What Are The Orioles Thinking?

Well, that’s a rhetorical question that Ken Rosenthal asks to make a point about the O’s offseason signings of Jamie Walker ($12 mil/ 3-years), Danys Baez ($19 mil/ 3-years), and Chad Bradford ($10.5 mil/ 3-years). The answers:

A. The Orioles, coming off nine consecutive losing seasons, needed to overpay each reliever in a three-year contract to attract him to Baltimore, or,

B. The Orioles have lost their minds.

With Mazzone moving to the O’s I’ve started following them again. I grew up in Charlotte, which hosted the Double-A affiliate of the club. I actually threw out the first ball at a game when Cal Ripken was on the team. I view Rosenthal’s question as a good one. I don’t think the O’s are crazy or “overpaying” on purpose.

Baltimore needs better pitching. It’s why they brought in Mazzone last year, and it’s why they are targeting pitchers in the free agent market this year. Here are some rough projected values (based on 10% revenue growth and recent performance) for these three pitchers over the next three years:

Baez: $16 million
Walker: $9 million
Bradford: $19 million

Baez and Walker seem to be getting a bit more than my estimated worth, but these values are heavily influenced by playing time. If the O’s think they can utilize these pitchers differently than in the past, they might get some extra value out of these players that other teams missed (I’m just saying). In total, this value adds up to $43 million, which is pretty close to the $41.5 million the O’s have invested in these players. It’s also an interesting move, because they are targeting relievers, not starters. I wonder if the Orioles feel that the starter market is overvalued, and therefore they decided some extra innings from good relievers. I’m not saying I would have recommended doing what the Baltimore did, but I can at least comprehend their behavior. I guess we’ll see if it works soon enough.

Thanks to Ballbug, for pointing me to the Rosenthal article.

One Response “What Are The Orioles Thinking?”

  1. David says:

    You don’t think that they read your article on the Mazzone effect and saw that his impact on relievers was bigger than on starters?

    Based on what I saw from when he was a Dodger, Baez will get a huge boost from Leo because he’ll probably stop throwing fastballs on two-strike counts. If you look at his splits from last year, he was less than swift on 0-2.

    Also, Baltimore figures that Bedard, Cabrera and Loewen are their young core that will be there for a while, and with Wright and Benson, they figure the rotation is filled out. Looking at the monthly splits, you see particularly with Cabrera that the Mazzone effect kicked in around the second half of the season.