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November 22, 2011

What a potential Chong signing really means

The fact that the Orioles are close to signing 33-year-old South Korean Chong Tae-Hyon, a submarining right-hander, to a major league deal is rather interesting.

But there is something even more compelling about this move.

If there were questions before about trepidation, they can go away now. New executive vice president Dan Duquette is not sitting back and waiting to get acclimated with a world he left nine years ago.

The jury is out on whether Chong will be able to make it as a late-inning reliever in the big leagues. Some believe his unorthodox style will befuddle hitters no matter where he is pitching. And he has had plenty of success on the international level (he closed out both medal games in the 2008 Summer Olympics).

But he’d be the first person to leap from Korea’s baseball league to the majors, and some believe that’s way too much of a jump – that he’ll be a Double-A level reliever, nothing more.

Whether he makes it is only part of the plot here. The fact is the Orioles are the team that is on him. And Dan Duquette is the one with the major connection to South Korea. He had connections there when he was in Montreal and Boston, and now his first noteworthy signing will be a guy from South Korea.

That’s not to say that Chong was foreign (pun intended) to the previous Orioles regime. If you play on the major international stage, the Orioles know about you. But there was no indication that they had any interest in bringing him state-side.

That’s all Duquette.

In fact, the Orioles’ five acquisitions – counting Chong, Matt Antonelli and three six-year free agents – to date have had Duquette’s thumbprints all over them.

That’s not necessarily unusual for a GM. But it is surprising that he is taking charge this quickly.

Can’t say these moves are definitely going to work out for the Orioles. But it is interesting that they are already happening.

Posted by Dan Connolly at 10:48 AM | | Comments (28)
        

Comments

Dan, you know as well as I do that nothing will mean anything to the fans of this team until they go out and get a top level free agent or two and/or make a big trade or two. These minor signings, while important, and as has been stated before, are not the kind to get a fan's pulse racing. Kinda of like going out with the girl next door when the super model who lives on the next block is available.

The fact remains that all six of these guys, and I love the O'Day signing, could very well make major contributions to the team next year, or they could fade away with the morning fog. But as long as the team isn't selling these guys as the headline deals of the off-season, I'm more than OK with them.

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But Ken the supermodel is not available. The supermodel is not interested in you so long as there are better-looking, better-positioned suitors. And, frankly, you probably couldn't handle her right now anyway. You are a mess. So date the girl next door, get your stuff in order and then maybe you'll look better to the supermodel.

At least Dan does't have blinders on and only sign former Cubs minor leaguers.

LOL wow Dan must be pretty desperate to be getting excited about what Putty from Seinfeld (Duquette) is doing. My goodness! He signed some no-name minor leaguers who, at best, MIGHT compete for a bench spot this year! Oh and a 33-year-old who has never pitched in the majors! So exciting!

How bad have things gotten that we are supposed to get excited when a GM makes even the most middling of moves. You mean he's doing his job? Let's throw a party!

100 losses this season, guaranteed.

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Definitely not trying to get you excited. None of those names should. But it is surprising how quickly he is doing things on his own.

It's clear that Duquette came in with a plan of attack that he was ready to execute if given the job. Like what he's doing so far. These moves will be good pieces to have in the organization.

Dan, heard anything about the O's getting in on the 2 Cuban defectors (Cespedes and Soler)? Approximately $40 million for Cespedes seems a little steep since he appears to have a really long swing and would need some time to adjust, but Soler is intriguing since he's only 19. Give him 2 years worth of at bats in the minors and he'll be ready to go. I don't see how the O's can pass up the chance to add a top prospect given the state of our farm system.

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Havent heard recently on either, tho Cespedes was not high on the priority list when I last asked.

I'm sure we'll see posters here complaining about these moves, claiming they don't mean anything because if the signing ain't a Fielder or a Pujols or a CJ Wilson, well, it ain't nuthin, pass the beer nuts. Of course these exact same people would be raising holy heck if Duquette hadn't made these moves and was using the time to get more acclaimed to the O's system, saying he needs to take ACTION, needs to sign SOMEBODY to placate the fan base, etc. Let's get something clear here. Such posters are not fans. They are people who, in a vain attempt to prove to themselves that they have some impact on life, find the only way they can do that is kick up a storm of cyncical remarks aimed at (1) Peter Angelos (2) the new GM (3) the Orioles in general. There is apparently nothing that can be done about such people, save barring them from the blogosphere, but since that's not the policy here, we have to put up with them. I for one are very excited about these moves by Mr. Duquette and expect "we ain't seen nuthin' yet" as I expect him to make at least one major MacPhail-of-Bedard level trade this offseason. Would be fun to jump in the time machine to Opening Day and see what players are on the field for the Orioles...I expect we'll see a few new faces and perhaps a few famliar faces will be missing. But that's the excitement of the hot stove! While I don't expect us to win the division or improve markedly in the standings in 2012, I do know we'll see some good baseball played, perhaps better than we've seen in some time and for me, that's enough. Playoffs, World Series, that's just icing on the cake. And that's because I'm a fan--I can relish the joy of a single well played game. Maybe we don't have as many as other clubs, but we do have a few--like our last series against Boston! Thatt rally in the 9th against Papelbon was PRICELESS. Anyway, Go O's!

So, Dan, can you tell the long-suffering Orioles fanbase (or what's left of it), what IS the Orioles' plan for a starting rotation in 2012?
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I see them adding another starter and maybe two via trade or free agency, but I dont see them being top of the rotation types. Innings eaters is my guess.

We be a scrub if the Os got first dibs.

If the Orioles pitchers, who have been waiting on for years, don't miraculously start pitching well, is there even a remote chance this team contends in the next three years?

I don't think so, so basically nothing else really matters except to hope that Arrietta, Matusz, Britton, are better than what they have shown so far and that Bundy doesn't flop, an sinse he is a high schooler who will be rushed, there is a 50% chance he will.

Chong Tae-Hyon seems like a Chad Bradord type pitcher so maybe it works out, maybe it doesn't, but moves like these are a necessity for any team especially the O's. Can’t have enough pitchers at any level in my book.

Dan,

I am going to take a lot of slack for saying this, but Duquette isn't a yes man. I am curious your take? He's been out of the game for some time, but fans seem to think he will do anything to have the GM title back, but I believe whether he does a good job or not, he's not P.A.'s puppet.

I hope they lock up Jones this winter so they don’t have to worry about filling anymore holes because they already have a ton!

At least Dan does't have blinders on and only sign former Cubs minor leaguers.

Posted by: Scott in Rosedale
________________

You mean like Buck Showalter's blinders with former Texas Rangers?

Dan

The supermodel is available, she just doesn't want to be taken to McDonalds
for dinner, she would prefer Ruths Cris

The answer to the Orioles problems is Prince Fielder. He is young enough to be a part of the future. They need to overpay this one time to open the doors to all free agents.

Fielder would put fans in the seats, and would get people taking about the Os in a positive nature.

They have tried the rebuilding for years now, it hasn't worked, it is time to be a player in the free agent market once again.

Look at it this way we could always trade him at the allstar break for some decent prospects, what better way to build up th farm then trading for impact prospects. It's a win win situation for the birds.

I've got to say, Dan, I don't see the O's adding an innings eater-type starter. So if they don't trade for a guy like Jurrjens/Garza/Gio Gonzalez then I think they'll go with what they have.

The fact is we have plenty of innings eater types already. You gotta figure Guthrie/Hunter/Britton/Arrieta are going to be in the rotation, plus there's the rumors out there that Buck wants Jim Johnson the rotation. On top of that, we have Simon who is the definition of an innings eater, and Matusz/Tillman in the mix. I just don't see the point in adding a Paul Maholm to that mix.

I'm intrigued by Gio Gonzalez being on the block. Reynolds and Reimold are both players that Beane reportedly likes.

I always thought Tommy Chong was much funnier than Cheech Marin.

If this is a bullpen move and the Orioles have some decent names for the bullpen then would Johnson move to the Starting rotation?

I love Maxmorf's comments! Spoken like a true baseball fan and not some grump who would demean anybody who wants to root for the O's. If the folks here are unhappy that Pujols has not come to B'more, just realize the Cardinals made their offer last year and despite Albert's agent's requests they are not budging. I guess the folks who think the O's should pay millions to one or two guys and have nothing left for the rest of the team are using Monopoly money or are smiking something funny.

Thunder, Prince isn't signing here for anything near what he would sign with a contender for. Figure 30 million for at least 6-7 years. Odds are he won't be worth it after 3-4 years. How do you expect to trade him with that salary at the All-Star break? Signing a FA because fans want to when he won't help us win any faster is foolish. I'd love to have him at 3-4 years and 20-25 million, but it ain't happening. We need pitching, pitching and more pitching. Odds are better we find a nugget or two that way. Then we can sign the Fielders at a reasonable price.

Positively, I think Dan has a plan unlike Andy who just said he had a plan. Unfortunately, Dan's plan involves a root canal instead of just polishing something beautiful. I understand this will take time, but I need to agree with the other posters at least throw the fans a bone. How about discontinuing the Angelos Supplemental Surcharge when you buy game day tickets. Even though I come to the park often, for some reason the surcharge ended my spontaneous visits. Cmon Peter give the fans something positive! Thanks for the update, Dan

International and creative - surely that's a step ahead. Nothing is a lock. Signing Adam Dunn wouldn't have been a lock last year,

Look...we know the top FAs aren't coming to B'More. So we need to hope as fans that the alleged Cavalry of '10-11 shows up and a few creative Korean signings work.

its like patching up the titanic with a bandaid , really , i think dan was not just out of baseball for ten years but just awaking from a coma ; dan we have lost for 14 years these little nonfactor moves will just push the remaing fans left to a straight jacket ; either get us excited with a potential big move or two or just mumble these other non factor moves to you pete and the wall

I'm so sick of hearing people say that top free agents don't want to come to Baltimore. There is just no evidence of that. When is the last time we made the highest offer and a free agent turned us down? The only reason free agents don't come to Baltimore is because we always come in way lower than other teams! If we made the highest offer to Prince Fielder or any other free agent, he would probably come to Baltimore. But in Alice in Warehouse Land, they make lowball offers to free agents, then throw up their hands and say, "oh, well, no one wants to play here. What are we supposed to do?"

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Off the top of my head, I know the Orioles made the highest offer to Paul Konerko several years ago and he stayed in Chicago. I know there was at least one other time in the past five years, a starting pitcher, but I can't remember his name right now. Honestly, it's usually tough to find out what a team offered if it weren't taken, so the whole point is hard to quanitfy. But there are instances. Did you know that when Adrian Beltre was a free agent after 2009, his agent walked into the Orioles' suite and said "I don't want to waste your time, Adrian wants a one year deal to re-establish himself and he doesn't want it in Baltimore, no matter the offer." So, yes, Jerry, it happens. And it will continue until this team is A. better Or B. Willing to overspend as you suggest. But don't totally dismiss A.

Getting top f.a. won't bring fans, winning brings fans. Sure they'll b pumped for a little while, but if they're not winning nobody's gonna care what big names we have. Get the players that will help the O's contend whether it be a C.J. Wilson or some no name from Hagerstown.

I repeat: Prince Fielder (or Albert Pujols, or Frank Robinson) would not help the Orioles. Adding one great hitter might mean eight more wins in a season, or even ten (okay, I'm exaggerating here). That would still leave the Orioles sub-.500. Would Orioles fans really like to see the team stake its entire future on trying to win 79 games in 2012?

Pitching pitching pitching! 1983 team was ranked lower than the 2011 O's (in the AL) in hitting average and fielding %, but won 98 games because their starters won over 70 games and the team had an ERA of 3.63, which was 2nd in the league.

Normally, I come in and say something if I have something to say, or just lay low if I don't. I tend not to take a direct rebuttal to anyone who posts no matter what they say. If I say something, people are free to comment on it or ignore it. Then if I happen to come back to see if someone else has commented (less likely with the limited "looks" by The Sun), and want to follow up, I will.

This time, I will comment directly at maxmorf and his defender, digger1.

First, to both of you: Most of us who do post negatively are doing so BECAUSE we root for the Orioles. Yes, I was whooping and hollaring when the Orioles won Game #162 last year at least as much as anyone else including the smattering in Tampa. But remember this, it was still only Win #69. It has been years since the O's had a Win #70.

I haven't seen that many comments anti-maxmorf here or eslewhere. The few I have seen were rebuttals to maxmorf's attacks on those who he deems need to be sanctioned from expressing their opinions. And, oh by the way, the negative opinions are by the majority of Oriole FANS. They are no longer showing up at games by the millions. I am 156-162 home tickets not sold each year for the past decade because of the way this team goes about its business.

Exhibit B is right stinking here. Who was the first person to bring up Fielder, Pujols and Wilson? That's right. It was maxmorf.

If maxmorf and his fan club of one want to see the Orioles spread their spending over the mediocre and over-the-hill players like they have so frequently in recent years, that's fine. That is what the Orioles have done with countless millions for Guerrero seven years after it should have happened and many, many others. That is what they will be doing with players like Reynolds.

It WOULD be better for those who would like to see the Orioles win in the 80's more than dress like the '80's (and that still won't get you into the playoffs) for the team to invest in a couple of difference makers -- players other teams moan and groan everytime they are about to come to the plate or have to face on the mound -- and have some low-cost up-and-comers as well.

It is overpaying for mediocrity that has the Orioles outspending the Rays but not outwinning the Rays.

But forget decades of evidence since the Reserve Clause was successfully challenged; forget the last 14 years played right under your noses. If you think being a real fan is applauding every move that is made and saying, "All is well," after every game, win or lose, that's fine. No one needs a blog, least of all you two. It is here for those of us who think for ourselves and want to comment on it.

But at least if it is at all possible for you two to wrap your brains around, we are complaining because we are fans. True fans. And it's okay because you two don't live up to our standards either.

Prince Fielder
Michael Cuddyer
Mark Buehrle
Edwin Jackson
back-up catcher

Call me when that happens.

This team has been trying to build from within for a few years now and the signings of Delmonico, Bundy, Esposito and the other top ten rounders this past summer was worthy of some credit Waspman.

In comparison to many of the recent past years, this winter's roster has more spots locked down with decent young talent. And, there are a few wildcards that, if they rebound, could provide nice pluses but it is nowhere near enough talent to compete for a title.

And, this year's free agent class is weak and largely overpriced. Guys like Fielder will need too much money to DH forcing the O's to make painful roster decisions down the road with much more versatile guys like Weiters, Jones, etc. The only sure thing IMO is Pujols and he aint coming. And, he would not be enough to make the O's contend.

Waspman likes to comment and is often spot on but it amazes me he forgets that for second class teams (financially) the time to sign big ticket free agents is when one more guy puts you over the hump. The O's aint there yet right? Toronto is justified in signing a big ticket guy but the O's will need a lot more certainty in their existing pitching staff and minor leagues before a big splash FA makes sense. That's a long painful way off but throwing money at Wil Clark or Delino deShields (or Vlad and D Lee) has been proven foolish.

As a kid, I had the good fortune to watch the golden teams of Earl and guys like me will stay fans in spite of the ineptitude but I can understand if waspman needs to start rooting for another team. Are there any ML teams with an insect mascot?

This team has been trying to build from within for a few years now and the signings of Delmonico, Bundy, Esposito and the other top ten rounders this past summer was worthy of some credit Waspman.

In comparison to many of the recent past years, this winter's roster has more spots locked down with decent young talent. And, there are a few wildcards that, if they rebound, could provide nice pluses but it is nowhere near enough talent to compete for a title.

And, this year's free agent class is weak and largely overpriced. Guys like Fielder will need too much money to DH forcing the O's to make painful roster decisions down the road with much more versatile guys like Weiters, Jones, etc. The only sure thing IMO is Pujols and he aint coming. And, he would not be enough to make the O's contend.

Waspman likes to comment and is often spot on but it amazes me he forgets that for second class teams (financially) the time to sign big ticket free agents is when one more guy puts you over the hump. The O's aint there yet right? Toronto is justified in signing a big ticket guy but the O's will need a lot more certainty in their existing pitching staff and minor leagues before a big splash FA makes sense. That's a long painful way off but throwing money at Wil Clark or Delino deShields (or Vlad and D Lee) has been proven foolish.

As a kid, I had the good fortune to watch the golden teams of Earl and guys like me will stay fans in spite of the ineptitude but I can understand if waspman needs to start rooting for another team. Are there any ML teams with an insect mascot?

Now they need to sign a pitcher with the last name Wang.

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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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