Roberts Remains An Oriole

Well, after countless rumors over the last few offseasons involving a potential Brian Roberts trade, the second baseman has agreed to a 4-yr extension with the Baltimore Orioles. He stated that his decision centered around a desire to remain with the same team for his entire career as well as how the Orioles are going to shape up as players in the AL East sweepstakes throughout the duration of this extension.

Well… there’s that, or the fact that, if this offseason is any indication, a 31-yr old second baseman who would likely garner the Type A status is simply not going to get anything near this deal from anyone other than the Yankees.

The extension runs from 2010-2013 and will pay Roberts $10 mil/season for a grand total of $40 mil. Since 2003, Roberts has been a very productive second baseman. Dave wrote this afternoon about Orlando Hudson‘s productivity, averaging +2.5 wins over the last four seasons. From 2003-08, the lowest win value posted by Roberts was +2.3, in 2004. All told, he has averaged +3.9 wins/season over the last six seasons.

Most people know of Roberts thanks to his gaudy 2005 campaign, in which he produced +6.3 wins on the heels of a .314/.387/.515 line, a .389 wOBA, and +5 run defense at the keystone. Following that career year, Roberts halved his productivity to +3.1 wins. +3.1 wins from a second baseman is very impressive but the mark paled in comparison to the previous season and many considered Roberts a bust. His critics were largely silenced over the last two seasons when he posted win values of +4.4 and +4.5.

Roberts’ fielding has declined since 2006, and does not shape up to get any better. CHONE sees Roberts at around a .360 wOBA worth +17 runs. Roberts is also a good bet to play over 150 games and amass 650+ PA. With that in mind, his 2009 win value components break down like this: +17 batting, -2 fielding, +23 replacement, +2.4 positional. Put together, Roberts looks like a +3.6 win player. In a normal market, that production commands $16.2 mil. If he declines by a half-win each season, and the average annual dollars/win stayed $4.5 mil, with a 10% discount for the contractual guarantee, the four-year deal would be valued at $46 mil.

Initially the deal looks better for Roberts, as he simply was not going to get this much elsewhere. Normally, it might favor the Orioles as they would have a hard time bringing in as productive of a player for $10 mil or below. If Roberts had been a free agent this season we would have a better idea of what he could have commanded but, as of now, I’m comfortable saying that the deal favors Roberts over the Orioles but that the Orioles are still getting a very productive player at a seemingly below market price.



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Eric is an accountant and statistical analyst from Philadelphia. He also covers the Phillies at Phillies Nation and can be found here on Twitter.


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