Baltimore Orioles: Recent Contracts a Concern for O’s Fans


Apr 24, 2014; Toronto, Ontario, CAN ; Baltimore Orioles catcher Matt Wieters tags out Toronto Blue Jays left fielder Melky Cabrera at the plate during the second inning Thursday night at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Dan Hamilton-USA TODAY Sports

The Baltimore Orioles have only made a few minor signings over the past few days, dumpster diving by Dan as some like to call it.

But, two of the recent contracts over the past few days are extremely alarming for the future of baseball.

How are the Marlins going to afford complementary players for Stanton?

First, the Giancarlo Stanton contract: 15 years and $326 million, the contract is almost impossible to fathom.  Now, Stanton holds an opt-out at age 30, and the contract is back-loaded.  But this contract is from the Miami Marlins, a team notorious for not selling tickets and having a very small payroll.  How are they going to sign other key players to complement Stanton?

Second, Russell Martin‘s deal from the Toronto Blue Jays.  Martin got five years and 82 million dollars from Toronto.  Once again, the Jays continue to spend, spend, spend during the offseason.  But this contract is just head-scratching.  Martin is coming off one of the best years of his career, hitting .290 but also only playing 111 games for the Pirates.  The previous three years, Martin hit .226, .211, and .237.  He is known as a very good defender behind the dish, but is also 31 years old.

In comparison, Buster Posey, who is 28, is only making about 2 million dollars more a year than Martin.  Brian McCann, known for his bat and his glove, has a contract similar to Martin.

Now, what does this mean for the Orioles?  Well, it means that if their payroll doesn’t continue to steadily increase each year, there will be little to no chance to continue to re-sign all the players who the O’s have currently.  Most pressing is Matt Wieters, who is set to cash in big time after 2015 if he can stay healthy. He is around the same age as Posey, and while not the same level of catcher as Posey (because he and Yadier Molina are in a class of their own), Wieters is younger, and in my perspective considerably better than Martin.

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But for baseball, the more alarming reality is that fans could eventually be priced out of the game.  As contracts increase and teams, even small market teams, are forced to spend more to be competitive, that means tickets are likely to rise, and rise, and rise.

The Orioles have some of the most reasonable tickets in baseball, as well as being competitive on the field.  As Orioles fans and baseball fans, one can only hope that this may remain the same.