So, Tim Dierkes from mlbtraderumors.com has made his predictions for free agent destinations this offseason. It's a fine list. As I skimmed it, looking for whom he thought the Orioles would target, I was surprised by his belief that not only would the Orioles win out on the A.J. Burrnett sweepstakes, they'd also sign Felipe Lopez to fill their vacancy at short. "Huh," I thought, "no, that makes no sense."
While Lopez did, as Dierkes suggests, "mash" last season for the Cardinals, I just don't see that making all that much sense. He seems like a very forced, one-dimensional player. What I mean by that is, like Neifi Perez, he's either a very good defensive player or a very good hitter. When his glove is on, his bat is lacking and vice versa. With that in mind, I don't think it's clear which Lopez the Orioles will get. He'd be an enigma. And this team alrady has Daniel Cabrera to ffill that role.
If Lopez is right out, I'm suggesting looking elsewhere. Elsewhere, like Japan. Tomohiro Nioka is primarily a shortstop - played some third ('03, '06, and '07) and the outfield ('02) - and a free agent this offseason.
Why? It's simple. The guy has a solid, not great, glove at short - 59 errors in his 7-year career - with a fielding precentage of .983 and a career batting average of .285 (being hurt by his first 4 seasons of professional ball). Translated over to the MLB and the batting average drops a bit but it's still quite a bit better then the output from last year's parade of wet noodles.
What's more is he can be shifted to third or the outfield if a younger player can be found and before Billy Rowell, a guy I have little to no faith in at this point, is ready to take over at the hot corner.
And finally, money. Bringing in Japanese players yields instant results in marketing and ad revenue. Money this team dearly needs to continue fostering their farm system.
Thoughts? Am I insane? Other outside the box thoughts?