15 October 2015

Blueprint For The 2016 Orioles (Options 7a, 7b, 7c): Shepherd Seeks A Few Outside Consultants

Front offices are sounded by very smart people.  Some of those people work within the franchise and then some are orbiting around the franchise or baseball in general.  Brains are picked.  It would be a disservice not to seek out alternative opinions and challenge your own notions as well as consider whether your organization can be infected with group think.

That last part tends to be something that needs to be done delicately.  A front office is a rough place to be employed because out the window is a long line of very smart people who are willing to work for peanuts.  With that in mind, a general manager needs to be delicate in seeking opinions from outside the organization.  For the Depot, sorry guys, I will be reviewing external ideas in the open.

Below, I presented ideas that were emailed to the Depot.  These words are not theirs, but me paraphrasing their ideas.  If I have misconstrued their remarks, then I will sure hear it in the comments.  Where I thought it was appropriate, I have amended the original remarks.  For posterity, I will post their submissions in full this weekend as part of an expanded roster series.

Option 7a: Keep Crush and Play the Kid
(Roger H.)

The options opens with the premise that it is important to hold on to successful players with whom you already have great knowledge of and know that they fit into the franchise instead of bringing in potentially disruptive forces.  Those disruptions may impact the clubhouse or perhaps the fan base.  As such, this option is tied around securing Chris Davis and attempting to hold onto Darren O'Day.  From there, the focus is trying to resolve holes on the active roster.

Qualifying Offers
Wei-Yin Chen, RHSP
Chris Davis, 1B
Matt Wieters, C

Miguel Gonzalez, RHSP
Brian Matusz, LHRP

Miguel Gonzalez is a new wrinkle here.  The cause for release would be his poor peripherals and him, unfortunately, matching his peripherals with performance.

Chris Davis, RF - 6 years, 150 MM
Scott Kazmir, LHSP - 3 years, 36 MM
Gerardo Parra, LF - 1 year, 8 MM
Steve Pearce, UTL - 2 years, 10 MM

Roger is advocating to sign Davis, but sending him out to right field.  He would be paired with Parra resigned and manning left field.  Christian Walker and Trey Mancini would battle it out and be given the chance to succeed at the MLB level at first base.  Steve Pearce would be retained to provide insurance for those rookies.

In the playoffs and against lefty heavy lineups, a left handed pitcher in the starting rotation can be quite a boon.  With Wei-Yin Chen leaving, the Orioles need to find another southpaw.  Roger suggests finding one for the same money or less and Scott Kazmir fits the bill.  His struggles in the last half of the season has likely put a dent on his future earnings, but he is not far removed from relative success.  With Kazmir, the Orioles would get a similar pitcher for a similar price, but also pull back a compensatory draft pick when Chen signs elsewhere.

Option 7b: Nail Down the Corners and Find a Starting Pitcher
(William WC)

I took some liberty with this proposal as I doubted the numbers being suggested for several players.  Additionally, I have removed Hisahi Iwakuma from consideration based on his long held interest in remaining on the West Coast or going back to Japan.  As such, I tried to stay true to the intent.  The focus here is to fill holes in the corner outfield and rounding out the rotation with pitchers who can take advantage of the defensive play in the infield.

Qualifying Offers
Davis, Chen, and Wieters

Matusz and Gonzalez

Chris Tillman to cut cost

Tillman has been the upgraded version of Miguel Gonzalez.  Tillman, once a heralded prospect with a blazing fastball, over the past several years has been punching above his weight (at least based on his peripherals).  This past season, like Gonzalez, Tillman's performance was more in line with his peripherals.  The concern is that 2015 is more reflective of his true talent level and that the 6+ MM going to him could be better spent elsewhere or simply repackaged into a pitcher who is not so fly ball prone.

Brett Anderson, LHSP - 3 years, 36 MM
Trevor Cahill, - 1 year, 5 MM
Rich Hill, - 1 year, 5 MM
Colby Rasmus, LF - 5 years, 75 MM
Ben Zobrist, RF - 3 years, 51 MM

Zach Britton, LHSP

The most interesting aspect of this blueprint is moving Britton into the starting rotation.  In the actual document handed to me Britton would stay at closer and Iwakuma would enter the rotation.  However, it did note how William was begrudgingly not putting Britton in there.  I thought the numbers on Rasmus and Zobrist were a bit low, so I took some of the money targeted to Iwakuma and spread it to those corner outfielders.

Again, a lot of hope is placed on Trey Mancini and maybe Christian Walker to come through and perform at first base.  However, expected offensive performances by Rasmus and Zobrist would compensate for the loss of Davis given how poorly the corner outfield positions performed last year.

In the rotation, Anderson spells Chen.  A draft pick is likely given up in this scenario and injury concerns chase Anderson, but it gives the club a lefty who may be able to better utilize gloves like Machado and Hardy.  Britton hopes to show that a starter can get by with a sinker and not much else.  Trevor Cahill and Rich Hill, both pitchers who can go to the pen, battle it out for the final rotation slot.

Option 7c: Get Out of My Head!
(William D)

Well, that title is a bit of a hyperbole, but this plan barely alligns closer to my than the others I have read.  By chance, this was the last formal proposal we received at the Depot.  Again, the key here is to shore up the outfield and provide some help for the rotation.

Qualifying Offers
Chen, Davis, Wieters, and O'Day


Steve Pearce, UTL - 2 years, 10 MM
Mat Latos, RHSP - 1 year, 10 MM
Colby Rasmus, LF - 5 years, 75 MM
Ben Zobrist, RF - 3 years, 51 MM
John Jaso, DH - 1 year, 5 MM

Without booting another player, these additions probably budge the payroll slightly.  Perhaps some wiggle room could be achieved with how the annual values are arranged on the multi-year deals.  Some describe Jaso as a utility player, but that is only if you mean he can be the worst corner outfielder or catcher in baseball as something to utilize.  In reality, he is a pure designated hitter who should only be employed when a right handed pitcher is on the mound.  Although, Jaso lacks flexibility, it would solve an issue for the club last season, which was horrendous designated hitter performance.

Steve Pearce may not hit as well as Jaso, but comes with some respectable measure of positional flexibility.  He can spell first base for Chris Davis or be pushed elsewhere if Mancini or Walker emerge from the minors.  With Rasmus and Zobrist in the fold, the club no longer will need to cross their fingers with corner outfielder finds.  Both will be able to provide a level of hitting that surpasses what was achieved last year and Rasmus' defense should be a bright spot in left.  If Zobrist sees a decline in fielding, then he potentially could be flipped with Pearce.

Finally, the hole in the rotation would be filled with an expensive flyer on Mat Latos.  His peripherals were sound last year, but his performance was rather dreadful to the extent that the hyper analytical Dodgers let go of him for nothing.  Those peripherals do suggest that he is a prime bounce back candidate, but it comes in a package that has repeatedly worn out other clubhouses who allegedly were frustrated with his behavior.


Option 1: Seeking A Cornerstone
Option 2: Building A Rotation

Option 3: Building Major League Depth And A Minor League System
Option 4: Well Rounded And Not Tied Down 
Option 5: Purchasing Innings in Bulk
Option 6: Trying To Make Chicken Salad
Options 7a/b/c: Shepherd Seeks A Few Outside Consultants


Anonymous said...

Roger H here. Thank you for letting me participate in this process. And thank you for cleaning up my thinking in my submission especially WRT FA contracts. I do like Kazmir - he seems to offer exactly what we need - Chen but cheaper and some slight possibility for upside. Not sure why non-tendering Miguel is such a surprise as everyone has ragged on his peripherals so hard and I feel like there's no doubt that he's reached or beyond his full potential. To keep payroll down and win, one MUST seek upside, either through youngsters or comeback players on the cheap or unfulfilled potential. What I like about Kazmir is that the Astros are a lot like the Orioles - playing in a bandbox and relying on HRs and pitching and defense so the translation of his performance is not hard to believe. The downside is that he's from Houston and the Astros may get a hometown discount. But either Anderson on Happ could fill that role assuming neither gets a QO. I also like Parra - good defense, some speed, and fits a role the O's need (leadoff or #2). If his performance returns to baseline (i.e. BA around .270) then that will be some upside over this year's performance WRT the O's after the trade. AS far as the LOOGY goes, do you guys really think Oliver Drake or Cesar Cabral can't get out a lefty or two at a time??? Or wouldn't Rule 5 be a good way to pick up a LOOGY. Just one other comment - Trevor Cahill = one big NO WAY. He'd be lucky to get a minor league offer at this point. Bud Norris would be a better pitcher than Cahill.

Anonymous said...

I proposed Trevor Cahill because he's a pronounced groundballer who has looked quite good for the Cubs in the playoffs. So I disagree about that, I'm sure teams are noticing how he looks more like his old self. Seems to me a cheap option with some bounceback potential. If he doesn't work out well in ST, move him to the bullpen or release him.

Anonymous said...

All these possibilities are entertaining but do not account for the very divisive struggle between DD and BS. Whoever wins control will determine the direction and the direction is very different for each. DD wants BS to just fill out a line-up card while BS wants DD's ability to put together his team. Only Peter Angleos can settle the tug of war and his focus is only on MASN. If DD does quash BS you will see a very active international line-up (Alvarez/Urrutia, etc..).

Jon Shepherd said...

This series has nothing to do with DD or Buck. I am unsure how we could account for specifically who either wants. It simply it not worth considering without a great deal more information.

Jon Shepherd said...

Also...DD is not active with the international market and no one is planning for Urrutia being in a lineup.