Here are some thoughts to get this Monday morning started. Feel free to leave your own comments on one or all three of the topics.
Is now the time to sign Matt Wieters to a long-term deal?: I don’t think it is. Matt Wieters ended the 2012 season with 3.129 years of service time and can’t be a free agent until after the 2015 season. He is just now arbitration eligible for the first time.
When the Orioles signed Adam Jones to a six-year deal in late May, at that point he had less than two years to go before free agency. Wieters is under team control for three more years, beginning with the 2013 season.
This is not to say that the Orioles don’t foresee Wieters on their team for a long time, because I am sure they do and want him around for many years. They just don’t need to offer that first long-term deal until at least after next season in my opinion.
With Scott Boras as his agent, there may be a strong likelihood that Wieters/Boras may not be that open to a long-term deal just yet anyway. The 26-year-old catcher may be able to rake in $15-20 million in total salary through arbitration over these next three seasons anyway.
Wieters has seen his homer totals increase from nine to 11 to 22 to 23 over his first four seasons and his RBI totals increase from 43 to 55 to 68 to 83.
He is a huge part of the Orioles’ present and future and barring injuries or a trade, he’ll be an Oriole every day through the 2015 season at least. He’s locked up under team control until then. I say it’s too soon to try and lock him up beyond that just yet.
Will Dylan Bundy begin the 2013 season in the O’s rotation?: That seems too soon to me. Keep in mind right-hander Dylan Bundy, who turns 20 on Nov. 15, has made all of four starts covering 22 2/3 innings at the Double-A level. He has yet to throw an inning at Triple-A. While he made two scoreless bullpen appearances late in the year for the Orioles, he could use more seasoning in the minors to continue to perfect his changeup and curveball.
Keep in mind that as good as Bundy was this year - and he went 9-3 with a 2.08 ERA in the minors at three stops - he gave up a batting average of .339 vs. left-handed batters with Frederick and .269 with Bowie. There is still some work to do.
There is also the matter of his innings total. Between Delmarva, Frederick, Bowie and Baltimore, Bundy pitched 111 1/3 innings in 2012. The Orioles would not likely go beyond 150 with him in 2013 and that isn’t enough to get a starter all the way through a big league season.
Better for Bundy to start out slow with those innings early on and build up as the year goes as he did this season. Save more of them for the second half of the season when he may well be ready to join the O’s rotation for good. His time is coming. I just don’t think it will be in April.
The possible demise of the Yankees: They are getting older and they certainly looked uninspired in the American League Championship Series. I’m sure Orioles fans would like to think the O’s took a little out of them in that five-game series or they at least put their hitters into some slumps heading into the Detroit series.
Here is a fact to ponder: The Yankees have won 103, 95, 97 and 95 games the last four years. If they are slowing down, it isn’t showing up in the win-loss column.
The Yankees have some age issues, some rotation issues and now an Alex Rodriguez issue to deal with, but New York has made the playoffs in 17 of the last 18 seasons and has won the AL East 13 times in the last 17 years.
The Yankees played much of this year without Mariano Rivera and we don’t know if he’ll make it back. They had other injury issues and I’m just not ready to say they are in for a slide down the standings. We’ve thought that a few times before.
The Yankees out of the playoffs in 2013? I’ll believe it when I see it.