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September 12, 2011

Adam Loewen: Friend or foe?

I basically asked this question earlier this year.

But there may be a change in perspective now.

Adam Loewen has made it all the way back to the big leagues – and he hit a key homer Sunday that helped give the Toronto Blue Jays a 6-5 victory over the Orioles.

I spoke to Loewen this weekend in Toronto. He has always been a really good guy, and he was very gracious in our discussion. And, honestly, I can’t help but pulling for him a little bit.

He couldn’t help the fact that his left elbow betrayed him, effectively wasting the $4 million the Orioles gave him in 2002 as the fourth pick overall in the amateur draft.

But he could help the fact that when the Orioles released him – and had a handshake agreement to re-sign him to a minor league deal as a hitter – he instead chose to join the Blue Jays, the only team in his home country.

He said this weekend that he felt bad about ditching the Orioles, but he did what he thought was best for his career. He also wouldn’t rule out a return to the Orioles’ organization one day.

I wonder whether you guys would be OK with that, if you are pulling for him. Or will his sudden departure – after retiring as a pitcher – forever be a point of bitterness for Orioles fans?

And I am wondering whether your opinion on Loewen changed from this summer – now that he is officially a major leaguer and helped cost the Orioles a win.

Daily Think Special: Adam Loewen: Friend or foe?

Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:00 AM | | Comments (47)
Categories: Connolly's Corner Sports Bar
        

Comments

The Orioles are still playing?

I will never, ever cheer for any Blue Jay. He may be a nice guy, but as soon as you wear blue you're the enemy.

loewen is neither friend nor foe. he is just another top draft pick that joins the long line of busts and injuries that the orioles have accumulated.

He had given his word and a handshake to return then the minute another club showed interest he jumped like a teenage boy. The man is not good to his word and is a liar in my boy. I wish him no well.

JUDAS!

He was a friend now he is a foe. But that is only because he is a Blue Jay. I don't blame him for the decision. The Blue Jays are building a team with Canadians. This means he had a better chance.
My question is Buck really trying to win games or is it try out time/fall training. Why didn't he have someone up in the BP in the 7th inning.

I know there will be some Bitter Betty's out there, but I'm happy for Adam that he's made it back to the majors and hope he does well. I also wouldn't mind seeing him back with the O's someday.

Yes, there was a handshake agreement, but--as the Orioles often do-- they didn't share a clear-cut plan with Loewen on how they intended to handle his transition, Toronto did.

Adam also had to be aware that we already had our right fielder of the future and a pretty darn solid centerfielder on the team. Loewen never said anything bad about the organization and he didn't go somewhere else because they were offering more money. He was a young guy who saw the best chance at reaching his dream of making it back to the majors was with the Blue Jays and took it.

I think the question we need to be asking based on the past 14 years is will the Orioles ever be competitive again? I think it pretty obvious that this franchise has been regulated to the basement forever. I don't think even a salary cap will help since we are already way benind teams like Tampa Bay who have a payroll half of ours. If you think the Orioles will once again make it to the World Series tell us when and more importantly why you have hope.

As far as Loewen I say foe. He should have stayed with Baltimore and been stuck in the minors behind Jones for the next ten years.

If he can help the club, I'll get over it. What aspiring ballplayer would not leave the O's if given the chance?

Definitely foe. Giving up his first major league home run is the ultimate embarrassment to top off a season full of them.

Loewen showed his true character in his dealings with the Orioles as his pitching career flamed out.

Did he do what he felt was best for him and his career? Absolutely!

Did he intentionally deceive the Orioles with a handshake deal to re-sign upon termination of his original major league contract and then immediately bolt to his native Blue Jays? Most certainly!

There's nothing wrong with a player looking out for his best interests but at least do it with dignity.

I'm split on it myself. He seems to be a decent fellow, and I admire his grit in working his way back to the big leagues as a position player.
Still, I can't pretend I'm not annoyed that he turned his back on the organization that gave him a chance in the first place and seemed willing to give him a chance to try again.
Then again, considering the dysfunctional player development system the O's have in place, he probably never would have made it back to the bigs here.
The fact is it's all a business. Teams let players who have been loyal for years go in a heartbeat if they think it will help them, and I can't really fault him for taking the same attitude as a player.
So in the end, he's not really a friend, and as a foe, well, he just another Blue Jay now. If the O's thought he was worth acquiring in a trade or picking up as a FA someday, I'd treat him like any other player.

I think he acted dishonorably. It's hard to hope he will succeed.

Loewen should have signed up to play with the Orioles after he flamed out as a pitcher. Not exactly a testament to his character that he reneged on a handshake agreement with the O's particularly after the big money he'd taken from the club. Bottom line, if the Orioles offered him a deal, he owed it to them to take it over any other similar offers.

While I am not angry with him for choosing to work where he most wanted to - something everyone on this board would do in a second - I can understand why the Orioles' brass might be annoyed with seeing their investment in Loewen getting totally wasted.

But rooting for him? Not really. He did what he felt like he needed to do, great, but he didn't establish any warm memories or anything with me when he was a player here and so now he's just another opponent. It would be nice if the Orioles could get a out-of-nowhere player or a nice story: they are starving for a positive story lately.

Adam Loewen is a foe and always will be. Bottom line, he held out for more than a year demanding a major league contract, rare for a high school pitcher. He only was able to become a free agent because of the major league contract. So yes, he had a moral obligation to a team that gave him $4M, and a big league deal to get a return on their investment. But that said, I don't like to play this game of kicking the O's for the ones that got away. As a September call-up at age 27, its highly unlikely Loewen will become a serious major-league position player. This was even his first year in the minors hitting over .300. So I really don't miss him.

Foe. I'm glad that his first official plate appearance against the O's will go down as a HBP.

The question is whether the Os should have signed him for a major league contract in the first place but I wish him well.
This is just another example of our bad mojo with pitching phenoms but I suspected this would happen when Adam made Triple-A. Let's move on.

make this season go away.

I think most fans just want a baseball team in Baltimore with an owner committed to winning and not extortion.

How can you blame someone for wanting out of Baltimore? Especially if that someone is a mishandled pitcher, like Loewen?

Does anyone here realize that Loewen had all of 18 starts above A-ball? Yeah, and only three of them were in AAA. Sure, the Major League contract was a big part of Loewen's agressive promotion schedule, but remember, Loewen wasn't due to be a free agent until after the 2008 season, and he was expected to be a key part of the rotation after his call up in 2006.

2006 was the year that he dominated in the minors, but that was over just 12 starts split between AA and AAA. Excluding his seven start stint in Aberdeen, 2006 was the first season that his ERA was below 4.00. 2006 was the first season that he walked fewer than fie hitters per nine. 2006 was the first time that you really could consider Adam Loewen a top prospect. And instead of letting him continue to progress naturally, the Orioles called him up and expected him to get major league hitters out on a regular basis. Never mind the fact that he had just figured out how to get minor league hitters out on a regular basis...

Adam Loewen is a prime example of everything that has been wrong with the Orioles for the last 15 years. They're always trying to rebuild and they're not willing to spend money on quality MLB veterans, so they have to promote their young players waaaaaay before said young players are ready. Then, the young players either can't handle the big leagues or they get hurt, or both. Then the vicious cycle starts all over again.

I guess that's the new Oriole Way...

Hey Dan is baseball season still going on???..lol

Foe -- but certainly glad it worked out for him.


Foe. He broke an old-fashioned handshake agreement, not as sue-able as a written contract maybe but just as binding on a man's honor. To me, he has none. I wouldn't want him back.

Sure, if he's good I'd be happy to see him back in Baltimore. He has a beautiful swing. Anyway, he was going through a miserable spell when he signed with Toronto and he may have had certain feelings about the way he had been handled by the organization (he wouldn't be the first).

Besides, if we start looking askance at everyone who's had a hand in beating the Orioles this year, we'd have to refuse to sign 95% of eligible baseball players.

Adam, come home to the land of the Blue Crab; all is forgiven!

Foe. I get that he loves the Blue Jays and perhaps always wanted to play there but the O's invested time and money in him and he went back on his word and bolted. Lame.

Neither.

He was another Oriole prospect that was propped up for greatness way too early. And another Oriole pitching washout to be added to a long list.

I'll never forget all the talk back when Loewen was drafted about the new "psychological profiling" the team was adding to it's scouting efforts.

Ironically, maybe their evaluation of him as a winner, at least mentally, was spot on. I mean, I never thought he would make it to the major leagues after switching positions. How often does that happen, really? It takes a strong constitution for him to believe he could do that, and pull it off. I wish him well.

Personally, I can't blame Adam for trying to get as far away from a sinking franchise as he possibly could.

Dan,

You really can't blame Loewen for escaping this pitiful organization, can you? I don't. Sure, they paid him a lot of money to sign but it didn't work out. The Orioles are going nowhere, and the Jays have some very good young players and a competitive future.

The Orioles? Are you kidding me? By next Memorial Day we will be talking about 2013. As usual. And so forth and so on.

Taking a break from Ravenmania, I would like you to know Dan that Loewen will always be remembered as a trader in Baltimore. He said that he had to "do what was best for his career", yet I see in no way, where his career has benefitted by playing in Canada. Its taken him 3 years to finally come up, and he would have been up much quicker had he stayed with us. There would have a lot less competition for the LF spot with the Os. He knew that he didn't want to be in Bmore long before he left. His actions proved that.

Foe!

He took PGA's money and unless Toronto offered him a ton as a monor leaguer, common decency would have required that he re-sign with the O's....but common decency is too much to expect from millionaire A-holes.

Foe!

He took millions from PGA. Common decency dictates that he allow the Orioles to try to get some return for that money by re-signing with them as a minor leaguer....., unless Toronto made him a sky high, crazy offer...Apparently common decency is beyond the thinking of child, millionaire athletes

He went back on his word. That makes him a foe. You can't trust someone who goes back on his word.

Who wants to play for the Zero's? Nobody. Good for him, to finally get to the SHOW.

Foe.

Adam Loewen is a disappointment, but as has probably been said, the Jays have a better development system (on top of being his home country's team), so you can't really fault him for making the decision he did.

The O's should take a cue and realize their player development needs to be upgraded big time. A good start would be getting rid of the Stockstills.

I originally felt like it was a d---move on his part to leave like he did. In retrospect, who can blame him. There is no way he would have made it back with the way the Orioles handle player development. He would have wasted his entire career in this organization. At least he had the forsight to see what was to come if he had stayed here.

Did I miss Prediction Friday? I was going to go with the Ravens winning big, 28-10, with Ed Reed and Ray Rice having big games. How'd that one turn out?

As for Loewen, I'll be his biggest fan when he's playing against the Yankees and Red Sox. Beyond that, he's just another guy who was once an Oriole and now is not. And if he becomes an Oriole again, then I'll root for him to succeed while wearing the black and orange. Beyond that, I don't hate on the guy, even though I am still a bit miffed that he turned on the Orioles when he got the chance (which looks like it was a good idea for him).

It seems to me that the Orioles allowed him to use their hitting instructors and rehab settings after his career as a pitcher was over and before he was released, which enabled him the chance to show other teams some potential. The Orioles should have insisted on a deal before allowing him to be instructed or to do those things, so, for me, it falls into the category of poor organizational decision making again.

So what if he didn't want to play for the O's? How many free agents don't want to sign there?

The organizational ranking of Toronto is near the top. If he played with the O's, sure he might have gotten to the majors sooner, only to wash out. But with Toronto, he was re-developed properly, and this time he might stick around. When it comes to developing young talent, Toronto is easily in the top 5, maybe second only to Tampa. So why not go with the group who can get you to your potential?

He probably won't be with Toronto next season, unless it's a bench role anyways, as the outfield is packed already. There is a chance you could re-sign him next season if you want.

Of course Loewen is a foe. On top of that he lacks integrity. When a club showed as much patience as the O's did, and paid him million$, the least he could do is stick with the O's. I do not wish him the well.

Foe!!!

Finching a$$ millionaire!

Looking out for self huh? Sure, but that luxury was afforded only after he AGREED to re-sign. He wanted on the 40 man, he got it. The O's didn't get what they asked of him, so he bolted when he got the chance...after saying he wouldn't.

I supposed to like him? Root for him? Not any more.

{as a human being, yeah, good to see a person over come odds to live a dream. again for him, but yeah, neat-o.}

But I'm not a human being. I'm an O's fan. And full of love we are not.

I consider him a foe. Not because he's a Blue Jay, but because he went back on a handshake. I'm only in my 30s, but I was raised to respect a handshake between men, and what it means. Adam Loewen shook hands with Orioles management in regards to working things out for him after his arm failed him. They could have cut bait with him completely, but they wanted him to still be a part of the organization. They released him so he could sign a new deal based on his situation, and he bolted for Toronto the first chance he got.

That said, I don't wish ill on him. He got back to the big leagues, and that's fine. He's playing for his home team, and that's fine. Who wouldn't want that? But if he were to ever come back here, I'd boo him to no end. Because I have no respect for someone who goes back on a handshake.

"...he instead chose to join the Blue Jays, the only team in his home country."

Loewen will regret it when the Québécois secede driving the rest of English-speaking Canada into the arms of the U.S., "Please forget about the 49th parallel. Please overlook our reputation for extreme niceness and take us in. We bring tar sands in peace."

And baseball fans in the U.S. will demand surrender conditions of "Lay down your steroids at the border and all will be forgotten".

Adam who?

Where is Adams?

Can someone ask Buck what he did to get excluded from the plans for 2012?

It is clear that he is not in the plans because if he were he would not be on the bench.

This is not the optimal time to reward Andino for a good season. Give him a raise in the off season along with a nice note.

Not playing Adams is a joke

Loewen was bright enough to know that being with a 4th place club was better than being with a team permanently consigned to 5th.

The odds of returning as a position player after a failed career as a pitcher are so low that when Loewen left the Orioles, I felt betrayed and also said "enjoy retirement."

That said, It's hard to hate a guy who is living the dream of being a hometown hero, especially when he had to claw his way back from rock bottom to get there. His patience in his transition (3 years in the minors after being an MLB starting pitcher) and the pay off are remarkable, and a testament to his athleticism.

If it happened to a guy who was a jerk, I may still have bad feelings - but at this point, good for him. He's not an Oriole.

Foe. Along with Mark Teixeira.

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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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