13 December 2017

How to Compete without Manny Machado (or not)

This time was to come. We all knew it would happen, eventually.  Good things always end and end more quickly for some.  Manny Machado was going to leave at some point, sooner or later.  Apparently, much sooner than later. 

Last year's increase in payroll led to dreams of a 160-180 MM roster.  The idea that a top ten payroll was indeed sustainable even though the Orioles market area is 25th out of 30 in all of baseball.  That the Baltimore area has not felt that rejuvenating economic jolt that other places have experienced.  That the club's owner demands the club pay for itself after his free wheeling mid-90s spending sprees.  That viewership and attendance has not performed as well as one would hope for a club like that Orioles who largely depend on revenue from those sources.  Perhaps, it was all a grand delusion.

So Manny is leaving, soon or sooner.

Using FanGraphs estimates, the Orioles are roughly an 81 win team (assuming a neutral division, which we know is an optimistic assumption).  Counting deferred pay and buy outs, the Orioles appear to be sitting with a payroll of around 115 MM with perhaps 15 MM in room to spend, so a 130 MM payroll limit.

Losing Manny and replacing him with a replacement level player would be a loss of 5 wins and payroll sinking to 98 MM.  If we assume that the Orioles strike gold and deal him for two cost-controlled 1.5 WAR pitchers, then the team will sit at a 99 MM payroll and 79 wins.

The club could fill in third base with Todd Frazier at around 12 MM a year and push the win total back to 81 wins.  Add in Jaime Garcia, knocking out some inferior pitching, for 12 MM to be at 83 wins.  Slide in Jarrod Dyson as a left handed outfielder in place of Joey Rickard and see the club sit at 84 wins and a payroll of around 128 MM.

Maybe you get adventurous and slip into a fever dream, finding a salary dump location for Mark Trumbo.  Trey Mancini moves into the designated hitter role.  Adam Jones sucks it up and moves to left field.  The club signs Lorenzo Cain for 15 MM a year.  That pushes the win total up to 86 wins.

86 wins.  That is where you can whisper playoff aspirations if everything hits right.  Oh, wait, maybe Buck is still worth about three wins a year.  So, 89 wins.  I am light-headed.

Maybe it all works out.


Rob said...

I threw this out there on Camden Chat, but what would you think about R.A. Dickey on a one year deal? Instead of someone like Tillman?

Jon Shepherd said...

I like RA Dickey but he is not really a Buck guy. Slow to the glove.

Anonymous said...

I love a little optimism here. What you propose could work if the O's and DD could pull it off. As you know, I was already all in on Garcia and Dyson as excellent fits for the O's. If they get a solid MLB SP in the Machado deal and sign Frazier like you mentioned, it could work out. Manny is a great player and I would love to see the O's turn him into Brooks/Palmer/Ripken and ultimately give him a statue outside OPACY, but that may not be a possible scenario in today's world. But I tell you, as soon as he switches teams, there's likely not going to be any statues of him in front of any stadium.