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Acquisition Spotlight: Jay Payton

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Jonnypops broke it here, one post down, and this is our big solution for the hole in the outfield. Two years, $9.75 million for Jay Payton.

Payton has a pretty fair history of being considered an attitude problem, which you might have gathered simply from the fact that we will be his sixth team since 1998. There's another reason for that, too, which is that he's not very good.

Payton has been thoroughly mediocre at the plate every season of his career that he did not play in Colorado, and he wasn't all that good then. He was drafted by the Mets in 1994 out of Georgia Tech, where he teamed with Nomar Garciaparra and Jason Varitek. Payton hasn't quite become the player that either of them have. He debuted late in 1998 for New York, and became a regular for the 2000 NL champion Mets, when he hit .291/.331/.447 with 17 homers and 62 RBI, basically league average on the nose.

Payton never got better. He had a big season for the Rockies, but so do a lot of hitters. His Rocky Mountain high led him straight into a face-first splat onto the concrete in his lone season with San Diego (.693 OPS in 458 at-bats), and after that, he was sent to Boston for Dave Roberts. Roberts went from Boston's fourth outfielder to the Padres' starting center fielder, Payton vice versa. Payton complained a lot about how he wasn't playing on a team that had Manny Ramirez, Johnny Damon and Trot Nixon, as if this was a surprise to him, and he got traded to Oakland for Chad Bradford in July 2005.

In Oakland, Payton was Payton, hitting some singles along the way, not taking any walks, not hitting with any power, playing some outfield. He was a stablizing guy for that team, to be fair, and he gave them a performance that helped them out given some of the lackluster offensive years Oakland was coping with.

But he was not a difference maker or anything close, and the Orioles are giving him two years, probably based on the fact that he hit .296 and he can play all three outfield spots, in case Corey falls to pieces as Corey is prone to do, or in case of God knows what might happen, like a player gets hurt and for the 73rd straight season the Orioles are completely unprepared for this development. A player? Getting hurt? Well, nuts! This ruins everything! Goddamn, we were a contender until Jay Gibbons went down.

I don't like the acquisition because I don't like Payton, I don't think he's a positive addition in any way. Yes, he's better than Brandon Fahey and Freddie Lee Bynum, but what is that saying? That he's superior to two guys who really don't belong in the major leagues? Payton is a fourth outfielder, whether he'll ever believe that or not, and he's 34 years old. It's another half-assed, bullshit, aging, semi-name spare part that fell off of a winning team, and the Orioles are going to act like this is a solid addition to the big league club, one that will fill a hole, blah blah blah. Filling holes with mediocrity instead of embarrassment is all this franchise is able to do anymore, because it sure would be risky to take a stab at someone like Frank Thomas last year, or any other mildly creative, low-risk, high-reward acquisition, because I tell you guys and gals something, I just don't know what we'd do if we went into a season thinking the Orioles weren't going to win the division. I mean, damn, can you imagine if the Orioles did something a little risky that didn't pan out? They'd probably lose more games than they win. Can you imagine such a thing?

I've tried lately to just be laid back about the fact that I am a proud Baltimore Orioles fan, in spite of it all, and that what happens, happens, and someday, we'll win again, because I'm sure that day will come, but I'm 24 and starting to think the next time it happens, I'm going to be 50. These people have absolutely no idea what they're doing, there is no Plan A, there's no Plan B, there's no Plan C. We take these stabs at players like Schmidt or Konerko that are clearly not going to sign with us, then we shrug it off and wind up with Kris Benson and Kevin Millar. This time, the insulting part is that we had to LOSE OUT on a 507-year old Luis Gonzalez to settle for Jay Payton.

Who needs a drink?