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November 11, 2010

Rest easy, MacPhail is talking to agents

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail isn’t going to tell us who he has talked to since free agency began in earnest Sunday.

But he will acknowledge that he is speaking to agents -- many of them.

“We’ve talked to a wide variety of guys,” MacPhail said. “There’s been no shortage of conversations with players’ agents.”

So rest easy, Orioles fans, MacPhail has not gone into hiding. He’s just hiding his cards once again.

The Orioles are expected to pursue a corner infielder with power potential, and among those they have interest in are third baseman Adrian Beltre and first basemen Victor Martinez, Adam LaRoche, Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman and Aubrey Huff.

You can figure he has talked to the agents for the majority of the names above. He has also presumably touched base with agents for some relievers, which is the deepest talent base of a shallow free-agent pool.

Touching base with agents and other teams about trade possibilities is what a general manager does at this point in the offseason, so don’t get too discouraged or excited when the Orioles are connected to a certain player or team early on.

Really, things haven’t changed since September. The Orioles know whom they like, what holes they need to fill and who likely fits into their budget. Cliff Lee, Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth won’t be coming here, and Beltre most likely won’t either.

One of the above first baseman might, and so might a reliever or two. In fact, the Orioles might be more likely to add through trades than through free agency. But again, it’s not like they have a lot of available chips outside of the core they want to keep.

But, yes, if guys like Zack Greinke, Mark Reynolds, Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and Jose Reyes are available through trades, the Orioles will kick those tires. Whether they have enough -- or whether their package of players is the best fit -- will be determined by the other team involved.

Earlier this offseason, MacPhail said he expected there to be more trade discussion this winter. On Wednesday, the Kansas City Royals dealt away outfielder David DeJesus to the Oakland Athletics for pitcher Vin Mazzaro and a minor leaguer. That’s really early for such a deal.

And maybe that’s indication that this will be the offseason of trades. As well as another offseason filled with lots of speculation.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 11:00 PM | | Comments (43)
        

Comments

So rest easy, Orioles fans, MacPhail has not gone into hiding. You're kidding right Dan? There were Oriole fans that were concerned that Andy Mac was hiding? Ha! I bet more fans were wondering where Peter Schmuck had gone!

Also, this free agent list insults me and it should be insulting to other Orioles fans as well!
Adrian Beltre and first basemen Victor Martinez, Adam LaRoche, Derrek Lee, Carlos Pena, Paul Konerko, Adam Dunn, Lance Berkman and Aubrey Huff.

I would have been interested in Carlos Pena four (4) years ago when he was released by the Tigers. Not Now!
It insults me that Andy Mac felt that Kevin Millar and Jeff Conine were better alternatives then Pena. Carlos Pena is only valuable now to the Rays, he is too old now for my liking. Beltre told us to get lost last year, once is enough to be told that, let some other team sign him. Victor Martinez would be good, but alas he wants to play catcher more so then 1st base. So that is a no go. The rest of ther free agents get the Kibosh!

The only free agent signing that would help the Orioles is signing Jayson Werth and then seeing what we could do via a trade with the Royals. Other then that there is nothing else that is worth doing.
Come on Dan let's get serious! Andy Mac is not going to do anything different then he has for the past 4 years, which is nothing except twiddle his thumbs! I would like to be proven wrong, but I know I am going to be right!

Why does the Sun even bother covering MacPhail's offseason moves? And why in the world does every sportswriter simply accept the way MacPhail frames the free agent market? Even after the proven failures of the last two offseasons, does no one dare question his strategy?

I'll save you some time, here's the super-duper top-secret highly-classified MacPhail playbook:

1) Pick up a past-his-prime hitter who put up good numbers a few years back but has been miserable since, enabling the Os to get him at a deep "discount." hoping that a change of scenery will help him rebound. When the Orioles cut him before the all-star break, tell the Sun that it was a "free" bet that cost the team nothing (without mentioning all the games lost because of a total dead spot in the lineup while you figured out if the guy was going to be any good or not, nor the money actually spent on the guy, that presumably could have been paid to someone better).

2) Sign an ex-Cub who you know from your time there, but has never reached the "potential" you saw for him. After all, you are never wrong- sometimes it just takes everyone longer to see that you're right.

3) Avoid the first, second and third tier of pitching free agents (too expensive!) and go instead for someone who isn't necessarily good, but you hope will at least eat innings. When questioned about it when the player is 1-8 at midseason with a 12.00 ERA, say you made the move as a short-term placeholder because you didn't want to block any of the O's young pitching talent.

4) When the unfortunate situation arises that there is a top free agent (expensive!) who perfectly fits the team's needs and there is strong fan sentiment to sign him, throw out a single low-ball offer in order to later say you tried, lamenting the Yankees' payroll as your excuse.

5) (NEW FOR 2010) Ask Showalter for a list of the top 50 free agents he would like. Sign the worst one, then throw away the rest of the list. Leak word to the press that the pick was Showalter's so he'll have to share some of the blame when this year's free agent signings end up as abysmal as the last two years.

What do you think the results would be if you polled Orioles fans about their expectations for this offseason? Based on what we've seen out of MacPhail, I can't think anyone expects much from him. Maybe he'll prove us wrong- when he does it'll be the first time.

In Andy's defense...its extremely early in the offseason. And he often does stupid things when acting impulsively(i.e. Adkins and Gonzalez). Still, we should let give him at least until after the Dec. 2 non-tender deadline before making any huge moves. Personally , I hope he doesn't settle for less than the best (that will come here) this time. O's have been saving money and cutting payroll for like 10 years lol - now that we finally have a good young core, this is the year to spend money for 1B, SS, 3B, and LF at the least. Especially since we have a protected 1st round draft pick. Just about any players other than the current ones we have at those positions will be an improvement.

Why hasn't MacPhail been "creative" and completed an ever so easy 4 team trade where the Orioles land Adrian Gonzalez (gift wrapped with an extension of course) and Carlos Beltran for Pie and Tillman? Gosh, MacPhail is so lazy! Fixing the Orioles should only take a day or two, right fellow armchair GMs?

Someone give me a real reason why Lee, Crawford, Werth and/or Beltre won't be coming to Baltimore?

Our money's green isn't it?

The Squirrel -- I hate to break this to you, but Conine and Millar were Orioles prior to MacPhail's hiring as CEO. In fact, Andy had a chance to re-sign Millar after the 2007 season and declined to do so.

Typical MacPhail convo w/agent

MacPhail: "The Orioles are very interested in ______________."

Agent: "Nice sweater vest. Can you get me one?"

Want to know how MacPhail will do this year with free-agent signings?

He just got OUTBID for a #$%^ coach by Philadelphia.

not brooks -

To answer your question;

Because by the time MacPhail is done "watching how the market develops", the 4 players that you mentioned will have already been signed with a team that acts with a sense of urgency.

I noticed that the tagline for this Blog Post started with "Rest easy, MacPhail......". Of course. Why would I do it any other way? I would go nuts if I didn't. It became apparent 2 years ago that MacPhail runs this team like a bureaucrat behind the desk at the Glen Burnie MVA, and I don't expect anything less from him this time around. Actually, it's kind of fitting, being that he was hired by a lawyer.

So lets just wait around until the non-tender deadline, because that will probably be the first wave of bargain buys and lost causes that will be picked up. Unless, of course, AM decides to trade off a reliever for an out-of-his-prime 38 year old innings eater at the Winter Meetings, which will be delievered with the BS that "our youngsters need a battled tested veteran to protect them", or basically, how to lose with class.

Oh, please, hurry Andy. I can't wait to indulge myself in your genious offseason moves so that we can set the table for the future. Again. The anticipation is killing me.

Here's to Adam LaRoche and Jon Garland as my predicted big off season signings. Yay. A redux to Kris Benson and Aubrey Huff.

Andrew,
I laughed so hard at your post I think a little pee came out!
You should take Dan's job!

Dennis, how do you know what went on? Id on't think the Orioles were too keen on Samuel coming back, Showalter didn't seem on board with it and the possibility was iffy at best. But now, all the geniuses will hold it up as another example of the Orioles being cheap and incompetent.

And why is everyone so upset that Samuel is going to Philly when everyone here thought he was a bad third base coach/baserunning instructor/infield coach/interim manager? Seems to me people here should be happy he's going.

Do you see any other team making big splashes right now? Aside from the Dejesus trade and a couple of very minor signings, this is a dead period for baseball. All commentators seem to think the market won't be heating up until mid December at the earliest and the smart teams won't be making deals until things shake out a little.

Even Yankees for life Derek Jeter and Mariano Rivera haven't re-signed. If they are both expected to remain Yankees forever, why has everyone waited? All it is is a sign of the times, so to blame MacPhail for not running out right away and signing or trading is asinine.

I do agree that he has to make some sort of big signing/trade and we all have ideas on whom he might/should obtain and whom he might/should trade. But there are 29 other teams who might also be in on players the Orioles covet, so to get mad at MacPhail for not signing today's versions of Ruth, Mantle, and Mays is ridiculous.
There are a lot of facors to be considered, keep that in mind.

I've said it before and I'll say it again, I don't think a manager with Showalter's pedigree would have come here if he wasn't given some kind of assurance that they will spend some money. He brings instant credibility to this organization and his name carries weight throughout the sport. And whether you like it or not, so does MacPhail's.

So how about we let things fall into place, eh? There can be no doubt that this team will be improved in some fashion and while I don't discount the possibility of a down-on-his- luck former star signing here to try and regain his past magic, I also don't think that type of signing will be the highlight. No more Garret Atkins, but you might see the likes of Reyes, an immensely talented player, coming here. In this world, you do have to take chances. That they failed with Atkins doesn't mean they should stop taking gambles, as long as there is a sure thing mixed in here and there. And that also takes into consideration that there are no sure things.

Keep the faith my brothers and sisters!

@Ken Francis - He also had a change to bring Aubrey Huff back cheap but instead opted for the always dangerous Garrett Atkins.

And it is sad to say, but I think Andrew could go into business as a MacPhail impersonator.

My impression of MacPhail is that he is not as good of a talent evaluator as he thinks he is and tends to want to make Thurston Howell, III look like a spend thrift.

Keep in mind, if Weiters dad had not contacted Angelos personally we likely would have lost him over less than $500k!!!!

With the exception of Jones - who still has a lot to prove -Scott - who has finally started to produce regularly - and maybe Koji, MacPhail has become the master of the marginal player.

If we were where Tampa, Boston or New York already are, with established, veteran stars, fading or marginal guys like Pie, Millwood and Lugo might fit right in.

When you are counting on these guys to play regularly you are in trouble.

They may all be great for the payroll budget but none of these guys are more than bit players. They are not going to take you forward.

If the O's dropped a couple million on a game changer that made the team better more people would come to games and then there would be more money around for everyone.

I just don't see MacPhail doing it.

I know this is insanely improbable and will never happen but the thought kinda made me laugh so just throwing it out there. What if we made a 2 year offer to Jeter for insane money, like twice what the Yankees are paying him? 2 yrs 40 mill? First off I know we would be WAY over paying, but its not like we have a very expensive team now, so we could still afford that contract. He would still be an offensive upgrade to the team, he could help them learn to be WINNERS AND my favorite, how much would Yankee fans HATE to see him go to another AL East team? Manchado should be ready by then and we let Jeter go or move him to third or something. I know its crazy and will never happen but boy would I like to see the faces on the Yankee owners if it did

I'm with you Brooks. At what point do we get sick and tired of seeing that line posted in this paper and bandied about as though it was Gospel? So and so wont be coming here. Yes we all know your probably right, but it should not be for a "true" lack of effort. We are already seeing that the "what does the game need a cap for" Yankees are in hot pursuit of what they want. Why not be preemptive this time around. Too often we have been January shoppers and get nothing on our investment. The sad thing is there is talent here. Pitching came around under Buck and I'll bet will continue to grow. But two runs a game will not cut it.

Now way I could have said it any better than Andrew,,,I'm certain he stole Andy Mac's playbook...start an investigation...

Wow..another blog/feature by the sun that is useless. A total lack of leadership by a reporter. "Rest Easy"., I feel like I am being treated like a four year old. Try picking up the telephone and ask to speak to someone part of the Orioles staff, or better yet ask McPhail himself. Asking who, what, where, how....basic reporting skills....Rest Easy...a five year old cold put that in print. Dan show some leadership, do you job ! You and fellow Oroles beat reporters hold the front office accountable. Let the fans know whats going on. What are you afraid of? Rest Easy...how condesending

---

Its what I call tongue in cheek. I'll dumb it down next time. Trust me, Terry, we talk to a whole lot of people. But thanks for the journalistic advice,

Good afternoon....
Andy Mac has to be aggressive this off-season, however, I do like the fact he never says anything. I would just like to see his "poker face" actually win a few hands!!

I say sign:
1b-Pena
OF-Werth
OF-Francoeur
OF-Hermida
P-Webb
Resign:
Wigginton
Uehera
Izturis

Trade:
RF-Nick Markakis
CF-AJones
SP-Patton
RP-Hernandez
for
3B-DWright
SS-JReyes
SP-JMaine

2b-Roberts/Wiggy
SS-Reyes/Izturis
RF-Werth
3b-Wright/Wiggy
1b-Pena/Wiggy
DH-Scott/Reimold
C-Weiters/Fox
LF-Francoeur/Hermida
CF-Pie

SP-Guthrie
SP-Matusz
SP-Maine
SP-Arrietta
SP-Webb
RP-Bergeson
RP-Britton
RP-Uehera
RP-Berken
RP-Johnson
RP-Gonzales

In the end, our payroll will increase a bit but not too much which will free up for next year while giving us a professional team this year--I would just like to field a PROFESSIONAL team and see what happens.

-Francoeur, Hermida (young, upside?, low cost/high reward?)
-Sign Wright/Reyes long term
-Maine-well, we know

All feasible options...and makes sense on some levels

Thoughts?


---


Here's one: That increases payroll a ton. Adding Wirght, Reyes, Pena, Werth and Webb? And then sign Reyes and Wright long-term? Serious money. Not saying it isnt a plan (though the Mets would want more for Wright and Reyes, believe me. They won't be packaged together, if dealt at all) but don't think it wouldn't be a huge jump in payroll.

Tired of reading about "budgets" with this team. They have more money than God but don't want to spend it. Do something big MacPhail!! Get the fan base (what little there is left of it) excited. We have an outstanding manager. Don't tie his hands. Sign Dunn, trade for Reyes, sign Balfour. Make some REAL moves for once!!

I love how everyone thinks free agency will solve our problems.

We have a core nucleus of good players, a manager who's been able to teach them how to win, and some new coaches coming in who should be better than the last batch.

I'm all for signing a good player or two, but all have baggage and risks. Once you overpay for a guy, do you really think he'll play hard? Settle for a Pena or a Lee, knowing the negatives they have. Signing a guy like Werth could easily cost you a fortune and then only to have his numbers tank. We've done that plenty times before, and the same holds true with trades. I'm sure there's a Glenn Davis type guy we can get for Markakis and Jones....

Keep the core nucleaus of young players, take a dare on 2 corner guys, hopefully a Jon Garland, and a few other new faces. Do it with Buck's input (input wayne, not exclusive decision), and see what happens.

I'm more concerned about our conditioning programs, our scouts, and our minor league instructors. If these areas do the job right, we won't have to hope FA is our solution.

ISAAOG - I was getting a good chuckle out of your suggestions, then I realized that you were probably serious. Wow. Hey, at least you are putting out some ideas instead of criticizing the journalistic integrity of the Sun's reporters or recycling the same tired criticisms of MacPhail.

Now if we go into Feb 2011 without some real moves, then I will join the chorus looking for new leadership. For now, it's too soon to be complaining about what hasn't happened yet.

I'm serious, Dan.

I need a reason why Lee, Crawford, Werth and Beltre are out of reach for the Orioles.

If you say it's because the Orioles can't afford them, well, that's just a load of garbage. This team has been sitting on money for well over a decade. And they get free money from MLB just because they complained enough about another team down the street. The money is there. No question about it.

I'm so sick of the "this guy won't come here for this reason" BS. Seven years ago, after six consecutive losing seasons, the O's threw out the most money to an MVP coming off a four year stretch in which he averaged 30 home runs and 116 rbi and guess what? He took it.

In 1999, they were the highest bidder on one of the best right handed hitters of all time. And guess what? He took it.

Since Miguel Tejada and Albert Belle, the Orioles haven't been the highest bidder on a single top of the line free agent. So, what's the real reason guys aren't coming here? How about because the Orioles aren't offering the most money? That makes sense to me.

So quit this "he won't come to Baltimore because we're not good enough" BS. Baseball players go where the money is. Adam Dunn with the Nationals. Alex Rodriguez with the Rangers. Barry Zito with the Giants.

I mean, sure, it helps to have a ton of money and to be a contender every year. And I'm not saying the O's don't have to overpay. But for the love, just overpay someone already! Just because it didn't work once seven years ago when the team had zero pitching doesn't mean it can't work now. And since our parade of GM's have been collectively sitting on their hands for the past seven years and nothing has changed, I'd say it's high time to do something different.

But anyway, Danno, let's hear why the Orioles have no shot at Lee, Crawford, Werth and Beltre. Do what you've been doing for the last four years. Tell me why Andy MacPhail is so different from Mike Flanagan and keep making excuses for him. I guess that makes his job that much easier.

--
Reason Crawford, Werth and Lee won't come to Baltimore is because the Orioles aren't going to spend what it would take to being them here. Period. You can use all the other reasons if you like, but the Orioles have a budget and don't view left field as their top priority and have never -- and likely will never -- offer the type of contract in length and money to a stud FA pitcher (in this case, Lee) that would make him want to come to Baltimore. Beltre is a different story. He fits a major need (both offensively and defensively) and the Orioles will be in the discussion. But last year his people flat out told the Orioles they weren't interested, so I'm not sure that changes this year unless the Orioles blow everyone out of the water. Which is possible, but not likely. I'm not sure I have ever made an excuse for Andy MacPhail or anyone else. Just tellin it how I see it.
And for your Tejada reference, the Orioles outbid one other team, the Tigers, who were bad, too. If that ends up the situation with Beltre, then, yes, he could come here. But my guess is he'll have plenty of successfull, money-deep suitors.

I understand why people want McPhail to make a big splash in Free Agency, we all want some superstars on this team, But the reality is, every Free Agent player that is a "difference maker" will have at least 3-4 teams to choose from. And this means that the Orioles at best will only be used to help drive up the player's price. No superstar would come to a team that has had 13 losing seasons in a row. In virtually every instance that a team has made a dramatic turn around from worst to first, they had to do it through their farm team and trades. Look at the Giants. They had one big, overpriced free agent signing, Barry Zito, and he was left off the post season roster. The rest of the pitching staff was homegrown talent.

If we had signed Texeira, we would probably have had about the same record, and little money left to spend on trying to keep our own players, in the upcoming years. The Orioles have to continue to build through the farm system and get back to the Oriole Way. Let's bring in Cal.
Adding a few overpriced, average free agent has been players, will really not help this team. Once again, trades and farm system. The only free agents we should look at should be young guys with a potential to improve.
Its like trying to cast a movie. If you have to choose between a has been former star, and an up and comer, who may very well become a star one day, if you ask any smart producer, they would tell you to go with the up and comer.

Petey -

Who are the guys like Werth that we have signed "plenty of times before"?

Miguel Tejada (the first time)? What a bust he was. He only hit .311/.362/.501 in his four years in Baltimore. What a chump.

Albert Belle? Yeah, he only put up an .882 OPS in the two years before his hip went out. What a bum.

Rafael Palmeiro (the first time)? 182 home runs and a .916 OPS over five years. Man, I wish we didn't do that...

Roberto Alomar? And .862 OPS from a second baseman ain't bad. Especially when he's one of the best defenders of all time at his position.

B.J. Surhoff? .817 OPS in his first stint with the club.

Sorry, but you're just 100% wrong, Petey. Sure, it's true that the Orioles have been burned by free agents time and time agent over the past ten years or so. But that's because, aside from Tejada, they've barely made an attempt at a top of the line free agent over the past ten years or so.

The fact of the matter is that when you go for the best players available, you typically get what you pay for.

PS to Dan - (begin sarcasm...) Nice response to ISitAnywhere. We certainly don't want to raise payroll. That would be terrible! (end sarcasm...)

Marc -

As I said to someone else who brought up the Giants...

If you can guarantee that Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergesen and Chris Tillman will be as good in 2011 as Tim Lincecum, Matt Cain, Jonathan Sanchez and Madison Bumgarner we in 2010, then I'm fine to watch Andy sit on the sidelines this winter.

But, of course, you can't guarantee that. You can't expect that. If you do, you're setting yourself up for a massive disappointment. When you look at the Giants, you're looking at a team that was amazingly fortunate to have three 1st round picks and one 27th round pick mature into great starters at around the same time. Sure that same sort of thing happened with the Rays in 2008, but, first off, they had also traded for Matt Garza, and second, when was the last time it happened?

Also, no one is talking about adding "a few overpriced, average free agent has been players" to this team. Heck, that's what Andy's been doing for the past three years. That's exactly what we don't want him to do again this winter.

In response to your movie analogy, I'm not picking the former star or the up and comer. I'm picking the current star who's been on top of his game for the past four or five years and still has some great years in the tank. You cast your unknown in the next big summer blockbuster. I'll cast Matt Damon.

In a preemptive response to those of you who are about to tell me that Albert Belle is one of the reasons you don't spend big money, I'll take you seriously if you can name, off the top of your head, five players, aside from Belle and Bo Jackson, who were forced into retirement because of a degenerative hip condition.

Dan -

Since you're convinced that the O's can't afford a top of the line free agent, you must have at least some inside knowledge of the budget. What do you know?

From where I'm standing, there are three reasons why this team should be able to afford a big name player:

1. They've done it before. They were among the top spenders in the late 90's and early 00's.

2. The MASN/Nats money. We'll never see a detailed report on how much Angelos makes off the Nationals, but I would guess it's a significant chunk of income.

3. Cost cutting in the international arena. MacPhail said a few days ago that he thought that the money the Orioles were spending in the Dominican could be better used elsewhere. Well, if spending on immediately improving the big league team isn't a better use, I don't know what is.

So what gives? I'm not doing the math, but I would guess that with Millwood, Lugo and Tejada off the books, the payroll sits at about $60M. Let's say that Jones, Pie, Guthrie and Scott make $15M combined in arbitration raises. That's $75M. If that's accurate, how much do the O's have to spend this winter?

--

The books have never been shown to us so I cant say exactly. I would assume there would be a bump in last year's payroll, but I doubt it would go above $100 million. You are absolutely right, they were baseball's biggest spenders in the late 90s, but that's when $100 million was exorbitant. Now, that's everyone in the top 10. Meanwhile the Orioles' attendance is half what it was back then due to the product on the field. Remember, NB, I am not necessarily saying they don't have the money. I am saying they won't allocate the funds necessary to be a big player for Lee, Werth and Crawford.

ISitAnywhereAtOsGames
I can't believe you would have a whole new outfield next year. That is ridiculous!

Not Brooks,
Beltre is a good player. But since he told us once "No", I am not inclined to try again. This link is for you though.

http://www.fannation.com/truth_and_rumors/view/247890-boras-claims-unprecedented-interest-in-beltre

Andrew, I like your sense of style. Are you the one who coined the phrase or it was close to this On Peter Schmuck's blog: MacPhail is waiting/hoping for Garrett Atkins to finally turn into Roy Hobbs. Because if you are the one who said that, maybe we should team up and challenge MacPhail and Angelos to a debate. You are way more incisive then I am! Maybe I could be the front guy though. LOL

yea we are told to rest easy, balonie. it is one thing to talk to the different players and agents on the telphone, it another to get off the old duff and talk to them in person. talking to a person face to face does more and works better than over a piece of wire or over the air waves. it sure makes a player feel more like he is wanted when a gm talks to him face to face. it is time for andy to do more than spread a bunch of hot air around.

Kevin, I've actually had a similar thought on both Jeter and Rivera. Similar, but not the same. I was thinking to offer one or both slightly more than what the Os think the Yankees will offer (Say $42 million for two years of Jeter vice the $40 the Yanks would offer). This would force the Yankees to pay more to retain them and possibly price the Yankees out of Cliff Lee, keeping him out of the division.

Down sides are that one of those two comes to the Os as overpriced free agents, but neither will get a long term deal regardless and both would be upgrades over what the Os have now (significant upgrades at that). It's also possible that the Yankees will refuse to be out priced on Lee and just up their payroll to new and greater heights, but that's no harm to the Os. It's also possible (likely even) that both Jeter and Rivera would take the lesser paycheck to stay in New York, but again, no harm to the Os.

The only real serious repercussion I could see would be some sort of strange ownership level blowback where the Yanks would start offering more money for Os free agents they don't really want, but that's years down the line for now and since both Rivera and Jeter would fill serious needs for the Os I think the head office could spin an offer as one of serious intent.

I will be curious to see who if anyone the Orioles sign granted it would seem one of the zombies from the "Walking Dead" could fill in at first and third and be a marked improvement.

In regards to Beltre doesn't it seem this past season and his last with the Dodgers he had remarkable years only to then sign a huge contract and disappear from view. Then again he would be a step up from a zombie who in turn is a step up from Bell.

Hey Dan,

This has been a good blog and some excellent discussion today. I think it got everyone fired up in a good way today!

Also, the Anonymous post was me. I wasn't trying to post something Anonymously. It was a matter of hitting the post button without realizing I hadn't typed in my blog name.

Lastly, the money issue for free agency.
I have no idea what revenue Mr Angelos has made in the past 10 yrs. I don't care to be honest. In this business you have to spend money to make money. What I do know is the past season's attendance has been the lowest it's been in quite sometime sans Red Sox & Yankees games. Their fans always show up. What Oriole management needs to do is somehow ReEnergize the "Real Oriole" fanbase! A good start to that would be spending some money on good free agency pick ups. As to which players to pick up is obviously debatable. If the Orioles do nothing this time. There won't be any "Real Fans" left in 5 years, that much I do know

If Angelos does not make a strong bid for Beltre, Martinez, Crawfors (or Werth), and Lee. With the billions he has, I am done with the O's.

I will not join another team but will not continue to be a season ticket holder until, they make the playoffs. DONE!! And I hope all other O's Fans unite.

Enough is enough.. If you can't compete, then see the team and let another owner try there luck..

Fed up O's fan!!!

The way I look at it is this...
People read this stuff...EVERYONE COULD read it--O's brass...not tomention the reporters. I say go for it!
Why not trade Nick or Jones? We seem to attach to an individual player when there are no real personal attachments in return--players may like where they play,who they play for, etc...but it is a business. We, as fans,eed to realize this. It is not 1995 anymore...Camden is NOT the NKOTB anymore--Cal is not chasing Gehrig, etc...The Boston's, NY's, etc...of the world play to win--
I understand 13 years of terrible management causes us, the fans, to find any solice we can, therefore, we attach to individuals, fan favorites--It is BS!
We want a WINNER!! YESTERDAY!
Does anyone realize the last time we were in the playoffs, Jeffrey Meier stole the game and was paraded around New York and sent to college and drafted by NY (well, i think he was drafted)...

BRING WINNING BASEBALL BACK TO CAMDEN YARDS!!

Thanks

RE: Anonymous
/"New Outfield Ridiculous"

Do you think, if those moves were made, we would be better?
Again, deal from strength and detach from the "untouchable" tag. If I thought trading anyone on this roster would improve the club, I'd do it in a heartbeat.

I remember, years ago, we signed Eric Davis and released Bobby Bo--I thought this was crazy! We had a line-up, 1-9, that hit atleast 20HR's each. As it turned out, Eric Davis helped lead us to a wire-to-wire finish.

Think like a winner...players are just players.

By the way, I'm open to become the new GM and really shake things up...lol.

Dan,
Thanks for putting in this Orioles PR annoucement.

AM and PA need to put a lot of money on the table to attract some of the FAs that may want to come to Baltimore. Enough of the low-balling since that would be insulting to the FAs. I like the idea of having Dunn in the lineup since a pop fly to right would most certainly end up on Eutaw street. Huff at third wouldn't be a bad option since he can play the corner and still hit.

AM/PA: do something big this winter and win the fans back.

DA

NB -

Alomar, Tejada, Palmiero sure they hit. How many games did those guys help us win? How many playoffs? It was a 2-year run, and then the bottom fell out fast and left us with 10 + years of garbage.

You even admit they've been burned by FA the past 10+ years. So Werth has a big contract year - you really believe he would come here and produce at as high or higher level? They will if they have a chance to win a ring, but they're not playing hard for the contract they just signed. And we aren't contending for a ring right now.

Yes, add 1-2 top FA's if your club is already winning. If we need 1-2 key guys to get us to teh next level. But overspending for big names right now won't get us to the playoffs. It will only hurt us 3-5 years from now.

Before I comment one last time, let me just say--people thought Columbus was crazy, right? The earth was round...who'd a thunk it?

Thinking outside the box:

Why not--for the sake of just taking a different approach, the front office puts it out that we are going to raise payroll by $25M+ or so to $100-105M.

Then, and here's the potential genius--
advertise it/so to speak--put it in the papers, on the radio, the net that we want to spend, for example:

AM announces we will be offering contracts in the range of those listed below. Who is interested?

4YR/$48M+incenties/Power-Hitter
3YR/$18M+incentives/SP
1YR/$1M+incentives-SP
1YR/$1M+incentives/OF
...among other possibilities.

The idea here is to put the money bags on the table--whether you spend or not. A dog (players) will hunt...it just needs the bait. The main goal is to get the players around the league to take notice--and start "sniffing" some in Baltimore's direction--WE WERE ONCE A GREAT BASEBALL TOWN!! A little different approach every once in a while never hurts...can always go back to what DIDN'T WORK.

Thanks and have a great Baltimore Day!!

Trade:
RF-Nick Markakis
CF-AJones
SP-Patton
RP-Hernandez
for
3B-DWright
SS-JReyes
SP-JMaine

There are some pretty dumb things said on this blog but this one takes the cake. For someone to really think they would trade Wright/Reyes for that collection of players just proves to me they know nothing about baseball.

If the Orioles want players like Wright or Reyes we have to start the offer of our top pitching prospects. Britton, Matusz, Tillman, etc would most certainly be asked about by our trade partners.

Jason Werth is not worth the amount he is asking. He hits in a great hitters ballpark and has Utley, Howard protecting him. IF he signed with us, it would be very hard for him to live up to expectations. 31, coming from hitters ballpark, bad knees = no thanks.

Orioles should sign Westbrook, pickup one of those 1B on a one year deal and maybe a reliever or 2. Save the money and go for A Gon and/or Prince next year. Both of those guys have Scott Boras as an agent, which is good and bad. Good is they will hit FA, bad is they will be asking for a lot. I rather take a chance on a 1B like those 2 than give that money to an OF like Werth. We certainly need to fill 1B more than LF.

Oh pffew! I was worried Andy wasn't on pace to net this year's Garrett Atkins. Thank goodness he is.

Posted by: Rob

1st of all, who are you? I never saw a Rob post here before!

Second, who's feeding you this Propoganda? Jayson Werth has bad knees? Since when? What is your source? Copy and Paste the Link!
Alas, you can't because this misinformation simply doesn't exist you Jack Wagon!

I will take any bet here that says the Orioles drop 90 games next year.

Where was Dunn 2 years ago, where was LaRoche last year?

Uggla - the perfect compliment and right handed power bat the Orioles desperately need is now gone.

If McFail comes back with Aubrey Huff, then he needs to be whipped and sent home.

The Orioles drop 90 games because of no pitching improvement, stalled success of middling, over-esteemed prospects and no commitment to adding viable free agents at the infield corners and left field.

Urgent needs: 1B, 3B, SS.
3 players--2 power bats who are decent defenders, plus 1 good defender who is also a decent contact hitter.

Forget about adding pitchers this year. We can manage with what we've got. With the addition of Britton, the rotation will probably improve over the end of last season, which is strong enough to be competitive.

Scoring more runs is the key. Let's assume, for the sake of argument, that the figures offered earlier, above, are roughly accurate--$75m current payroll, $100m projected payroll. That leaves $25m to play with. Not enough for 3 front line players. Perhaps enough for 2 (1 @ $17m, 1 @ $8m). My recommendation: Huff at 1B, Beltre at 3B. Alternately: Konerko @ 1B, Huff @ 3B. The money, if not diluted to hire many but kept focused on just these two, will probably be enough. So, how to get the SS? Trade. We have the pieces and can spare some young pitching (anybody but Matusz). The key to the FA market, I think, is to FOCUS the available money on 1 or 2 players and go after very strong, front line bats. If we don't get it all done this winter, we can finish the job next winter. But, if we try to get 5 bargain-basement players with a small purse (AM's usual style) we'll end up with nothing. Let's hope for the best.

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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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