The Baltimore Orioles haven’t been aggressive in the free agent market this winter and I don’t expect them to be. Dan Duquette feels comfortable with the core of this team after their 93 win season in 2012. Still, I think the Orioles need a few pieces to remain competitive and the market bears a few guys I think that could fit nicely on their roster.
RHP – Jair Jurrjens
Jair Jurrjens is a year removed from a season in which he won 13 games and pitched to a 2.96 ERA. He’s 26 years old, has a lifetime 1.92 K/BB, was an All-Star in 2011 and started 20+ games in four of his six seasons in the big leagues.
The Braves non-tendered him this offseason after he struggled through Spring Training and had a few rough starts to begin the season. His year concluded when he landed on the disabled list with a strained groin after the All-Star break.
He’s a proven pitcher who could be an asset to the Orioles rotation and, as the saying goes, you can never have enough pitching.
LHP – Joe Saunders
What can you say about Joe Saunders? He’s a lefty — like all good humans — who earned the first win in 15 years by an Orioles starter in a postseason game. Saunders is the type of pitcher that finds a way to get the job done.
In seven games with the Orioles, he was 3-3 with a 3.63 ERA and 1.87 K/BB in 2012. He’ll give the Orioles 180+ innings and has plenty of postseason experience.
OF – Scott Hairston
Scott Hairston loves hitting lefties. He hit .286/.317/.550 with 11 homers and 30 RBI in 199 plate appearances against them last year. You know who hates hitting against lefties?
But he hit .302/.357/.502 with 11 home runs and 30 RBI in 280 plate appearances against right handed pitching in 2012. Together, they’re a nice tandem. Hairston can fill in for outfield depth and crush the southpaws.
3B – Chone Figgins
For some reason the Mariners thought giving Chone Figgins $36 million was a good idea back in 2010. It wasn’t. Figgins hit .227/.302/.283 with just 4 home runs and 61 RBI in three seasons with Seattle.
Prior to attempting to get the ball at Safeco Field, Figgins had eight years of success with the Angels. He hit .291/.363/.388 during that span. In a smaller ballpark, like Camden Yards, he should put up better numbers. The price will be low (as will the home run total), but Figgins could help the Orioles infield.
Second base remains an uncertainly for the Birds, perhaps Figgins could fit that role.
1B – Adam LaRoche
Though he’s quite possibly the most unlikely of the bunch, but Adam LaRoche could be an exciting left handed bat in this Orioles’ lineup. Right now, he’s stuck with two-year offers and he’s holding out for that additional season. If the O’s jump in with three, LaRoche is there for the taking.
He hit 33 bombs in a relatively big ballpark in D.C., drove in a 100 and could provide that pop that Buck Showalter is looking for in the middle of the order. Orioles fans would quickly forget about Mark Reynolds’ power with Adam LaRoche in the heart of their lineup.