Friday, October 9, 2009

Thinking of Carlos

The Orioles need a new 1B in 2010 like humans need air to breathe.

And with 1B prospect Brandon Snyder coming off a disappointing stint in Norfolk where he hit just 2 HR and had a .671 OPS in 262 AB, the Orioles should look outside of the organization to fill this glaring hole.

Enter Carlos Delgado, former Blue Jays, Marlins and Mets 1B.

Remember Delgado? He completely mashed the Orioles when he was with Toronto.

In about a season's worth of AB's against the Orioles, Delgado had 28 HR, 106 RBI and a .919 OPS. Delgado signed with the Marlins in 2005, had another Delgadoesque season, and then was traded to the Mets when the Marlins decided to slash payroll for the millionth time in their history.

Delgado has had some trouble staying healthy lately (he only played in 26 games in 2009), but that gives the Orioles an advantage. Coming off a year when he missed most of the season, Delgado won't command a big contract, and most contending teams won't give him a starting job. The Orioles can. And they can give Delgado a chance to showcase his talent when healthy in hopes that some other team is dumb enough to give him one last payday.

He'll turn 38 next June, and while most O's fans would do a double-take when someone advocates signing another aging slugger whose best days are behind him, I do believe the move makes sense for the Orioles.

Remember Frank Thomas? He was very much like Delgado throughout his career. And as he got older, injuries started to hamper him, and the White Sox let him go his merry way after the 2005 season. Thomas signed with the A's for one season at age 38, stayed healthy for most of the 2006 season, and bashed 39 HR and 114 HR in only 136 games. His OPS was .926.

Now, just because Frank Thomas did it at age 38 doesn't mean that Delgado will. But look at the payoff. The A's never traded Thomas, but if they did, they could have gotten a nice return for him. And if the Orioles sign Delgado and he had a Thomas-like comeback season, the Orioles would benefit no matter what they did -- regardless of whether they traded him or kept him.

But one thing the Orioles better not do if Delgado does have a comeback is sign him to a multi-year deal like the Blue Jays did with Thomas after he left Oakland.

Anyway, a healthy Delgado could still be a threatening clean-up hitter. Just imagine the potential of this line-up:

Roberts 2B
Jones CF
Markakis RF
Delgado 1B
Reimold or Scott DH
Wieters C
Pie LF
Wigginton 3B
Izturis SS

That looks a lot better with him in it than not, doesn't it?

So just remember. If the Orioles sign Delgado this offseason, it won't be for more than one year. Andy MacPhail isn't Syd Thrift or even Mike Flanagan, Jim Beattie or Jim Duquette. Hopefully Delgado will perform at a high-level again and the Orioles can trade him for their future SS or another pitching prospect.

And hopefully, Brandon Snyder will earn his way to the majors at some point in 2010.

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