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January 20, 2011

O's odds and ends: 10 invites set, Duchscherer on O's radar, no changes with Vlad

Spring training invite list rounding into form: The Orioles won’t release the list of big league spring training invites for another week or so, but these 10 players will be on it: pitchers Mitch Atkins, Armando Gabino, Raul Rivero and Jose Rupe; catchers Adam Donachie, Michel Hernandez and Caleb Joseph; and infielders Ryan Adams, Brendan Harris and Tyler Henson. The Orioles will probably have no more than 60 players at big league spring training, so the 10 players mentioned above, along with the guys on the 40-man roster, leave about eight to 10 more spots. Some of those spots could be filled internally, and others could be filled by other free agents

Interest in Duchscherer: The remaining free-agent starter list hasn’t changed much, although Carl Pavano, as expected, re-signed with the Minnesota Twins. The name that stands out to me is Justin Duchscherer, who went 10-8 with a 2.54 ERA and made the All-Star team with the Oakland Athletics in 2008. However, he’s made only five starts since that season because of a combination of things, from shoulder problems to back and hip problems to clinical depression. Jerry Crasnick of ESPN.com reported last night that Duchscherer, 33, has held private workouts for two American League teams. I can confirm that the Orioles were not one of those teams, but they still have some interest in the right-hander. Duchscherer will likely have another open workout for any interested teams in the next seven to 10 days, and I’d suspect that the Orioles will be there as the pitcher is intent on showing teams that he is 100 percent healthy after hip surgery in June. Duchscherer’s son lives in South Jersey and one of the pitcher’s priorities is to pitch closer to his son, so geographical factors work in the Orioles’ favor. Ducscherer also wants an opportunity to crack a major league rotation, and the Orioles can offer that as well.

Nothing new on Guerrero: An ESPNDeportes report today stated that the Orioles have the “inside track” on designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero, citing a person close to the veteran slugger. That report was certainly news to the Orioles, who haven’t been aggressively pursuing Guerrero. I guess it’s possible that Guerrero simply doesn’t have a whole lot of options and is willing to accept a small one-year deal, thereby making him more attractive to the Orioles. But at this point, they appear ready to go with Luke Scott at designated hitter and a platoon of Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie in left field.

40-man spots: The Orioles have multiple minor league offers out to free agents, but they will likely save their 40th -- and final -- roster spot for a starting pitcher. That means that while they are still intent on adding a left-handed reliever to pair with Michael Gonzalez in the bullpen, they are trying to secure that piece on a minor league deal. Those available include Joe Beimel, Randy Flores, Mark Hendrickson, Ron Mahay, Denys Reyes, Scott Schoeneweis and Bobby Seay. Tim Byrdak, whom the Orioles had interest in on a minor league offer, has decided to sign with the New York Mets instead.

Odds and ends: Top pitching prospect Zach Britton has been added to the list of players attending FanFest next Saturday. He has been added to the 12:40 time slot at Autograph Station 2, taking the place of Troy Patton, who is now unable to attend. … ESPN announced that it will telecast 10 spring training games, including the Orioles’ March 22 game against the New York Yankees. … Individual tickets for the Orioles’ spring training games at newly renovated Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla., will go on sale Saturday at 10 a.m. Tickets can be purchased online at orioles.com, by phone at 800-745-3000 or at Sarasota-area Wal-Mart locations.

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Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 7:56 PM | | Comments (39)
        

Comments

Jeff,

What exactly do the O's see in Pedro Viola that is keeping him on the 40-man roster? Would he really be claimed if they DFA'ed him? It seems like the need for a left-handed reliever with actual big league experience would be more worthy of a roster spot.


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Jeff Z's reply: I've asked that question quite a few times myself, Greg. My guess would be he's left-handed, he throws hard and he has a pulse.

Duchsherer - I remember calling him Duke that year, 2008. Problem is he put up those stats in Oakland, which is like in a world all by itself for pitching stats. Would put zero faith in him myself.

Galarraga or Millwood, at least you can count on those guys being able to take the mound. They would be far from the worst 5th starters in the majors...

Duchsherer would be an excellent addition to the pitching staff ... when I saw the report about the two AL teasm yesterday, I hoped the O's would be one of them. This guy has a ton of talent and could really hope solidify the O's rotation.

I would love to see Duchsherer and Vlad on the team. Can you imagine the lineup with Vlad, Reynolds, Nick, Jones, Luke, Lee all coming up back to back?

The Duke would be a very nice addition. Although it is a long shot he reverts to 2008 form, I think he has more ability to make a difference in the O's major league rotation than anyone else who is out there.

I really hope they sign him and then add some lefty bullpen options on a minor league deal.

Guthrie, Matusz, Bergesen, Duke, Arrietta .... Tillman/Britton looks like a rotation that is both full of potential and far from lacking in the depth department.

Vlad's agent is trying to use fake interest from the Os to get someone else to bite or up their offer. I'm sure the O's do not have the "inside track" and I doubt he'll be in Baltimore.

I hope they take a stab at Duchsherererer.

Mike in Columbia, you can't give Oakland's field the credit for a 2.54 ERA. That's ridiculous.
And yeah, you can count on Millwood being able to take the mound, unfortunately you forgot about him being able to be remotely effective. As for Galarraga, what makes him someone who is going to take the mound every day? The 178 IPs in 2008? Because that's the most he's thrown in the bigs. Oh and he was in the minors twice last season.

The O's need to take a chance on someone who might allow them to compete. JD is that guy. He is lights out when healthy. He may not work out, but at least you know he won't be terrible when he is on the mound.

Thanks for the update Jeff.

Can't friggin wait for this season to get started no matter who is our #5. Let's see what this re-energized roster can do.

The O's have only one spot on the 40 man left? They want a starter, a left hander in the bulllpen and there is a Vlad rumor out there?

I think the O's are working on a deal for a trade. It's anyone's guess who the players are but if they have to free up space on the 40 man to take on pitchers, and the Vlad rumor has credibility Scott is possibly involved in any trade talks.

I doubt that the O's would keep both.

the orioles are looking for a starting pitcher,why not go after jeremy bonderman. nate robertson wouldn't be bad either. bonderman is a right hander and robertson is a left hander. yes i am aware the orioles have brian mateuz who is left handed and i thing they might have another young lefty too. so they might lose a draft choice should they sign someone like bonderman or robertson. that wouldn't make that much difference since the orioles have not been doing a very good job of drafing in recent years.

Jeff,

Whatever happened to Wilfrdo Perrez? Is he still with the Oriole organization? Did he fully recover from his 2009 surgery? Do you think he will get an invite to spring training? Also, would you trade Bergesen for Galarraga?


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Jeff Z's reply : No, I wouldn't trade Bergesen for Galarraga. I would give 1 or 2 mid-level prospects at most for him. As for Perez, I'll have to look into that one. I haven't heard his name mentioned in a while. Last I remember, he was DFA'ed in April and outrighted to Double-A Bowie.

UPDATE: Perez was a minor league free agent after the 2010 season so he is no longer in the organization.

@ Jeff Z,

A few questions.
Do the O's have any interest in Jeremy Bonderman? If not, I will not mention him again. Also, I am shocked from reading the various Oriole blogs that suprisingly it seems to me more fans want Millwood back and they don't want the O's to sign Vlad. I think this is "Nuts".
Millwood was 4 and 16. His ERA stunk and more importantly his agent is Scott Boras. I never see Mr Boras sending his better pupils our way! As for Duchscherer, I don't have a sense either way. One major reason for that I have never seen him pitch! Lastly, I see that Tyler Henson is on the list! I am not sure how much of a shot he has to make the team, but I am excited about the fact he's at least on the list!

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Jeff Z's reply: Squirrel, I wrote that Tyler Henson thing with you in mind. I knew you'd appreciate that. As for Bonderman, I think the Orioles have some level in interest in just about all of the remaining starters. There are some exceptions obviously, but the fact remains that they are looking for a starter and there are only a few still out there.

Jay from Conn - It would certainly be exciting to add Vlad, but I really think that is just a rumor at this point.

At this point, I doubt there is any trade other than a minor move in spring training involving a player who is out of options.

And from everything I have heard, and bullpen depth added at this point will only be on a minor league deal.

I gave up on ESPN years ago. I think most of their reports and insiders are off the mark. I love the MLB network, as they seems to have great insiders and their info is very reliable. With that said, I would love to see Vlad here, but I think it's more likely that his people are trying to start a bidding war. Manny, Damon and even Jermaine Dye are looking for jobs. Whichever team gets Vlad, is going to have a guy who has a big time chip on his shoulder. He was a monster for Texas and can't be happy with how things have played out so for the 1000 time, Andy sign him!

Justin Duchscherer would be a nice pickup. At this point, it's a gamble with any injured SP. I certainly believe that if healthy, he would be a major contributor to the staff.

I hope Millwood isn't in the plans. He seems like a good guy, but I saw enough of him last year that I think this will be much worse than when the O's brought back Trax for another round.

Beimel and Mahay would be my top two lefties at this point. I think Beimel would be a great pickup, but I think he wants 2 years so who knows how this will play out.

Jeff, is there any serious concern over Arrieta? It seemed like he was all set for surgery so how comfortable can the O's feel? I also was curious if you think the O's might invite two starters to camp to rev up competition?


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Jeff Z's reply: I would think there would be concern over both Arrieta's elbow and Bergesen's shoulder. However, that the Orioles haven't signed a starter yet this offseason tells me that the club is pretty confident in the health of both. And yes, I do think the Orioles will bring in a couple of veteran starters/swingmen types to compete for 5th starter spot and possibly long relief role.

Guerero could be the missing piece in our offensive puzzle. Allows Scott to play left field and puts a tremendous offensive team on the field at the same time.

Pie as a utility outfielder would help to keep him healthy and his use as a late inning defensive player would work.

Besides, scoring 1.5 to 2 more runs per game would have put a lot more W's on the board last year alone.

The most stupified, moronic, and flatout usless bid of information coming from Orioles camp is the rise of ticket prices. Now here's my thought, ownership wants to increase revenue, so they raise ticket prices an average of $3 bucks a seat, well HELLO, last time I saw the O's on T.V. the entire Upper Deck, and outfield were EMPTY. Much like the mindless O's management. How do you increase revenue by raising the price of a seat NO ONE bought last year. How about tearing down the outfield bleachers, adding food concessions, and allow those fans who attend to to select there foods during the 7th inning stretch, also remove the upper Deck and in-place put 260 trintrons of all major league games of interesting contenders...which by the way the O's haven't been for 13 years....no wonder they stink!

With what's left out there it wouldn't be a bad idea to sign Millwood. I thought I remembered that if a team's own free agent wasn't signed by a certain time we had to wait until May 15 to sign him. Is that right or am I getting old/forgetful?

--
That rule is no more.

Excellent article Jeff.

Jeff, I bet you were just moaning when you posted that Vlad update, knew you'd here from me for sure.

Well, a month ago it was,"Guerrero would never consider Baltimore, he's going back to Texas," now Baltimore has the inside track...

Interesting that now Vlad's looked at the lineup and sees an obvious fit. Plop Vlad in that 4 hole between Lee and Scott, with Reynolds batting 6th, and just watch those crooked numbers go up on the board. Nothing "The Yard" needs more to light it up then a little "Doctor Long Ball" by the home team!

As it is the lineup is much improved, but the addition of Guerrero would slot Markakis, Lee, Reynolds and Scott where they have the chance to have the biggest impact. Not a one of those guys are really a cleanup hitter. Vlad is.

I know Andy likes to take his time, but this is the week to Git r Done. Just announcing a signing of Tejada right before fanfest juiced the crowd last year. Just think of what crowning the O's off season with the announcement that Vlad's coming to town would do this week.

Nothing would help this young rotation more then putting the best lineup possible on the field. From day one Guerrrero's been the best cleanup hitter on the market, this isn't a washed, up steriodless, been beaned, Sammy Sosa, Vlad put up some real numbers last year til he started to wilt in the Texas heat.

Boy Jeff, you make it sound like the O's might possibly throw the guy a bone. And I underline MIGHT. Seriously, do you see the possible impact signing Vlad could have on the fan base?

Is it possible the O's have been waiting for real interest from Vlad and that they've not wanted to jump in and have Vlad use them to drive the price up on the Angels?

And have you considered the fact that Vlad was seriously miffed at the Angels for pushing him out the door last winter?

Does seem like the timing is right, doesn't it?


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Jeff Z's reply: Not sure what else you want me to say other than the Orioles haven't aggressively pursued Vladimir Guerrero to this point. I'll leave it at that, while giving you the green light to continue to fantasize about Guerrero hitting in the middle of the lineup.

What's with the Galaragga obsession? In the past few days, I've seen several posts suggesting we give up legit players - Pie, Bergesen, Tillman, Luke - for a fringe major leaguer.

Don't get me wrong - I wouldn't be appaled if the O's took a chance on him, but I also can't see him pitching to anything less than a 4.80 ERA in the Al East. No way do we give up anything of value for this guy.

@ Mike in columbia:
Who are you, and why should we care that you called him Duke?

why not package a deal with Scott and someone else for a front line pitcher opening room for vlad?

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Jeff Z's reply: I'm sure the Orioles would be open to that, but a package headed by Scott is not going to get you a front-line pitcher, and teams are reluctant to deal front-line pitching on Jan.21.

I think signing Vladimir Guerrero could end up being as great as the acquisition of Albert Belle, and could make us a favorite for the 2006 World Series.

Ducscherer? Really, a pitcher that is coming back from a bunch of injuries will be considered...

But Brandon Webb, a former Cy Young pitcher coming back from injuries is not considered. What did I miss?

Why would Ducscherer be considered before Millwood?

Additionally, what's up with Rick VandenHurk? Is he not being considered for the rotation? Long man in the Pen roll? He's out of options, yes?, so he's either on the 25 or exposed to waivers and being a rip 25 I'd think he'd be picked up (teams like the Nat's seem like prime candidates to claim him).

Jorge Cantu seems like an upgrade to the bench over Jake Fox...sure he's not Vlad, but he seems like a more realistic option. (maybe he's an Atkins, but he's on the bench not in the starting 9...)


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Jeff Z's reply: Paulie, pretty much every starting pitcher currently available - and it's not a pretty or extensive list - is being considered. That includes Millwood, Freddy Garcia and Ducscherer. And VandenHurk is indeed a candidate for the No.5 starter spot or a long man role in the bullpen. I would think as things stand now, VandenHurk would be a favorite to get one of the final pitching spots and and head North with the club. However, that could change if the Orioles sign a couple of pitchers.

As in the Sosa scenario, typically whenever a team says that nothing is happening, something happens. Now does that mean we'll sign Vlad? Right now, I'd say no because, well, we don't need him. We have Luke Scott to DH. Of course, he didn't make any friends in the Warehouse with his fun comments about Obama a couple months or so ago...and yes, as one poster noted, Scott did prove to have a consistent season last year...his first...he just has to "do it again," that is, prove he can be consistent in his one-season-only stab at consistency. My guess is, if either Scott or Pie were to be traded, it's Scott that gets sent out. Why? Well, Scott's got much more attractive power numbers than Pie. Plus, since I think Pie is a favorite of Mr. MacPhail given his experience with him during his Cubbie days, and the fact that Pie can do alot more than just stand upright in the batter's box, you keep the guy with more tools. To answer the question, do you trade Luke Scott, the answer is solely predicated on what you'd get in return. A veteran starting pitcher perhaps? There's a lot of chatter here about Justin Durschicantspellit which surprises me as usually I see postings about, gee, I hope the Orioles don't try and sign yet ANOTHER reclamation project, but that's what this guy is given his physical/mental woes. I thought that was a habit we wanted the Orioles to get OUT OF, and not continue? Anyway, I don't know whether we'll see Vlad in an O's uniform, but I feel pretty confident that in the next few weeks we're going to see (1) a new starter and (2) a new lefty reliever in the bullpen. Now just who the heck those two guys will be...and whether we'll have to trade anyone to get them...remains to be seen. But that's part of the fun, isn't it? Go O's!

Sign Vlad FIRST!

Trade Pie for Galaraga

Scott Fultime LF

What about erik Bedard?
He was a good pitcher while he was here with the O's, i think he can turn it around again and he has some electric stuff.

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Jeff Z's reply: He's not available having re-signed with Seattle.

I am sick of hearing about Galarraga. I would rather have Andres Galarraga. They might as well let Tillman or Vandenhurk start. Why is everyone elses rejects always so attractive to this fanbase? But this fanbase is always ready to bash the hell out of their own players. There is no need to trade a prospect for someone that we basically have already. These past few years this fanbase has really amazed me with the things they say Orioles and Ravens related.

Thank you Jeff for the updates.

Hey, Jeff,

Is Zach Britton in the picture at all to head north and fill a spot?


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Jeff Z's reply: Britton will get a chance, but I think the Orioles will be real cautious with him so I'd say it's a longshot. He certainly can force his way into the rotation with a dynamic spring.

When it comes to supporting a young starting pitching staff there are 3 pretty basic things you can do.

(1) Build a deep veteran bullpen. There will be days that these young pitchers will burn up their pitches in 5-6 innings. But the game is such that on most days have you need to have 7th, 8th, and 9th guys slotted and ready to do their jobs. Andy's done a good job here, could still use one more situational lefty, but other then that the pen looks good.

(2) Build a sound defensive team to put behind them. Andy upgraded defense at 1st and 3rd base while getting two middle of the lineup bats, and stayed very solid defensively at SS while upgrading the offense there. RF, CF, 2nd Base and Catcher were already solid defensively. LF has potential defensively, but the 2 players slotted to play there have BOTH had injury histories.

(3)Build the strongest offense possible. As mentioned Andy upgraded the team offensively at 3rd, SS, and 1st Base, Roberts return to health could also upgrade 2nd base production. Another year's experience, and hitting in less demanding spots in the lineup could see improvements at Catcher and Center Field.

LF is the one position with two question marks penciled in, and they will also be covering the 4th outfielder spot, a lot to ask from two guys that have yet to have a full ML season without a trip to the DL. Adding more offense could be accomplished two ways. Add a RH hitting 3rd base/DH guy like Cantu and give him some at bats at DH and spot start him at 3rd, maybe even slidding Reynolds to 1st base to give Lee an off day.

Or bring in a fulltime DH type bat and slide Luke Scott back to LF. Scott could also DH , and play 1st base to give Lee off days. Fox may then become redundant because with 2 DH types, what are the chances of DHing Wieters? Or Fox could still be carried because of his ability to play 1st/3rd/ and catch.

That could cost Riemold or Pie their spot on the roster. Could Pie go? Only if Andino could play the super sub role and B/U center field. Though Markakis has played it in a pinch in the past. Riemold's RH power bat could fit in well allowing Buck to have him hit against some lefties that Scott struggles with. But Pie could play LF and Scott DH or spell Lee at 1st as well.

When it comes down to it, do the O's need a veteran innings eater from the scrap heap of pitching that is left? Or, would money be better spent further upgrading the offense?

I think Vlad Guerrero could be had for the cost of two Millwood-like pitchers. In my view there is a place for Vlad if the manager is an aggressive guy like Buck that knows how to use a bench. Sign Guerrero and let Buck work out the bench, 24th or 25th guys don't win many pennants.

Cleanup hitters that bat over 300, hit 30 + dingers and drive in 100+ runs do. When there's one to be had at a fair price why not do it?

PIck up Vlad. Several distinct possibilities for 2011: a) Reynolds average isn't guarentteed to go north from .198, could be an Atkins rerun b)someone will pull a hammy etc.

PIck up Vlad. Several distinct possibilities for 2011: a) Reynolds average isn't guarentteed to go north from .198, could be an Atkins rerun b)someone will pull a hammy etc.

Signing Justin Duchscherer would be the single best thing the Orioles could do between now and spring training. Do it!!

Jeff, like you, I have been really tired of everyone jumping on Vlad's bandwagon and never considered that he would ever come to Baltimore. I had read there were 3 teams in the hunt for him with us, the angels and the rays. With the story that Damon is talking to the Rays and the Angels likely out of his salary requirements by getting Vernon Wells, it looks fairl likely that we could get him probably on a one year deal. I did not see the Vernon Wells/Mike Napoli trade coming, but doesn't this at least improve the possibility that he would come to Camden Yards?

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Jeff Z's reply: Not sure what the Wells trade and the Damon and Manny signings with Tampa do for the Vlad market. Obviously, Tampa is out on Vlad, but still haven't heard definitively where Wells will play. Does Wells play center and Abreu play left, meaning Angels still could have room for Vlad at DH? Or does Bourjos stay in center flanked by Wells and Hunter, and Abreu goes to DH? And Toronto has now saved plenty of money. Could they make a run at Vlad? I'm interested in seeing how this all works out, though I sincerely doubt that the two moves will have any factor in whether MacPhail goes after Vlad or not.

i think it would be best to sign Vlad, he is the same age as Lee, but has much better overall stats and had a healthy 2010 season. He would only be good for a few for more years, but he could solidify the power in their lineup this year.

Jeff, what's your opinion of Ryan Adams? I've read alot about him this offseason, but how do you think he'll perform?

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Jeff Z's reply: I think he'll hit, but defense has always been the question. He'll likely start season as Triple-A Norfolk 2B, but this will allow Showalter and big league coaching staff to at least get a look at him.

Hey Jeff Z,

Wow, never thought the Rays would have signed both Ramirez and Damon.
They got them for bargains around 8 million for both if you include bonuses.
I honestly don't see Vlad in Toronto. The fans base is worse then ours and their stadium is a dump. It's funny when the Skydome (now Rogers Center) was first opened it was state of the art as well as beautiful. What happened up there?
I also don't see the Angels signing Vlad, I just don't. Plus, if the Wells trade goes thru, that' s a lot of scratch they are dolling out. Plus don't forget the Kazmir trade from last year. Angels are spending some major bucks. I still would be happy to get Vlad, if not very happy. The Orioles need to make some trades or send some players to the minors obviously if they do. It's going to be an interesting and competitive spring training. I hope the O's are ready to "Cowboy Up" to compete in this division. It's going to be very competitive.

hey jeff z, one last question in regards to adams, would you rather have LJ Hoes or or Ryan Adams?

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Jeff Z's reply: Long-term, probably Hoes. But I honestly haven't seen either of them enough to make a declaration.

Jeff, do you see the orioles going after former prospect John Maine - though not as touted as he was a few years ago he still has a lot of talent and isn't very old

Here's one for ya:

If we sign Vlad...

Would you:

Offer Pie, Zack Britton and Klein for Strasburg...or other prospects. Who knows how he'll come back, but...there is a tremendous high side.

The whole idea is to MAYBE BRING IT UP...NEVER KNOW UNLESS YOU KICK THOSE TIRES.

Just wanting to get a reaction...

As for Vlad, I thought the O's should have gotten him 10 years ago. Get him now and if he does good trade him in july for prospects. Bats are always in need for a playoff run!! As for pitching we have some young guys and some retreads slated for 3A lets use them. I was sad to see Scott Moore go as I thought if given a chance he would ahve been a good utility infielder. If the O's cant get any better and if angelos wont spend any money to make that happen maybe the time has come for the team to mbe regulated to 3A or even 2A.

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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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