If the Orioles could sign one free agent, who would you want it to be?
We are sticking with baseball again today.
Some of you want the Orioles to spend money. Others don’t, simply because you don’t see a lot out there worth buying.
I am on record as saying it’s not a good free-agent class.
John Lackey and Chone Figgins are quality players, but they are now off the board. Matt Holliday and Jason Bay are excellent, too. And they aren’t coming here.
There’s always the trade-for-Adrian Gonzalez pipe dream, but you’d have to give up a whole lot of talent for what likely would be a short-term rental. Not real smart for a rebuilding club.
But that’s not to say there aren’t players out there that could help the Orioles in 2010 and beyond. They need a closer and several are available such as: Jose Valverde, Fernando Rodney, Mike Gonzalez, Kevin Gregg and Matt Capps.
They also need at least one, if not two, corner infielders. The available list includes: Garrett Atkins, Hank Blalock, Joe Crede, Ryan Garko, Carlos Delgado, Nick Johnson Mark DeRosa, Adam LaRoche, Adrian Beltre, Troy Glaus and Mike Jacobs.
The team could also use another starting pitcher, and there are plenty including former Oriole Erik Bedard.
I don’t see the Orioles spending what it takes to get Beltre or DeRosa., although I guess you never know. Given that, though, if I had to pick one player that I think best fits what they need, my selection is Atkins.
He just turned 30, bats right-handed – a real need in this lineup – and has experience playing first or third base, so he also gives them flexibility. And I’d rather see then pay for an everyday infielder than a closer on a losing team.
Atkins had a down year last season, and it’s easy to be skeptical of anyone who plays half his games at Coors Field. But from 2006-2008 he had more than 20 homers and 99 or more RBIs each season. And there are no lingering health questions with him as there are with so many other guys on this list.
So if the Orioles bring home one free agent present for Christmas, I say make it Atkins. What’s your call? And make it realistic. Bay and Holliday don’t count.
Daily Think Special: If the Orioles sign just one current free agent, who should it be?