— Independence Day (@IDResurgence) December 22, 2015
The Orioles’ ongoing goal of finding a high-On Base Percentage corner outfielder continues as we officially enter the 2017-2018 offseason – as they said on Independence Day, “Target Remains.”
Want to make the playoffs? Get on base. Seems like a simple enough idea, but it’s one to which the 2017 Baltimore Orioles did not subscribe.
Every single member of the 2017 playoffs had a team OBP in the top 12 of Major League Baseball.
The NL Wild Card Arizona Diamondbacks were the lowest ranked playoff team coming in at number 12, with a team OBP of .329. Meanwhile, the World Champion Houston Astros not surprisingly lead the charge at the top spot with a .346 OBP.
Where did our beloved Orioles rank? 27th, with a team OBP of .312.
Jonathan Schoop and Trey Mancini led the Orioles with an OBP of .338 – which, to lead a team in that category with such a low number, is hardly worth celebrating. In fact, only one other organization had a team-high OBP that was lower, and that was the San Diego Padres and Will Myers, with a .328 mark.
It simply isn’t good enough, and as recent history has shown us, when you couple sub-par starting pitching with a one dimensional offense, the results are going to be less than ideal.
So who should the O’s target this offseason to address this repeated need that comes up over and over and over and over?
I would LOVE them to go out and sign Andrew McCutchen. The Pirates are most likely not going to be pick up his $14.75 million option, and he would bring a .279/.363/.486 line with him from 2017. Not only that, he would slot perfectly into the leadoff spot, as he only struck out 116 times in 650 PA last year (or as Chris Davis calls it, June). He also plays serviceable defense (1.4 UZR/150 as a RF last season – to compare, Mark Trumbo? -18.9). This would allow the O’s to move Tim Beckham down to the 7 or 8 slot, and instantly create a more balanced 1-9.
(There’s also this other lesser known guy, with a career .351 OBP, I think his last name is Kim… nah, he probably wouldn’t help).
With pending free agents and a core that is most likely about to be broken up, the 2017-2018 offseason may be the most important one for the Orioles in recent memory. They are unquestionably at a fork in the road, and face numerous decisions that will impact the franchise both short and long term.
It seems unlikely that they are going to deal any of the high profile free agents, so I really hope they make a go at this thing in ’18. Unless they can get on base more often, any efforts to address the pitching will probably be for naught.