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December 12, 2010

Random Orioles facts and opinions

Even when Koji Uehara’s deal becomes official - he should take his physical this week - I still could see the Orioles adding two more relievers. Sure, one of them may be a minor league type deal or a one-year deal with a really low base salary. But there are a ton of guys available and the Orioles certainly realize that several of their bullpen guys have had some injury problems. If the Orioles go with 12-man pitching staff and a seven-man bullpen, you would think that barring spring injuries, Uehara, Jim Johnson, Michael Gonzalez and Jason Berken would be locks. They are likely to sign a right-handed setup man with Kevin Gregg being one of their main targets. That means two spots for a group that includes Alfredo Simon, Rick VandenHurk, Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario, Pedro Viola, Troy Patton and any other guy they may sign. Rosario, Viola and Patton obviously would be long shots to make the club.

I certainly would not be against the Orioles signing one of the available designated hitters (Vladimir Guerrero, Jim Thome or Hideki Matsui) and then perhaps a right-handed hitting corner infield type (Jorge Cantu?) rather than one of the available first basemen. That way, you can use Luke Scott in a platoon at first base, and use him a little bit in left field and at DH. I don’t think that will happen because manager Buck Showalter takes first base defense very seriously, but it would certainly be a way to upgrade the lineup.

The question I’m getting most now concerns the Orioles’ search for a veteran starter and I’ll tell you honestly that I have no idea where that is going. That’s clearly been a backburner issue. I know that Andy MacPhail has called plenty of teams to see if they are willing to trade a starter, but I don’t have any names for you. As for the free agent market, the Orioles aren’t in on Cliff Lee and I’ve heard nothing about interest in Carl Pavano either. Pavano seems pretty far down the road with other clubs. After them, I can’t really find a veteran starter that you can plug into the Opening Day rotation and be comfortable that you have an upgrade over what you had in Kevin Millwood. Doug Davis, Dave Bush and Jeremy Bonderman in the A.L. East? No thanks. I know there is plenty of fan support for signing a pitcher coming off an injury (Jeff Francis, Brandon Webb, Chris Young, Ben Sheets, Rich Harden, Justin Duchscherer to name a few) to a low-risk, incentive-laden deal and I’d have no problem with that. But that isn’t an easy sell for the Orioles. Most of those guys want to go somewhere on a one-year deal, prove they are healthy, have a good season and then hit the free agent market after the 2011 season and look for a long-term deal. In other words, they traditionally don’t land in hitter’s parks and on teams that play the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox nearly 20 times a year.

Congrats to Orioles’ starter Jeremy Guthrie who will be honored as Major League Pitcher of the Year at the 27th annual Hot Stove banquet in San Jose, Calif. on Jan. 25. The event honors Santa Clara County baseball players from the major, minor, college and high school leagues. Guthrie qualifies because he went to Stanford. Colorado Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki, who went to high school in Sunnyvale, Calif., was named the Major League Player of the Year.

Go to mobile.baltimoresun.com to get news on your mobile device. Text BASEBALL to 70701 for Orioles text alerts.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 12:02 PM | | Comments (53)
        

Comments

Signing LaRoche should be their top priority. Guarantee him a second year to get it done. I'd rather see them package Pie or Reimold for a veteran starter to create room for a DH type signing than sacrifice defense at first.

Is this post you just throwing out some options or are you getting the feeling they are backing away from signing LaRoche or Lee? They messed up last year by not signing LaRoche, I hope they don't do it again

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Jeff Z's reply: No, I think LaRoche or Derrek Lee will be the guy they sign. That's my feeling anyway.

Jeff,

All the analysis of picayune details asie (not to belittle their import), but seriously, cut to the chase: they're going to totally suck again, right? Tell it like it is, man...

andy macphail is telling us what he is looking for. there are players out there, why hasn't he signed the players he wants. why hasn't he offered adam laroche a cntract yet. how squeaky clean do things have to be before he makes the deal.get the job done. the old adage you snooze you lose. it seems andy had been doing a lot of snoozing.

If the O's don't land LaRoche, I would like to see them get Cantu and Thome. Thome owns Camden Yards and Cantu just had a bad year, but nothing that would set off red flags throughout the organization.

Jeff, what you said is spot on about guys like Francis not wanting to come here and face the East because the #s wont look great to get the big contract in 2012. I am still hoping they make a push for Pavano, but outside of him, it's a trade or hope someone they pick up turns out to be serviceable. I am just not sure what they have left to trade? If they signed LaRoche and Thome, they could move Luke in a deal, but everything seems to be if this or if that.

Sorry. Luke Scott won't be available for the Orioles in 2011. Just saw him at a news conference accepting a new contract with "The Birthers."

I know when I was on my soapbox about the Orioles' ability to put together a better package for Fielder than the Padres got for Gonzalez, you said that Tillman's value was pretty low at this point, which I understand.

But while there's probably no sense in talking about it, do you think there's even a chance the O's could pursue Garza (and that the Rays would trade him w/in the division?)

I don't know if they actually value Reimold or if they just wanted to milk more out of the proposed Bartlett trade, but I would think that, if AM wanted to, a deal with Tillman/Scott/Reimold would at least get a conversation started. Luke gives them a LH power bat that they desperately need and could fill one of their big positional holes (all at a reasonable price). Tillman gives them a high upside guy they can groom (maybe out of the pen, where they really need help), and, if they really do like Reimold, he's a decent add-in.

The O's, in turn, could replace Scott's production with LaRoche and still have money to burn on a guy like Vlad or Ordonez. It seems like a win-win, if Andy went after it or Friedman was willing to do it.

Jeff,

ESPN (credible or not) posted that the White Sox have put Mark Buehrle on the block. They also mentioned he is entering the final year of his contract at $14 million and has full no-trade rights as a 10-5 player, not sure he'd welcome a move to Baltimore.

Any thoughts?

I'd go for LaRoche at first. Cantu? The guy has had more than one bad year and besides, the way that guy wears the brim of the batting helmet over his eyes its a wonder he hits anything at all.

I haven't really heard this suggestion much, but would the O's ever consider sliding Scott back to left field and potentially signing a LaRoche/Lee type of player as well as a DH type. I think swinging a trade for a guy like Carlos Quentin might really add some juice to the offense. Pie can still be a 4th outfielder since has value as a LF and CF. Carlos Quentin is the definition of what a DH should be! I think that would be a dramatic lineup overhaul that would be sure to accelerate the development of Jones and Wieters and give Markakis some support. Jeff, have you heard any rumblings about a move for Quentin, who I have heard is available?

Todd- I have to think if you sign LaRoche and Thome, you move Luke to LF. That would be a pretty powerful lineup. Let Pie and Reimold come off the bench. That would be some pretty good depth.

LaRoche would be nice, but i'm thinking that the starting 1st baseman is already on the roster. Give Jake Fox 550 ab's and he should put up some monster numbers.

Adrian Beltre is who I'd like to have.. The market is thinning for him.. Get Beltre and we can use Reynolds and Luke Scott to DH and play first base.. That would give us a solid line up.
1. Roberts
2. Markakis
3. Jones
4. Beltre
5.Reynolds
6. Scott
7. Pie
8. Wieters
9. Hardy

Luke had 27 HR's last year, he should be the DH. We let Wiggy go and he had 20 HR's (OK, most were in the 1st half) but he could have played 1st well defensively.

You have to give Luke more of a chance as DH with his power and enthusiasm. We need a 1st baseman and pitching, period.

The O's are gonna sign Derrek Lee for one year and then go after Prince Fielder next year! No seriously......I'm not kidding.....OK, OK you got me. I had to laugh...

Jeff -- The Royals are willing to trade 2009 AL Cy Young winner Zach Greinke. Getting him would give the Orioles what on paper could be a very strong rotations, so is there a possibility they Orioles might make an offer before the loser of the Rangers-Yankees fight for Cliff Lee can go after him?

Certainly, the O's could put together a fairly attractive package of players. What do you think it will take to get him? (I'm thinking Chris Tillman could be one of the players...)

If not Lee or LaRoche, who? As you note, Buck wants a solid fielding first baseman, which describes those two. You mention Cantu, but he's no wiz with the glove. So who? (Do you have a trade in mind to get that player?)

Hi Jeff,

Have you heard any chatter about Carlos Quentin? I know he's basically DL-personified, but, if Luke can hold down 1B, he might be a good DH option. Though Kenny Williams has denied making him available, the buzz seems to be that Quentin is on the market.

And if there hasn't been any chatter, could you create some? Heh...thanks.

..............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: No, haven't heard his name mentioned in connections with the O's.

Jeff,

When you really look at the numbers, is Luke Scott that much worse defensively than some of the guys the O's are courting? I think Luke wants to play everyday and has earned a chance to see what he is made of over there. I would just rather the O's use the money for an arm.

Have the O's considered bringing Millwood back? He has nowhere to go and I think he fills in the gap at least. I liked what Millwood brought to the table, though he had withered down the stretch when most players auditioning for a contract would give a better effort. Never complained and brings a lot of experience.

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Jeff Z's reply: Scott is certainly significantly worse at first than Lee and LaRoche. Haven't heard Millwood's name coming up. Thought that ship has sailed but now I'm starting to wonder

@ Mike

The Boston Globe's Nick Cafardo reports that the White Sox will listen to offers for Mark Buehrle.
We've heard at one point or another about pretty much all of the White Sox rotation being on the market, as GM Kenny Williams has talked about having to be creative with his roster with the budget stretched to its limit. Buehrle is due $14 million on the last year of his contract, so we can't imagine the Sox would get a ton in return for him. Dec. 12 - 8:41 am et
Source: Boston Globe


There must be some wishful thinking going around at the Globe. Red Sox probable want him and might very well need him. However, I cannot forsee the White Sox trading Buehrle. Though I am not an expert on his career by any means. I am almost certain he's a very popular player in Chicago. Also, I cannot see them trading him just so they can afford Adam Dunn! Makes no sense to me! Lastly, Mark B is taking care of the Vet bills for a dog that had been shot with an arrow for Heaven sakes!
Sounds like a good guy to me!

O's suck

Hi Jeff,
Have you heard any mention of bringing in Michael Young? He's got a career average of .300, should be good for 20 homers, can play 2nd-SS-3rd base, and does well when hitting with runners on base. Young, being flexible and consistent, might be a better option than LaRoche. Thoughts?


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Jeff Z's reply: I like Young and I know Showalter does from their days together in Texas, but I think the ship has sailed with him being able to play SS, and I've gotten no indications they are ready to move Reynolds to 1B. Would be an interesting move though.

Good thing for Luke that he wont be able to tell the difference between fans yelling LUUUUUKKKEEEE and the idiot baltimoron liberals yelling booooo!

O's suck

Posted by: ky

You're weird Ky! Is that the best you could do?


On a serious note, I would love to see Michael Young in an O's uniform.
I am all for it! Then rotate Reynolds to the other side!

Lastly, bringing back Millwood... oh I hope note. I don't see that as a good thing. A change of scenery would be good for both sides (O's and Millwood)
Just can't see it!

Lastly, I can't see the O's bringing D Lee here, nor Prince Fielder... blah 2 that!

In terms of trade material, the Orioles cupboard is rather bare. They could deal one of their young pitchers, either Reimold or Pie, Andino... okay, I'd offer up Scott ... but who would that get them? Young has something like a $14 million contract, which should make him worth less in terms of players, but he's not a great fielder. Who said FIELDER?

Luke Scott playing left field? I don't think so. Right field, maybe... FAR right field! (LOL!)

Two points, both involving Luke Scott:

1) When is enough going to be enough with all this talk of his political rant? Why can't people just let it go? Or if not, why must people continually bring it up on A BASEBALL BLOG. this is the wrong forum. Take it somewhere else. And, for the record, I'm about as liberal as they come, and I could not care less about what he had to say. That's his right. I don't agree with what he said, but let it go. Let it go. Or take it to a venue where it belongs.... Let's talk baseball.

2) People who are concocting all these crazy trade ideas with small market clubs need to realize that Luke has very little trade value to them. I'm not saying he's a bad player. He's really good. But, he's is his fourth and final year of arbitration, meaning that he'll be eligible for free agency after this season. And, he's due for a pretty sizable raise this season through the arbitration process. He made about 4 mil + this past season and had arguably the best year of his career. What does that mean? It means more money for him this coming season. Expect a contract in the range of at least 6 million. That's not cheap. What would a small market team want with that? He's not young. They would have no control over him past this year. and he's not cheap either. That makes him a terrible trade piece for a team like Kansas City or Tampa who's trying to cut costs and rebuild. Ya'll gotta consider these things before you start coming up with these outlandish trade ideas... Luke Scott isn't going anywhere this season.

I really think that the O's would be better off getting Adam LaRoche at first then going after Prince Fielder just for the simple fact that they could then use Felix Pie to use in a trade to get another starting pitcher. I would also like to see them try and make a run at Vlad or another DH for some more pop in the lineup. Do you think that that could be a possibility? Any word on a starting pitcher?


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Jeff Z's reply: Bill, in the blog you responded to, I talked about Vlad and the starting pitcher issue.

After all these years of losing and with no end in sight, does anyone really care about the Orioles anymore? Look at the non-coverage they receive. Even during the season, there is more talk about the Ravens than about the Orioles. I hope there is a strike in baseball and the owners don't come back to the bargaining table until there is a salary cap. I don't care if they have to stay out 5 years.

News FLASH, MLB has been on STRIKE now for almost three years and most of the Boston and New York contracts have expired and millions of dollars lost by both clubs. President Palin will throw out the first pitch at the Nationals opening day of 2014 just as soon as MLB signs the player salary cap....somebody pinch me...ok, I am awake now what day is it?

Jeff,
Great piece.

I suppose there is no arguing that LaRoche is the best available player at 1B and they probably should have signed him last year, but I really would prefer to see them get another RH bat. With Scott, Pie an LaRoche, teamed with Weiters and BRob who are both better from the left side, I think they would continue to struggle with left-handed pitching. This is why blowing a shot at VMart (.400 against lefties) was so bad. For this reason I'd still go with Lee and/or go after Vlad but Vlad seems unlikely. It looks like matsui is gone and Thome doesn't solve the problem.

As for a vet pitcher - maybe they should have kept Millwood. Despite a high ERA, with a better team he would have won 10 to 12 games and seemed to learn how to pitch without the 90+ heater. I think he ends up with the Mets.

Finally I think the best thing they could do is sign Soriano.

Jeff, you seem down on Lee - anything in particular?


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Jeff Z's reply: On Derrek Lee? Wouldn't say that I'm down on him. Would say that when the offseason began, he would have been very low on my list. Just don't think that he is the impact 1B the O's need to compete in the A.L. East. Then again, I probably feel same way about laRoche, but they appear to be their only options now.

For the love of all things holy and sacred, NO MIKE YOUNG. He's a whiny twit, but that can be overcome. More importantly, he is worth nowhere near his absurd contract. It seems like he gets all of his extra-base hits when the stRangers are up or down by 6 or more runs.

Besides, his defensive range is about 3 feet.

If I'm Andy McPhail, I wouldn't give a used resin bag for him.

I think LaRoache is looking for something in the 3/30 range for a contract. He's sitting back waiting on a bidding war between the O's and Nats.I think the O's would like to get a 1 year stopgap to give Snyder and Mahoney a chance if they break out in the minors. I think the o's are prepared to use inhouse people to cover the 1stbase DH, positions.

Can't believe there's a market developing for Millwood after his numbers last year.. It wasn't pitching into bad luck,this guy was raked.

Considering dollars and production I would think that Adam LaRoche and Vladimir Guerrero would be the very best options for 2011.

Guerrero had a better year than Beltrie and would cost far less. Additionally, Guerrero makes contact and strikes out a minimum amount of times.

My 13 best position players would then be:

1) Roberts - 2B
2) Markakis - RF
3) Reynolds - 3B
4) Guerero - DH
5) Scott - LF
6) Jones - CF
7) LaRoche - 1B
8) Weiters - C
9) Hardy - SS

Bench and alternates:

Izturis - SS, 2B
Fox - C. 3B, 1B, OF
Pie - OF
Possibly Tatum or Andino or Harris

I see all the mock line ups and I don't see Reimold name in there. I wouldn't trade Reimold to anyone. Mark my words.Given enough time in the line up, you will see 25-35 home runs. Pie will never hit 12. Don't give up on Reimold. He has better baseball instincts then Pie. Give him three months in the every day line up and see. Thank You Curt S.S. Md.

I got two words for you: Magglio Ordonez!!!

You've got to be kidding me!....McPhail still hasn't signed a 1B ???? He's not serious about signing a 1B. He hates the thought of possibly having to pay more than 3 million for any player. He's going to wait until all of the teams that are serious about signing, have complete rosters. The 1B left over will be McPhail's target. 5th place...here we come!!

When I look at Andy LaRoche's stats they look worse than Garrett Atkins and we all know how that worked out. A marginal National league player in the American league east? Sounds like dejavu to me

What would the Orioles have to offer in a trade for Prince Fielder? Don't the O's have enough young pitching talent in the system to let a couple go for the chance to finally have a bedrock power-hitting 1B who is still quite young?

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Jeff Z's reply: Think the issue is not just giving up three or four prospects, which it would take to land Prince. But it is the fact that they'd only have Fielder for one year. I think if the Orioles felt they could sign Fielder to an extension that would work for both sides - and remember Fielder's agent is Scott Boras - they would be more willing to make a trade.

First, I saw someone put a mock lineup if we got Adrian Beltre. The thing that stood out was the they had Mark Reynolds batting 5th. I'd have him batting 3rd or 4th personally. Anyway...

I don't see why the O's can't go after Greinke. Sure, he's a headcase but there's medicine for that and pitching in a market like Baltimore doesn't cause much pressure. I really think our rotation could be potentially scary. Either way, we need to get a starter. Guthrie is a proven #2 guy, and can't be #1 (We tried that)

I like the LaRoche, and I like the idea of a DH in Thome. Thome would have a field day over the right field fence. That's why it would be ideal to get Fielder. However, I don't even know how likely that is.

Finally, I'm tired of the pessimistic O's fans that leave comments on here. Yes, they have been terrible for 13 straight seasons. But at least they are moving in the right direction. They might be a .500 club, but I never expect them to compete with the Red Sox and Yankees. That's not pessimism, that's just fact.

I just don't understand how McPhail can allow Brandon Webb and Ben Sheets to be taken by other teams. Risk? Yes. Worth it? Absolutely. This team needs experienced winning pitchers at the front of the rotation. Our rotation and team would benefit greatly by having them in the rotation.


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Jeff Z's reply: Again David, these pitchers are usually adamanatly against pitching in the A.L. East. If you were looking to prove your healthy and post a good season before hitting the market again and looking for a long-term deal, would you want to face the Red Sox and Yankees and even the Blue Jays and Rays that many times? Would you want to pitch in a hitter's park for a last-place club? An agent would be crazy to recommend that to his client.

Should have made a push for Jon Garland. Having him in front of Guthrie would have been a blessing, but since that didn't happen (no surprise), McPhail needs to court Webb and Sheets. Depth is everything. These two could really help these younger pitchers learn how to pitch.

Seems like our options at first base are, LaRouche, Lee, Thome or Luke Scott. Good pitching always beats good hitting and we’ve done precious little on the pitching front, though I like Koji as a closer. We signed Roberts, Markakis and Weiters to fairly long term deals. They are the only three players we’ve got that are a lock. This team needs to turn the corner before those contracts expire and they bolt, leaving us with three more holes to fill. Roberts is on the wrong side of 30 and spent much of last year injured
I will never put anything past Showalter, he’s proven he’s a better manager than Girardi, Gaston isn’t in Toronto any longer, Madden is good, but not great. Boston is much improved and has a manager that does well with that. Still the best any of them could hope to be is what Showalter now is.
All in all, with a good veteran pitcher and a quality first baseman, we could field our best team since the start of 2005. Tampa has dismantled itself, Toronto doesn’t figure to be a threat, keep Lee and Grenkie out of New York, and add a little bit of luck (by luck I mean perform well against our division). We may put together a good run for the wild card this year!

Jeff, do any of your sources believe that an AGon-type deal (trade and window to extend) is possible with Fielder? This type of bold move does not seem to be in the McPhail DNA.

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Jeff Z's reply: Nope ... It's been said many times. The Orioles don't think the price it will cost in terms of prospects to get Fielder, coupled by what they'd have to do to keep him in Baltimore in long term, is worth it.

After watching Reimold struggle at Norfolk last season, I really hope the Birds trade him now while he still has value. A year from now his value will be on par with Garrett Atkins.

@ dspedden

What planet are you from, Ben Sheets might not ever pitch again?

Ben Sheets (elbow) told reporters Friday that he isn't sure if he will be able to pitch again.

"I have no idea," said Sheets. "My arm will tell me." Besides needing Tommy John surgery to reconstruct the ulnar collateral ligament in his right elbow, he also had the flexor and pronator tendons in his elbow repaired. We're looking more than a year of rehab here, so the odds are squarely against him.

Also, if you were a free agent wouldn't you want to sign somwhere warm and sunny like LA. I would. As a side note, Ned Colletti is a pretty good GM. His biggest problem is dealing with all the drama in Dodgerland outside of baseball!

Lastly, and for the Last Time, at least from me. Orioles Management really ought to ponder on Prince Fielder. If they are going to trade prospects/players, I would trade with the Royals not the Brewers! As a side note, I am not a big fan of people that don't get along with their Parent(s). To me this translates to the world of Baseball as well. It's my opinion if we trade for Fielder it will be NFL (Stands - Not For Long!) before there is some sort of conflict within the clubhouse with some fellow Oriole.
Remember Albert Belle anyone??

Get Over Fielder!

Just say No! to Prince Fielder

Jeff,

"Alec" posted what I was wondering as well.

Do the Orioles have any interest in trading for 2009 Cy Young Award winner, Zack Greinke? According to other websites, the Royals have him on the trading block.

Has Andy MacPhail or anyone else in the Orioles organziation even mentioned this as a possibility?

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Jeff Z's reply: As I've said before, I've really heard nothing on the Orioles and Greinke. Sure, it makes sense. But I haven't heard anything.

Ben Sheets?

Sure, and while we're at it, let's sign Nick Johnson and Troy Glaus to platoon at first base. And lets get Eric Chavez to play third. And why not sign Jermaine Dye and Mike Sweeney, just in case Luke Scott can't handle DHing.

And let's toss Rich Harden and Freddy Garcia into the starting rotation discussion. And why not add Jeremy Bonderman and Brad Penny as well?

And what about the bullpen? Kelvim Escobar should be our #1 target.

Wow, that was fun. Ben Sheets. Hah! That was a good one! Thanks for the laugh, dspedden!

Jeff, Heard any rumblings at all about Manny Rameriz? Do most in baseball figure he's done?

Is he a guy, that if he's motived, could regain his form, or do most think his ship has sailed? I can't really say I saw him play last year, so I have know idea what his swing looked like.

It seems like he would land back in the American League if he finds a job, he's a horrible fielder.

About Prince Fielder, Boras seems to be banking on Prince being the last man standing when FA hits next winter. I can't see Boras giving anybody a negotiating window and seriously actually negotiatiing away FA for one of his clients.

Prince will be a FA next winter and there are going to be some monster deals for Scott to point to. He's going to get a monster deal, and then a team's going to have to hold their breath and hope he doesn't ballon in weight.

rince is coming up on a monster payday and the waistline is plenty big. What is his motivation to keep the weight down once he gets his payday? Prince is one guy that really scares me, is the winner of that FA derby really going to get the crown?

Your thoughts? Are there teams that are scared of Fielder's playing shape?

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Jeff Z's reply: Heard nothing on Manny. Don't think he is exactly a Peter Angelos, Andy MacPhail or Buck Showalter type of player but I guess stranger things have happened. I think I saw comments from scouts about how amazed they were with his decrease in bat speed, but I didn't see much of him this past year so I can't really comment. As for Fielder, his conditioning is very much a question mark with clubs. Sure, you want him for his bat, but it's tough to pay all that money - both in terms of prospects and a contract - for a player that might be a full-time DH in 2 years, and kind of limit your flexibility elsewhere.

Now is not the time to continue the Orioles semi-cheap way of playing the off season game. Now is the time to spend some serious money. Not foolishly, in a Dan Snyder-ish/Albert Haynesworth kind of way, but wisely, and for the longer term. Adam LaRoche, not Derrick Lee (35 yrs. old). Matt Greinke, Brandon Webb, or someone of that ilk, not a Kevin Millwood type. C'mon O's, show us fans you really mean business this time.

dspedden, you really did just fall off a turnip truck as "not brooks" aludes. Ben Friggen Sheets? He only has one good arm left and it's NOT his throwing arm. And, you JUST NOW FIGURED OUTthat we do not have a Free Agent 1B signed? At least Squirrel let's everyone know HE KNOWS baseball. We haven't had one signed since the '10 season ended, but over spending isn't on the agenda. You must be the last to find out. Also, everyone needs to at least look up a player's stats before making an inane comment like "LaRoche's stats looks like Atkins". I guess if 25 bombs for 3 straight years, .275 avg and an above average glove looks anything like Atkins, you need to spend more time with the family and leave this column to the informed. Tell em' NOT BROOKS!

Ideally

1.Roberts 2b
2. Markakis RF
3.Guerero/Beltre LF/3B/DH
4.Reynolds 3b
5.Lee 1B
6.Scott DH/LF
7.JonesCF
8.Wieters C
9.Hardy SS


Jeff,

Can Thome still play first? If so, that could kill two birds with one stone (no pun intended). I, like you, have no problem signing him for a year. He is a quality player and a quality person. A great addition to the clubhouse.

But seriously, with the 100 pitch count so prevelant these days, the O's need to spend on middle relief and a bonafide closer. This pitching staff is still very young and they are hardly inning eaters.

Over the long haul those kids are need protection. Sign the best relievers still on the market.

...............................................................................................
Jeff Z's reply: No, it's my understanding that he cannot.

I just read that the Phillies are shopping Joe Blanton after signing Cliff Lee. He'd look good in our starting rotation and he knows how to win. The Phils need an OF. Offer them Reimold, Harris, and a fringe pitcher like Simon for Blanton. You just might get your starting pitcher there. Then sign Gregg and Larouche and we're ready to compete.

re: trades, it comes down to the same thing every year. The O's always fail to strike while the iron is hot. Remember when we could have gotten Josh Beckett for Daniel Cabrera? So it sounds like Tillman's trade value at this point is very low. A year ago this wasn't the case. Beyond the trades of Bedard and Tejada, Mcphail has done nothing to improve this ball club. Same old, same old in Baltimore.

Also, this team only has $25 million or so in commited payroll next year. There's no reason in the world why they shouldn't have offered Adam Dunn a $60 million deal. Dunn has done nothing but produce year after year, and he's still young. $40 million over 4? Seriously? This is Mcphail's bargaining strategy in a nutshell: make a ridiculously lowball offer, and say, 'get back to us if you're interested.' If someone came in and offered me peanuts for my house, and said 'get back to me if you're interested,' I'd take it as an insult and that they're not very serious about offering me a fair price.

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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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