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August 12, 2008

Matusz speaks out (sort of)

Negotiations between the Orioles and top draft choice Brian Matusz obviously have reached a critical stage -- critical enough that Matusz and his agent have begun a modest public relations campaign to assure their side of the story is heard.

Matusz e-mailed Sun beat reporter Jeff Zrebiec late last night to say both sides are working hard to reach an agreement, and that he would sign as soon as he gets "a fair (but not record-breaking) deal." Check out Jeff's story.

Don't know how that's going to play with the Orioles, but all you have to do is look at the last two major league box scores to see how important it is that they get this kid signed and continue to improve organizational pitching depth.

If I were betting on this, I'd say it's still 70-30 the kid comes in, but with less than three days until the Orioles lose the right to sign him, it's fair to start sweating. Of course, if it's over 65 degrees, I already am, but that's a different issue.

Don't be surprised if the rhetoric ramps up in the next 24 hours. These things can get tense, but at least there's finally some noise.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 12:08 PM | | Comments (19)


I'd say it's 90-10 he signs. His comments tell me that both sides definately want to get it done.

What's a "fair deal?" I mean the kid is untested at any professional level.

We all went to bed last August 15 thinking Wieters had gotten away. Matuz won't get away either. It would have been nice to have him pitching in Aberdeen or Frederick already, but he'll go to the AFL and hopefully be in Bowie's rotation next year.

Here are five truths that hopefully will end some really silly posts on here (actually I doubt it):

1. Wieters is not going to get a September call up to the O's this year. He's finishing his longest season yet in baseball and plays the most grueling position there is. Have a nice rest of the summer Matt.

2. Wieters probably won't be on the Opening Day roster next year, if for no other reason that we don't want to start the clock on his major league service (see Longoria). He will be up by mid-season, however.

3. Chris Waters is not going to be in the rotation next year. After his one good start, someone called him a poor man's Kenny Rogers, I'd call him a poor man's Brian Burress.

4. Miguel Tejada is not a HOF player. Luke Scott has outperformed him this year by himself, and, if one of the four others we received for him pan out (all of which still have a chance to do so--especially Albers and Patton), that deal was an absolute steal.

5. DCab will be in the rotation next year. He'll have a couple of lights out complete games and more infuriating walk fests. He'll pitch 200+ innings and win about 10 games. When we can finally get a second and third starter behind Guthrie and in front of DCab, we'll be pretty happy with those 10 wins.

Brian Matusz will sign. He may pull a Wieters, but he'll sign. The bigger issue is, what's next for the Orioles? Will Brian Roberts be traded in the offseason? Can Lou Montanez be an every day player? Will Melvin Mora avoid playing baseball matador, going "Ole" with is glove? Can any remember when Walker actually got lefthanded batters out? Is Ramon Hernandez's throwing arm weaker than the U.S. dollar? Don't Buck Martinez and Jim Hunter look like the "BEFORE" part of an ad for Grecian formula? Does anyone have Tippy Martinez's cell phone number (or at least Kevin Hickey's? I'd pay cash money to hear any conversation between Millar and Hickey,they are both, as Hickey once described himself, guys who "get psyched about getting on the team bus.")
Finally, about this 50 millionth fan business. What about the poor schmuck (no offense) who is fan number 49,999,999--he/she gets bupkis? And what if said fan 49,999,999 is some adorable moppet who says he's been going to O's games "all his life" (all of 4 years...awwwww), only to be kicked out of the way by Joe "Red Sox Nation" Troglodyte who is so drunk he can't stop screaming "NOMMAARRR!" for no apparent reason? These be weighty matters, and I'm not talking about your lunch bucket, my friend...

Pete's reply: This has got "Bonus featured comment" written all over it.

Oh, my mention of Kevin Hickey in my last post gave me pause for thought...who would you say would make your ALL FLAKE team? Kevin Hickey, lefty out of the bullpen, Millar at first, maybe Mickey Hatcher in the outfield. That's a start. Thoughts?

Can you please explain to me why on earth the MLB has not changed their draft rules to more like the NBA, or even the NFL. It's absurd that lower ranking teams are always going to get these high draft picks that consistently refuse to sign. Plain and simple, you enter the draft, you were drafted, you sign with the team who drafted you(or like Manning and Elway cry and whine till you're traded), or you never play in the MLB period. Drafted players have way too much leverage in this draft system, wouldn't you agree?

Pete's reply: I suppose, though I don't really care how much money they get. It's going to some guy in a suit otherwise.

Hello Peter.

Well I'm not buying it. Jordan's recent frustrated comments have lead me to believe that it has been due to a lack of communication from Matusz's side that lead to the current standoff.

However it is a great PR move by Brian Matusz to get word out but a month ago we were talking about announcing a deal. Then two weeks later we hear that Matusz went from an easy signing to being a guy who wanted to "one up" Crow. That one up being a pro contract (shivers at the thought of Loewen part 2).

Unless the Orioles drafted BM based on the ease of his signing I find it hard to believe they are playing low ball (slot money). Why? Because the organization has been anything but cheap these past two drafts (thanks Andy M). So the question would be, why start down that Wade Townsend road again for this one player?

Hopefully the O's can accept the fact that the MLB draft is as flawed as any amateur draft out there. Letting a first round pick (especially now that the first round is becoming less of a crap shoot) slip through your fingers is unacceptable. When the identify their top pick and select him, they should be prepared to sign him. Plain and simple. Until MLB wants to man-up and make a rookie salary cap so that high schoolers and their agents can shut the hell up and not demand a king's ransom for doing nothing, it's on the teams themselves to get the deal done.

If the Orioles sign Brian Matusz, what are the odds that he will have arm surgery before pitching 50 major league innings?

Only 2 of the top 10 picks have signed...this is all posturing. Basebally is such a developmental sport & due to the lack of parity, the league should devise a payscale for rookies ala the NBA.

It may all be posturing, but I do like the fact that Brian Matusz is thanking the fans for their interest. I think he honestly feels that this is an up and coming team that could have a good staff and a great catcher. I also think that if they were to sign Teixeira, they would have the makings of a very solid lineup. My guesses as to next year's lineup as of May 31st:

1. Roberts 2B
2. Jones CF
3. Markakis RF
4. Teixeira 1B
5. Huff DH
6. Mora 3B
7. Scott/Reimold LF
8. Wieters C
9. SS

Bench: Scott/Reimold, Quiroz, Castro, Montanez

The rotation would be:
1. Guthrie
2. Cabrera
3. Olson
4. Veteran Starter
5. Patton/Penn

CL - Ray
SU - Sherrill, Johnson
MR - Albers, Mickolio
LR - Sarfate, Bierd

I've read many different sources and I read of those 8 picks that aren't signed that Matusz is the only one not demanding a Kings Ransom. Three players (Hosmer, Crow, and Alvarez) are supposedly asking for more than the number 1 pick in the draft already got. This draft is set up the way it is because it's evident that MLB only supports the big-market teams and wants to make sure they have the best players. Players like Cole, Yankees and Kelly, Red Sox were potential top 10 picks that were demanding so much other teams would not draft them. The biggest problem with the draft is that it does not give the worst teams the best players.

All Flake Team - Alan Wiggins has to be the 2B and Albert Belle should be in the lineup. John Lowenstein would be ideal in LF also.

He who shall not be named is reporting on the Al JaOriole Network that Matusz is very close to signing and his source is 100% sure a deal will be done well before the midnight deadline.

I have a vision of Matusz and Lowen one day manning the outfield together at Camden Yards.


Bill "Space Man" Lee has got to be on the team for sure and undoubtedly the captain of the team.

Darren Daulton as your catcher for sure.

How about Randy Myers for closer?

Jose Canseco for the OF or as a one inning pitcher, but he will immediately blow his arm out.

"C" is for CRAZY!

Maxmorf -

Dennis "Oil Can" Boyd, "Doc" Ellis and Mark "The Bird" Fidrych (sp?) should all be starters on that "all-flake" team. Steve "Psycho" Lyons could qualify as a utility player and Don "Stan the Man Unusual" Stanhouse would seem as good a closer choice as any. And, Manny Ramirez's "flakiness" quotient is off-the-charts.

Hey, don't forget the Orioles' original flake--Jackie Brandt.

All-Flake Rain Delay Entertainment Specialist RICK DEMPSEY

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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