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July 29, 2011

Clock is ticking on Orioles chances to make a move

Oriole officials have been mostly mum with the non-waiver trade deadline looming Sunday afternoon. However, nothing has really changed about the club’s position.

They have heard from teams with interest in several different players, but the main guys that they are discussing are starter Jeremy Guthrie, reliever Koji Uehara, and to a much lesser extent, first baseman Derrek Lee.

I would think that if another team is interested in Lee and is willing to absorb a good portion of the approximate $2.5 million that he has left on his one-year contract, the Orioles would be happy to give the veteran another chance to go the playoffs for little more than a low-level prospect or two. If that happens, I would suspect that the Orioles would give Mark Reynolds an extended look at first base to see if he could be an option there next season.

The Pittsburgh Pirates and Arizona Diamondbacks seem like logical fits for Lee, and they both had scouts watching the Orioles-Blue Jays over the past three days
As for Guthrie and Uehara, Orioles President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail spoke with his manager, Buck Showalter, for a while yesterday to fill him in on some different trade possibilities. MacPhail is expected to do the same with owner Peter Angelos either today or tomorrow.

The expectation of people around the club is that the Orioles will likely make at least one move, and Uehara is the most likely to go. Even with how dominant that he has been this year, there are legitimate concerns about Uehara’s health and durability. The Pirates, Diamondbacks, Texas Rangers, Philadelphia Phillies and Detroit Tigers could all be fits there, and all those teams have had scouts around the Orioles in recent series.

The Orioles lost a potential suitor for Guthrie when the St. Louis Cardinals acquired Edwin Jackson. But I’m told the Tigers and Cleveland Indians have talked to the Orioles about Guthrie, while the Rangers, Cincinnati Reds, Boston Red Sox and New York Yankees remain on the periphery as potential suitors. It will be interesting to see how Guthrie fares tonight, and what teams are there watching him at Yankee Stadium. Guthrie hasn’t faced the Yankees this season, but he’s 3-9 with a 5.46 ERA in 16 career outings against them.

One game probably isn’t going to determine Guthrie’s fate, but it certainly won’t help MacPhail’s desire to extract that extra piece from a contender that he’s been holding out for if the right-hander gets knocked around.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:30 AM | | Comments (45)


I live in the Pittsburgh market area and follow them closely, and I can report that there has been no mention of Derrek Lee in the local papers or on radio. Professional sports writers and talkers don't necessarily know everything ( gasp! ), but it's unusual for a trade to take everyone by surprise. And why would they want Lee? They acquired Lyle Overbay this year with much the same reasoning as the O's had with Lee, and have gotten similar results. It's true that Lee might come alive these next two months, but so could Overbay. O's fans should not waste their time researching the Pirates' single-A roster for possible trade pieces.

Keep Derrek Lee. I'd rather get nobody than a couple of A-ball bums. We simply MUST finally send the message out that we no longer give players away.

Lee has very respectable stats since the all-star break, is outstanding defensively, is known as a second half hitter, and knows the National League pitchers. How does all this warrant his being a charity case?

Give us a real prospect - highly unlikely, to be sure - or let's just keep him and try to win a few more games than we otherwise would have .

So, we have confirmed MacPhail is aware of the trade deadline? That is a start.

Hey Jeff. I know it has to be hard covering this team day in and day out when they are playing so badly. I give you and everyone else that covers this team a lot of credit. Eventually (even if its some where else) you will get to have som fun while covering a winning team.

As far as the trade deadline the only player I have any interest in the Orioles acquiring probably isn't even available. I have heard the name of Yonder Alonso thrown around. The Reds AAA team has him in LF because his natural 1B is blocked by Joey Votto. But even if he was available the Orioles would try to land more unproven pitching. More and more it seems like trading for the sake of trading. I don't want just bodies. If they can't get anyone just keep what you have.

Would I like them to make some "quality" deals? Of course. Can they afford to trade anyone IMO no. They don't have a complete rotation with Guthrie. With the talk of Johnson getting some starts and if Koji is traded no lead will be safe. Good thing they never have a lead...whatever. Either way this whole situation is really pathetic.

I put the you,Guthrie,fans and some others and myself in the same boat. We all deserve better.

Clock is also ticking on the end of the season as well. I wish it ended tomorrow.I know you are busy with the trade talk now jeff but i hope that email you sent me earlier in the year just wasn't lip service.


Isn't it kind of sad that we started talking about 2012 before the All Star break again this year? It wears on the fans and I can only imagine how it wears on you, Dan and Pete who cover the team on a daily basis. In your opinion, aren't we already talking about 2013 or beyond? Is there any possible way that the Orioles can put a competitive season together next year?

Seriously, shut up about the deadline. You seem to want the Orioles to make a move so badly it hurts.

There's nothing wrong with standing pat this year, we're not due to lose anyone important to an expiring contract. We can't afford to lose any arms considering we keep using spot starters from aaa and non-roster invites. Dealing koji does more harm than good, you can wave goodbye to the exposure from the Japanese media and the subsequent revenue that's created by having a Japanese star.

How about trading GMs!

Great article, Jeff. I haven't heard anything about Roberts lately (in the past few days). Is he essentially finished for the season? Do you think that upper management realizes he can't be counted on and should look for a viable replacement?

Jeff Z"s reply: Nothing new. He's gotten some migraines recently, but he's still working out. Some good days, some bad. Too early to count him out for the season but yes, I think the Orioles brass knows it's going to be very hard to count on him going forward.

I'm tired of AM's tight-lipped demeanor and his pretense that the Orioles are a big league organization. Their record screams louder to drown out his nostrums.

the orioles might as well keep gutherie and uhara becasuse teams will not give up what the orioles so desperately need. i predict the yankees will sweep the orioles this weekend. the orioles are so mentally whipped they really don't care. we see and read a buch of garbage about how hard they try. just flat out balonie.

Is anyone running this club right now ? Everyone is out to lunch...

I think we rush our guys through the minors too quickly. Check out the farm teams of a lot of winning clubs, it appears that unless you are a star, guys are not reaching the majors until they are around 25. The O's promote guys based on talent alone & don’t give them a chance to stay on one level at a time to harness their skills & develop a complete game. I think they do it to sell tickets, they won’t commit to quality FA's anymore so they sell the fans on these prospects that are NOT ready to try to stir up interest. I believe the entire cavalry is a victim of being rushed for the orgs financial benefit. Britton should have spent this entire season in AAA. Winning orgs allow their guys time to progress, then call them up when there is no doubt if they are ready for the next level. We have hampered the development of the cavalry by sending them up down up down up down up down….these guys are very talented & are indeed legitimate prospects but they are/were not ready. You have let prospects marinate in the minors & only pull them up level to level when you are certain they are cooked correctly.

Absolutely disagree with trading Koji. Need t okeep good relievers. His health is not as much a concern as the fact the other relievers stink.

As good as he can be and has been this year, you've got to strike while the iron is hot and right now Uehara is as good as he's been since he's been with the team. Might as well trade him for some other pieces while his trade value is as high as it's going to get. It doesn't do us a ton of good to have a shut-down late-innings reliever when our starters rarely give a lead to the bullpen to protect. Got to continue to build and should trade the pieces that other teams want, because it doesn't look like there's a surplus of talent waiting in our minor league system available to help any time soon.

I say put the whole team on the trading block no exceptions, Baltimore needs players, they have too many players that are not consistant in doing anything they all hit in the same game and they all slump in the same game but I guess that is being consistent in a way but the problem is they have too many days they don't hit! one question is weiters ever going to stop hitting ground balls! HELP

"MacPhail is expected to do the same with owner Peter Angelos either today or tomorrow. "

Yeah, he has to go see Angelos to get permission to use the bathroom as well. Nothing has changed. Angelos take whatever MacPhail recommends under advisement, the trade deadline will be missed and we'll be left with trying to pass guys through waivers.


In other words, your happy with things in 2011, and would be happier to see a repeat in 2012? You are more worried about the Japanese money?


Since the losing streak began, the Os have dumped many veterans at the trade dead lines. The only 2 decent players they have obtained in such deals were B.J. Ryan and Melvin Mora. I pay to see major league players. September tickets cost the same as May tickets. What is the difference between keeping Lee and letting him go for nothing at the end of the year or trading him now for 2 worthless career minor leaguers.

Why not play form here on out to get to first place (in the draft)? Let Vlad & D Lee go for a couple gift cards from Borders. Keep Koji since he's not going to yield anything decent and he's not going to cost that much next year. And, accept that Guthrie is just not worth that much in trade either. And he's good for at least seven more losses this year.

Koji's value has never been higher and never will be again. He has been superb and healthy this year. Yes he is cheap next year, and we shouldn't give him away, but if we can get fair value (e.g. a prospect or two), make the deal. We're not going to the playoffs next year either and he won't help us beyond that. As for Guts, I wouldn't give him away. He's still reasonably young, stays in terrific shape and eats innings. Lee, Vlad, get what you can either now or by August 31. We're not getting any compensatory picks for them when they leave as free agents, so even minor league depth would be something. Otherwise we will get nothing as neither will be back next year and neither added much this year (although Lee certainly has been better than Vlad).


I had a crazy though--as I usually do before 12 noon occasionally. The Jays have incredible amounts of talent on the offensive side. I think they may be building to offer Bautista for much pitching. Now, I know it's a pipe dream...I have a few of those as well throughout the, but what if...we were to offer Matusz, Arrietta, Johnson, Erbe & Simon for Bautista, if they do this. Even without him, they are there with Boston & NY.

Your thoughts...Not only about us but do you think they may be thinking this?


@fang: How do you know the trade would involve "A-ball bums?" You're so much of an expert that you can already predict players in A ball will be bums? Look in the mirror and ask yourself exactly what have the O's got from Derrick Lee this season, especially since he's going to leave in two months and sign elsewhere? I'd take the chance on getting a couple (as you say) A-ball bums than an old, aging player who is batting .240.

Sure glad Angelos nixed trading Roberts and picking the X Yankee for a manager. Brilliant ! He DOES know hoe to sue, that's for sure.

Can we trade Peter Angelos for Mark Cuban??? PLEASE!!!

I would really like Andy to bust a move or two by Sunday. It's sad that the O's lack legitmate trading chips. Vlad, Derrick Lee, Pie, Guthrie have all declined in value. It's ashame that the new blood this team promotes from the minors or aquires via free agency all get caught up in the stigma that has paralyzed this team for 14 years. When does Andy leave so we can start from scratch again?

Picking up on the theme of TimC1978's comment, I think the key to this team getting better is either getting a healthy Brian Roberts or finding a viable replacement. I have no idea what the numbers say, but I bet the win/loss record is significantly better when he is healthy and starting vs when he is on the DL and unfortunately it seems he is there more often than not lately.

Lee's $2.5M could be used towards signing Bundy, in which case do it!

This week Zach Wheeler was traded for Beltran.

Question: Who are these guys ? or IOW, What do they have in common ??

Zach Wheeler, Mike Minor, Mike Leake, Jacob Turner, Drew Storen, Aaron Crow,
Shelby Miller, Mike Trout


I know baseball is a game of what if, so with that being said, the O's need to be very careful in trading Koji. George was awesome and in gear when they traded him for Bell and Johnson. Bell hasn't shown he's good with the bat or the glove. If you look deeper into that, we signed Gonzo to be the closer which was a waste and Gregg which is suspect all because we traded George for Bell? The O's aren't very good at judging talent in a trade or free agency, so with JJ being groomed for the rotation, no Koji means the O's will have to sign free agents for the BP which has been a nightmare since the Flanny regime.

I see where Peter Angelos just gave the University of Baltimore School of Law ten million dollars to name a new building after his parents. Seems as if the old man has money to pi** up a tree, except when it comes to his baseball team. I have an idea. Rename the team the Baltimore Angeloses and I'll bet the great class action litigator would shell out enough money for Prince Fielder and two front line starters. The new logo on the front of the uniforms could be the scales of justice.

Everyone wants to dump players mid-season & I'd be all for it if we ever got anything in return. We made what 15 moves (+/-) over past 12-15 years and have WHAT to show for it. There is NO one on our ML roster and NO top prospects that came from these moves. Either our minor league scouts are completely inept OR these were never trades in the first place rather they were disguised salary dumps. Obviously we shd have no untouchables but it would be nice to finally get something in return!!

I still think we should keep Koji til the end of the year, then let him go as a free agent and get a compensatory pick in next year's draft. A draft pick at the end of the first round (if I understand the process correctly) would probably be better than the stiffs we'd get in return in a trade.

Trading Guthrie is very risky at this time considering the state of the starting pitching staff. Since Guthrie and Koji want to stay, I assume it would take a really good offer to give them up. There would have to be an immediate return of something the team needs. Both players are fan favorites.

Mark Reynolds at 1B next season? Are they kidding? Can't the club do better than look forward to a .220 hitter (if they're lucky), particularly one who doesn't smack 40 HRs and hasn't shown the ability to play the infield?

You're probably right, johnny c. Jeremy had 7 losses in Apr-May with a 3.24 era and 7 losses in June-July with a 5.6 era, so he probably will get 7 more no matter what his era is. So what does it matter how he pitches. We might as well throw AM instead.

I agree with terpfan. We need prospects and compensatory picks so unload all the veterans we can, possibly including Guthrie if we can get good value in return. Before next year's draft, however, dump ALL the people who have been selecting our draft picks. We have not been competitive in that area for a decade or more, and need the best people in scouting and player development that money can buy.

Guerrero is killing us! He is a doubeplay machine and a rally killer. Just release him, he is washed up.
Also, give Roberts the rest of the year off and call up Adams. Play him every day at second and make Andino a utility player where he is better suited..

I like these trades:

Angelos for Cuban sounds really good.

McFail for a scout to be named later.

The Stockstill Brothers for 3 interns.

Joe Jordan for Syd Thrift's urn. Just a momento for times past.

Flanagan for a broadcasting school 2012 graduate.

McFail's nephew for George Steinbrenner's cousins' son.

hitting into doubleplays
Nick 14
DLee 13
Adam 12
VLad 11
Wieters 10

Here's my solution:

Trade Guthrie to Detroit for LF/2B/RF-Ryan Rayburn & LF-Andy Dirks.

Trade Gregg to Texas for 1B/3B-Chris Davis & OF-Chris Gentry.

Trade 3B-Mark Reynolds & SP-Brian Matusz & JJ to Pittsburgh for 3B-Pedro Alvarez, RP-Veres & OF-Tabata

Trade Koji to Boston for 1B-Lars Anderson

Possible Offseason targets (trades or fa):
OF-Francoeur (finally)
SP-Bud Norris
SP-Kyle Kendrick

Also: I'd offer Machado to SD for two of their RP's.

I know...another pipe dream, only this time it is at 4am.


If we trade Koji and start JJ, are we assuming that our starters will now last eight innings?

I.m for keeping Uehara and Guthrie, I don;t think any club will give us what these two are worth. Anyone we get will never prosper in the Oriole system anyhow. We have poor scouting, and poor coaching on the developmental levels. Look at the players we have had that never full-filled their potential until traded to another club. That's a lengthy list. Keep what we have and add to them next year. Maybe we can again hope for a .500 year.

"Question: Who are these guys ? or IOW, What do they have in common ??

Zach Wheeler, Mike Minor, Mike Leake, Jacob Turner, Drew Storen, Aaron Crow,
Shelby Miller, Mike Trout"

- They were all drafted in the first round of the 2009 MLB Draft, selected after Matt Hobgood. And if they aren't helping their major league team's already, they will be by Opening Day 2012.

Our scouting department gets an "F" over the last 10 years. First of all we have the least amount of scouts in MLB. As OBAMA says, Time for CHANGE except lets do it in a positive way

And once again it all boils down to:

"Mr. Angelos, I have these deals in the works, may I pretty please make this trade, Sir?"

"I am currently busy with being a lawyer, I'll get back to you within a few days."

"B..but Sir, the trade deadline is this Sunday."

"How dare you tell me what my schedule is. You will know my answer when I am ready to give it to you, one more outburst like that and I will fire you."

"Sorry Sir."

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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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