Chances of Each Important Orioles Player Returning
As with every team, the Baltimore Orioles have a number of players who are eligible for free agency this offseason.
While some of these players are either minor leaguers or fringe major leaguers, others play an important role in the make-up of the Orioles.
Let's go over who these important players are and decided how likely they are to return to play for the Orioles in 2014.
There's no denying that Nate McLouth is a fan-favorite in Baltimore. When he was included in the lineup, he brought an aspect of speed to a slow lineup, while also hitting for occasional power.
However, his production diminished as the season wore on this year. After hitting .275 with 24 steals as the everyday leadoff man and left fielder in the first half of the season, McLouth only hit .233 with 6 steals in the second half and saw his playing time cut some.
Still, there's a decent shot that McLouth returns to Baltimore in 2014, even if his role is limited. If a team in need of a decent outfielder with some speed gives him a nice size contract offer, McLouth likely wouldn't hesitate to depart. However, his second half may have hurt his stock, giving the O's a better shot of keeping the 31-year-old.
Chances of returning: 50%
After a terrific 2012 where he posted a 3.43 ERA, Jason Hammel was given the role of "ace" in the Orioles' 2013 starting rotation.
Sadly, 2013 was a rough season for the 31-year-old. After picking up seven somewhat fortunate wins by the end of May, Hammel failed to win a game in the last four months and posted a 4.97 ERA on the season.
The righty made $6.75-million in 2013, a salary he is unlikely to retain in 2014. However, pitchers are known to be over-priced in the free agency market, meaning some team may be willing to offer Hammel a nice size contract that the Orioles likely would be unwilling to match.
After a rough start to his Orioles career, Scott Feldman was possibly the Orioles' best starter down the stretch, as he posted a 3.88 ERA after the All-Star break.
Still, much like Hammel, Feldman may be over-priced as a free agent. And with the Orioles having some young arms waiting in the wings, like Kevin Gausman, they may not be willing to pay what they must to retain Feldman.
Overall, he's probably more likely to return to Baltimore in 2014 than Hammel, but Feldman's chances still aren't great.
The O's should do what they can to bring K-Rod back. Whether or not they will remains the question.
Rodriguez struggled a bit in his time as an Oriole, as he posted 4.50 ERA in 23 games with the Birds. However, he was rarely used in pressure situations, something he had been accustomed to his entire career as a closer.
Regardless of performance, there seems to be a few issues facing K-Rod's return to Baltimore, the main two being asking price and his role in the bullpen.
More than likely Rodriguez will ask for the contract size of a decent closer or top set-up man; he was neither for the Orioles in 2013. So, if the O's do decide to re-sign him, they may be forced to increase his role.
Odds are, K-Rod signs with a team in need of a closer. Thus, him returning to Baltimore is unlikely.
Unless the O's can work out a deal that brings the powerful right back at a fraction of what his prior deal was worth, it's unlikely that Morse will play for the Birds in 2014.
While Alexi Casilla isn't necessarily a free agent, he does have a $3-million team option for 2014.
That's a lot for a utility infielder, regardless of how solid is.
Still, Casilla is solid, especially in the field. Other factors may be at play, but there's a decent shot that Casilla will be playing with the Birds next year.
Despite being 36 and injury prone, it's looking ever more likely that Brian Roberts will be returning to Baltimore in 2014.
According to Roch Kubatko of MASN, Roberts wants to stay and the front office wants him to stay, presuming he'll come back for a cheaper price than his previous four-year, $40-million contract.
Although that seems like a good thing, it may be a step backwards.
At no point in Roberts' career have the Orioles been a winning team with him in the field. Even the last two years with the Orioles' making the playoffs and nearly missing, with B-Rob in the lineup, the O's have a losing record, as they went 7-10 in 2012 and 38-39 in 2013 with Roberts in the lineup.
Still, fans still love Roberts and he wants to end his career in Baltimore according to Brittany Ghiroli of mlb.com, making his chances of re-signing with the Orioles pretty high.
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