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June 1, 2011

Fox designated for assignment as Matusz returns

To make room for the activation of today’s starter Brian Matusz from the disabled list, the Orioles have designated catcher-infielder Jake Fox for assignment.

Fox, who was the talk of spring training after he hit 10 home runs to win the backup catcher job, batted .188 with two homers and four RBIs in 19 games for the Orioles. He started just 12 of the Orioles’ 53 games this season, six at catcher, two at first base and four in left field.

Asked Tuesday how difficult it was to find opportunities to Fox, Orioles manager Buck Showalter said: “If a guy is playing well and hitting well, it’s not that hard to find opportunities. Jake hasn’t made good use of the opportunities he’s had, with some exceptions. We saw in spring training in that environment what he’s capable of. We will see.”

With first baseman Derrek Lee expected back from the disabled list soon and the Orioles preferring Craig Tatum as their backup catcher, Fox figured to get even less playing time. The Orioles have 10 days to trade Fox, reassign him to the minor leagues or give him his outright release.

The Orioles acquired Fox last June from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league reliever Ross Wolf. Fox, 28, batted .220 with five homers and 10 RBIs in 38 games for them last season.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 1:30 PM | | Comments (12)


Dayyyyumn Buck. I expected the typical beating around the bush reason for why Fox was designated for assignment, "hard to find room for him, "we've got a lot of guys competing," etc. Did not expect the slight about "Jake hasn't made good use of the opportunities he's had." I'm sure it just sounds more harsh written than spoken. But yeah, he will not be missed.

I wish fox well but I have doubts he will be claimed.. If he preformed against lefties he would be playing more and still here.. He is at rock bottom so where ever he goes he will do better.. It is the right time to let him go for both sides.. I am rooting for a guy in the draft next week who may be here as fast as wieters and matusz..

Let's hope this is the beginning of a string of DFA's (Gonzo, Scptt next).

I hate to see Fox go, but we needed to make a move. I hope another team gives him a better shot at starting. He seems to hit well when given more regular at bats and with Reimold and Pie on the bench that was going to be hard to do.


The official Orioles website has Markakis at first base and Pie in right field today. Can that be correct?

Adino should be next to go, this guy is absoultly worthless, he is a head case. Why not give Adams some time at Second and see what he can do

Buck's comments about Fox are similar in tone to what he said about Bergeson and Tillman when they were sent down. He has stopped sugar coating things and has begun calling players out. Motivational tool? Perhaps. What's clear to me is the honeymoon's over. Buck expects the game to be played the right way and my guess is those who fail to do so will start seeing less of the field.

Sometimes the Orioles do foolish things. There is an article today about how 4 of the major league's worst Top 10 draft picks for the last decade are Orioles' draft picks. Is that luck of the draw or does it say anything about Orioles' management misjudgement?

Just how good is the evaluation of players by the Orioles' brass?

Consider Fox:

For his career Fox hits a homer every 24 at bats with a strikeout every 5 at bats and a walk every 18 at bats.

This year Fox has hit a homer every 24 at bats with a strikeout every 7 at bats and a walk every 16 at bats. In other words Fox, with VERY little opportunity, has improved except for average.

I am not suggesting they keep Fox, but I am suggesting that to not keep him now suggests we didn't know what we were doing when we picked him up last year.

Consider Markakis:

A career HR hitter every 34 at bats, Nick has ballooned up to once every 53 at bats. Nick is striking out at an alarming 33% faster rate while walking 33% less frequently.

And now Markakis is playing first base today for the first time since HIGH SCHOOL while Scott DH's.

Think about it.

i wish i had read this article before posting in another. about jake fox. i would rather have read about other players getting dfa'd maybe fox wasn't hitting very well, none of the other payers are either. it would seem more prudent to keep a player that can play multiple positions than one who cannot. like i said in my other post, what a joke playing markakas at first base. even if it is for a couple games.

Jeff, is it fair to say Buck is only this blunt with "fringe" guys like Bergy, Tillman and Fox?

Seems to me he hasn't said a harsh word all season about Lee, Markakis, et al regarding their wasting of offensive opportunities. Even when he spoke out about Reynolds a few weeks back, it was not near as harsh or blunt as his statements about Fox, Tillman and Bergesen

Jeff Z's reply: I think he's less likely to call out a veteran, that's for sure. But he has been pretty blunt about Luke on occasion and he also was very clear in talking about how concerned that he was about Gregg's mounting walk totals.

All Buck did from day one of spring training was lay the groundwork for the dismissal of Jake Fox.
But Fox made it awfully tough on Buck by not only hitting those 10 homers, but also several other extra-base hits and to a lofty average. Buck would have looked borderline foolish cutting him.
Anyone paying attention knows that there is something personal the manager doesn't like about Fox.
It perhaps came to a head when Jake swung at a 3-0 pitch late in a spring game in which the O's had a pretty good lead. Alcoholic Jim Leland yelled at Fox for that and, instead of defending his player as he should have done (it was a spring game for God's sake) Showalter agreed with Leland. I think that's one of the more overt examples of Buck being a real A-hole sometimes, and that was one of those times.
It's a manager's job to put players in situations in which they are more likely to succeed and Buck has failed to do that with Fox on occasion after occasion.
This has been particularly true in cases involving Luke Scott being left in to bat against tough lefties. He not only failed to put Fox in a position to succeed but also forced Scott to endure situations in which he had little or no chance to succeed.
I almost hope that Fox gets picked up by Tampa.
Joe Maddon not only manages circles around Showalter already, but would likely conduct a managing clinic with Jake Fox that will embarass Buck and expose him for the prejudiced jerk he can be sometimes.
Anyone knows that NO player does any team any good just sitting on the bench. Showalter certainly knows it as well.
That's why it's painfully obvious that it has been Buck's choice all season long not to start or to insert Fox in the countless situations that have would have been appropriate and possibly beneficial to everyone to do so.
I think we're losing a real good utility guy and team player who has earned a decent chance but because of personal prejudice on the part of the manager, never got one.... and that's a damned shame.

He had two sit for two months because he was the "backup catcher" and needed to be saved in case Weiters got hurt. So he was already rusty by the time he got any PT.
He can play third, even though he hasn't gotten any starts over "Mendoza Line" Reynolds. He's better defensively then Scott at first. He ain't no worse than any of those other clowns in left, AND he can catch. I take issue with this move and I think it is going to bite us in the tush.

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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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