Happy Monday! We are back on Monday Thoughts, this time less than two weeks before pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota for spring training!
The Orioles have been pretty active recently, and have proved a few things to talk about that are a little more positive than the last installment.
A few new Orioles and excitement for spring training has fans ready for the league’s February 16 report date! Let’s see what happened in the last week!
1. Alex Cobb is shipped to the Angels
After signing a four-year, $57 million deal prior to 2018, Alex Cobb has been nothing short of a total disappointment. Finally, after a collective 6.72 ERA in three seasons and a 7-20 record, Cobb did something good for the Orioles; he got us a team’s seventh overall prospect. However, the Orioles are still set to pay around $10 million of his remaining $15 million, according to fangraphs.com
In exchange for Cobb, the Orioles acquired INF/OF Jahmai Jones. Formerly the Angels seventh overall prospect, he landed at No. 19 in the Orioles system.
At the plate, Jones has the potential to be a stud, as he hits a lot of doubles and can hit for average. On the downside, he strikes out a decent amount more than he walks. In the field, he can be a very useful utility piece with a good infield glove as early as the beginning of this season. Spring training will be a great first look at Jones with the Orioles.
2. Félix Hernández signs a minor league deal
At age 34, Félix Hernández is a good acquisition for $1 million. At this point in his career, Félix can eat some innings and is an amazing baseball mind and mentor. He has seen all there is to see in the MLB and can provide a lot of knowledge for the young arms that are now, and will be, on the major league roster.
Even better, if Félix comes in and pitches well, we can get another prospect, or maybe even two, all while he has the chance of going to a contender. In my book, a total low risk, high reward signing by Mike Elias.
Along with Wade LeBlanc, Hernández will have to compete for a spot in the starting rotation. However, I don’t see why the “King” won’t be a back-end starter come Opening Day.
3. Anthony Santander’s arbitration case comes to a close
Anytime a player goes into an arbitration hearing, no one really knows the outcome will turn out until it happens. Anthony Santander lost his case, which is what usually happens, and was awarded a contract of $2.1 million for the 2021 season.
The Orioles MVP is locked in for this coming season with a few more bucks in his pocket that are rightfully deserved. The 2021 season is projected to be his first full season with 162 games, and the sky really is the limit for the young right fielder at this point.
If Santander can maintain or improve on a .261 average and finish around a .800 OPS consistently, he will become worth a long-term contract. Even with rumors of possibly being a good trade piece, Santander is a young player who should be seen also as a building piece. As we just saw with Alex Cobb, a contract isn’t necessarily going to turn Mike Elias off from a deal that would only happen if it were a great one.
Anyway, Santander is the Oriole who every fan should have their eyes on in 2021. My bold prediction is that we will see a good 30 home runs and a .800 OPS by the end of the 2021 season.
How are you guys feeling heading into spring training? Let us know in the comments, and be sure to follow The Baltimore Battery on the web and on Facebook and Twitter!