UPDATE: Orioles and Wilson Betemit agree to two-year contract with an option


UPDATE: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun is now reporting that the O’s and Betemit have agreed to a two-year deal with an option for a third year. Exact terms aren’t yet available, but it’s a bit of a surprise to see him get a multi-year deal at this point of the offseason. And from a team that isn’t expected to contend, no less.

10:13 PM, Monday: Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reports that the Orioles have signed Wilson Betemit to a one-year contract, pending a physical. No word on the salary yet.

Betemit earned $1 million last season while batting .285/.343/.452 with eight home runs, 46 RBI and a .795 OPS over 359 plate appearances between the Royals and Tigers. The 30-year-old switch-hitter has an .817 career OPS against right-handed pitching.

The Orioles had previously committed to using Mark Reynolds at third base and Chris Davis at first base this season, but Betemit offers some experience at both positions. Of course, he’s not regarded as a strong defender, so Buck Showalter could also use him at designated hitter.

The A’s are considering rising sea levels in planning their future ballpark

Oakland Athletics
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The Oakland Athletics ballpark saga has dragged on for years and years and years. They’ve considered San Jose, Fremont and at least three locations in Oakland as potential new ballpark sites. The whole process has lasted almost as long as the Braves and Rangers played in their old parks before building new ones.

In the past several months the Athletics’ “stay in Oakland” plan has gained momentum. At one point the club thought it had an agreement to build a new place near Peralta/Laney College in downtown Oakland. There have been hiccups with that, so two other sites — Howard Terminal, favored by city officials — and the current Oakland Coliseum site have remained in play. There are pros and cons to each of these sites, as we have discussed in the past.

One consideration not mentioned before was mentioned by team president David Kaval yesterday: sea level rise due to climate change. From the San Francisco Chronicle:

Kaval mentioned twice that the Howard Terminal site would have to take into account sea-level rise and transportation concerns — and he said there have been conversations with the city and county and the Joint Powers Authority about developing the Coliseum site.

The Howard Terminal/Jack London Square area of Oakland has been identified as susceptible to dramatically increased flooding as a result of projected sea level rise due to climate change. On the other side of the bay both the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors have had to consider sea level rise in their stadium/arena development plans. Now it’s the Athletics’ turn.

Sports teams are not alone in this. Multiple governmental organizations, utilities and private businesses have already made contingency plans, or are at least discussing contingency plans, to deal with this reality. Indeed, beyond the Bay Area, private businesses, public companies, insurance companies and even the U.S. military are increasingly citing climate change and sea level rise in various reports and disclosures of future risks and challenges. Even the Trump Organization has cited it as a risk . . . for its golf courses.

Fifteen of Major League Baseball’s 30 teams play in coastal areas and another five of them play near the Great Lakes. While some of our politicians don’t seem terribly concerned about it all, people and organizations who will have skin the game 10, 20 and 50 years from now, like the Oakland Athletics, are taking it into account.