Carroll County Times

Long-time Oriole Roberts wants to stay

BALTIMORE - Brian Roberts wants to play for the Baltimore Orioles in 2013. Especially now that the organization appears to have turned a corner with a second straight winning season.
"If we were still losing 90 games I might wonder if it might be time to try something else," Roberts said. "But, I've always loved it here, even when we were losing, so it makes it even better when you're winning."
The 35-year-old is closer to the end of his career than the beginning. But Roberts still feels he can play at a high level.
And he proved that in 2013. Roberts hit eight home runs and drove in 39 runs.
However, Roberts' contract expires at the end of the year. After three seasons where he played in just 115 games combined and dealt with several injuries, it was almost a certainty Roberts would not be re-signed.
Now, there is a better chance he might.
"Brian's got some good baseball ahead of him," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. "Those types of discussions and the way that comes down is down the road."
If Baltimore decides it doesn't want Roberts back, the veteran second baseman said he'll understand.
"It's business. It's going to come at some point," Roberts said. "They don't really have to have a good reason for me, to tell you the truth. I will be totally fine either way. Disappointed? Maybe. But certainly no hard feelings or lack of understanding."
Roberts' Orioles career may now be over. If it is, he ended on a good note. He homered in three of the last six games and went 1 for 4 with a double on Sunday.
He'll go down as one of the best second baseman in Baltimore history. Over 13 seasons, Roberts hit .279. He was a two-time AL All-Star and he hit a franchise-record 56 doubles in 2009.
But Roberts said he wasn't trying harder to play well to prove that he can still be a solid everyday player. He said it was all about having fun and contributing to a winning ballclub.
"I wasn't going out there to prove anything to anybody," Roberts said. "To have the opportunity to play every day and enjoy that again, that's been the best part of it."
Roberts has earned the respect of his teammates through the years with his consistent play.
"It's an honor to play with him. Just for me personally, seeing him back on the field brings me great joy," said Baltimore catcher Matt Wieters, who's been with the team since 2009. "He's been through the tough times, been through the good times, and for him just to come back and play like he did this year after missing really the last two years is pretty impressive."
Those tough times were very tough. Roberts never had been part of a winning team until 2012, when he played in just 17 games. And he has still never played in the playoffs.
"When I got drafted in '99, this was still a very proud organization," Roberts said. "I felt like when I got drafted that's what I was headed into, that kind of an organization, and unfortunately it took a turn for the worse."
If the Orioles do decide to part ways with Roberts, that won't necessarily be the end of his career.
However, Roberts said he wants to play in the right situation for him and his family.
"I haven't sat down and said 'I would play in this place, I would play in this place, I would play in this place,'" Roberts said. "So I don't really know for sure."
Even if Roberts does continue his career elsewhere, he will still likely forever be remembered as a Baltimore Orioles. And that's something Robert isn't taking for granted.
"I've certainly had enough time to realize with everything that's gone on the past 13, 14, 15 years of me being in the Orioles organization," Roberts said, "and I definitely feel blessed to have that much time no matter what."