Wednesday, November 16, 2011

O's interested in another (almost) 36-year-old DH?

According to MASN's Roch Kubatko, the Orioles may be looking at David Ortiz to fill their designated hitter slot. Although Kubatko admits that the interest is "mostly speculation" at this point, he did pass along the following:
The Boston Globe's Pete Abraham tweeted that [executive vice president of baseball operations Dan] Duquette is meeting with [Fern] Cuza, who represents free agent David Ortiz. Abraham speculated that the Orioles have interest in the veteran designated hitter.
That's not much, but who really knows when the O's are involved?

Ortiz had another solid year last season. He hit .309/.398/.554, surpassing his numbers from the past few seasons. For his career, he's a .283/.378/.544 hitter, which is excellent.

He also turns 36 on November 18 (Friday), which is the same age as Vladimir Guerrero -- and we all know how that signing turned out. Ortiz is probably the better hitter between the two at this point. He's been better the last couple of years; maybe the benefit of mostly DHing in his career has helped him and allowed him to stay stronger at the plate.

I understand that it's speculation, but hopefully the O's have learned from the disappointing Guerrero signing. A young, bad team paying a bunch of money for a DH doesn't make a whole lot of sense. With Guerrero on the roster last season, the O's lost a lot of roster flexibility -- and that's not even mentioning that Luke Scott was already the best option at DH even after they signed Guerrero. At least the Guerrero deal was only a one-year deal; I seriously doubt that Ortiz would entertain anything less than a two- or three-year deal. Guerrero also signed for $8 million; Ortiz would likely command at least $10 million per season.

When considering the O's current roster, signing another full-time DH makes even less sense. Mark Reynolds and Chris Davis are not defensive wizards, and I don't think the O's want to enter the season with both of those guys starting at the corner infield positions. Davis may need to DH sometimes, as will Reynolds. It would also be smart to keep the spot flexible so Matt Wieters can stay in the lineup occasionally when he's not catching.

Could the O's lineup use an upgrade? Yeah, probably. But the roster has plenty of holes, not just at DH. For an organization that needs to be rebuilt from the ground up, it wouldn't be smart to sign an aging DH to a multi-year contract just to score a few more runs over the course of a season.

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