Carlos "Skinny Chuck" Delgado decided on the Marlins, who were generous enough to hook him up with $52 million over four years. This is bad for us, since the Marlins are in our division and Delgado is going to smack the hell out of our pitchers on the regular for a few years. It's not like this is going to stop us from competing or anything - we weren't going to do that anyway.
The other local-interest angle is that Delgado is just the latest in a humiliatingly long line of free agents who snubbed the Orioles. As with Carl Pavano, I think the Orioles win by losing. This exhaustive post at Orioles Warehouse provides a great deal of evidence that Delgado is not a good bet to age well. He's a big, slow first baseman past 30, and guys like that don't tend to last long. There's no doubt that the Marlins will be happy with Delgado for at least a couple years, but let's see how they feel when they're giving him $16 million in 2009 (if his option vests) before we start hooting that the Orioles screwed up again.
Baseball Prospectus has released their 2005 PECOTA, which is a system for forecasting player performance. The real reason it exists, of course, is so that during the lean winter months they'll have something write about. During PECOTA Season, BP features a large number of cart-before-the-horse pieces in which the authors tell us what GMs should have done based on this statistical crystal ball. Anyway, I don't want to delve too deeply into Nats player projections, as the spreadsheet is available only to subscribers (i.e., the suckers who pay for Dayn Perry's subscription to Maxim and Man Show video archive). Suffice it to say that, according to BP, pretty much everyone sporting the Walgreen's logo is due for a decline. Don't despair, though, because I think they're full of crap. "Bluegrass" Brad Wilkerson, for instance, gets a 254/362/462 line (BA/OBP/SLG) with 22 homers and 23.5 VORP. I have no idea why they think a 28 year old who's improved in every season he's played will decline so drastically from his 2004 (255/374/498, 32 homers, 48.2 VORP), but consider that they projected only a 17.2 VORP for him last year (it seems playing time tripped them up in this case). So feel free to ignore them. I know I will.
Speaking of PECOTA and VORP and all that stuff, let me know if any of this doesn't make sense. Really, I don't know if I'm writing for an audience made up mostly of Bill James-reading BP-subscribers or of people unfamiliar with OPS+ and the like. I don't want to bore the former, but I will if it avoids overwhelming the latter.