Baltimore Orioles payroll - Breaking Bad

Good news Orioles fans! The team isn’t done spending yet. They, too, understand that David Lough and Delmon Young won’t turn this 85 win team into a World Series contender.

Of course, the bad news is that whoever signs with the Orioles is going to have to pass a physical first. And if this offseason has taught us anything it’s that passing a physical with the O’s is hella hard — unless for some reason you’re name rhymes with Scholan Feimold. That dude somehow keeps making it past the Orioles doctors.

After hearing yesterday’s news about Tyler Colvin, I honestly don’t know what’s more terrifying, the diagnosis I receive for a normal cold when I look it up on WebMD or what would be revealed if I attempted to sign a minor league contract with the Orioles. Thankfully, I’ll never know the answer to the latter.

Curse you, WebMD.

According to Dan Connolly of The Sun, Dan Duquette is still optimistic that he can spend another $17 million of Peter Angelos’ money this winter.

“We have resources to extend our payroll. Our payroll is going to be closer to $100 million this year,” Duquette said. “Having said that, we are going to need to work internally with our young pitchers to bring them along.”

Duquette continued: “This year, if you said $100 [million] that would be reasonable. I think over the course of four years, we have been expanding our payroll. But we are going to stay within the resources of the market.”

Boy would that be nice.

Hopefully it’ll be on a player or two that will actually improve the ball club. 47 below average left fielders are fine and dandy, but they aren’t going to matter if your starting rotation’s ERA is 4.57 again.

Bronson Arroyo and A.J. Burnett remain on the market as the two most reasonable candidates the Orioles. I gushed over Burnett’s splits in a blogpost written earlier this month — I’m all in. The trouble is, no one (his Pittsburgh pitching coach and manager included) seems to know if he’ll choose to return to the game this season. Those early bird specials at Golden Corral in Del Boca Vista are tough to resist at the ripe old age of 37.

Arroyo’s innings totals are reason enough for me to like the guy — well, the hair doesn’t hurt either. The guitar playing righty hasn’t tossed less than 199 frames since the 2004 season.

Matt Garza, Ervin Santana and Ubaldo Jimenez also remain on the open market, though I don’t expect the O’s to be legitimate contenders for any of those three.

Unless you’re a believer in the Young/Henry Urrutia/Steve Pearce designated hitter platoon (I’m not), then perhaps some cash could be spent on that gaping hole. Orioles DH’s hit .236/.290/.418 last season, which is just brutal. Nelson Cruz and his scary high strikeout rate and post-PED suspension concerns remains on the market. As does Kendrys Morales, a guy I like a lot more.

Nelson Cruz for Baltimore Orioles?

How else could Dan Duquette spend that 17 mil? What about on the current roster?

Adam Jones happens to be the only player on this team signed past 2015 after he inked a six-year, $85.5 million deal last spring. What if the O’s invested in 2015 free agents (and Scott Boras clients) Chris Davis and/or Matt Wieters? How about if they kept J.J. Hardy past this season? Or blew everyone away with a long-term deal for young star Manny Machado?

Baltimore Orioles 2014 payrollBoy would that change people’s (mine included) opinions of this offseason.

Make no mistake about it, yesterday’s news sucked. The big bad evil empire is back to evil empiring, but I’m still not entirely sold on the Yankees. Last season, the Bombers were 30-16 in one run games.  In 2012, the Orioles were 29-9 in one-run games. We heard all season long that Baltimore wouldn’t be able to repeat that historic success. And guess what? The nerds were right. The Birds followed up that delightful record by going 20-31 in games decided by a run last season. Think the Yanks will regress a bit too?

Brian Cashman and company are trying to build on 2013 by making it on rain on the free agent market. But despite adding Masahiro Tanaka, Brian McCann, Jacoby Ellsbury and Carlos Beltran, the Yankees are still depending on a 39 year old shortstop coming off an ankle injury, a second baseman who played 192 games over the past four seasons and a first baseman coming off wrist surgery. They also lost 7.6 WAR player (in 2013) this winter (Robinson Cano) and the greatest closer on planet earth.

I refuse to chalk up this terrible, horrible, no good, very bad Orioles offseason as all those adjectives until it’s completely over. Yeah, we’re inching closer to Spring Training, but there’s $17 million left to spend. Hopefully it’ll be allocated correctly.

Image Credit: Keith Allison