Sep 17, 2015; St. Petersburg, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter (26) reacts in the dugout against the Tampa Bay Rays at Tropicana Field. Mandatory Credit: Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports
Boston Globe staff writer Nick Cafardo penned a lengthy article yesterday (mentioned on the MLBTR.com site) that includes a tremendous amount of information about free agents in particular, including those from the Baltimore Orioles and those the O’s might be interested in securing.
Cafardo’s method was to include the anonymous remarks and perspectives of a group of eight major league scouts, managers and general managers. The comments are quite interesting.
Regarding the top Orioles free agents of Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, the commenters said that Davis would be a risk to be given more than a five-year deal. As we wrote yesterday, a concern with Davis is the strikeout proclivity that produced 208 such journeys back to the dugout in 2015. One scout was quoted as saying, “In the heat of the negotiations and fearing someone else will get him, this will likely get beyond what everybody wants. Scott Boras is the agent, so we may be looking at seven years.”
There were no comments from the eight contributors relative to Matt Wieters, though the writer listed the Braves, Dodgers, Rays, Astros, and Mariners as potential bidders. Of course, with his collegiate background, Atlanta is the most frequently mentioned place outside of Baltimore.
Those who have been following the current MLB playoffs have been amazed at the display of New York Mets second baseman Daniel Murphy. The Orioles already have a fixture at second base, right? But Murphy can also play first base. Whereas a couple of the eight commenters wondered whether Murphy is a washout in the making along the lines of a repeat of Pablo Sandoval, the consensus was that he could land a five-year deal at about $75 million. Baltimore was listed as a possible team of interest.
Murphy is a career .288 hitter with an OBP of .331. His six-game HR streak in the playoffs notwithstanding, 14 home runs this past years was a career high. This is not a miniature version of Chris Davis, though he did strike out 170 times fewer than Crush. Rich Dubroff of CSN wrote a negative piece on this possibility, citing more examples beyond Sandoval, while admiring Murphy’s “out of body postseason.”
A name often mentioned as a possibility for the Orioles rotation is free agent Jordan Zimmerman. The scouts and others commenting did acknowledge that he did not have a great season, but they were quick to speak of him as a great battler and guy who really cares and gives all that he has. He was 13-10 with a 3.66 ERA in 202 innings. That looks pretty decent to me!
Cafardo’s article went on to talk about a lefty that we could imagine the Orioles having an interest in, and that would be a reunion with Rich Hill. It is the kind of bargain hunting that the O’s are famous for — for better or worse. The writer did not list Baltimore or anyone else as being especially in on Hill, but he did say that someone is going to take a shot on him after his late-season display. O’s fans will recall that the Orioles were a victim of what was some of the nastiest-looking pitching they saw all year. In four starts and 29 innings, Hill was 2-1 with a 1.55 ERA, striking out 36 with a WHIP of 0.655. That is impressive. He had a 7.90 ERA in 13 starts with the Orioles in 2009; those were painful times.
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Another lefty that is commented upon — both in the article and by O’s fans as a player of interest — is Scott Kazmir. He had a rough time in Houston after being traded there by the A’s. In Oakland he had a 2.38 ERA in 18 starts, but with the Astros it launched (see what I did there?) to 4.17 in 13 starts. For his career, he is 98-90 with a 3.96 ERA. The commenters in the article speculated that he could get $10-$12 million over three years.
For sure, the Orioles are going to spend some money. They have some margin — something that the writer said the Yankees really do not have this time around. There are going to be some new players arriving with the team in Sarasota.