As an Orioles fan, I have been literally begging for some moves to improve the team. Last off-season, the trade of Erik Bedard seemed like a bad move to me. But in hindsight, the deal will turn out to be one of the best in Orioles history. Now, we have improved our record and look to become .500. In 2009 we will look to continue what we started of signing young players.
In 2009, our free agents are few...only two actually. One of the two is bench player Jay Payton. He has produced for the Orioles when he starts and we he comes off the bench. He has put up decent numbers. However, there is no way he is in the Orioles plans for the future. He is going to be 36 next year and he would have to compete with the outfield of Luke Scott, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis. The Orioles are hoping that that will be their outfield for the long term future. Also, with Payton making 5.5 million, they defiantly want to part with that.
The second of the free agent is Orioles clubhouse leader Kevin Millar. Millar has been trying to spark up the clubhouse ever since his arrival. He even jokingly said that the Cubs would have to go through the Orioles in order to become World Champions. Thanks Kevin, but we don't live on Mars. Millar has lead with his mouth, but he hasn't lead with his bad. He puts up numbers a little better than Jays, but it is not what the Orioles are looking for from their first baseman. In 2006 and 2007 with the Orioles, Kevin combined for only 32 HRs, 127 RBIs, 52 2Bs, 238 hits, and a .263 batting averages. Those two seasons combined are a top year for some MLB first basemen. And turning 37 next year, the Orioles would love to dump that 3.3 million dollar salary; especially with Aubrey Huff swinging a hot bat.
So now that the Orioles have dumped 8.8 million dollars in salary, it is time to add. Forget about minor deals. I am going to talk big signings.
First off, do what all of Orioles Nation wants. Sign Mark Teixeira. The Angels will not resign him with Vlad and K-Rod both being free agents. The Annapolis born player has always wanted to play for the Baltimore Orioles and has said on many occasions that it's his dream. I feel the Peter Angelos will finally pull some cash out and sign him just because of the local roots. The Orioles have been missing that since Cal Ripken retired. And we all know what Cal Ripken did for this ballclub and city. The Orioles would love to add his 30+ homeruns per year as well as his 100+ RBI's. He would be a perfect fit to provide protection for Nick Markakis. Aubrey Huff, Luke Scott, and Ramon Hernandez would provide protection for Tex. As well, Tex would receive more RBI chances with Mora, Roberts, and Markakis batting in front of him. And at the age of 29, he would be the veteran leader for the future.
Next, sign Mike Mussina to a one year deal. I highly doubt that the Yankees will resign him. The Moose used to play in Baltimore many moons ago and it is where he made a name for himself. After this year, Moose will be looking for his 300th win. What better place to do it than where he got his first in Baltimore? It would also help the team's rotation. They would add a stopper that would almost guarantee you a win every 6 days. Also, it would provide a veteran ace that the Orioles need to help and groom the younger starters like Daniel Cabrera, Jeremy Guthrie, Dennis Sarfate, Brian Burres, Chris Tillman, Chris Waters, and Garrett Olson. The Moose is likely not to cost that much and that is music to Angelos' ears. The Orioles would probably make a profit off of the Moose with the 300 wins, jersey's, ticket sales of people wanting to see the 300th win and his possible last season, and just the fact that the fans will see they are trying to win again. The perfect storybook ending would be that Moose wins his 300th game in an Orioles uniform at Camden Yards and rides away from baseball only to enter the Hall of Fame in a Baltimore uniform.