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July 25, 2011

Orioles news, notes and opinions: List of needs growing, Markakis, 2012 schedule, Bundy Bros., etc

Here should be a sobering thought for Oriole fans: The organization could go into this offseason with even more holes than the past couple of offseasons. Things could obviously change if the Orioles make a couple of trades before the July 31 deadline, but as things stand, the club may need two starting pitchers, a couple of late-game relievers (assuming Jim Johnson is put in the rotation and Koji Uehara does not return), a power-hitting first baseman, a second baseman (it would be a stretch to count on Brian Roberts right now), a left fielder (Nolan Reimold could have something to say about this) and possibly a DH (Luke Scott is a prime non-tender candidate). That’s going to be quite a challenge, and all the more reason that the Orioles’ front office situation better be settled not long after this season ends. If Andy MacPhail does not return in his current capacity – and I’ve said several times that I’d be surprised if he did – the new general manager is going to have to hit the ground running.

I continue to get emails and read in other places about why the Orioles should trade outfielder Nick Markakis before the July 31 deadline. I don’t object to the philosophy of trading him per say, but it’s just not realistic to do it right now. Markakis still has $44 million guaranteed on his contract over the next three seasons. With Markakis In the midst of another uneven and disappointing season in several facets, there is little to no chance that another team will be willing to both absorb his contract and give you enough value in return to warrant a deal.

Let me preface this note by saying it’s subject to change and it occasionally does: the 2012 schedule won’t be finalized until September at the earliest. However, the tentative one has the Orioles playing home interleague series against the Washington Nationals, Milwaukee Brewers and Philadelphia Phillies, and road ones against the Nationals, Florida Marlins and New York Mets. The Orioles are also expected to open up the season at Camden Yards for the first time in three years. Before you ask, I don’t know the opponent.

We’ll have plenty of time to talk about potential Orioles’ free agent targets once the offseason begins, but here’s a name that I bet we’ll see connected to the Orioles once or twice this offseason: Minnesota Twins first baseman/outfielder Michael Cuddyer. He’s a .340 career hitter at Camden Yards (yes I understand that’s against Orioles pitching), he has averaged 22 homers and 91 RBIs over the previous four seasons in which he’s played 140 or more games, he’s a great clubhouse guy who grew up in Virginia, and he’ll be a lot more attainable than Prince Fielder or Albert Pujols. The Twins may re-sign him for all I know, but it certainly wouldn’t surprise me if he’s an Orioles target if he hits free agency.

This has been written before, but it’s an amazing stat that deserves to be mentioned again. Koji Uehara currently has a career strikeout-to-walk ratio of 6.48. Let me put that in context for you: It’s the best career ratio since 1890 for any pitcher who has logged a minimum of 150 innings.

I think we can all put to rest the notion that young catcher Matt Wieters is too mild-mannered to be a team leader. That tongue-lashing that he gave home plate umpire Todd Tichenor yesterday after the called third strike with Markakis on third base was both well-deserved in Tichenor’s case, and good to see. I’m sure Wieters was none too pleased that he got the bat taken out of his hands on a pitch at his shins, but I’m also quite confident that the catcher was sticking up for his starter Jeremy Guthrie, who he didn’t feel was receiving the same benefit of the doubt as the Angels pitcher
Much of the talk for the next four weeks or so will be on Dylan Bundy, the Orioles top pick in the 2011 draft who has to be signed by Aug. 15 or the club loses his rights. However, before the end of the season, I fully expect Dylan’s older brother, Bobby, currently a pitcher for Single-A Frederick, to have his well-deserved moment in the sun at Camden Yards. Bundy has emerged as the clear favorite to win the Jim Palmer Award as the organization’s top minor league pitcher. Bundy threw another gem last night for the Keys, throwing seven innings, allowing just one unearned run, two hits and no walks while striking out six. The 21-year-old right-hander, who was drafted in the eighth round in 2008, is now 10-5 with a 2.92 ERA in 19 starts for the Keys. He’s allowed 99 hits and 30 walks while striking out 97 in 114 innings. If you are looking at prospects who have really made strides this year, Bundy has to be on top of that list.

Posted by Jeff Zrebiec at 6:30 AM | | Comments (51)


If you look at all the Orioles minor league teams,most are near the bottom in their league.Look how Tampa Bay can bring in player after player to the big leagues and they have instant success.Now look at the Orioles.Pitchers cannot pitch,hitters cannot hit,fielders cannot field,scouts cannot scout,and the GM Andy McFailure is probably the worst Gm ever in baseball.No one could have done worse even if he tried.I cannot stand to listen to or watch these bunch of losers!

Good article Jeff

The O's are going to have a lot of holes, but I'm interested in seeing what the young guns can do--Reimold, Mahoney, and Davis in particular if they are given the shot. I think Mahoney can be a consistent 20 hr/season guy if they give him the chance, and if Townsend can stay healthy, he looks like he has bigtime power.

Trading Markakis would not be very smart. There is no one in the organization to replace him at this point, and again, no one would flip a player who has the potential to be like Markakis and take on Markakis' contract. It seems more and more like teams should go with youth from their own system in the outfield rather than sing a guy to a big contract or trade for a veteran outfielder.

Jeff Z's reply: I see Bundy more as a 2013 guy, but who knows, he's made very good strides this year and the Orioles obviously aren't shy about promoting young pitchers.

Do you think Bobby Bundy could force his way ontot the rotation next year? Seems to me that he should be moved up to AA fairly soon.

MacPhail has failed in some regards, but he has given the org some much needed structure. I think the club needs to set a plan & stick to it. We seem to change philosophies every 3-4 years. Rebuilding is a long process, we need to set a plan & stick with it for 7 yrs plus. As Gillick said the other day, rebuilding is a painful & without a salary cap painful process. We are only delaying things by changing the plan every couple of years. If they hire Hart, no matter how bad things are for the first couple of seasons, we need to stay the course for once....

Here's to hoping the Britton's & Bundy's can save this franchise !

Another thing,,,if the O's are going to hire a new GM, why not get the new guy here now. We are in a position to trade some guys for chips, perhaps those prospects should be selected by the new GM....crazy thought right ? The new GM would probably want these guys to fit his/her organizational philosophy. Common sense doenst come easy around here though...

Thank you Jeff for the updates. Great Monday morning read.

Hopefully Bobby Bundy can talk some sense into his brother. Great to hear that Bobby has really made strides. Lets get these brothers playing some ball for the O's for years to come.

Just my two sense.
I am against the Michael Cuddyer unless its for a 2 year contract. Signing him to anything more will be another bad signing as he is 32 and injury prone. If anything he should serve as a stopgap till we can try to groom our own first basemen.

Is their any young 1B prospects that we can try to pry from another team?

Jeff Z's reply: Of the teams who have come up with regards to interest in Guthrie or Koji, you have Strieby from the Tigers organization, and Chris Davis from Texas. But both those guys are 25 and 26 years old I think. Obviously, one promising name is Yonder Alonso from Cincy, but I don't know if the Reds have any interest in trading him and I'm not sure if they retain any legit interest in guys like Koji or Guthrie either way.

Jeff, I agree with you that they should be looking for a first baseman, second baseman and left fielder. There is no one playing 1B in the entire system that will be ready in the next two years to be a major league first baseman. One of the questions never answered when the Orioles selected Roberts over Jerry H. was his durability. Brian has been one of the best but he is definitely having problems staying on the field. On another subject, Mark Reynolds is very preplexing. I have never seen a power hitter miss so many fastballs. What's up with that? Can he see?

As your post implies, the Orioles are going to be bad in 2012 unless several of their prospects suddenly see the light. In this context, I hope the Orioles are very creative and flexible about the moves they make now and for the next 14 months, with an eye towards 2013. Of course this is going to enrage the very grumpy Orioles fanbase that posts on this board (hey, man, I'm tired of it too, but whining about a need for "accountability" and "action" isn't going to do anything: they need ideas and luck at this point). Signing a guy like Cuddyer so you can have pseudo-respectability on the field is fine, but I feel like the Orioles have to go all in with the rebuilding effort. This means trade trade trade, be wise about getting draft picks (in quantity), and don't settle for small victories (Bergesen in '09, Reimold in '09 and now, Hardy, etc.)


Your opening remarks really are a sad commentary on Andy Macphail's time in Baltimore. Potentially more holes in 2012 than this year's team, which demonstrates that the organization wasted four years while Andy dithered, dodged and procrastinated, and failed to make any measurable progress. To make matters worse, he will leave behind the legacy of a farm system devoid of imminently promotable position players, and a failed scouting and player development effort at all levels. The next GM needs to hit the ground running with his hair on fire. What a mess he will inherit.

Jeff--Excellent job of reporting and analysis.


What makes Cuddyer "more attainable" than Fielder or Pujols? Is there more than one Michael Cuddyer? Are there more than 29 other teams that will be interested in Fielder and Pujols?

I think what you meant to say, Jeff, is that Cuddyer will be "more easily attainable" than Fielder or Pujols. Or that Cuddyer will be "less expensive" than Fielder of Pujols. Because that's what the Orioles of the past 13 years are all about, right? Easy and cheap. Heck, I wouldn't be surprised if Angelos's opening statement to each of his GM's over the past decade or so was, "If it ain't easy and cheap, don't do it. That's all I have to say."

Easy and cheap! The new Oriole way!

What a sad state of a affairs...

Jeff Z's reply: You are right on both counts.

I would strongly suggest they pencil Reynolds in at DH for next year and find an upgrade defensively at 3B

Jeff, you do a fine job of eloquently writing about crap. Couple questions: 1. Next year, isnt the deadline to sign draft picks a month or so earlier?

2. We always read about so and so being an Oriole killer (seems like the whole league is). Any chance of a piece on a position by position look at MLB regulars who actually suck against the Os? Like a Hall Of Shame?


Jeff Z's reply: Thanks Cush. That was an eloquent way to give a compliment. Anyway, in answering your first question, that is one of the things expected to change in the new CBA, but it's not finalized yet. However, there is a lot of talk that the deadline will be July 15. As for your second question, that is an interesting thought. Let me get through the trade deadline here and the whole Bundy negotiations and I'll look into that.

I would love to give DAVIS from texas a chance.. HE has not excelled the times the rangers brought him up but he is too good for AAA.. MAYBE a late bloomer in the majors, like werner or gonzalez. HE OR ALONZO would alsO be in the DH or LF MIX. I think DRAKE also made huge strides at frederick and even outpitching BUNDY at times. I JUST PRAY WE HAVE TWO BUNDYS next year or this draft will be a total failure as far as I am concerned.. It was irresponsible for Jordan to state a few months ago the orioles wouldn't be setting any records with bundys offer, when you commit your money to the draft not international you have to pay whatever it takes to sign talent as high as BUNDY. I could almost wait if they added a DAVIS, AND GOLDSCHMIDT OR ALONZO to see how they perform if they put the fielder money into pitching and or LF/2B.. IF ROBERTS COULD PLAY 2B fine or DH him.

The O's farm system is not a complete waste: Bowie and Frederick are doing very well. And I don't know whether the top brass has decided to stop babying the pitchers, but there have been a lot of 7,8 and 9 inning games by the starters at these two levels in the last 45 days.

Here a look at 2013:
2B Miclat (he is a clone of Roberts - 35 SB w/o one CS) will hit high 200's, steal bases and field well. They moved Hoes to the OF, so I believe Miclat is the man.
1B Mahoney - he will hit for power and average and is a decent fielder. By the way, he hit really well in spring training. If it was me, and they don't get Fielder, then I would look hard at Mahoney for next year. Another 1B I remember skipped AAA.
LF Avery - he has really heated up at Bowie and lot's of speed. Hoes is hitting well also and it will be a race to the majors between the two.
Starting pitching is strong at both AA and High A levels and as I said it appears that they are challenging them. Hopefully, some of these SP will make the bullpen stronger.
All of the above have taken about half a season to catch up to the next level and then they excell. So it's not time to hit the panic button yet.

Call it what it is. McFail has failed, so the first thing to do is to hire a new G.M.. The new guy shouldn't be in love with players who are 35 years old, washed up, and overpriced. He should also have an intense dislike for any minor league player past the age of 25. He should be able to hire coaches that can coach and a manager that can help the team win.

I see the situation much differently than most of you, apparently.
I believe the Orioles have several players in their system at multi levels who are or can be potential big leaguers
Any time an organization tries to develop players, a very large factor in that proposition is patience.

Because of needs at the big league level either because of injuries or failure on the parts of players themselves to live up to their abilities or possess abilities to begin with, the Orioles have been put into situations where they have had to accelerate the progression of certain players... especially pitchers.... in order to fill holes at the major league level. Of course, if they try to sign middle-of-the-road to low end players to fill these holes, they get criticized.
If they rush a youngster to the big leagues before he's ready, they get criticized for that as well.

I think the Orioles have some potentially solid major league players in their system right now..... probably more than they've had at any time during this 14-year below .500 drought.

However, we as fans must extend our patience beyond those 14 years and the people who run this organization must do the same, for the development of players is a very individual thing which must, in every case, be allowed to play itself out.
Some players can step up to the plate and become major league hitters the moment they get the chance. Some can't.... but that doesn't mean they won't.

Look at the current home run leader, Jose Bautista. How many organizations let him slip away from them ? Can they all be that stupid ? Surely if any of them saw the potential in that guy, they'd have kept him around longer. It just goes to show that even the "experts" can't always accurately predict a player's potential.

Baseball is a beautiful game but only a few out of all who try can realize consistent success at the big league level.

The Orioles have had their share over the years. Brooks Robinson, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray, Dave McNally, Cal Ripken, Jr..... and before the injuries set in..... Brian Roberts.

Before the Orioles traded for Mike Cuellar after 1968, he was a typical journeyman pitcher who had no set identity as a starter or a reliever. The Orioles noticed his low ERA with the Astros and wanted him in spite of his losing WL record. The rest is history.
Cuellar went on to multiple 20-win seasons including a CY Young.

People forget that after he became the youngest pitcher ever to throw a shutout in WS history, Jim Palmer spent a very unproductive as well as uncertain 1967 DL'ed and rehabbing a bad back. No one could figure out the problem until finally a doctor discovered he had one leg slightly longer than the other and it was throwing his whole delivery off balance. A new pair of special shoes later, and we had a Hall-of-Famer with multiple Cy Youngs.

Two years ago, I advocated trading Adam Jones. I think a lot of people here did too. Nobody thought he'd ever develop any plate discipline. Well..... we were wrong. He's gotten better every year..... and I honestly believe he's a future HOF'er. Some guys just take awhile.


I think Andy McPhail has done a terrific job during his time here. The Orioles have MANY potential major league players in their system RIGHT NOW.
But they're not going to all suddenly move up to the big league club and make an immediate impact.
Let's have the patience to wait a bit longer. I think some of these guys will not only be solid ML players, but will also be plentiful enough within our system for us to be able reach out to other organizations and make strengthening trades to finally achieve that personnel balance needed to become a winner.

It's "per se" not "per say." C'mon man

Thanks for the updates. Had a chance to go watch Bundy's start last night over at Harry Grove. A very strong start, as you mentioned, and it would have been seven shutout but for a passed ball by catcher Justin Dalles.

On the stadium gun, he was pretty consistently around 88-91 with his fastball but ramped it up to 94 on a 2-2 pitch to strike out one of the Pelicans. Showed good sink on his fastball and located it pretty well. His change and slider looked pretty sharp as well, and he got a lot of early outs (eight of them on one or two pitches) inducing poor contact with his offspeed stuff.

He flashed a mid-70s curve in warmups but didn't go to it but once or twice in game action. Mound presence was very strong and he even made a great hustle play on a grounder that Mike Flacco kicked over at first -- Bundy was hustling over to cover and picked up the booted ball and stepped on the bag just in time to retire the runner.

All that said, with his frame already pretty much filled out his velo is probably topped out where he is. I think his ceiling is on the level of someone like Bergesen, but he actually reminds me a great deal of Chorye Spoone pre-injury.

On the hitting side, from what I gathered it's going to be some time before we see either Machado or Schoop. The book on them is very clearly "do not throw them a fastball" and they both struggled to adjust to the fine changeup showed by Pelicans starter Miguel de los Santos. Schoop was also picked off once fairly easily, though Machado had a pretty easy steal of second early in the game.

Overall, a good crop of guys down there at high-A. They're now 22 games over .500 after already having won the Carolina League's First Half and the groundwork is being laid.

Regarding Cereal Blogger's comments that we don't need another plan, I agree, but we need a GM (and scouts and coaches) who know WHICH arms to grow and WHOSE bats to buy. Ever since the departure of Gillick, we have watched a long parade of visionless and overmatched GMs come through. Andy McPhail has a vision but he has not matched that with the talent to spot and develop talent. His record speaks for itself--our farm system is just as depleted of major league prospects as when he got here, and our major league team has just as many holes as ever. He had 4+ years to rectify that and has not done so. New plan? No. New people to implement the plan? Yes!

To the poster who said the farm teams are doing so badly..Have you checked lately? The Bowie team has been on a real good streak and above .500 almost the whole year. Frederick has been burning and has the best record in the system. Del-Mar-Va has been hanging around .500 all year too. Aberdeen got off to a bad start, but since we have been sending some of our 2011 draftees there thay have been better than .500. Sarasota is leading their division. Geez..wasn't it just a few yrs ago the system was 100 games BELOW .500 on the year??

I have no problem with letting Adams play everyday, but the bottom line is there is no reason to watch Davis of Andino play instead of Izturis. Andino is an OK utility guy, Davis is a not so good utility guy, it is difficult to argue we need to see either play, especially because with Andino we already know exactly what he is. A guy who can come off the bench and be OK.

So we're stuck with interleague play for another year. Why? And why a series against the Brewers (NL Central) and then the rest against the NL East? As usual, the interleague schedule makes no sense. And whose idea was it to play 18 interleague games, detracting from the pennant races and distorting the intra-league schedule? What will it take to end this "experiment"?
On another topic, the Orioles have not developed a major-league first baseman since 1977. How is that possible? I can't imagine any other franchise has a record of futility like that. I have been a season ticket holder since 1984, and I'll probably renew, but it's getting harder and harder to justify going to the games.

oriole1952 --

I agree with you's been exciting for me to keep track of the young guys and how they're progressing, and it's great to see them play winning baseball and get into the habit of being good.

I think a lot of guys in our system have been promoted too quickly, largely because the fan base has been so impatient. And truthfully, I don't blame the fan base one bit for their lack of patience -- fourteen years of crap will do that to you and I think after the first ten people expected MacPhail to come in right off the bat and deliver results.

The other huge mistake was declaring (again because of fan pressure) that 2010 was about wins and losses to a group that simply was not ready yet. Again, I don't blame the fans, because they had every right to scream and holler. But their anger is misdirected when they put it at the feet of MacPhail. Getting rid of him is not going to help the fact that the man on top is simply not willing to invest the funds necessary to beef up the Orioles' presence in several areas that everyone has mentioned repeatedly.

The fact is, if MacPhail had been doing all along what everyone has been asking him to do (which is essentially what Beattie and Flanagan did, overpay for free agents like Tejada, Lopez, etc.), the team would be a bit closer to .500 but much farther away from ever being taken seriously.

I don't know about the rest of you, but I don't care about third place. It's no better for me than fifth unless it comes with that extra wild card spot. MacPhail has not raised the W-L record in the immediate sense, but he has raised the ceiling, just like Rays management raised their ceiling through years and years of losing while acquiring top-end talent. And they made mistakes too (witness guys like Dewon Brazelton). I choose patience because frankly, I don't really care about going 78-84 for the next ten years.

Thanks for keeping us in the loop.
I still really enjoy Interleague games and the chance to see all the different stars that ply their trade in the Senior Circuit. With Pujols on the DL the home Interleague this year not so great but next year should be fun when the Phillies come to town. I am still a little surprised that the O's didn't bust out some old school St. Louis Browns throwbacks when the Cards came to town.
The old Browns logo had mighty St. Louis himself in full battle mode atop a mean looking military horse - very cool looking! I guess a guy crusading to slay the infidels is no longer an appropriate image for a sports team...

Can anybody give me a good reason why (regardless of who's in the GM's seat next season) why we should even entertain the idea of repeating the way 2011 was approached? There is no need for going the Derrek Lee & Vlad Guerrero route a 2nd time around. It's time to bring players up from AA & AAA who have the potential to be our future stars. While we're at it, let's jettison Cesar Izturis, Mark Hendrickson, and Felix Pie. We've seen everything they have and they're not even role players on a championship caliber squad-- honestly, can you see any of them even being productive bench players for Boston, New York, or Philly?

We must aim higher. As soon as we can move Vlad & DLee, the lineup should have Wieters, Davis or Adams, Hardy, Reynolds, Bell, Markakis, Jones, and Reimold playing everyday. Let's find out what they can do together and make some decisions about who has the potential to grow, learn, and improve moving forward. Andino needs to take root on the bench and the O's need to treat the rest of this season as super-extended Spring Training for 2012.

If Guthrie stays, great -- if he doesn't, the rotation should be stocked with youngsters -- Britton, Arrieta, Patton, Johnson, Atkins, and Tillman. March out a 6-man rotation to give these guys exposure but not wear them out. Have a team sit-down with every starter and let them know they go 5 innings every start no matter what. Tell them you're not concerned if they give up 1 run, 5 runs, or 10 runs-- this is about learning how to pitch at the ML level and you're not holding bad outings against them as long as they listen and learn from what happens and what the coaches tell them. No more yo-yo trips to Norfolk & Bowie when they have a bad outing. There's nothing more for them to be learned in the minors. They need to learn that the whole plate is theirs and pitching inside is a must. Commit to the future now.

Jeff Z's repy: I have no problem with that school of thought Damon, but where are these future starts at Double-A and Triple-A that you speak of? Some scouts will tell you that the Orioles may not have a single future big league regular at Double-A or Triple-A.

Orioles need to test the Markakis market and see if they can kill two or possibly three birds with one stone. Ditto for Adam Jones. His value will never be higher.
Some other tibits:
-- Joe Mahoney deserves a look. Buck liked him in ST and time to see what the kid brings to the table on the MLB level.
-- I would look hard at filling 2B on 7/31 with a long term solution.
-- Why not Guthrie for Rasmus?? Toss in a minor league body and I would say the Cards should bite.
-- Cuddyer is NOT the 1B answer for next year. Had enough of Lee/ Vlad situations to last a lifetime.
-- I would not give away Koji at deadline. Make somebody pony up if they want him. If not the backend of our bullpen is set for '12. Just need a few new B relievers our OH refer to in their musings.
-- Dylan Bundy will NOT sign with Texas and pass up potentially $20 million. Besides, there are some nice pitchers who will give him competion next year in the draft if he decides to stay in school.
-- The next Orioles' GM should be Ben Cherington..
Happy Monday to all in Birdland...

the orioles should have put luke scott on the dl back at the beginning of the season,now he has no value for any team. i still say a better,stronger effort should have been made to sign adam laroche. the orioles do not have any decent prospects in the minors becasue they do not have the right prople doing the drafting nor the right people in player development. it seems that all of the players talked about having good decent years with thier present teams and they come to baltimore,they forget how to play baseball. i would guess buck will be gm next year and that the level of communications between him and peter the great will soon fade away.


You remember Scott Rice, who I saw pitch for the York Revolution in the Independent Atlantic League this Spring. I thought the Orioles should drive up 83 and sign the kid, as depleted as our minor league system is. It was apparent someone was scouting him because the last three times he pitched for York there were radar guns on him from the stands.

As you recall, the Los Angeles Dodgers signed him and sent him to AA Chatanooga. As of yesterday, Rice has appeared in 17 games, mainly as a left handed short reliever. In 28.1 innings, he has given up only 19 hits, has 25 strikeouts, and an ERA of 2.86. I have a friend in Los Angeles who is a Dodger fan and says that Rice is now on the radar screen of the major league team.

These are the little things that drive me nuts about the Orioles. Rice would probably be better right now in the Orioles bullpen than Gonzalez. They could have signed Rice for a song and given him a shot quicker than the Dodgers. If he does make it to the Dodgers bullpen later this year, shame on Lee Macphail IV and his scouts.

Bear the Birdfan,

You define one of the reasons this team will continue to be horrible. You don't have any concept whatsoever of winning.... Instead, you love to buy into the hype the club continues to shovel out.

You thrive on the possibility of things turning around in the future. Today does not, nor will it ever matter to you when it comes to this team being competitive.

The Baltimore orioles can not compete with the Toronto blue jays. That's a sad statement in andys fourth year with the club. And there is nothing at all to look forward to.

Who cares aout a few good players when the team is again one of the three worst in baseball? This is a team sport, and Andy has again failed this team miserably.

But, as long as fans like you kiss his you know what at the ball park, Andy will continue to live in his surreal world. A world where winning will never matter.... At least not to fans like Bear the Birdfan

Jeff, Shouldn't Scott should be offered arbitration. He had a bad year and the O's should fair okay at arbitration if he doesn't accept. If he does accept and bolts at the end of next season, we still get compensatory draft picks, right. He clearly belongs at DH and with no Vlad, there is no need to have him in left field next season.

Jeff Z's reply: If you go to arbitration, he's going to get a raise on the $6.4 million that he made this season. I don't think you can pay a DH coming off a really bad season and a serious shoulder injury more than that.

Wow your dead wrong about Markakis trade value unfortunately we will never see the truth since Andy has no [guts] and any new GM is not going to make that move

Thanks for the fan personality evaluation.
I've used this blog to give my opinions about the Orioles.
You've used it to give your opinions about me.
I wonder which of us is now the most satisfied.......


See my post at 2:52...... And insert your name where u see Bear the Birdfan.

Seriously....... It's fans like you who deserve EXACTLY what you're getting. And guess what? You're going to get it for years to come.

For this team, it's never about the wins this says fans like you EVERY single year. You enjoy the product on the field because you've been brainwashed for so long, winning doesn't matter to you. YOU SIMPLY DON'T. CARE.

As for third place mark.... I know, that would be so much more embarrassing than is team, right?

I hope u get a chance to kiss andys u know what nxt time you're a the park. After all, he LOVES fans like you

Note to Bear the Birdfan, your stuff about Cueller is the stuff of classic revisionist history. I'm old enough to remember that trade. The O's traded Blefery, a highly thought of young power hitting leftfielder for Cueller who at the time was the Astros best pitcher. The O's needed a leadoff hitter and cleared room for Buford to come over in a trade with the Whitesox for Aparicio.

Cueller is my favorite O all time but your story reminds me of the fairytale about buying bats and growing arms. The good O's teams always tried to grow both sides and filled in the pitching ranks with trades for guys like Cueller, Dobson, Torrez, Stone, etc. How many wasted 1st round pitcher busts does it take to learn?

Jeff Zrebiec, you are an excellent writer! You know the O's and it's always a pleasure to read your columns.

Keep up the great work!

Jeff Z's reply: Thanks william.

All this talk about MacPhail, etc....the bottom line is it starts at the top and that is ownership. It's not MacPhail's fault there's not "blue chippers" in A or AA. Point the finger of blame at the scouting department. THEY and ONLY THEY are the ones who suggest which players should be drafted. They are the ONLY ones who follow the draftees all the time. Perhaps if the team could entice scouts away from NY, Boston and Tampa, maybe things will finally change for the better.

Saw Bundy pitch last night, and he sure did pitch a gem. Totally under control all evening, and his fastball was as hot as the temperature at game time -- low 90s. Sharp, poised, worked with good pace.

Reminded me of Guthrie in his approach, but I hope he has better luck! He should move up rapidly.

Mechado was disappointing...2Ks and two sharp grounders that went for errors and ended up scoring 4 runs. Looks like he has a long swing. Young Mr. Beroa hit a home run, shows some power.

Notwithstanding Koji's early health issues, it was a mistake for the Orioles to acquire Kevin Gregg. It's also a shame that Koji wasn't designated as the closer at the beginning of this year after flourishing in the role last year.

Remember that Buck's astonishing 2010 turnaround corresponded exactly with Koji assuming the role of closer, and that the final inning was a revolving door prior to Koji. In addition, to any casual observer, Koji is a vastly more reliable than Kevin Gregg,

We will regret trading Koji if we do so. He likes living in Baltimore. We have an option for next year, and he's the type of pitcher who can continue to be effective into his early forties. Trade Gregg instead.

Jeff - Recently, Dylan Bundy became the first player to sweep the field for National High School Player of the Year honors (USA Today, Gatorade and Coaches' Association awards), as well as the first baseball player to win the Gatorade High School Male Athlete of the Year Award.

To my thinking that's sort of hardware can certainly be used as bargaining chips when he and his agent sit down with the Orioles to negotiate.

Now I know a number of pundits had argued that the O's will offer him somewhere in the $6M to $8M range and that he'll probably take it. I don't see it.

He can and will insist on seven figures and the Orioles' front office MUST give it to him if they want any semblance of sanity, because franchise-caliber pitchers show up very, very rarely.

And Dyan's clearly going to play hardball when it comes to negotiations, as he's already enrolled in a community college, meaning that he can opt out next year and go back into the draft again.

Given the above, would you agree that it's going to take at least $10M for the O's to get this done?

Jeff Z's reply: Hard for me to speculate when I haven't talked to his agent or parents yet, but that seems high to me. The guy taken before him just got $7 million, and Bauer is a lot closer to the majors than Bundy is. Maybe the argument is you are paying for me upside with Bundy, but I just can't see that. I could be wrong, but if it takes $10 million, I'd be very surprised if Dylan Bundy is a Baltimore Orioles.

Always amazing how fan/writers get excited about these mid-season trades. We've been making these trades for 13-15 yrs now with absolutely NOTHING to show for it. No one on ML roster can via these trades nor any top prospects. When we dump vets mid-season we get ZILCH raising the question - are our scouts that inept that they don't recognize a prospect OR do the O's mislead us disguising a pure salary dump as a trade.

Hey johnny c...
I'm not sure what your beef is.
Everything I said about Cuellar was correct. Nothing was "revised".
You actually went on to make my point for me. You never know for sure who's gonna pay dividends when you take a chance on a player.
By the way...... I grew up watching MIGUEL CUELLAR when he pitched for the Havana Sugar Kings of the International League back in the mid to late 50's. They were the AAA affiliate of the Cincinatti Reds until Castro took over Cuba and they moved to Jersey City in 1960.
Anything else you want to know ?

Bear the Birdfan, I am just curious as to who these future players in the system are. Most scouts consider the system relatively empty, as there are no projected everyday starters, much less starts, in AA or AAA. In Frederick and below, there is more potential, but those guys are so far away it is difficult to project anyone other than Machado into the big leagues with much certainty. Sure, Shoop has looked good at times, Bobby Bundy is having a great year, and although Givens has been disappointed, scouts still love his stuff. But the bottom line is these guys are so far away, by the time they get here who will be here to help them, and this is of course assuming none are lost to injury or ineffectiveness (a la Matusz, Tillman, etc).

King of the Donkeys,

STOP IT!!!!!!!

Facts will get you nowhere on this blog.

Just go with posters like Bear.... Their shared hype, untruths, and vision with AM will always lead you to......

.....well, to where we are now...... complete failure

I'm of the opinion that Bear the Birdfan is dead on accurate about the system as a whole. Andy McPhail's tenure here has not been marked by total progress, but the fact that there are guys in A, AA and AAA that will be big leaguers one day is something he can hang his hat on. Drafting, developing and patience are part of today's game to be sure but if you can succeed without them then you are either smarter or richer than the teams who can't. Go watch Bowie or Frederick a few times and you'll notice guys who are skilled, talented and smart in our system-a name that sticks out is former UVA infielder Greg Miclat. The minors were completely devoid of anyone who will ever succeed at major league baseball when McPhail was brought in, so to me I'll say that what he's done on the big league level as of yet gets a C, but his purposeful restocking of the minors gets an A. There are plenty of guys in the minors who will never see the inside of an MLB locker room-Pedro Florimon comes to mind (a longtime system guy), but every team needs them to field a squad everyday. The drafts have also become a bit better since Andy's running the show so let's see what Dan Klein, Schoop and X Avery turn into before we pass judgment. It's often unreasonable to expect a 23 yr old ballplayer to be the same in any way as a big league ready 27 or 28 yr old ballplayer, but that's what we've done in Baltimore. To me, Wieters' development is right on track. If you don't believe me, try and steal on him, or listen to the ball off his bat when he doesn't pop up. He is a child when it comes to baseball and is doing just fine. This is not hype or what the O's have fed me as an organization, rather what I have seen at the various little stadiums around MD. You can't always pick the right guys, but you can develop players who love and understand the game and let their talents flourish, but for that to happen it does take years. I will wait because I love the team and am glad to be able to root for them and support them win or lose. I won't say you're not a fan if you disagree, simply you have a different perspective. Orange and black forever

Ray – Like your optimism but guys with these kinds of numbers in the MINOR LEAGUES: Miclat hitting 276 and 356 OBP; Mahoney hitting 290 with 7 HR and 12 doubles; and Avery hitting 277 with 366 OBP aren’t exactly dizzying prospects

Thank you for at least starting the discussion on Nick Markakis. I agree he is way overpaid, especially considering what players like Jay Bruce and Dustin Pedroia signed for. And the Markakis deal set a dangerous precedent for when the club negotiated long term deals for players like Adam Jones and Matt Wieters. I agree Nick Markakis will be tough to trade both in terms of getting value, and fan support, but at least we can begin to have an honest discussion.

Good insightful information. Not that I am advocating it at all but is there any chance that Showalter is on the hot seat?

Jeff Z's reply: None whatsoever.


what the orioles need to do reshape there drafting dept .pay top dollar for top draft people get a young gm. who knows how to buid a franchise from the ground up. trade the players they have now except wieters renyolds harden johnson simon everyone else goes see if you cant trade for a center fielder a second basemen a future closer and set up man gregg use in long relief get three quality lefties for the bullpen see if you ncant trade for a young number three and four starter. move reynolds to dh let bell play 3rd. sign fielder to play1st.see what you have in system to fill the rest of the holes jones markeist gutherie lee should bring back a nice package. of players. next year lets bring back the why not team of 1989. through trades signings and farm system.

To the poster about not developing a 1B since '77. The M's have only been around since '77 and have never developed a LF.

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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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