There seems to be a prevailing theory on the board that a platoon could put up Carlos Lee-type numbers out in left field. The theory goes that a platoon costing between $6-8 million a year could put up just as good numbers as a $15 million Lee.
I understand the concept, but if an easily acquired platoon could put up Lee numbers than Lee wouldn't be getting $15 million a year. I'm a big proponent of platooning in certain cases, and if Lee falls through, that's certainly an option to explore, but let's not fool ourselves into adding one guy who hits righties well and one guy that hits lefties well and assume they will put up the same numbers as a guy who will put up a .890+ OPS on a consistent basis. First off, it’s not always easy to find two players who not only hit one side significantly better, but who also WANT to platoon.
David Dellucci is brought up often as the perfect platoon guy and for good reason. He had a .904 OPS in 244 at bats last year and a .895 OPS in 2005 against righties. The down side to Dellucci is that number one, he has stated he doesn’t want to platoon and two he’ll be 33 next year, so we’re looking at a player who will most likely start to degrade while filling that platoon role for us. Jose Cruz Jr. is brought up as the opposite side of the platoon after putting up a .885 OPS against righties over the last three years. However, he’s never been open to the platooning role either. IF, and that’s a big if, the Orioles can convince both players to come here and platoon, then they could possibly put up numbers close to what Lee could produce, but I have doubts that can be done for under $8 million and for how long? Neither, especially Cruz will probably want to sign for more than a year of two under these circumstances because both are still looking for a big pay day.
Lee on the other hand absolutely fills a big need for the Orioles and the market is not going to suddenly go back down, not after the last financial numbers came out. Do you draw a limit on someone, absolutely. But the last time I checked, the Orioles have been saving money by going with the Jeff Conine's of the world despite trying to take on guys like Vlad, Delgado, and Konerko. Where is that money?
If we have to overspend in order to get a need in this market, then that's what we need to do. People are tired of losing. Nine straight years of being under .500 means the organization needs to take some financial chances to show everyone they want to compete.
Chicago may have overspent to get Soriano, but their fans know they are serious about competing. The Orioles need to get Lee and put him out in left field for the next 5-6 years. If they don't, their back up plan better be more than any in house candidate or Jeff Conine-type of stop gap. That would just end up business as usual and we all know what that means in the AL East.
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Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.