|Brian Roberts stealing second base|
In the wake of the recent news I think it’s appropriate to write a tribute to the Orioles former table setter, Brian Roberts. After 13 seasons wearing the orange and black, Brian Roberts will be suiting up in pinstripes next season. He received a 1 year 2 million contract plus incentives from the New York Yankees. Roberts was the longest tenured Oriole after being in Baltimore for his entire 13-year career. Roberts holds the team record for doubles in a season with 56 set in 2009. He was a consistent force atop the order with a .276 batting average and an on base percentage of .312 from 2001-09 (all stats through baseballreferance.com). With that solid on base percentage Roberts also added speed, gap power and good defense to the lineup. Roberts was also a clubhouse leader even during the orioles losing seasons.
Then in the 2010 season Brian Roberts was limited to 59 games due to a serious concussion that he suffered sliding into second base. From 2010-13 Brian Roberts averaged 48 games per year causing the Orioles to search for a new second basemen. Due to injuries Roberts wasn’t even able to take part in the Orioles 2012 playoff run. With players like Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop and the newly acquired Jemile Weeks the Orioles are prepared for life without Roberts. Because of that the Orioles began the offseason by filling other holes rather than resigning Roberts and hoping that he would stay healthy all season. That opened the door for the Yankees to sign Roberts to replace Robinson Cano.
Orioles’ fans instead of showing Roberts the respect he deserves for his service to Baltimore are now pegging him as a traitor. Sure it would have been good for him to retire a career Oriole but it wasn’t a good fit for either side. It was a strictly business decision on both sides. The Orioles are able to carry the trio of Schoop, Weeks, and Flaherty for about 1.3 million (courtesy of baseballprospectus.com). That’s .7 million less than the base salary for Roberts, a player we aren’t sure will make it to the end of the season. If Flaherty plays like he ended the season his pop and defense will fill the void left by Roberts. This move also allows Nick Markakis a career .335/.390 hitter in the leadoff spot to move there once again if no one is signed. This betters the Orioles offense as a whole and hopefully allows Markakis to rebound from his slump last season.
Instead of being bashed on how they are treating an icon the Orioles should be applauded on a good business decision. Sure I wish Brian Roberts luck with the Yankees but I’m confident that the Orioles trio of second basemen can pick up the slack.
If you like what you see take the time to follow me on twitter