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October 13, 2010

Should the Orioles add a veteran starter for 2011?

One of the more interesting storylines for the Orioles this winter is what the club does to shape its rotation.

The obvious hope is that they land Cliff Lee. Don’t expect it.

Lee can break the bank for a team that is going to compete immediately. The Orioles, two good finishing months or not, just aren’t there yet. Thirteen losing seasons, a hitters’ park and the AL East don’t help their cause.

There are some other starters – certainly not as top shelf as Lee – that will intrigue the Orioles, guys like Jake Westbrook and Carl Pavano. They aren’t aces, but they’d add experience to a young crew.

The question is how badly is that needed? Jeremy Guthrie did plenty of mentoring in 2010 and he may be better suited than any free agent to lead this rotation in 2011.

That said, there are some in the organization that believe Kevin Millwood’s presence took a lot of pressure off Guthrie and allowed him to concentrate on his game. And, in an interview with me in late September, Andy MacPhail admitted that he wouldn’t mind adding a similar presence in 2011 if the opportunity presents itself.

It’s possible he could try to find another high-priced veteran through a trade instead of giving a multi-year deal to a mediocre veteran.

I asked several Oriole pitchers what they thought of adding a veteran arm, and they responded how they should have: saying it’s not their place to make roster decisions. However, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz, in particular, talked about how much they enjoyed having Millwood around.

“He is a guy I could talk to about the mental side of the game and go to and ask him, ‘Hey, this is where I really struggle in the game, what do you do? How do you go about it? What do you do to get back in the groove?’” Matusz said about Millwood. “Here is a guy that I could really go to. So to have someone like that was really pretty awesome to have, a veteran guy like that who really knows what he is talking about, like Kevin, was pretty special.”

Millwood likely won’t return. He’ll probably go to a contender and fit nicely at the middle/back end of a rotation, maybe in the National League.

Said Tillman: “Having Milly around made it easier on all of us … Watching him work through his struggles, I think that taught us a lot. He has come a long way with all of us. It is good having those guys around, but I think watching all these young guys pitch every day, they all looked pretty good, too.”

And that’s the rub. Because if the Orioles acquire another veteran, then one of the younger guys, such as Tillman, will go back to Triple-A. And top prospect Zach Britton would stay there longer. And there would be no obvious spot to move a reliever into the rotation, something the Orioles are at least mulling.

Then again, having a surplus of big league starters can never be viewed as a problem. MacPhail says he likes going into a spring with a minimum of 7 pitchers penciled in for the rotation, because inevitably some get hurt or struggle.

So I want to know what you would do. Would you bank on four young arms with Guthrie? Or do you want one more veteran innings-eater to help take pressure off everyone, even if it is for one year?

Daily Think Special: Should the Orioles add a veteran starter to the 2011 rotation?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 9:00 PM | | Comments (48)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar


Yes. Trade for Grienke. Sign Crawford to soften the pain.

Absolutely, add an arm. Pitching is returning to it's natural importance in the wake of the steroid era. Look how effective the O's were down the stretch even with an anemic offense. They have the makings of a truly dominant staff if they add a quality veteran.
That doesn't take away the need for a bat or two, but I think it's at least equally important.

Easier said than done. What's he going to cost? Do the Orioles have the immediate impact players the Royals are sure to want?

KC's biggest need is right handed power and that is the Orioles biggest weakness, unless you want to trade Adam Jones as part of a package for Greinke. Then, is Pie ready to take over full time in center? Do you put Scott back in left and try to sign a hitter to replace Jones? Can you count on Reimold to have a bounce back year? Certainly Snyder is not ready, though he looked more ready than Bell.

If they trade for Greinke, do they have enough left to try and swing a deal for the big bat they crave? If they do trade for Zach, and does KC even want to trade him and how many teams will make bids if they do trade Greinke, does that mean they make a major play for one, maybe two FAs? The only one who makes any kind of sense is Konerko, and he's probably going back to ChiSox. Victor Martinez is also a good fit, but reports are that he wants to be a FT catcher, not a FT first baseman and a back up catcher.

I say, let Matusz, Bergeson, and Arrieta continue their development, Guthrie has certainly established himself enough that maybe once and for all he's ready and able to be the number one and the go to guy for the Orioles young pitchers. That's four spots with Tillman and Britton, both 23 next year and relative babies in the scheme of things, battling for the final rotation spot.

And there's still talk that Jim Johnson's future is in the rotation(though I disagree), not to mention Vandenhurk. And is Hernandez finished as a starter? Berken? These guys flourished in the bullpen, but some pundits still seem to think that they could end up as starters.

And if they do, that opens up a whole new can of worms.

Wow, who would have thought that after the terrible start to the just concluded season, the Orioles would have so many decisions and options to go through this off season? Let the games begin!

There's no such thing as too much pitching. Bring in a veteran starter, maybe two -- Pavano, perhaps Bronson Arroyo or Aaron Harang if the Reds find them too expensive -- and if Tillman, Britton and so on want to make the team, make them earn it.

But please, get a cleanup hitter first.

yes the orioles should go after a veteran pitcher. it won't hurt for zack britton to stay in the minors another year. my preditction is cliff lee will be in pin stripes next season. andy pettet most likely will retire. havier vasquez will either be traded or released by the yankees. the yankees most likely would like to shed a j burnette but probably won't or can't becasue no team wil want to take on his contract.

We have a fair chance, and may get lucky, with the arms that we currently have. On the other hand, our offense simply doesn't measure up against our primary rivals. There are currently three gaping holes. IMO we need a dramatic offensive upgrade at at least two of those positions, if not all three. I'll concede that it would be nice to resign Uehara. Blown saves are obviously demoralizing to young pitchers (and fans like me).

Since the Orioles will not be able to get the best pitchers available, it makes better sense to give the young pitchers an opportunity to show what they can do in a full season. They pitched well the last two months.

I'm sorry. Did I miss something? What exactly is the point of this speculation? Are O's fans having delusions of mediocrity? Pavano, Grienke, Martinez, Konerko, Crawford? They're all laughable. No free agent is going to agree to wear orange and black unless they have absolutely no other options. A veteran starter will do what, exactly? Launch us ahead of the Blue Jays to a solid fourth place finish? We're talking about playing with youngsters and middling players who wouldn't crack the starting lineup on any of the top three teams in the AL East. It would take a career season from every player on the team to even begin to compete against the Yankees, Rays and a healthy Red Sox team.

O's fans need to wake up. The ONLY way this team has a chance at any future would be to grossly overpay for every available free agent that fits a need. Convince them to come here because we're buying our way out of the cellar. That's what we did in the 1990s. Adding quality players through trades and free agency regardless of cost is the only way the baseball world takes this team seriously again. One veteran pitcher won't matter

Without a doubt we need one more veteran arm. He doesnt need to be the "ACE" of the staff because he would be more valuable as an innings eater and an mentor/example, as Millwood was, for our young guns, which is were the Ace will come from in 2011. Add a innings eating veteran, with the right character, to go with Guthrie and let the others fight it out for the remaining 3 spots in the starting rotation. We will not go the whole year without injuries so let the others stay sharp in AAA.

Then lets go get 2 big bats.....(if we have to trade a pitcher then trade a picture but it better be a good young bat!)

Guthrie would never admit it, but I truly believe that he does best when he's not required to lead the rotation. He only did as well as he did because Millwood took the pressure off of him. Guthrie will show 2008-9 numbers, if we don't get him a veteran innings-eater to lead the squad. No one, truthfully, expected Millwood to go 4-16, and while, in hindsight, we could say someone else would have been better, given our options, he probably was our best bet. (That was a horrible sentence.) If he had only gotten some run support and the relievers had been able to convert at least a few of those early starts of his into wins, maybe he would've been a bit more consistent. At the end of may he pitched 74 innings in 11 games and was 0-5 with a 3.89 ERA that won 5 games in May and 10 in April. At that point he was the only pitcher in Major League Baseball to have a sub-4.00 ERA and pitched 10 or more games without winning one of them.

Losses mean there have to be losers, and Millwood, unfortunately, gets the cut. Things just didn't go his way, but I really think his influence on the rest of the team should be understood. Despite going 2-6 his final two months, he fought for a 3.66 ERA and pitched 7+ innings 5 times. As Tillman said, "Watching him work through his struggles, I think that taught us a lot." He's not coming back, but I think someone like him needs to be starting April 1st opposite David Price in Tampa. If all we get is someone that's a good shot to win 10 games and eat 200 innings, I think we'll be better because of it. Guthrie will excel as the two-punch and 5 youngins will duke it out in ST and throughout the year. It might not be too bad to have Tillman and Britton start in the minors and fight their way up, so that when someone gets injured or starts to fall apart, one of them can step up. Who's with me?

As weak of a backbone as Millwood was, without him, I really don't think we would have had any of the small successes we were able to experience this year. Our focus needs to be on a corner-infielder RBI machine (Dunn or Konerko), but we desperately need someone to eat innings off the mound. And we can't trade for them. McPhail said, "Grow the arms, buy the bats". While he may still buy this arm, I think his philosophy doesn't allow for the depletion of our thin Minor League stock to win 10 more games. He may trade for an arm if we raise a new 'cavalry' and are closer to contention, but I don't see him doing it until then.

i would think the only type of veteran pitcher the orioles cold sign would be someone on the downside of their career. guthrie will be 32 and starting his 5th yr with the o's. at that age and experience he is a veteran. time fior him to lead the staff. matusz has a yr and half under his belt. tillman's been up and down the last year and half. beregesen been around for 2 yrs and arrieta is relatively new but showed a lot of poise and promise. go with the kids and guthrie. no use for a pitcher who has seen his better days.

I get sick and feel depressed reading the total negative and over opptomistic posts. IF we get 2 big bats one would probably be a FA and one a trade probably involving a package including tillman.. Not enough depth to do much more. Possibly a mid decent FA starter and/or a low risk high cieling starter who is coming back from injury.. Johnson, Hernandez (if not traded) and berken look stronger in the BP. Sign Ohura and a situational lefty. LEE is the one we need, his low walk totals would be great for the young guys to learn, but he won't come here so Andy and Buck will do the best they can. Bats like Martinez and Lee leave me cold they aren't the feared slugger we need at 1B.

I hear that Steve Trachsel and Adam Eaton are available, but I'm not sure about Doug Drabek and Fernando Valenzuela.

I think it is a matter of priorities. Yes, I would love a decent veteran starter. But our main focus has to be on at least 2 impact bats for the lineup. We won't get Lee, and none of the other starters are difference makers. On the other hand, 2 power bats would significantly improve the lineup. So they have to come first.


I think it all depends on whether the Orioles have to trade one of their current major league starters in order to obtain a cleanup hitter. If they do put a Bergesen, Arieta or Tillman in a trade for a cleanup hitter then it's probable that they will try to get a veteran starter for 2011. I don't think it would be more than a 1 or 2 year deal. Millwood would have to take a substantial pay cut to come back to the Orioles next year. Maybe, Rick Harden is a possibility.

Sign Cliff Lee.

I'm in the 2nd camp....I think Guthrie excelled in his roll as 2nd Ace....he did the mentoring of the young guns but was still able to concentrate on the game w/out the pressure of being titled the team Ace. I think the pressure was too much for him with his mental make up....he is an all or nothing guy and by making him the Ace he added even more pressure. He was GREAT this year in the #2 slot and after opening day.....there is no #1 starter any more (except after the all star break).

Hey Dan,

How much AM Kool Aid were you drinking when you wrote this article?!

Does Peter Angelos want to die rich or does he want to leave millions to his sons? Can you explain to me as to why the Orioles would not make a play for Cliff Lee? Angelos is making millions of MASN. Why won't he use those millions to sign "Big Time Free Agents"? I mean I could understand if the Player doesn't want to sign here, but at least take a shot at doing so. Why should fans buy season tickets if Andy Mac is going after free agents like "Jake Westbrook"? That makes no sense to me. I mean last year the best Andy could come with were Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins? It's insulting if that's the best the Orioles can do. Maybe as a squirrel, I could organize a "Tea Party" a throw Orioles Feathers into the Bay to express my frustration from the Tyranny of all this!
Or get my cousins "The Woodchucks" from the Geico commercial to chuck wood at Andy Mac's window at 1 Oriole Way to express it further and to make sure he understands how we all feel!
Signing Jake Westbrook is going in circles, not progress!

Barkeep's reply: Hey Squirrel, not sure where the Kool Aid is coming from. Orioles can bid all they want. Cliff Lee is going to get a huge payday from a legitimate contender. Let's assume the O's offer the most. Well, someone who has a good chance to compete for a World Series will be close. And that's where he'll end up. So why dwell on the Lee dream when the reality is the Orioles may, legitimately, be able to get a lesser starter. My question, simply, is do you want one of those or do you stick with what you have?

The o's M.O. is simple, keep payroll down regardless of win/loses. This owner has destroyed this team over the last 13 years. I am believing that its the same old..same old for 2011. As for our needs:
Top picture: Lets stop settling for a #4 guy pitching in a #1 roll. It doesnt work..A true #1 would do nothing more than teach the younger pictures how to be great.
A true closer. throwing 87 mph as a closer will not make it through the year.
Pure Top hitting first base/third base Josh Bell's not the answer.
Shortstop- He is one of the worst hitting shortstop in the League.
Other than that...prepare for another last place finish. Dont expect things to change due to the history of the last 13 years. I will believe it when I see it> I was a proud O's fan but watching this owner destroy this fanchise is difficult for me to get excited anymore.

Add an arm? Yes, this is a no-brainer. Heck, add two. Do we need another dusty, over the hill veteran? I don't think so. Why don't we worry more about getting someone who is good, regardless of his age?

Camden yards is not a hitters park. It's middle of the pack.

Watching this young team develop into a competitive club has been a blast. I'd add a vet to the starting rotation for stability and to coach.

@Shawn: we watched different clubs this past season. From Buck on this young team absolutely competed with the best and if you didn't enjoy this why follow baseball? There's no reason to think these young players won't keep getting better as they hit their prime.

First, enough about Millwood being such a great mentor. Millwood put his team behind early in games so many times this year it wasn't funny. It made the offense loaded with young hitter press to catch up constantly when he pitched. Millwood would be an expert on what to do when "you really struggle" in a game because he was doing it all the time. How about a mentor who actually comes out focused to crush a team the first time through the order and make them press in their second and third at bats to have to score? The young guys would benefit far more from someone who properly prepares to pitch a game from start to finish.

As for adding a pitcher, there are only 3 pitchers the O's should even consider: Cliff Lee, Ted Lilly and Brandon Webb. Otherwise, what's the point?

This isn't fantasy baseball and lot of these names getting thrown out are ridiculous. The team went that route and failed miserably which started the downslide. The team needs bats far more than the pitching right now. So unless they can land one of those three proven front-line starters, put the money into the bats and continue the development of the young pitchers.

I'd have no problem going into next season with Guthrie, Arrieta, Matusz, Bergersen and either Tillman or Britton plus Berken and Hernandez waiting in the wings if someone falters. Then if the right deal comes up (i.e. Prince Fielder from a pitching-starved Brewers team) you can pull the trigger on a deal with guys that are proven at the major league level and get maximum value. Why displace one of those guys unless you know you're getting a sure thing?

What's better - getting a mediocre starter and tying up money in a long-term deal that could hurt the team if it doesn't work out or just sticking with the young guys and letting them develop? Someone like Pavano, Vasquez, or Arroyo might win 12-14 games but so could Britton, Bergesen, or Tillman. It is time to get away from signing guys who "might" succeed. We already have that with the players in the O's system. Any free agent signings should be players who have proven they WILL get the job done. Otherwise, use a little common sense and keep the wallet closed.

Statistics show OPCY to only be slightly a hitter's park.

In any case, teams in hitter friendly parks like Philadelphia and Boston have no problem signing top pitchers.

Why? Because they win and pay big money. If the Orioles were a winner offering top dollar, they'd get their share of top shelf pitchers no matter where they play.

Let me clear my throat....."HELL YES"

"When SP is in question, always add arms" - Cereal Blogger

The Orioles need an ace, whether by trade or free agent signing. Anything less would be a waste of time and totally unnecessary. We haven't had an ace since Mussina and our young guns need to develop at the back end of the rotation first.

Overpaying to sign Lee would further signal that this team is no longer going to be bullied. Overspend for Konerko and re-sign Koji and Wiggington, and suddenly the future would be NOW.

Personally I have had it with veteran "innings eaters." We have a nice solid group of starters led by Guthrie. If we go after Fielder, then yes we need to pick one up. Otherwise I want to pick up where we left off this season and maybe blend in Britton by July. Just my two cents

Get Adam Dunn first. The Orioles will have to overpay, but that is what you have to do now. Both Pavano and Westbrook would be coming off of mediocre results, especially Pavano's second half. But either one would be a solid addition and will have to go to a non-competing team in order to cash in. No contender will pay them big money.

If you can get a middle tier starter or power bullpen pitcher for Adam Jones, I think they should pull the trigger. There are several organizations that believe he could be a key #2 or #6 hitter that they could "fix." I just don't think his ceiling is as high because of the extended time I saw him in the PCL. Unfortunately, Felix Pie may be similiar, but Jones is a bigger trade chip.

Shortstop is really shallow of a free agent pool. Honestly, Alex Gonzalez may be a good stopgap if the Braves don't pick up his $2.5 million option, although I don't know why you wouldn't. He is cheap and solid. There is going to be alot of pressure to rush Machado, but it seems like he is still, even fast-tracked, a good 2.5 years away.

Crawford, Lee and Martinez would be nice, but it won't happen. Set your sites on Konerko, great clubhouse guy and would do for the hitters what Millwood was rumored to have done for the pitchers.

Add a veteran starter, put him at the top of the rotation, and keep Guthrie as a '2'. Guthrie pitched much better this past year as a '2' than previous season as an Ace. Competition and depth are enhanced also.

7 starters Andy says. That would be Guthrie, Matusz, Bergesen, Arrieta, Tillman, Britton, VanderHurk, Patton, Hernandez and Berken make 10 so I would say we are good.
I'd like me some corner infielders please...and no more dumpster diving!

I think we need a veteran arm at least because we don't have enough starters for next season. After Britton as the next go to guy, that's it in my book. Vanderhurk is out of options, Hernandez and Berken are bullpen guys, and Patton hasn't shown that he is ready to return to MLB starter. So, yeah, go find someone.

For lightning in a bottle, I'm thinking trade for Zambrano (won't take much if we're willing to pay some serious cash), and watch Webb and Bedard.

Otherwise, I guess I'd have to settle for a Westbrook type (led MLB in groundball to flyball ratio) just so we can have enough guys to be ready for a full 162.

There are times when the world as we know it changes and some are left behind wondering what happened. The Os are in a good city with a great fanbase. They have a core of young players, especially pitchers and a new manager who is well known and respected in baseball circles, ad by PLAYERS! In fact, that manager took a team with the worst record in basball and for 1/3 of a season won at a clip that would have produced 96 wins over a full season. It wasn't a fluke and baseball lifers and current players know it.

This team is very close to winning the AL East. Add a Konerko, one more bat at 3rd base and a top fight starting pitcher like Cliff Lee and they are there. Buck should be able to sell top free agents on the joy of being the stirs in the drink that knocks off the giants, as long as the Os pay very close to the competition. Not everyone wants to go to New York or Boston. The world is about to change because the Os have a leader who can make it happen. He's already started and some of you think it's business as usual.

All the money in the world isn't bringing Cliff Lee to Baltimore! He's not signing with a 5th place team. Nada forget it. Crawford isn't signing in bmore either. He'll be a yankee or redsox. maybe a philly. Let's see who else hmmmm. johnny damon will be available but he wouldn't come either. Konerko already turned those O's down b4. Not gonna happen.

We've got enough starting and relief pitching and they need innings to develop. What we really need are 2 corner infielders who can hit with power. If AM does not "buy the bats" this offseason, forget about the O's ever spending money to compete.


I think the O's have to pick out two top tier FA's and FORCE THEM to take less money if they go somewhere else.
No, you can't go running around willy nilly and trying to throw money at every FA with a heartbeat. Then you start to look like Syd Thrift trying to spend his Confederate Money.

But the O's have been lowball specialists for years, they've been outbid at the end, or have waited for weeks not closing the deal and then had the Yankees or Angels swoop in at the end to make the signing.

The exact reason too go hard after Lee and Crawford is because they are coveted by the evil empire. The exact way to sell them on Baltimore is that they would be "the man" here. In NY or Boston, they would be another in a long line of "hired guns".

Sell them on Brooks, Boog, Palmer, Frank, and Ripken. Baltimore has always treated it's stars well.

Yes, they wouldn't be assured of a World Series next year, but with Buck and the core the O's are assembling there is the potential for something special here. And when the O's have had success there's no better baseball town.

I'd go hard after Crawford and Lee and I would say the O's should go all in up front and maybe the overpay for one or both. I'd rather see the O's giving up a 2nd round pick for one of those guys then for some guy that's gone by June.

Even if the O's miss out they have sent a message to every player and agent in baseball that not every top flight player ends up on 95N.

Add a SP...YES!!

I would LOVE to see the O's go strong after Cliff Lee...wishful thinking, though.

REALITY: I would definitely be ok with adding:
SP-Brandon Webb
SP-Erik Bedard
[at their low end value plus incentives]

The idea here are 1 yr incentive laiden deals...if they return to form, then...

Rotation of:

*This frees up money to sign TWO top tier and other FA's

OF-Crawford [JUST DO IT]

If not:

..and GO FULL Force into improving the O's run production

Our tradable pieces...AJones, Bergy, Pie, LScott, CTillman, JBell, BRoberts, JArrietta


No, to a veteran starter. We have a solid one -- whom we know quite well -- in Guthrie. Time for him, and the younger ones, to grow up and take flight!

Now is the time to get this team in place. In the AL East, you must be very deep. Add that veteran, but a quality arm. Not just a pitcher to go out and lose 70% of the time. Let's not get distracted that we desperately need power hitting in the middle of that batting order. If pay-roll shoots up to $140 million, that's to be expected in our Division.

another seasoned arm never hurts....ol' can't have too much pitching never gets ol'. If an arm has to go to Norfolk so be it. But,,,,not Pavano, I'm from Jersey so I remember what happened to him here, maybe it was circumstance but bells and whistles go off. We could use the arm if we trade Adam Jones, an arm or two to Mets for David Wright...perfect fit on a lot of fronts, least of which is close to home and MUCH less pressure than Queens.

Grow the arms, buy the bats.
I prefer to go with the young pitchers, and buy some major lumber this winter.

Bring back Jamie Moyer...he still has productivity left in the tank and would be a major asset to the younger arms, Just look what he's done for the Phillies' pitchers, especially Cole Hamels.

No need to spend money on a veteran starter as there are several other pressing needs. Do whatever to get Beltre in fold.

PS: Take a flyer on Bedard.

If truly a quality Arm. I mean, hiring some old successful guy as your pitching coach would do the same thing, so if they guy is taking a roster spot, he should be a legit 2 or 3 guy in our rotation.

Further, the pitcher should not negatively impact the fact we need two power bats, a firstbaseman and a DH.

The truth will set you free.

There are no IDIOT GM's out there. To get talent you have to give up talent and the other GM's will want the young pitching. If Andy can convince any team to give up good pitching for Pie and/or Riemold I will be shocked. Then we would have to sign an outfielder (CRAWFORD) to play left. So, either sign a free agent or go with what we already have.

Bedard???are you serious??? Lets not...You all have been brained washed for the last 13 years settling for mediocrity. Will will never compete doing that. What other playoff team has no power hitters at the corners and no #1...Answer...NO ONE. Do you want to win or make money and sell a couple tickets. Prove me wrong Peter but I dont believe you. Go Ravens

This is easy. You absolutely go get a veteran. Not just an "innings eater" but someone who you know will give you at least 12-15 wins. Cliff Lee needs to be the one. We also need to show the pitcher that we are serious about contending. That means getting a guy like Victor Martinez, Paul Konerko or Adrian Beltre. These guys will give you at least 25 homeruns, will help the pitching staff and will help the other hitters in the line-up.

If you're going to add pitching, get a top shelf guy like Cliff Lee or don't bother. With all the young pitchers in the O's system right now, getting another Millwood, Pavano, Greinke, etc, would only stunt the growth of one of those guys who needs to develop. Otherwise, save the $$$ for a big bat or two.

I think we should trade Adam Jones as part of a package to acquire a pitcher. He refused to play deeper when told to early in the season. Doesn't run out ground balls that have been bobbled and is out when he should be safe, and he constantly swings at pitches low and away off the plate. Why would we want Bedard? He pitches 5/6 innings and he wants out of the game, and has a terrible attitude. I wouldn't want him to influence our young staff that seems to have their heads on straight and truly appreciate the opportunity to be on this team.

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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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