• Jan

    Should the O's look to Cuba now?

    by srock

    We all know the Orioles have several gaping holes on the Major League roster, most notably pitching and corner infielders. Left field is of secondary concern since Reimold can be given a shot. Right field is suddenly a concern due to Markakis's injury but you have to pencil him in. 2B is a worry with Roberts injury but there is depth for the position, albeit Andino, Flaherty, Antonelli are pretty risky.

    I don't see any ready made solutions to this problems. Fielder at 1B, sure, but that's a ton of cash to risk at this time, I'm going to assume he signs elsewhere in a preemptive attempt to squash this thread being derailed by Fielder chatter.

    The idea here is to add talent (Cespedes, Soler) in order to free up talent to trade. In essence, create a surplus of talent in the outfield in order to trade from a position of strength to fill positions of weakness. Nobody needs to be traded immediately so the Orioles can wait for the appropriate deal to come along. This is a long term talent building plan.

    Right now, there are two potential impact players available via FA both are Cuban defector's and both play the outfield.

    Jorge Soler a 19 year old OF with big time power projections and athleticism. Callis compares Soler to Bubba Starling and claims he would have been drafted near Starling.

    Yoenis Cespedes a 26 year old OF who has shown great power and talent in the Cuban league and in the WBC.

    According to RotoWorld (quoting Boston Globe) Cespedes is looking to sign a $30+ million contract while Soler projects to cost $20 something million.

    Caveat: There is no way to know if these players have any bias towards particular teams or situations so let just assume they are available and want money for purposes of debate.

    So what about this (assuming the O's think Cespedes and Soler are what they seem to be):

    Sign Cespedes for 4/$35 (maybe an option for some sort on year 4 and/or a 5th year). $8.75 million a year. Might cost more but this seems close enough to discussion.

    Sign Soler for 6 years $25 million. Using pitcher Aroldis Chapman as as comp who signed as a 21 year old (22 in his first season) for 6 years $30 million. $4.16 million a year.

    For the next 4 years this increases payroll by almost $13 million for a starting OF and a top notch OF prospect playing alongside Machado and Schoop. 3 top notch position players all projecting to break into the ML team at about the same time. Moreover, they are coming up behind actual talent at the ML level. Orioles have not had that since...well...the 70's?

    The Orioles would be able, over the next year or two, to trade from a position of strength. Jones, Markakis, Hardy, and Reynolds could be traded due to an excess of talent as opposed to just monetary need. Or keep them and trade the younger player. Or keep them all due to injuries. The team needs talent, go get it!

    What's your View? Talk about it here.

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