Our trek through the AL East is nearly done. We started at the top of the standings with the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox and worked our way down through the Tampa Bay Rays and Toronto Blue Jays, all of which should be reviewed to understand why our next subject had such a rough go of it in 2009.
Today, the 2009 Baltimore Orioles.
Much in the same way Overbay represents the Blue Jays plight, it's hard not to notice a similar situation for the Orioles with Roberts. At 32, Brian Roberts still has juice left in his reliable bat, but it might be time to panic about his descending defense. The age cliff appears to be near if not in the rear view, as UZR has him going from a healthy 5.0 in 2006, to -2.0 and -1.3 the next two years, all the way down to a -9.0 for 2009. Take a look at his SB/CS over the same period and chalk it up to a lost step or two:
2007: 50/7 | 2008: 40/10 | 2009: 30/7
As Baltimore waves goodbye to the brightest days of their once golden son, Brian will be saying hello to $10 million per year over the next four years. As bleak as that sounds, he does still have value (3.4 WAR in 2009) and is still in the top two or three players on the team.
1B Aubrey Huff
Aspiring Free Agents: this is how you become a permanent one (unless you want to become a Royal). At 33, every one of Aubrey's skills appears to be dwindling if not already gone. Even if one thought he might still have some value as a DH (he did get 15 home runs), his 2009 line of .241/.310/.384 is nearly a mirror image of a cheaper but still overpaid Mike Jacobs (.228/.297/.401) who is at least 3 years younger. Replacing Mr. Huff with 32-year-old Ty Wigginton (.273/.314/.400) is hoping that the audience doesn't notice that this is a different Becky.
3B Melvin Mora
Wigginton didn't have enough PA to qualify for this study, so you get to see what a 37 year-old replacement player looks like. As it stands, it appears that Ty will be sliding over to the other corner and Garret Atkins (.226/.308/.342) will be taking over at 3rd. And while some past Rocky Mountain High has you thinking he'll be any good, his diamondview would look fairly similar to Mevin's here. Clockwise from noon it would read: 22 | 25 | 05 | 41. That means worse on base, a little better power that you can account for in Denver, worse base running, and worse with the glove. Read: worse, worse, worse, worse.
C God Himself
The biggest fantasy scam ever had himself a decent little introduction to the majors. Let's see how he does with little protection in the lineup as he finds his footing in the bigs. Check out his block % while wondering if he can maintain that OBP in his sophomore outing.
CF Adam Jones
I can't be the only one disappointed with a tremendously fast guy with a below-average glove, can I? UZR has him at -4.7 for 2009 after a nice 9.9 romp in 2008. With slightly above average power for a CF and league average on base ability, Baltimore has itself a nice little average centerfielder that shouldn't embarrass them too much. Throw in his 2009 $400k salary and the Orioles have to be pleased that they have a least one good backup player on their team.
LF Nolan Reimold
UZR doesn't think much of Reimold here (-10.9), but if he gets PT, he can be another league-average (LFer) hitter and baserunner for the Orioles, who seem to be lacking in league-average guys.
RF Nick Markakis
Nick the Stick actually had a down year in 2009 with a .293/.347/.453, but CHONE projects slight improvement at .301/.373/.484 for 2010. The bigger concern is his fielding which was a -5.8 UZR for the year after an excellent 12.1 in 2008. Hopefully Baltimore can squeeze some value out of his 6-year $60-million-something contract.
SS Cesar Izturis
Somewhere Dayton Moore is doing backflips looking for guys that have a DiamondView that looks exactly like this for every position. It's hard to say that Orioles fans should be content with anything, but if one looks at the outfield defense at Camden, maybe they can take away some little nugget of hope that Cesar can earn of few of those back with his outstanding defense.
Baltimore Team Composite
One of the best criticisms, in my opinion, of the DiamondView is that the eye assumes area of each diamond segment equals the statistical amount (despite the giant white numbers on the perimeter). However, one only need look at this team composite to see the value of the current presentation. That gaping hole in the upper left tells us quantitatively what we know spiritually: the Orioles simply cannot get on base and they cannot field, or at least no player on the team shares both talents. The fact that they're equally "talented" on the other half should be sobering indeed.
Up Next: AL East Comparison