There is no question that Brian Roberts is a fine player and perhaps an even better community representative for the Orioles.
Is he worth $40 million over four years? Maybe. Would it be a good signing for the Orioles? The answer is no.
Roberts has put up some impressive numbers as an Oriole, but there is only one number that matters: 32, Roberts' age when the contract would go into effect in 2010. The Orioles would be paying $10 million a season for what likely will be four years of declining production.
If the Orioles expect to be a contender in the next few years, the deal would make a lot more sense. For a good team, a quality second baseman could be the difference between making the postseason and winning a playoff series.
The signing would also hurt the Orioles' rebuilding efforts. The team had him signed through the end of 2009 for $8 million. Who's to say a desperate contender wouldn't give up a prospect near the trade deadline to get a second baseman with an expiring contract? In a good year, Roberts' trade value would have been high. After a bad one, the Orioles might have been able to sign him for less.
Now, potential trade partners would have to take on more than $40 million in remaining salary. It's a good bet the Orioles will be the team paying Roberts every cent of that money through 2013.