Signed, Sealed and Soon-to-Be Delivered
Brian Roberts's deal is done, the physical has been taken and now all that's left is the formal announcement which is expected at 1 p.m. today.
As reported here and elsewhere, Roberts's extension will be worth $40 million over four years but there is still no word on whether or not it's a straight $10 million per year or back-loaded.
The difference could be huge as Roberts will be 36 when this contract expires, presumably putting him on the downside of his career, and the Orioles probably don't want to be paying $12 million or more for diminishing returns.
As it stands now though, both sides seem pretty happy, the Orioles have locked up their nucleus and Roberts no longer has to answer questions about trade rumors. A bonus for Roberts is having this saga wrapped up before the season begins, a sentiment Roberts shared with the Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec:
"This is one of the points that we talked about. I don't think it would've done either side much good to continue this process any farther than we had to. I went through it last spring and it wasn't fun for either side."
By getting both Roberts and Nick Markakis to re-up, Baltimore has given both its players and fans reason to believe a turnaround is possible and done so in two drastically different offseasons.
While last winter was punctuated by trading names (Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard) primarily for prospects, this winter has been marked by spending and the addition of productive talent.
The Orioles attempted to land power-hitting first baseman Mark Teixeira but after being spurned, spent that money on Markakis and Roberts while also acquiring Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara. Through two separate trades with the Cubs, the Orioles gave up relatively little for major league-ready players Felix Pie (OF) and Rich Hill (SP).
While these moves have not made Baltimore a major player in the AL East and may not give the franchise its first winning season of this millennium (*cough* pitching *cough*), it has added a sense of legitimacy to the Orioles and its front office.
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