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October 20, 2010

A couple of Orioles' tidbits

I wrote earlier today about the Orioles’ interest in several Japanese players. Well, you can probably cross shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima off the list. Patrick Newman of NPB Tracker tweeted earlier today that it “looks like Seibu is not going to post Nakajima.”

I’ve written a lot about how thin the free agent starting pitching market is. Well, the free agent shortstop market is probably even worse, which makes the resigning of Cesar Izturis a definite – if not strong - possibility.

Derek Jeter is on the list, but nobody expects him to go anywhere. Alex Gonzalez and Jose Reyes also figure to have their options picked up. That leaves a list headed by Orlando Cabrera, Jhonny Peralta and Juan Uribe.

I haven’t spoken to anybody in the Orioles organization who feels that Peralta and Uribe are everyday shortstops right now with their defensive limitations. Cabrera, a fiery, no-nonsense type who is not afraid to get in the face of a teammate, strikes me as a Buck Showalter-type player, but that’s just one man’s opinion. I would suspect that the Orioles would be all over Jason Bartlett if he isn’t tendered a contract by the Tampa Bay Rays, but that’s hardly a sure thing, too.

On another topic, I still haven’t heard anything definitive on the coaching staff and I wonder if it won’t be finalized until after the World Series, which is what Showalter said initially before changing his tune a couple of days later.

I don’t like to speculate too much about this kind of stuff when we are talking about quality coaches potentially being out of jobs, but Showalter informing his staff to explore other opportunities because he can’t guarantee something being available here is probably as good of an indication as any that there will be significant changes made.

I’ve said this a couple of times already, but I still expect Jeff Datz to land in Seattle and reunite with Mariners manager Eric Wedge and likely pitching coach Carl Willis. Datz worked with both for years in Cleveland.

There are also reports out there that the Toronto Blue Jays, after interviewing more than 20 candidates, are down to Red Sox coaches DeMarlo Hale and John Farrell, and Indians coach Sandy Alomar Jr. as the finalists for their managerial job. If that is true, that means that Brian Butterfield, a close friend of Showalter and a well-respected infield and third base coach, could become available.

He would obviously jump to the top of Showalter’s list as either a third base or bench coach, but I wouldn’t say it’s a given either. The Blue Jays are very high on Butterfield so they could be willing to offer him a nice position to get him to stay in the organization. Butterfield will also undoubtedly be wooed by several other teams if he becomes available.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 9:18 PM | | Comments (27)


Hey Jeff,

Who are your inside people with the Orioles who say Peralta isn't good enough? Here's a quote from thay "Other Newsaper".
Dombrowski also said the club wants Jhonny Peralta back as the everyday shortstop and that Alex Avila will be the No. 1 catcher. The Tigers haven't yet picked up Peralta's option. They are in touch with his agent, but Dombrowski wouldn't say if the team is trying to sign Peralta for less than the $7-million option. I would trade Luke Scott for Peralta straight up and wouldn't look back.

Also on the flipside of this Cabrera stunk for the Reds in the playoffs. Yeah, he was fiery and talked a lot a junk. He did nothing to back it up!
And when wasn't talking trash he was hurt. Why would the Orioles want someone like that? Oh wait, Andy Mac is out GM, I keep on forgeting that. I sincerely doubt that Showalter digs his mojo. Come on lets get serious!

You would really trade Scott for Peralta? That's possibly the dumbest thing I've ever heard. As Jeff implies, Bartlett is the only one among the decent/good shortstops that has a realistic chance to become available, and I would love to have him.

Peralta had 2 decent years in Cleveland, and never played defense at a level that Peter Shmuck couldn't play at. I understand Andy has made some questionable decisions, but to say that not going after Peralta would be another one (and to say that trading Luke for him would be great) shows that you have have absolutely no room to criticize.

i would hope that the orioles not go after juan uribe. the leser of two evils would be to be bring back ceaser izturis should no decent short stop become available. i still do not see the orioles making any significant moves in the off season.

JJ Hardy may not be tendered by the Twins as well.

Thanks for the report Jeff, I didn't expect much to happen on the coaching front until after the playoffs and Series, just too many unanswered questions before then.
If Crowley does not return, any ideas on where he will go?
As far as Izturis, and anyone else for that matter, if you can do better with a free agent then fine, but there's no reason to change just to change.

Jeff Z's reply: I don't think Crow is going anywhere Roy. Whether he's hitting coach or has a consulatant/instruction role, I expect him to have a role in the organization.

Peralta and his stone hands would be a major mistake, especially given the team's young pitchers. They need to be confident their defence can actually make outs if the ball is put in play.

I agree with you, Jeff, that the O's would leap at Bartlett, if he's made available. Given that, it's likely that what the Rays decide to do with him will serve as the catalyst to what the O's will do at SS. Of course, signing a corner infield big bat or two in the meantime would certainly take any sting out of just resigning Izturis. As far as Cabrera is concerned, do you know whether he is a Plan A or B free agent? That, too, will (and should) factor into any signing decision.

Jeff Z's reply: Looks like Cabrera will be a Type B if Reds decline his option and they've said that's what they'll likely do.

Jeff: just wondering, how did the pitcher we received from the Tigers for Huff do this summer. I can't recall his name. Thanks.

Jeff Z's reply: Brett Jacobson went 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA and one save in 34 appearances spanning 71 innings for Single-A Frederick.

Is Andino a consideration for SS? The O's desperately need offense, and Andino seems to hit when he's brought up, and he also has a little pop.

Jeff Z's reply: I think he is a candidate for the utility spot, but I haven't heard much talk about installing him as the everyday SS. I will say this though: Buck Showalter is very high on Andino and his skill set. Very high.

Jeff: thanks for the update on Jacobson. Looks like he may be penciled in for Bowie with those numbers.
Just heard Inge signed a 2 year deal with the up on the O's 3rd. base wish list???

Jeff Z's reply: Beltre is probably at the top of that list, but he wasn't at all interested when the Orioles came calling last offseason. Aramis Ramirez would be an interesting pick-up, but I believe that he's said that he'll exercise his player option and return to the Cubs next season. After that, the list is pretty depressing, which is one reason Wigginton could return.

Buster Posey is exactly what i was hoping Matt Weiters was going to be.

Was Cesar Izturis the least valuable player in all of MLB in 2010?

Here is a nice blog from baseball reference explaining how Cesar Izturis was quite possibly the least valuable player in all of baseball in 2010.

Good to know that the Orioles would rather keep him than bring in anyone better.

Any chance Uggla will be available again? There seemed to be some progress with this last year, even though Uggla balked at playing third. Of course, last season he was coming off a bad year, but now he's coming off a great season, which will obviously drive up his price. Would Florida trade him, and what would it take to get him at this point?

Jeff Z's reply: Everything I read is that Marlins will keep Uggla, but perhaps that has changed.

Glad to hear your confirmation that you believe Crow is a sure come back. Not fair to criticize him for lackluster team offense the last three years under a previous manager and get no credit for how the offense jumped off the charts since Showater has been here. Doesn't it prove the impact a manager has on the way the team preforms offensively both positively and negatively? The manager certainly bears more responsibility on the team offense than the hitting coach. Individual preformances is the hitting coaches domain. Though sounding like a contradiction, I am totally convinced it is not.

Hey Ron,

Just wanted to comment on what you said earlier.

Peralta looks like a pretty good player (SS/3B) to me from where I sit.The only thing I would double check is the new Shortstop Peralta or otherwise is compatible with Roberts. I suspect he (Roberts) still does have a few years left in him. Or least I hope so, maybe he will get to enjoy one winning season. Also, what do you see in Uggla? He’s a great hitter, but as a fielder at 2nd Base, he can be a real butcher out there. Jason Bartlett looks to me like Kevin Stocker like player. To me that’s not a real upgrade to Izzy. Stocker was brilliant in ’93 for the Phils, and then he didn’t do much else.

I might be completely wrong about Peralta, but if Roberts felt he could turn two with him as a sidekick, yes I would trade Luke Scott for him in a heartbeat.

Lastly, I see no one took umbrage with what I said about Cabrera, might mean my comments about him were right. And if someone doesn’t agree with me, I like to hear why that would be the case.

P.S: I did chuckle a little bit when I read the Peter Schmuck comment.


1. Did you actually read that article? Did you read what people wrote in the comments section?

The first guy says that you have to go with Izturis because his offensive production was so bad that no one in his fantasy leagues wanted to touch him. IN HIS FANTASY LEAGUES!!! It's good to know that you seem to agree with him that a player's fantasy value is equivocal to his on field worth.

If Izturis is resigned, it is because Buck saw him as the best option.

2. Did you even read this blog?

There was a whole section on how Bartlett could become available and if he does, the team would be very interested.

Good to know your reading skills are equal to your credentials as a General Manager.

Chris, did YOU read the article? The author clearly lists 8 candidates for LVP, and Izturis is one of the 8. Izturis is awful - he's OK with the glove, but nowhere near as good as someone like Belanger, and he's a worse hitter than Belanger as well.


Yes, I did read the post. And yes, Izturis is listed, I'm not denying that... what I'm saying (as I did above) is that Fantasy League worth is not the same as actual worth to a team.

Elvis Andrus was on the bottom 25 list too. AND he put up a UZR rating 5 points lower than Izzy. Does that mean that Elvis Andrus would be an unwelcome addition to the O's?

And is you want to compare Belanger's bat to Izturis'??? Keep in mind that this was Izzy's worst year as a hitter. He put up a horrible OPS of .545. But you know what Belanger's worst year was as a hitter? In 1972, he put up an OPS of .482. .482!!! Belanger's career OPS was .580. Izzy's is .619.

I can't help you if you think Izturis is merely OK with the glove. Maybe you should visit an optometrist.

Ultimately, what it comes down to is if Buck thinks Izzy is the best option, then Izzy will be back. If he thinks there's something better worth going for, then that will be done.

Where do you think Aubrey Huff ranked on that list last year?

Peralta has eaten himself out ofbeing an everyday SS, that's why the move to 3b. Forget about him.

Man.... it must be football season.
It's been since last year at this time that I've read so many uninformed comments.

Every year, the anti-Scott characters come out of the woodwork.
All Luke has done in his three years as an Oriole is get better at everything and put up better numbers than the year before to the point where he is now pitched around by most opposing teams with men on base.
To trade him at all would be a big mistake. To trade him for Peralta would be totally idiotic.

And that brings us to Izturis.
What in the hell is wrong with you people ?
Ever hear the term "strong up the middle "???
It doesn't refer to offense.
I challenge anyone to name a better defensive shortstop in either league right now than Cesar Izturis.
When the ball is hit his way, you just KNOW he's going to handle it and handle it properly just about every time.
The guys on our young pitching staff know it, too.
And to say Cesar is TERRIBLE with the bat is just plain incorrect. Izturis handles a bat as well as Mark Belanger ever did.
But Mark Belanger was one of the greatest defensive shortstops of all time, so to unfavorably compare Izturis or anyone else to Belanger defensively is like comparing one of today's .300 hitters with Ted Williams. It's stupid.

Just what exactly makes Jason Bartlett more attractive than Izturis, Peralta, or Cabrera ?
He's not as smooth in the field as Izturis. He's not as good of a hitter as Peralta and not any better hitter than Cabrera.

I mean just exactly what is it that would make the Orioles jump "all over him" if he became available ?

Chris, the comment was about fantasy, but I'm pretty sure the article itself was about real baseball.

Did Belanger play regularly that year when he put up the .482 OPS?

Belanger's career OPS+ is 68, Izturis's is 64. Belanger was better offensively, even including his decline years.

Izturis isn't bad defensively, but if Belanger's defense was A-plus, then Izturis's is probably B or B-minus. And his offense in 2010 was historically bad.


That assessment of Izturis is absurd. Just ask the O's pitchers about his value. A SS's first priority is defense and he had the 2nd highest fielding pct among AL SS's - 2nd to Jeter who doesn't get to nearly as many balls as Cesar. In the 2nd half he was clearly the best defensive SS in the league and if the O's were better, he'd be a lock for a gold glove.

Does anyone remember Mark Belanger? That said, even Buck commented about how tough Izturis can be in the clutch. All of you who keep posting in favor of bringing in Peralta, Tejada etc... I promise they will cost the pitchers more runs than they'll add to the offense. Just get the bats at other positions and keep the best defender in place to support these young pitchers.

To be honest if I had my druthers, I would trade Luke Scott for the entire infield of the Texas Rangers. Do you think that would happen? Or trade Luke Scott to the Mets for Ike Davis and Jose Reyes(if they pick up his option) . Do you think that would happen?

As for Jhonny Peralta he is the youngest of all the shortstops mentioned in Jeff's Article with exception to Reyes. I still think he has the most potential in the bunch other then Reyes. Look maybe this is why you feel the way you do about Peralta. I dug up this article

As for Izzy, he got better defensively once Roberts came back. But his lack of offense is 'GLARING'. I am tired of mediocre players. I am willing to take a chance on someone like Peralta to see if he can find his mojo. What could be the worse thing that happens? Lose Izzy to free agency, then we cut Peralta midseason because we find out he officially stinks. Then insert Andino for the rest of the year. I could deal with that, because the O's took a chance. We got Luke Scott practically for free with the Tejada trade. I honestly don't see the problem here. As an added note, I see the Rangers just took the lead 3 to 1 one over the dreaded Yankees. Woo Hoo!

1) Belanger vs Izturis - Belanger had lots of range, a superior arm and much more sound fundamentals than Izturis in the field. At the plate, Belanger could be counted on to lay down a bunt or hit behind the runner. With Izturis you can't rely on him for anything at the plate.

2) Of the potential SS, Reyes and Jeter will both re-sign with NY teams. Peralta, Hardy and Uribe are all too weak defensively and if you legitimately consider guys like them you need to add in Miggy too. Bartlett, Izturis and Cabrera are the only viable options if you want good defense to back up young pitching talent (a must!). But how much would you pay for any of them? Izturis was overpaid at $2.5M/Yr and Cabrera will expect much more. Bartlett is the middle ground on money and it all comes down to what is the most reasonable salary you need to take on. For Cabrera I'd say $5M/Yr, two yr contract but someone else will pay him more. For Bartlett I'd say @$3M/yr, 2 yr contract but someone else will give him $4M/Yr. Izturis will be a utility player somewhere else if the O's go in a different direction and I'd think he would take $1.5M on a one yr deal. That said, only Cabrera projects as anything but a ninth place hitter. Looking at next year, the O's could use a fire in his belly decent hitter to hit between Roberts and Markakis. Bartlett is a stretch, Izturis is a disaster and Cabrera is just like baby bear's porridge!

I believe the shortstop for the Orioles on Opening Day 2011 will be Josh Horton.

He is currently in the Oakland farm system, on the roster of the Midland, Texas team. The A's are set at shortstop with Cliff Pennington. Josh Horton should be available.

Josh Horton, starting shortstop for the Baltimore Orioles.

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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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