Baltimore Orioles: 3 Players Who Will Not Be Back in 2015
Now that the MLB season has hit the post-trading deadline stretch, all eyes are on division races, wild-card spots and the excitement of marching toward the postseason.
The Baltimore Orioles are one of the teams that are positioned nicely, currently holding the largest division lead in the league at six games. If the O's just keep doing what they're doing, they shouldn't have to worry about losing their spot atop the AL East.
And while most thoughts are on the postseason, some people are beginning to wonder about players who will become free agents at the end of the season and what will happen to them on the open market.
Of course, the Orioles have players that are due to hit the market this winter, many of which are bigger-name players (Nelson Cruz) and key cogs that have been on the team forever (Nick Markakis).
The team won't be able to retain every player, and frankly, it may not want to. So let's take a stab a who won't be returning to Baltimore for the 2015 season.
Andrew Miller, Relief Pitcher
The O's dealt for left-handed relief stud Andrew Miller at the trade deadline with the knowledge that he is due to become a free agent at season's end.
They also knew Miller would be tough to retain this offseason, given his strong success at doing what he does. He'll be highly sought-after on the open market, making it tough for the O's to outbid other teams.
Given Miller's skill set, success, and the fact that he's a lefty, he'll likely land a contract that is too pricey for a one-inning-type pitcher, something the O's would be smart to avoid as they've been burned by that type of scenario before (Kevin Gregg, anyone?).
Miller is likely a two-month rental for Baltimore. But that's okay, because if he helps the team make the playoffs and beyond, then it's totally worth it.
Delmon Young, Outfielder/DH
Delmon Young has really done an excellent job for the Orioles this season, while performing in a bit of a platoon role.
Manager Buck Showalter picks and chooses to play Young when he believes that Young will have the most success against the opposing starting pitcher.
Showalter has been choosing wisely, and Young has been performing when given the opportunity. The right-handed hitter currently has a .319 batting average accompanied by a .351 OBP, five home runs and 19 RBI.
However, putting up numbers like that won't be enough for the O's to seek to extend him.
The thing is, Young has been having a great season, but "role-player" type ballplayers are a dime a dozen. Teams sign multiple guys with the exact same MO every offseason in hopes that one of them play well enough to be that utility/platoon guy who plays a bit more often than a reserve player.
Add to the fact that the O's have Steve Pearce as well, who is basically the same player as Young other than the fact that he's a better overall outfielder and can also play first base, and you start to see why the O's really don't have reason to bring back Young.
It's nothing Young did or didn't do. It's just how baseball works. And because of that, expect Young to be working for another team in 2015.
Nelson Cruz, Outfielder/DH
The O's got a steal when they signed Nelson Cruz to a one year, $8 million contract back in February. While spending time in both left and right field and also DH, Cruz has put up fantastic power numbers this season, just like the O's had hoped.
Even though he's slumped recently, he's helped fill the void left by Matt Wieters (injury) and Chris Davis (lack of effectiveness). It's safe to say that without him, the O's probably wouldn't be in first place in their division right now.
While Cruz is concerned with getting to the playoffs right now, he's also trying to set himself up for a big money deal this winter. And this time, he won't be hampered by an end-of-the-season suspension for his role in a steroid investigation.
Cruz should be able to land something in the three-year, $40 million range, possibly even a fourth year with another $10 million. And considering he'll be 35 in the middle of next season, that likely prices him out of the O's plans.
One would imagine that the O's would be in on Cruz this winter. And Cruz seems to enjoy playing in Baltimore. However, it's hard to gauge how hard the O's will go after Cruz this winter considering what he's worth on the open market coupled with his age.
At the end of the day, I believe that Cruz will end up somewhere other than Baltimore for the 2015 season and beyond.