For Oriole fans, Brian Roberts is a name synonymous with hard work, hustle and being of one of best lead off men in baseball. That being said, right now we all know that the second baseman is in final year of his current contract in Baltimore, and question now is will he remain a part of Birdland?
After the 2008 season, I would have said he would be traded before Spring Training; however, now the answer is no.
In the past few weeks, Brian Roberts has shown a willingness to stay in Baltimore as his representation and the Oriole front office along with Andy McPhail are actively working to extend his deal. He has said over and over that he would not be willing to have contract discussions after a certain point in Spring Training to focus on baseball. Considering the market for players and the economy, Brian may find it in his best interest to stay in Baltimore.
Right now, Brian wants a four year pact; meanwhile, the Orioles only want to commit to three.
However, I don't agree with some his demands for his contract, but for the sake of Birdland, they must sign him to long-term deal to keep fans happy. Well, I have no idea how his body will hold up at 35 -- however, he's been relatively healthy (except when his elbow literally got ripped off at the end of 2006), so he should age well. Right now, the Orioles perhaps need more youth and definitely arms, therefore, trading Robers is prudent -- but the market is different than it has been in the past.
As well, maybe the Orioles know what they have in him. Keep in mind during the whole Mitchell Report debacle -- the team stuck with him as did most of the fans. Perhaps, his community work along with his performance built up his capital; nevertheless, fans embraced him, and he may be doing the same in return.
If the Orioles and he can work out a deal -- great, many fans will be happy; however, if he sticks to his deadline, Andy MacPhail must stick to the business side of the game and what's best for the team. He's a popular face among fans and is highly regarded in the community, so seeing him traded would be a tremendous blow to many.
His trade value right now is not as high as it was in 2008; therefore, I think he will start with the Orioles. I am betting that he will actually remain in Baltimore, but if he's not inked to a deal by Opening Day, I think the scenario changes.