MLB Free Agents 2012: 9 Free Agents Baltimore Orioles Have Legitimate Shot At
It's no secret that the Baltimore Orioles need help.
It's also no secret that the Baltimore Orioles aren't exactly the New York Yankees when it comes to spending money so they won't be exactly going after Albert Pujols or Prince Fielder.
However, there are some bargain options out there that the Orioles can swoop in on.
The Orioles have a good farm system and could be good in a few years. Right now they just have to make a few small tweaks to shore up some holes to keep the fanbase happy.
The big-name free agents are out of the question (barring some miracle). That leaves the Orioles with the rest.
Here are the nine free agents the Orioles have a shot at signing.
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Carlos Pena's agent is Scott Boras so he might get a little pricey but the price won't be outrageous. It could be something well within the Baltimore Orioles' reach.
Pena's not known as a guy who hits for average, but he'll hit homers. Nothing draws the fans in like a home run.
You may be wondering, why do the Orioles need another Mark Reynolds? While it's true they're just about identical offensively, Pena can actually play his position whereas Reynolds is literally just a bat.
Pena could hold down first base and mash some homers until one of the guys in their farm system is ready to take over.
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Nick Punto is a utility infielder who could be an excellent bench guy.
Punto's got a great glove and he can play multiple positions. He'd be a great defensive replacement and be able to give the regulars a day off without making Buck Showalter worry about defense.
Granted, he's not a flashy name, nor does he do much offensively, so he won't put fans in the stands. However, he can teach the young guys a thing or two about defense.
The Baltimore Orioles could use some veteran leadership.
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Speaking of veteran leadership, Omar Vizquel would be the right guy to fill in that hole.
He's been around for some time and has played in many places. Vizquel would probably rather sign with a team to chase that ring, but I think he'd just be happy to play.
Vizquel still has a glove and can play multiple infield positions. After all, he's won 11 Gold Gloves in his career.
Outside of teaching the kids about defense, he could also teach them about sacrifice bunting, something that seems to be disappearing nowadays.
Buck Showalter would love Vizquel's playing style and the fact that he'd be around to help teach some of the younger players on the Orioles roster.
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Here's another player who can be a mentor for the younger guys.
Jose Molina is a great catcher. He knows how to call games and is solid behind the plate with a pretty good arm.
Signing him would give the Baltimore Orioles someone to mentor their young star Matt Wieters.
Wieters has just started coming into his own but the Orioles would love to have someone reliable to give him some rest as to not tire him out too early in his career.
Jose Molina can be that guy while also teaching Wieters the many intricacies of being a catcher.
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David DeJesus is a solid outfielder. He's not particularly flashy and doesn't do one thing exceptionally well, but he gets the job done.
The Baltimore Orioles have a young outfield that's still growing and learning. They seem to be throwing their young guys out there too soon, especially in left field where they had a platoon going.
DeJesus can play all the outfield positions so he'll slide into left field rather easily. He's not an abysmal defender so Buck Showalter doesn't have to worry about that.
He's no Carlos Beltran, but he can hold the spot until one of Baltimore's young outfielders is ready to handle the position every day.
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Coco Crisp's a flashier option than David DeJesus, but not by much.
Coco Crisp has always been known for his speed and has recently stepped up in that department by swiping 49 bases last season while only being caught nine times.
His speed can bring something different to the table for the Baltimore Orioles. He can be their leadoff man and set the tone for the lineup.
DeJesus might be more well-rounded, but Coco Crisp's got speed and has the experience of playing and winning a World Series. That might be a little more valuable for the Orioles than DeJesus's well-roundedness.
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The Baltimore Orioles have a chance of signing Vladimir Guerrero because they already did so last season. There's no reason to believe he'd be totally against going back to Baltimore.
He's not the Guerrero of old, as injuries seem to be limiting his power numbers, but he still hit 29 homers in 2010 which means he's still has the ability to blast them.
Sure, he hit 13 last year while mainly playing in Camden Yards, but every player has their off year.
I don't expect him to reach 40 home runs. Thirty might even be a stretch, but he can still send those balls flying over the wall.
He'll provide the Orioles with some power in the lineup and a reason for the fans to go to the games.
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The Baltimore Orioles have lacked a true ace ever since Erik Bedard was traded.
While Aaron Harang is no longer a true ace, he was once the Cincinnati Reds' No. 1 pitcher so he has some experience being one.
Harang can give some leadership to a young pitching staff.
The Orioles have a good amount of young arms that are just about MLB-ready, but could still use some seasoning before being brought up.
Signing Harang would allow the Orioles to let their young guys fully develop. They'd also be bringing in a former ace and some veteran leadership.
I'm sure the Orioles would love to have C.J. Wilson, but he's a little out of their price range.
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Scott Kazmir used to be the ace of the Tampa Bay Rays back when they were still the Devil Rays.
Recently, however, he hasn't been the same, losing some of the stuff that made him so good back in Tampa Bay.
His stint with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim didn't exactly last long, nor was he effective there.
Maybe a change in scenery can help him get back to form.
The Baltimore Orioles need an ace. If Kazmir is able to return to what he once was, the Orioles would get just that.
He'd probably sign for cheap seeing how he hasn't had much success lately. He'd be a low-risk, high-reward type, exactly the kind of free agent the Baltimore Orioles should be looking for.