Look, I think it’s fair to say that teams probably won’t be lining up to pay Brian Roberts the $10 million he’s owed from the Baltimore Orioles in 2013 when he becomes a free agent at the end of the season.
But does that mean the end of the line for the oft-injured 35-year-old?
Well … maybe not so fast. Though he’s only played in a whooping 138 games in the bigs since 2010 thanks to a horror show of an injury history, Roberts may not be done just yet, even if his career is well into its twilight years. You wouldn’t think of it from his .222/.282/.365 triple-slash since coming back a the end of June with a hamstring injury, but the All-Star Break may have given him what he needed to show some signs of life.
Including Wednesday’s 2-for-4 performance in a losing effort against the Kansas City Royals, the veteran has now had three multi-hit games in his last five outings, good for a .316/.364/.368 line though his last 22 PA. No, he’s still not hitting for any kind of pop (that ship has probably sailed), but given the miserable July he’s had to this point, I’d think the O’s would be happy just to not have to see a total loss at second base.
After all, he really hasn’t had too many at-bats against big league pitching for some time now, and any sign of him finding his way is surely welcomed.
The most encouraging of these might not be that he’s making contact and getting singles, though; with just a single strikeout to a pair of walks since coming back from the break, Roberts’ 4.5 percent K rate in that span is perhaps the best indication that he’s finally finding his way at the plate and taking baby steps to make a bigger impact down the stretch, when the O’s will need the help most.
Now, that might not be saying much considering that he’s likely going to be batting near the bottom of the order for the duration of the season, but even if he can slap singles and draw walks at anything close to his career .280/.351 split, Roberts might actually have a chance to start helping this team as opposed to the -0.1 fWAR that he’s offering Baltimore right now.
And for a guy who is likely going to have his work cut out for him to find a regular gig this year, that could mean the difference between a minor league deal and guaranteed MLB money.