If the Orioles wind up losing their top two draft picks for the second time in three years, they could wind up in better shape this time. The O’s will lose their No. 14 pick when the team’s agreement with pitcher Yovani Gallardo becomes official. They could lose a second pick if they sign outfielder Dexter Fowler, who they are pursuing.
They parted with two picks to sign Ubaldo Jimenez and Nelson Cruz before the 2014 season. In the following draft that June, the Orioles’ first selection was not until the third round and No. 90 overall after the forfeited picks.
This year, should they part with the two picks, they will still hold four picks among the first 91 selections with picks at Nos. 54, 69, 76 and 91. So they will make four draft picks in about the same span in which they made just one in 2014.
The No. 54 pick is the Orioles’ second-round pick and they have another second-round pick at No. 69 for not signing high school pitcher Jonathan Hughes, drafted in Round 2 last June.
They have not signed Fowler yet, but at this point, why not part with two picks to give the 2016 team help in two badly needed areas - the rotation and corner outfield? Fowler would bring a capable leadoff hitter and table-setter with a career .363 on-base percentage. He would cost the Orioles the No. 29 pick, which would actually become No. 28 when the O’s lose the pick for Gallardo.
Meanwhile, let’s talk draft and international signing dollars for a moment.
Baseball America recently obtained the bonus pools for the 2016 First-Year Player Draft and international signing period. Each draft pick in the top 10 rounds comes with an assigned bonus slot, and each team’s bonus pool is the sum of each bonus slot.
Before the Orioles lose any 2016 picks, their draft pool for 2016 would be $10,456,900, per Baseball America, which is the sixth highest for any team. Their international pool will be $2,539,600, which is 15th highest. The overall combined total of $12,996,500 rates as eighth highest in baseball.
But now the subtractions. The No. 14 pick is projected to have a slot value of around $2.97 million for this year and the No. 28 pick would be around $2.1 million. The Orioles would lose a huge chunk of their 2016 draft pool by adding Gallardo and Fowler.
But the club still would have four picks in the top 91 and the chance to get some good talent in June, in addition to adding some needed talent to the 2016 major league team.
By the way, while Gallardo has a $35 million guarantee from the Orioles, former O’s lefty Wei-Yin Chen signed with the Marlins for five years and $80 million.
Chen: 3.72 ERA, 1.252 WHIP, 1.2 homers per nine innings, 4.14 FIP, .262 average against
Gallardo: 3.66 ERA, 1.317 WHIP, 0.9 homers per nine innings, 3.75 FIP, .249 average against.
Is signing the duo and parting with the picks the right move by the Orioles?