Ask anyone around Baltimore what their opinion is of Baltimore Orioles team owner Peter Angelos, and I can assure you most people will give you a similar answer.
That answer will be how that person hates Angelos and that he needs to sell the team because he refuses to spend money to help Dan Duquette put together a championship-caliber roster. In short, Angelos is dead to the fanbase until he finally decides to “Free the Birds” by selling the club.
However, over the next couple of years, Angelos has a chance to change the public’s opinion of his tenure as team owner if he opens up his checkbook and throws caution to the wind like another owner in the area who goes by the name of Dan Snyder. Let’s just hope that if Angelos spends money, his investments will pay off just a little bit more than Snyder’s have.
Granted, some people have such a deep hatred for Angelos that there’s literally nothing he can do to change their opinion. If you’re one of those, people I get it; but if you’re willing to change your mind, then keep reading.
If Angelos builds off the last couple of years, he has a chance to erase his name from the list of “Worst Owners in Professional Sports History”. Starting with the contract extension of Adam Jones in May of 2012, Angelos has shown the willingness to spend money. Jones’ contract extension in 2012 marked a new era of baseball in Baltimore. He is the leader of the team, and his massive six-year, $85.5 million contract reflects that. Since that signing, the Orioles have been a competitive team and they haven’t shied away from spending money.
Baltimore was basically silent in the offseason following their magical 2012 season, but after barely missing the postseason in 2013, Angelos opened the checkbook and allowed Duquette to make some big signings. The Orioles signed Nelson Cruz, but their biggest signing by far this past offseason was pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez, who was given a four-year deal worth $50 million, the largest contract ever given to a free agent pitcher by the Orioles.
Now, with many player’s contracts set to expire within the next two years, Angelos can win back the fanbase if he’s willing to shell out the cash to keep players like Matt Wieters, Chris Davis, J.J. Hardy, Cruz and Nick Markakis, to name a few. I don’t know the details of Angelos’ financial situation, but I will tell you this. While the Orioles simply don’t have the market that teams like the New York Yankees have, they do have a solid market in Baltimore and they aren’t exactly slummin’ it like some people think they are.
Out of the 30 teams in MLB, the Orioles currently have the 15th-highest payroll at $107,406,623. If Angelos is willing to increase that number to keep a few of the Orioles’ stars around and keep the team competitive, he might just win back some fans. Signing just three of the players listed above will also very likely push the Orioles into the top 10 teams when it comes to largest payrolls in baseball. What more do people really want?
For players, baseball is a “what have you done for me lately?” league, so why isn’t that precedent the same for the owners? If Angelos does as I’m suggesting, then forget about the awful 15-year playoff drought the team endured. Give the man another chance. At least Jim Irsay isn’t the owner of the Orioles.