The Orioles haven’t made many big deals yet during this offseason, but now after pulling an offer from one of their former players, new players’ names have emerged.
The Baltimore Orioles made a four-year offer to free agent OF/DH Mark Trumbo weeks ago, but that deal is now off the table at the moment, sources tell FanRag Sports.
As a result, the Orioles may decide to take a look at former Milwaukee Brewers first baseman Chris Carter, who hit 41 home runs last season. Baltimore is also targeting outfielders Jarrod Dyson (trade), Curtis Granderson (trade) and Carlos Gomez (free agent), along with catchers Matt Wieters, Nick Hundley and Welington Castillo — all free agents.
Just wait one second…
The Orioles went from most likely letting Wieters walk in free agency, to wanting to resign him. Then, they are still in the market for Hundley and Castillo. They have also added names like Dyson and Gomez to their list of potential free agent signings. This makes my head hurt.
Let’s start with Wieters. We all know how valuable he is to the Orioles, making the All-Star team four times and has won two Gold Gloves. Wieters had a 35% caught stealing percentage in 2016, which was his best since 2012. The one thing that the Orioles will take into account is his ability to frame pitches. Jason Castro’s pitch framing netted him a three-year deal, worth $24.5M with the Minnesota Twins.
“The evaluation that some folks make, and some folks recently made, is to invest in the framing metrics and to invest in a meaningful way for the framing metrics,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “I think that discussion is going to continue.”
When asked if pitch framing is an aspect of the game that the Orioles would take into account, Duquette had this to say:
I think a catcher is a very, very important part in the team and we look very carefully at all aspects of the catcher and how he impacts the game both defensively and offensively, from the human resource in terms of managing the game. It’s an important position.
So it’s safe to say that the Orioles will sign the catcher that is the best at pitch framing. According to Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles catcher Caleb Joseph is considered to be a better pitch framer than Wieters by the stats:
When Joseph was spelling Wieters for parts of 2014 and 2015, the numbers were much stronger for him. He was 17th in RAA (runs above average) (6.9) with 0.60 calls per game in 2015, and 12th with 10.7 RAA and 1.10 calls per game in 2014. Wieters, by contrast, was worth minus-7.3 RAA in 2016. He was rightfully credited with keeping pitchers comfortable by providing a big target, but wasn’t the defensive catcher in 2016 that he had been early in his career.
It is probably safe to say that although it is a possibility that Baltimore could bring Wieters back, they will go in the direction of a player who can frame pitches at a better rate. It’s not Hundley because his RAA was even worse than Wieters, sitting at a measly -12.8. Castillo fared much better than both, but his number wasn’t all too impressive sitting in at -3.2.
Right Field Situation
Dyson or Gomez would be a very good addition to an Orioles team that is in need of a right fielder. Both players are natural center fielders, so playing right field shouldn’t be the hardest of transitions for either player. Dyson would be the more ideal fit for the Orioles, as he is the prototypical leadoff man that they have coveted for awhile. He batted .278/.340/.388 last season, driving in 25 runs and stealing 30 bags. He is also a left-handed hitter. The speedy outfielder has had a career Ultimate Zone Rating of 43.9 and has saved 45 runs. If the Orioles could manage to trade for him, they’d have a very good outfield.
Gomez in comparison, has an UZR of 82.1 and a DRS of 74 after playing 10 years in the Majors. Gomez batted .231/.298/.384, driving in 53 runs and hitting 13 homers. It is fair to say that he didn’t start the season off on a good note, batting .210/.272/.322 in his first 85 games of the season with the Houston Astros. He began to heat up, once he began to play with the playoff-bound Texas Rangers. He batted .284/.362/.543 in his final 33 games of the season.
If the Orioles sign one of these two guys, I wouldn’t complain at all.