Monday, December 22, 2003

Along the lines of Calpundit's tradition of Friday cat blogging, we here at Respectful of Otters are beginning a tradition of Sunday baseball blogging.

In this case, slightly belated Sunday baseball blogging.

The Baltimore Orioles signed Javy Lopez last night, just a week after their huge Miguel Tejada signing. It's good to see money being plowed into the team after years of relentless downsizing. But the Javy Lopez deal has disturbing echoes of Orioles mistakes past. They've had a long history of signing aging or injured stars to extended contracts. Lopez is only 33, but catchers age more quickly than other position players, and he's already missed most of one season with injuries. Undisputably, he had a standout year last year. In 2001-2002, though, his performance at the plate was mediocre. The O's are primarily buying Javy's bat - he's never been a great great defensive catcher. I've seen speculation that they may still try to sign Pudge Rodriguez, and move Javy to first base or DH. That would be good strategy; Pudge is second to none behind the plate, and it would free Lopez to concentrate on his hitting game. Since the O's are still making a run for Vladimir Guerrero, though, whether they'll continue to pursue Rodriguez is anyone's guess. Even Peter Angelos's money has to run out sometime.

Is this a good deal for the O's? In the end, it will all depend on which Javy Lopez shows up for spring training: the 2003 version, or the 2001-2002 version. If it's the former, the new O's management team will look like geniuses. If it's the latter, in a couple of years we'll all be calling Javy Albert.