Thoughts on Koji, McClellan, other rumors & Betemit details

There’s been a bunch of rumors flying around today, so I thought I’d put my two cents in on what’s going on..

*The Cardinals are actively shopping pitcher Kyle McClellan as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch first reported, and the Orioles are among the interested teams. He’s due to make $2.5 million this year, and would presumably give a team either a very good reliever or a serviceable back-end starter. Given the open competition and uncertainty in the O’s rotation (and bullpen) it makes sense that Baltimore would be interested and McClellan could end up competing for a starting pitching job.

But, how interested are the Orioles? I was told the organization is engaged in “at least three” active trade talks and it’s unclear what the Cardinals want beyond salary relief for McClellan. Ideally, St. Louis would want to get something in return given that McClellan has put up some fairly good numbers, and the Orioles really don’t have much to give up.

*One of the other potential trades the team continues to discuss involves Texas’ Koji Uehara’s possible return to Baltimore. Those talks have been going on since Dallas’ Winter Meetings, as MLB.com first reported, and while Uehara has a limited no-trade clause he’s made it  no secret how much he loved his time in Baltimore. The problem with a potential trade with the Rangers –and really any trade of significance — becomes what the Orioles can afford to give up in return.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has acquired plenty of depth this offseason because the organization lacks any top-tier prospects in the upper levels of its farm system. They aren’t trading Adam Jones or any other young piece deemed part of the future. (ie. Matt Wieters, Zach Britton, etc.).  I’m not saying Koji would demand a significant piece, especially given that he’s a 36-year-old reliever who is coming off a disastrous second half of the season, but if you’re the Orioles you have to be careful in what you trade for. Koji has an injury history, but he did perform well –when healthy — in the backend of the O’s bullpen.

You also can’t discount the fact that Uehara, who told several people close to him last fall that he wanted to return to Baltimore, was comfortable with the Orioles. They were the team that scouted and signed him out of Japan and manager Buck Showalter had taken great care in keeping Uehara on a specific plan –things like avoiding having him warmup and not come into the game — to keep Koji healthy.

*As for other trade scenarios, there’s a lot more going on behind the scenes then what surfaces. I’ve said before and I’ll say it again, my money’s on Duquette making a trade before Spring Training. The Orioles’ main priority at this point in the year is to shore up the bullpen, although I don’t see them passing up an opportunity to upgrade their starting pitching if they get the chance.

I don’t see free-agent starter Edwin Jackson signing in Baltimore for several reasons. (And before I get a thousand angry emails, I’ll add this is just educated speculation.)

One, Jackson has been part of winning clubs, going to the World Series recently with Tampa Bay and St. Louis and wants to win right away. Two, while money almost always trumps winning nowadays, the right-hander would have to be severely overpaid to pick Baltimore over other rumored-suitors such as Boston and St. Louis.  And I don’t see Duquette –who has made it clear his preference is to sign free-agent arms to three-year and under deals — going above and beyond to land Jackson with more money and years. It doesn’t make sense given what else he’s done this winter –which is primarily add depth — and this organization isn’t a piece or two away where you can justify going out and overpaying to get a guy. Three, if Jackson really does have several three-year options –as FoxSports reported — and is also thinking about possibly taking a one-year deal to up his value (similar to Roy Oswalt), you can bet he’d go that avenue before signing a three year deal to play for a perennially struggling team at the hitter-friendly Camden Yards.

Do I think Jackson would be a good fit? Absolutely. It’s just unlikely at this point. Even if his market dries up in terms of three-year deals, I can’t imagine there wouldn’t be a host of clubs willing to take on the 28-year-old power arm on a one-year contract. You can never say never in baseball, so file this one under “unlikely” at this point.

*I keep getting asked about the status of pitcher Armando Galarraga. The Orioles have not signed him to a Minor League deal, although they remain fairly confident that will get done. The organization has yet to unveil its list of non-roster invitees for Spring Training, and there should be a few more additions to that list between now and camp.

*Dan Wheeler signing with Cleveland tonight takes another serviceable reliever off the board.  Former Oriole Michael Gonzalez is still available, and here are a few other interesting names on the market:  Chad Durbin, Arthur Rhodes, Jason Isringhausen, Chad Qualls, David Aardsma, Todd Coffey, Juan Cruz and Pat Neshek.

*Finally, I was thinking about this the other day and brought it up briefly at FanFest. The Orioles offseason hasn’t been exciting in terms of player acquisitions, there’s no way around that. But what has this club actually given up? Virtually nothing. Duquette sort of hedged at this a few times this winter, and it’s true. The team has made some additions in hopes of incremental improvement, and is largely banking on the young arms to rebound. The Orioles haven’t traded anyone or lost any viable piece on waivers.

Luke Scott was  non-tendered and signed with Tampa Bay for a guaranteed $6 million — one year at $5 million and a $1 million buyout if his option isn’t pick up) — and you argue he’s the one big loss from last year’s club. But if the organization is going to see what they have in Nolan Reimold, who will get a chance to win the left field job, why not sign Wilson Betemit to DH for far less money than Scott and leave the potential to acquire another veteran bat on a one-year deal?

I’m not saying I agree with all the Orioles’ moves, but you have to look at pluses and minuses and –at the very least — Duquette has done a pretty good job his first few months in acquiring depth for very little cost or drawback to an already-sparse farm system.

*Finally here’s the lowdown on Betemit’s contract:

Betemit’s contract is worth $3,221,524 and is a two-year deal with a vesting option for 2014 with several incentives that could see him earn over $6 million total. He will make a base salary of $1 million in 2012 and $1.75 in 2013 and it’s a vesting-only option in 2014 for $3.2 million.

Signing bonus – $500,000, of which all is deferred without interest. His option vests if 700 plate appearances are reached in 2012-2013 combined.

Plus in 2012-2013: $50,000 for 300 PA; $75,000 for 350 PA; $75,000 for 400PA; $100,000 for 450PA; $100,000 for 500PA; $150,000 for 550PA; $150,000 for 600PA. Betemit would get $50,000 for All Star selection,$50,000 for Gold Glove; $100,000 for LCS/MVP; $100,000 for WS/MVP; $100,000 for Silver Slugger.

35 Comments

I just don’t think McClellan is the answer. We have 5 just like him. If we are going to get another starter, get Edwin Jackson. I know it’s easier said then done, but the O’s payroll is significantly less then last year. Give Jackson 4 yr/ 45 mil and we’ll have a no.2 behind Guthrie.

As I said, Duquette has made it pretty well known he’d prefer to not go over 3 for a FA arm.

i would think everyone would know guthrie is not an ace by now

Sooooo who bats clean up?

I ask this question because we have so many options at pitcher but may look more like the 2010 Os on offense rather than 2011. Do we really think Wieters, Jones, or Reynolds can handle that pressure and get the people around them better pitches?

I dont know. I could Showalter rotating that spot around this spring and for the early go of the season. The Os basically have the same offense they did last year, since Scott was never right. could still add a veteran bat on a one-yr deal.

Don’t see many veteran bats still available that could take the pressure off Wieters and Jones for another year. While Vlad wasn’t a power bat he was still a presence (not that I think they should bring him back) Matsui maybe? Trade for someone. Idk

McClellan could possibly work as a starter or a reliever, where I believe he held both roles in years past. Might be a good move.

I agree. I like him better as a reliever, but you dont know what u have in that rotation yet.

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Vlad wasn’t really the presence given how his power numbers dipped. And you’re right that they won’t bring him back. Again, I do think they could sign a veteran FA bat still. As for trades, give me a potential scenario where a team trades away their cleanup hitter to Baltimore and what the Orioles give up in return? Thats a pipe dream at this point.

Exactly Britt. Hitting wasn’t as much of a problem as pitching. Can’t wait for March!!!!!!

Hope we haven’t given up on Matusz, Arrieta, and Britton! Three great prospects!

Looks as if our offense, as presently constituted, will be able to scratch out enough runs to be competitive. If Buck can put together a pitching staff from his many options, we just might surprise with a .500 season- maybe better!

I agree prof…I saw a improving team at the end of last year. A team that very well may compete at that level. If we stay healthy we have some good depth, good defense up the middle and we improved our bench. It will be exciting.

Thank you, sir! Too much Gloom and Doom before the first pitch has even been thrown. We ought to have a pretty good handle on our team by the All Star Break, Maybe we’ll be competitive and maybe we won’t. But, I think we can be sure of one thing: Buck won’t put anyone in the lineup who isn’t dedicated to compete on every pitch. May not have a lot of “nuggets,” but we’ll be scrappy!

.500 season? Not happening. The bats will still be there but the pitching is still a train wreck at this point. With the O’sies bringing in 19 pitchers to compete for the starting jobs it isnt going to increase performance. Its only going to lead to more inconsistency. I think we need to trade Jones off to the Braves for what they “offered” us before and make a strong push for Cespedes. Its the only way we have a chance to be competitive this season.

Buck will have a lot of options with pitching this year- both starting and relief. How the competition to pitch for the Orioles unfolds is unknowable at the moment, but Buck has a good track record in using a not so great pitching staff to great efficacy. I believe that DD has indicated that Jones in one of the players he wants to build the team around.

Now you are talking. Bucks the dude. I agree. I like the youth too. Matusz took someone’s advice and worked on his conditioning. Britton and Arrieta have that competitive eye. Keep blogging prof….you did your homework and I like your positive approach. When we start winning the bandwagon will follow. ;)

When reading about the O’s pursuit of Kyle Mclellan a different name came to mind. Do you remember Jon Garland? He was hurt for the first time in his career last year, but in the nine seasons prior to 2011 he never pitched less than 190 innings. If Duquette wants to pick up arms on the cheap with decent upside, why not give a minor league deal or spring training invite to Garland?

Garland just had surgery in July and wouldn’t be ready until at least the 2nd half, if then. Why give a contract to a guy that won’t help you?

Most reports only have Garland out for six months, which would give him a shot in spring training. Even if he doesn’t come back until halfway through the season, if he works out he would take some pressure off the bullpen and younger starters. As I recall, Guthrie was the only starter on last year’s opening day roster who managed to break 30 starts. There’s a very good chance the pitching will be worn out and/or spread thin come August.

Well I don’t think Betemit needs to worry about getting any of those post season bonuses.

All this talk, but no action. So, I’m just waiting until the season starts and seeing what shakes out. It might be very interesting or alas, just another season of treading water. Either way, DD has probably done at least an okay job so far. There’s really alot of pressure on his shoulders and I think at least for now, so far so good.

;)

Does anyone realiatically see Brian Roberts on the field again?

I hope Bill. He is trying. Concussion giving him problems. His back too. If he can, he will.

Not realistly! But one can hope.

Batting #4 for the Baltimore Orioles Matt Weiters( he has only batted there for about his whole career until he got to the O’s where in there infinite wisdom they batted him 6.7 or 8th and retarded his progress.) Now the real question is who in the hell is going to bat leadoff at a major league necessary high level. Major important position which cannot be overlooked. Best candidate who can hit line drives,can bunt, has speed, steal bases and score from first on a long single. Nick Markakis. Plus he has power. Closest thing to Brian Roberts on the club and he has heart’ Hardy 2nd and Jones 3rd, Weiters 4th, Reynolds 5th,DH 6th(?) Reimold 7th. Davis 8th and Andino 9th. Gives us speed at the top and in the 9 hole and solid hittting in the middle, somewhat flexible with DH spot. That said some decent defense and top of the rotation pitching this might be more fun then a lot of people are suggesting. Keep the Faith. O’s4ever

As a non-follower of the Orioles let me commend your new GM for what I believe to be an excellent signing of Wilson Betemit. Given 500 PA he is finally ready to show why he was originally signed by my Braves.

Are “fairy” good numbers the result of a fairy or fairy dust? Do you mean his numbers were better than what should have been expected last season(s), therefore his numbers are likely to decline this coming season?

Hahah, Sorry meant fairly. I mean his numbers aren’t anything that make you say “WOW”, but he’s a capable ML reliever.

;)Ha we know what you meant. We need auto correct to spice it up a little.

I like our pitching possibiklties but wish the trade for Gavin had went through. He would hadbeen our Ace. with all of the pitching depth we have added maybe we could pickup up LaHair rom Chicago. our offense except DH looks good to start if players play to potential.
come on opening day. play ball!!!!

why is this stuff still up here?

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