Fans of the Baltimore Orioles seemed to reach yet another tipping point yesterday when news broke that now former Oriole Brian Roberts had signed with the New York Yankees. I’ll admit to being a bit surprised at how this was perceived on twitter among the Orioles’ faithful. Many people were angry – LIVID, even. I’ll admit to being taken back a bit by the move, but ultimately Roberts was offered a contract by a team, and he ran with it. But when I say that people were angry, I mean they were angry with the Orioles – for “allowing this to happen.”
Let’s be clear here folks; Brian Roberts is a sure-fire first ballot Orioles’ Hall of Famer based on his 13 years with the O’s. He was a great player in Baltimore, and I believe that he’ll be fondly remembered. When all is said and done, Brian Roberts is and always will be a Baltimore Oriole – contrary to current team loyalties. However he’s also 36 years old, and has spent the better part of four seasons stashed on the DL. Are Orioles fans really angry that their team opted not to re-sign Roberts, are they angry that he went to the Yankees, or are they…just “angry?”
First off let’s not forget that the Orioles didn’t necessarily choose not to re-sign Roberts; the fact is that they hadn’t made him a formal offer,
while NY did. But let’s not argue semantics. I would submit that there’s a mentality out there on the part of some fans that any move that the Orioles make (or don’t make) has to be the wrong move simply because it’s the Orioles making/not making the move. This is hardly a new phenomenon with the news about Roberts. Many people were against the extension of Adam Jones because how do the Orioles know his production won’t taper off? The same has been true for quite some time regardless of the move.
Not every move a team makes is going to pan out. Orioles fans know this well of course. However it’s not as if the Orioles are the only team who’s ever made moves that just didn’t work; Boston’s flirtation with Bobby V and even NY’s deal with Alex Rodriguez turned out to not be the greatest moves in the world. However regardless of what the Orioles do, it seems that there’s a portion of the fans who just assume it to be the wrong thing. Is that really fair?
These are fans that simply want to see a winning team. However they shouldn’t discount the fact that they’ve seen winning baseball the past two years. But many people’s perception is that the Orioles don’t sign people because the owner pockets the money. The fact is that when it comes to free agent signings they simply do things differently than what teams like Boston and New York do. Those teams identify a player they want on their team, and they get them – regardless of the price. (Incidentally that’s why guys like Scott Boras siphon his clients in their direction.) Instead the O’s try to get bang for their buck. They have realistic goals as to what players should be paid. They aren’t going to give out a contract like Seattle gave to Robinson Cano and defend it by saying we wanted to ensure he signed here so we gave him a pile of cash. In terms of trades, it really boils down to other teams wanting what the Orioles won’t give up. The Orioles have some of the hottest prospects in baseball right now in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Heck the Mets wanted Bundy in return for an above-average player last week! Not to mention that Manny Machado‘s name still comes up as a trade target for other teams on occasion.
I suppose my point is that a move (or a lack of a move) isn’t a bad thing simply because it’s the Orioles. The one thing I might question is that it appears Duquette and company were a bit surprised by the fact that Roberts accepted an offer from another team. While publically they kept saying that they’d love to have him back and so forth, I think privately they were probably preparing themselves for the realization that he wouldn’t be on the team in 2014. But they were still surprised by it; quite frankly so was I. For all we know Roberts will play a huge role in NY’s return to the post season in 2014 while the Orioles flounder. But what I can tell you is that Yankee fans are a bit underwhelmed by the signing. So…should Orioles fans really be that up in arms over it?