Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

A Guide to Contention: Part III

Posted by Mike on December 29, 2005

11/04/05

Part III: Our Final Roster

I’m not going to take the cheap way out. Despite the thousands of permutations that could shape the 2006 Orioles Roster, I am going to give you my exact picks.

Starting Pitching

SP- Erik Bedard
SP- Daniel Cabrera
SP- Bruce Chen
SP- Hayden Penn
SP- Rodrigo Lopez

Notice, I haven’t signed anyone to my O’s rotation. Penn may need 8 or so starts in AAA, but this has the makings of a good rotation. I don’t see the need to put ourselves back behind another large contract when we have such solid in-house options. Should a second-tier starter fall through the cracks and depreciate in value this off-season, i could see the O’s making such a signing to provide some depth and perhaps make Penn’s AAA conditioning easier to bear. I’ll admit I’m not being specific, but when you’re looking for rotation depth, as opposed to finding an ace, you let the market dictate where you strike.

Bullpen

CP- Chris Ray
LHP- Steve Kline, John Parrish, Steve Byrdak
RHP- Sendy Rleal, Aaron Rakers, Cory Morris, Eddy Rodriguez, Rodney Ormond, Todd Williams, Jimbo Baldwin
Not all of these guys will work out. Enough will, though. I guarantee it. I am not taking crazy pills. This could be a very good bullpen.

2B, 3B, SS

2B- Chris Gomez 100 ABs, Brian Roberts 550 Abs (just a guess)
3B- Melvin Mora, David Newhan
SS- Miggy

1B, DH, C

Between these three spots, there will probably be about 1800 ABs. I’ll assign them without regard to position and leave the rest to your imagination:
Javy Lopez (C, 1B, DH), 500 ABs
Walter Young (1B, DH), 200 ABs
David Newhan (DH), 50 ABs
Ramon Hernandez (C), 500 ABs
Adrian Gonzalez (1B), 550 ABs
I signed Ramon Hernandez to a 3 year deal for $20 mill and give him the majority of starts behind the plate. Javy spells him on occasion and spends some games at 1B, but mostly DH’s. I also packaged John Maine and Jorge Julio and whatever other B pitching prospect the Rangers asked for and got a productive 1B in Adrian Gonzalez. Walter Young is brought in merely to sell tickets.

Outfield

LF- Matt Lawton
RF- Jay Gibbons
CF- Luis Matos, Val Majewski, and Nick Markakis
I know, Majewski and Markakis may not even be ready. Beyond that, neither are natural center fielders. I still would sit tight and hope they can combine for 500 quality major league at-bats and keep Matos to reserve duty. Lawton will likely come cheap and provide excellent OBP. He makes a good transitional signing as we wait for the likes of Markakis, Majewski, Reimold, and Fiorentino to assume full-time roles.

Bench

David Newhan, Luis Matos, Walter Young, and Chris Gomez make up a useful, multi-dimensional, and cheap bench for the black and orange in 2006.

Conclusion

I’m assuming the Orioles will have similar payroll parameters entering 2006 as they do now. BJ Ryan and Rafael Palmeiro come off the books, but the O’s will likely have to pay the majority of Sidney Ponson’s contract (that doesn’t look that bad, next to him anyway). Arbitration and back-loaded contracts will eat up most, if not all, of the money saved. However, Angelos has made it clear he is willing to spend when he is convinced it’s the right player. I don’t think asking for Ramon Hernandez and Matt Lawton is too much.
I think the most intriguing part of my roster design is my bullpen construction. My version is cheap and effective. If we need an extra arm, they could always go trade for, say, Steven Andrade (you can’t beat those peripherals with a stick).

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