Thursday, October 30, 2008

Should Brian Roberts be re-signed or traded?

One of the big questions for the Orioles this offseason is what to do with Brian Roberts. The face of the franchise and the longest serving Oriole can be a free agent by the end of the 2009 season if he isn't given a new contract.

Andy MacPhail has said to Jeff Zrebiec the Baltimore Sun that getting a contract extension to Roberts is a priority. But, should the Orioles do that, or trade him?

The Orioles leadoff hitter and second baseman has been the most consistent player for the O's in recent years, getting at least a .286 average and 36 steals each of the last three years. He hasn't gotten a severe injury in the last five years. On the con side, he is now 31 years old, makes $6.3 million a year, and has said that if he isn't re-signed before the end of the offseason, then he won't want to return to the Orioles after he leaves Baltimore.

So what are the Orioles to do? Roberts is the only person that the Orioles might be willing to trade that they can get good prospects for. Aubrey Huff has too big a price tag, Melvin Mora is too old, and they wouldn't get much for George Sherill's talent. With Roberts, you would get a guy who can play 150+ games and steal 35+ bases a year. Many teams need a solid leadoff hitter, and Roberts can do it.

While I don't want the Orioles to lose the face of the franchise, Baltimore isn't going to be good for a few more years, and the more good prospects in the farm system, the better, and trading Roberts is bound to get something decent. MacPhail may want to pull the trigger on Roberts, but it is easy to see how hard a decision like this is.

(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)

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