The Baltimore Orioles are going all in this year. Just a couple days after the Orioles ink starter Ubaldo Jimenez for 4 years and $50 Million, Baltimore announces they signed Nelson Cruz on a one year deal for $8 Million pending a physical. You can make a case whether this was good or not for the Orioles, but I think it makes a statement saying that they are ready to make a run this season.
Nelson Cruz declined a 1 year, $14.1 million dollar qualifying offer from the Texas Rangers and it didn’t quite pay off for the 33 year old. I’m no fan of a player who gets busted with any kind of PED and realistically I don’t know what to expect from Cruz in 2014. He’s a career .268 hitter and has 5 straight seasons of 22+ homeruns including a career high of 33 in 2009. Since his new home ball park is Camden Yards and not Globe Life Park in Arlington who knows what his output can be but I can see around 25 HR’s this season.
The one negative to this deal is that the Orioles are going to give up a draft pick in compensation for Cruz, right around 55th overall. I’m one to value a draft pick but to get a corner outfielder who can probably give you 20+ bombs and has post season experience, I say it’s worth the risk. Even more so if I’m only spending 8 million for 1 year in this market.
The notable part of this deal is the dollar value the Orioles are saving on this deal. For example, Chris Young is a career .235 hitter and has 13 less career HR’s than Cruz had signed with the Mets for $7.25 and one year. The Phillies signed 36 year old outfielder Marlon Byrd to a 2 year, $16 Million deal. I’d rather have Cruz than either of these two players, as I’m sure many would.
It goes to show if you’re patient, you can wind up with a great offseason deal without breaking the bank. After all it’s all about putting up wins, isn’t it?
Tomorrow marks the start of the second half of the baseball season. Midway through the hot blistering summer, this is where teams prove they are for real and other teams start to fade. The trade deadline is coming up and teams look to scramble around to add any additional pieces they need to succeed.
One division I’m really looking forward to watching in the second half is the AL East. It’s not just a 2 team race anymore. Red Sox, Rays, Orioles, and the Yankees are all within 6 games of each other and all have 51 or more wins. The Blue Jays sit at the bottom with a 45-49 record and 11.5 games back. But heck, with the expectations they had coming into the season and a healthy Jose Reyes now, they could land anywhere in that division.
It appears as if the Yankees may be buying and selling, Red Sox could be buyers, Rays will likely rely within and the Blue Jays are possible buyers. The Orioles have already acquired an arm in Scott Feldman and are making more moves.
One thing for sure is the Baltimore Orioles just called up outfielder Henry Urrutia from Triple A Norfolk.
I don’t know a whole lot about this 26 year old Cuban outfielder but what I do know is that he is hitting. Urrutia was signed last season for under 800,000 dollars and after some visa issues he made his debut this year. Starting 52 games in Double A Bowie and 15 games at Triple A Norfolk. Combing the two, he is hitting a .365/.427/.531 slash line with a .958 OPS. He has 7 homeruns (all at AA), also is drawing walking and playing great defense. He hasn’t committed any errors in the outfield and has 8 assists.
The Orioles figure they have seen enough in Henry Urrutia and decided to solve their DH woes by calling up one of their own. My guess is he’ll see some time at DH and some time in LF and RF as well to give Nate McLouth and Nick Markakis some days off in the field. And why not? It’s worth a shot.
The Orioles are making moves and making them early.
So I sit here watching this incredible up and down World Baseball Classic game between USA and Canada. A game that has a feel like like a final game in a ALDS, but in the month of March. The United States at one point, decides to put Arizona Diamondback David Hernandez out to the mound. I can’t help but think about how underrated the guy is….
In my eyes, David Hernandez is one of the top relief pitchers in the game. A man who does his job quite like no other, bridging the gap from the 8th inning to the 9th beautifully. A handcuff to the aging J.J. Putz. In the past 2 seasons for the Dbacks, Hernandez compiled 48 holds which is a Major League 12th best. Not to mention a good honkin’ fastball and a nasty slider.
A former 16th round pick by the Baltimore Orioles in the 2005 Major League Baseball Draft. 483rd overall to be exact. He came up as a starter, putting in good overall numbers in the minors. At 24 years old, he was called up by the Orioles making 19 starts and once out of the pen for a limp 5.42 ERA. Forward to December of 2010 and David Hernandez along with Kam Mickolio for slugger Mark Reynolds. Perhaps Arizona was on to something by trading for Hernandez, seeing how they had drafted him once previously but he didn’t sign. They had an obvious liking for the guy. The Diamondbacks strictly used him out of the bullpen in 2011 and 2012 and the move payed off. Proving that he is a trusty reliever and without a doubt a possible future closer for the Diamondbacks, replacing an aging and oft injured J.J. Putz. Between David and Heath Bell, he’ll likely get some save opportunities if Putz sees any DL time or needs a night off.
In fact, the four seasons he has pitched in the MLB he managed to lower his ERA, runs, hits given up, walks, WHIP, and HR’s allowed in each season. While increasing his strike out total in each season. In 2012 he stuck out an impressive 98 batters in 68.1 innings. Perhaps the most valuable part of David Hernandez to the Arizona Diamondbacks is that he is set to earn just over $3 Million for the next 2 seasons. Count on him to have another voluminous season.