Baltimore Orioles' Reaction to the Mark Teixeira Signing

Lawrence BarrecaAnalyst IDecember 23, 2008

Ticked off. Frustrated. Sad.

All things that describe the way I felt after reading today's headlines.

Now, before you say anything, let me first point out that I am not upset because the Orioles didn't get him. 

I am upset because of who did.

The Evil Empire found a way to grab another big-name player. The New York Yankees signed Mark Teixeria to an eight year, $180 million deal. I guess that it was all about the money then, Tex.

So now, the Orioles have to face him, C.C. Sabathia, A.J. Burnett, and possibly Manny Ramirez every year, on multiple occasions. 

It won't be pretty.

However, as O's fans, we have been hit with worse, and it is once again time to move on. 

Let's look at the positives:

The O's saved a boat-load of money on a player who was being offered too much to begin with.  Also, we can use that money to sign Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Jeremy Guthrie, and Adam Jones.

Now the negatives:

As previously stated, we have to face the Bronx Bombers multiple times a season. 

And the effect of not getting Tex for the O's:  Baltimore still needs to find a primary first baseman. Aubrey Huff is a player that many believe could be the everyday man at the position, but I personally would rather him as a DH.

So what could the O's do to make up for it? 

It is simple. First, use the money to get our star players signed long term. Second, look for starting pitchers. Finally, search for a first baseman either through free agency or via trade.

So who's out on the market?

Four names come to mind: Hank Blalock, Ryan Garko, Nick Swisher, and Adam Dunn (Dunn would be the only one out of the three not acquired through a trade).

I'll make a case for all four.

Last season, in only 258 at-bats, Hank Blalock hit for a .287 average, with 12 home runs, 38 RBI, and 37 runs scored.  The one scare with grabbing Blalock is the injury risk. 

He has played only 123 games in the last two seasons. However, he has played at third base for most of that period. I think that a switch to first base could benefit his health, not to mention the potential power numbers with the short porch in right field at Camden Yards.

Slightly younger than both Blalock and Swisher, Ryan Garko has been the least injury-prone and one of the better producers. Last season (495 at-bats), he hit for a .273 average, with 14 home runs, 90 RBI, and 61 runs scored. I don't know who the Indians would like in a deal for him (besides maybe Roberts, of course), but he is always a possibility.

Now, we move to Nick Swisher. With the Yankees acquiring Mark Teixeira, they are willing to deal some of their first basemen to make room. Swisher is on this list. 

Last season with the Chicago White Sox (497 at-bats), Swisher hit for a .219 average, with 24 home runs, 69 RBI, and 86 runs scored. Yes, I know the batting average is low.

However, a shift in scenery might change all of that. The other advantage that he has over Blalock, Garko, and Dunn is that he is a switch-hitter, while Blalock and Dunn are left-handed and Garko is right-handed. 

Finally, we go to Adam Dunn. Though he is primarily a left fielder, Dunn should be able to easily become a full-time first baseman. 

Last season with the Reds and Diamondbacks (517 at-bats), Dunn hit for a .236 average, with 40 home runs, 100 RBI, and 79 runs scored. Like Swisher, Dunn doesn't hit for a high average, yet having a 40+ home run threat in a lineup featuring Nick Markakis, Aubrey Huff, and Matt Wieters could be devastating.

Sure, his strikeout rate is high, but he knows how to rack up the RBIs, so hitting in the number four spot in the lineup shouldn't be a problem. 

One thing that will be an issue, though, is simply getting him signed. With many teams expressing interest in Dunn, the O's would have to pay big money to get him. 

So, what the O's decide to do now is beyond my understanding. 

Go out, grab some starters for the rotation, sign our studs, and get a first baseman.

Now with Tex in pinstripes, the O's have to prepare for war.


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