Brian Roberts walked up to me on the last day of the season to shake my hand. It was his way of saying goodbye.
“I think you’ll be back,” I told Roberts. “I have no idea,” he replied.
Roberts is gone now, and after thinking it over for a couple of days, I’ve decided it’s best for everyone.
Don’t blame the Orioles. If they wanted to re-sign Brian Roberts, they would have re-signed Brian Roberts. He wasn’t a priority.
Roberts’ injuries preoccupied the Orioles for the better part of four years. There was the back injury, the two concussions, the hip surgery and the hamstring surgery.
The Orioles were always making plans, with Brian—or without Brian.
Now, they can move on—without Brian.
Instead of a victory lap this year, he gets to try the Yankees, where he’s likely to be a bit player. When Roberts returned last year to play half a season, he adjusted well to moving into the background.
No longer was Roberts the big cheese. And, that was fine with him.
2014 was supposed to be a transition year, with Jonathan Schoop taking over. He may not be ready at the beginning of the year, so it may be Ryan Flaherty. Whether it’s Flaherty, Schoop or Jemile Weeks—or even someone else, it’s now clear that the Orioles had to get away from the Brian Roberts questions.
Buck Showalter never got to see Roberts play for him in his prime, and so much of his time in Baltimore has been taken up by making those Roberts contingency plans. It should be a relief for him, too.
When he returned to the lineup in late June, Roberts said he didn’t know how the fans would greet him. He hoped they weren’t tired of him.
In fact, Roberts got a huge ovation in his first at-bat. Those who tweeted all the negatives about Roberts were drowned out by the cheers.
Hopefully, Roberts has a happy and healthy year for the Yankees, and come July 11, he can enjoy the well wishes of the fans as they shower him with their thanks for 13 years.
But, it really was time for both sides to move on.