So I haven’t posted any reactions to the Orioles latest moves and for that I am ashamed. So without further adieu I would like to do so now if that would be agreeable. Since you cannot answer me back I will just assume that it is.
As you know the Orioles inked Derrek Lee to a one year deal recently. This is a move that I have advocated since before the offseason began. In fact, I said (here and here, because I am a genius) a great offseason for me would be to sign Lee, and acquire Reynolds and Hardy. Maybe the Orioles front office reads the blog? Derrek Lee will be a nice short term solution for this year which will allow us to continue our search for a long term solution via trade. Yes, I said via trade, anyone getting their hopes up for signing Prince Fielder to a huge long term deal can just stop right now. It isn’t happening, and he’s fat… really fucking fat.
Lee is 35 and coming off of a down year by his standards, however there is still big upside to him. Just two years ago in 2009 Lee hit .306/.393/.579 with 35 homers. Lee was troubled by a thumb injury for most of last year and blames that for his loss of power. Still, Lee brings the ability to hit for average, hit for some power, and work the count all while playing great defense. These are all things the Orioles lineup lacks and he will be a welcome addition considering that as a team the Orioles hit .226/.289/.336 at first base last year. The best part of the deal was that it is only a one year commitment, so if he flops we aren’t on the hook after next year. The key part of this move is looking for a long term solution in the meantime, this is a great move if you are just trying to buy time but it is terrible if there is no plan to acquire a long term solution in the meantime. I’m also excited to see if Lee will get on Adam Jones and tone his shenanigans down a bit, he may also be able to threaten him with violence enough to get him to stop swinging at every pitch thrown in his general direction. I think Derrek Lee could take him, just saying.
Two days ago, the Orioles agreed to a deal with reliever Kevin Gregg. This move I am not as excited about. Kevin Gregg is basically an average reliever, despite the number of saves he has compiled over the last few years. He has a career ERA of 4.03, WHIP of 1.328, and ERA+ of 109 (100 is league average). Gregg gets a good number of strikeouts but his control is spotty and he walks too many batters. I would have been fine with Kevin Gregg on a one year deal for something under 2 million dollars or maybe even a two year deal at that rate. However, the Orioles appear to be paying him 2 years, 10 million dollars with incentives and an option that could bring the deal all the way up to 20 million dollars in total value. This is an egregious overpay brought about by the the saves statistic. It also appears that Gregg had spoken to both MacPhail and Showalter about the opportunity to close here and that is the main reason he signed with the Orioles. This may or may not be a bad thing. Conventional wisdom tells you that the team’s best reliever should be the closer but there is plenty of evidence that also suggests that the highest leverage situations actually come earlier in the game. So depending on which side you are on, you may want Gregg to close and save two better relievers (Gonzalez and Uehara) for those higher leverage situations. What I would like is for them to abandon those dumb ass roles altogether and just go with your best pitcher available whenever the situation calls for it no matter the inning, but that won’t happen. Either way, I don’t like the commitment to Gregg, it is for way too much money in comparison to his value. Generally speaking, 1 WAR is worth 4.5 million dollars in free agent value. Gregg has provided .8, -.2, and .8 WAR over the last 3 seasons. Teams with middle market budgets should not be in the business of overpaying middle relievers. It is especially bad considering better relievers like Kerry Wood and Takashi Saito signed for far less money. Also, there are several cheap and decent options that could have been pursued instead such as Manny Delcarmen, Joel Peralta, Chad Qualls, Jon Rauch, and Kyle Farnsworth. Needless to say I’m not into this signing very much but I can say that at least Gregg is likely not to be terrible, and it is only the second thing they have done this offseason that I have really disagreed with.Plus let’s be serious, Gregg looks pretty awesome:
I am however still disappointed that the Orioles still haven’t learned that throwing big multi year deals at relief pitchers isn’t a good idea. You would like they might have after the debacles that were Bradford, Walker, Baez, Groom, DeJean, Kline etc. Oh well, we have already established a few times that the Orioles are generally stupid.
The good part about both of these guys is they are decent and legitimate major league baseball players, and we essentially have an entire team full of them now. Maybe this will make the results of our visits to the Yard a little less fucking embarrassing. I know they won’t do it but they have listened to me a couple of times this offseason… Sign us a DH to make this official, and make it Thome so I can do some of this.