Our new GM's plan is to rebuild the minors andimprove the organization from the groundup. I agree with this outlook andso my plan is designed around signing young talent and trading pieces that we have grown weary of as O'sfans but who have some value to infuse the minors with options.
I started my roster moves by trading Jeremy Guthrie to the Angels for prospects. The main piece of this trade is AA outfielder Jeremy Moore. The 24 year old is is a potential 20-20 threat in the Majors within the next 2 years and has drawn comparisons to the Upton brothers. He is blocked by players already with the Angels like Mike Trout and Peter Bourjos. At AA thispast year he hit .298 with 15 HR and 21 SB. For the second player we recieve we would take AA reliever Robert Fish. Fishis a lefty with dominating stuff who had a great groundball rate and more than a 2 to 1 ratio of K/BB. The former 6th round pick held opposing batters to a .200 BAA.
Once I got off the phone with the Angels I called up the Tigers and heard that they needed a 2nd baseman. So I offered up Robert Andino and threw in Alfredo Simon to help them cope with their loss of Zumaya. In return they would send us AAA pitching prospect Adam Wilk. Wilk is a lefty who can projectably start in the majors in the next year or two and would be a great insurance policy if Brian Matusz cant regain his form. He performs well against lefties which is big when facing the yankees and red sox's lefty loaded lineups. He has also maintained a great K/BB ratio over his MiLB career.
The Rays called and needed a solid 1B/DH prospect, so I offered them Chris Davis and threw in Troy Patton since the Rays are notorious for collecting relievers with potential. They took the bait and in return I brought in Russ Canzler, a 3B who is blocked by Evan Longoria and is coming off a year as International League (AAA) MVP. Canzler has great power potential and put up an impressive .318/.401/.530 slash line this past season.
Looking at the free agent market there were no big names that I felt I could bring in or that would immediately help the Orioles improve. Anyone would like to sign Pujols and/or Fielder and bring in CJ Wilson and have a "dream team" that reminds us of the good old days when Oriole Magic roamed the streets of Baltimore. I just couldnt concieve any situation that would allow that to happen this year. On the other hand, there were alot of intriguing names available that I could help us at minimal cost.
When I created this the Orioles had already signed Matt Antonelli so I stood by that signing. I also signed minor league FA's Matt Pagnozzi, Andrew Brackman, and Eric Stults. Pagnozzi is a skilled C withgreat tools who has been trapped behind Yadier Molina in STL. The nephew of former Gold Glover Tom Pagnozzi, Matt is a great catch and throw talent with some upside offensively. Andrew Brackmanis a former 1st rd pick of the NYY, and the 6'10" prospect has had success at all levels of the minor leagues. Eric Stults is a lefty reliever with a couple cups of coffee in the big leagues. He has good success against lefties and could fill that roll with the Orioles this year.
Now for the big name signings, lets start with Dioner Navarro. I would sign Navarro for 1 year/ $1 mil. Navarro is on the backside of his career andat this point is most likely only a backup, but his familiarity with the AL East and his defensive skills would help tremendously on Wieters off days. Navarro is in the top 5 in RF% among active catchers currently and could offer Wieters a few new pointers from someone who has been in the show for some time.
I would then sign Mike MacDougal and Scott Linebrink. MacDougal, the former 1st rounder would sign for 2 yrs/ $1.8 mil and fill the role of long reliever in the 'pen this year. Linebrink is a provenreliever who has spent the last couple years with the Braves. After signing MacDougal and Linebrink for 2 yrs/ $4.5mil, there is a dependable core to the 2012 bullpen.
With Guthrie traded away, I needed to find a front line starter who could lead the way for the rest of the youth movement in Baltimore. After looking through the list of available players I took a shot with two of them. First I signed Jon Garland. Comingoff of arthroscopic shoulder surgery makes Garlanda risk. But it is a much less risky option than someone with elbow surgery and early word is that he is making strong positive gains and will be ready way before Spring Training. I signed the career 50% GB pitcher for 2 years/ $8.8 mil making him a much less costly option than Guthrie would have been had we kept him and he will give us 200IPthis coming year. I also took a big risk with former Cy Young award winner Brandon Webb. I offered him a 1yr/ $1.1mil dollar contract with IP/W/and QS incentives that would bump his salary up to $2.1m if he has a great year. The risk/reward on this is similar to the contract we offered Justin Duchscherer last year but I feel Webb has much better upside and has a shorter injury history than the Duch.
To upgrade the offense I signed two players. I was going to give David Dejesus 2 yrs/ 12mil but unfortunately he signed with the Cubs yesterday for 2 million less. So instead I signed Michael Cuddyer. Cuddyercoming off a career year would provide a great bolster to the lineup. After hitting behind one of the leagues other premier catchers in Joe Mauer, he would help protect the middle of the Orioles lineup which presumably will include Matt Wieters. Cuddyer's age andexperience along with the success he had last year would garner him a 2 year/ 21 million dollar contract which is more than the Twins offered him to return. The I signed Josh Willingham to a 3 year/ 36 million dollar contract. Though it may be a little high, his production consistantlyover the last few years is undisputed. Paired with Cuddyer and Reynolds he makes the middle of the lineup much more dangerous.
Finally I extended Jim Johnson 3 years/ 3.3 million, Brian Matusz 3 yrs/ 4 million, and Adam Jones 4 years/ 31.5 million similar to the deal Curtis Granderson recently recieved. Making the total salary for this year:
2B Roberts 10,000,000
SS Hardy 7,416,667
RF Markakis 12,350,000
LF Willingham 12,000,000 (3yr/36mil)
C Wieters 600,000 (Due for a big raise soon)
DH Cuddyer 10,000,000 (2yr/21mil 10mil yr 1, 11mil yr 2)
CF Jones 7,250,000
1B Reynolds 7,833,333
3B Canzler 666,666
OF Reimold 750,000
C Navarro 1,000,000
IF Antonelli 800,000
SP Garland 4,400,000
SP Webb 1,100,000
SP Arrieta 500,000
SP Matusz 1,000,000 (3yrs/4mil 1mil yr 1, 1.5mil yr 2, 1.5mil yr 3)
SP Britton 500,000
CL Johnson 1,111,111
SU Gregg 5,800,000
RP MacDougal 800,000
RP Linebrink 2,000,000
RP Strop 420,000
RP O'Day 1,400,000 (Arbitration settlement)
RP Rapada 440,000
RP Hunter 600,000
Rest of the 40 man roster: Bell (400,000), Angle (450,000), Tillman (400,000), Berken (450,000), Florimon Jr. (400,000), Eyre (420,000), Hudson (400,000), Mahoney (400,000), Snyder (420,000) Adams (500,000), Matt Pagnozzi (500,000), Jeremy Moore (440,000), Robert Fish (400,000), Adam Wilk (500,000), Andrew Brackman (800,000).
Bringing the grand total for the 2012 season to = $ 97,617,777
If Roberts gets hurt Antonelli and Adams are there to take over. And after I made this the Orioles traded for Taylor Teagarden. But I would standby the Navarro signing just to give us depth and some competition in the spring. There is over 2 million left in the budget which more than covers Teagardens salary since he will be under organizational control for a few years.