Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Great Scott… What should we do?

2010 was a good year for Luke Scott. Scott, 32 at the time, hit a career high 27 home runs and had an average of .284, the highest he had ever had in a full season. Orioles’ fans had high expectations for the Orioles MVP in 2011- maybe 30 home runs or 85 runs batted in?

However, 2011 did not turn out like O’s fans were hoping. Scott only played in 64 games and finished with only nine home runs and 22 runs batted in. The main reason for Scott’s ineffectiveness was because of injuries. A torn labrum hampered Scott for the majority of the season. He underwent season-ending surgery on July 26th.

So here is the question: Do we tender Luke Scott a contract?
The answer: No. If we tendered him a contract it would be for $6 Million next season. That is a lot of money to give to someone coming off an injury.

However, I do believe we re-negotiate a deal with Scott. Scott himself even said that he was willing to negotiate a deal with the O’s even if they non-tendered him. Bringing in Scott in a one or two-year deal worth about 2 or 3MM a year is a good idea for the Orioles. The least we could do is sign him to an incentive-laden one-year deal.

Yes, I know Scott is a very poor defender in left-field. Scott posted a -0.4 defensive WAR in ’09, -0.1 in ’10, and -0.3 in ’11. Nolan Reimold also has a chance to be the everyday left fielder for good this year. Scott also will turn 34 in 2012 and no one knows how well he will respond from shoulder surgery. These are the only downfalls to bringing Luke Scott back.

There are plenty of reasons to bring Scott back in 2012 though. Scott has potential to be a bounce-back candidate next year. Scott could be a good designated hitter and play a little first base for the O’s. In 2010 he posted a 3.5 offensive WAR. Besides statistics, Scott is a fan-favorite among the O’s and is a good locker-room presence.

The O’s should non-tender him because he will earn $6MM, but they should definitely try to negotiate a contract with him if he is willing to play for less money. Scott could be an everyday DH for the Orioles as well as interchange with Mark Reynolds at first base.

Monday, November 28, 2011

Adam Jones' Contract Situation

Is he blowing a bubble mid-dive?  I'm not even mad, I'm impressed.
Let's start with a quick analysis of Adam Jones' raw monetary value to the Orioles according to Fangraphs.  Jones accumulated 2.9 WAR last season which is worth approximately $13M according to league-wide expenditures and player production.  Jones' actual salary last season was $3.25M meaning he provided the team with nearly $10M in surplus value if you subscribe to this particular method of player valuation.

Jones has 2 years left before hitting free agency after the 2013 season, putting him in the portion of his career where young players often sign extensions with the team they spent their first few years with.  As for next season, Tim Dierkes of projects Jones to receive a raise to $5.8M next season, a figure that seems realistic given his production this past year.

So the question is, what would an extension look like?  Well there are three main options in my opinion.  The first, and least desirable for the O's would be to go the Joey Votto route and sign Jones to a 2 year deal that covered both of his arbitration years.  This would look something like 2 years / $14M and would allow Jones to hit Free Agency on schedule.  The second option is to go year to year with Jones, either going through the arbitration process or signing him to a one year deal each offseason as was done last winter.  The third option (and most preferable) for the O's would be to sign Jones to a longer deal, likely 4 years, allowing him to hit Free Agency 2 years late, in 2015.  A deal of this type would be substantially larger as Jones would likely make significant money in Free Agency.  This might look like 4 years / $50M or something in that ballpark (I could see it being for as little as 40, as much as 55 depending on when the deal is signed).

There's no rush here and the O's have time to make this decision.  Britt Ghiroli of has even suggested that the O's wait and possibly trade Jones if they don't see contention in their future.  I don't see that happening, but the contract negotiations with Adam Jones will tell O's fans a lot about how soon Dan Duquette sees the team competing.

Saturday, November 26, 2011

Orioles Offseason News and Notes:

- The Orioles are close to agreeing on a Major League deal with Korean reliever Chon-Tae Hyon , according to Baltimore Sun Columnist Dan Connolly. The 33-year-old Hyon would be the first player to go from the Korean league straight to the Majors. Hyon is also known for his sidearm delivery. An agreement should be in place sometime in the next few days.

There have been a few minor league signings by the O’s: IF Matt Antonelli, IF Steven Tolleson, and RHP Miguel Socolovich. Antonelli is a former top prospect of the San Diego Padres and will provide as depth in the organization. Tolleson was drafted in the 5th round by the Twins in 2005 and has played in Minnesota, Oakland, and San Diego’s Farm System. Like Antonelli, he will be used as organizational depth. Socolovich is 25-year-old who struck out 11.1 batters per inning last year while playing for Chicago’s Double-A Birmingham and Triple-A Charlotte. He could potentially reach the majors by the end of 2012.

According to Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports, the O’s have inquired on Rockies reliever Huston Street. Street could potentially close for the O’s, but I’m not sure if they will take on his $8MM for 2012.

Dan Duquette met with David Ortiz’s agent at the GM meetings. However, in a radio interview Duquette said it was unlikely that he would sign a high-priced DH.

The Orioles Director of Baseball Operations Matt Klentak has left the O’s to join new Angels GM Jerry Dipoto in Anaheim. Klentak had served as the Director of Operations since 2008.

There will be more updates as the Offseason goes on!

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

Who is Matt Wieters?

Best thing since sliced bread.  Mauer with power, the next Johnny Bench.

These were all phrases (however sarcastic or serious they may or may not have been) used to describe the potential of Matt Wieters.  With such high expectations, some O's fans have been disappointed with the production coming from their young backstop.  Let's take a look at exactly who Matt Wieters is, and whether or not O's fans have a right to be disappointed in their catcher.

Let's start with the area Wieters excels in.  Gold Glove?  Check.  Fielding Bible Award?  Check.  Defense is where Wieters is head and shoulders above other peers his age.  Wieters threw out 36% of baserunners in 2011 and, according to Bill James, saved 14 runs over the course of the season solely through his defense.

Let's compare some of Wieters' stats to his contemporaries.  Wieters' slash line of .262/.328/.450 compares favorably to the ML average of .245/.314/.390.  Ironically, Wieters had only a .276 BABIP which was .007 points lower than the average catcher suggesting Wieters was more unlucky than his peers.

This may be a quick and dirty analysis of Wieters' 2011 season but there's not much more to it.  Wieters accumulated 4.3 WAR over the course of the season, second only to Alex Avila among qualified catchers.  As such, Wieters was among the best catchers in baseball last year.

Mauer with Power?
Wieters' first pro season came in 2008, the year Mauer hit .328 and posted a WAR over 6.  Fans continued to get excited as Wieters put up Mauer-like numbers in the minors hitting over .300 at every level of the minors between 2008 and 2009.  Mauer was even more absurd in 2009 hitting .365 and getting on base over 44% of the time.  Is it fair to compare Wieters to Mauer during these years when Mauer hit better for average than any catcher ever?  No, it's not.  Joe Mauer has a career average of .323, something Wieters doesn't seem to be approaching just yet.  So if you want Wieters to hit .320 with better power than Mauer, good luck.  However, Bill James projects Wieters to hit .281 next year, including improving on his OBP and SLG numbers from 2011.  Wieters is elite defensively, and continues to grow offensively with each year he spends in the major leagues.

What is becoming more realistic is a guy who hits .290, gets on base 35% of the time and hits 20-30 HRs in the prime of his career.  Remember, Wieters is only 25 years old and is still learning a lot.  If those numbers come along with being one of if not the best defensive catchers in baseball, he'll be in the same neighborhood as Joe Mauer.  O's fan should rejoice, they have a star-caliber player anchoring their team for (hopefully) many years to come.

Monday, November 21, 2011

The History of the Bird

Last week the Orioles announced a new uniform for the 2012 season. The Orioles will wear orange jerseys on home Saturdays to commemorate the 20th anniversary of the opening of Camden Yards. In other news, however, the O’s logo will now be the cartoon bird, similar to their logo from the 1970’s. The changed logo got us thinking here at Warehouse Worthy: what other logos have the Orioles had since their first season in Baltimore in 1954?

The inaugural logo (pictured left) used by the Baltimore Orioles, used from 1954-1962.

In 1963, the Orioles replaced the Bird was the letter “B” (pictured left), however ’63 was the only year the “B” was used.

The O’s switched back to the bird in 1964 and used it for one more year in 1965. This was also known as “The Chirping Bird” (pictured above).

After 1965 The O’s switched to the “Cartoon Bird” (pictured left) and it was used as their logo until 1989. It is also the longest used logo to dates for the Orioles.

The Orioles then switched to the “Ornithologically Correct Bird” (pictured left) after 1989 and kept it until 1997. This logo is the last logo that was used during a winning season. After 1997 the Orioles used the “lifelike Bird” from 1998 until 2008. In 2008, the Orioles used the “Traditional Bird”.

This brings us to the new “Cartoon Bird”, which is a modernized version of the logo used from ’66-’89. Hopefully this new logo brings more success to the Orioles in 2012 and beyond!