Last night, the Orioles reached a verbal agreement with 34 year-old Jay Payton to man left field. It’s a very Orioles move – miss out on all the big fish, gotta sign some kind of warm body. The deal is for two years and $9.75MM.
While that may be an OK price, this is left field in the American League we’re talking about. You have to hit .280/.347/.449 to earn a C grade. Payton hasn’t posted an OBP that high since Colorado in ’03; he may be capable of slugging .449.
This type of signing frustrates me, as it doesn’t indicate any sort of coherent plan. At least with the Cubs, they are going all in for 2007. They might not have the right hand with which to do so but they have made a decision and are acting on it. That’s rare in Cubdom. But the O’s remain the same – a mix of promising youth and mediocre vets that will probably earn them fourth place.
Baltimore’s outfield is now set with Payton in left, Corey Patterson in center, and Nick Markakis in right. Overall, it looks decent.