IP, and 35 strike-outs to just 3 walks. And a 0.00 ERA.

A tall guy who averaged 94 mph with his fastball in the Majors, Pomeranz also got a little bit of sink on some of his heaters which helped him keep the ball on the ground pretty well (59% groundball rate). The curve doesn't seem like a knockout offering, but it isn't the worst complement to the fastball (it can at least make the latter look better).

Already 27 years old, there's probably not much upside left with Pomeranz. I certainly wouldn't feel less comfortable going to him in the middle innings than to Kevin Gregg though, and if he sticks around with the O's for 2013 I wouldn't be surprised if he did a fine job in middle relief for the team.

08 November 2012

Who is on First? Orioles 2013 Edition

First base is the final position I will be reviewing for the Orioles to improve themselves.  The other positions I have covered have been second base and left field.  This will not be the first time we have discussed the position.  It likely will not be the last.  The point of this post and the other two are to provide an understanding of what level of performance the Orioles generated from these positions last year and whether internal or eternal options are needed in order to improve the talent on the roster.

Below is a graph that first appeared in the Mark Reynolds piece.  It identifies that the Orioles were not weak at first base, but they did not have first division production from that position.  Improvement is possible here, but it may cost a bit.



There are a few options for 2013 that already exist within the organization.  I tried to be incredibly open minded when looking at this position, so I included some of the catchers and Nolan Reimold.

Internal
LHP RHP
LHP 40g RHP 110g

Age wRC+ wRC+ Defense WAR WAR WAR
Wilson Betemit 31 65 133 -15 -0.9 1.7 0.8
Chris Davis 27 112 121 -5 0.4 1.7 2.1
Joe Mahoney 26 84 82 -5 -0.2 -0.6 -0.8
Mark Reynolds 29 100 112 -5 0.2 1.2 1.4
Matt Wieters 27 143 105 -10 1.0 0.4 1.4
Taylor Teagarden 29 73 73 -10 -0.5 -1.5 -2.1
Steve Pearce 30 121 68 -5 0.6 -1.4 -0.8
Brandon Waring 27 107 62 -10 0.2 -2.2 -2.0
Nolan Reimold 29 100 105 -10 0.0 0.4 0.4
In an earlier post, I mentioned that a platoon of Betemit and Davis would work.  It should be noted that Davis all on his lonesome would also project to generate just as much offense as the platoon would generate.  I must say though that I find Davis' projection to be rather remarkable.  I do not believe in him as much as the model projects him.  Wieters would also be a good platoon partner at first, but it is quite doubtful that a sufficient catcher would be found to replace him at catcher.  Russell Martin would be a fit for that idea, but there is no way he would accept a role as a backup catcher, nor should he.

However, I think the take home message again from the above table is that Mark Reynolds' production can be replaced by what the Orioles already have.  Chris Davis, if he truly is the projected player, simply is better than Reynolds.  On the DH role, Betemit could face righties and, perhaps, Steve Pearce could face lefties.  Jeff Keppinger and Jonny Gomes would also be suitable DH platoon partners.  Whatever the solution is, it should be less than the 9MM Reynolds seems likely to earn in arbitration.

What is available for 1B as Free Agents?

Free Agents
LHP RHP
LHP 40g RHP 110g


Age wRC+ wRC+ Defense WAR WAR WAR
Lance Berkman 36 93 134 -5 0.0 2.5 2.5
Eric Hinske 35 57 84 0 -0.6 -0.1 -0.8
Travis Ishikawa 29 81 108 10 0.2 2.0 2.2
Jeff Keppinger 33 116 65 0 0.6 -1.3 -0.6
Adam LaRoche 33 99 123 5 0.4 2.6 3.0
Carlos Lee 37 91 88 -5 0.0 -0.2 -0.3
James Loney 29 69 101 5 -0.2 1.3 1.0
Mike Napoli 31 134 111 -5 0.9 1.1 2.0
Nick Swisher 32 132 116 0 1.0 1.8 2.8
Kevin Youkilis 34 118 107 0 0.7 1.2 1.9
As I mentioned before, I am a Keppinger fan and would be very interested in having his bat on the bench or starting against lefties.  Another player I find interesting, one that I think might be available on a split minor league deal, is Travis Ishikawa.  His value is based more on defense, but he is sufficiently able to start against righties.  I am not completely sold on his value, so I would be hesitant to make much of a commitment to him.

Of course, the elite bats here are Berkman, LaRoche, Napoli, Swisher, and Youkilis.  If you are concerned about the Orioles late first round selection in next year's draft, then you may hesitate in signing LaRoche or Swisher as both have qualifying offers on them from their 2012 teams.  Berkman is considering retirement, has a severe platoon bat, and is at an age where abilities can fall apart.  Youkilis is more of a natural fit for 1B, but looks like he is not long for MLB as his injuries are beginning to sap his offense.  Napoli is an interesting player as he is a platoon bat that is strong against left handers.  He may be able to give Wieters a rest at catcher against lefties and rest against some righties with tough plus breaking balls.  Such a move would push Davis to more of a full time DH with some 1B work and Betemit to the bench as a pinch hitter against righties as well as an occasional DH against right handed starters.  Napoli has been a bit of an up and down player, so there may be some concern over committing to him for too many year.

Non-Tender
LHP RHP
LHP 40g RHP 110g

Age wRC+ wRC+ Defense WAR WAR WAR
Daric Barton 27 94 91 10 0.4 1.0 1.5
Kyle Blanks 26 92 105 -5 0.0 0.8 0.8
Dan Johnson 33 94 93 0 0.2 0.4 0.6
Casey McGehee 30 67 100 -5 -0.5 0.5 -0.1
Gaby Sanchez 29 72 112 5 -0.2 1.9 1.7
I'd like to see both Daric Barton and Kyle Blanks in the system.  Gaby Sanchez looks likely to find himself a role with a MLB team and that simply is not an offer I would make to him.  Barton and Blanks would not earn a 40 man contract from me though.  There are more than enough people in the organization who can eke out play at first.

Recommendation
As I mentioned before, Mark Reynolds simply is not worth 9MM.  If one insists on spending 9MM and assuming Wieters can play some first base, then Mike Napoli would be someone I would target.  Equally acceptable for me would be to have Chris Davis or Davis and Wilson Betemit take on first.

06 November 2012

Nick Markakis and the Decreasing Impact of His Arm

Nick Markakis is a subject of much discussion.  Early in his career, he was lauded by scout and statistician alike for his defensive abilities.  Over time, a growing current of dissent has emerged questioning his ability in the field.  On the last podcast, Daniel and I were discussing Markakis' arm among other things.  Looking at pure numbers, Markakis threw out quite a few base runners throughout his career until this season when he killed only three runners in 926 innings.  It was a far cry from his 2008 high of 17, but has also killed 13, 14, and 14.  Defensive metrics suggest a different story with one exceptional year in 2008 and the rest rather pedestrian.  It made me wonder if defensive metrics, like counting stats tell an incomplete story.

Arm ratings in defensive metrics look at three things: holding runners, assists, and kills.  It stands to reason that the runs saved attributed to an outfielder would be greater for killing the runner as opposed to being an accomplice.  Being an accomplice to the out would then be more valuable than holding a runner.  A concern on how well runs saved represent the talent in a player's ability to throw a ball is whether or not he has the opportunity to show off that talent.  In other words, if base runners fear an outfielder's arm then the outfielder will be given fewer opportunities to wipe the runners off the base paths as a function of the runner's hesitancy to test the arm.  However, based on my conversations with baseball folk and through my own work on assessing how a pitcher's fastball velocity changes as he ages, arm strength should be relatively consistent through the majority of a player's starting career.  If the metrics trying to represent the value of a player's arm actually coincide with how talented that play is in throwing the ball, then you would expect a flat line.  Arm value should remain constant as a player ages if his arm quality remains the same.

In this post, I wanted to look at something simple.  A measure of talent is typically a good measure of talent if the measure is consistent.  That if you have an 80 arm in year 1 resulting in 20 runs saved, then, if the metric is strongly related to talent, in year two the 80 arm should result in another 20 runs saved.  I decided to take an elite group of arms and observe how their runs saved attributed to their throwing changes from year to year.  Now, this is a simple study with a population of only ten, but it may serve as a decent launching pad for further discussion.

The list below are the top ten cumulative arms using rARM (DRS methodology) from 2005-2012 using their first five seasons and by defining their first season as the first year they achieve 900 innings in the outfield.  Both Adam Jones and Nick Markakis are in this grouping.

rARM - DRS

Year


1 2 3 4 5
Jeff Francouer 3 10 2 4 8
Shane Victorino 4 5 3 -1 3
Adam Jones 5 10 5 8 -1
Alex Rios 7 4 8 7 8
Alfonso Soriano 7 14 4 1 -4
Hunter Pence 0 8 6 -1 5
Jayson Werth 3 3 5 3 -1
Melky Cabrera 3 9 1 0 4
Nick Markakis 2 2 10 2 0
Matt Kemp 8 7 -4 4 4
Here is the same list, but with the ARM metric from the UZR methodology.

ARM - UZR

Year


1 2 3 4 5
Jeff Francouer 3.5 16.6 2.5 5.3 9.7
Shane Victorino 5.3 3.9 3.0 -1.0 2.2
Adam Jones 3.3 6.6 2.5 5.4 1.7
Alex Rios 11.7 6.5 5.6 6.0 5.6
Alfonso Soriano 4.9 14.3 4.8 -3.5 0.5
Hunter Pence -0.1 8.2 6.6 -1.0 3.5
Jayson Werth 4.2 4.4 3.3 5.4 -1.4
Melky Cabrera 3.4 4.4 1.1 -3.9 3.0
Nick Markakis 1.1 2.7 6.7 0.9 1.1
Matt Kemp 8.0 4.3 -6.1 4.0 3.4
I took the sum of both the rARM and ARM metrics by year as well as those metrics normalized to what would be expected over 1400 innings.  What I mean normalized or adjusted values would be the following: if player A saved 10 runs over 1000 innings then he would be projected to save 14 runs over 1400 innings.  Whether right or wrong, I did this to cut down the variation in the numbers above by changing the counts into rates.  If there is an issue with doing this, then I am sure someone will be kind enough to inform me.




The difference between the cumulative runs saved looks significant.  I decided to run an ANOVA on the adjusted Runs Saved for the population (not cumulative), which resulted in significant p values for both DRS (p=0.04) and UZR (p=0.01).  Further analysis of both metrics indicated that year 2 performance was significantly greater than years 3-5.  This is illustrated below.

I am uncertain what exactly this means, if anything.  One could construct a nifty narrative about how it takes a fielder a year to learn his position to perfect his performance and then perhaps an additional year for the league to respect him.  This would account for the population to increase in their performance and then have the value associated with the arm decrease as opportunities to kill the runner decrease due to the runners holding.  As mentioned earlier, fielders are credited for holding a runner, but not to the same degree if they are able to eliminate the runner from the base paths.  It should be noted that this is less of a conclusion and more of a hypothesis based on this observation.  I do not know if what we see in the graph above would be repeatable with a more robust dataset or if there is a better hypothesis to explain this observation.

The alternative hypothesis would be playing into the early defensive peak.  It may be that around what normally would be the second year of a player having a starting job.  The narrative here would be that a player's ability peaks early in his career and then tails off.  That certainly is the case with range and it may well be that the opportunity to kill a runner has as much to do with a player's arm as it does with a player's range.  It may be that by not being able to put himself in a position to get to a ball quickly that the fielder is simply reducing the number of chances he has to impact base runners.  Additionally, it may be that ability in range or route running may decrease, resulting in the player putting himself in worse position for a throw.  That would be a situation that likely would have more affect on accuracy than arm strength.

Simply put, I have questions.  Perhaps, as my post on UZR in the Camden Yards outfield led to a great deal of words being hashed out, including by John Dewan in his Fielding Bible, maybe this post will also launch a thousand blogs just the same.

05 November 2012

Best Replacement Level Players Since 1983

Replacement level players are considered to be players that are easy to obtain, such as a non-roster invitees, or six year minor league free agents. WAR is an often used acronym these days which stands for Wins Above Replacement and is determined by a formula that includes runs above average run through a win-loss estimator. What makes the situation more muddled is that there are multiple forms of WAR right now, with Fangraphs using their own fWAR, which includes FIP for pitching and UZR for defense. Baseball Reference has rWAR which includes defensive runs saved for pitching, TotalZone for defense and base running for their calculations and WARP which is Baseball Prospectus' own calculation. For this post, we will be using the form of WAR published by Baseball Reference, which on their scale a 0.0 rating means a replacement level player, 2.0 would be a regular starter, 5.0 is all-star level, and 8.0 is an MVP candidate for each given year. 

We are going to be examining the players with the longest playing careers at near replacement level. There is something to be said for a player that averages being an easily replaceable player, yet that still manages to hang around the major leagues long enough to amass at least 4500 at bats.


#10 - Pedro Feliz - 3B/1B/OF - 11 years MLB - 1302 Games played with 4544 plate appearances. Pedro has primarily been a 3B for most of his career, he played as a starter for the majority of it averaging 118 games per season. Pedro owns 140 HR to only 13 SB and a slash line of .250/.288/.410 to go with a fairly solid glove during his career. Feliz spent most of his career with the Giants before playing his final 4 seasons with 3 different teams. Career rWAR: 3.8.


#9(tie) - Mariano Duncan - 2B/SS/LF - 12 years MLB - 1279 Games played with 4998 plate appearances. Duncan has career numbers of 87 HR, 174 SB and a slash line of .267/.300/.388 along with 1 all-star appearance. Playing a career high 142 games twice in his career, he played more than 100 games in a year 7 out of 12 years averaging 106 games per season. Career rWAR: 3.6.

#9(tie) - Joe Orsulak - OF - 14 years MLB - 1494 Games played with 4714 plate appearances. Orsulak could be considered one of the best 4th OF of the past 30 years, he only had 57 career HR and 93 career SB in 14 years averaging 107 games played per season in his career. He's never had an all-star season and he has a career stat line of .273/.324/.374 while playing all 3 OF positions regularly. Career rWAR: 3.6.

#9(tie) - Joe Girardi - C- 15 years MLB - 1277 Games played with 4535 plate appearances. Girardi may be the best back up catcher in the past 30 years, his intelligence in the game can be seen by his quick ascent to MLB manager, now with the Yankees. Always considered a capable defender who calls a good game, he had 36 career HR and 44 SB in his 15 years, while averaging 85 games played per year. Girardi also appeared as an all-star one time towards the end of his career. Career rWAR: 3.6.

#8 - Jose Guillen - OF - 14 years MLB - 1650 Games played with 6418 plate appearances. Guillen was known throughout his career as having one of the best OF arms in MLB and had 107 OF assists in his career. He was primarily a RF starter through his career where he averaged 118 games per year. Jose had some pop with 214 career HR to his 31 SB and a slash line of .270/.321/.440 in his well traveled career spending 14 years with 10 different teams. Career rWAR: 3.4.

#7 - Ed Sprague - 3B/1B - 11 years MLB - 1203 Games played with 4587 plate appearances. Sprague was a starter on some of those great Blue Jays teams of the mid 90's before becoming a part time player during the final few years of his career, he averaged 109 games per season overall. Sprague had one all-star season and ended with 152 HR, 6 SB and a line of .247/.318/.419. Career rWAR: 3.1.

#6 - Dante Bichette - OF - 14 years MLB - 1704 Games played with 6856 plate appearances. This is by far the biggest surprise for me on this list. We aren't talking about a UTL player or a guy with some power and little else, Bichette was a 4-time all-star and runner up for league MVP one year. In 14 years, Dante hit 274 HR, 401 doubles, had 152 SB and a slash line of .299/.336/.499 which are pretty terrific offensive numbers for a career. His Fangraphs WAR number was an 11.5 which means that his defensive and base running values were bad enough to wipe out a major amount of his offensive contributions. Career rWAR: 3.0.

#5 - Billy Hatcher - OF - 12 years MLB - 1233 Games played with 4752 plate appearances. Hatcher averaged 103 games played over 12 years but those numbers are skewed by 2 seasons of 11 games total, aside from those years he was a starter that played a large majority of his team's games. Billy had 54 HR to go with 218 SB and a line of .264/.312/.364. Career rWAR: 2.0.

#4 - Ty Wigginton - 3B/2B/1B/OF - 11 years MLB - 1315 Games played with 4886 plate appearances. Ty is well known in this time period for being almost the definition of utility player, playing all over the infield as well as some time in the OF. Wigginton has 169 career HR and 42 SB in his 11 seasons of MLB baseball, but he is also still active playing 2012 with PHI, so he still has a chance to move up higher on this list. His slash line reads .263/.324/.438 from his 7 teams in 11 years. Career rWAR: 1.3.


#3 - Tony Womack - 2B/SS/OF - 13 years MLB - 1303 Games played with 5389 plate appearances. Tony averaged 100 games per season, and had 36 HR in his career, but his real contributions came with his legs as he had 363 career SB. An all-star bid in his rookie year was never duplicated, and his career slash line ended up at .273/.317/.356, but he was an average defensive player who could play three up the middle positions , middle infield and center field, as well as providing speed at the top of the order. Career rWAR: 0.9.

#2 - Neifi Perez - SS/2B - 12 years MLB - 1403 Games played with 5510 plate appearances. Perez was a middle infield starter a few years and a textbook UTL player for others while racking up a .267/.297/.375 line to go with 64 HR and 57 SB. Perez was never a huge commodity with the bat, but was fairly well regarded with his glove, even winning a gold glove one of his seasons as a starter. Career rWAR: 0.7.

...and your number one player on the list, drumroll please...

#1 - Chris Gomez - SS/2B/1B - 16 years MLB - 1515 Games played with 5148 plate appearances. Gomez was a well regarded SS early in his career and was more solid than spectacular but made for a very solid UTL guy in the latter half of his career. His career stats featured 60 HR and 35 SB with a .262/.325/.360 line. Career rWAR: -3.7.

04 November 2012

Sunday Comics: Golden Boys

This is running a little late this morning due to a hurricane basically preventing me from getting much done on time this week, but there you go.

This is a digitally done background - occasionally I'll do that when the mood strikes me or, as in this case, I want to blend colors without going through too much of my marker ink.

Congratulations to Matt Wieters, Adam Jones and J.J. Hardy on their Gold Gloves! They're the subjects of this week's cartoon because awards are fun.


Camden Depot's 2013 Offseason Plan

Perhaps to call this Camden Depot's Offseason Plan is a bit of a misnomer because other writers at the Depot may disagree with my assessment here.  I am sure any quibble will be expressed in the comments section.  Anyway, here we go...

The first thing I had to figure out was the payroll of the team.  That will often decide the moves a team can make.  I assumed that there would be no decrease from the 2012 payroll of 84MM.  I am further assuming that the success of the team enabled an increase in payroll of 10MM to 94MM.  I also assume that due to the Orioles short term of being a successful team that the payroll increase is a tentative increase.  Of course, that means I have to construct a team for 86MM because Brian Roberts holds up 10MM.

Trade Players
Mark Reynolds - it is uncertain if anyone is willing to give anything up for him if they have to go to arbitration, so it may well be that the team will have to release him.  This move should free up 8.9MM.
Jim Johnson - Johnson is not an elite closer and he stands to be awarded 6.9MM in arbitration.  With the bounty of success the pen has had this past year, there is surely a much cheaper option to send to the pen.  Johnson should be tradeable.
Robert Andino - Andino stands to earn 1.8MM in arbitration.  I decided that there were easier ways to find a useful backup infielder.  Ditto for Alexi Casilla who would also cost 1.8MM in arbitration.
Omar Quintanilla - Due to earn ~800k, there simply is no room for him on my team.
Steve Pearce - Also due ~800k, he just is not valuable enough to keep him on the squad.

Unaware of what these players will fetch in a trade, I will simply assume "prospects."  To construct a team, I will need to build the rest of the team through free agency.

Melky Cabrera (1 yr, 10 MM) - Melky is not as good as he was in 2012.  His slap sticking 346/390/516 line was fueled not by PEDs (as many choose to believe), but rather a .379 BABIP.  He has average defense from left field and should hit enough to be around a 3.5 WAR hitter.  With a one year deal, Melky can regain value and the Orioles may be able to spring a draft pick in 2014.

Jeff Keppinger (2 yr, 5 MM) - Keppinger should earn a 1 MM per year raise from his salary last year.  If properly deployed, he could earn 1.5 MM.  He can make due at second against southpaw starters with Alexi Casilla coming in as a late inning replacement.  Keppinger also provides standing depth at third and left field.

Ronny Cedeno (1 yr, 1.5 MM) - Cedeno is only slightly cheaper than Andino and Casilla.  However, he plays a decent second and hits righthanders better than either of them.  Used effectively as he was with the Mets last year, he could prove to be worth a half win or so.  This is not a flashy selection, but it does not have to be.

Joakim Soria (1 yr, 4 MM) - A short term deal with the potential to bring the total up to 7 MM should be enticing for Soria.  He did not pitch last year, but he should provide competition for the 5 slot in the rotation or fit smoothly in to the back end of the bullpen.  He represents a potential big value win here.

Ryu Hyun-jin (3 yr, 9 MM) - If the team can win the posting, the South Korean could provide another arm that could work at the back end of the rotation or as another lefty arm in the pen.

My loose projection has these moves placing the Orioles as an 89.6 win team on a 91.62MM club (+3 with Soria incentives

.
Po
Salary WAR
C Matt Wieters 4.6 4.4
1 Chris Davis 3.3 2.1
2 Jeff Keppinger 2.5 1.5
3 Manny Machado 0.4 2.6
S JJ Hardy 7 2.8
L Melky Cabrera 10 3.5
C Adam Jones 8.5 3.5
R Nick Markakis 15 2.4
D Wilson Betemit 1.75 2
BC Taylor Teagarden 0.8 0.2
BI Ronny Cedeno 1.5 0.5
BO Nolan Reimold 1 0.7
BO Xavier Avery 0.48 0.2
S WeiYin Chen 3.57 2.5
S Jason Hammel 6.5 2.5
S Chris Tillman 0.48 2.5
S Miguel Gonzalez 0.48 1.5
S Joakim Soria 4 1
R Darren O'Day 2.2 1
R Troy Patton 0.8 0.8
R Tommy Hunter 1.8 1
R Brian Matusz 1 0.7
R Pedro Strop 0.48 0.5
R Jake Arrieta 0.48 0.8
R Ryu Hyun-Jin 3 0.8
DL Brian Roberts 10


91.62 89.6