03 May 2018

Colby Rasmus and the Best One Year Orioles Contracts

The Orioles roster, over the years, has experienced a few remarkable one year players.  This past off-season, the club was hoping that Colby Rasmus would find himself in that realm of great performances passing through.  There was some doubt though.  Rasmus has had a rather uneven career and cut a promising year short last year with an injured hip.  As he entered Spring Training, a number of questions were raised.  Can he still hit?  Is a solely a platoon player?  Will his defense carry him?

The season began with Rasmus looking positively dreadful at the plate.  In 23 times standing in the batters box, he struck out on 13 occasions.  When he connected with the ball, not much happened.  He then went on the DL with a hip issue.  At this point, it appears that his season with the Orioles might well be done with him sitting at -0.2 bWAR.

So who have given the franchise great single seasons?
Player     bWAR       From
Reggie Jackson 5.3 1976
Nelson Cruz 4.6 2014
Kevin Brown 4.3 1995
Mike Torrez 3.5 1975
Bob Turley 1954
David Wells 2.9 1996
Mark Eichhorn 2.6 1994
Welington Castillo 2.1 2017
Roric Harrison 1.9 1972
Chris Singleton 1.8 2002
Kris Benson 2006
Reggie Jackson should not be a surprise.  Reggie was a world talent back in 1996.  The Orioles dealt for a disgruntled Jackson on an Athletics team looking to shed money.  The Orioles were looking to upgrade their own last season of a special player, Don Baylor.  Similar to the Athletics, the Orioles had no interest in paying big bucks either.  Jackson, full of brass, never really fit the Orioles clubhouse and had a terrible relationship with the club the entire season.  That said, when on the field, he was gold.

Kevin Brown, perhaps the greatest pitcher ever that people have largely forgotten about, came to the Orioles after the 1994 strike was resolved.  The Orioles were a hot destination.  Angelos paid well and players appreciated his hard stance against using replacement players.  In a time of exploding offense, Brown felt good, but not great during his single season.  In hindsight, he was a solid option for the Orioles and one who would do greater things when he moved on to the Marlins and Dodgers.

Now, I am greatly familiar with every name on this list.  Except one.  I saw Roric Harrison's name and thought, "Who?"  The Orioles acquired Harrison for Marcelino Lopez, an intriguing swing starter who was far more intriguing than good.  Harrison then had a dominant year in the minors for the Orioles in 1971 with 10 complete games in 24 starts.  The club then brought him up to the Majors the following season as a bullpen piece that would get some swing experience.  He was a solid reliever, but the club questioned his ability to start and they already had several veteran starters they trusted.

Instead, the club decided to improve upon catcher Johnny Oates, but dealing Oates, Harrison, Pat Dobson, and Davey Johnson to the Braves for Earl Williams and Taylor Duncan.  However, Williams appeared to have peaked with the Braves in his early 20s and did not provide the Orioles with what they wanted.  Duncan had some decent years in the minors, but was released in 1977 at the age of 24 after slashing 301/374/506.  Other teams scrambled to claim him, but he never amounted to much in the majors.  For some reason, he changed his approach at the plate and was very aggressive after leaving Baltimore.

Anyway, it was not exactly one of the Orioles better deals.  Though the Braves fortunes were fairly short-lived as well.


Pip said...

Surprised to not see Nate Mclouth on this list. I guess he was good but not great. He certainly remains one of my favorites.

O's Brose said...

No Mark Reynolds and the magic toe?!?!?!?

Happy Fun Miles said...

@PTCello - McLouth was here for two season (2012 & 2013)

Jan Frel said...

Mark Eichorn is quite notable in that he put up 2.6 WAR as a RELIEVER. He was incredible