It's been reported that the Orioles and Brian Roberts are close on a 4 year/$40 million dollar extension that will begin in 2010. The 31 year old Roberts is a two time all star and has been a prime contributor with the Orioles over the past five seasons. It's hard not to like this extension for both Roberts and the Orioles.
On one hand, the Orioles need quality players to build around if they are ever going to be serious competitors in the American League. Roberts is one of the best second baseman in all of baseball and there are many teams who would break the bank to have Roberts on board. Roberts is definitely an asset and someone who the Orioles can build around.
I think this was an important move for the Orioles front office to make to show the fans that they are serious about competing and winning. Roberts is one of the few homegrown players the Orioles have and this extension shows the young guys that if they play well, they will be rewarded. This a sign of good faith from the organization to Roberts, the team, and the fans that the organization is serious about changing their troubled ways.
In addition, Roberts is one of the few players the Orioles have, who fans will actually come out to see. It's no secret that Roberts is a fan favorite in Baltimore and one of the most marketable players the Orioles have. If the Orioles are going to create a image and brand for their team, Roberts will undoubtedly play a big role in that.
And when you throw in that the Orioles have no other long term options at second base, this extension looks even better for the Orioles, who now have a long term, quality option at second base.
But on the down side, you have to wonder about giving Roberts a four year extension that will lock him in until 2013, when Roberts will be 35 years old. For a team that is looking to get younger, there is some significant risk involved in signing a guy as old as Roberts to a long term deal. There is a risk that Roberts, whose game depends so much on speed, will be on the decline towards the back end of this deal. If he does decline, his contract will make him virtually unmovable.
However, I think this was a move the Orioles needed to make. Losing Roberts would have hurt the Orioles big time on the pr front and they probably would not have been able to get that much back in a trade considering how poor the second base market is right now. While this extension won't make the Orioles instant competitors, it does give them a valuable asset who could help rebuild this franchise.
I have to ask though: did the Orioles overpay for Roberts? Considering how bad the free agent market has been for second basemen, I'm surprised to see Roberts getting $10 million per season. Any thoughts?
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