Baltimore Orioles Free Agents: All Say They Want to Stay


Sep 4, 2015; Toronto, Ontario, CAN; Baltimore Orioles first baseman Chris Davis (19) reacts with catcher Matt Wieters (32) after he hits a home run against Toronto Blue Jays in the second inning at Rogers Centre. Mandatory Credit: Peter Llewellyn-USA TODAY Sports

After sweeping a doubleheader from the Yankees, and with only the final game of the 2015 season remaining for the Baltimore Orioles, we begin to consider the many free agents on the O’s roster. There are a bunch of them, and they are expensive.

All of them say that they would like to return to play with the Orioles. Is this unique or encouraging? Not really. What would we expect them to say? “No, I hate it here and can’t wait to go someplace that will finally pay me what I’m worth!”

The Orioles are going to have some money to spend, and I think we can hope for at least a couple of these players to get re-signed. A skeptic could say that signing all of them really does not move the team forward, as all the Orioles would be doing is retaining the .500 lineup of 2015 … there is need for a frontline starter, corner outfielder, etc., etc.

Let’s get a “want to stay” quote from each of the six free agents, and we’ll begin with the one everyone would most like to retain …

Chris Davis

Davis is not only the most desired Oriole to have return to the nest next year, he may be the most sought after free agent of them all. And of course there is the Scott Boras factor.

But this is what Davis has said (Roch Kubatko’s column) about staying …

“I would love to be here. I would love to be back here. I’ve said that from Day 1. My wife and I love Baltimore. We love playing for the Orioles and these fans, but it’s out of my hands now.”

There was also a statement of dissatisfaction this past week that the Orioles had not yet reached out to him about a deal, though that contradicts earlier statements about not wanting to have such conversations interfere with the regular season. As well, Showalter indicated maybe more has happened than Davis knows. And of course there is the Scott Boras factor — wanting his clients to try out the market and get teams into a bidding war.

The latest numbers on Davis have him at .258 with 113 RBIs and 45 homers. He did not get a lot of balls to hit on Saturday. He remains one round-tripper ahead of Nelson Cruz as of this writing.

We’ll have a lot more to write about Davis’ season and the free agency situation.

Wei-Yin Chen

Chen finished his season on Saturday with a win over the Yankees and a very solid performance, though the Yankees did not exactly load up the lineup against him.

The Orioles really did get a lot of bang for the buck from Chen and his four years in Baltimore. For about $16 million they got 706.2 innings of 3.72 ERA pitching, with a 46-32 record and WHIP of 1.25.  That’s a deal.

Chen said Saturday in his post-game comments

“I would be happy if I was given the chance to come back here. But sometimes as a professional player, it’s inevitable that you have to change teams and adapt to a new environment. I don’t know where I will pitch next year, I just know I will do my best to pitch each game.”

It would be great to have him, but I’m not sure he is as happy as he might portray. The minor league game he was sent to do this year did not sit well, nor does he often look happy when taken out of games — seeming to believe he’s being given a too-fast hook.

The great offseason site of information (especially about free agency) is MLB Trade Rumors, and they wrote a while back about Chen’s free agency. If the Orioles do the qualifying offer, teams may not be as quick to jump on it and lose draft compensation, thus giving the O’s a better shot at a multi-year deal. Their article said

Chen faces a robust mid-tier pitching market that includes a number of different risk/reward profiles (take, for instance, pitchers like Mat LatosBrett Anderson, and Scott Kazmir) and many hurlers that won’t be weighed down by draft compensation.

And of course there is the Scott Boras factor.

Matt Wieters

And of course there is the Scott Boras factor … for the third time. It just seems like a couple of years ago that Wieters was drafted with all the expectations of Maurer with power. Is 100 home runs the fulfillment of that? That is what he has now hit for the Orioles.

I was actually at his second game as an Oriole on May 30, 2009. He got his first hit that evening, a triple off Justin Verlander — one of only four in his career.

Wieters said during spring training

“I think every player’s dream is to be able to win championships and be able to stay with a team for your whole career. But sometimes the business side doesn’t work that way and we will worry about that when the time comes.” 

Some people believe Wieters could take the qualifying offer, as rare as that is. And of course there is the Scott Boras factor. I’m conflicted on this. Matt has not been what was hoped, yet even a poor-hitting Wieters is well above average for the catcher position in baseball. And he has looked better at the end of this season, much more like he did just before the elbow injury. Maybe he really is now ready to produce at a high level.

Darren O’Day

This is one that the Orioles simply cannot let get away. As written recently, I would sign him and make plans to turn him into the primary closer. The Orioles are going to need left-handed starting pitching, and I’m not sure what they can get through free agency or by having T.J. McFarland step into that role. Making Britton a starter is a way to do it more inexpensively.

O’Day was quoted on the Orioles’ MLB site, saying this about staying …

“They’ve expressed interest. I know they like me as a pitcher and as a person, so yeah, I’d love to come back if they’d like to have me back, so we’re going to continue talking about that. I’ve had a good run of things the past four years, and I don’t see any reason why we shouldn’t keep talking about it.”

Gerardo Parra

Parra came into yesterday’s doubleheader hitting .143 on 6-for-42 in the previous 11 games. He went 6-for-11 with three RBIs in the two games. He is a career .276 hitter, with his best year being this one while with the Brewers. Is he worth re-signing? It depends upon the price.

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He genuinely has enjoyed being with the Orioles. Quoted by Steve Melewski, he said …

“I like it here. I like the stadium, the fans and the team. But I can’t control that. We’ll see what happens after the season. I’d like to try and stay here.”

Steve Pearce

After a breakout season in 2014, Pearce has been a part of the letdown and disappointment that is 2015 Orioles baseball. He is currently batting .220, though he has hit better in the past month.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported him saying …

“I’d love to be back. I’d love for everybody to be back. We have a great group here. But there are a lot of uncertainties in baseball.”

Again, it depends upon the price.

Overall, it is difficult to know what will happen. There is simply no way to put together a decent and contending team without spending some serious money. And after losing Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, O’s fans are not going to sit patiently and watch all of the above-named players sign everywhere else because the Warehouse folks won’t come through. But any way you look at this, it is a conundrum.

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