13 December 2016

Arrivals and Departures (12/13/16): Post Winter Meeting World

The Orioles saw a flurry of activity last week that at first glance appears to be a shuffling of deck chairs on the U.S.S. Oriole.  Delving in a little deeper, there are justifications for each move.  A vacuum perspective finds that each of these new additions serve a need at a preferred cost.  That said, we do not live in a vacuum and moves in the previous weeks indicate that perhaps if the club was a bit more aggressive than maybe things would look a bit more shiny for 2017.  A few months remain to reconstitute this roster and there are players out there available for the taking.

That said, it is difficult not to notice around the AL East and see that each club is making significant additions.  The Yankees took on the formidable, but morally conflicting, Aroldis Chapman.  Boston decided to deal away near can't miss elite prospects in order to have and hold Chris Sale for three years.  The Blue Jays went to town with a Steve Pearce signing.  The Rays perhaps signed their greatest catcher ever in Wilson Ramos.  All were attached to other sizable moves that have yet to come to fruition.

For the Orioles, the rumor mill has circled the drain with fringe catchers in Nick Hundley and Welington Castillo and slightly splashier names in Michael Saunders and Ian Desmond.  That last one died a quick death as the Colorado Rockies signed Desmond to presumably and confusingly play first base.  The Orioles came out of the meetings with largely the same questions as they entered.  Who catches?  Who plays right field? And, perhaps, how does the pen get stronger?

Right field may have been answered with the Rule 5 acquisition of Anuery Tavarez, a 25yo left handed right fielder who had a cup of coffee in AAA last year.  He has largely existed outside of the world of prospect consideration, but showed a high contact rate, good speed, fringe power, and dependable defense.  Performance wise, he ended the year on a blistering pace while dominating right handed pitching in AA.  In an idea world, one could perhaps squint and see him as a dominant side platoon with Joey Rickard in right field.  However, be sure to take a breath because his breakout season last year was largely tied to a .381 BABIP.

More confusingly, the Orioles made a second selection in the Rule 5 by taking Cleveland's Anthony Santander.  Santander is raw.  Santander is not a right fielder.  Just 22, Santander has always had imposing power and a troubling injury history.  It appeared that he escaped the injury demon this year, but went under the knife to fix a shoulder injury in his throwing arm, which may sideline him into the year and perhaps make him fall under Rule 5 active roster rules in 2018 as well. 

Anyway, what once appeared to be a fringe defense right fielder has slid down the defensive spectrum to appear more like a first baseman with a very promising bat.  2016 saw him break out big with .204 ISO and a healthy 20 home run, 290/368/494 line in single A.  The basic word from scouts was that they would like to have him in their organization, but where do you keep him on an MLB roster and, especially, a playoff contending roster.

As we move forward, it is difficult to conclude that the club has answered any questions yet.  It is also difficult to conclude that the rumored additions the club is planning will make this team better than it was in 2016.  As we move into the middle of the offseason, a creeping awareness of the 2019 season is looming larger and larger.  The club as is really has not been constructed to be viable after 2018.  Contract status, free agent cost, and a dearth of talent in the minors really puts forward the importance of the next two years.  Perhaps, that is better left said a little further down the line though.

Below is the current 40 man roster with 37 out of 40 positions filled.

Options Remaining
Jayson Aquino 3/12/2014 3/7/2015 3/13/2016
Brad Brach 4/16/2012 5/18/2013 2/25/2014
Parker Bridwell 3/18/2016
Zach Britton  3/29/2011 6/6/2012 3/23/2013
Dylan Bundy  3/16/2013 3/14/2014 3/16/2015
Oliver Drake 3/15/2012 3/9/2015 3/31/2016
Yovani Gallardo 5+ Service
Jason Garcia 3/14/2016
Kevin Gausman 6/13/2013 3/29/2014 6/21/2015
Mychal Givens 6/25/2015
Joe Gunkel
Donnie Hart 7/24/2016
Ubaldo Jimenez 5+ Service
Chris Lee 3/18/2016
Jesus Liranzo
TJ McFarland 3/29/2014 4/5/2015 5/8/2016
Wade Miley 5+ Service
Darren O'Day 5+ Service
Chris Tillman 5+ Service
Tyler Wilson 3/28/2015 7/3/2016
Vance Worley 7/25/2010 3/18/2011 5/22/2013
Mike Wright 3/20/2015 6/2/2016
Caleb Joseph  
Francisco Pena 5/25/2016 3/22/2015 4/1/2016
Chris Davis  5+ Service
Ryan Flaherty  5+ Service
J.J. Hardy  5+ Service
Manny Machado 
Trey Mancini
Jonathan Schoop  3/23/2013
Daniel Alvarez 3/29/2016
Adam Jones  5+ Service
Hyun Soo Kim Player Approval
Joey Rickard
Anthony Santander Rule 5
Anuery Tavarez Rule 5
Christian Walker 3/16/2015 3/26/2016


Pip said...

And we added Logan Ondruscek(?) too! Inexplicable. He's terrible and not even left handed, and it's a major league contract.
We can't find better league minimum options?
Doesn't make sense.

Matt Kremnitzer said...

I'm not sure how worked up I'd get over a player signed for $625K.

Matt P said...

Worley was not offered arbitration and therefore no longer is in the Orioles organization.

The Orioles also have Logan Verrett and Adam Walker on the 40 man. Verrett used an option for 2015, but may not have been in the minors long enough to burn one for 2016 (I think he did). Walker has added to the Twins 40 man roster in 2016 (Nov 2015) and therefore has two options remaining.

Jon Shepherd said...

Thanks. I put the table together a week or so ago. Missed updating those.

Pip said...

The point isn't his cost, but his value. He takes a 40-man spot, he's right handed, and he was horrible last summer. There's no justification for bringing him back when there are surely other better gambles that could be had for the same money. I don't mind gambles, especially inexpensive ones, but this is foolish. Ondrascek has already shown he's not worth a spot, so why bring him back?

Anonymous said...

I thought it was a practical joke when the Ondrascek signing was mentioned! A MLcontract with an option?!?!?! Back up the garbage truck!

Matt Kremnitzer said...

As Dan Connolly mentioned yesterday, the Orioles can recoup some money before Opening Day if Ondrusek gets cut. That $650K is not all guaranteed (and the 2018 option is a club option), and I'm not sure why anyone would be worried about a 40-man spot. Plus, he'll have a minor league option for 2017. He might not be that good, but the team wants another look at him, it's a low-risk move, and there's flexibility.