Baltimore Rejoice: Roberts Deal Nearly Done
For the past two seasons, Orioles Manager Dave Trembley has responded to trade rumors about Brian Roberts by noting that Roberts would be his leadoff hitter and second baseman until he was told otherwise. It doesn't seem like anyone will be telling Trembley otherwise for a while.
The Baltimore Orioles and Brian Roberts are near agreement on a four-year, $40 million extension that will keep the second baseman in orange and black until 2013.
The deal is contingent upon a physical which is set to happen today while a press conference is expected to be held tomorrow.
As quoted by the Associated Press, Roberts says the deal is "fairly close to being done," while expressing excitement to be staying in Baltimore. "It's been a long process, but hopefully in the end it'll work out and both sides are happy. I think it'll be a relief of some sort," said Roberts.
As Dave mentioned on the blog earlier today, this is a pretty nice about-face for Roberts who has been linked to and welcomed trade possibilities for the past two seasons.
While the Orioles have spent that past two offseasons entertaining offers for the two-time all star, the team was unhappy with the value it was being offered in return, having turned down serious offers from both the Braves and Cubs.
Also, the lack of a second baseman even remotely ready to make the jump to the majors had to have played a part in the Orioles' decision to further pursue an extension with one of the game's best leadoff hitters and second basemen.
And, perhaps more important than his on-the-field attributes, are the off-the-field qualities which include a strong presence in the community while serving as the face of an organization that has spent the past decade trying the patience of its fan base.
Since the trades of slugger Miguel Tejada and pitcher Erik Bedard, the spotlight in Baltimore has shined almost exclusively on Roberts who responded last season by leading the team in doubles (51) and stolen bases (40) while finishing behind Nick Markakis in walks and OBP.
Roberts's stats are even comparable to reigning AL MVP and fellow second baseman Dustin Pedroia of Boston as Roberts collected more triples, stolen bases and walks to go along with a slightly higher OBP while on a significantly worse team in 2008.
Orioles fans have to be excited to see two presumed cornerstones of the future in Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis squared away for the foreseeable future. Could it be - are the Orioles actually headed in the right direction?
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