Carlos Delgado An Option At First For The O’s?

In his post of the top 50 free agents at MLB Trade Rumors today, Tim Dierkes had only one guy going to the Orioles – Carlos Delgado. (It should be noted that Troy Glaus, among others, wasn’t on the list.) The O’s do have a hole at first-base, and could certainly use a slugger in the middle of their line-up. How much sense does it make for the team to bring him aboard?

Delgado missed most of this season with the Mets due to a hip injury, but batted .298/.393/.521 in his limited time. He hit .271/.353/.518 last year with 38 home runs, after a down season in ’07 that had some questioning if he was done (.258/.333/.448). He guy can still take a walk and has some power, with Bill James projecting a .263/.361/.494 season for him in 2010. Defensively he’s actually been only a little below average at first-base, with a -3.9 UZR/150 overall since 2002. Over a full season that would make him around a 2.75 Wins Above Replacement player, and even in limited time he would be only a little below average. That kind of production should cost $9-12 M on the free agent market. If he would sign at a discount – something like $5-7 M – and only for year (that’s vital), then Delgado (even at 38 years old) would be an attractive option for the O’s.

[Edit: Given that Bill James’ projections tend to be on the high side, something like .260/.340/.460 might be more reasonable. That would make Delgado closer to a 1.5 WAR player in a full season; lower if he misses some time (which might be expected given his age/health issues).]

It might put the line-up at something like:

Brian Roberts – S
Nick Markakis – L
Adam Jones – R
Carlos Delgado – L
Nolan Reimold – R
Luke Scott – L
Matt Wieters – S
Ty Wigginton – R
Cesar Izturis – S

Which wouldn’t be half bad. Maybe.