Myriad Orioles thoughts: O's should 'pull a Springer' and sign Schoop now for two years; Sisco and Susac; radio musings - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Dan Connolly

Myriad Orioles thoughts: O’s should ‘pull a Springer’ and sign Schoop now for two years; Sisco and Susac; radio musings

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon
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The Orioles don’t take their cues from the Houston Astros, we all know that.

The 2017 World Champion Astros built their current roster, in part, by being terrible for a period of six years or so, including three straight seasons of 100 losses or more from 2011 to 2013.

The Astros were bad, yet drafted pretty well during that time, adding first rounders (or supplemental first-rounders) George Springer, Lance McCullers, Carlos Correa, Derek Fisher and Alex Bregman, among others, since 2011.

In contrast, the Orioles have had their share of rough seasons – 14 consecutive from 1998 to 2011, but nothing like 100 losses in consecutive seasons. The Orioles have dropped 100 games or more only twice in their history: 1954 and 1988.

The Astros also have been cutting edge in using advanced metrics to build a team and have been creative with their payroll and pre-arbitration players as well – sometimes it has worked and sometimes it hasn’t.

They did something Monday that the Orioles should attempt to duplicate – and likely won’t.

The Astros announced that they agreed to a two-year deal with outfielder and World Series MVP George Springer, which will buy out two of his remaining three years of arbitration. The sides were set to go to a hearing this month with Springer asking for $10.5 million and the Astros countering with $8.5 million.

According to multiple reports, Springer, 28, will get $24 million for the two years, so more than he was angling for this year, but less than what he might have made if he had a big 2018.

Are you listening, Orioles?

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, the club’s Most Valuable Oriole in 2017, is set to go to an arbitration hearing Thursday in which he is asking for $9 million and the Orioles are countering with $7.5 million.

That’s a sizable enough gap, but the Orioles have met midpoint in similar cases in the past. So, it’s possible they don’t take one of their best players to a hearing.

But why not go a little further and get a two-year deal done before Thursday?

Obviously, the ideal situation would be agreeing to a long-term contract with the 26-year-old – something that should be a given considering what is happening now with Schoop’s pending free agent buddy Manny Machado — but that doesn’t seem to be in the immediate cards.

The next best thing would be to agree to a two-year deal now while negotiating an arbitration settlement; it wouldn’t be much more complicated than the inevitable one-year pact that will be determined Thursday. It shows some forward thinking by the Orioles, it allows Schoop to not worry about his salary for the next two years and maybe, just maybe, creates some goodwill for a longer-term deal. Remember, Schoop is under team control through 2019, so it’s not like he’s giving up much if he agrees to two years now.

After the Fanfest debacle, both sides could use some solid public relations. And, although this may not matter, Springer is also with The Legacy Agency, which represents Schoop. And Springer and his agency once had some uncomfortable dustups with the Astros brass involving economic issues, and obviously there are no lingering hard feelings.

Springer has one more year of arbitration remaining after this deal, so that’s a little different than Schoop, who’d be gambling away his final year before free agency. But, again, there’s something to be said about not worrying about performance-based raises.

It also would send a solid message to other younger Orioles such as Kevin Gausman, another Legacy client, that the team is willing to invest, even a little, in their players who haven’t yet approached free agency.

Seems like a near no-brainer to me.

Does Susac’s acquisition change the Sisco equation?

When the Orioles acquired 27-year-old catcher Andrew Susac from the Milwaukee Brewers on Friday, the obvious question that arose was, what does this mean for Chance Sisco?

The easy answer is it buys Sisco some time to become the defender the Orioles want him to be before he is in the majors for good.

It doesn’t mean that Sisco, who doesn’t turn 23 until later this month, has no shot of being on the 2018 Opening Day roster. But it does give the Orioles an option if Sisco is not deemed ready.

Sisco, who didn’t catch regularly until his senior year in high school, made strides defensively in 2017, but he’s still learning the intricacies of the position. The question the Orioles must answer is whether he’d be better served continuing his apprenticeship at the big league level with daily mentors Caleb Joseph and coach John Russell.

Or maybe Sisco simply needs to catch every day, and, therefore, should begin the year at Triple-A Norfolk and get a few more months of starting on his resume before being promoted.

Susac, 27, isn’t exactly a grizzled veteran. He’s played in only 100 major league games (274 plate appearances) and has a career .232 average. Like Sisco, however, Susac is a former top prospect – he was ranked first overall in the San Francisco Giants organization by Baseball America in 2015.

There’s upside to Susac and he has a minor-league option remaining. So, if he struggles and Sisco thrives, then Susac becomes the primary catcher at Triple-A.

Before acquiring Susac, the only other option to backup Joseph in 2018, besides Sisco, was Austin Wynns, a 27-year-old defensive specialist who has only played eight games above Double-A, all at Triple-A Norfolk in 2016.

Before last week, I would have said there was a 75 percent chance that Sisco makes the Opening Day roster for the Orioles. Now, I’d say it’s 50-50, depending on what the Orioles see from Sisco defensively this spring.

Radio musings — Sedlock’s plunge off Dean’s Dozen

My weekly, “Baltimore Baseball Show,” on WOYK 1350 on Monday night featured a talk with our Dean Jones Jr., about his “Dean’s Dozen” Orioles prospect list.

What struck me the most about his Top 12 is that right-hander Cody Sedlock completely dropped off the list.

In 2017, Jones had Sedlock, the organization’s top pick (27th overall) in 2017 from the University of Illinois, ranked fifth.

Now Sedlock’s not in the Top 12. And that’s not encouraging – but it is understandable. Sedlock, who jumped over Low-A Delmarva, pitched to a 5.90 ERA in 20 starts at High-A Frederick and also was limited by injury last season.

As Jones points out, players have bad years, and the hope is Sedlock just struggled in his first full season as a pro and will be able to bounce back now that he better understands what is expected. The organization still has high hopes for the 22-year-old, but it looks like he may not advance through the minors as quickly as once anticipated.

Jones said that Sedlock is probably his 12A or 12B prospect, and that he easily could make his way back on the list by the All-Star Break.

If you want to hear the full discussion, check it out below, go to the station’s archive or download it from the BaltimoreBaseball.com section on iTunes.

 

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 6, 2018 at 7:56 am

    A Springer type deal for Schoop? OK..why not.

    Sounds like a plan Dan. But ONLY if a longer deal can’t be struck. If I were Mr. Duquette, I’d be thinking 5 years for 75 million. I don’t mind the larger paychecks and security players get in guaranteed money these days, but it’s the longer term deals that can really hurt a team. (think Crush)

    • Dan Connolly

      February 6, 2018 at 9:20 am

      I doubt 5-$75m gets it done. Maybe it does. But, yes, the goal would be more long-term. And signing one at 26 is much better for the team than signing one at 30

  2. Eldersburg Enigma

    February 6, 2018 at 7:58 am

    Schoop’s value to this team is his role as a great trade chip, but they’ll blow that and keep him, before he walks in 21 months for two draft picks as compensation.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 6, 2018 at 9:03 am

      EE … you’re harshing my buzz again. Why always with the negative vibes bra?

    • Dan Connolly

      February 6, 2018 at 9:21 am

      I disagree. Plenty of value as a long-term player given his age. If you can’t sign him, then I’ll agree. But that should be heavily, heavily pursued now.

  3. Dblack2508

    February 6, 2018 at 8:06 am

    I agree it would extend an olive branch to Schoop to to offer a buy out of sorts for the two remaining years until free agency. Most Oriole fans would prefer an extension, however I do not see that happening. It looks like the owners have wised up this year on length of contracts and the agents are floating around it’s collusion. It would benefit both parties to get an extension done with Jonathan Schoop. if he doesn’t accept a fair market offer, the they should be proactive not reactive in moving him if they are out of contention at the trade deadline.

  4. JParsley

    February 6, 2018 at 8:21 am

    get a multi year deal done with Schoop. He’s a very likeable guy and the O’S need some good will with the fans

    • Dan Connolly

      February 6, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Exactly. But, again, to me the first step is to show the willingness to really negotiate.

  5. Birdman

    February 6, 2018 at 8:45 am

    Plan A should be to sign Schoop to a long term extension. Plan B should be your plan, at least sign him for two years, and try to create some good will which might help achieve a longer deal in the future.

    Unfortunately, the Orioles will probably follow Plan C – haggle with Schoop over $1.5 million in arbitration, create further ill will, lose him to free agency after 2019 and get little in return.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 6, 2018 at 9:22 am

      Hey Birdman, have you seen this movie before?

  6. Orial

    February 6, 2018 at 9:32 am

    Yes a good idea BUT. The BUT is a two year deal gives him a raise for 2018 and 2019. He’s a FA after 2019 anyway so what does that improve other than good will? Long term(5-6years) is the way to go but I fear that’s not in the Orioles’ makeup. Side note–Sisco/Susac should be a real typo,mistake prone calamity waiting to happen( especially for us old farts).

    • Dan Connolly

      February 6, 2018 at 9:36 am

      It also would ease any pressure on him in next year’s Walk year and establish a salary figure if he were to be traded. Don’t misunderstand. A long-term deal is preferable. But it’s a lot easier to get two years done in next two days.

  7. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    February 6, 2018 at 9:47 am

    The Orioles need to sign him long term. He is an up and coming star. They could sign him to a 5 yr contract and buy out his remaining arbitration years. Since Manny will likely be gone after this year. They would have the money to pay him.

    Unfortunately, I see the Orioles going to arbitration and fighting over 1.5 million. However, if they continue with this same process Schoop will wind up leaving too. They have to retain their key young players. Otherwise a championship team is out of the question.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 6, 2018 at 10:15 am

      This isn’t a question whether they should sign him Long-term. They should. But that won’t get done by Thursday. Too complicated. So do something now to avoid a hearing and make everyone feel good about a transaction.

  8. phildell

    February 6, 2018 at 1:33 pm

    A 2 year extension makes all the sense in the world. Unfortunately, that’s what scares me. The O’s are always reactive and never proactive. You would think they’d be all over an extension on light of the Machado hole they’ve dug for themselves.
    After 14 years of misery, there was a glimmer of hope. And now O’s fans find themselves wondering if it was all just an aberration.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 7, 2018 at 1:26 am

      Yep. Didn’t happen.

  9. ClyOs

    February 6, 2018 at 1:57 pm

    Dan, I think it’s a great plan. Unfortunately I don’t think it will happen. The organization isn’t giving a two year deal to a player they control for two years. They will go to arbitration with Schoop on Thursday and if Schoop has another great year in 2018 he will be looking at big money on the free agent market after 2019 and not resign with the Orioles. I truly hope I’m wrong, but that’s how I see the Schoop extension thing going down. I think Baltimore’s best bet is to be horrible for a few years. Get young controllable guys to go with Mancini, Gausman, Bundy, Hayes, Sisco, Mountcastle, Harvey, Hall, Scott, and Santander and hopefully by 2021 have another contending team.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 7, 2018 at 1:27 am

      Well, at least there will be no hearing.

  10. JerseyOsFan

    February 6, 2018 at 3:24 pm

    Just read on my favorite general sports app that Schoop got $8.5 million for 1 year deal. So he’s under team control for one more year… let’s see what happens now.

    • Dan Connolly

      February 7, 2018 at 1:27 am

      Yup. Now, will they attempt to do anything before next offseason

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