Archive for February, 2014

Some Thoughts on Nelson Cruz

Posted in Free Agency, Offense, Offseason with tags , on February 25, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

The free agent signings just keep on coming for the Orioles, as yesterday they officially announced the signing of Nelson CruzCruz agreed to a 1 year, $8 million contract.  The deal has some easy incentives that, if reached, would bring the total to $8.75 million.  By signing Cruz, the Orioles give up their second round draft pick, #55 overall since Cruz rejected the qualifying offer from Texas earlier in the offseason (the Orioles first round draft pick was relinquished when they signed Ubaldo Jimenez).  Cruz is expected to mostly serve as the team’s designated hitter, while spending some occasional time in the outfield, most likely in left. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Ubaldo Jimenez

Posted in Free Agency, Offseason, Pitching with tags , , , , , , , , , , on February 24, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

As of Wednesday February 19, Ubaldo Jimenez officially became a member of the Baltimore Orioles.  The Orioles signed him to a 4-year, $50 million contract.  While he’s expected to perform near the top of the rotation for the duration of the contract, he’s already completed his toughest task, which was passing Baltimore’s physical exam*.  The details of the contract aren’t that important (they can be found here), but at an average annual value of $12.5 million, at first glance this looks like a decent deal for the Orioles, especially if you’re last memory of Jimenez is the unhittable version of him from the 2013 All-Star break to the end of the season.

*I know the whole “passing a Baltimore Orioles physical” has been overdone this offseason, but I felt that it was my duty to make sure I had at least one joke in here about it.  Although any joke probably wouldn’t top this tweet from former Orioles’ pitcher Jeremy Guthrie.

If you’ve been reading the different opinions about the Jimenez signing, you see a lot of the emphasis on how the signing affects the team’s playoff chances in 2014.  This is important to talk about for a couple of reasons.  One is that since Jimenez will be 30 years old during the 2014 season, there is a decent chance that the first year of his contract will be his best. Second, with all the recent talk of Baltimore’s current window of contention potentially closing in the next year or two (Hardy and Markakis are free agents after 2014, while Wieters and Davis will be free agents after 2015), it appears that productive seasons from Jimenez will be more valuable to the team’s success in his first 2 years than his last 2 years.  There may be a bit of truth to both of these points, but I don’t necessarily want to focus only on 2014 in this post. Continue reading

Some Thoughts on Suk-min Yoon

Posted in Free Agency, Pitching with tags , on February 20, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

On Wednesday, I mentioned that at some point I would probably share my thoughts on Baltimore’s recent signings of Korean right-hander Suk-min Yoon and free agent starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez.  Well today is your lucky day as I’ve deemed myself ready to discuss Suk-min Yoon.  Hopefully soon, I’ll discuss the Ubaldo Jimenez signing as well.

I’m starting with Yoon for a couple of reasons.  First, he signed before Jimenez, and second I don’t really know much about him, so this shouldn’t take too long.  Other than checking out a couple of videos on YouTube, I’ve never seen him pitch and don’t have any additional thoughts or analysis from what is already readily available to you (the reader) if you had performed the Google search yourself.  Although according to the video I just linked to, Yoon seems to regularly throw well over 100 mph, which is amaz…wait, nope that’s in km/hr.

Anyway, the Orioles signed Yoon on Monday to a 3-year deal worth a total of $5.575 million.  The deal includes incentives based on games started that could net Yoon an extra $7.5 million or so.  Yoon is 27 years old and has 3.19 ERA over 9 seasons playing in the Korean Baseball Organization (the professional baseball league in Korea).   He’s pitched mostly as a starter in the KBO (earning league MVP honors in 2011), but has had some experience in the bullpen, including the 2013 season due to some shoulder tendonitis.

Based on what evaluators have been saying, the general consensus on Yoon is that he’s either a back-end #4 or #5 starter, or an effective reliever in the major leagues.  If that’s the case, it’s hard not to like this deal.  At best, the Orioles get a back end of the rotation starter and at worst an effective reliever for less than $2 million per year.  To help you get better acquainted with Yoon, I’ll dump a couple of links on you from people who know more about him than I do.  Highly suggest taking a minute to look at both.

Camden Depot’s Jon Shepherd talks with Korea’s Yonhap News’ Jee-ho Yoo about Suk-min Yoon

Suk-min Yoon Scouting Report by former Lotte Giant Ryan Sadowski

What Can the Orioles Expect from Matt LaPorta?

Posted in Free Agency, Offense, Offseason with tags , , on February 19, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

The Baltimore Orioles have been busy little bees the last couple of days by signing RHP Suk-min Yoon out of Korea as well as one of the best remaining free agent starting pitchers in right hander Ubaldo Jimenez.  Everybody is talking about them, and for good reason, because they both constitute the biggest signings the team has made so far this year (sorry Ryan Webb, but you’ve been bumped).

I’m sure I’ll discuss those two at some point, but since everyone else is discussing them right now, I figured I’d talk about Matt LaPorta.  Remember him?  If you do, get reacquainted with a trip down memory lane, and if you don’t, then get to know him.  Either way, head over to the ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog, Camden Depot and see if the Orioles can find lightning in a bottle.

Direct Link to Article –> What Can the Orioles Expect from Matt LaPorta?