Dan Duquette, Orioles GM, and Buck Showalter, Orioles manager

Recently the Orioles signed Ubaldo Jimenez which not only cost them 50 million dollars over 4 years, but it also cost the Orioles their first round draft pick. This was an impressive move by the Orioles showing the baseball world that they are willing to spend big time money for a starting pitcher. With the Orioles losing the first round pick, it raised some interesting questions about how much value to put on a first round pick, and now with the first pick gone, the value of a second round pick.

I concede that both the financial and the draft pick were necessary expenses. The Orioles were correct in signing Jimenez despite losing a draft pick, but the Orioles would be wrong to sign a DH at the expense of losing their second round pick.

Here’s the reality, desperate times call for desperate measures. The Orioles (as evidenced by their rankings last year) were desperate for a starting pitcher. If that costs you a first round pick then so be it because we are talking about a team need, not a team want.

Last year the Orioles ranked fifth in runs scored. This is the whole point of offense, to score runs, and if you rank fifth best in the majors at doing that, you are on the right track. Now some would argue about Chris Davis and Manny Machado and the inevitably of them returning back to human-like numbers next year. While certainly it would be hard to imagine these players matching their numbers from last year, on the other hand I could just as easily cite players like Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters who are due for bounce back years. Moreover the core of our offensive players is made up of men still in their prime baseball years. Would a DH be nice? Sure it would be nice and so would goats that cleaned their own shed, but it just isn’t necessary. Don’t give up a second round pick for a luxury.

The two significant DH’s still available are Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz. The stats between the two players our comparable, Cruz sporting a triple slash line of .266/.327/.506 and Morales a .277/.336/.449 slash line. These are solid numbers (I especially like Morales’s one base percentage!) but they aren’t numbers that blow you away. The Orioles have options with players like Nolan Reimold (insert injury joke here) and Henry Urrutia who put up impressive numbers in the minors last year. Also, not having a set DH allows Showalter to have some flexibility and occasionally rest players like Chris Davis or Nick Markakis from playing the field while still keeping their bat in the lineup.

In the end this is bigger than just Kendrys Morales and Nelson Cruz. It’s bigger than just a second round draft pick. It’s about so much more than that. It’s about the type of team the Orioles want to be. A team that is able to compete year in and year out through a strong farm system. It’s about wanting to win now, without costing our future. So what does one do? You prioritize. Address the emergency (get the starting pitcher), but hold off on the luxuries so you can be sure your future is safe.

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Sports Without Charm. BaltimoreSportsReport.com features fan coverage and analysis of the Baltimore Orioles, Baltimore Ravens, Washington Capitals, Maryland Terrapins and Towson Tigers.


  1. Giving up a 1st rounder is tough. Giving up a 2nd rounder isn’t much. And would completely support that move.

    Here’s a handy site to see a list of 2nd rounders. I looked at 2000-2012 (2010-12 are still pretty green, 2009 to some degree).

    2nd rounders:
    On average 4-5 players in 30 (drafts per year) because every day contributors (I’m including players like Xavier Nady and Scott Baker as everyday players). About 12%. The list of standout players over that time are: JJ Hardy, Votto, Lester, McCann, Pence, Pedroia, Stanton, Freeman, and Kipnis. About 3%. This could increase depending on how you view guys like Haren, Gallardo, Tillman, or Headley.

    3rd rounders:
    How does that compare to round 3? In the same time period, 390 3rd rounders were drafted. About 2-3 per year (10%) are contributors. The list of standout players over that time are: Granderson, Desmond, Kimbrel, and Wil Myers. (Plus 2010 and 2011 look pretty comparable from 2nd to 3rd round.) About 1.3% are standout players. Again, this could go up depending on your view of Chris Young, Sizemore, Stubbs, Gardner, Seager.

    My point is that signing a Morales or Cruz isn’t as costly as it appears on balance. Plus, if they still earmark the same amount of money for the draft, they could swing that money to later round ‘overslot’ guys to woo them away from college or international signings.

  2. If we give up the first pick, we should be willing to give up the second pick. Go balls to the wall to win it all. Go get Cruz and give up the pick.

    World Series Bound!

  3. Yes, I understand the percentages and the rarity of drafting a superstar in the second round, but that’s exactly why you need to covet all your draft picks. The more picks you have the greater your chances are of carefully selecting (or more accuratley, lucking into) a superstar in the draft. Also, I dont think Morales or Cruz is our ticket to the World Series. I think Playoffs will be more dependent on how our pitching shakes out.

  4. I don’t think Cruz is attached to a pick.

    What is our ticket to the World Series? Jones to stop swing at balls in the dirt? Marcakeass to at least find his “in the gap” strength? wieters to hit like he did in college? Ryan Flaherty to to turn into Robby Alomar? Spy to turn into Mystery Man???

  5. covet the 2nd rd 55th overall instead of signing a proven hitter who can help NOW? Please, when was the last time a 2nd round pick of the O’s amounted to much of anything. Heck, they have multiple 1st rounders that were busts in the last 10 years….take the known talent all day, every day

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