PHOTOS: Future Orioles? Free agent 1B targets
2012 numbers: 154 games—.271/.343/.510—33 HRs—100 RBIs—4.0 WAR: LaRoche’s name is familiar to baseball fans in the Beltway. LaRoche had a breakout year with the Nationals, setting a career-high in home runs while winning Silver Slugger and Golden Glove awards. The 32-year-old is said to be seeking a three-year deal, so it remains to be seen if the Orioles would make that commitment. But LaRoche would figure to be a good fit, as he’s more than capable at both the plate and in the field. Capsules by Michael Huberman
148 games—.272/.364/.473—24 HRs—93 RBIs—3.5 WAR: The biggest question with Swisher is whether he really thinks he’ll get the $100 million contract he thinks he’s worth. If that’s his asking price, count the Orioles out. But, if the market isn’t to his linking and Swisher’s number comes down, then he could be attractive to the Orioles. The 32-year-old made 41 appearances at first base for the Yankees in 2012, while posting his highest WAR (3.5) since 2007.
122 games—.235/.336/.409—19 HRs—60 RBIs—1.3 WAR: It’s possible that Youkilis’ career is on the decline. After struggling with the Boston Red Sox, Youkilis was traded to the Chicago White Sox on June 24. From there his numbers only improved marginally, as he hit for a bit more power in Chicago. The question with the 33-year-old Youkilis is whether his lack of production is due to lingering injuries, or has his once-prominent skill set deteriorated with age.
32 games—.259/.381/.444—2 HRs—7 RBIs—0.5 WAR: The Orioles have a nice thing going with their core of young players. So the 36-year-old Berkman may not make much sense, especially coming off a season where injuries limited him to just 32 games. But Berkman is just a year removed from when he hit .301 with 31 homers and finished seventh in the NL MVP voting. For the Orioles he could be worth a risk, especially on a one–year incentive laden deal, though his defense could be an issue.
135 games—.221/.335/.429—23 HRs—69 RBIs—-0.1 WAR: If his potential arbitration number didn’t figure to be so high ($8-9 million) he’d likely still be an Oriole. Now Reynolds will test the free agent market and a 29-year-old with his power figures to draw serious interest. But don’t count out a return to Baltimore just yet. If he can’t find a landing spot to his liking, look for the two sides to discuss a contract under more reasonable terms.
139 games—.270/.326/.501—33 HRs—85 RBIs—2.0 WAR: Sometimes you don’t have to go the free agency route to find help. Last year Davis seemed to finally put it together with 33 home runs and an .827 OPS. While he probably won’t win a Gold Glove, he’s likely a better fielder than the one who made four errors in 38 games at first last season. At 26, Davis is also younger than many of the other available options and he’s not eligible for arbitration till 2013.