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December 10, 2010

O's agree to terms with Izturis on one-year deal (UPDATE - Green hasn't signed with O's)

A day after acquiring shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility infielder Brendan Harris from the Minnesota Twins, the Orioles agreed to terms on a one-year, $1.5 million deal with Cesar Izturis.

The deal, which is pending a physical, also includes incentives based mostly on playing time.

Izturis, a former Gold Glove winner, has been the Orioles' starting shortstop the past two seasons, but the club acquired Hardy to upgrade offensively at the position.

However, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail still wanted Izturis back, even in a lesser role.

"We were anxious to bring him back if only in a utility capacity," MacPhail said. "He’s like having an additional coach on the field. With Hardy and [Brian] Roberts being nicked up for part of the time last season, we wanted to make sure we were comfortable with that backup and Izzy gives us that comfort. He’s just a good influence to have around."

MacPhail said that he believes there is enough opportunity for both Harris and Izturis to be on the Opening Day roster.

"We definitely can have room for both," MacPhail said. "Harris can play third. He can play other positions, but he pretty much has to make the team out of spring training. He’ll be in a competition with [Robert] Andino and others. We always wanted to bring Izzy back. We just wanted to do more offensively at short."

(CLARIFICATION)
I reported earlier that the Orioles signed veteran utility infielder Nick Green to a minor league deal with an invitation to big league spring training.

They have not. The Orioles had interest in Green and the feeling was mutual, but it was dependent on the team's other middle infield options. When the Orioles acquired shortstop J.J. Hardy and utility man Brendan Harris from the Minnesota Twins on Thursday and then re-signed Cesar Izturis today, the moves likely mean that they will not be adding Green.

Sorry for the confusion.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 4:30 PM | | Comments (51)
        

Comments

Izturis has been the Orioles' starting shortstop the past two seasons.

He has?!?! Really, I thought it was Fred the Bird out there. Sans his feathers of course.

Ladies and gentleman, starting at first base for YOUR Baltimore Orioles ...

Kidding aside, this is a curious move, wouldn't you say? We seem to now have 3 utility IFs in Harris, Izturis and Andino, with roo for only one of them. Can't imagine Harris or Andino is that appealing in a trade.

I suppose it's possible we got 'stuck' with Harris in a salary dump by the Twins as a condition of getting the Hardy deal done. But his versatility is appealing.

Now what?

Why?

This was a very good signing. I doubt Harris makes the club if we sign LaRoche.

Harris is versatile like Wigginton, but without a bat. I prefer Andino.

cool beans.

Great news. Izzy makes us better. He's tops in the field and a huge improvement over Lugo. Insurance if Roberts or Hardy go down. Harris is expendable, but Andino might still help. McPhail is doing this the right way, one piece at a time. Now, let's get LaRouche and Gregg or another reliever and we are in good shape.

This may be one of the smarter moves the Os have made in a while. Not a huge impact, but definitely good for the team. With two banged up middle infielders a guy like Izturis makes a lot of sense. His terrible bat will be a lot easier to take if it's not in the lineup every day. This also allows the Os to trade Harris or Andino should the right opportunity come up.

Lastly, it may be a good sign that both Koji and Izturis resigned for less money than they made the previous years. Perhaps their dedication to the team and area are signs that things are going well in the Orioles clubhouse, and maybe the Orioles can use these signings as a way to convince free agents that this is a place they want to play.

I don't get this at all. You need at least a little offense in a utility guy. Izturis is useless.

"With two banged up middle infielders a guy like Izturis makes a lot of sense": so the Os have to keep an extra roster spot for Izturis because the SS the Os traded for to replace him is banged-up, and the other player obtained in the trade is now expendable? I wouldn't say that makes a lot of sense.

"Lastly, it may be a good sign that both Koji and Izturis resigned for less money than they made the previous years": it could also mean that they are not of much worth to any other club.

Izzy becomes a great backup SS. Will there be space for a big bat first baseman on the roster?

..............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I'd think the O's could find room.

Dave, comment of the year!

I can see Buck saying we weren't going to hit any HRs from 1B so instead of Wiggy time, it's Izzy time!

For a backup role, I have no problems with this signing. No question that he can be a late inning replacement and he would provide a player that would allow both Hardy and BRob to get some rest.

I can see Harris making the team, but I think he will have to fight Andino for the job. Andino is out of options so if he has a ST that is equal to Harris, maybe the O's could trade him or Harris?

I loved what Tatum did in the backup role last year so I guess only the 4th OFer is to be determined, but I would like to see Corey brought back. He can play CF and LF while Reimold can only play LF which would be OK, but Jones and Pie aren't iron men out there.

Andy is going nuts, two trades and two free agent signings? Someone spike his drink at the Swan and Dolphin?

I guess the new saying isn't Buy the Bats, but Buy the Backups?

Apparently Harris was signed mostly as a salary dump for the Twins. We're stuck with him but we don't have to use him. Give him a shot in spring training and if he doesn't blow away the competition, send him down or cut him loose, eating the salary. If Andino's better, they can play Andino.

Don' t ask Brendan Harris if he's happy about the trade today.

Hopefully they'll still keep airing the "Maximum Izturis" commercials.

Dave, thats EXACTLY what happened.. Harris was a salary dump, remember the Twins also gave us 500k in cash I believe. It gives us a free look at another player, but its clear that Izturis is the teams top choice for the UTIL position, being that he's the closest to an average infield player.

Not sure who we can trade Andino or Harris for.. they are AAAA level players no? Didn't we DFA Andino last year and nobody put a claim on him? Not sure.. But unless they are add ins, they are nothing but fodder.

Here are my bold predictions for the Orioles in 2011.

1. Brian Roberts (2B) plays 155 games.

BA - .295 / 190 H / 54 2B / 7 3B / 112 RS / 67 RBI / 15 HR / 44 SB.

2. J.J. Hardy (SS) plays 148 games.

BA - .268 / 148 H / 38 2B / 3 3B/ 88 RS / 74 RBI / 16 HR / 17 SB.

3. Nick Markakis (RF) plays 159 games.

BA - .314 / 202 H / 45 2B / 4 3B / 97 RS / 112 RBI / 27 HR / 14 SB.

4. Mark Reynolds (3B) plays 150 games.

BA - .248 / 152 H / 48 2B / 2 3B / 94 RS / 122 RBI / 46 HR / 22 SB / 188 SO.

5. *Adam LaRoche (1B) plays 157 games.

BA - .277 / 174 H / 38 2B / 3 3B / 88 RS / 106 RBI / 27 HR / 4 SB.

6. Luke Scott (DH) plays 150 games.

BA - .283 / 169 H / 41 2B / 1 3B / 80 RS / 90 RBI / 29 HR / 0 SB.

7. Adam Jones (CF) plays 158 games.

BA - .293 / 189 H / 45 2B / 6 3B / 91 RS / 102 RBI / 26 HR / 11 SB.

8. Matt Wieters (C) plays 145 games.

BA - .271 / 140 H / 31 2B / 0 3B / 69 RS / 81 RBI / 19 HR / 1 SB.

9. Noland Reimold / Felix Pie combined plays 162 games.

BA - .272 / 149 H / 32 2B / 3 3B / 75 RS / 89 RBI / 22 HR / 23 SB.

Starting rotation.

Jeremy Guthrie - 17- 10 / 3.46 ERA / 141 K.

Brian Matusz - 19 - 8 / 3.12 ERA / 168 K.

Jake Arrieta - 13 - 10 / 4.43 ERA / 97 K.

Brad Bergesen 14 - 11 / 4.21 ERA / 108 K.

Chris Tillman - 10 - 14 / 4.89 ERA / 112 K.

The Orioles have a season record of 89-73 and finish 3rd in the AL East. This is my prediction of course Adam LaRoche is currently not on the roster. I do think if we don't get LaRoche we end up with possibly Vlad Guerrero or Thome and Scott or Thome play first. Just my predictions. Anything over .500 would be awesome for our club.

What about Jake Fox.He did a good job for us last year,plus he has some pop in his bat. I thing something has to give.We can't use that many utility infielders. I agree we do need some more relievers and Mr LaRoche. I think we would okay then. Thank you Curt S.S.Md.

There is probably little doubt that the O's have gotten younger and more athletic. But, at the same time, they really haven't spent any of this "boatload" of money they allegedly have to spend. Which begs the question: With first base remaining a glaring hole, why don't they just go out and get Adam LaRoche? He's all that's really left and a good power source. I mean, it's not like there's alot to choose from. Unless they plan on putting Scott there for good I don't understand the foot dragging. My only guess is that it's one of two things. Either it's just typical McFail sleeping on the job OR LaRoche doesn't really want to come here. Certainly signing him fills a hole admirably and it's not going to break any bank. What's the holdup? And finally why not get very aggressive with Greinke? Or Pavano to a lesser extent? I just don't really get it.

I like Izzy as a backup. I dont see either Andino or Harris making the opening day roster. In fact, we may see one either cut or traded and one sitting in Norfolk. I could see Andino asking for the trade given Harris has ties to Va Beach, which is like 10 min away from Norfolk. Still a deeper infield than we have had in some time. Now time to work that 1st base option. I say sign a LaRoche and Xavier Nady as a backup. Give him time to work himself back from injury and deal him in an effort to add arms for the 2012 season.

Can someone explain to me why anyone would want Andy LaRouche? His bat is anemic.

SPLITS- G -AB -R H 2B 3B HR RBI BB SO SB CS AVG OBP SLG OPS
Season 102 247 26 51 8 *0 **4 *16 *19 *43 *1 *1 *.206 *.268 *.287 *.555

"With two banged up middle infielders a guy like Izturis makes a lot of sense": so the Os have to keep Izturis on the roster because the SS they traded for to replace him is banged up, which now makes the other player they acquired in the trade expendable? I wouldn't say that makes a LOT of sense.

"it may be a good sign that both Koji and Izturis resigned for less money than they made the previous years": or it could mean that other teams don't think that they are worth any more than the Os are paying them.

It appears that as Yogi once declared, we have "deep depth". Unfortunately, the Bosox have just gone deeper. Oh well, at least we'll have a better product on the field. Andino and Lugo, we hardly knew ya...

I was under the impression the Izturis would receive 2 or 3 offers from other teams. I guess that over estimated his value. It is good to have him and soft rubber bat, back on the team.

Hey wgmeisheid we want Adam not Andy...

i have to feel better with the oriles having extra infielders. with b rob having his back problems we have someone peopel who can fill in if he should go on the shelf in 2011. have been wondering what the status of a first base. have the orioles actually offered adam laroche a contract or are they sitting on the sidelines watching him disappear.

wgmeisheid,

Adam LaRoche, not Andy LaRoche.

very big difference...

@wgmeisheid

Nobody is pushing for Andy LaRoche. It's his brother, Adam LaRoche that people are talking about.

You've been LaRoched, my man.

I don't really see room on a 4-man bench for TWO utility infielders, as well as a light-hitting back-up catcher like Tatum.

The only way I see this working is if Fox is the back-up C.

Izturis becomes a potential trade candidate in the spring to another club if injuries and spring training diificulties somewhere else arise. If not, he likely stays until a possible July trade opportunity emerges (unless the injury bug is in Baltimore). At $1.5M it's a smart depth enhancement regardless.
Bottomline is Hardy as starter and Izturis as backup is a job well done and the McPhail naysayers must be beside themselves.

Well now that the Orioles have the market cornered on Utility Infielders, the rest of the off-season should be a cinch.

Given the high demand for Izturis's services, I think $1.5million is more than reasonable.

Glad to have Izzy back. His offense is fair at best, but he takes away a lot of hits (reminiscent of Belanger in the old days). Plus, I'm with Ben -- I think his return will be good for team chemistry.

wgmeisheid: I really screwed up on my all-time fantasy team. First I picked Tommie Aaron instead of Hank. Next I picked Andy Laroche instead of Adam. It gets so confusing...

I know this is a reach, but what about Hardy at 3rd, Reynolds at 1st, and Izturis at S.S.

@George My Man,

I know this is a reach, but what about Hardy at 3rd, Reynolds at 1st, and Izturis at S.S.

I think you have been spending too much time at the Shore. Most times the "Salt Air" is good for you. But if you truly think that what you stated is a "Hot Idea". Then my recommendation to you would be to spend some time with Konerko in Arizona for that "Dry Heat" instead of "Salt Air"

Teams are built with both big and small moves. In the small move category, signing Izzy is a very good one. We know we'll have top flight defence coming in whenever Roberts or Hardy can't go. Now if we can just sign Larouche (Adam not Andy) we have a pretty decent looking infield.

George, where are you getting these numbers? I'll be the first to admit that some of mine are a bit outlandish, but they're extrapolated from performance at a designated lineup spot from last year. Most of my qualms, however, have to do with your rotation predictions. Guthrie has proven that he doesn't perform as well as the team's ace. And while they should all be getting more run support, I doubt that it'll be to the tune of winning records for 4 of our 5 guys and 17+ wins each from Guthrie and Matusz. They, especially Guthrie, won't play up to their potential unless we find a veteran guy that can win us 10 games and give us 200+ innings. If we can find a guy like that and sign LaRoche, I think we have a chance of "flying under the radar" and definitely breaking .500. This is what needs to happen. Here again are some calculated predictions. They should be skewed towards each players total production over the past 2 seasons. Again, pray for their health.

I included predictions for 2011 based solely on their 2010 production at their best spots in the lineup with 600AB (which we can really only count on Nick to do). Also, it is important to keep in mind that players numbers improve when they're protected by better players. What do you all think?


1. Brian Roberts (S) - played a bit more than 1/3 of the games in 2010 but ended with .279 BA, 14 2B, 12 SB
(2011 - .279 BA .748 OPS, 37 2B, 10 HR, 39 RBI, 31 SB)

2. Nick Markakis (L) - hit best in the 2 hole, OPS was .100 higher
(2011 - .316 BA, .871 OPS, 38 2B, 20 HR, 76 RBI)

3. Luke Scott (L) - these are based on his 4 spot 2010 numbers which could improve with Reynolds behind him
(2011 - .279 BA, .879 OPS, 30 2B, 35 HR, 105 RBI)

4. Mark Reynolds (R) - these are based on his 2010 numbers from the 6 spot without much protection (Dback #7 hole .686 OPS). Reynolds batted clean-up his in 2009, his best year.
(2011 - .214 BA, .817 OPS, 23 2B, 46 HR, 115 RBI, but 260 K!!)

5. Adam LaRoche (L) - he was primarily in the 5 spot last year, numbers are probably inflated due to Reynolds batting behind him
(2011 - .270 BA, .858 OPS, 50 2B, 33 HR, RBI 133!!)

5. Derrek Lee (R) - had his best numbers at clean-up in 2010, but played primarily in the 3 spot, which these predictions are based on. If we get him, instead of LaRoche, he and Scott may switch places
(2011 - .249 BA, .746 OPS, 30 2B, 22 HR, 84 RBI)

6. Adam Jones (R) - had all of his success in the 6 spot last year with 175 AB, maybe there was less pressure causing him to press less
(2011 - .349 BA, .972 OPS, 34 2B, 34 HR, 113 RBI)

7. Matt Wieters (S) - played mostly in the 7 spot last year. I really think things can only get better for him
(2011 - .228 BA, .671 OPS, 30 2B, 18 HR, 88 RBI)

8. J. J. Hardy (R) - spent more than half the time in the 8 spot
(2011 - .255 BA, .685 OPS, 33 2B, 15 HR, 69 RBI)

9. Felix Pie (L) - injured and then played all throughout the lineup, mostly in the 6 spot but probably doesn't deserve that in this lineup. So this is based on his total 2010 production
(2011 - .274BA, .718 OPS, 31 2B, 10 HR, 64 RBI)


Let's just hope everyone stays healthy. Obviously we won't be seeing all of these numbers in 2011. They are merely extrapolations based on players likely lineup spots with the best data from 2010. Though our offensive production should improve, it isn't likely that we'll hit 221 HRs (from 133 in 2009) and let's hope Reynolds won't get Ked 260 times! All the numbers should be skewed towards each player's overall production over the last two years, taking into account that if the seasons have been plagued with injuries, they're not likely to get 600 AB. And when players get injured, it affects the entire lineup's performance.

So, let us all pray for good healthy, and the foresight of our front office to sign LaRoche. I've also heard McPhail's not as much of a lock for the commish job as people make him out to be. Let's finish this year above .500, ink McPhail to another couple year contract, and pull in some big names for 2012.

GO O'S!!!!

Hey George,

Predictions are fun...

1. Brian Roberts (2B) plays 155 games.

BA - .295 / 190 H / 54 2B / 7 3B / 112 RS / 67 RBI / 15 HR / 44 SB.

If he plays a full season, that's not out of reach. But I would guess more like... 130 games, .275 avg, 30 doubles, 85 runs, 50 rbi, 5 homers and 20 stolen bases.

2. J.J. Hardy (SS) plays 148 games.

BA - .268 / 148 H / 38 2B / 3 3B/ 88 RS / 74 RBI / 16 HR / 17 SB.

Whoa there, Georgie boy. Hardy has never stolen more than two bags in a season in his career. Where the heck does 17 come from?

3. Nick Markakis (RF) plays 159 games.

BA - .314 / 202 H / 45 2B / 4 3B / 97 RS / 112 RBI / 27 HR / 14 SB.

Looks good, except I doubt he'll hit more than 20 homers.

4. Mark Reynolds (3B) plays 150 games.

BA - .248 / 152 H / 48 2B / 2 3B / 94 RS / 122 RBI / 46 HR / 22 SB / 188 SO.

Career highs in hits, doubles, rbi, homers and a full season career best strikeout total? If Reynolds puts up that kind of year, I'll literally cry.

5. *Adam LaRoche (1B) plays 157 games.

BA - .277 / 174 H / 38 2B / 3 3B / 88 RS / 106 RBI / 27 HR / 4 SB.

Certainly not out of the realm of possibility if he signs here.

6. Luke Scott (DH) plays 150 games.

BA - .283 / 169 H / 41 2B / 1 3B / 80 RS / 90 RBI / 29 HR / 0 SB.

Everything seems reasonable except for the average and doubles. I'd be happy with a .270 average and 25 homers.

7. Adam Jones (CF) plays 158 games.

BA - .293 / 189 H / 45 2B / 6 3B / 91 RS / 102 RBI / 26 HR / 11 SB.

He's certainly capable of those kind of numbers. But everything depends on plate discipline.

8. Matt Wieters (C) plays 145 games.

BA - .271 / 140 H / 31 2B / 0 3B / 69 RS / 81 RBI / 19 HR / 1 SB.

Very nice production from a catcher. Everything was too sky high when he first came up. This is what we should have been expecting from Wieters all along. Anything more is just icing on the cake.

9. Noland Reimold / Felix Pie combined plays 162 games.

BA - .272 / 149 H / 32 2B / 3 3B / 75 RS / 89 RBI / 22 HR / 23 SB.

If they're both healthy enough to play 80ish games a piece, this kind of production certainly seems attainable.

Starting rotation.

Jeremy Guthrie - 17- 10 / 3.46 ERA / 141 K.

Bump the ERA up to 3.60ish, subtract a few strikeouts and put in 55 walks and 25 homers allowed and that's what we'll get from Guts.

Brian Matusz - 19 - 8 / 3.12 ERA / 168 K.

Only a playoff spot would make me happier than seeing Matusz achieve that kind of success in his 24-year-old season.

Jake Arrieta - 13 - 10 / 4.43 ERA / 97 K.

More K's, I would think. And the ERA might be closer to five.

Brad Bergesen 14 - 11 / 4.21 ERA / 108 K.

Like Matusz, he was fantastic under Buck's watch. As long as the sinker stays down, this is possible.

Chris Tillman - 10 - 14 / 4.89 ERA / 112 K.

No chance his ERA is under 5.00 if he pitches for the Orioles in the majors this year. That fastball is straight as an arrow.

Just my thoughts.

Ugh.. what did we do to deserve having to suffer through Cesar Izturis and his .545 OPS again??

George: what on earth would lead you to believe that this team is going to be 23 wins better than last year's?

One rather large problem in bringing Adam LaRoche to Baltimore is that he has to agree to come. McPhail can't make him sign. I'd love to see Garza here; I'd even give up Arietta and Reimold for him. Bet Luke Scott would love that too. Signing Izturis is an odd development -- if they'd held out they could have got him for less, maybe even on a minor league contract. Markakis is a really good no. 2 hitter. Projections ? Bill James comes out fairly close to that, with the Orioles scoring 131 more runs and hitting 70-odd more home runs.

Christian, I love your excitement and optimism, but if Adam Jones gets anywhere near those home run and RBI totals I will eat my shoe.

Hey Jeff,

Is there a special reason as to why the Orioles aren't listed amongst these team to acquire Zack Greinke?
I mean even just to give it shot aka kick the tires, would be worthwhile!

There are five teams in pursuit of Kansas City right-hander Zack Greinke: the Rangers, Nationals, Brewers, Dodgers and Blue Jays.


As for 89 wins huh, I dunno.

As a side note, because I know O's fans like this guy. What did Adrian Gonzalez ever win. Sure he's put up some huge numbers during the past few seasons. But what did he do to help his team win the division in 2010? Nothing!

I remember watching John Kruk on baseball tonight and he declared The Padres Stink! I believe he was including A Gon as well in that statement. They didn't "Cowboy Up" at the end of the season. I don't blame the Padres for trading him, not sure if the fans are happy. I think in the long run they made the right decision. We shall see though.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: I'll be honest Squirrel, I've heard absolutely nothing on Greinke and why the O's are/are not interested in him. I've asked around adn can't seem to get a straight answer so me. My take is the Orioles simply don't think they can afford to trade three or four of their better prospects for him but that's just speculation on my part.

Ben S.

I looked at the numbers again and think I was too optimistic with Jones. He had more ABs in the 5 hole last year and I prob should've used those stats. Drawn out to 600 AB his stats look like this:

.270 BA, .727OPS, 30 2B, 12 HR, 67 RBI.

That looks a little more probable. Despite the first numbers I calculated, I think Jones is overrated. He has talent but doesn't seem too thoughtful. Kind of like the CF version of a Daniel Cabrera. Hopefully, he'll prove me wrong.

I'm actually about to crunch some numbers to reflect my predictions based on their 2010 lineup placement, weighed equally against their average production over the past two years, while giving weight to positive and negative trends. The problem is that my predictions will be contingent on getting a big bat first baseman, like LaRoche. Without him, or someone like him, players' roles in the lineup change and their production changes.

Let me know what you think.

@Greg - I agree. On one hand its great to have so much infield depth. On the other hand, there are too many of 'em now lol. Hopefully we pull off a trade with Pittsburgh - something like Fox and Izturis for Doumit, who would be backup catcher, 1B, and LF/RF and although a switch-hitter, he is great against righties from the left side of the plate and could be used as a late inning PH against a righty closer.

Jeff very curious about this signing, it almost makes you think that the orioles will now use hardy to be included in a much bigger trade for something else.

--
Don't think so. The organization loves Izturis and he is great back-up insurance to Hardy (and Roberts). But he's signed on to be a utility player.

Does it strike anyone else the slightest bit odd that now someone has openly lobbied for McPhail to have his contract extended? For what btw? A winning season? No. For signing some marginal players, other than the Reynolds trade which I do think will work out. As others have said, though, does this get us near where we need to be? I think not. If anything, let Andy go on his merry way at the end of this year and then give Buck some more money to be the GM. After a couple of years we will all know (being I think Buck was the rt man for manager all along) with his baseball knowledge if can get Angelos to loosen his pursestrings. If not I might take a hiatus from the team at that point because I'm sure the handwriting will be on the wall for Buck at the end of his three years here. On the hand, maybe we sign Lee or Laroche and the young guns start living up to their potential. Either way, has AM earned his keep in that time?

So I crunched some player data from last year to make predictions for the upcoming season. Obviously the newbies will take some time to adjust - the may do better or worse than expected (as may any player on any team), especially learning to bat in the AL East. Additionally, a portion of my calculations involved the average of each player's statistics over the past two years. This increases the total stat pool but fails to account for trends. We do have some older players (and FA possibilities - Derrek Lee) that probably aren't going to get much better, but we have far more youngins’ that, I believe, should show significant signs of growth with the additional protection we've built into the lineup. So, while there will be things that simply cannot be presently accounted for - slumps, streaks, injuries - I feel as though most of the Orioles' stats will fall around my numbers by the time we hit October.

I believe strongly in the effects of the position a player is placed in the lineup. Generally speaking, the earlier a player bats, the more protection they have, while those farther back, have less expected of them. Not only this, but the maintenance of these positions within the lineup provides stability for the psyche of the players - giving them a greater sense of control and allows them to focus on doing their job. Too often last year, players looked as though they were pressing, trying to be the guy to turn everything around and land the team on its feet. With this in mind, I took 2010 statistics from the position (within the lineup) in which each player showed the most promise, which also happened to be where the vast majority of them batted for most of the 2010 season. I weighed this equally against the average of each player's statistics over the past 2 years (I even accounted for the average contribution that could have been expected of Reimold and Wieters had they been on the team from the beginning of the 2009 season).

**Please keep in mind that these are calculations based on many averages in as stable a scenario as I was able to construct. Again, many things will happen this year that cannot be accounted for, but I am going to say that this is what is likely to happen**

1. Brian Roberts (S) - 431 AB, .281 BA, 31 2B, 9 HR, 35 RBI, 22 SB
Should BRob stay healthy, he will be back to his old self.

2. Nick Markakis (L) - 636 AB, .306 BA, 43 2B, 18 HR, 80 RBI
Nick is best in the 2 hole. Hopefully, with protection, he’ll boost his power numbers.

3. Luke Scott (L) - 448 AB, .275 BA, 25 2B, 26 HR, 76RBI
With protection and consistency, we could see a repeat of 2010 for Scott.

4. Mark Reynolds (R) - 539 AB, .223 BA, 22 2B, 40 HR, 98 RBI, 225 K
Many ??s, but if I were you, I’d think about purchasing some real estate in section 74. Heck, I’d reconsider driving on W Camden after 7pm on game nights.

5. Adam LaRoche (L) - 558 AB, .270 BA, 42 2B, 28 HR, 107 RBI
McPhail, just do it. We’re one of 30 teams, so don’t pass a good consistent run-producing corner infielder in the hope that we’ll land Fielder or Pujols next year. Wake up! Give this guy 3 years and $18 M and let us call him our first baseman.

5. Derrek Lee (R) - 540 AB, .266, 31 2B, 24 HR, 86 RBI
Alternative to LaRoche. Good ball player but could be on the tail end of his career.

6. Adam Jones (R) - 527 AB, .275 BA, 25 2B, 15 HR, 64 RBI
Jones is still young, but unless he learns some patience, I don’t see him opening any eyes.

7. Matt Wieters (S) - 474 AB, .249BA, 23 2B, 13 HR, 65 RBI
Hopefully Matt’s figured out the staff, such that he can focus a bit more on swinging his bat.

8. J. J. Hardy (R) - 377 AB, .251 BA, 19 2B, 9 HR, 43 RBI
Same as Roberts – if he’s healthy, he could be the most important offseason acquisition.

9. Felix Pie (L) - 270 AB, .272 BA, 13 2B, 6 HR, 30 RBI
If he’s healthy and confident and plays consistent ball, he’ll have a place on the roster.

9. Nolan Reimold (R) - 292 AB, .258 BA, 15 2B, 13 HR, 37 RBI
Brady says he’s looking pretty good. If we get the ’09 Reimold, the job is his.

To the brainchilds in here who think AM is doing a poor job ...you are delusional. There isn't a single person with knowledge of the game (not including any of you), who thinks AM is a bad GM. If AM left Baltimore, his next job would either be commissioner of Baseball or GM of another team. Looking at the goofballs that Presided over our club in the past (not including Gillick), there isn't a single one left at the GM position. Looking at all the managers we have had since Davey Johnson, not a single one is managing on the major league level.

Do you really think, in all honesty, that our ballclub over the past 10 years, with the exception of the 2004 season, had any business competing in the AL East or any other division for that matter? Our team was a joke with a bloated budget. Not only did our team lose year in and year out, but it had a budget twice the size of teams that were .500 or better, even in the same division.

In the three years AM has been here, we have acquire young talent, resigned our only good players (Roberts/Markakis) to reasonable contracts, opened up a new spring training facility that teams will actually visit during spring training, moved our AAA affiliate closer to home, rearranged our farm system to be more efficient by removing teams, added depth to our scouting department in both international and local departments, signed one of the best managers in the game, and repositioned ourselves, supposedly, to acquire a big name free agent at some point, either this year or next.

AM cant go out a hand out huge contracts without the permission of PA, and PA ain't signing checks that put his organization back into the position it has been in for over a decade. He wont spend big money until that money makes a difference, not in getting to .500, but in getting to the payoffs. For now, I'd settle for a consistent .500 ballclub.

Does it sound like we are making progress or have the actions AM has taken over the past few years not lived up to your standards? I forgot being a fan of a (former) deadbeat team entitles you to bestow your expert opinion on managing a half billion dollar franchise. I mean, don't get me wrong, your probably next in line in case AM does get canned, but just in case you aren't, Im pretty sure other GMs and owners around the league are clinging to your every word and taking a tough mental note, because god forbid, someone with WS experience with a mid-market team takes longer than two seasons to live up to your lofty and obviously reasonable expectations given the perpetual state of success of our team.

Get Bent.

What ? Izturis was not signed to play 1b?

There is not enough room for Fox, Harris and Izturis. So bye bye Harris.....

If the Orioles have two back up catchers. Izturis and one OF back up that leaves room for 12 pitchers unless Buck goes with an 11 man staff.

Fox backs up fIrst, third, LF, RF and catcher. Izturis backs up 2nd and SS.

Thank God we resigned Izzy!

His defense well makes up for his anemic bat. Check his fielding percentage in comparison to other shortstops in the AL. It is comparable. His veteran leadership is also a plus.

As for Lee, I've read reports where he is not interested in playing for the O's. Tweak those imaginary lineups, boys.

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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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