The Baltimore Orioles have seven free agents heading into this winter so some tough decisions have to be made. This is what I would do with these guys if I were running the Orioles:
Ty Wigginton: 33-year old righty swinging Ty Wigginton was the Orioles lone All-Star last season. He played in 154 games for the Orioles last season and he was 144 of 581 (.248 avg, .727 OPS) with 63 runs scored, 22 homers and 76 RBIs. Wigginton slumped badly in the second half of the year and that negated his versatility. VERDICT: I would let Wigginton go as I think he’s going to get a good offer from another team this winter.
Julio Lugo: 34-year old righty swinging infielder Julio Lugo got his chances to play this year due to the injury to Brian Roberts but he didn’t do much with it. Lugo played in 93 games for the O’s this year and he was 60 of 241 (.249 avg, .581 OPS) with 26 runs scored, 0 homers, 20 RBIs and 5 stolen bases. VERDICT: The Orioles should let him go because they should be able to find a better back up infielder in free agency.
Cesar Izturis: 30-year old switch hitting shortstop Cesar Izturis is a wizard with a mitt on his hand but he just can’t hit a lick. Izturis played in 150 games for the Orioles last season and he was 109 of 473 (.230 avg, .545 OPS) with 42 runs scored, 1 homer, 28 RBIs and 11 stolen bases. VERDICT: The Orioles are not a good enough hitting team to carry a player like Izturis for his glove so I would let him walk.
Corey Patterson: 31-year old lefty swinging outfielder Corey Patterson played pretty well for the Orioles last season. He played in 90 games last season for the Orioles and he was 83 of 308 (.269 avg, .721 OPS) with 43 runs scored, 8 homers, 32 RBIs and 21 stolen bases. VERDICT: Due to his speed and ability to play all three outfield positions I would seriously consider bringing him back as the #4 outfielder in 2011 unless he got a big offer from another team.
Kevin Millwood: 35-year old righty starting pitcher Kevin Millwood was supposed to be the veteran anchor of the starting rotation last season but that just wasn’t the case. Millwood started 31 games for the O’s last year and he was 4-16 with a 5.10 ERA and a 1.51 WHIP. VERDICT: The Orioles shouldn’t be making even a minor league contract offer to Millwood.
Mark Hendrickson: 36-year old lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson pitched in 52 games (1 start) for the Orioles last season and he was 1-6 with a 5.26 ERA and a 1.55 WHIP. He was solid as a reliever in 2009 but not so good in 2010. VERDICT: I would pay the $200,000 buyout instead of the $1.2 million bucks Hendrickson would get if the O’s picked up his option.
Koji Uehara: 35-year old righty reliever Koji Uehara was exceptional when healthy for the Orioles as he worked as the closer after Buck Showalter’s arrival. Uehara pitched in 43 games (0 starts) for the Orioles last season and he was 1-2 with 13 saves, a 2.86 ERA and a 0.96 WHIP. He only walked 5 batters while whiffing 55 in only 44 innings pitched. VERDICT: I would try to re-sign Uehara and let him keep his job at closer, but he won’t come cheap with the way he pitched last year.