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July 17, 2010

Decision coming with Gonzalez, talks with Philly dead for now, Rangers good fit for Wiggy

The Orioles will have an interesting decision to make next week on the status of rehabbing reliever Michael Gonzalez, who was hammered for two runs and three hits in 2/3 of an inning for Triple-A Norfolk last night. Gonzalez, who hasn’t pitched in the big leagues since blowing a save in the Orioles’ home opener on April 9, has now allowed six runs, 13 hits and two walks in 11 2/3 innings spanning 11 rehab outings. Because his rehab assignment can only last 30 days per league rules, he’ll only have two or three more outings remaining before his minor league tour comes to an end on Wednesday. Do the Orioles ignore his problems getting minor league hitters out and just call him up then? Or do they do something similar than what they did for Dennis Sarfate last year and keep Gonzalez on the DL, send him back to Sarasota to throw some bullpens and buy them some time before making a decision? My guess is they’ll just activate him in time for the Minnesota Twins series next week, but it’s certainly not a given if he struggles in his final two or three rehab outings.

Speaking of pitchers named Gonzalez, I wrote about 10 days ago that the Orioles were getting closer to an agreement with their 11th round pick, Alexander Gonzalez, a right-handed pitcher from Boca Raton High School in Fla. Well, in the days since, they’ve lost a lot of ground there and it’s now nowhere near a formality. The Orioles have agreed to terms with just one of their top-10 selections (4th-rounder Trent Mummey) although they aren’t particularly concerned because they’ve made progress on several of them.

At this point, talks between the Orioles and Philadelphia Phillies about infielders Miguel Tejada and Ty Wigginton are dead, according to one source. The Phillies apparently are content to leave Placido Polanco at third base and use Wilson Valdez at second until Chase Utley is ready to return. With two weeks remaining before the trade deadline, things could change, especially if the Orioles’ asking price for Wigginton drops. But as of right now, there isn’t much going on between the two teams.

This is more opinion than anything, but it certainly appears that the Texas Rangers, who could use a right-handed bat, are the best fit for Wigginton. The Rangers have already shown their aggressiveness by acquiring catcher Bengie Molina and ace Cliff Lee, and they are currently scouting Wigginton. Their highly-touted farm system also has several young shortstops. Baseball America ranks three shortstops – Jurickson Profar (5), Luis Sardinas (13) and Leury Garcia (15) – among the Rangers’ top 15 prospects. I don’t claim to have inside knowledge on the Rangers’ system, but I wouldn’t think a guy like Profar, a 17-year-old and former Little League hero for Curacao, would be in play for Wigginton. He's considered a little more than a mid-level prospect. However, Sardinas and Garcia could be possibilities, and the Rangers also have a 25-year-old utility man Joaquin Arias, who has shortstop experience, on their roster.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said on Thursday that the Orioles are in position to potentially claim a player who another team puts on waivers to potentially shed a big contract. That happened last year when the Chicago White Sox claimed talented Blue Jays outfielder Alex Rios, a gutsy move that has paid off with Rios regaining his All-Star form. We all know how many problems the Orioles have in attracting proven free agents so it could be a way for the team to get a solid, albeit well-compensated player without giving up any young talent. “A claim would be something that would definitely be attractive," MacPhail said. "The trade for a big-time player, if it’s going to subtract from the core guys you are trying to build around, that becomes more problematic. It’s something you obviously would have to look at.”

The Tampa Bay Rays will be in town next week, and they’ll certainly see a different Orioles’ team than the one they opened the season against on April 6. Of the 14 players (nine hitters, five position players) to see action on Opening Day, only seven of them are currently on the Orioles’ 25-man roster. Brian Roberts, Luke Scott, Matt Wieters, Kevin Millwood, Jim Johnson and Gonzalez are all on the disabled list while Garrett Atkins was released.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 1:05 PM | | Comments (23)


why focus on shortstop for trade position players? Didn't the O's draft shortstops with high picks the last 2 years? Is this a statement about the O's poor scouting (AGAIN!)? I thought this organzational problem was solved.

I think 2nd and 3rd base are 'need' positions now. Roberts may be all but done as a major league regular and Bell has not developed this year as would have been expected when he was acquired last year for Sherrill.

I don't see why the Gonzalez decision is hard at all. He still can't get minor league hitters out. That's the bottom line. Its a tough situation because of all the money they spent on him but if I'm in charge, which I'm not, he stays on the DL until he can consistently get minor league hitters out. My guess is the O's will do the opposite and bring him up and he will get lit up like a Christmas tree.

Bring back Gonzalez as soon as possible and put him back in the closers role for the fully-expected failure entertainment value

It's pretty apparent that Gonzalez showed up to spring training hurt, Is there any recourse for the O's via insurance or simply voiding this fraud of a baseball players contract?

So let's see:

The Orioles may be forced to keep Gonzalez, a lousy pitcher, because of his contract and then pretend that's not the case.

The Phillies think even crappy players are too good to swap for Miggy and Wiggy.

Texas will give us one of the lousy ten million shortstops they have but not one of the good ones, although they may give us a bench scrub if we get tough with them..

We may be able to snatch a good player who is a salary dump of another team off of waivers even though the guy would not dream of signing with us if he were not an indentured servant. This is actually not bad, as even though he will not want to be here and likely have an attitude to match, it will force him to play well in order to get an offer from another team next season. On the other hand, who salary dumps good players? Whom are we more likely to put on waivers and pray he gets picked up, salary and all: Nick Markakis and his higher salary or Mike Gonzalez and his lesser salary?

So we begin and end with Gonzo, just as we began the season with his blowing two games and will very possibly be watching him blow two more at the end.

One thing about all those Orioles' defining moments we keep hearing about on MASN: They may always be terrible news, but the flip side is that at least they are always entertaining.

Boomer what are you talking about. you got me livid. where did you hear that he( b-rob) was all but done as a major leaguer?

I say let Gonzalez come up for Mata, if he can't be effective in a minimal role.....then they need to shut him down.I know SS has been a area the Orioles are trying to build organizational depth, but what about 1st base? I think there are some question marks about Brandon Snyder.

Oh, I forgot to mention the coup de grace - we can't sign our draft picks.

Just another day at the Yards.

For love of god McFail go get our damn closer back from the Dodgers. Get Sherrill back here and lets win some games. Get rid of this Gonzalez bum. Sign Alex Rios for Ty Wig and then look at Carl Crawford. Went to game last night, Adam Jones is a joke. Get rid of that bum too. Miggy, keep, izturis, eh. Lugo is a great asset and finally coming around as a utility guy and he has speed. Pie impressed last night, Markakis was set up to fail by Jones who stinks. Play Josh Bell as DH, get Jones to Norfolk to get his head straight and get Cory to center field with Pie in left. Get Reimold healthy and bring him in as DH and 4th outfielder. Did anyone see Miggy get a standing ovation for his out in the 8th. you have leader in Markakis if he wants it and a vet in Miggy. Come on front office, you can figure this out.

Is it my imagination or is this team beginning to look like the old St. Louis Browns?

kudo,s to Mike. Dead on!!!!!!!

mike - let's evaluate how many mistakes you made in your last post:
- George Sherril has an ERA over 7
- Lugo is one of biggest disgraces in the major leagues: no fundamentals, crappy attitude, natural loser
- Alex Rios is producing for a 1st place team. He has better numbers than every single oriole on the roster. Why would the White Sox give him up?
- Adam Jones has the best numbers on the team after a rough first part of the season.
- Reimold can't hit his weight at AAA.
- As bad as Jones defense has been, Patterson's has been worse.

Wow...more mistakes than the Orioles

I hate hearing about the Orioles having problems getting free agents to come here! The real problem is that the GM and owner expect great players to come here for the same amount of money as a contending team is offering. They have to offer more money than a contending team until they are contenders themselves. Then they can say "we offered a comparable contract...they just don't want our money...blah, blah, blah.
Stop shopping at the %$#@ thrift store for players, managers and coaches, PLEASE!

Go get Sherrill, you say? You certainly can. He had an ERA of 7.32, a WHIP of 2.20 and the Dodgers put him on waivers Thursday.


I don't know as I am too young to have been around for that :-)

They look more like the modern Day Orioles to me .. the last 12 years version that is.

They (Our Modern Orioles) stand alone in their putridity. Soon other suffering fans of other teams will be going (Maybe they are already) hey at least we are not like that 2000 to 2010 Oriole teams.

Heck maybe the St Louis Browns who are still alive might be insulted by the Comparison Bud ?? :-)

Fran In Baltimore

So I pulled up Yahoo Sports NFL page and saw the following headline:

"Bengals sign DT Atkins"

And I thought to myself: "Wow! Who knew? Now there is a guy who knows how to make lemonade out of lemons."

Oh, I forgot to mention the coup de grace - we can't sign our draft picks.

Just another day at the Yards.


What are you talking about? None of the top 12 players picked have signed and only 11 of 32 in the round... The Diamondbacks first rounder (7th overall) failed his physical.

The signing period lasts another month. Whats the problem?

The Orioles signed 25 of their first 30 picks in 2009, highest unsigned was the 8th round.

They signed 26 of their first 30 in 2008, highest unsigned was the 10th.

They signed 27 of their first 30 in 2007, highest unsigned was the 10th.

The Yankees on the other hand...

2009 - 22 of 30, highest unsigned was the 10th.

2008 - 25 of first 30 and didn't sign 1st or 3rd rounder. Their 1st round pick was Gerritt Cole who the draft experts say has the talent to contend for the #1 overall pick.

2007 - 26 of 30, highest unsigned was the 16th.

Looks pretty similar to me, but what do I know...

I understand bashing the Orioles for the last decade plus has been like shooting fish in a barrel, but at least stick to the things they actually screw up.

Jeff,after MacPhail's dismal performance catches up to him and he's gone from the Os front office,I predict he'll have a hard time getting the Commissioners job for MLB that has been talked about so much.I don't see the owners hiring a 'Baseball guy',if you can even categorize MacP as such.I think you'll see the owners replace Selig with a Broadcast exec or a Wall Street type,or an ex Public official with far reaching connections . Too much money is involved,and,as we all know, MacP's track record is abysmal. To add insult to injury,Angelos will probably not eat MacP's contract,and we'll have at least another year of this AAA disaster that once were the proud Orioles

They could have had Rios themselves but they wussed out. This team / org is spineless & rarely takes chances. They are reactive, not proactive,,,gutless

NO chance at Rios now. Andy talk to milwaukee about fielder maybe they would like to dump salary and we could afford to give them a lower prospect or two in order to accept full salary ask window to extend him for an extra younger player they have a lot of power besides him..

Bring back Gonzalez to bring out the worst behavior from O's fans.

Keep Wiggy. He has played pretty damn well for us this year I'd say, that or trade him for some actual talent! don't just let him go for prospects to "rebuild" or for people who you know will only produce the same as a little leaguer would in the bigs.
As for the closer role, in my opinion we should have kept Sherril at the time I saw no reason to let him go. But now he has an ERA of 7? What happened. All in all not a terrible move, but on the other side what did we get for him? Again a few payers who have done nothing for us!
We have no chance at Rios. Period. Give that idea up.
We have a millionaire owner in Angelos, so why are we so damn cheap? the Orioles have a good farm team and some money laying around why can we not at least OFFER a good player a REAL contract. Stop being cheap and buy some players who can help win. With out the money what other incentive do they have to come here? Surely not to win. And even if we did sign a big name/ good player. That would be all we do the Oriole would never think to bring in guys to put around him and make the players feel like we're trying to put together a winning team!
Oh yea and as for Gonzalez. Lose him! And than answer me as to why we sign old players or players who are hurt?! Because we all know thats the way to win right? With old players (Milwood/Tejada) or hurt players(Gonzalez)

WHAT ??? Why would you even consider trading one of your better players ??? Does anyone think their going to get an young 18 game winner for him ?? Thats all I'd trade him for. ...

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.

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