26 October 2017

Blueprint for the 2018 Orioles (Option #8): Can I Have More Money?

Once the Orioles stop playing, we begin playing around with the roster and look toward the next year. The Depot's Blueprint Series tries to take a well focused look as to what the potential solutions are to what ails the club. A subset of our writers take part in this exercise and we invite our readership to submit their own ideas. Below is our third reader submission. This submission is from Roger H.

This is our last blueprint option.  I will now be sorting through the recommendations to formulate the "site" plan.


All of the roster recommendations have pretty much followed the same initial assumptions with the exception of one Britton non-tender and a Trumbo release.  I’ll not do either and just start from the same base everyone else has of $113.5M in contract obligations.  The leaves $41.5M to spend on the rest of the roster.  

I am going to start from a base of the following: C. Davis, A. Jones, Trumbo, O’Day, Machado, Britton, Schoop, Gausman, Brach, Beckham, Joseph, Bundy, Mancini, Givens, M. Castro, Bleier, Hart, Sisco, Santander, Rule 5 (or Joey Rickard or Ryan Flaherty only at minimum).

That is a total of $118 spent and $37M left to spend and five roster spots to fill.

First, about primary needs.  We all know the SP issue, but OF defense, speed, predominant RH lineup, and consistency (avoiding team hitting slumps) are also issues.  Many of these overlap so there is hope.  One other item I’d like to address is the future.  Everything I see from the bloggers say either trade the stars or the O’s fall off a cliff.  I personally think the O’s should also be planning for the next year and build a team Machado might want to stay on.  Plan for a COF role for Adam even if he is re-signed.  I would like to have some faith the O’s could be competitive next year too (e.g. like the Beckham move).

With all of the above in mind, here are the FA’s I would buy into
  • Jarrod Dyson at the revised price of 2/16
  • Jaime Garcia at 2/22.9
  • Alex Cobb at 3/31.1
  • Chris Tillman at 1/3
  • Eduardo Nunez at 2/20.8

This adds up to $43.3M.  This is $6M over budget.  I’ll address this later.

Here’s the logic.  Dyson is the CF we need to convince Adam Jones that it’s time to move to COF.  Even Adam could not look at the statistics and argue the point.  Adam can still be an above average COF and he can still play CF against tough lefties.  Dyson is also a LH OF and adds speed which could be the key to avoiding the team slumps.  And a two year contract is enough to hopefully bridge the gap until a successful Mullins can be integrated into the lineup (or Hays if he can play CF).

Garcia is better than his statistics.  He had some real stretches of dominance last year and was never really bad.  In fact, he is an elite 4-inning pitcher until you notice the ERA of 9.51 in the fifth inning.  My guess is that many of those runs were given up by a Braves bullpen that couldn’t put out fires although he did give up most of his HRs in the 5th.  If he makes it through the 5th (specifically the third time through the lineup) then he is good for the full 100+ plus pitches in 6-7 innings.  Using Joseph as his personal catcher would be a good idea to keep his walks down.

I choose Cobb over Lynn because I think Cobb has more upside but this is one area where we could save money by going with Lynn over Cobb.  Plus, signing Cobb for three years vs. Lynn for two makes more of a commitment to the future with a pitcher who could be a third stud better than even Gausman or Bundy.  On the other hand, signing Lynn would save $1.2M leaving us only $5M over budget.  Signing Lynn and eliminating Tillman in favor of Ynoa or Yefry Ramirez would pretty much solve the roster cost overage.  That’s what I’d do to stay within the rules of this exercise.  I just don’t think that is the best way to go.

With regards to Tillman, his bad season is actually the best thing that could have happened with regards to next year.  There is no one on the FA agent list with more upside potential even if he just pitches up to his average statistics, which I think he can.  The O’s must splurge on a make-good one year contract for Tillman.  With Ramirez and Ynoa and Castro in the fold (along with the whole list of AAAA pitchers at Norfolk), the risk with Tillman as a #5 is miniscule.

Finally, I can’t believe no one is jumping on Nunez.  He played every position last year except C, 1B, and CF.  He could get nearly a full year’s worth of ABs by rotating through the IF and OF giving everyone a rest one day a week (especially Jones).  Not to mention, as a former All Star, he has the potential to step right in for the eventual injured starter.  His batting line was superb for a super util.  Further, he could play 3B reasonably if Machado does bolt next year (another Beckham-ish signing).  With Mullins, Hays, and Mountcastle getting closer, there is hope if we have a bridge to get there.

That brings us to the elephant in the room.  Hays should begin at AAA with the current roster situation but trading Trumbo should be a priority to clear a roster spot for Hays.  If Santander doesn’t perform within 45 days then he can be sent to AAA and Hays brought up.  Once Hays is brought up, the need to make space for him forces Trumbo to sit or get traded.  Further, a trade straight up for a prospect of any sort would clear enough payroll to get under the $155M cap assigned here.  Or he can be traded for someone else’s problem that’s not an OF/1B, preferably a pitcher.  Trading Trumbo for the veritable bucket of balls might be OK if you really want to clear salary.

Also, I think the O’s should aggressively negotiate with Britton to extend him at a lower AAV (maybe 3/34 (10M/12M/12M)?).  Getting him down to $10M for next year would surely also solve the budget overage.  And the Dyson logic (platoon/part-time player) could also apply to Nunez.  Or he could be offered an escalating contract at a lower AAV for next year.


Unknown said...

Sogard is off the board, no longer a utility candidate. Reupped with the Brewers today.

Unknown said...

Cobb, and Lynn are out of O's price range, by far. Lynn was already quoted as looking for 4 yr, 80 mill range. pete would not even dream that.

Anonymous said...

Elisabeth, Jon gave us the parameters for designing the options using BORAS which has apparently been pretty accurate. I don't disagree that it seems like some of these pitchers might make more or that they wouldn't ask for more but BORAS predicts the end results. Lynn is not going to get $20M AAV. Period.

Pip said...

I made a comment yesterday but it seems not to have posted.
I liked this one very much except:
No Britton extension. Trade him for best return(which sadly isn't much) and sign Brandon Kintzler, who is a ground ball pitcher and would cost less and sign for 2 or three years. You get a low-calorie replacement for Britton, better cost structure and additional years.
No planet in the Big U contains anyone who would trade for Trumbo.
Break camp with him, because contract, and trade him the heartbeat he improves enough to have value. If he doesn't, eat the money and dump him.

rmjoe said...

cobb has already turned down qualifying offer of 18 mil from rays.
if ubaldo got 14 mil last year why would cobb pitch for less?

Pip said...

Joe, using Ubaldo in any kind of comparison is a bad idea.
It was a terrible contract that was unjustified.
Cobb is a steady pitcherband if healthy will produce consistent results.