Heath Bintliff: It could be worse?

The Orioles’ offense is struggling. It wasn’t supposed to be that way. The O’s made offseason additions to address the punchless offense of 2010 thorough both trade and free agency. However, those moves have had mixed results. J.J. Hardy has been a great addition to the lineup. Mark Reynolds, in his own unorthodox way, has actually been a productive hitter, even with a .206 batting average. Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero have been disappointing, to say the least.

But it could be worse. Or better. It depends on how you look at it. You see, the new additions to the club were not the only options the Orioles pursued this offseason. Some are flourishing, some are floundering. Here’s a look at some of those offseason targets that got away.

Victor Martinez - Andy MacPhail admitted that signing Martinez to play first this offseason was his Plan A. Martinez signed with Detroit instead and is on his way to having a career season with a .322/.373/.508 slash line while serving as designated hitter and doing his fair share of catching along the way. Maybe Martinez was worth $12.5 million per season after all.

Adam Dunn - Dunn is in the middle of the worst year of his career. Some of this could be related to an appendectomy he had earlier this season, but his .187/.327/.342 line is absolutely brutal and he’s hit only 7 home runs while striking out at Reyolds-like rates.

Paul Konerko - Baltimore made a hard push for Konerko after being rebuffed by Martinez. Konerko has a career season in 2010 and is doing his best to repeat it in 2011. With his .319/.388/.556 batting line and his 16 home runs, he is nearly singlehandedly keeping the White Sox in the race for the American League Central.

Jason Bartlett - The Orioles reportedly were near a deal to send Alfredo Simon and Nolan Reimold to Tampa for Bartlett this offseason. Thankfully, that did not happen. They traded for Hardy instead, which has worked out tremendously well. Bartlett was dealt to San Diego instead and is hitting just .259/.319/.329 and not even playing a particularly good shortstop so far.

Adam LaRoche - LaRoche’s season makes Lee look like Konerko. LaRoche engaged in tough negotiations with the Orioles, so tough that eventually they moved on to sign Lee to a one-year deal. The Nats committed $16 million to LaRoche and he hit .172/.288/.258 over 43 games and is now out for the season after shoulder surgery.

Adrian Beltre - The Orioles pursued Beltre a bit, but he was never seriously considering coming to Baltimore. Texas eventually committed $80 million to him over the next five years. In terms of OPS, Beltre is not hitting much better than Mark Reynolds with a .262/.313/.464 line for 2011. Of course, he is a superior defender and that makes him far more valuable than Reynolds.

Ty Wigginton - Baltimore and Wigginton made mutual statements that a reunion between the parties could happen with the veteran serving in a utility role. However, the Rockies gave him $8 million of guaranteed money over two seasons and priced him out of Baltimore’s range. Wigginton is being himself again, putting up a .259/.319/.446 line in Colorado. Pretty decent for an insurance policy, but not worth what the Rockies paid.

Heath Bintliff blogs about the Orioles at Dempsey’s Army. His ruminations about the Birds appear as part of MASNsports.com’s season-long initiative of welcoming guest bloggers to our site. All opinions expressed are those of the guest bloggers, who are not employed by MASNsports.com but are just as passionate about their baseball as our roster of writers.

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