ITO's look at the future of Second Base

ITO looks in-depth as to what the future of second base will look like for the Orioles.

It looks as if the Orioles intend to begin a search next year for a suitable replacement for Brian Roberts. Sadly, it is looking more and more like the big contract that was given to him will be a drag on the organization (two more years at $10million per year remain) for a while to come. Roberts's body has aged the last two years and as a result he has been limited to playing in 98 games last season and this one. Ryan Adams is still in the picture; he is playing well in Norfolk and may be a candidate for the Arizona Fall League this season. If he does show up in Mesa, it would be a good sign for him that he is getting a shot to show his stuff before the off season begins in earnest and the Orioles begin to shop for a replacement elsewhere.

Too bad the Orioles didn't trade Roberts a few years ago when he could have fetched a decent return. Now they will have to live with an aging star that may or may not be able to play next year.

So what will the Orioles look for as far as a replacement? Will they make a trade for a younger player who might become the long term solution at second? Will Ryan Adams play his way into the position and do the Orioles make a commitment to him now? Will they sign a free agent to a short term deal in the hopes they can get some more mileage out of Roberts , looking for another veteran who would be content playing when Roberts is hurt and riding the bench the rest of the time?

Signing a veteran Free Agent might not be a bad idea….because Brian Roberts's eventual replacement may be in the system now and playing in Bowie!

Greg Miclat is certainly not a sure thing to make it to the majors, but the similarities between he and Brian Roberts are unmistakable. Both are diminutive switch hitters who lead off. Both played shortstop in college, a both are playing in AA at age 23 and Miclats numbers are very similar to those that Roberts put up in Bowie when he played there.

Roberts made the jump from AA to AAA to the majors as a 23 year old. His arrival in the bigs was accelerated by the situation that existed in Baltimore at the time. He bounced between AAA and Baltimore the next season but arrived to stay in 2005 as a 25 year old. If Miclat roughly follows this path, he will be in a position to contend for a starter's role in Baltimore in two years, when Roberts's contract is up!

So if Ryan Adams cannot make his case shortly, look for the Orioles to go for a short term solution at second while they keep an eye on Greg Miclat. With the fall league just around the corner, the Orioles may tip their hand when they announce their AFL roster.

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