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September 24, 2010

MacPhail not ruling out any of team's potential free agents

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said Wednesday that it’s possible the club will start talking to its free agents both before and during the exclusive two-week negotiating window the Orioles will have after the players file for free agency.

In past offseasons, the Orioles have let their free agents explore their options before starting talks with them later if there is interest, as with the case of Mark Hendrickson last year.

“I’m not writing any of them off,” MacPhail said. “I think there is a scenario where virtually every one of them could be back one way or another, but some of that is dependent on whatever options they think they have and we think we have.”

The Orioles will have seven major league free agents heading into the offseason: infielders Cesar Izturis, Julio Lugo and Ty Wigginton; outfielder Corey Patterson; starting pitcher Kevin Millwood; and relievers Mark Hendrickson and Koji Uehara.

I'm sure we'll be breaking down the chances of their return in the coming days, but if I were to handicap the odds right now, I'd say this: There is a very good chance that Izturis will return, especially if the Orioles are able to upgrade offensively at two other positions. I'd say it's about 50-50 with Wigginton and Uehara, and a little below that with Patterson and Hendrickson. There is virtually no chance that Millwood or Lugo comes back.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 11:35 AM | | Comments (24)


Hendrickson?! Please, Lurch, go away!

I'd really like to see Wiggy come back. If he got 450 ABs in the right situations he'd come close to matching his stats now with a higher batting average. He and Luke could both be valuable complimentary players on team with the right parts.

Koji too...I've never seen so many hitters swing and miss at what looks like an 88 mile an hour straight ball. I love him just because he throws strikes.

Love Cesar's D, he really is pathetic at the plate. Wouldn't re-signing Tejada and putting him at short be better? Thats kind of a joke.

We are fools if we do not bring back Izturis ands his D and OK bat...and Wiggy and Uehara need to come back as well....the rest can walk...although I kinda like the season that Patterson has had....he has played the best I have ever seen him really. There are not many options out there for a good SS...and Uehara and Wiggy have for sure shown us what they are capable of doing if given the chance.

Luke a complimentary player, because his numbers were just so-so this year?

Ok. Here is my assessment of the pending free agents:

Cesar Izturis (Depends on who we can get to replace him) Julio Lugo (Goodbye)
Ty Wigginton (resign to two year deal, can posibly DH, 3rd or 1st) outfielder Corey Patterson (goodbye); starting pitcher Kevin Millwood (Goodbye) and relievers Mark Hendrickson (Goodbye) and Koji Uehara. (Resign to incentive based contract).

I like the silent duties that Hendrickson has offered. He's given the club some flexibility with its young staff. I think it's still premature to let go of him (or someone like him) before one of the young guns have really made a step forward. They're closer (maybe 2011 is it), but the club would suddenly find itself in an emergency if something unexpected happened in 2011 midseason.

As far as Wigginton, I would like him to return but it's harder and harder to retain him, if the Os are serious about getting a true power bat. If the Os were to do so, where would Wiggi play?

Itzturis is painful at the plate, but do we remember what it was like going through a whole season without a true SS? It basically forced a lot of other players out of position, and took a major bite out of the team's defense and pitching. Right now, I think making sure SS is covered is the most pending need (on top of a long list of pending needs).

No Julio Lugo!!! Just ban anyone with the name of Lugo from playing on the team to be safe.

Seems about right. I wouldn't mind seeing Koji and Wiggy come back, but Koji needs to take a paycut, and Wiggy needs to realize he'll be a utility, fill-in guy assuming Andy actually gets us a first and third baseman this offseason. Don't know what the odds are on either of those happening. Wiggy can probably get a starting 1b job somewhere, but Koji may have trouble finding anyone to pay him what he wants so we might keep him.

Does anyone else think that this column is utterly stupid. Why shouldn't we negotiated with the free agents that we would like to retain? This statement basically shows how utterly stupid McPhail is.

Provided we sign a couple big bats (yes, 1st and 3rd once again) we could streamline our current free agent situation.

Regardless sign Izturis and wait for Machado.

Probably sign Wigginton and Uehara, but use them the way Showalter currently does.

Possibly Patterson, but a lot of that depends on Reimold.

here are my choices the orioles ought to resign for next season. ty wigginton,cesar izturis,cory patterson if nolan reimold doesn't pan out. goodbye to all of the other free agents. koji is too injury prone.

I'd like to bring back only Koji and Wigginton. Orioles need some offense from their shortstop; so Alex Gonzalez would be my choice for that position. He is no sloch with the glove either.

My thoughts in Ken B's format:

Isturis: SHould be hoping to updrade at SS by trade, but I don;t think any of teh free agents available are a big upgrade, so if no trade, keep him

Lugo - C ya, simplest decision of all

Millwood - I like this guy as a person, but I am optimistic that we'll have 5 better starters, so goodbye

Wiggy - definately should resign as our reserve corber infielder. And they should not be too stingy either. Pay him like a decent starter.

Patterson - Is an excellent 4-5th outfielder. I think they should re-sign him, so long as he understandds his role.

Uehara - should be resigned so long as he and his agent are reasonable.

RE: Izturis

Just a thought, and I will admit that, since I'm 600 miles away, I'm not entirely up-to-date on stats, but how is Andino with the bat this year? He is a SS by trade and I seem to remember him doing pretty well there last year (while Izturis was hurt), so couldn't/wouldn't that be an option as an upgrade over Izturis at SS?

Again, I haven't physically seen him play since last year, so I may be way off.


I have to take issue with the notion that Izturis is a great short stop.

He is not!

They love to talk him up on MASN because the doesn't make many errors. That's fine. But he has extremely limited range. So he doesn't get to a lot of balls that most other shortstops do get to.

If you look at the UZR (the best available metric for analyzing fielder's play), Izzy's lack of error but poor range make him only a very average fielder for the position. He's not great. He's average. Orioles fans are just so used to not having any SS at all that Izzy was a huge upgrade. but he is not the gold glove fielder anymore.

Then, if you look at his batting number, he seems even worse. To put it simply, Caesar Izturis is the worst hitting regular shortstop in the majors. His numbers are the worst. This is indisputable based on the statistics.

So, to recap: average fielder, WORST hitter.

We can do better.

Luke Scott. Some fans prefer not carrying a designate designated hitter, but rotating dh through several position players as you give them days off from the field. That's a legitimate way to look at t. But if you believe in having an everyday dh specialist, you have to keep Scott. Ortiz and Thome have more homers (30/24-23), Guerrero has a higher BA (.308/.299), Thome has higher slugging and OPS, but no one--except possibly Thome--is clearly better across the board. Plus, Scott is one of the least streaky hitters in baseball, as I documented here a couple of weeks ago. Can we get Thome, without selling the farm? Would we want Ortiz or Guerrero if we could get them? Scott--along with maybe Guthrie and Uehara lately--is one of the very few Orioles who you could legitimately say is performing among the elite of the league in his role. On a team with at most three guys doing that, why would you consider letting one go?

Patterson- if the price is right he is a good guy to have for depth.

Lugo- nope.

Isturis- if we have too. not great with either the bat or glove. may be best option...

Koji-keeper and slot him as the closer.

wiggs- keeper. another good depth guy.

Lurch- nope.

Caesar has to come back because he will be almost impossible to replace. Koji and Hendrickson should be back because they are strong bullpen guys who will not cost to much. I don't see why Millwood is a def out. I know he is dissapointed about the year but he may see the change with Buck and think next year could be much better. I think he may sign a one year deal and hope for the best. I would welcome him back, he was a good commodity for us though he was not great. Wiggy is out, can't overpay low average utility guys. Lugo must go and Patterson will stay if he agrees to sign a minor league contract.

The Orioles need to over pay and get Carl Crawford in the lineup!!!!!!!

Please let Izturis go already. The Orioles are the only franchise in the MLB who will accept a .255 hitter who has averaged 29 RBIs and 1.5 home runs over the past 2 years for good defense. Come on. When are we going to demand more from our players??

Please bring Wiggy back. He is a great clubhouse guy and plays his heart out. I think you only bring Koji and Hendrickson back if you get a good $$ deal.

So long Millwood. The Orioles paid you 4 million dollars per win.

The Orioles need to be a player in the 2011 free agent market

Adam dunn? Paul Konerko? jj hardy?

You're not going to go after Crawford simply because this outfeild needs a power bat. Right now we have about 35 HR's combined and that doesn't cut it. If we were building a speed club then maybe, but then you'd have to trade Nick.

Izzy comes back unless you can get a trade, which is unlikely because it is not the priority position on this club.

Koji is a lock and the $5 Million they pay him is nothing when you consider they pay guys with loosing records that much and more. Just sign him, he throws strike that rarely get hit and I think they've learned how to keep him healthy.

I like Wiggy but we have to many young guys ready to make this club to hold a spot for him.

Unless you're going to fill the middle of the pen with young guys I'd keep Hendrickson. He fills that role well and has done a good job, regardless what others think here.

Millwood needs to pitch in the NL. The parks are bigger for his high strike zone pitching and there wil be less pressure on other teams. The O's will have a lot of pressure on them next year with Buck.

Patterson's gone. Just no room for a marginal guy, even though Corey had a good year and there will be a spot on another teams roster for him.

Lugo's gone but keep in mind, even though Andino played well recently and I thought he should have made the club out of spring training, he had 31 errors in Norfolk.

You have to resign Scott at this point unless you are sure you can get two power bats in a trade.

We've got to get power bats on the corners and at least one in the outfeild if not two.

It's like BRob said last night, home runs add up faster than singles.

Forget Dunn, he's not the guy. If the Nationals aren't going to sign him why would we. Konerko isn't the guy either. I like his bat but he's on the down side of his career and it would br the O's luck that it happens when they sign him.

You just aren't going to find a FA power bat this year, so it's got to come from a trade.

Iwould go to the dodgers and get back george sherrill to help--also wash.. for a. dunn and liven hernandez,.

You need Konerko, at age 35, in the middle of the line up for at least 2 more years, flanked by Markakis above and Scott below. Lead off B Rob and hit Pie 2nd. Jones should never be higher than 6th or 7th, depending on who catches that night. Izzy needs to stay and so should Wiggie. Sometimes it takes guys with heart, as these certainly have, to offset all the so-called experts who think you need allstars to make a good team. Just look at TB. When they bring in low cost free agents, they do their best scouting and plug them in and let them play. We bring in losers the likes of which we had early this year. I truly hope those scouts are also no longer with us who recommended the Colorado Reject. I'm also a little afraid MacPhail sometimes gambles a little too much to see if he can achieve the "genius" label again with these so called low cost moves. How did that workout early this year? Just go get a starter, Konerko or Dunn (both with high OBP) and possibly a wildcard could be Benoit from TB as the closer. Koji won't be the guy next year, though he'll be strong at the back end of the pen where he'll be needed. Just remember that early this year when we were playing and losing all of those 1 run games, B Rob was absent. When healthy he accounts for that 1 run per game historically...100 runs scored and about 55 rbi. Let's not get too overboard on what we need. This team is closer than you think right now. It all begins and ends with Starting Pitching and we're almost there with what we have. Add an upgrade over Millwood and let's go get em'.

Yes, we need to be crystal clear about Izturis, because I think some people see a good fielding shortstop with a low OPS and think "well, that's just how it always is".

Upgrading from Izturis's bat to Jason Bartlett would result in TWO ENTIRE WINS. Bartlett is OPSing .675 and the difference between his bat and Izturis's in terms of wins is the same as the difference between Luke Scott's (.917 OPS) and Albert Pujols (.983). I need to make this clear. If Izturis got struck by lightning and gained the magical ability to post a (putrid) .675 OPS, that would improve our team by as much - actually, a few runs more - than if we had had Albert Friggin' Pujols as our DH instead of Luke Scott.

As far as fielding, if Izturis went from what he is this season, which is average (1.4 fielding runs), to Alexei Ramirez, the best in both leagues (12.6), he would creep barely into second last in WAR (0.6 to 0.5).

If Izturis hit like Bartlett - that coveted and pathetic .675 OPS - and started fielding like Hanley Ramirez, the worst in both leagues, he would GAIN VALUE. The worst fielding shortstop in the majors posting a .675 OPS would have more value than Izturis right now.

Cesar Izturis has been an utter black hole of value for us this season. I feel like people not only excuse his hitting because he's a slick-fielding shortstop, they excuse his WAR as well. Well, WAR is position- and fielding-adjusted. The whole package of Cesar Izturis has cost us - COST US - half a win. He has played below replacement level. If that doesn't boggle your mind, you don't understand the meaning of the phrase.

I´d stick with Millwood if he takes a pay cut. He hasn´t pitched that bad and he also had little run support. Our young starters, could use some advice from him.
Wiggy should come back as well. He is a great guy to have in hand for many game situations.
Koji is too injury prone, so I would be very cautious bringing him back.
Izzy is a good defensive SS, however, I would expect more in his offense. C´mon!!! Vizquel has 40 yrs or so and look him play!!!!!! And he is also a free agent. Call me naive, but I believe Omar still has a season or two left. I´ve seen him play with the White Sox and he can definitiley handle the job on a daily basis...and much better than Izzy.....
Just a thought.....

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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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