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December 9, 2010

Orioles in line to get Hardy and Harris on Thursday

A deal to bring Minnesota Twins shortstop J.J. Hardy to Baltimore is near completion and could be announced after Thursday morning’s Rule 5 draft.

The Orioles likely will receive Hardy and infielder Brendan Harris for two minor leaguers, possibly right-handed relievers Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson.

It would solve the Orioles' needs at both shortstop and utility infield and likely signal the end of free-agent shortstop Cesar Izturis’ time in Baltimore.

The Minneapolis Star Tribune is also reporting the deal is pending.

Hardy, 28, hit .268 with six homers and 38 RBIs in 101 games with the Twins last season. He is a career .263 hitter. His best season was in 2008, when he batted .283 with 24 homers and 74 RBIs in 146 games for the Milwaukee Brewers. He was a Brewers second-round draft pick in 2001.

Harris, 30, hit .157 with one homer and four RBIs in 43 games with the Twins in 2010. He is a career .260 hitter in parts of seven seasons. A former 2001 draft pick of the Chicago Cubs', he has played third base, second base, shortstop and first base in the major leagues.

Hardy in his final year of arbitration after making $5.1 million in 2010. He will be a free agent after the 2011 season. Harris signed a two-year, $3.2 million extension with the Twins after the 2009 season. He is owed $1.75 million in 2011.

Hoey, a 27-year-old right hander, had a combined 6-0 record with a 3.25 ERA in 42 outings between Double-A Bowie and Triple-A Norfolk. He made 35 appearances for the Orioles during the 2006 and 2007 seasons, going 3-5 with an 8.13 ERA. He missed all of 2008 with a right shoulder injury. The Orioles drafted him in the 13th round in 2003. He was put back on the 40-man roster earlier this offseason.

Jacobson, 24, went 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA in 34 relief appearances for Single-A Frederick. He was dealt to the Orioles in August 2009 in the trade that sent Aubrey Huff to the Detroit Tigers.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 12:51 AM | | Comments (60)


I've never been impressed with Hoey so to me, he is no bog loss. I don't know much about Jacobson, but I like Hardy a lot. He got hurt in 2010, but seemed to rebound from 09 plus his #s will go up when he leaves Target Field for sure!

Is Brendan Harris a lock for the utility role? I thought Buck really liked Andino or is there room for both?

I am glad to see Izzy gone. I couldn't take watching him at the plate.

thank God.. now all we need is LaRoche and I'm a happy camper

Other than his versatility, what exactly is the appeal for including Brendan Harris? He appeared in just over 1/4 of the games and drove in 4 runs with a .157 BA. Is he a defensive wizard?

Another solid move for the O's. So so far we've retooled the entire left side of the infield for the better, with a marginal impact between Reynolds and Hardy that probably comes out to about 7 or 8 wins. For 4 relievers, only 1 of whom was probably ever going to make an impact for us.

Unfortunately, it comes around the same time that the Sox are adding Carl Crawford and the Yankees are offering 140 mil to Cliff Lee.

Look, there's just nothing we can do about this crap. Truth is, we're going to field a team next season that would be in at least the wild card race in any NL division, and most years would be a player in the AL Central (though the White Sox are looking good in 2011 with Dunn and Konerko and that sick rotation). But we're competing in the AL Ea$t with the Yankee$ and the $ox, and it takes nothing short of the stars aligning to even put a dent in them.

We're never going to contend, because Bud Selig is happy to keep letting the Yankee$ and the $ox spend.

Still though, a solid move here by McPhail. Nothing he can do about the cards being stacked against us to start.

This is a great trade for us. Not only do we get a SS with some pop (and who can defend well), but we get our utility infielder as well. Harris can play 1B, 2B, 3B, and SS, and played all 4 positions in 2010.

We still have a little more work to do (Derrek Lee? Magglio Ordonez?), but we have definitely improved the left side of the infield!

Nice to see Koji back as well. We need to pick up another lefty or two for the bullpen, though - the Red Sox are loaded up with LH hitters after signing Crawford tonight.

I was crying last January. I am now smiling so is my husband! I went from a size 28 to a size 4 petite with "Hypersonic Weight Loss"

So far two good moves by the O's.. now all we need is to ink Hardy to a 3-4 year deal and SS is set.. If we get LaRoche AM will have far exceeded my expectations for this off-season

Too bad Brendan's name is not Hale cause we could then get hale and hardy!! Sorry.

I just want to say that I am actually happy with everything the orioles have done thus far this offseason. Although we were unable to land Martinez/Dunn, and I am sure we were nowhere near a contender for Adrian Gonzalez (whom I would have loved, as would we all I am sure).

I think completely augmenting the left side of our infield is a step in the right direction. I will be able to live with all the strikeouts from Reynolds if he produces power numbers, and I believe he will. I also can definitely live with the offensive upgrade at shortstop. Perhaps, JJ Hardy will be a little closer to his '07/'08 seasons than his last two in which he missed time with injuries. I am also happy that we seem to making a big push for some solid relievers.

I do think however, that the Orioles need to make a splash. And by splash I mean a giant splash produced by the cannonball that hopefully could man first base, Prince Fielder.

I do believe at this moment, more so than any of the last 5 seasons that there is actually a plan in place. I do also see, though, that with the enormous additions the Red Sox have made (Gonzo, and now Crawford) and the additions that I believe the Yankees are about to make (Lee, and whoever else their money can buy) the only way for the Orioles to legitimately take a shot at competing is to add THE big bat we are missing. Don't get me wrong, I do believe that Mark Reynolds being in the lineup helps a lot, but he is not going to be the guy that really takes us up a notch. We need a game changing piece that truly augments the lineup. We need a lineup that is capable of competing with NY/BOS/TOR.

A lineup that looks like this would be pretty awesome:

Roberts S
Jones R
Markakis L
Fielder L
Reynolds R
Scott L
Wieters S
Pie L / Reimold R (platoon)
Hardy R

That not only looks like a lineup that could put up some runs, but is also pretty balanced save for Markakis and Fielder at 3 and 4. However, Markakis hits left handed pitching so well.

I really think that lineup could produce at least 6 20 homer guys, and our 3,4 and 5 hitters are known to be guys that are willing to take walks.

I know that even adding Fielder would not make us World Seriess contenders, but I believe it would really set the lineup for at least the next couple of years. We have Jones, Markakis, Reynolds, Wieters, Scott, Reimold all for at least 3 more years and mostly at reasonable salaries. Roberts would need to resign and Machado will need to develop like we hope and jump into the fray, but adding a bat like Fielder, even for the $20 million we will need to give him over 5 or 6 years is something I believe we can do and not kill ourselves financially.

Plus a lineup like that will make it that much easier for our pitchers to develop.

Who knows if this could actually happen, and I am sure that many of you will agree, but see it as completely unrealistic.

I really just feel like to really try to catch the teams in our division, something like this will need to happen.

Solid move, granted it gets done. Hoey and Jacobson are really trivial for our team moving forward. Hardy probably serves as a stop gap SS until Machado is ready and Harris is a solid utility player.

Let me get this straight.

We're short on bullpen help, so we trade two prospects (one an Orioles minor league pitcher of the year with 13.5 K per 9 innings 2010 record) for two infielders who both will be free agents in about 10 months from today. Combined, the two played in 144 major league games in 2010.

On the same day Carl Crawford signs a $142 mil 7 year deal with Boston - a couple days after Adrian Gonzalez signs about a 7 year $160 mil deal to play 1st base for Boston.

As Andy MacPhail says repeatedly, you grow the arms and buy the bats.

I say, in light of 13 straight losing seasons, when you "keep doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different result" some call that the definition of insanity.

3 down, 3 to go. All we need now is 2 more relievers and Adam LaRoche. I am content to go into the season with a young gun rotation, although if a decent pitcher comes around then so be it. So far this has been the season of "Do".

This is typical Orioles. Sweat and tears to get a one year rental and a lousy utility man while giving up young pitching. Meanwhile they haven't spent a nickel on a top FA. The Red Sox got Crawford and Gonzalez. It is way way way over in the AL east and the O's finish in 5th place 160 games out

I like to learn. Today, we learned that Luke Scott is an idiot.

I have been frustrated with AM for not making moving quickly and missing out on some good players, but I will give him credit for making a good trade to get get Hardy and Harris, solving 2 needs and not giving up much in return. This was a good trade for the Os. Now go out and get LaRoche, Gregg,and a couple more quality relievers. If he does that I think the Os can compete for the first time in years, assuming our young pitchers continue to pitch like they did the last 2 months.

to get a starting ss for 2 guys who probably have no future with the o's is a good deal. as long as he can play good defensively and hit a little it's a big plus for the o's.

I don't mind resigning Koji but he isn't durable enough to be the every day closer.But anyway, so far so good for McPhail.

Get Hardy done and then get Laroche done but don't stop there. We're gonna need a few arms but the line up will be formidable!!

I'm glad to have Hardy, but Harris? Why? Andino can do what he does, and probably more.

I'm normally a glass-is-half-full guy, but this is a critical offseason for the O's and it is not going well.

We need to add punch to our lineup, so we pass on Bartlett, and instead acquire a .268 hitter with 6 dingers and 38 RBIs. Izturis' great fielding isn't enough to justify his weak bat, so we acquire a utility IF with a .260 career average and only .157 last year. Sure, our new 3B can knock it out of the park, but he batted only .198 last year. We have a gaping hole at 1B, but have already missed out on Dunn, Pena, and Konerko.

They may not be Soriano, Beltre and Jeter but Uehara, Reynolds and Hardy are all good addiitons and none breaks the bank. Now a FA 1B and that will do it. My Guess is Derrek Lee once LaRoche chooses to go elsewhere (unless a teammate, Reynolds appeals to him). Harris does signal bye to Izturis. Frankly Harris is a better utility guy than Izturis and Andino would have been too. Baby steps in advance of 2011.

Orioles get: Strike out champion Reynolds and 6 homer Hardy.
Red Sox get: Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford.
Watch the O's PR staff make it appear as though the O's will now be competitive in the AL East.

I just don't understand the SLIGHT offensive upgrade for a slight defensive downgrade.

But I guess if you look at as he once had 24 HRs in a season, then it makes sense considering the rest of AMs moves.

Reynolds once hit over .200.
Atkins once hit, period.
Tejada once hit for power.

I'm tired of AM telling us he's going to make this team better while we eat the scraps that fall on the floor.

If you had been willing to spend money outside the bullpen the last few years, we might not have entered this thin FA offseason in need of an infield.

Luke you're feeling the wrong force!
1. A word to the wise is sufficient.

2. Before the mouth is put into gear. Make sure the brain is engaged!

Everyone has a right to a opinion. Lets say your Son played M.L. baseball, and wasn't very good or was good at one thing but not so good about another. How do you think he and you would feel? Cesar Izturis is a very good shortstop. I can remember a shortstop we had was grate but didn't hit. Curt S.S. Md.

I'm off the MacPhail train.

Why are we giving up yet another pick?????

We aren't anywhere near competing!!!!!

Rule 5 picks of the past? Hamilton, Soria, Santana, Uggla, and the list goes on.

You have the chance to land a great player in the rule 5. But no, let's trade Izturis for another Izturis and give up a decent pitcher and a pick.

AM isn't making this team better.

It doesn't take a baseball genius to see that.

Our biggest moves have been Scott for Tejada and Jones for Bedard, and frankly, neither of those guys are taking us past 4th anytime soon. Scott has had 1 productive season, and Jones plays center like he is too good to hustle.

Thanks Andy and Peter, for once again allowing the dwindling loyal O's fans to watch as free agents that may actually help this team sign elsewhere.

And don't kid yourselves people. Players don't come here because we won't spend the money we have, not because we are terrible.

This is pathetic. Mark Reynolds, JJ Hardy, Brendan Harris? None can hit above .260. This team is going nowhere...AGAIN.

The Nats are looking better and better.

These are not the moves that the O's need to make a change. No one outside the organization wants to work for Peter Angelos. That's the change that needs to be made. It's time to sell a significant percentage of the team to Cal and let him be the ambassador for these free agents.

This is great news. Now if the O's can land LaRoche, this team would be fairly fomidable, provided everyone stays healthy.

Great set of underrated moves by the Os over the past week. We were never going to make a Werth-like splash, nor should we at this point in our development.

We dramatically improved two positions for very little, and brought our closer back. This feels more like the offseason of the Bedard and Tejada trades, rather than last year's tepid signings. As much as some people might disagree, I'm glad to have MacPhail, especially in the trade department.

Dear Oriole Fans,

I hope this trade works out. I have my reservations.

As for free agents - lets look at the facts ---

The orioles will come back from the winter meetings and say --
"We had several (unnamed) players ready to sign. But we were out bid. Or we set a dollar figure that the player is worth."

Howcome the Orioles are always outbid? Evidently there are teams who have a higher dollar figure on what a player is worth?

Makes you think doesn't Oriole fans.

Watch what happens when Mr. Mc. has his press conference.

That is what he will say. You know it and I know it.

Let's not kid ourselves 14 bad seasons equals - no A type free agents coming to Baltimore.

Even if the Orioles were willing to "OVERPAY". Well they may say they will but look at their history.

Think about it Oriole management and Oriole fans.

I like this deal a lot. Young SS that can carry us through to the Machado Era. He's not going to make anyone forget Cal, but he is a solid player when healthy. Good deal for the O's. I don't get adding Harris, unless the Twins want him off the books. I would rather see Andino get the shot as the Utility guy. Hoping that is the case...

Now who the heck is going to play 1st?

So earllier, the O's trade for a third baseman whose strike out numbers are higher than his batting average, and the Sox trade a bag of fungoes for Adrian Gonzalez.

Now we're told that as the Orioles swap one slap-hitting shortstop for another, the Red Sox sign Crawford.

The O's front office is whiffing more than their prized third baseman.

No more Izzie! No more Hoey! Best winter meetings ever, Whoopie!

Like it. Get it done. Hardy is comparable defensively to Izzy, and superior offensively. That can't be overstated. Here's a guy who hit 20+ homers for two consecutive seasons a few years back, and he's just 28 ... so it's not like it's another Atkins situation.He's got a .323 career OBP and doesn't strike out a ton.

Don't know much about Harris, but I assume he's a gamer. A bit puzzling, though, with Andino in the fold. I guess Harris is more versatile? He's certainly the definition of a journeyman.

I do hope our Rule 5 pick isn't included ... i could see us plucking a decent, high-upside bullpen arm there.

268 hitter...thats what it takes to improve!!!!! O's are dead as long as the owner and his boys are around...

I love this trade!

Hardy is an offensive upgrade over Izzy and is still a decent fielder. Harris is a utility guy who is a better hitter then his .157 average last year.

What I like the most about this trade is that first off the O's are actually making moves that will actually make us better. Also, in this trade we didn't give up much at all, Hoey is a AAAA player and hasn't proved himself in the majors and Jacobson is a 24 year old single-A player, who is good, but most likely won't get to the bigs for another year or two and at best would be a decent bullpen arm.

Reynolds, this trade for a starting SS and utility guy and signing Koji I think have all been very good moves. Now we need to go out and sign Laroche for 1B, get that deal with RP Gregg finished and then maybe look for one more bullpen arm or possible vet starter.

Great. The Orioles have landed a shortstop who can hit. All they need to do is pickup Garza for Arietta, sign Ordonez to LF/DH/1b and land Fielder... No problem.

Well we've now lost Pat Egan & Pedro Beato in the Rule 5 draft...ugh! 2 more relief pitching prospects gone!

This is pretty good news. I actually like Hardy more than Bartlett, and either way it's an upgrade over Izturiz. Now they just need to wrap up 1st base. I'm sure the Orioles will get LaRoche, as was predicted in the national media all along. He's the best we could do from the beginning. Reynolds is an upgrade. Overall decent, considering the team and the GM. My expectations were low.

The hope is that they do a little better this year and change their credibility problem, and MacPhail leaves for Selig's job at the end of the year.

Pretty sad what this team has done to our expectations...

remeber, Rule V picks have to stay on the Major Leage roster all season or be offered back to there old team. They usually end up back where they started, unless you catch lighting in a bottle, rule V picks are just taking a flyer and hoping they work out, and when they do not no big deal.

Great deal for the O's. I am happy with every move they made so far. Next up Adam LaRoche, get it done Andy

Before the complaint department gets on here and tells us how we are accepting mediocrity, I would like to say that I am not happy that we are not in play for the big targets that the sox, yanks, angels and rangers are after. Looking at what we have added and what we have given up to get it, I would say this was a very conservative (typical AM) offseason in which we filled some holes with upgrades. Could more have been done? Of course. We got two young MLB players for some 2nd level prospects. We resigned a pitcher who, when healthy, was very good out of the pen for us. We need to sign another starter and, of course, a 1st basemen. I am hoping we could trade for one of the three 1st basemen in KC. I say move Tillman for Kila Ka'aihue. I don't think it should take much more than that. They want pitching, we want a 1st basemen. Both have dipped their toe in the majors. Why is this so difficult to pull off?

Hardy has been hurt. If they get .270 15 HR 75 RBI out of SS, that is great.

Which sounds alot like 2009 mil derek jeter!

I like the move. I agree the O's need to make a BIG splash to contend in this division. Why not talk to the Brewers about Fielder? Why wouldn't he want to sign an extension in this inflated market? Throw 150 million at him and you have your 1B for the next 6+ years.

more meaningless trades. Boston lands Crawford and Gonzalez--improving HRs, defense, speed, and OBP, while getting younger--the Yankees will probably get Lee in spite of their fans repellent behavior against his wife, and we get a .260 hitter for SS to replace a .260 hitter at SS--but hey, he's younger! Don't forget the Yanks and Sox are the 2 teams that will keep the O's out of the playoffs by winning the AL East and the wild card every year, and with these moves they both have an even firmer lock on these playoff spots. The Orioles, to quote Tropic Thunder, are like the kid with head lice who the other kids avoid until his head is shaved. Until sweeping, drastic changes are made to the organization, we will never get past 80-85 wins, and anybody who thinks last season's end of season performance was an indication of where this team is heading (esp. after our moves this season) is delusional. I suspect Showalter and Mcphail are smart enough to realize that this situation is never going to change so they're making these moves which they support with crazy hand-waving arguments ("he hit 24 HRs a few years ago!!), but the fact is these moves are merely rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

I've seen more than one post saying something like "this team will be formidable" but that is DELUSIONAL. If a guy can't hit my weight (i.e. someone who hit .189 last year with record-setting strikeout numbers in the last 3) I can't get over excited about that. This is more of the same from the O's. They make it seem like they're going to make a splash but we end up with retreads.

Am I reading corectly on here that O's fans think that Hardy is worse defensively than Izzy? Hardy is on the D.L a lot, but when he plays, he's one of the best defensive SS in the league. He came on offensively towards the end of the year. Harris is a colossal stiff that was sent down to the minors half way through last year and never came back. He was serviceable in prior years as a utility guy, but his best days are behind him. Count yourself lucky, near as I can tell, we're giving away Hardy for a bag of balls.

You know, I actually don't mind what McPhail is doing. If you look at how the lineup is shaping up, the point doesn't appear to be that you get together the best hitters in the world. You can't do that on a budget.
What you can do, however, is put together a lineup whose approaches and strengths and weaknesses force pitchers out of their comfort zones and out of rhythm, thereby resulting in everybody becoming better hitters.

Harris was clearly a throw-in that the Twins forced us to take to get the deal done. He'll come to Spring training, but not as the de-facto utility guy. He'll have to earn it and Andino probably has the edge going in.

Great deal! I was growing tired of Izturis every time he stepped up to the plate. Hardy is a MAJOR offensive upgrade and about the same defensively.

Not sure how I feel about Harris, Andino is younger and does basically the exact same things, if not more. Otherwise I'm glad the Orioles didn't give up anybody who was going to be on the opening day roster for these guys.

For those touting how "improved" the O's are: how many wins do you think this current crop of players will bring in 2011. 75? 80?

Take a look at the Red Sox; consider how they improved. Do you really think the O's kept pace?

Everybody else (including the Orioles website) is reporting this is a done deal. What's up with The Sun's speedy coverage of this?

Jeff Z's reply: Huh? Last time I checked, The Sun broke this story last night. Deal is not done. Expected to be announced at noon. But it's pretty much formality as we've pointed out on several blogs.

I have been an O's fan for all of my 31 years, but am about as sharp as a bowling ball on some of the finer points of philosophy, contracts, and the like.

If I am reading this correctly, Hardy is FA after next season (2011 season) this right? It seems to me with the issues the farm system has in terms of depth and quality, that (even though neither are particularly stunning prospects) trading away two pitchers for one year of contractual obligation from Hardy seems like a bunk deal.

Is there some insight into the thinking of players that would lend to the notion of Hardy feeling compelled to stay on after 2011 versus taking the FA route? Can someone explain this to me, or, is it as surface-level as it seems, that we have gotten a SS for one year in exchange for two pitchers, and he will get the hell out of Dodge after suffering through one year of O's heartbreak?

I am in no way attempting to be smug...I'm really looking for some insight as to why a team would trade for one year of a it to buy time until next years FAs, or is there someone else besides Machado that I don't know about who is closer to being MLB-ready, or is there some idea that Hardy would want to stick around boo town after his contract expires next september? Please enlighten me, someone.

Just curious, for all those who keep pointing out last years stats for the guys we're trading for but complain about the possibility of trading Reimold: how is it that you project one year's worth of stats on them but say we gotta keep Reimold when he hit only .207 last year and struck out once every 4.5 at-bats?

These other guys have shown thoughout their careers that when healthy they can play. Sure, Reynolds is going to strike out a lot, but when healthy he's usually a .260+ hitter that'll get 30+ home runs and drive in some runs. Hardy, when healthy, will provide more offense than Izzy and won't be much of a drop in defense. At this point we're just not going to get any super-stars unless we trade away Britton, Matusz and Tillman in a package deal. Baby steps.

By the way, I like Reimold too, so I'm not saying we shoulda traded him. But you've got to get to give and the O's really aren't in a position of power. More than a decade of losing erodes an awful lot of your bargaining strength. At least the front office is doing something this year to try to make improvements, and my thought is that you gotta walk before you can run. And we've seen as evidence over the past decade that doing nothing or adding guys that are over 30 really hasn't worked. At this point we don't have much to lose by giving up a few guys that might be marginal to a good team.

Go O's!

Good deal, not great. I loved Izzy's glove but he was terrible at the plate. Hardy is a major upgrade offensively and a minor downgrade defensively.

I hope something can be worked out to keep Izzy. Despite his low batting average, his glove is invaluable behind a young and developing pitching staff. Plus, as has been mentioned before, he is a "Showalter favorite."

I have one question. Everyone seems to think that Hardy was the best choice, but yet they went after Bartlett first and couldn't get a deal done, so how is it that Hardy is what we wanted and was the best choice? Especially since he is pretty much the only option right now other than Izturis who should be playing female softball (maybe then he could hit). Also, why is it we can't ever get a Marquee player here? Great City, Great History. Angelos has more money than Steinbrenner and the attendance would go back to the way it was in the 90"s. I know its not about spending money but if you look at the top teams it actually is (except for Tampa) and the only reason they are doing well is because they drafted pretty much 1st through 3rd every year and had the right people making the right picks. Why couldn't we get AGon for practically nothing? If we were to get one or two big names things would change win wise and other players would want to come here. Why can't we try to trade for Greinke? Give up a couple of players ie Pie, Britton, and a couple of young ones. Then if we don't turn the corner we could trade him for better prospects. Fielder? Young? they would be great pick ups and it would show fans, MLB, and players that we are doing everything we can to move forward instead of picking up middle of the pack players that have no choice but to come here.

Great pickup. Harris (for reasons unknown to me) is owed $1.75 million for 2011. So, the Twins included him in the trade rather than releasing him and eating the $$

I suppose if we had not taken Harris, they would have wanted better players in return.

you give a good definition to words

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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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