Offseason Outlook: Baltimore Orioles

Here’s a look at the 2009 Orioles:

C – Ramon Hernandez – $8MM
C – Guillermo Quiroz – $400K
1B –
2B – Brian Roberts – $8MM
SS – Freddie Bynum – $400K+
3B – Melvin Mora – $9MM
IF – Brandon Fahey – $400K
IF – Luis Hernandez – $400K
LF – Luke Scott – $430K+
CF – Adam Jones – $400K
RF – Nick Markakis – $455K+
OF – Luis Montanez – $400K
DH – Aubrey Huff – $8MM

SP – Jeremy Guthrie – $770K+
SP – Daniel Cabrera – $2.875MM+
SP – Garrett Olson – $400K
SP – Matt Albers – $400K
SP – Hayden Penn – $400K

RP – George Sherrill – $980K+
RP – Jim Johnson – $400K
RP – Jamie Walker – $4.5MM
RP – Chris Ray – $445K+
RP – Dennis Sarfate – $400K
RP – Fernando Cabrera – $575K+
RP – Alberto Castillo – $400K

Other commitments: Brian Matusz – $870K, Adam Loewen –  $816K+, Danys Baez – $7.2MM, Jay Gibbons – $6.2MM

Non-tender candidates: Brian Burres, Lance Cormier

Other pitching staff candidates: Troy Patton, Radhames Liz, Kam Mickolio, James Hoey, Randor Bierd, Rocky Cherry, Brad Bergesen, Chris Waters, David Hernandez

Let’s just say the Orioles’ commitments will be under $75MM, even accounting for arbitration raises. Markakis should get the biggest raise, as he is arb-eligible for the first time.

No one knows what the Opening Day pitching staff will look like; Guthrie seems the only certainty in the rotation.  To me, the best solution is to just let all the kids battle it out in spring training.  No need to throw away $5MM+ on a veteran innings eater.  An exception: I’ve seen A.J. Burnett‘s name tossed around by fans, and I see their point. He’d add respectability and could still be a good pitcher when the Orioles are ready to compete. It’s worth exploring.

Expendable veterans abound: Ramon Hernandez, Roberts, Mora, Huff, Walker, and Daniel Cabrera could all be moved this winter.  These guys aren’t part of the next competitive Orioles club.  The goal: acquire quality middle infielders and starting pitching, of course.  Andy MacPhail’s hauls from last winter inspire confidence.  In 2010 or 2011, the Orioles could be a few pieces away from contention and flush with cash.

Mark Teixeira‘s name has also been bandied about as a possible offseason target.  While Tex is a very good player, I don’t see him as a once-in-a-lifetime guy who needs to be locked up before the Orioles are contenders.  The price will be astronomical and it just doesn’t seem to fit with the team’s current philosophy.

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