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December 28, 2010

Who will O's turn to if spurned by Gregg?

As I said yesterday, I’m surprised that there has been no resolution by now with Kevin Gregg. The Orioles offered the free agent right-handed reliever a two-year deal worth between eight and $10 million three weeks ago at the winter meetings. And at the time, several team officials I spoke to sounded pretty confident that they would get their man.

However, their failure to close the deal and the obvious reality that Gregg has offers from several teams on the table and truly wants to sign with a club where he’d be the closer certainly has raised some question marks on whether he wants to be an Oriole.

Perhaps, he does and it just has taken a long time to hash out the contract details. If he doesn’t, the Orioles do have other comparable options. This isn’t like the first base situation where if the Orioles fail to land Derrek Lee or Adam LaRoche, they’ll likely have to settle for either signing a designated hitter and moving Luke Scott to first, or comb through the scrap heap for possible solutions.

While I simply don’t see the Orioles putting up the cash and years to acquire All-Star closer Rafael Soriano, big right-hander Jon Rauch, who the Orioles have some interest in, had a 3.12 ERA and saved 21 games in 59 appearances for the Minnesota Twins last year. Grant Balfour pitched to a 2.28 ERA in 57 outings for the Tampa Bay Rays in 2010, though he’d cost the Orioles their second-round pick. Brian Fuentes, the deceptive left-hander, combined to go 4-1 with a 2.81 ERA and 24 saves in 48 appearances for the Twins and Los Angeles Angels this past season.

Then, there are much cheaper options, such as former Orioles closer Chris Ray, Manny Delcarmen, Chad Durbin, Chad Qualls or Aaron Heilman.

Gregg saved 37 games for the Toronto Blue Jays last season and brings a bulldog mentality that will help any bullpen. If he signs, he'll join an Opening Day seven-man bullpen that will likely include Koji Uehara, Jim Johnson, Michael Gonzalez, Jeremy Accardo and Jason Berken. The Orioles would then have several options for that seventh spot, including Rick VandenHurk, Troy Patton, Alfredo Simon, Pedro Viola and Rule 5 selection Adrian Rosario. There is also the chance that they'll sign another left-handed reliever, such as Will Ohman, Joe Beimel or Ron Mahay.

However, if Gregg opts to pitch elsewhere, I see other options available that if added, would still have to make Oriole fans feel pretty good about the state of the team's bullpen heading into the 2011 season.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 10:39 AM | | Comments (72)


Have you already given up on Rosario?

Jeff Z's reply: No, that was an omission actually so thanks for the heads up. He should be considered, although I'd consider him a longshot.

Hey Rusty,
I have given up on Rosario, primarily because I don't even know who he is.
Now, on the other paw, I was reading about Chris Capuano this morning.
He's a smarty pants, he was the valedictorian in his HS. Now you say what does that have to do with the price of "Nuts" during the winter. Well, he's a finesse pitcher and I think you need to be a smarty pants in order to be a good finesse pitcher, JMHO. Sadly though, he had some arm problems the past few years, but might be worth a swing as a starter or middle reliever since he appears healthy now. He's a lefty as well, which I like. Jeff Z, has there been any interest in Oriole Land about him?

Jeff Z's reply: I haven't heard his name mentioned, but he sounds like a good low-risk move.

I'm sure the O's missing out on Gregg will be portrayed as some sort of cheapness/ineptitude on the part of the FO, but the fact is that Gregg's just a guy, not very distinguishable from the other RPs mentioned here. No need to offer any more than market value for him -- and I think market value is probably more than he's worth.

If Gregg (or Laroche) had options, they'd have signed already. The orioles are right to wait it out. They can always raise their offer.

i am not surprised with the in activity of andy macphail getting the players signed he covets. other teams have gotten the job done.the orioes should have had a first baseman and the pitchers under contract. signing koji uehara was a big mistake.


I still just see this 1B situation as the biggest issue right now. It's freaking depressing.

I really like Derrick Lee. I wish they could see that here, they would get to play every day, and would probably be traded to a contender mid-season anyway.

They need the defense, to get all the outs they are supposed to get for a young rotation.
Plus, his RH bat. I also don't wanna lock up 1B for 3 years with a LaRoche, where we know what his ceiling is.
I'd rather wait to see whats up with a Alonzo, or someone like that in trade.
Or, God Forbid they actually make a play for Fielder and spend some of the what many estimate is nearly $700 Million in payroll savings over the last 10 years.

I hope they land someone decent, and fast.

Saves schmaves...

Look at the numbers that really matter for relievers. I'm leaving out Soriano and Balfour because it's unbelievably stupid to give up a draft pick for a relief pitcher. I'm leaving out Ray and Delcarmen because neither of them deserve more than a minor league deal. I'm leaving out Qualls because he was a disaster waiting to happen last year.

WHIP, H/9, HR/9, BB/9, K/9

Gregg: 1.39, 7.9, 0.6, 4.6, 8.8
Rauch: 1.30, 9.5, 0.5, 2.2, 7.2
Fuentes: 1.06, 5.8, 0.9, 3.8, 8.8
Durbin: 1.31, 8.3, 0.9, 3.5, 8.3
Heilman: 1.37, 9.1, 1.1, 3.3, 6.9

So what's the difference between Gregg and the other four guys here? Aside from the fact that Gregg has the worst command of the bunch, it's the saves. We're paying for saves here, fellas. Why? We did that with Mike Gonzalez last year and look how that worked out.

Look, this team already has three relievers with closing experience. Fuentes and Rauch has closing experience as well. Why in the world is Andy focusing on overpaying with a multiyear deal for Gregg's saves when Fuentes or Rauch could be had for one year and both of those guys have much better peripheral numbers than Gregg?

Honestly, this really shouldn't be that difficult. Especially since this team has a long, ugly history of overpaying for relievers.

And, heck, look at the best bullpens in the game. Who was the high priced reliever in San Diego that led them to a 2.81 bullpen ERA? How about Atlanta? Or Texas? Or Washington or Tampa? And then look at us. We spent $6MM on a closer and we put up the second worst bullpen ERA in the American League.

Build a bullpen through trades and with inexpensive, low risk free agents on short term deals. Let the big name guys go when they get too expensive and then repeat. That's how it's done.

Why do the Orioles not pursue Soriano? It doesn't seem like a particularly deep market for him as most teams have their closer situation pretty much locked down. Yes - they will have to spend SOME money to get it done. And heaven forbid - they might actually get a RELIABLE return for their investment. Oh well, I guess they just can't afford it. I guess most people just won't be able to afford season tickets again this year too... (thank god for those high grossing Yankee and Red Sox series!!!!)

Jeff: With the addition of Harris and the re-signing of Itzuris, does this mean the Orioles have given up on Andino? I know he landed in the doghouse last year for attitude problems and for some reason management turned to Lugo instead. I never understood that one since Lugo already had a fork stuck in him when we got him!

Jeff Z's reply: Not necessarily, he'll get a chance to make the team out of spring. I think he has a better shot than Harris to be honest because he's on the 40-man roster and is out of options.

Is there a reason why Oriole fans continue year after year ti delude themselves into thinking that a big-name, quality ballplayer is going to come here.

For that to happen, a lot of things need tio go right, but primarily the owner must be the right kind of owner. And we all know how that goes.

Forget Prince Fielder right away and save yourself heartache after the season.

O's should go after Soriano regardless of Gregg. Soriano's market isn't what it should be for a closer of his stature. O's should take advantage of that, and bring him in as a closer. Just imagine Koji, Johnson, Gonzalez and Soriano manning the bullpen from the 6th innings on.

This move would help boost the morale of the troops.

leonard -

What's the rush?

Gregg is a chump. $8-10 million over two years is too much for him anyway. There's absolutely no reason to raise that offer.

LaRoche isn't anything to write home about either. Sure, he's consistent and a two year deal would save us from worry about who's on first in 2012, but why is everyone getting so worked up about this guy? We're talking about a career National Leaguer who would be moving to the toughest division in the game. We're talking about a guy who has a history of slumping for half of the season and finally picking it up after the All Star break. We're talking about a guy who struggles against lefties moving to a division that features a stud lefty at the top of each opposing rotation.

Why should there be any rush to sign Adam LaRoche? He's not the answer to any of our problems. He's simply another short-term fix.

Same deal with Derrek Lee. One year fix. No rush to give him more than he deserves.

Considering how frustrating it was to watch Andy throw out such a pathetic offer to his "#1 target", Victor Martinez, I'm actually quite pleased that he hasn't panicked, turned around and offered a mistake of a contract to one of the remaining chumps.

Sure, it'll be frustrating if both Lee and LaRoche sign elsewhere, because while neither of them are long-term fixes, they're much better short-term fixes than anyone else on the board. And they're much better fixes than signing a DH and moving Luke "Not A First Baseman" Scott to first base.

Really, what I would like to see is a trade for a guy like Yonder Alonso or another blocked prospect. Or maybe a deal for Joe Blanton that includes Phillies first base prospect Jonathan Singleton. I'd be happy to see the O's take on all of Blanton's salary if they could get Singleton (just 18 years old, but projects as Ryan Howard with plate discipline) in the deal. And since Singleton is probably two or three years away from making an impact in the majors, maybe try to tread water with Casey Kotchman.

Sure, Kotchman isn't much of a hitter, but he's a plus defender. And, actually, before he fell off a cliff in 2010, he put up a .279/.346/.421 line from '07 through '09 with Anaheim, Atlanta and Boston. And he's still got fantastic plate discipline.

Anyway, we all know that Buck prioritizes defense, so why not get a defense-first first baseman and give him one more shot to see what he can do with the stick?

Oh well, I'm blabbering now. And I know I'm about to get a bunch of "Casey Kotchman?!?!?! Really, nb?!?!?" responses, but, hey, we might as well think outside the box, right?

Why are the O's chasing this guy, when they already have two closers and need a starting pitcher????

Nothing against Kevin Gregg, who is a solid pitcher, but this is a vintage Orioles move. They'd rather pay decent money for above average production than pay a little extra and have premium talent. I don't think it's that they're cheap; they'll pay Gregg real money. It's more that they're thrifty. If they're going to pay Gregg 6MM a year on a multiyear deal, why not pay Soriano 9 or 10 MM and have the best closer in the league? But ultimately, that's not their style. I think that's what "letting the market play out" really means.

(For the record, I know Soriano's price tag also includes what would be a second round pick, but until the Orioles draft picks start paying off on a regular basis, I think that's a secondary concern, especially when you can overcome not having a second rounder by going above slot later.)

I hope they sign someone decent too, ryan, but why does it have to be fast? Spring training is still a couple of months away, and as someone else noted, if the guys still on the market had that many options, they likely would have chosen a team by now. Lee with a one year deal sounds like a good choice to me, and it doesn't look like teams are beating down his door for the price he wants...

The 2011 draft is supposed to be one of the most talent-laden in years. I hope the Orioles don't give up a very high 2nd round pick, as they did this year, for a middle reliever.

That should be the lesson from Michael Gonzalez -- would you rather have one more year of his services, or a very high second-round draft pick? Don't do it again, Mr. MacPhail.

Not Brooks,
2 very well said posts.

I am mystified by the pursuit of Kevin Gregg when we have a glaring need for another LH reliever. 2 years at $8 million is already a risky overpay for Gregg, especially when we could use that money for real areas of need: 1B and LH relief.

do we have any 1B in the system? how about moving Bell to 1st while reynolds is at 3rd? maybe we can grow a 1B guy in the system and use a stop gap in the meantime... and move snyder back to catcher.. we need a backup one of those as well..

Here's an idea guaranteed to draw boos, guffaws, etc. Sign Rodrigo Lopez as a long reliever and switch Berken, VandenHurk whoever, into a 1-2 inning role. Lopez was always terrific in long relief, and always has been a 5-6 inning starter. IF he's healthy, he'd be terrific out of the bullpen. Le the sarcasm begin.

@Orsulakfan - my thoughts exactly. Fuentes is a lefty, so I would think we'd go for him first, not Gregg. And instead of Gregg, why not sign Chris Ray for bullpen depth.

Why not Allen Mills or Chris Ray what about Randy Myers oh hey how about Jim Abbott or Jimmy Key oh Norm Charelton maybe.Or Maybe just maybe trade from who ever dosent suck

Chris Ray!!!

Yeap, I'm still stuck on Chris Ray. Please please please let them sign him!!!!

Not Brooks: I like the Casey Kotchman idea.

Bring back Chris Ray!!!

I was never high on Gregg and I keep hoping he signs elsewhere. Other than the fifteen to twenty elite relievers in baseball, the rest are a year to year crap-shoot. Sign a couple guys that don't cost draft picks and hope for the best. After they take care of 1B of course.

I for one have reached the point where money is no longer a valid reason for not making a signing. We had the highest payroll in baseball in 1997 and haven’t hit the .500 mark since we decided to “rebuild.” We didn’t sign any outfielders, or starting catchers, because we didn’t need any. We are in desparate need for a 1st baseman. If LaRouche is hesitant then he needs to get whatever he wants! There is no 1st baseman in Norfolk patiently waiting for a chance to shine in Baltimore, so what is the problem with three years? Since he has taken so much time to sign, perhaps he’s not 100% committed and maybe we should walk and sign Lee. If Lee wants more than we think he’s worth, give it to him. Werth is worth (no pun intended) what he will make in Washington, but Washington wants to be taken seriously. In any event, something needs to get done because right now you’re playing right into the biggest fears of the fans. That we will sit around and do nothing only to pull someone out of the trash and proclaim that we’ve reached some other milestone.

Right now the most solid hitter and infielder in the O's system could be Adams. He's mostly played second, but some project him as a 3rd baseman. Adams hasn't played above AA yet, but he's a solid hitter, just doesn't have real corner infield power and he's not a leadoff guy either.

Snyder had shoulder surgery which I believe ended his catching career, that's why he's on 1B. I didn't see Norfolk play last year, but did catch both Frederick and Bowie. Snyder just doesn't look like a big power bat to me when I saw him the year before, more of a linedrive hitter, best case a Nick Markakis type bat. That is best case. Don't see him ever being a 30+ homer guy in the bigs.

There is some talent at both the A & AA level in the system. It's going to take one to two more seasons to see if these guys can make the jump to AAA and be big league ready.

Looking for a placeholder to hold down a spot for a year could really be more of a two year wait. So signing LaRoche wouldn't be logjamming any 1st baseman in the system. This time last year Mahoney was coming out of low A ball and had never shown any power. To be fair to him, he should probably start this spring at Bowie. The guy swung a nice bat last season, but he's got to grow into that body before he's ready to battle ML pitching. I see him being at least 2 years off, otherwise he's going to really struggle.

I'd still like to see the O's make a run at Guerrero to DH. Scott's only got one more year of before he's a FA anyway. I'd still like to see either LaRoche or Lee at 1B and Guerrero to DH. That would return Scott to LF. If Luke's raking the ball and playing LF defensively there's always a chance to ship to the Yankees at the deadline for prospects.

Next batch of good pitchers after Britton seemed to be more at Frederick then at Bowie last year. I think Buck's a realist, he's encouraging McPhail to sign some veteran relievers to backup the young the young starting staff that he has to work with. No use to have "deer in the headlights" guys coming in out of the pen to backup inexperienced starters.

I'm one that still wouldn't be surprised to see Millwood back in the rotation for half a year. He hasn't gotten scooped up, and he liked pitching for Buck. He'd probably bite on a deal with a gentlemen's agreement to trade him, or release him at the deadline to catch on with a playoff team. Another 1/2 season might be all that Britton needs at Norfolk.

Couple of years ago when Matusz and Britton spent some time together in Frederick, I swore I'd never seen two lefties on the same team with that much talent.

Britton didn't tear through the minors like Matusz, but at each level he's ended up being one of the top pitchers in the league before he was through. In the end he could be as good as Matusz. I think he's got a more effective fastball
and might be a little more of a bulldog.

Buck's probably the right guy to help these young starters growup, that's the core of this team and to the improvement we'll see in 2011.

Wow, leonard sounds like such an angry, angry dude, doesn't he? Nothing really suits him and he's absolutely certain what is going on behind the scenes. IF ANYTHING, the notes make you laugh, if you can get through the grammar.

Now to business...Gregg sucks and I think everyone who posts knows it and have proven it with research. Just a guess here leonard, but the reason he hasn't signed could well be that he's bent on being a closer and virtually every team has a RED FLAG up and refuses to let him.

As far as losing a draft pick for Balfour, my cynical side tells me that the O's Crack Scouts [mess] the pick up anyway, so just go ahead and get him. He's possibly one of the 3 best relievers left. It wouldn't be the worst move THE ANGELOS LEAD O'S HAVE MADE.

Lastly, are we annointing Accardo as one of the 7 relievers going North already? Who decided that and why? Get going on the bullpen,'s our weakest link and time IS running out.

The Baltimore Orioles need a brand spanking new/younger General Manager....Any thoughts.....Had a dream last night we got Kenny Williams from Chicago. Lol!!!


I would love to see the O's tell Gregg that they aren't interested. Jon Rauch would be a great fit for the O's, but do you think if Gregg doesn't sign, the O's might go after two of the relievers from the list of Rauch, Balfour or Fuentes since Gregg is asking for the most in terms of money? Watching the way Buck uses the BP, I would think that having a solid pen would be a huge priority. I know relievers can go up and down, but it seems with Berken and JJ, we have two guys that have a history of injuries so to me, it's important to get solid relievers in the fold.

Jeff Z's reply: No, I think they feel they could use one more righty and one more lefty.

Definitely go after Gregg or another reliever that doesn't cost a draft pick. Do any of us really expect the Orioles to contend this year? 75 wins is the ceiling, so why give up a draft pick for a player who likely won't sign for more than three years (and there's no way you give Soriano, who has one and a half year's worth of closer experience, a multi-year deal for more than three years).

The O's still need a starter, and that's where the money should be spent. Why spend $10m for Lee for one year? That doesn't help the team. I'd target someone cheap but defensively serviceable, like Kotchman, and spend my money on starting pitching.

i like the idea of chris ray i just hope that his shoulder is good but yes i agree the lack of movement is clearly noticable man and another guy im really high on is k-rod from the mets trade some minor leaguers for k-rod man and lets win the pennant

Jeff Z......There is that Gianoulos name again haha! Wonder if there is any relation.

But no,point is McPhail is lost these days....What is the contract status for him? and do you see Andy getting extended?

Great columns Jeff.

Jeff z's reply: I did notice that Seth. As for MacPhail, his contract is up after the 2011 season. It's hard to say right now, but I don't know that he'd survive another 90-plus loss season.

WTH, did we give up on Koji, already? He's our closer, until proven otherwise, like in the 9th inning!

jeff, people have to be kidding me if they think mcphail will get a new contract i say fire him at the allstar break (what you think jeff?) @Seth the gianoulos above is prolly his cousin or something or son. If we arent in contention at 81 games into the season why not give the youngin gianoulos the job not like any of us would care anymore then. good days ahead (yeah right)

And as far as K-Rod is concerned Jeff, what you think about that, I mean it's sounds good now that his name was brought up.

Jeff Z's reply: I must have missed where K-Rod's name was brought up, but that's not going to happen. As for MacPhail, what would be the point of making a GM change at midseason? Is a new GM going to come in and rally the troops?

Showing my age, but $6-8 million (MILLION!) dollars for a one inning guy, not even a premier closer, such as Kevin Gregg must be making guys like Lee Smith, Dick Radatz, Bruce Sutter, and Rollie Fingers swoon in disbelief. I don't care what's being spent for whatever, but $6 mil is a TON of money (about 4 times what I made in a lifetime, nearly 40 years, of teaching). If Mr. Gregg doesn't want $6 m, give the money to the public school system of Baltimore and do some good with it.

Gregg wants to be the closer and AM will not promise him that role.

LaRoche is trying to squeeze out as much money as he can.

Since both have issues, AM should wait them out.

@ The Blogger who posted this:

why not give the youngin gianoulos the job not like any of us would care anymore then.

I can assure you, that I would care!
I can assure you, that I would not want him or anyone else like that being in charge of the Orioles. Believe me, I can be as feisty/surly/salty as anyone on this blog. I am not exactly sure what some folks are trying to pull around here. I for one am getting tired of it. It's one thing to have your team struggle and look silly. It's another thing when all the blogs around here are being infected with a venom, that just does not exemplify the Christmas/ Holiday spirit. A blog in my opinion should be the exchange of ideas, discussion if you will. Not for some "Jabroni" to tell us how it should be or how wonderul they would be at a very difficult job under the circumstances the Orioles are in currently. Oi!

Jeff, speaking of Andino, I really like the kid....What you think about him being an everyday SS/2B in the ML's soon?

Jeff Z's reply: He just has to figure out a way to be consistent, both offensively and defensively. For a guy with his talent and his athleticism, he has a tendency to make too mayn mental and physical mistakes. Look at his error total last year at Triple-A Norfolk. He's got to figure that out, and learn how to do the little things offensively - bunt, move runners, go the other way rather than swinging from the heels all the time - before you can consider him an everyday player. But no question, he's extremely talented.

Seems like there are a lot of holes to fill yet. Do you think the FA who have been offered are waiting to see who else comes on board with the Os? Maybe if they can get one to sign, others will quickly fall in place.

Feel like we still have a small market mentality. Wish we would get Pavano, LaRoche, Guerrero, and a couple of experienced mid level relievers. I think we might be quite competitive. Gregg is not a high priority for me.

Millwood? Would all you losers please get off this guy as someone we could use? If you were a young, up and coming pitcher in the rotation, what could you possibly get out of watching this guy for another year? How about, "guys, see how I do that...well, don't do that?"

We don't need another "Return of the Dead" sequel. Give the money to another guy like Garcia if you want to blow it on "an experienced innings eater" with at least a little promise. Man, I hate that term. All it means is LOSER.

I'd use that 5th spot as the chance to get Tillman and Britton equal time as they ARE our future. Time to stop babying these guys and let them go do what they do.

mickey -

Tillman has been consistently awful when the Orioles have let him "do what he does".

Tillman gave up 15 home runs in 12 starts in 2009. He gave up at least on home run in 11 of those 12 starts. Horrible.

He curtailed the homers a bit in 2010, but instead decided to pitch with absolutely no command. The highlights? Back-to-back six walk games against Detroit and New York and walking more than he struck out in seven of 11 starts. No wonder he didn't give up as many home runs. His pitches weren't near the strike zone enough for hitter to even swing at them.

Chris Tillman is not the future. I don't care if he's only 23. Last year he was only 22. The year before that, he was only 21. In 2012, he'll be only 24, and then only 25 in 2013. Age doesn't matter. For Tillman, it's all about command and movement. He has been beyond terrible, and unless he figures out how to put some movement on that fastball, he's never going to be an effective major league pitcher.

Sign Pavano,Fuentes and Lee and we compete this year:
Roberts - 2b
Hardy - ss
Markakis- rf
Lee - 1b
Scott- dh
Reynolds - 3b
Wieters - c
Jones - cf
Pie or Reimold - LF



What is with you? You have been so negative towards Tillman! You make it sound like he didn't pitch well in any of the games in 2010. He showed his potential against the Rangers and Tigers. He was absolutely awful against the Giants. I still remember Jim Palmer stating before the game, he would like to see Tillman hit his fastball aroun 91-95 mph. He couldn't even crack 90, his veolocity was terrible, he got lit up like a Christmas Tree. It wasn't lack of movement in his pitches that caused that unmitigated disaster on that day! Anyway, I say give him another chance! Lets see what new pitching coach Mike Connor can do! I always blamed Kranitz for the lack of development of the pitching staff as a whole last year. I never felt it was a lack of talent. In 2011, maybe we'll see Tillman and the rest of the staff develop into All Stars. Or we'll see if I was wrong about Kranitz. Meaning he did everything he could to improve the staff and it was a matter of not having the talent to execute a well pitched game.. We shall see!

Also, iI am really like the idea of bringing in Chris Capuano. I do think he would be worthy of signing an incentive laden contract!

Jeff a new angle, Zito is listed as far down as #5 starter on SF. If we would eat part of his big contract left what would you think if we could get him reasonably in a trade. He hasn't pitched like cy young but his SO/K and fewer hits to inn are still impressive. AS a veteran innings eater he would be much better than most..

Jeff Z's reply: With all due respect Grant, I think it would be a terrible move. Zito has arguably the worst contract in the game. His stuff would also get hammered in the AL East

@The Squirrel,

What/Who are you talking about? I have without a doubt have not posted anything regarding me being the General Manager of the Baltimore Orioles, nor, have I any interest in managing this laughing stock of a franchise in which the Baltimore fans continue to support and continue to put MONEY into Peter Angelos' pockets. It's completely absurd that anyone would put up with this total nonsense. You have every right to voice your opinion. But again, I have no idea on where this Gianoulos thing is coming from, this is my first post on this website.

If this by any chance has anything to do with my older brother vying to contact Mr. Angelos back a few years ago shortly after the firing of Mike Flanagan, I have no comment on it. All I can tell you is that he did attempt to obtain an interview, and somehow it got leaked onto Fox Sports.

I have lost all respect for the Baltimore Orioles organization, and the Angelos family, on how they mistreated my brother, and this city of Baltimore. The Angelos' destroyed this loving baseball community and once-proud franchise.

So I am requesting that all of you please drop this conversation on my brother and our family, and his connections with the Baltimore Orioles organization....Thank you in advance.


I have 4 questions and if you can please answer them to the best of your ability, I would appreciate it a great deal

1. As far as KROD, what would the Orioles have to give up to aquire him? A blogger brought it up earlier and I liked the idea alot.

2. B.J. Ryan, what is his status? And if he is still around, do you see the O's possibly contacting him?

3. Adam Jones, compared to his gold glove year, and 2010, he had a better 2010 defensively right? How did he not win the AL Gold Glove.

4. If the Orioles decide on a Vet starter, who would you want....Randy Wolf? Kenny Rogers, even tho he is retired I think we could talk him into coming back, or 3 Tim Hudson?

Jeff Z's reply: 1. I don't know what the Mets would want for K-Rod, but I feel it's a moot point. With his contract and legal troubles, I see no way the Orioles are interested. 2. B.J. is out of baseball. 3. I do not think Jones had a better year defensively this year. He got better under Showalter, but his defense was an issue for the first couple of months. With that being said, most baseball people didn't think Adam Jones was Gold Glove worthy in '09 either. 4. None of the above. Wolf is under contract with the Brewers. Rogers is retired. And Tim Hudson had a great year and the Braves aren't trading him.

Geez Jeff, how did it become very difficult for the birds to sign a reliever. I mean get real!! We might as well call Jesse Orosco and get him in uniform at what 60 years old now Im sure he would sign for that much..

You're a stronger man than me for tolerating this group of know-it-alls, malcontents and armchair GMs that make up your blog audience.
Wishing you a more knowledgable, agreeable audience for the new year.

Best wishes,
Rob G.

Jeff Z's reply: Thanks Rob. Happy New Year to you as well.


How much you wanna bet Zach Britton cracks the rotation before Tillman? Unless a string of injuries come up, Tillman needs to stay in Norfolk untill he figures out his command. He came to Baltimore via trade on '08 with the same problems and still hasn't figured it out. Having him "work it out" in the MLB rotation is solving nothing, and it isn't helping him either. Why does Baltimore like rushing it's players through the system just for the sake of seeing them play? I guess if Machado tears up A-ball this year, he'll be the shoe-in for the 2011 season too.

This is just plain O's stupidity. they should have signed Gregg first,made him the closer then made a different offer to Koji. Giving Koji bonuses for closing games was stupid because it means Gregg won't get the closing shots. Koji really can't pitch more than 2 back to back games.He was overused last year when he blew saves.

Jeff Z's reply: Koji's contract also included bonuses for games pitched in. His contract will have no say in how he is used by Showalter.

Jon Rauch would be the guy I would sign and pull that offer for Gregg. I would also sign Lee for the 1 year deal on the fact I am going to make a big time push to get Fielder after the 2011 season. Fielder won’t have the usual players going after him with the big bucks, Yankees, Red Sox, Angels have 1st baseman leaving a few teams with coin to go after this guy. Of course I am wearing the Orange glasses but Fielder looks to be a good fit for the Orioles. Lee would be a good fit in 2011 as while he is not a club house leader he could be a role model for Markakis, Jones and Possibly Wieters. If Fielders doesn’t come to Bmore and Mahoney has another year similar to 2010 possibly he is the guy long term at 1st?

@ Dave in GB

What does Zach Britton have to do with Chris Tillman? The only thing I said or tried to say was Tillman had a velocity problem, he was essentially throwing Batting Practice out there at times in 2010. From what I hear about Britton are a few things a.) he's pretty good b.) he's not a flame thrower c.) he has a really good sinker ball and the fact he is lefty.
That all sounds good to me!
As for Tillman, he is a fire baller and I hope he gets a chance with the O's in 2011.
Also, can anyone explain to me this growing love affair with Jon Rauch? While he did a nice job for filling in for Joe Nathan in Minnesota, I don't think he's that special. In fact I would say Alfredo Simon had similar numbers in 2010. I like Simon, I like him a lot, However I am not as big of a fan of Rauch, he's ok, not great. I would not sign him. I would go after Balfour, maybe Soriano and I heard someone suggest Brad Penny as a reliever. That's intriguing to me! Or if the Orioles are feeling really saucy, give the Red Sox a jingle and see if Jonathan Papelbon is available! Lastly, Andy Mac give Chris Capuano a shot!

Jeff, what is the contract status of Tim Hudson, I think he would be the perfect veteran pitcher for the O's..Happy New year Jeff

Jeff Z's reply: Thank you, Happy New Year to you as well. As for Hudson, he has two years left at $18 million plus a $9 million option for 2013. But I'm not sure why anyone thinks the Braves would trade him? He was one of the better pitchers in the N.L. for much of last season and the Braves feel like they have a potential World Series team this year. He would be a great addition to the top of the O's rotation, but he's not going anywhere.

Didn't Michael Gonzalez sign on as our closer last year with a 2-year at $6M per-year deal?

Jeff Z's reply: Yep.

Why not the O's go and get the Aruban we had for 8 years? Slap a weight clause in the contract and get Mr. Sir Sidney, who's to say he can't regain the 20 win Sidney again.

Matter of fact Jeff, think he was spotted at a local buffet here in Harford County.

Whats his status Jeff?

Jeff Z's reply: Yeah, I think he's available.

Squirrel -

In his three years with the Orioles, all TIllman has shown is that he can dominate minor league hitters.

In the majors, he's shown a big dip in velocity and a horrific lack of command.

In short, what reason do we have to be positive about Chris Tillman?

OK folks, I am a life-long O's fan and I will always be one --- although for the past 12 years plus it has been very difficult to maintain my life-long fan status. I follow baseball very closely and I follow the O's closely. To compete in the American League East you have to have massive power. This cannot be argued against by anyone. The Orioles have NO power. We have Luke Scott and that is it and he does not play the field. He is also very streaky. So, why would a team like the Orioles who have been so bad for so long go out and spend 4 to 5 million a year and a freakin' closer? It makes me so angry I could strangle someone. We CANNOT WIN GAMES, so why do we need a closer? Could someone plllllleeeease explain it to me. If you want my opinion as someone who has followed this organization closely for the past 30 plus years, we will never be anything until Angelos is out of the picture. We keep watching and going to the games and he is making a killing while fielding a team that sucks. Why go out and spend any money?

Stash, are you from 98Rock?!! If so keep rocking on man. LMAO about the Sidney Ponson comment. Jeff, get on the phone with McPhail and see if there has been any Sidney sightings, either at some of the bars downtown or in The Baltimore Detention center haha!!!

Everyone get yo 2011 season tickets the Aruban knight is coming back! LOL!!!

@Stash, I think thats been the best post on here in a long time bro.....



@squirrel your not making any kinda sense the youngin that all the clowns talk about on here could definitely talk more sense than what your talking about....

Jeff, is Jake "The Snake"Arrietta going to be in the rotation?

Jeff Z's reply: He's certainly a favorite to get a rotation spot, but Showalter isn't guaranteeing spots to anyone.

Mr. Squirrel

This team is Cursed, what difference would it make if the O's did get the youngin, Angelos would still be pulling the strings. but yet again the gianoulos stuff, is sounding awesome. Im becoming a fan, and Im proud to say i would sincerely love to meet the youngman and listen to what he has to offer unlike some peeps on here.

Ahhh this is getting too good....from a squirrel who knows nothing about baseball. to a youngman who shoulve been gm, to sidney ponson, woooo, i tell ya this is like watching gabe iglesias on comedy central..whats next is we are going to sign some players from a beer-league softball team in china.

Jeff has there been anymore talk about manny ramirez with the orioles? mlbtraderumors had something about it last week, and also a thing on Troy Glaus coming here yesterday....will get the link for ya if ya havnt seen either.

What the chances Glaus or Manny comes here?

Jeff Z's reply: Unlikely on both. If I recall correctly, the MLBTR thread listed the O's as possible fits in those 2 players, not as a team with actual interest. The Orioles are uncomfortable right now with the idea of Luke Scott at first base. They want to sign either LaRoche or Lee, and then keep Luke DH. In that case, I don't see a spot for Manny. Glaus could be a potential fit as an extra corner guy, but I think he'd be a backup plan.

I would love to see Manny in an Orioles uniform Jeff, I agree with Pete as well....Why not sign both players and give luke or Reimold full time 1b spot??? Thoughts jeff?

Jeff Z's reply: As I've said several times, I don't think that's going to happen. Showalter really values defense at 1B.

Jeff, since the days of *coughing* Will Clark and *coughs again* Rafael Palmeiro, why has it been so extremely hard for the Orioles to get a decent First Basemen in here? Are there not any minor leaguers in our system right now, besides Snyder that are near ready? Why not move Josh Bell to First Base? Or hell, why not give Snyder the full-time duties, if not, here is a name for ya, Aramis Ramirez from the Cubs?

I just don't understand any of this, as to why it would be this hard. Are Angelos and McPhail even at the Warehouse anymore? Or are they watching Football these days?

Here is why its taking so long. Guys don't want to come here unless their better options don't come through.

Finding a a guy to play 1B for the O's is like Spinal Tap finding a drummer, as they both go up in smoke!

It's tough to believe that we are only a few days from 2011 and we don't have anyone to play 1B. I think the thing that bothers me the most is either LaRoche or Lee could slide to Tampa or Texas. I would think Lee would jump at the chance to play for a team in contention like Texas given his age.

This question goes out to anyone and that is would you take Todd Helton? I heard the Rockies would like to free up some salary. I think Helton would be great at OPACY.

Not Brooks, you're not right! Anytime an organization has a power arm such as Tillman's, who came to them at 20 yrs old, is now only 22, turning 23 in April, has gone through multiple pitching coaches and finally gets a full Spring Training with Buck and his new staff this yr, it's time to understand that PATIENCE IS A VIRTUE. A bright spot this past year for him is that his hits to innings pitched at least was less than 1 per inning. Control and the long ball are his nemesis as we all know. Once he's taught a 2 seamer all will be well. Have faith! He's proven all we need to know at AAA...the time is now for him.

@ Brooksie,
I agree with what Mickey just said about Tillman. And to be honest, I would consider trading Jeremy Guthrie, if I were going to trade anyone from the team. Maybe to the Red Sox. Give him a shot on a winning team. He might do well up there. He is a very solid # 2 or 3. Not a #1 which the Orioles seem to be making him. I say give the "Utes" a chance.

@ Birdland Todd
This is the real reason I am posting.
I was reading about Helton the other day. But I am not really that interested in him because of this. The Rockies are bound and determined to be ready in case Todd Helton's back problems flare up again next season, That's all the O's need a guy with a bad back. I am willing to give Derek Lee a swing, even though I am not thrilled about it. I would rather have someone much younger. Hmm now who could that be, his initials would be BB who plays for KC. Hey that rhymes! Anyway, what do I know, I am a squirrel who knows nothing about baseball according to some. And they know who they are! Funny thing though, they don't even substantiate their bold statements with any kind of facts.
Let me recap in a nutshell as to how I really feel.

No to LaRoche!
No to Gregg!
Maybe to Derek Lee since I am sure he can still field at a high level

Try to obtain Chris Davis from the Rangers as a back up plan and quite frankly to see what he can do.

Lastly, Give Chris Capuano a chance or look into Joe Blanton some more.

And No to Carl Pavano!

Hey Squirrel,
I have to admit, I agree with virtually all of your points, especially the part where some ill-informed bashers are so quick to condemn, but have no answers of their own. It's leftfield comments like "make a deal for Fielder" that really shows one's foolishness in light of the Ownership we've been dealing with over the years. THE OLD MAN would never do that deal, which is all we need to say on that subject and others for that matter...hence the hatred and frustration we all have for him and the way he's ruined this once cherished franchise.

That always leads us to hold out hope for the Plan B Players and I'd like to see us either hold out to about $7 mill for 2 yrs plus option for LaRoche (not LaRouche people) or 1 yr at about $9 mill for Lee. I'm reading on other sites that both offers could get either done, but AM could be waiting on the Nats. We should be getting the one the Nats don't end up with, or so the boys on MLB Network are saying. I'm like you though, liking Lee a little better.

Then, JUST SAY NO TO GREGG! Case closed. It sounds like Toronto just replaced this guy with Dotel at only $3.5 mill for 1 yr. Where were we on this one? Just get Balfour and a lefty and we'll be fine.

I also like the flyer on Chris Davis. Texas has even more depth behind Moreland and Davis' value drops every day. It wouldn't cost much, one would think. It reminds me of a very similar situation a few years back. Does anyone remember when Carlos Pena could have been had by anyone for the $50K waiver price? Only TB was interested and the rest is history. You just never know when the light will go on with certain players. New city, new coaches and magic sometimes happens. He's a beast if he could ever figure it out.

The only issue I have is with fact, just saw again the Nava 1st pitch he ever saw in a Red Sox uni for a SLAM. Guess who threw that pitch? Correct...Blanton. High Ball pitchers die in Camden Yards, as we all know. It wouldn't be a good marriage. Can you say Millwood...again!

Nor Brooksie is onto to something, save for the Kotchman idea. NOT A FAN. But, tow very solid posts w ideas the O's should employ.
As for relievers, I'm for Fuentes. Settles two needs at once, like Gonzalez was supposed to last yr,
Lefty ~ Closer.

@The Squirrel,

I am definitely concerned with Helton because of the back issues, but I am just not in love with the other options. I do think Helton would be able to get time off and rest his back unlike in the NL as a DH while still getting around 125-130 starts at 1B. Helton brings the power that is still lacking on this team.

Billy Rip on Hot Stove mentioned that he would like to see the O's have Luke play a little in LF, DH and 1B so Jim Thome could come in and crush the ball at OPACY. I would love to see Thome come here, but I doubt it happens.

I heard Beltre was close to signing a 5 year/82.5 mil deal with the Angels. I think Adrian will put up his 2010 #s in the final year of that deal, but for the first 4 years, he will be around 20+ HRs and 80+ RBI. Dumb signing in my book for that type of money. Figgins was great for that team and would've cost half of that money.


I am with you on Fuentes. I think he can do a lot of good for the O's. The guy has been successful wherever he's pitched. I don't expect Gonzo to be the closer, but if healthy, I think he could have a nice bounce back year. The key to the BP is Berken. If he's hurt, I am not sure we have a long man in the pen? Berken can go 4 innings if a starter gets knocked out which is something Hendrickson did, but not that efficiently. Berken was the All Star for the O's last year in my book.

O's don't need Gregg. If he is not going to be a closer, why bother with all of this stuff. A bidding war for Kevin Gregg? C'mon Man!!

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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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