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June 9, 2011

A little more on Jake Fox and Pirates -- maybe not so likely

I am now hearing that the Pittsburgh Pirates claiming Jake Fox tomorrow isn't a slam dunk. In fact, it doesn't appear likely now.

The sense is they like his bat, but they don't think he is reliable enough behind the plate to catch a lot -- which is what they need now that starter Chris Snyder is lost for the season with a back injury that will require surgery.

As a stop-gap, if Snyder was out for 15 days or so, Fox seemed fine. As a potential starter, you have to think the Pirates won't go there.

Backup Dusty Brown is not considered particularly adept with the glove either, so Fox would be redundant in Pittsburgh.

So we can assume the Pirates are now trolling for a more defensive-minded catcher and it's probably back to 50-50 that Fox gets through waivers and is sent to Triple-A Norfolk.

We'll know something for sure Friday afternoon.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 7:30 PM | | Comments (15)


What is the big deal about losing Fox? Not getting something in return? What would we get? Another teams low level garbage? Its funny when we pick up other teams rejects and we automatically think we have a jewel, same with Fox he can be ok sometimes but okay is not good enough anymore. Cut the dead weight.

Shd we even be giving up Fox - he plays multiple positions, has some power & is apparently a good teammate. This whole fiasco is indicative of a poorly run organization. What team has 25 man roster coming into season with 2 DH's, 3 SS's & NO backup Catcher. O's say Fox has to Catch to make the team while he's hitting 10 HR's while Itzuris makes team as 3rd SS because he's a good guy! Then Buck with one of worst offensive teams in baseball can't find AB's for Fox. Not @ 2nd where Andino had 2 RBI's, or 1st where Lee had the worst BA with runners on in baseball (.57 @ one point), nor 3rd where Reynolds was batting 170 or LF with Scott @ 220. NOT saying Fox s/b a starter but he clearly deserved better & could have helped a woeful offense

I'm with the previous poster- it should say something that we thought Fox was this great utility player and we absolutely HAD to keep him on our roster. Then when we finally couldn't do that anymore we hope to trade him, nobody bites, and then we're SURE somebody will take him off waivers since he's such a great player and he's FREE at that point.

Bottom line: even the PIRATES don't want him, which would be quite a statement even without considering that their top 3 catchers are out! The Pirates feel Fox isnt reliable catcher material- how many lost games did it take the Os to figure that one out??

In response to the above-poster, Fox does have some value, that is, if he's used as a flex position player who plays a variety of spots (3B, 1B, LF, C). Also, he's seen as a guy whose bat gets better if he plays regularly. Unfortunately on this Os team, many of the positions he can play have some significant logjams there or an entrenched veteran who is too valuable to remove from the lineup, which has made him just a backup catcher here. If we think of him as JUST a backup catcher, then he's not very useful. If we had more flexibility at the right spots, and he had regular ABs, we might get some cheap power and some matchup/rest options.

FOX dug his own hole, he made the team with his bat not defensively anywhere.. BUT he didn't hit especially lhp as he did last year.. With a 25 man roster and our injuries buck needed production as a rh hitter or defense.. FOX was niether.. AS you will see when no one claims him..

My bet is that the Detroit Tigers claim him. With Alex Avila hitting very well, Jim Leyland doesn't want his bat out of the lineup. So his day off is DHing with Victor Martinez catching. Tiger manager Jim Leyland said this week after playing this combination this week that he was nervous that Martinez might get hurt or he might need to pinch run for Martinez. Fox fills the role and is a power stick off the bench. The way Leyland uses his players, Fox would see regular playing time.

If Jake Fox would have been had more time to play he would have have hit and fielded better. He had a great spring but had to sit 9 days before he got a chance to play. Than he would 3 to 6 days without playing and seeing live pitching. NO one could get into a rythme or have a good batting average. Hopefully he will end up somewhere that wants him and he gets a true shot of proving that he can be an everyday player in the Majors.

Hey Dan,

I know it's been awhile since I posted here, but I figured I would give you the "business' =p
So I guess in the long run the trade between the A's and O's was a draw. Andy Mac didn't out"FOX' Billy Beane, nor was it a sly decision =P!
I am referring to your quote from last October. So, at least for now, the Orioles’ sly decision to choose Fox over Wolf paid off.
When you have a Wolf, Fox, and Squirrel running around youn ever know what's going to happen next! In all serious though, I thought Fox was a serviceable first baseman and was his best position. Why can't this work with the A's? Andy Laroche for Jake Fox since Andy was ourighted on June 6th.

Also, I see rumors brewing from Buster Olney and one piqued my interest, if not my surprise, Grant Balfour. I am surprised because Beane gave up a draft choice to get him and even more surprised because the Rangers might want him. I can't see Beane trading him interdivision that would make no sense! However, if he is available like Buster says why wouldn't the Orioles kick the tires if true? Injuries happen and adding Balfour to the "Pen" could only help the O's not hurt! I know our bullpen has been outstanding as of late, still things happen.

PS I hope the blog doesn't go down here again. I don't think some of the bloggers at the "Roch" understand me at all.

Welcome back. Balfour is a good reliever and would be a nice pickup. But I assume he is more valuable to a contender if he is available, and so a contender will pay more. Beane knows how to sell his players, for sure.

Spring training aside, Jake Fox's career regular season numbers vs. right handed pitching, prorated to 162 games comes out as follows: 591 AB - 147 H - 32 2B- 4 3B - 36 HR - 104 RBI. The guy has hit 17 dingers in only 272 career at bats against RHP. His 2011 numbers are even better: 20 AB - 6 H - 1 2B - 1 3B - 2 HR. Why use him in limited action vs. left handers? - he has never succeeded in these spots and likewise, should not be expected to do so. He did nothing in spring training that was different from his regular season career previously, except play regularly. Very simply, the numbers were panning out given playing time. O's right now stand to lose a guy who, in 2011, is hitting .300 vs. righties, homering every 10 at bats and slugging .750. Perhaps he's worth another look? - especially if Vlad is dealt in July. I kind of equate this to McGwire hitting 39 homers in 1995...good number but no one seemed to notice that he did it in only half a season...No surprise, AT ALL, that he then proceeded to hit 70 when healthy. Sweet Lord, it's a game of matchups...Mussina could handle Ruth, Bonds and Griffey Jr. routinely...but match him up against Travis Fryman, Rex Hudler, or Tom Brunansky and you're asking for it...

Hey Boris, are you sure the Tigers would claim Fox? Would Leyland get over what Fox did in spring training?

I think Boris is right on target. good insight Boris!

i agree w/ these folks here. totally misused Fox. Tatum should have come north instead of Izturis.

Hitting 10 HRs in March doesn't mean a whole lot. Yes Fox can play several positions, but none of them very well. Also, his numbers offensively in the REGULAR season have been awful. Izzy could play three spots as can Scott (who hit 27 HRs last year) and say what you want about Reynolds but he does lead the team in nearly all offensive categories (HRs, RBI, BBs). I think we will see how valuable Fox is when he clears waivers.

@np2131 - You are correct: Hitting 10 HRs in March doesn't mean a whole lot. Likewise, you are again correct: Yes Fox can play several positions, but none of them very well. However, Fox's REGULAR season numbers (refer to my earlier post) are noteworthy, if not eye-popping. Only his numbers vs. lefties are awful. He's got 30+ homer power vs. RHP...use him in situations in which he will thrive. In those spots, his numbers match Dave Kingman's. Only difference is Fox hits 60% more doubles than Kingman. He can't be forced to be a lefty killer...that's not what he does...never has.

@ Eddie in NYC - Your comments, Sir, are spot-on correct. You have capsulized Fox's real value. Gotta keep those horses watered.

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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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