The Baltimore Orioles finally made a move yesterday, and it was one that validated 2012 more so than anything else. The Orioles resigned outfielder Nate McLouth to a one-year deal worth $2 million once he passes a physical. If he makes 500 plate appearances next year he also has the potential to earn an extra $500,000. Bringing McLouth back was one of the team’s top priorities after the two months that he gave them in 2012. McLouth’s value of course went up big time on September 8th when Nick Markakis’ season ended after getting drilled with a C.C. Sabathia pitch. McLouth performed brilliantly in the lead off role, and depending upon Brian Roberts’ status he could contend to lead off again in 2013. Ultimately’s that’s Buck Showalter’s decision.
The Orioles also signed first baseman Conor Jackson to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. Jackson, 30, hit .277 with 9 HR’s and 44 RBI at triple-A Charlotte last season. He has played in the majors at various points, including stints with the A’s, Red Sox, and Diamondbacks. The Orioles also resigned outfielder Lew Ford to a minor league deal, along with outfielder Jason Pridie, pitchers Adam Russell and Daniel McCutchen, and catchers Allan De San Miguel, Jose Gil and Chris Robinson. All of these players will receive invites to spring training.
The O’s had previously been rumored to be in on former NY Yankee Nick Swisher, and Dan Duquette did in fact meet with his agent. However it appears now that the Birds will take a pass on Swisher after resigning McLouth. Swisher’s probably a better hitter, however while he can play first base McLouth’s probably a bit more versatile. However this is one of those cases where the concept of team chemistry comes into play. Swisher has long been disliked by Orioles fans in that he sometimes can come across as snarky or crass. McLouth on the other hand seemed to mesh well in the short time he was with the O’s last year and in turn he seemed to enjoy playing in Baltimore and for Buck Showalter. Swisher probably would have seen Baltimore as just another stop along the way and another payday. McLouth signed with the Orioles because he wants to be in Baltimore. Big difference.
Many fans are restless given that the team hasn’t delivered a big time trade or free agent signing as of yet (withstanding the McLouth news). Aside from Mike Napoli signing with Boston, there really haven’t been any major movings and shakings this week. Last year’s big news was Albert Pujols to the Angels, but at this point we have nothing that would contend with that story. So I would suggest that people remain calm and patient. That’s much easier said than done, however the smoke has barely even left the canon yet in terms of the hot stove season, much yet having cleared! The Orioles have shored up the outfield with the McLouth signing, and now they’re probably turning their attention to first base. However if you’re still nervous and looking for an explanation as to why they haven’t done anything, all I can tell you is that I guarantee that Dan Duquette isn’t just sitting on his rump doing nothing in Nashville this week.