Archive for 2014 Baltimore Orioles

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

Could Ervin Santana Improve the Orioles Rotation?

Posted in Free Agency, Offseason, Pitching with tags , , on January 28, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

The Orioles have had a very slow offseason.  Sure they’ve signed approximately 57 outfielders to minor league contracts with invites to spring training i the hope that one of them can play in left at the major league level, but other than that and a couple of minor trades, it’s been pretty quiet.  One place they can still improve is in the starting rotation, where there are potential difference makers (albeit few) left on the free agent market.  Yesterday on ESPN Sweetspot Orioles blog, Camden Depot, Matt Kremnitzer took a look at one of those starting pitchers in Ubaldo Jimenez.  Today, I take a look at another, Ervin Santana.

Direct Link to Article –> Could Ervin Santana Improve the Orioles Rotation?

Chris Young: Starting Left Fielder?

Posted in Offense, Offseason with tags , , on November 19, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

During the off-season, ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog, Camden Depot has had some excellent analysis regarding rumors and the potential moves the Orioles could make this offseason, and if you’ve been paying attention at all, Baltimore has been involved in a lot of rumors in this young offseason.  I haven’t heard his name specifically mentioned in any connection to the Orioles, but today at Camden Depot I took a look at whether the Orioles should consider signing free agent center fielder Chris Young to be their starting left fielder in the 2014 season.

Direct Link to Article –> Chris Young: Starting Left Fielder?

Declining Options: Potential Hitting Fits for Baltimore

Posted in Offense, Offseason with tags , , , , , on November 10, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

The offseason is a week old, and one of the very first orders of business for teams (or players) is to do decide whether or not they should pick up their contract options or cut bait and become free agents.  On Friday we took a look at the pitchers, so today we’ll look at some bats.  If I state that I think the team should make an offer, it doesn’t mean that they should do whatever it takes to sign them.  Due to the larger number of players, I’ll try to keep the explanations brief.

Infielders

Alexi Casilla ($3 million team option declined by Orioles)

As expected, Casilla did nothing with the bat in 2013, but made up for the lack of being able to hit a baseball by doing a good job of fielding it at 2B, and was essentially the definition of a replacement player.

Verdict: Make a minor league offer with an invite to spring training Continue reading

Declining Options: Potential Pitching Fits for Baltimore

Posted in Offseason, Pitching with tags , , on November 8, 2013 by oriolesprovingground

The offseason is a week old, and one of the very first orders of business for teams (or players) is to do decide whether or not they should pick up their contract options or cut bait and become free agents.  Over the next 2 days we’ll look at all of the options that have been declined and see if there are any potential good fits for the Orioles in the 2014 season.  If I state that I think the team should make an offer, it doesn’t mean that they should do whatever it takes to sign them.  Due to the larger number of players, I’ll try to keep the explanations brief.

First up, the pitchers.

Starting Pitchers

Chris Capuano ($8 million mutual option declined by Dodgers)

In 2013, Capuano only pitched 105.2 innings this past year, due to two separate stints on the DL.  He started 20 of the 24 games in which he appeared.  Capuano shows a pretty heavy platoon split, but hasn’t been terrible as a starter the last 3 years, posting a FIP at 4.03 or under in each season.  He’d be an interesting sign for depth purposes, either as a spot starter or another left handed option out of the pen.

Verdict: Make an offer Continue reading