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November 30, 2010

As the shortstop turns ... (updated)

Cross Ryan Theriot off the Orioles’ potential wish list as a shortstop/utility infielder.

Theriot was a candidate to be non-tendered by the Los Angeles Dodgers, but instead they dealt him today to the St. Louis Cardinals for right-hander Blake Hawksworth.

That means you might be able to scratch the Cardinals off the potentially interested list for 2010 Orioles’ shortstop Cesar Izturis, who has been a Tony La Russa favorite for years.

There also was a report from Fox Sports that the Tampa Bay Rays were getting closer to dealing shortstop Jason Bartlett and that the San Francisco Giants had become one of the most serious suitors.

But the Associated Press is reporting that former Oriole -- and recent San Diego Padre -- Miguel Tejada said he has agreed to a one-year, $6.5 million deal with San Francisco. If he plays shortstop, then the Giants won't be in the market for Bartlett.

An Orioles source said today that if the Rays are moving closer to a deal for Bartlett, then it isn’t with the Orioles. My take from that is that discussions between the Orioles and Rays for Bartlett haven’t heated up recently.

The Giants needed a shortstop, in part, because they lost free agent infielder Juan Uribe to the Dodgers.

Meanwhile, the Orioles have continued interest in retaining Izturis if nothing else opens up. And they are intrigued by Minnesota’s J.J. Hardy, who likely will be tendered a contract by the Twins – the deadline is Thursday night at midnight — but could be made available for trade.

Hardy might be expendable now that the Twins have won the negotiating rights for Japanese shortstop Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Assuming they sign Nishioka to a deal and don't move him to second base.

Got all that? There will be a test later.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 5:38 PM | | Comments (56)


Did you see those quotes [translated] from Nishioka's interview, where he says how interested he is in coming to the Twins? Sounds like he is a lock to sign on there. Hardy in Baltimore, please.

I Guess "The Riot" is taking his "Act" elsewhere? I can't believe he didn't want to come to Baltimore and ride "The Pine". Don't understand that one at all "Jon"... Right You are "Mel" to the Post Game Show.

Come on lets play some Baseball, Andy!
Throw your "Kotite Clipboard" in the trash and hustle your bustle for once! Lets get the party started and trade for Hardy for heaven sake!

Hardy is the best (but probably also the most fragile) of the O's options. Please lord, let it be him over Izturis.

Why do we have to do everything on the cheap, though? Seriously... it's pretty sad.


all of this hype is a bunch of balonie. the orioles will resign izturis and still be looking in the mirror when all of the players andy macphail blew his horn about acquirng are gone. i watch the mlb network and hear the all the tlak, who is am kidding, certainly not us fans.

I get a kick out of these inane updates. No offense, but we see the same thing every offseason. Orioles always RUMORED to be "in the hunt" for certain players, but they never seem to actually pull the trigger now do they?

At what point does it become irresponsible journalism to year in and year out buy into the lies that Macphail sells the fan base? Grow the arms and buy the bats, right? Thats been his mantra for as long as he has been our GM.

Well, where are the bats? Seriously? Where are they!?!?!?

And for that matter, what arms have been grown? Beyond Matusz and Arrieta?

Its pathetic. No, its actually much worse than that.

The joke is on every orioles fan that believes each offseason; but whats worse is the beat writers who never seem to call Macphail to task for spewing the same BS year in and year out.

Hey Eric, it's not the beatwriter's job to call BS. That's for the columnists. And for the fans. We just point out the facts, use the quotes and let you people come to an opinion. And you have done that. So we, apparently, have done our jobs. I'll call that a symbiotic relationship.

Sign Izturis! Hardy is frequently hurt, has limited range at SS, and is not a significant upgrade offensively. Has been declining on offense for years.

Andy is a very good GM, but sometimes he wait a little to long to do something.

Now that some of the SS are starting to come off the board I hope Andy doesn't wait til the cupboards are bare before moving.

On another note, according to MLBTR Dunn's agent thinks 4yrs/ $60MM is a good starting point. No reason the O's can't get that done. Dunn, Cantu and Hardy shouldn't be too much to ask for this winter.

Sounds like the Orioles are doing a lot of usual. I'm still holding out hope since it's early.

Sadly I see it another way. It seems clear that teams looking to do things are moving up their timelines to match the new dates set by the league this year. As the folks that have been talked about on here are quickly snatched up by other clubs (whether you wanted them or not), the Orioles appear to be observers once more. Hope I am wrong but folks like Gonzalez arent getting dealt here...

it won't happen, the Orioles aren't serious about signing a FA or trading for one, if they were they would of already done so.. scrap heaps maybe but that will be about it!

maybe they should teach Izturis to be a little better hitter. Have him cut down on his swing and go for singles and doubles.

Nishioka is not a lock to play SS for the Twins. Orlando Hudson is a free agent and I believe I've on that the twins intend to use Nishioka at 2nd base. Hardy will be tendered a contact by the Twins and likely will be their SS next season.


They also have Alexi Casilla, who is only 26, to play 2B or SS next year. So they could deal Hardy, a free agent after 2011, if they feel they have a match.

Sure don't understand why upgrading at shortstop is not a top priority. Luke's been good and Wiggy's been at least adequate. Wieters has been and will continue to be our catcher (which is a good thing) but instead we're trying to throw money at V-Mart and ignoring the gaping hole that is Cesar Izturis with his .545 OPS or whatever the miserable figure was. Come on, guys! Can't we do better? Don't you understand that the way to get the most bang for your buck is to replace your weakest links? I thought that was GM 101. What do I know?

In other news, Dan & Jeff, you guys are doing your jobs great. Thanks for all your work. Just wish you weren't trapped in this dysfunctional sputtering franchise with us!

Lets ship Tillman and A.Jones to KC for Greinke, sign Dunn, move Scott to LF and Pie to center...then the loss of offense is easier to swallow and we resign Izturis as a backup to Andino going into spring training.....I'm still working on 3B

jj hardy

I've read a few places that the Twins view Nishioka as a second baseman, meaning they may not be as interested in moving Hardy. At this rate I think there's probably a better chance of seeing someone like Izturis or maybe even Brendan Ryan manning shortstop for the birds next season.

Either way, the market is already getting pretty thin, with teams acting rather aggressively for their shortstop needs. The Orioles need to really address their shortstop need immediately if they're seriously interested in improving on it at all, because there isn't going to be much of a consolation prize when the market shakes out.

Don't kid yourself. The O's have TONS and TONS of money to bring in free agents. But they won't. Why? many times does it have to be said? The guy is is loser who doesn't give a flying fart in fairly land whether the O's win or not. A horrid owner that has ruined a storied franchise. Nothing will EVER change while he owns this club. It hasn't in years and this year will absolutely BE NO DIFFERENT. Why don't they shock the world and overpay Lee? Why don't they work out a trade for Gonzalez? Why don't they bring in Beltre? Konerko? Etc. etc. Why? Because they don't give a crap.....that's why.

Uhhh... anyone else out there think Hardy might kind of stink? His bat might play better than Izturis, but really not by that much, and his glove doesn't match. I mean, I wouldn't give up more than a bag of baseballs for 1 year of JJ Hardy.

Orioles as usual do nothing. Will end up getting players that no other team wants.

heading for another disappointing winter with the orioles. are they even contacting Dunn he is not that bad of a 1B. Lets get something done soon McPhail.

PDHitman, Jones and Tillman won't come close to getting Greinke. You'll need at least Arrieta and one or two more such as Hernandez and Pie (who the Royals supposedly like a lot). Then there is nothing left to use to get bats. Dunn has shown no interest in coming to an AL team.

I have a suggestion for the Orioles if they'd like to get serious. Sign Dunn, Beltre, and LaRoche (even if longer contracts are necessary). None are especially old. Dunn might also be persuaded to DH given the right price. Scott could move to left, and Pie could be traded or serve as a fourth outfielder. Izturis would be fine at short given that lineup, and the defense would clearly be above average. With decent pitching we'd even strike a little fear in the AL East.

If they could get Hardy cheap (say for a Steve Johnson or Pedro Beato), he is definitely worth the gamble. He's only 27, he has shown some signs that he can hit with power and he is an above-average fielder. I wouldn't trade David Hernandez for him though.

Why is it that the Orioles are the only team in baseball that needs to sit around and wait for things to "open up"? The Giants needed a shortstop after Juan Uribe signed with LA, so they made it happen. Now, I'm not at all saying that it was a good idea to sign Tejada (it was a terrible idea, actually), but at least they went out and made a move when they needed to do so.

But not the Orioles, no siree! Let's see what "opens up". Let's "let the market set itself". Far be it from anyone here to suggest that we open things up. Heaven forbid the O's go out and set the market. I mean, if such unforgivable sins were committed, Andy might actually have to (GASP) commit to something!

That said, you've got to admit that Andy's pretty brilliant here. By sitting on his hands, floating BS about "things opening up" or "markets setting" and never committing to anything, he's bought himself so much time win Angelos. Honestly, with he game he talks, it can never be his fault that he didn't acquire any given player. I can hear it now: "Sorry, boss. Things never opened up with the Twins before the Cardinals traded for Hardy ... It wasn't my fault, sir. The market for Dunn hadn't been set when the White Sox jumped in with a big offer."

What a crafty guy...

Dan, what do you think it will take to get Hardy and are the O's taking a risk waiting to see if Hardy and Bartlett non-tendered? It seems like Theriot would have been nice as either a SS or super sub, but he's gone, Uribe and Miggy signed so the market is getting slim. I have nothing against Izzy as a defender, but the O's can't live with his offense in my opinion.

Both the Rays and Twins need bullpen help after being hit by free agency. My guess is a cheap, solid reliever with upside is the primary asking price. But I have no idea which Orioles' relievers may fit into that category in the eyes of the Rays and Twins.

Dan -- For all MacPhail's good traits as the O's chief executive--and there are many--he doesn't seem terribly pro-active. Granted, we fans don't see behind the scenes too much, but from what is visible, he often seems to wait for things to come to him rather than initiate.

A case in point seems to be Theriot. Unless I read wrong, weren't the O's very interested in him? If so, it looks as though the O's were, so to speak, waiting for the fruit to drop from the tree (i.e., waiting for him to be non-tendered), while the Cardinals climbed the tree and picked what they wanted (i.e., traded for him before anyone else had a chance).

Now if it turns out the O's did in fact approach the Dodgers for a trade, I'm ready with my mea culpa, but as it stands, it looks as though they got caught flatfooted again.

Similarly, it seems MacPhail frequently lets the best free agents gets picked over before he makes his move. Granted, he did go after Martinez in a timely fashion, and that was good to see, even if the Tigers eventually won out on that one.


He is deliberate. No doubt about it. That has worked in his favor at times (the Bedard trade for instance) and also backfired. The Orioles were interested in Theriot as a non-tendered free agent but not sure if they ever considered giving up something for him. Remember, the team has limited trade chips.

What's with the hard on about JJ Hardy? I suppose he's a better option offensively then Izturis, which really isn't that hard to do. You also have to look at his defense, which is below average, and his declining numbers at the plate. In the end, they'd be trading for the same player. I'd rather see the O's retain Izturis then to trade for a player who offers the same value. Why give up your players for a 1 year rental when you can just sign one for basically the same end result?

If the O's want a JJ Hardy so bad, then go out and sign Orlando Cabrera or Felipe Lopez, I see they're available too. I hope this is just a rumor and nothing more.

The O's should sign Jeter and LaRoche. keep Wiggy for third and pick up a decent pitcher and they could compete. yhey made a good run late without them. line up could be 1-Roberts, 2-Jeter, 3-Markakis,
4-LaRoche, 5-wiggington, 6-Scott, 7-Weiters, 8-Jones, 9-Patterson.

Why all the fuss about Izzy when we need power at 1st base and a front line pitcher?
Don't waste resources on moving the deck chairs when the boat is sinking. Stay focused on the targets. If the O's fill the two big holes, Izzy will be fine.

What is with you Orioles' fans who are hell-bent on replacing Izturis? It clearly shows your lack of knowledge of the game's history.

The Orioles' Mark Belanger, with his 7 GOLD GLOVES, was the benchmark for SS fielding in major league baseball during the Orioles' dynasty. He played on 5 American League championship teams, winning 2 World Series titles. He played 17 years for the Orioles while the Orioles' pitchers DOMINATED baseball. Each and every O's pitcher recognized Belanger as a main reason for their success.

Fast Forward: Cesar Izturis is a BETTER hitter and BETTER fielder than Mark Belanger.

Belanger averaged 14.6 errors during the 7 gold glove years. Izturis has averaged 8.5 in his two years here.

Belanger's career fielding percentage was .977 while Izturis' is .980 with a .985 in his two years in Baltimore! Izturis has finished 2nd to Jeter both years in fielding, and Jeter is going to the Hall of Fame.

Hitting? Belanger's MLB avg was .228 while Izturis' is .256 and while in Baltimore Izturis' avg has been .242 - still higher than Belanger.

When Tejada was here fans complained about his fielding while he knocked the cover off the ball. Now the same fans complain about Izturis' lack of hitting while Cesar clearly shows to be one of the games best fielding SS in history, averaging a meager 8.6 errors per year.

Want more? Hall of Famer Ozzie Smith is recognized by the media as the best fielding infielder of all time with 13 consecutive Gold Gloves. His lifetime batting avg is but 6 points higher than Izturis. Who's the better fielder? Izturis has averaged 8.6 errors per year while Smith averaged 14.8 with a LOWER fielding percentage than Izturis' .980.

The problem with the Orioles for the last 2 years has not been at shortstop. Look at 1st base. 3rd base. Left field. And at times, center field and DH.

Or have someone teach Cesar Izturis how to do a backflip at the beginning of each game and he might just FINALLY catch your attention.

Dennis, nice post. I like it when you're spirited.

Attention all Bloggers and Fans off the Street that read this blog, please take notice of excerpt from the article about the "The Riot" Trade. Open your "Big Eyes" and see that "The Riot" himself stated he didn't want to "Ride The Pine"!
And, Yes I am "Giving you the Business" to those who said my comments were silly! Giving you the Business!

"We felt this was a really good fit for us," Mozeliak said. "This is not necessarily the last move we're going to make between now and opening day, but if we did have to start today he would likely be our shortstop."

Music to Theriot's ears.

"I think every player as a competitor should go in there with that mindset," Theriot said in a conference call. "I don't want to be that utility player, I want to be out there playing. I can't help a team if I'm sitting on the bench."

I hope that Izturis signs quickly with another team. McPhail wants to continue to play this "take your time" game. Let's see what he does when all of the SS are signed by other teams. He has no sense of urgency about anything considered to be a priority.

How many years do we have to hear Free agent market is down. I'm with Lunatic, until EVERYONE stops coming and watching MASN nothing will change. PA will not spend and the O's will continue to tout the farm system (tahts no where close to the top systems) and pick up cheap reclamation projects. How about someone from the sun does some serious reporting on the money this franchise is making versus the pathetic track record since the 90's. I havent been to a game in 3 years and won't until either PA sells the team or he opens the checkbooks and allows MCPHAIL to do his job.


It's a private business and the books are closed. We would love a look at the numbers but have been turned down in the past.

I think half of you people are on drugs and the other half should be.

Anybody that wants Luke Scott in left is nuts. To trade Adam Jones and put Pie in center is rediculous also. Pie 's had about a half of decent year and that's it. Jones is .300, 25hr, 80-100rbi guy who can run and is better than average in the field.

The other suggestion to put Andino at SS, is crazy as well. Even though he may hit better than Izzy he can't touch him with the glove. In case you didn't notice Andino had more than 35 errors at Norfolk this year. That's what you need with a young pitching staff. Not the guy.

I also don't understand why people keep offering borderline minors (Steve Johnson, Pedro and the like) and you expect to get a quailty player in trade? It ain't happening. You can package a bunch of those guys and it still ain't happening.

As far as overpaying FA's, well to me the majors has been overpaying most of these bums for a long time and now we want AM and PA to shell out tons of money for players that we'll hate before mid year (Dunn and others included).

This is a horrible FA's market and for me I'd rather watch us develop our own players than to over pay players who are average at best. Don't do it AM. Stick to the plan as there are no players out there that will put us over the top this year.

This is a horrible FA's market and for me I'd rather watch us develop our own players than to over pay players who are average at best. Don't do it AM. Stick to the plan as there are no players out there that will put us over the top this year.

First, I would like to "Thank" Dan C for putting up with me! I do and I mean it.

Second of All, The Plan Sucks!

Third, I don't agree with your argument that there are no players out there in free agency. While I might agree, there are no plug and play free agents. There could be a culmination effect on the Orioles if they were to break open the piggy bank and get Jayson Werth in here. It would free up a bunch of people to trade if they did. Maybe trade for Mark Reynolds and sign Adam LaRoche. In case you don't like my Royals trade. There are other options out there if Andy Mac is serious about building a better team. They need to sign Werth, Period!
If they don't sign him, we have zero trading chips in order to get this team motoring into the playoffs in 2011. And yes I am serious about Playoffs!

wow so much for change..... lets just settle on izturis. it seeems to be the oriole way now a days. you know im just sick and don’t care anymore. The orioles have gone after only one player and they were laughable at best in there attempt to acquire him . More like here is a contract please take it we are desperate, or Wait till they sign with another team then tell the fans “ yeah we were interested in him and just about to offer a contract.” You know what, we are a last place team and to get player here we have to OVER PAY for them. Here what make me angry we have what I call a statement signing in Derek Jeter and were not even making an attempt in getting him. WHY!? He is still regarded as one of the best shortstops in the game. he is a guy with a winning attitude, swagger, and a TEAM LEADER! Guys want to play for Derek Jeter. He can draw other free agents in by his name alone The Yankees making a big mistake letting him hang around in free agency. Have the orioles made him an offer yet? NO! why? CAUSE THAT IS THE ORIOLE WAY! well here some things to think about Derek jeter, his stats on a bad year is still beter than Izturis. the other idea is a so called trade but when was the last time the orioles traded FOR A BIG NAME PLAYER. I can’t remember either. Don’t worry oriole fans we still have our ravens cause our baseball team is not going to make a big name signing this year or anytime soon. But hey i hope the team PROVES ME WRONG!!!!!

The angry orioles nerd

A) Jeter is not worth the 4yr/100 million contract he wants. (Even if he moves to 3rd)
B) JJ Hardy would be the second coming of Garrett Atkins. More promise than delivery. Not worth trading away promising prospect.
C) Signing Adam Dunn and JJ Hardy would set back the pitching staff another couple of years due to the number of unearned runs those two, in particular, would contribute. Dunn will not come here to DH.
D) Beltre would be the best addition available.
E) Would love to see a trade for Gonzalez or Fielder if we could sign either to an extension. Would probably cost Arrietta, Pie, and one (maybe two) of the following: Tillman/Bergeson/Hernandez/J.Johnson. Not worth it if no extension is signed.
F) Resign Wiggy, Uehara (at a discount, if possible), and Izturis.

I'm not 100% sold on Andy as the GM, but i'm certain that 3/4 of you all are insane. I'm 100% sure with you guys running the show we might not win more than 10 games a season.

Trading Adam Jones would be suicide. You forget he is one year removed from being an All Star. Yes last year wasn't so hot, but who from the O's did have a good year last year? We had no leadership. B Rob was out and Trembly was Trembly (enough said).

I agree nobody should be untouchable, but for guys like Wieters, or Jones to be included you better get a ton back.

McPhail does seem rather slow out of the trading gate, which leaves the Orioles with fewer options when he's ready to make a deal. Careful is more than just his middle name. But even McPhail wouldn't dream he could get Hardy for Beato. Beato didn't even make the 40-man roster. You have to give value to get value. You can't always rob the Mariners (though the Bedard deal would not have been so one-sided if Bedard hadn't pulled up lame).
However, a few things need clarification. Hardy is defensively better than Izturis (Bill James Handbook 2011 has him 7th, Izturis 8th, Bartlett 9th) and hits a lot better, even in a poor year in a so-far pitchers ballpark. Brendon Ryan is rated the best defensive shortstop (runs saved 27 to Izturis 3, 5.01 range to Hardy 4.60, Izturis 4.28 and Bartlett 3.76) but is no upgrade offensively (okay he hit 2 HR to 1 for Izturis). And whoever is signed to play 1B has to be a right-handed (or switch) hitter... Derrek Lee anyone? Adding Dunn or Pena or LaRoche, trading for Gonzalez or Fielder with Jones part of the package, moving Pie to CF and Scott to LF, would really exaggerate the LH offensive tilt. And if they're right, that Bell can't hit lefties, Lester / Sabathia / Lee / Romero and the rest could count on easy days when facing the Orioles. You gotta be a bit realistic.

Forget shortstop, sign whoever is left over to play there. Sign Dunn for 1st and Crawford for the Outfield. Heck, put me at SS and I bet the O's record is about the same. Make Dunn / Crawford priority over SS.

CBS Spors has a good article on this one.

We arent getting bartlett. The one thing we lack is depth at positions across the board except in the OF. I think we end up resigning Wigginton and Izturis, but we start giving Andino more shots. Who knows maybe we have prospects in the pipeline that have a shot at making the club and adding depth. I think the most reasonable solutions is to sign Pena or Laroche, maybe trade for Mark Reynolds because he is very cheap. Aside from those two spots and resigning Uehars and a couple of new relievers, we wont see too many transactions.

I dont think people are giving enough credit to our team. We do have a lot of talent and having more consistent and powerful batters, like Reynolds and Pena/Laroche would produce a very compelling lineup.

From a HR standpoint we could average 20HR. So to think as practical as AM would, check out this lineup:

1: Roberts
2: Pie
3: Markakis
4: Pena
5: Jones
6: Reynolds
7: Wiggy
8: Scott/Reimold
9: Weiters

Looks strong with each player, except Roberts and Weiters, having the ability to hit 20+ HR.

Wigginton almost did it and he didnt even start the beginning of last year, Jones can do it, Markakis can do it if he has more protection although I see him a perrinial 17HR guy, Reynolds has proven he can bomb 30+, and Pie, starting regularly, could develop some more power.

Decent power, decent average, and now we have money to spend on a REAL closer and stronger, more reliable bullpen to close out games.

What's knew . we always get what left. I am geting sick of it. If they keep it up there going to loose more fans.

I'm not 100% sold on Andy as the GM, but i'm certain that 3/4 of you all are insane. I'm 100% sure with you guys running the show we might not win more than 10 games a season.

Insanity on a Blog? Surely you Jest!
Seriously, though if the Squirrel were to be announced as the acting GM for 2011. We'd have only 10 wins? Come closer to the Light of Truth.

I could tell you this if were GM, you could be assured of this:

1.)The Orioles would not start 2 -16.
2.) I would not come out to my Papal Pulpit and declare my Plan was working, but was suffering from "Minor" technical difficulties
3.) I would not have signed Mike Gonzalez
4.) It would not have taken the Orioles what seemed like 3 weeks to get from 15 wins to 16
5.) I would not have tried to sign Victor Martinez, especially when we have Matt Wieters

6.) The list could go on and on

Lastly, if all of that did happen during my time here, I would have resigned IMMEDIATELY and begged forgiveness. Then gone into hiding!

Come on Chad, let's get serious LOL!


Disagree on Hardy and Ryan.

First of all Hardy is paid TWICE what Izturis is paid. Think that appeals to MacPhail? Hardy is fragile, and according to Baseball-Reference his lifetime fielding % is .978 compared to Cesar's .980 (and Cesar has been .985 in Baltimore). As for range, RF/9 has Hardy at 4.28 with Izturis at 4.43.

As for Brendan Ryan he has started a scant 261 games at SS, and he'll be 29 in March. Made 17 errors last season alone with a .974 fielding percentage.

The only thing going for Ryan is range, but I am certain that MacPhail would consider Ryan's low salary as the most attractive thing. And Izturis out hit Ryan last year.

The absolute best thing MacPhail could do is sign Izturis immediately, and concentrate on a couple legitimate power hitters.

How's this for a twist? Adam Jones was originally drafted as a shortstop/pitcher. The Mariners asked him to try a move to the outfiled when they acquired Betancourt. Maybe he can still play shortstop. Now we would have a 25hr SS. Also freed up a bit of logjam in the OF.

Dennis - My stats are better than your stats! Career stats don't matter. Izturis at 31 is not the same as Izturis at 24.
Ryan may have made eight more errors than Izturis but he also had 48 more assists and was involved in 24 more double plays in 123 fewer innings (and had a defensive plus-minus of +31 runs to Izturis +2.) Neither of them can hit. But both Bartlett (62 runs created in 468 AB) and Hardy (41 runs created in 340 AB in a pitchers park) can... at least better than Izturis (31 runs created in 473 AB in a hitters park), who had the worst offensive rating of any regular player this year. Even if Izturis was better in the field, there's a long way to go before they are equals.

Between 1954 and 1983 the Orioles had the winningest record in the American League overall. Does anybody remember Mark Belanger? A 230-240 hitting shortstop who fielded everything hit to the left. Championships are won on defense. In baseball defense is up the middle - catcher, shortstop, second base, center field. Izturis is not the Orioles problem. He is the best fielding SS in the AL. His defense is what the O's need. Let's leave Izturis alone and get power and hitting elsewhere. Let's not dump a great defensive SS for a so-so SS that hits 250-260. We don't need it.


C'mon, Don. Izturis may be 31 next year, but both Hardy and Ryan will be 29 so none of them are seeing 24 again.

Look, Izturis is the superior shortstop the last two years. His .985 fielding record with the O's is HIGHER than Omar Vizquel's record-setting .984 lifetime fielding average. Even you have to admit that that is monumental.

And careful with your stats. You are putting too much stock in teammate influence; i.e., you are assuming that Ryan, on the basis of his # of DP that he is better than Izturis.

Incorrect conclusion. The St Louis pitchers throw more ground balls and consequently Ryan has more opportunity. St Louis has fewer balls hit to the outfield. Orioles' outfielders made 18% more put outs and assists than did the St Louis outfielders.

The Orioles' pitchers gave up 40% more homeruns than did the St Louis pitchers so take my word for it, there was a whole lot more fly balls wizzing past Izturis!

As for Bartlett, he is a horrible fielder. He's only played 7 years and already has more career errors than Izturis. Don, you want to replace a lifetime .980 fielder with a .968 fielder?

As for hitting, look who he's playing for. Think he gets a tad more good pitches than Izturis gets? The Rays scored 802 runs to the Orioles' 613 - 30% more runs!!! And Bartlett is OLDER than Izturis!

Look, here's my point. We all know that there is a bonding period for 2b and SS players before they mesh best. There is not enough of a hitting advantage with any of the possible available SS out there to warrant MacPhail's not keeping our DP combination in place.

Plain and simple MacPhail is looking at dollars and cents and has forgotten all about the fans wanting a winner.

I just wrote on this board, not an hour ago, that Theriot was probably coming. Shows what I know. Showalter said that you can’t pick and choose players to come over because it doesn’t work that way, this is real life not FANTASY LEAGUE baseball. If it were we would just sign Jeter, Dunn, Cliff Lee and wait till next year when Pujols becomes available and sign him too. It doesn’t work that way. However it does work, it hasn’t been working for us! As you can tell on this board people are sick of this nonsense. We didn’t get Hernandez, Theriot is out of the question. I don’t know what action is being made to acquire Dunn. For that matter what is happening to get anyone? Is Guthrie returning? Millwood is out of the picture, but he seems to make sense to me. Uhera, anything happening there? This is exactly what the fans are sick of. We’ve got a fine outfield, up and coming starting pitching (seems risky to count on rookie pitchers), an aging and recently injured second baseman and a catcher. Most importantly a manager who can pull it all together! We need a bullpen, shortstop and corner infielders. That’s no small order.
Huff has been signed, Tejada has been signed, Beltre has said he’s not coming before he was asked, V. Martinez has been signed, Tulu has been locked in till the second coming, Cliff Lee is weighing options, Jeter and Riviera are both in talks and let’s face it they will sign. Detroit has been making noise. Things are happening among contenders, NOTHING is happening here. We’re so thin you look at our lineup and can see into Norfolk. Unacceptable.

Fielding percentage? What are you, cave men? Goodness, open your mind and look around a bit. In the field, Izturis is no Belanger, he's no J.J. Hardy and he's damn sure no Ozzie Smith.

Same ole story year in and year out, Orioles post a wish list, and from that very list all players MAGICALLY are dealt, traded, or resigned. Seems to me the Orioles shouldn't toss out "ADVANCE" signals to MLB since all desires are now only afterthoughts, or maybe Orioles should take a note from all other tams and get off the pot and SIGN PLAYERS versus just talk about. them. I would have thought Buck would have brought that to the Orioles, maybe he has but MCFAIL and DELOSER once again get in the way!

Thank God we lost out on the over payed DH Victor Martinez, how is it we need a new infield after years of rebuilding?

Thanks Tim C. I get so tired of hearing people compare Izturis to Belanger. As a long time fan, I have watched both players for many years and anyone who has done so knows Belanger's arm, length and overall coverage were far superior to Izturis. And Belanger was a good bunter, Izturis not so much. If you go with a weak bat, the guy better field like Ozzie or at least Vizquel. Izturis not so much!

Don't want to hear about shortstops. We don't need one. We need a 1st baseman, 3rd baseman and an above average starting pitcher.

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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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