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January 2004 Archives

January 4, 2004


Hello, people. If you're looking for our old website, it's here. But we'll begin moving over to this new system, and hopefully we'll be able to keep it up.

January 22, 2004

Any regrets?

Ivan Rodriguez is considering an offer to play for the Tigers next year. The Tigers are offering a four year, $40 million contract. In another forum, someone wondered if Rodriguez was reconsidering the Orioles' offer, reportedly 3 years at $24 million.

Hmm. If I were him, I'd be unhappy to be stuck in Detroit -- but I think I'd take Detroit's deal over that reported Oriole offer.

For one thing, it *is* a lot more money. $16 million. Now, if this were a short term contract, I'd take the less money/better situation. (That is, in fact, what he did _last_ year.) But he's 32; the Oriole offer would take him through age 34 and the Detroit offer through age 35. That's likely the end of his useful life as a star. I don't say it's the end of his career; he can probably hang around for another half-dozen years in a lesser role. (See Santiago, Benito.) My point here is that if he signed with the Orioles, in order for him to make up the difference moneywise between the two offers, he'd need a one-year $16M deal at age 35. That ain't in the right ballpark of what he'll be getting.

For another, it's not clear to me that it's that much better in Baltimore. On the one hand, Detroit's recent track record is awful. On the other, the Orioles' recent track record isn't good either. Yes, the Orioles look like they're making a move, but they've looked that way before. Moreover, to the extent that being in the playoffs is important to him, Detroit has an easier path to get there. (Namely: the AL Central.) They start from farther behind -- but it's a lot easier to improve from awful to mediocre than from mediocre to good.

For a third, Javy Lopez. Unless Rodriguez is eager to give up catching, why would he want to share time with Lopez? It would likely severely limit his value, both because he'd be playing less at the position where he's most valuable and because the Orioles have a big roster squeeze at his other possible position, DH, costing him even more playing time.

The counterargument, in favor of Baltimore, is:

  • Baltimore's likely a lot better. If neither team makes the playoffs, wouldn't you rather play on at least a mediocre team than a bad one?
  • Camden Yards vs. Comerica Park. 'Nuff said. In case it's not enough said, two additional points:
    • Camden Yards is perceived (though incorrectly so) as being much more hitter friendly. He's a hitter.
    • Camden Yards draws, even after this awful Thriftian run, 30K per night. Comerica draws half that. One would assume the former environment is more fun to play in.

Hmm. Is all of that worth $16M and the loss of playing time? I don't think so. But that's me, not him.

This is probably all academic; I didn't see anybody suggesting the Orioles' offer was still on the table.

January 25, 2004

Settle for less

Spring training is coming up soon, and the Orioles are beginning to put the finishing touches on the 2004 roster; they've started resolving the arbitration process:

The Orioles signed second baseman Jerry Hairston and center fielder Luis Matos to one-year contracts yesterday, avoiding arbitration with both players shortly before the deadline to submit salary figures to the commissioner's office.

Hairston received $1.65 million, and Matos got $975,000.

Gibbons, Mora, and Ryan still to go. Matos just snuck in for arbitration eligibility, so that's pretty good considering he has barely played in the majors.

The Hairston signing reduces uncertainty, hopefully clearing the way for the Orioles to resolve the Hairston/Roberts mess. Given the Orioles' extreme lack of young players in recent years, it seems a shame to talk about getting rid of one. But a team simply doesn't need two second basemen, and a second baseman does not a utility infielder make. Unless they decide one of them can play short -- and they don't appear willing to say so -- then one of them has to go. If it were up to me, I'd keep Roberts, who's two years younger and seems to have more upside. But if the Orioles can convert either one into usable talent, I'll be happy.

I've updated my historical Orioles arbitration chart.

About January 2004

This page contains all entries posted to The Orioles Warehouse in January 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

March 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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