O's: What about Brian?
The imminent signing of Nick Markakis to a six-year extension has, understandably, generated a lot of excitement among Orioles fans, but it has also generated dozens of comments with the same question:
What about Brian?
Will there be a similar news flash next week proclaiming that Brian Roberts has signed a long-term extension? Inquiring minds want to know, and they're pressing me for a prediction because I was boasting about being soooo right about the Markakis situation.
If I had to make a prediction on this situation, I'd say that Brian will not start the season with a new contract, but will start the season with the Orioles, because the market for him right now is pretty soft. The proof in that is free agent Orlando Hudson (left), who is basically Brian without all the stolen bases and is still waiting to be signed.
Why would anyone give up a package of young players for Brian, who has to be signed beyond this season? The same team could sign Hudson for less than Roberts wants without having to give up more than draft choice compensation.
Perhaps the market situation -- and maybe the Markakis extension -- will encourage Brian to re-sign here, but I suspect he'll report to spring training with the Orioles and play here until something happens that makes him more valuable in a trade, such as a key injury on a contending team.
For the record, I would like to be wrong this time. I believe the Orioles need to sign him to mollify the fan base and, more practically, to maintain solid up-the-middle defense for the sake of the young pitching staff.
Selfless plug: Like to see everyone come out to Rams Head Live for the Roch Kubatko Roast on Wednesday night. The roast, which promises to be a lot of fun at Roch's expense, starts at 8 and benefits the Cool Kids Campaign. For tickets, you can email Sharon Perfetti at Cool Kids (firstname.lastname@example.org) or go to the Rams Head Live website. I'll be taking my best shots at our old Baltimore Sun deserter and so will a lot of actual celebrities.
Associated Press photo