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Orioles Sign Ty Wigginton

Ty Wigginton left Tampa Bay at just the wrong time, with the Rays becoming a model franchise, all their young, talented pieces coming to maturity at just the right time. Evidently he's now hoping that he can get in on the same youth movement at the right time in Baltimore.

According to FOX Sports' Ken Rosenthal, Wigginton signed a two-year deal with the Orioles this morning, agreeing to a contract that will pay him $6 million. Wigginton appears to be the team's replacement for Kevin Millar, providing a right-handed bat to play at first base and DH, roles he'll likely split with Aubrey Huff. As Rosenthal notes, Wigginton will also probably be the team's backup third baseman.

The more significant aspect of the signing is an added sense of flexibility for Baltimore's lineup, a trend that GM Andy MacPhail has clearly been trying to cultivate during his second offseason in Baltimore. The Orioles signed traded for Ryan Freel earlier this year for the same reason, and the duo of veterans give Baltimore a little bit of pop (Wigginton hit 23 home runs and 58 RBIs for Houston last year) and a variety of ways to shape their lineup.

What do people think? Good move by MacPhail? Or are the Orioles digging a bit too far? And, just as significantly, what does this do to infielder Chris Gomez, who had signed a minor league deal with the team earlier this offseason? Gomez has to be the hard luck man out, right?

By Cameron Smith  |  February 3, 2009; 11:53 AM ET
Categories:  Orioles  
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Wiggy can play some 2B should an opportuntiy to move Roberts present itself. I think that the O's have done pretty well this off-season. They got younger, faster and more versatile. But, who knows if the rotation is going to get anyone out after Guthrie's turn.

Posted by: dfh123 | February 3, 2009 12:24 PM | Report abuse

My focus is on Pie and Jones' continued development. If both perform this year, the O's could have the most dynamic outfield in the league. I'm excited about a productive Pie-Jones-Markakis OF. That would be one helluva group to build around. But that rotation is something putrid. Not sure how quickly that will be addressed because the O's young pitchers (aside from Guthrie) have proven to be pretty awful.

Posted by: CDon | February 3, 2009 12:31 PM | Report abuse

"The Orioles signed Ryan Freel earlier this year for the same reason..."

Actually, the O's traded for Ryan Freel.

Actually, the O's traded away Ramon Hernandez and were lucky enough to get anything (Freel) in return.

Posted by: Poopy_McPoop | February 3, 2009 12:52 PM | Report abuse

1st - Ryan Freel was not signed. He was apart of the Hernandez trade...

2nd - I love this signing (and the focus on flexibility this offseason). If nothing else we have a much better bench, better veterans who can contribute, and several players able to play several positions which will keep the starters fresher (happy Mora?) and increase their production. I wouldnt mind seeing the O's flip Huff and/or Scott in a trade to free up some of the jam now.

3rd - Who cares about Gomez. He has had more than ample opportunity in the big league with a few teams. Best case scenario: we make a trade and open up a roster spot for him. Worst case: he spends the year in AAA. I feel much worse for Montanez and Reimold because they've havent had their shot yet, and McPhail keeps stock-piling young OF's (not that that is a bad thing).

Posted by: ThatGuy2 | February 3, 2009 12:54 PM | Report abuse

That's a great signing. Wigginton has been an underappreciated player for some time. Living in Houston I was happy when they signed him because even though the Astros aren't my favorite team I knew that they would be better and more competitive with him. Three million a year for a starting 1b and backup 3b and other IF/OF positions is a great deal.

Posted by: adampschroeder | February 3, 2009 1:11 PM | Report abuse

It will be interesting t see how all of this young talent will mesh this year. The O's have been quietly very busy this offseason

Posted by: nicksmom1 | February 3, 2009 1:58 PM | Report abuse

I'm not an O's fan, but would like for them to do well (despite PA). I like the moves McPhail has made this winter. He hasn't moved the mountain, but the ship is turning in the right direction. Their outfield (Pie, Jones, Markakis) reminds me of the outfield in '89, with Anderson, Devereaux, and Finley. He has made them younger and more athletic.

Posted by: 1of9000 | February 3, 2009 2:28 PM | Report abuse

Yea, that's right, the O's are going to trade Roberts and put a 1B/DH in the lineup as the regular 2B.

Please! That is such a Rotisserie move!! Sid Thrift, Mike Flanagan, etc. are not calling the shots any more.

But does his not being a former Cub hurt his chances of sticking????

This is a good signing and is a refreshing change from the usual suspects the team has been picking up to fill out the bench (Bynum, Castro, etc.).

I think this also seems to suggest fan fave Chris Gomez's chances of making the club are diminished.

Posted by: TOMMYBASEBALL | February 3, 2009 3:14 PM | Report abuse

Great move. Hopefully this now opens the door for the rumored Roberts and Scott to Chi for Floyd and a young 2nd basemen.

Posted by: bulldog23 | February 3, 2009 3:24 PM | Report abuse

You know, Wiggy is just the kind of guy that the Nats should have signed. This guy has twice had over 20 HR, with less than 400 AB's.

Another missed chance there; I would have loved to see him Wiggy pluged into 2B for 600 AB's and 35 HR's.

What a waste, you can blame this on budget and this guy could have improved the team.

Posted by: tcostant | February 3, 2009 5:04 PM | Report abuse

Always loved Wiggington. Great bench up the Parkway. Two years is important as Mora, Huff, and Roberts's contracts I believe all expire at the end of this year. Wigginton could start at either corner and fill in at 2d, so this opens the team up to mid season trades. MacPhail is terrific.

Who is the worst GM in the AL East? Probably Ricciardi, which says something about those 5 franchises.

Posted by: jca-CrystalCity | February 4, 2009 9:41 AM | Report abuse

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