Span also would fill their need for a leadoff hitter, allowing them to lower Manny Machado in the order. They place a great deal of emphasis on defense, and Span isn’t suited for New Year’s Eve celebrations because he rarely lets a ball drop.
I confirmed in November that the Orioles held interest in Span and his name came up at the Winter Meetings during talks with agent Scott Boras. They see where he fits on their club.
Just don’t get too attached to the idea.
From what I’ve gleaned - that word again - they won’t go beyond one year for Span, who most certainly prefers a multi-year deal if he can get it. They have concerns about his health and durability, and wonder whether he’d pass their physical.
The Orioles have done their homework on Span, which is how we’ve reached this point. They’ve reviewed his medical history and are a lot more comfortable with a one-year offer.
The Nationals didn’t make a qualifying offer to Span, enabling a team to sign him without surrendering a draft pick. He posted a .301/.365/.431 slash line this year, but in only 61 games after undergoing hernia and core muscle surgery last winter that led to back problems and eventually a surgical procedure in September to repair a torn labrum in his hip.
Hence, the Orioles’ concerns about his durability over the course of a multi-year deal.
Span, who turns 32 in February, owns a .352 on-base percentage in eight major league seasons. He’s also 62-for-75 in stolen base attempts over the last three years and he plays all three outfield positions.
Boras is trying to convince teams to focus on Span’s production and not his physical breakdowns. Span reportedly will work out next month in Tampa for anyone interested in checking on him.
During an interview Tuesday morning on MLB Network Radio, Boras predicted that Span will sign in the “near future.”
“The interest for Denard is broad,” Boras said. “There’s many, many teams that need a leadoff hitter and many teams that need a center fielder. And obviously, he had the same hip procedure in July that a number of players have had, (Alex) Gordon and such. He’s in good health. He’s running, he’s working out, he’s doing baseball activities, and clubs have been down to see him and I would suspect that Denard will be signing a contract here in the very near future.”
It just won’t be with the Orioles if he’s fielding multi-year offers.
Note: Forget what I wrote earlier about Matt and Maria Wieters matching any tax-deductible donation to BARCS Animal Shelter up to $10,000 through tonight.
They’ve upped the offer to $20,000.
Having already exceeded the original amount, Matt and Maria decided to sweeten the deal. Good for them.
Donations can be made online or mailed to 301 Stockholm St., Baltimore, Md. 21230