Brian Roberts: My Least Favorite Oriole of All-Time

Posted on January 23, 2014 by Ethan Felderstein

Photo Credit: USA Today

I don't like Brian Roberts. There, I said it. 

As a fan who grew up in the era where Roberts was the only positive thing going for the Baltimore Orioles, it's odd. I know it is, but I have my reasons. 

From 2004 to 2008, Roberts made roughly $21 million. He played in 751 of the 810 games in those four years, earning himself two All-Star appearances. Those 4 years seem pretty standard, except the one glaring blemish: Cheating. 

In 2007, Roberts apologized for using steroids "once". He released a statement saying, "I have always taken pride in being a man of integrity and values." This man of integrity and values attempted to lie and cheat his way through the game, and would later rob the franchise of millions of dollars. 

Before the 2009 season, Roberts and the Orioles signed a contract extension worth $40 million over 4 years. Over the next 4 years of his contract, he would play in 192 of 768 games, exactly a quarter. 

Roberts missed mostly all of those 576 games due to injury, specifically those relating to concussion and concussion-like symptoms. Some of his more recent absences were caused by one incident in the last week of the 2010 season. As explained by Roberts himself,"In frustration [after a strikeout], I whacked myself on the head with my bat in the ninth. I had my helmet on…"

Now, here comes some explanation for my disfavor of Roberts. While Roberts sat on the bench with injury and his contract hindered the Orioles' front office, the team went 313-335 on the field from 2010-2013 (135-189 in 2010 and 2011). As the team struggled on the field with mediocre talent, the team found itself unable to sign free agent due to Roberts' contract. 

Some of the contracts similar to Roberts that the Orioles passed on? Adrian Beltre, Grant Balfour, Hiroki Kuroda, and Hisashi Iwakuma. 

Roberts, sitting on the bench as the team lost game after game, vowed to come back. Sadly for the second baseman, it wasn't meant to be. 

Now, I'm not saying that I hate Brian Roberts. Yet, I didn't appreciate the hinderance that he put on the Orioles' organization. His productivity on the field obviously didn't equal the faith (and cash) that the team put into Roberts. 

As a man, he was great for the Baltimore. His charitable foundation, The One For All Fund, supported the University of Maryland's Children's Hospital. 

Yet, he didn't exactly evoke his feelings for the city of Baltimore as he left. Declining an interview with the Baltimore media as he left for the New York Yankees, he was interviewed by the YES Network this past week. When asked about what it took to take him to the Bronx, Roberts said, "It doesn’t take a whole lot. As a kid, I think so many of us dream of putting that [Yankees] uniform on at some point."

I can't believe I'm saying this, but I hope the Yankees have better luck with Roberts than we did. His productivity on the field can be very special, when he's not injured and costing $40 million. Hopefully, Roberts can resuscitate his career in the Bronx. 

All the best to you, B-Rob. 

next up:

Should Wieters Follow Victorino's Footsteps?

January 23, 2014

Red Sox OF Shane Victorino went from being a switch-hitter to just right-handed. Should Matt Wieters try to do the same?


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