According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have confirmed that Brian Roberts has been given a 4-year extension through 2013 worth $40 million. The face of the franchise had originally not been sure if he wanted to stay with the Orioles, but with this extension he will be contracted with the team for the next five seasons.
Earlier in the offseason, many Orioles fans were wondering if Roberts was going to get traded. He was the most valuable person worth trading, a solid leadoff hitter that plays good defense at second base. The Cubs originally wanted him, but the Orioles got who they wanted without giving Roberts up. He had one year left on the original deal and had questioned whether he would be back due to the current direction of the Orioles.
This is not going to make the Orioles good, but this was important for MacPhail to do. Most of the moves this offseason did not contribute to the image of the Orioles. Obviously MacPhail is planning for the future and not buying a bunch of players for large amounts of money is the plan, but the Orioles still want to give the image that they are positive about the season. Most of the moves have not done this, notably not re-signing Kevin Millar, the clubhouse leader who wanted to stay here. This move, extending the face of the franchise, will make a lot of fans happy.
To add, there really isn't anyone in the farm system that can take over for Roberts right now. There are a few second basemen in the minors that have potential, like Ryan Adams and L.J. Hoes, but they are not ready. This offseason was mainly about getting stop gaps at certain positions, like Gregg Zaun at catcher and Cezar Isturis at short, but another one would have had to come here if Roberts goes.
This might be the last major act the Orioles make before spring training season starts. It was a good one.
(Photo credit: Baltimore Sun)