Orioles and Roberts still far apart

by Paul Raymond | Posted on Saturday, January 24th, 2009

brian_robertsAs Spring Training and Opening Day draw closer it looks more and more like Brian Roberts and the Baltimore Orioles will be parting ways. The problem isn’t so much difference in salary as it’s the difference in years. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports that Roberts is seeking a four year contract, while the Orioles are only offering a three year deal. Even one year isn’t that significant but I think in Roberts eyes its more about respect. Especially when you consider all the trade talk he’s been involved in this past year.

First the Orioles offer. It’s been reported that the Orioles offered Roberts a 3-year $30 million deal. Not bad, it fits with the current economic state in baseball. Consider this years free agent class, most teams haven’t been offering those $10 mil a year or more deals. And when you really look at it most teams aren’t even offering that much. Even with the 31-year old Roberts being one of the best lead-off hitters in the game, one can’t justify the Orioles offering to much more salary wise.

Like Rosenthal said it sounds like Roberts wants a four year deal, no word on the desired salary thou. Once again looking at the economic state of the country and the game, you can’t fault Brian with wanting job security. Who knows if in three years the salaries are even lower? Granted I don’t think this is what he is considering thou. I think it really comes down to respect and possibly even enjoying the city he plays in.

Over the past year there has been so much trade talk involving Roberts that it’s disgusting. Most talks have revolved around the Chicago Cubs but there was so much of it that it lasted just about the entire season and even into part of this off-season. And if Roberts has no extension in place by Opening Day then you know those talks will heat up even more. So really, I would expect a four year contract to be more about the respect. He wants to know that Orioles want him.


Personally, I’m surprised that Roberts wants such an extension with the Orioles. He’s played for a perennial loser for just about his entire career, why would he want to spend four more seasons there? Only thing I could think of is he enjoys the city and its minuscule fan base. On the flipside he’s also told MASN Sports that if there is no deal in place by Opening Day then he’ll be hitting free agency. So once again, it makes me think respect and loyalty is really at the center of it all.

I really don’t know how this situation is going to play out but I really think the Orioles need to pony up and resign this guy. The Orioles are a struggling franchise that really has no fan base right now. But when you talk to the few fans that show up at the games, Brian Roberts is their favorite player. Your team may not compete for years in the ultra competitive American League East so one would think you have to keep the fan fav, especially if he’s WILLING to come back.

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Long term it would make sense for the franchise to get some youngsters but as this plays out his trade value drops. Teams know they can get him cheaper and cheaper, or eventually just sign him next off-season. So seriously Baltimore get the deal done, you need Roberts on your side. Do you really want to see him hit free agency and possibly be the New York Yankees lead-off hitter in 2010?

Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun has a great article talking about Brian Roberts and why the team needs to extend.

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