25 October 2016

Blueprint For The 2017 Orioles (Option 1): An Expanded Role For Hyun Soo Kim

This is the second post in a series by Camden Depot staff writers exploring what the Orioles should do this offseason to get back to the playoffs in 2017. It should be noted that this exercise does not include trades, though it's unlikely the O's make a major move in that regard. These posts focus on roster construction and free agent decisions. Enjoy!

The one good thing about this offseason for the Orioles is that they don't have a bunch of decisions to make if they don't want to. The 2016 Orioles won 89 games and earned a spot in the American League wild card game, so, for the most part, they can run things back next season. The most crucial question is what to do about impending free agents Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo. Both are good players, but neither is a superstar. And if both were to walk, the Orioles still have a talented core.

While the O's may not have a bunch of decisions to make, there doesn't appear to be much flexibility in terms of payroll. This past season, the Orioles had a payroll of about $147 million. Before arbitration in 2017, the Orioles have around $95 million to eight players tied up in salary. But factoring in arbitration is when things get dicey.

Arbitration Raises

The Orioles' arbitration-eligible players are estimated to earn about $50 million. The big three of those arbitration players includes Manny Machado, Zach Britton, and Chris Tillman, who could all receive about $11 million apiece. (See MLB Trade Rumors' full list of arbitration salary projections for next season.)

Machado, Britton, and Tillman are no-brainers. They're good players (phenomenal in the cases of Machado and Britton), and you pay them what they're worth. The same goes for Jonathan Schoop, Brad Brach, and Kevin Gausman.

But what about Ryan Flaherty ($1.7M), Vance Worley ($3.3M), T.J. McFarland ($700K), and Caleb Joseph ($1M)? Joseph isn't going anywhere, and he shouldn't. There's no way the Orioles opt to move on from Wieters and Joseph in the same offseason. McFarland is due to make even less than Joseph, but the need for him is not as crucial. Plus, like Flaherty, he's now out of options.

Out of the four questions marks, I'd non-tender Worley and McFarland. McFarland isn't all that good, has struggled to stay healthy, and doesn't fill a position of serious need. The Orioles very well may carry all six starting pitchers -- Tillman, Gausman, Wade Miley, Ubaldo Jimenez, Dylan Bundy, and Yovani Gallardo -- next season, meaning that's one bullpen spot already filled by a swingman type. Plus, the Orioles also have Tyler Wilson, Mike Wright, and Parker Bridwell (among others) who could duke it out for another mop-up, long reliever slot.

If the O's somehow dump one of Jimenez or Gallardo, then it might be worth keeping Worley around. But there are only so many OK pitchers you can keep who don't have options, and there are only so many spots in the bullpen. And I really, really don't want the Orioles to tender him a contract and then ship him off with a competitive balance pick in the spring just to get rid of his moderate salary. That's a poor use of resources, and it should stop happening.

As for Flaherty, the Orioles don't seem to have someone else in their organization capable of a utility player role. Perhaps the O's could bring back Paul Janish and save a little money (maybe around $1 million). I wouldn't be against that, but again, we aren't talking about much. It is nice, too, to have a reliable and versatile glove around. That also describes Janish.

After accounting for players under contract and arbitration raises, the Orioles are already at about $140 million. Now the fun starts, because it's qualifying offer time.

Matt Wieters and Mark Trumbo

Let's just get right to it: Should the Orioles extend both Wieters and Trumbo qualifying offers (which will be $17.2 million next season)? That would be a calculated risk to acquire two extra draft picks, but it might also be something the Orioles simply will not do.

One-year deals are low-risk maneuvers, but potentially tying up more than $34 million next season in those two players would almost certainly lead to the O's doing very little else with the roster. But here's the thing: The Orioles might be cash-strapped anyway, which would be an argument for offering both. If both players were to somehow accept the qualifying offer, that would bump the team payroll to nearly $175 million while still needing at least one or two players to fill out the rest of the roster.

Despite the risk, I'd still offer both. Wilson Ramos's torn ACL catapulted Wieters to the top of the free agent catchers list, and it wouldn't be hard to see a team in search of a moderate upgrade at catcher offering Wieters a deal of at least three years. Wieters isn't great by any means, but he'd be a good enough addition for a handful of teams. If he's willing to sacrifice that money to stick around another year in Baltimore, then so be it. It's not ideal to offer him $17 million for one season. It wasn't ideal to have him back for $15.8 million in 2016. But yet another year gets you one step closer to figuring out if Joseph's awful season was a blip on the radar, and also to Chance Sisco's eventual promotion (whether he sticks at catcher or not).

As for Trumbo, the O's still need his bat. The problem is, unless you tether him to the DH spot or play him at first base (both unlikely), you can't get his bat without his outfield glove. He also seems to hit a bit better when he's actually playing in the field.

Like Wieters, Trumbo should be in the market for a lucrative multiyear deal, so it would be tough to imagine him forgoing that money just because he liked the Orioles' clubhouse and winning culture. Still, it's possible. The qualifying offer is now large enough for players to consider taking it, which was demonstrated last year when Wieters, Colby Rasmus, and Brett Anderson became the first players to accept it.

Both would probably reject it, so you'd have to plan for otherwise. But if the Orioles could manage around it, that large of a payroll would be a one-year thing. Look at the list of free agents the O's could have after the 2017 season (other than Wieters and Trumbo): Ubaldo Jimenez, J.J. Hardy ($2M buyout), Yovani Gallardo ($2M buyout), Chris Tillman, Wade Miley ($500K buyout), and Hyun Soo Kim. Sure, there will be another round of arbitration raises and several roster holes to fill, but that would be even more money coming off the books.

So the first option would be to offer both players and see what happens. Running things back with the same cast of characters might not be ideal, but there are much worse things.

And then the next, more likely option is that Trumbo and Wieters, or at least one of the two, declines the qualifying offer. Not only does that net you an extra draft pick or two, but it frees up money to improve the roster in other ways.

Free Agents

The Orioles' (opening day) payroll will almost certainly surpass $150 million this year, but what you think the team will do in free agency depends on how much higher you think it'll go. Could it approach $160 million? Anything much higher than that seems out of the question.

Let's say $160 million is the max. Perhaps that's unrealistic considering the Orioles went from a team payroll of $108 million in 2014 to $119 million in 2015 to $147 million in 2016. That 2015-2016 jump was quite large, but let's stick with the increasing pattern. Without Trumbo/Wieters, the O's would be at about $140 million. That leaves about $20 million for an outfielder or two, a 1B/DH type, and a second catcher.


The returning group of outfielders includes Adam Jones, Kim, and Joey Rickard. I would not bring back Nolan Reimold or Drew Stubbs. I also would not bring back Steve Pearce, at least with any kind of expectation for him to play the outfield regularly. The Orioles are well aware of Pearce's limitations, and the last thing they would need is for him to get injured again playing the outfield.

In center field, there's Jones. He'll be there for the next couple of years as long as he's healthy. The O's do view Rickard as a viable backup center fielder, so it's not a requirement that whomever they sign has those defensive skills. But it wouldn't hurt.

In left field, there's Kim. If you read this site often or follow me on Twitter (sorry), you know I've questioned (relentlessly, you might say) why Kim wasn't playing more often. He led the team in on-base percentage by a wide margin, was one of the team's only options to diversify a power-heavy lineup, and isn't necessarily just a platoon bat (as argued by Jon last week). Perhaps defensive limitations led to him not playing more. According to Defensive Runs Saved data, he was a -13 defender. For reference, Trumbo was -11, Jones was -10, and Rickard was -8. You know Trumbo is a bad outfielder, and also that the advanced metrics are not always kind to Jones. For Kim and Rickard, that's only one season's worth of data (and not a full season for either). Kim has a bad arm, but I have a hard time seeing him as that terrible in the field. The same goes for Rickard.

Regardless, Kim showed that his hit tool plays in the major leagues. The O's need to take advantage of having him under contract for one more season and deploy him more often. His on-base skills are a must at the top of the lineup -- I'd bat Kim first and Machado second -- and it's worth giving him extended at-bats to see if he can tread water against left-handed pitching. Batting him leadoff against right-handed pitching but ninth against left-handers would not be unreasonable. It's not a perfect option, but even sticking him in the lineup at DH wouldn't be terrible.

With Kim in left and Jones in center, that means Rickard needs a platoon partner in right field. A full-time right fielder would be wonderful, but with only about $20 million to spend, that doesn't seem likely. There are some enticing names for sure -- Dexter Fowler, Ian Desmond, Josh Reddick -- but they are too expensive (plus, there's little to no chance Fowler ever dons an Orioles uniform after last offseason's drama).

So here are a few left-handed bats that could make sense, with their BORAS projections in parentheses:

Michael Saunders (two years, $20M)
Colby Rasmus (two years, $23M)
Brandon Moss (one year, $9.5M)
Matt Joyce (one year, $9M)
Jon Jay (two years, $20M)
Jay Bruce (one year, $7M)
Michael Bourn (minors deal, up to $6.5M in incentives)

Out of those options, my first choice would be Moss (though Jay is intriguing as a more versatile defensive outfielder and Bruce is pretty cheap). Moss is a decent enough outfielder (and able to play first base as well) who can hit. I don't want any part of Saunders or Joyce as regular outfielders, and Rasmus on any kind of multiyear deal is kind of scary. It also seems that if the O's were truly sold on him before, they would have brought him on board a couple years ago. Still, Moss will probably command a multiyear offer of some kind, and a fit doesn't seem all that likely.

I'm not a huge proponent of Michael Bourn, but it's easy to see how he would again fit on this team. He demonstrated that in limited time after the team acquired him on August 31. I'm not sure he'll get a minor league deal, but he shouldn't cost much. And it's hard not to like the speed and decent glove, even if his bat is a concern.

Thanks in part to a ridiculous .471 BABIP, Bourn actually hit better against left-handed pitching than right-handed pitching last season (122 wRC+ vs. 69). But career wise, he's better against right-handers (92 wRC+ vs. 76). Neither of those is great, but the main reason to sign Bourn isn't his bat. He'd serve as the second piece of an interesting (though surely not great) platoon with Rickard, and he'd also be a nice defensive and baserunning option late in games.

For the fifth outfielder/bench bat, I'd either sign someone to a minor league/minimum deal or give someone like Dariel Alvarez a shot. He doesn't seem like any kind of answer at the plate, but the glove seems adequate in corner outfield (and he has an outstanding arm). Barring injury, he wouldn't play much anyway.

Designated Hitter

Possible DH options:

Mike Napoli (1 year, $10M)
Adam Lind (1 year, $8M)
Pedro Alvarez (1 year, $8M)

I feel pretty strongly on this one: The Orioles need someone who can hit left-handed pitching after a disastrous year against southpaws.

Could that guy be Trey Mancini? It would be fantastic if that guy could be Trey Mancini. But I'd feel more confident in someone like Mike Napoli (career 142 wRC+ vs. LHP), or even Pearce (career 130 wRC+ vs. LHP). BORAS has Pearce at three years and $39 million, which seems far-fetched. After undergoing surgery on his right forearm, Pearce may indeed be in the market for another one-year deal.

Napoli turns 35 soon, so there's always the chance he could fall off the proverbial cliff. Not every DH ages like David Ortiz (thankfully). He'll also want a multiyear deal, but that doesn't seem all that likely for someone with his skill-set.

I like Pedro Alvarez, and it wouldn't be a surprise at all to see him return. If/when Trumbo departs, the Orioles could definitely use another big bat, even if it's a left-handed one. I'd prefer Napoli, though.


Jason Castro (2 years, $20M)
Kurt Suzuki (1 year, $8M)
Alex Avila (2 years, $20M)

You know what isn't much to work with in free agency? $20 million. I guess this is how the Tampa Bay Rays and Oakland A's feel every year. With Bourn and Napoli on board, the O's could have anywhere from $4 to $6 million (maybe) to spend. That's not a lot.

In terms of a catching duo, it would be nice to have a left-handed hitting catcher to pair with Joseph. Castro or Avila would present an interesting fit, but the money might not be there. If the O's went with Mancini as the regular DH over Napoli or Pearce, etc., then yes, it would be. Other than that, there aren't a whole lot of options.

Maybe the likeliest alternative is a reunion with one-time Oriole Nick Hundley. Hundley is an OK hitter for a catcher but not a well-regarded defender or pitch framer. He's also 33 and just completed a two-year, $6.25 million deal, so he shouldn't cost much. As the superior defensive option, Joseph should receive the majority of the playing time.


Would you be happy with an offseason where the most notable additions are Mike Napoli, Michael Bourn, and Nick Hundley? No, probably not. But that's what can happen when you have a few players on hefty contracts and also a handful of good players going through arbitration. Money gets tight in a hurry.

Even still, having Napoli and Bourn around for an entire season should help the O's in two important areas: hitting left-handers and outfield defense. And getting creative with a pitching trade or two or choosing to give Mancini an extended look would free up some money to use, most likely for a better outfield option. The Orioles surely can't afford any of the expensive outfield options, but it would be a bonus to have a regular corner outfielder playing who is actually useful with the glove.

If the Orioles are going to again approach the 90-win mark and make a push for the playoffs, in all likelihood they'll need to rely on a hopefully improved starting rotation; better seasons from Chris Davis, Adam Jones, and Caleb Joseph; and another dominant year from the bullpen. When you look at it that way, it's far from unreasonable.


Roger said...

One thing the O's could do is an about face and trade Gallardo for a competitive balance pick. That would be a neat trick.

You are putting to little stock in Mancini (and, possibly, Walker). When you have a resource - especially a cheap one - for God's sake use it! The Orioles, as we know, develop few players in the minors, yet each season seem to come up with one or two significant contributors. This season there were three - Hart, Rickard, and Mancini (to varying degrees). Next season maybe Walker, Wright or Wilson, Lee, Aquino, or Sisco may be ready sometime during the season. The out of options pitchers surely need to go (Worley and McFarland), but the four I mentioned above all compare well and all have options plus two LHP and two RHP. Walker could be another Pearce at some point in his career.

Stop it with the Napoli thing, though, bad risk and most likely to stay put. If you want to look outside, Jay Bruce is the one to look for. It's perfect that he faded - makes him more reasonably priced. A good first half from him (like Trumbo) could be a way to ease Mancini in without too much pressure. Also, signing Bourn is a great idea - a more passable backup CF than Rickard.

All of this would not only allow the O's to not give up draft picks this time but maybe to acquire as many as two extra. By all accounts the last draft was not so bad with Sedlock, Akin, and Hays.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

How would the O's trade Gallardo for a competitive balance pick? The team acquiring the pick is the team that's going to eat salary (usually a few million). I'm also not sure why a team giving up that pick would have interest in Gallardo.

You might be right about Mancini. He looked great when given a chance; I'm just not sure I'd go with him over a proven bat. I hope he's able to contribute.

Napoli might stay put, but he might not. I'm not sure how a one-year deal is bad risk, though.

Jon Shepherd said...

As the person who will have to figure all this out at the end, I aim to be somewhat active in the comments section for each of these blueprints.

The first moment of apprehension is the offering of QOs to both Wieters and Trumbo. My basic formula for a QO is whether the QO is half or more of the expected total salary coming back to a player. BORAS thinks very little of both of them, so it advises a no. That no stems from Wieters injuries and Trumbo's poor performance over the entirety of his last three years. The club has enough buffer to shoulder one of them, but not both if they accept. An acceptance means the club probably sends out one of Gallardo/Jimenez/Miley along with someone like Hyun Soo Kim to even things out (which kills the main premise, but a Rickard/Jones/Trumbo outfield with league minimum help is not the worst thing). It would not be catastrophic to go into 2017 with the same 2016 team, but it is a level of belief I do not exactly share in the guys who suited up in orange last year.

Moving on, I wonder if Hundley is better than the in house fringe options at Norfolk. I would probably lean on a half-half with Joseph and one of those guys (Pena, probably) instead of Hundley. Napoli is a solid bat though I wonder if Mancini and someone like Castro makes more sense than Hundley and Napoli. Bourn looks like a solid option with flexibility and a short commitment.

I like the blueprint and can live with what I think is the worst case scenario. I am not completely sold on Hundley, which I think you probably are not either. Napoli probably is the only real contention I have and it is a mild one.

This is a good first piece for the other writers to try to overcome.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

Yup, that all makes sense. I have no issue if anyone does not want to risk the QO with Trumbo or Wieters. But if the O's can handle that type of temporary payroll increase, I think it's a fit to take one more shot with this collection of players. Obviously if that cost requires someone like Kim to be shown the door, then yeah, it's not the smartest thing.

Pip said...

Thanks, Matt, really enjoyed this, and really enjoy this entire concept.
Couple things:
1) Given the extreme cost of bringing Alvarez back, and the budget crunch, it would be wiser to let him walk. Alvarez has a good eye and can draw a walk, but was only worth 1.1 War and is utterly useless in the field. Go with Mancini instead. Even if he's bad, he'll only cost league minimum.
2) Stay away from Hundley. He's terrible defensively and would cost more than he would return. Find another good defender at C and welcome any offense as a bonus.
3) I'm quite ambivalent about the QO to Wieters. He wasn't worth 15.2, he certainly won't be worth 17, and we need the money. But if he accepts, we will get a known quantity and have continuity in terms of working with the staff. Minor issues, but it isn't all one way. I think the risk is worth it.
(Giving a QO to Trumbo is a no-brainer)
4) If money is REALLY that big an issue, non-tender Flaherty and bring him back on a minor league contract, although I think someone like Oakland would be happy to have such a versatile utility guy with some pop. If he leaves, go with Janish.
5) Gallardo was a terrible acquisition, even at the time. There was no justification for it and he has been terrible. That means Gallardo has very little value, but someone will take a flyer on him.
His contract is sunk cost. Getting back any of it would be a benefit. So I suggest trying to dump as much of Gallardo's contract as possible and keeping Worley.
Worley was acceptable for much less money. Keeping him for ~5 mill and dumping Gallardo while saving ~5-6 mill or more on Gallardo's contract would result in better pitching performance and some budget relief.
6) trade Britton.
This is also a no-brainer. Elite relievers are fetching astonishing returns. Ken Giles and Kimbrel returned a ton. Chapman-he of the off-field problems-and Melancon brought a King's Ransom for only 1/2 season. Britton has two seasons left before FA, each at an excellent cost per WAR, and would leave a draft pick behind if he walked in free agency. He might be the best reliever ever offered.
The Rangers, Giants, Nationals, Mariners, among others, have money to pay, players( MLB-ready and near-ready prospects, though not so much in the Seattle farm)to trade, and a great need for an elite closer.
And Britton was quite literally perfect. If anyone will bring the farm, it's Britton.
Thanks for reading, I hope there's some reasonable suggestions here.

Unknown said...

None of those FA outfielders fill the need we need on offense. Bruce, Rasmus, both swing and miss guys, who at best give us 1/2 of Trumbo's production, but do little in other areas of the needs of the O's offense. Pass.

Not a huge fan of Napoli, but he is a winner, crushes lefties, and takes walks. If we could sign him, I will be good with it. His OBP makes up for his low BA. Fly ball hitters at OPACY seem to have great years.

Britton should absolutely be traded. Since the minor league system has been trashed and we are cashed strapped, we could possibly get an outfielder for now and the future, in a potential deal. Allowing us to relieve ourselves of Bourne, Reimold, or any other AAAA outfielder we have had the last 2 seasons.

The problem is there are many closers on the market, lowering Britton's value. I am afraid waiting until the break might be our best bet.

Yes, the Gallardo deal was bad. Worse than the Jimenez deal and that is saying something. The Snider deal could turn out worse than both. Time will tell.

To be honest most of 2017 relies on Gausman and Bundy. Our roster won't be as good as 2016 and that wasn't good enough. IF they are able to take another small step forward, we could make some noise, in the AL East.

Pip said...

There are several desirable relievers on the market, but none as appealing as Britton, and all more expensive, and Wade Davis is older and injured. Britton is only 28, has two more years before FA, is not too expensive, regardless of how you calculate cost, and would bring back a draft pick when he himself enters free agency.
He is by far the most desirable among the available relievers, and every team would prefer him above the others. Every team will call the Orioles before trying anything else. Being perfect will do that for you.
He would bring back more than any reliever. He could bring back prospects plus MLB-ready players, including a genuine outfielder.
Napoli is wasted money. He hits ok, but money is an issue, so better to try Mancini.

tony2302 said...

no one expected Pete to dish out how much he did for Davis,but he did.i know there is little to zero chance of him doing this ,BUT, is there the possibility of the organization to just simply say "okay, we screwed up," and just release Gallardo,eat his contract and still use that money for next year? maybe make a deal with him to defer his contract over a couple years or so and letting him become a FA. pretty sure it will never happen but who knows. plus if everyone actually thinks the Orioles will have no chance to re-sign Manny to a long term deal and he goes somewhere else in a couple years, as much as i hate to say this but, why not trade him now? teams aren't going to give up much in a trade the season of his walk year so...

whjoe said...

Nice, fun premise for your article. I start here.
DFA-Flaherty, Riemold, Stubbs, Worley, McFarland.
FA's- Trumbo, Weiters, Alvarez, Pearce.
Do not pick up 12mil option for Bourn. No QO's for Weiters or Trumbo.
Right there is 34.5mil in 2016 salary cut. Last year pay roll 144mil active. So if my calculations are correct. They are sitting at 110mil. If you say maybe 160mil for next year. That is roughly 50mil. Minus 18mil in arb for Tillman, Britton, Machado, Brach, Schoop.
We will say 30 mil in spending room.
FA's; 1. Sign Stephen Drew. Made 3mil with Nat's. Offer him 1yr 2.5 club option 1.5 year 2. He hits right handers really well, bats left and can play 3 spots. Decent OBP.If he could play 75 games at just 2nd,3rd and SS he would save wear and tear on infield. The left handed bat that can make contact makes him a bigger plus than Flaherty.
2. John Jay played real well for the Padres this year. Steady career. Played for 6mil last year. I think he could be had at 3 years at 9.5 per. I don't believe he is a QO guy. But good, OBP, RSIP guy. Might pay a little more if needed.
3. Re sign Pedro Alvarez as lefty DH at 2yrs 17mil. He can tag team with Mancini as
4. Steve Pearce I think could be signed for about 3 mil. He gives you some power to platoon with Kim and be a super sub guy.
5. Jason Castro catcher. He played for 5mil last year but did not have good season with the bat. 2012 and 13 hit well. He only threw runners out at a 37% clip. Maybe
Russell can make him better. 3 for 9mil he becomes back up to Sisco in 2 yrs.
Still leaves some change for a reliever with options or some DFA's from another team. They have some decent relief arms that are home grown with options in the minors as well.
I think this makes sense because Jimenez and Gallardo are going no where. I am of the thought these 2 will show up with a real sense of urgency to prove they might be worth a deal from somebody else for 2018.
With Bundy they should still proceed with caution. My plan would be to start him like this year and then insert into the rotation to bump him up to about 140 innings. 18-20 starts.
As far as Britton goes. I would not part with him. Let him relieve again this year
than bring him back to the rotation for 2019. I think Givens will have the make up to assume that role by then.
Just my take.

Roger said...

Lif would be pretty great if the O's could get through Arb for $18M. The total is really going to be about $40M ($33M for Britton, Machado, and Tillman). Kinda shoots all the other options away. You have to QO Trumbo; Wieters is a risk.

Honestly, if you QO Trumbo and lose him, and let Wieters, Alvarez, and Worley go (along with McFarland and Flaherty and Reimold) and let Joseph/Pena catch and Mancini DH, then you have to fill RF, Util If, and some potential platoon bats to fill the roster and go with the pitching you have. The best way to roll the dice with one big signing is Desmond. Not only is he a great fill for RF with no platoon but he moves right into SS if Hardy is injured allowing for a decent platoon of Walker/Bourn in RF. Desmond's versatility and high offensive output is a perfect fit. Beyond that trying to pick up Bruce is not just a "swing and miss" guy because he is capable of decent defense. He's an excellent risk because you get improved RF defense and another potential rebound bat and a LH. With all their pitching injuries maybe the Mets would go for a Bruce/Gallardo swap especially if they re-sign Cespedes. The Tigers might be in line for a Trumbo/Clevenger type swap because of their desire to dump salary maybe something like Walker for JD Martinez and O's pay all the salary?

I would love to see the O's do some sort of bad contract salary exchange with Gallardo with a team desperate for pitching but stuck with an extra player on a bad contract. Not sure who that would be (maybe Tigers?) but teams like the Braves seem to be able to do this very well.

Roger said...

Also, trading Britton for a team who is trying to compete is not a possibility. Teams trading lockdown closers are ones who don't expect to "win now" (see Kimbrel, Craig twice now and Miller/Chapman too). When the O's let JJohnson go, it was not just to save money but there were real questions about whether he was worth the raise and the results have shown he was not. He produces good results most times but is not at all reliable. There is no comparison with JJ and Britton. Even now, he is getting $4.5M not $10M+ after two years of being paid much less than that. Trading a closer like Britton is the last, not first, step in a total rebuild. Also, if the O's were willing to pay Davis than they will certainly be willing to pay Machado. Machado stays. They paid Adam Jones before Davis too.

Matt Kremnitzer said...


You didn't have to do all that salary math. It's discussed above!

Anyway, I don't think it's realistic that the O's could bring in all of Jon Jay, Steve Pearce, Pedro Alvarez, AND Jason Castro. I think you're pretty low on some of those salaries.

whjoe said...

Hey Roger,
Where do you see an arbitration increase of 30mil? These guys will get about a 4 to 5mil increase. Machado, Tillman, Britton. Gausman, Brach and Schoop will get about 1 each.
In my post I tried to stay away from hypothetical trades because hard to be objective about those. Why would the Tigers trade a 29 yr old 300 hitter for a minor leaguer with no position? Although I would love to see him in RF everyday. Bruce is not much of a trade chip either. Just looked at O's FA's and other MLB FA's for my take. I have no clue who another team might be willing to trade.
Where did you see a Joseph/Pena at catcher? Wouldn't bother me much for 1 season but not optimal.
Bourn has a 12mil option for next year, keeping him is not a good use of salary. Bruce is another 125 to 150 strikeout candidate on a team full of guys like that. As much as I like Desmond, Another 150 strikeout guy. And will fetch more than they are willing to pay.
This line up needs some contact hitters that can help turn the line up over and raise pitch counts of opposing pitchers. That to me is the key for them next year.
I still don't believe there was much of a market for Davis last year and I don't think there is for Trumbo either. Trumbo is a guy that should be platooned and not see the light of day against lefties. .173 this year.
Nobody wants Gallardo or Jimenez. And they are going to need 1 of these 2 to eat up some starts at the beginning of the season. I imagine after seeing Strasburg and a few others that have had set backs after TJ surgery they don't want Bundy pitching 30 starts 180 innings next year. After 14 and 109 this year. And until Wright can control himself and Wilson gets stronger and finds a better 3rd pitch I wouldn't want to run them out there right now.
I would love to see them play some younger guys this year.
But I do love the banter back and forth talking baseball.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

No one is advocating bringing back Bourn for $12 million, and that won't happen anyway. His 2017 option is a vesting option, and it only would have kicked in if he received 550 plate appearances last season. He didn't hit that mark, so he'll be a free agent. The goal with re-signing Bourn is to bring him back at a much lower cost. If not, move on.

Trumbo is not a platoon bat.

Career vs. LHP: 113 wRC+
Career vs. RHP: 110 wRC+

Looking at one year's worth of splits data can be interesting -- and yes, things can change -- is sometimes misleading and isn't all that helpful. It is weird, though, just how bad he was against left-handed pitching last year. This past year evened up his career splits a bit.

Jon Shepherd said...

Ignoring deferrments, using baseball reference and the MLBTR arbitration estimates, not non-tendering anyone, letting all FA go, and not filling in the rest of the roster. I get 143.895 MM.

I am unsure where your math is coming from.

Jon Shepherd said...

If we choose to minus deferments from the payroll total, then we have to do that for last season, too. That would drop the payroll about 10 MM or so.

Pip said...

Roger, with all due respect, I strongly disagree. Yes Britton is very desirable. Losing him would result in a weaker bullpen.
But the dropoff wouldn't be extreme, and the return would easily surpass anything significant relievers have brought in the past. Chapman brought TWO king's ransoms in one season for less than a full season, and he won't give a draft pick to the old team when he signs with the new one. Plus, he has considerable baggage. Britton is far superior.
The Dodgers will probably resign Kenley Jansen, but Britton is more desirable and better and as young as or younger than anybody else on the market. Papelbon signed for 4/50. Britton could be had for 2/25 or thereabouts(his remaining arbitration salary) PLUS when/if he left, the team would get a draft pick in return and there's always the possibility he'd sign an extension.
That is wildly better than any reliever on the market. Who wouldn't give up a lot to get that?
Yes, trading Britton is an absolute no-brainer.
Some folks have suggested waiting till the trade deadline before moving him, but waiting is one of the Oriole fatal flaws. Don't wait.
Trade him now. You can get two solid right-now players plus 2-3 top peospects(based on recent trades such as Giles, Chapman, Kimbrel) and the result will be a much better overall team and possibly some money saved as well.

whjoe said...

Good points. Agreed with Bourn on how to bring back and thanks for that info about Bourn contract details! I thought it was a mutual vesting option deal. I like this guy and he has a little in the tank left. Seems like a good fit with them. I saw his non pro rated salary for o's was 507,000. They actually paid him 91,000 for the stretchrun. What a deal right? Maybe he would sign for Reimold spot money?
Yea that 173 for Trumbo vs LHP was big down swing. But Arizona limited his AB's against lefties at least 1 season. I just would spend at least 17m differently.If you could sign him to 3 year club friendly contract that the # looked good that last year would be nice!!!
I took MLB active salary 144m minus 6 guys salaries 36m and came up with 108m. That's a 52m difference. Somebody responded how are you gonna replace 6 guys?
Jon said maybe bump salary to 160m. 144m is the # the media gives because that is
the salary cap total. O's spent 156m on player related payments 2016.
I don't think ARB is going to bump Tillman from an annual salary of 6.225m more than
5-6m. Do you? The 1 that might be bothering me is Brach. He could get a 1m or 3m for
all I know.
The money makes it so much fun. Wrong! But it's always fun to talk baseball.

whjoe said...

Matt , I meant 52m was the difference between my # and the bump to 160m Jon
put forth.

whjoe said...

MLB has them at 144m active last year. But total was 156m.
I thought they were starting at 104m for 2017 as of today.
But MLB says 95m. I did not factor in Pearce pro rated 1.6m,
Hunter,Stubbs and Bourns 507k guys of the like on their roster.
Side note. I read this because I love your occasional minor league
scouting reports from Norfolk. Great stuff.
We go to about 10-15 games a year between MLB and minors(bowie).
If you need some cell phone video from Bowie next year let me know.

Roger said...

whjoe, look at that MLBTR article again. Shows Machado, Tillman, and Britton all about $10M-$11M each this year in Arb.

whjoe said...

Even if they lose every arbitration I am thinking about 45/46m total salary for these guys. Also, I probably DFA Flaherty. They should still have at least 20m to play with.
But if you add in arb estimate and guaranteed salary for next year. Your still looking at 140m right. About 20m there. Not included in that 144m 2016 is another 15m which is the real budget. Pearce's 1.6mpro rated they paid him can be found there.
I still think they can add Jay, Alvarez and Drew. Like I said, I am even ok with Pena
and Joseph next year. Heck Patrick said less for Alvarez than I did, and Nate is right where I was on John Jay. I think these 3 can be signed for less than BORAS numbers if offered different type 2 and 3 yr deals. A guy like Drew might like some
piece of mind at his age. We are all close on numbers it just semantics. I will leave it alone if you will. Rather talk players.