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November 4, 2008

I spy

I've been in Southern California for a couple of days and have had a chance to schmooze up some of my old friends in and around the Angels organization. The sense I'm getting is that Angels owner Arte Moreno will be in the hunt to sign free agent Mark Teixeira, but only to a point.

Moreno paid just $180 million to buy his team from Disney five years ago, so it's hard to imagine him agreeing to spend a similar amount to sign one player. Of course, nobody knows what Teixeira will get, but the numbers that have been floating around point to a contract worth at least $150 million.

If the Angels aren't willing to go the distance, there still will be plenty of interested teams to drive the price through the roof. The Orioles probably will be among them, but there has been little indication Peter Angelos would be willing spend up to $20 million per year for a single player...even one who grew up almost in the shadow of Camden Yards.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:35 AM | | Comments (23)
Categories: Just baseball, Just baseball


The O's have too many holes to fill to pay that much for one player. Their pitching staff is in shambles.

we need pitching first. if we had to make the choice of either signing Tex or Burnett, I'd have to go with Burnett. pitching is the answer

My guess is that the Red Sox are going to end up signing Teixeira. With Manny gone and Big Papy coming off a down year, they need a big bat behind him. They have the money and will pay far more than the Orioles would be willing to pay, and probably far more than Tex is worth. I think he is going to cost somebody 25 mil, which is ridiculous.

Way to blog on vacation, Pete! Roch who? Since hot stove is all about rampant speculation, I was wondering if you have heard any rumors about Ryan Dempster being on the Oriles radar this season? Especially with his good buddy Millar having good relaton with the organization and all.

Pete's reply: The last thing I heard he was pretty certain to re-sign with the Cubs, but who knows once the bargaining starts.

Come on Angelos spend some of your MASN profits and sign Tex and a starter that does not forget how to pitch in September.

We need to go the distance and sign Mark Teixeria. Alone he won't make us a winner but his signing will draw folks back and will draw other key pieces to the puzzle.

I kinda see Teixera endin up with the Sox as well. They'll just move Youkalis to 3rd, and trade Lowell for decent value in a weak 3B market or put Crisp on the bench.

A few observations on the Mark Teixeira scene:

1. While is is the general review that the Orioles are going to be outbid, no one really knows how high Peter A. is willing to go. The fact that he's made it clear through Andy MacPhail that he will be in the bidding, it's reasonable to believe that he's serious about acquiring Teixeira.

2. Yes, there will be some big spenders out there and someone quite possibly will outbid the Birds, which leads to an intriguing question: Will Teixeria give the a hometown discount to the team that was his childhood favorite and for which he still holds a place in his heart. (Despite the presence of Scott Boros as his agent, don't rule this out. Recall that when the O's were negotiating in 2007 with first round draft pick Matt Wieters, it was reported that Tex contacted the O's front office behind the scenes and offered to assist: As it turns out, both he and Wieters are Georgia Tech alumni. If that's true, that says something about what Teixeira thinks of the Orioles. I repeat, don't rule out his love for this team as a serious consideration.)

3. We know that MacPhail has rightly said that free agency is not a panacea for the team, but the very fact that the team is pursuing Teixeira suggests that it is viewed at least as a component of rebuilding. Going after a free agent impact bat by does not mean the team is abandoning using trades to develop the farm system.

4. As far as free agents go it makes more sense to go after Teixeira than Burkett. MacPhail has already stated his reluctance to go after free agent pitchers, because historically so many have injury problems. Burkett certainly fits that description. While Burkett will likely get some attention from the O's as well, it shouldn't be at the expense of the Teireira pursuit.

5. Teixeria easily could end as one of the greatest hitters in Orioles' history, a perennial All-Star type who could flirt with a 60 HR season at Camden Yards (oh, and he is a Gold Glove first baseman, too). He's a difference maker, one of the few players in the game who makes everyone else in lineup better by his presence (think Albert Pujols or Manny Ramirez!). This should be no brainer.

Hot stove season is officially ON! And here is a novel idea. The Orioles should Junichi Tazawa?

Who? Simply put, he is the best young pitcher available in Japan.

ESPN had this to say about Tazawa:

“Tazawa, who plays for corporate league club Eneos, was the MVP of the prestigious corporate league Intercity Championship. Starting and relieving, the 22-year-old struck out 36 batters in 28 1/3 innings, and went 4-0 with one shutout.” Also notable is the fact that he recently starred for Japan in November’s World Cup.

And here’s the kicker: Having announced his intention to play American professional baseball, Japanese teams honored Tazawa’s request not to draft him. And that is the real kicker.

That’s right people:


Follow me here:

MacPhail chose to forego wading into the deep end of last season’s free-agent pool, instead choosing to invest in revamping the O’s overseas scouting department. Last year the team spent millions constructing and staffing a baseball academy in the Dominican Republic. Venezuela is potentially next in line. Moreover, the Orioles actually sent scouts to Japan last year!

Signing Mr. Tazawa is seemingly in direct accordance with MacPhail’s build-for-the-future philosophy. At only 22 years old, Tazawa is the age of any college graduate about to enter the minor leagues as a top prospect. And what better way to make a splash in the Japanese, (and Asian market in general), then by signing a high-profile player who does not require a posting fee prior to negotiating the terms of his contract?!

The Yankees and Red Sox will undoubtedly lock horns in an epic battle over Yu Darvish- the next big-name pitcher to be available via the posting process. Let ‘em go for it. In the meantime, we can develop a Japanese phenom of our own.

Just pause a moment.

Imagine Matusz, Tillman, Bergeson, Arrieta, following Jeremy Guthrie in the Orioles rotation of the future. Then add Tazawa to the mix. If anything it’s worth a shot.

What do ya think Pete?
Over and out,
Ira Gewanter

P.S.- Tazawa is already looking pretty good sporting Orioles Black and Orange!

P.P.S.- I am Dishy Rosenfeldt’s friend. My wife and I are living in LA at the moment because I am pursuing an MFA in Screenwriting. (From what I can tell, it’s a fancy degree which inevitably plunges you into the depths of poverty.) As an expatriated O’s fan, the Birds are always near and dear to my heart. I figured I would take this opportunity to thank you for all your hard work. I really enjoy your blog.

I don't get it. Why in the world would the Orioles waste their time on Teixeira. Just because he is local? There may never be another Cal Ripken deal with it. They have so many more pressing needs where their money could be spent. If they are trying to appease fans with no intention of signing him fine. Otherwise, unless he is willing to come here at outrageous bargain forget it he simply isn't worth it to the team. Please lets move on. By the way didn't the O's score plenty of runs this year to be a contender.

Be realistic. No way the O's can afford $20M/yr. Top end of our team salary structure is what - $100M/yr? You blow 20% of that on one player and you've tied your hands for re-signing your own players like B-Rob and Markakis and no budget for getting pitching. Sounds like a Texas Ranger formula for success! There's a reason only a handful of MLB teams have a player making $15M+ And none of them were in the World Series this year!

Yankees (5 players)
Mets (3)
Dodgers (3)
Mariners (2)
Cubs (2)
Angels (2)
Rockies, Tigers, Braves, Diamondbacks (1)


Such dedication is unheard of while on vacation! And while your gone we got an all sports talk radio, is that some kinda hint to you or what to wait til your out west to kick it off? Enjoy yourself you've enjoyed your time on that other coast and maybe you can check out that inferior PAC 10 football.

Pete's reply: I'm pretty sure they started those all-sports stations to counter "The Peter Schmuck Show" on WBAL. I certainly welcome the competition.

Lets face reality, its not going to happen, no Teixeira and no Burnette. Angelos won't spend enough to acquire either one, and in reality, we'll be lucky if we sign two journeymen starters. At the end of the free agent signings, the Baltimore fans are going to be disappointed because we didn't come away with much of anything. The money could probably, be better spent on player signings and player development. Hey Schmucker, enjoy your vacation, you deserve it, but if you get a chance could you gives us some insight into whether the O's have their eye on anyone in the far east?

Pete's reply: I'll keep my ears open, but I'm not going quite that far east.

Check in on the AFL while you are out there. Wieters is no longer hitting .300, Reimold is now up to .250, and nobody has mentioned that Matusz has gotten rocked in his last two starts. How about an update?

Pete's reply: I go on vacation and Matusz forgets how to pitch. Could this be a coincidence?

Enjoy a Double-Double. My trips west always include a stop at IN-and-Out.

Pete's reply: I've already had three, but without the buns. They serve a "protein" double-double wrapped in lettuce instead of bread, but you probably already know that.

I seriously doubt that fan attendance is going to increase that much, in the slim chance that Texiera signs on. Yes, he's a solid player but it's not like he's going to threaten Bonds' record,etc. He might hit 40 Hrs but likely 30-35 so that alone isn't going to create a stampede for Orioles' tickets(unless the Yanks or RedSox are in town!).
A young, exciting team laden with rising stars is more likely to put more fannies in the seats than a solid hitter on a last-place, veteran laden team. TEx himself is not much younger than Huff, who put up similiar numbers in '08. I don't think too many fans made the trip down to OPCY just to see Aubrey so why the fascination and irrational thinking about Tex?

Pete, the talk out here (I live in L.A.) is that the Angels will try to sign Manny (not Alexander). His popularity here with the Dodgers was immense, and there's nothing the Angels want (and need) to do more than gain fans from the Dodgers.

Pete's reply: I'm out here too right now, but my friends around the Angels don't think Arte Moreno will spend $20 million per year on anybody.

Peter- Do you get a kick out of people when they say "don't spend the money on Tex, we need pitching". Or something to that effect. This is rhetorical but, do they know how much money the O's have? They are on of the highest valued teams in all of Baseball if you included the MASN deal. If he wanted to, the could sign Tex and Burnett. Angelos himself said he thought it would take 120 million at least to compete in the AL East. We are at about 55 according to Dierkes. I mean, what they pay Gibbons and Cabrera and Huff. I get so frustrated. They have to get the Fans back into the seats. Tex is the quickest way to do that.

Pete's reply: I believe he would help attendance, but I doubt the impact would be dramatic. They need Teixeira with a decent team around him and attendance will start back up in a hurry.

Pete, what do you think of Garret Anderson in LF for the O's? This guy has been so solid for so long, but always out of the spotlight for first being on a bad team and later for super star teammates.

I think if you have Garret in left with Lou as the 4th OFer and Luke as the full time DH with Huff at 1B, you have a combo of youth and veterans plus an in-house replacement in Luke at DH.

If I am running the Angels, I would be equally concerned about losing K Rod as I would about trying to re-sign Tex, as Brad Lidge demonstrated what a closer can mean for a playoff team.

Pete's reply: I have a theory about older players who were long-time stars of other teams. If that other team doesn't think enough of the guy to re-sign him, why would you think he could help you? The guy is way too old for this rebuilding program.

Terry--'[T]'he fascination and irrational thinking about Tex..." Whoa, you're being a little rough there, aren't you?

It's tough to 'diss' a player by calling him 'solid,' but in the case of Teixeira I believe you've done just that. Here is a guy who hits for power and average, while fielding his position exceptionally well. Over the past five years he's averaged 118.4 RBI a season, which is more than "solid." I'm not sure how many players have done better over that span of time, but I'd be willing to bet that you can count them all on both hands (maybe one hand!), which puts him in elite company.

As for your suggestion that we should only expect 30-35 HR a year from him, note that when playing for Texas in 2005-6 (his third and fourth full seasons in the majors) Tex averaged 43 homers. The past two years have seen a drop in those totals, but there are reasons for the decline: 2007--30 HR split between the Rangers and Braves, but he missed 30 games with injuries; 2008--33 HR split between the Braves and Angels,, he hit 13 in 54 games for L.A. in a park that isn't very homer-friendly (don't believe me?.. ask Vlad Guerrero, who at Montreal in the five seasons he played at least 154 games there averaged 39 HR a year, but in his four years with the Angels he's averaged 149 games a year, his home run average dropped significantly down to 32).

So, forty homers a year at Camden Yards shouldn't be a problem at all for him. One important fact to keep in mind is that he turns 29 in April, so he's in his prime years.

No, I agree with you that he won't singlehandedly bring the franchise back, but his presence in the middle of the lineup certainly can't hurt. As for Huff (who's three years older than Tex), why say either-or? If the Orioles can have a one-two punch like that, why not?

I disagree with you, however, about attendance. Putting him in the middle of the lineup, along with improved pitching and the O's should gave a healthy increase at the gate. Granted, it will take a while to make believers of jaded fans, but it can be done...will be done.

Ken. The good thing about this forum is that allows O's fans to exchange opinions, generally in a civilized manner. We have our differnences about Texiera's abilities and the impact he would have.
I do agree that he's certainly not going to hurt us, especially with the very ordinary production that we received at 1st from Millar. And yes, if we do sign Texiera is makes perfect sense to retain the rest of the supporting cast, including Huff, Roberts, Markakis and Mora-otherwise you negate the extra production Tex brings to the table. He's also going to be more effective with a decent supporting lineup, to ensure he doesn't get walked twice a game. Sure, he could hit 40 HRS and it's not a stretch to see him hit even 50. As far as RBI's, 100 is probably a ock maybe even more if we had a better #2 hitter. Markakis' talents are wasted in that spot and Jones is too impatient but it's a moot point anyway.
Texiera is an elite player but I'm not sure he's in the category of Pujous/Manny/Arod or even long-time great Eddie Murray.
I guess fans have different reasons for attending games. I'm a die-hard O's fan that would likely attend as many games as possible(if I lived in the area) no matter how bad they are. Obviously, not every fan has that level of dedication and losing definitely has an adverse effect on attendance, no matter what sport we are talking about. Having a bona-fide HR hitter might bring a few extra fans as long as they don't mind seeing the O's lose 9-8.
The O's still have to shore up their pitching before they can realistically compete. The obvious answer is to cough up more cash on a couple of starters but I'm sure MacPhail has some sort of budget and you can bet that King Peter is skeptical of this massive influx of free agents, given the dismal results in the past.
Anyway, it's always fun to exhange thoughts,etc...

I take all my double-doubles straight, bun, fries, and soda included.

Pete's reply: The No. 1 combo at In-and-Out Burger is one of my favorite things in the world, though I'd rather have ice tea than lemonade.

Ken Francis -

I agree with your assessment of Teixeira being more than a solid player. His bat would certainly make our line up more formidable. However that being said, if he's going to ask for a contract between 20-25 mil per season, then the O's should just wish him luck with his new team.

If we add Tex to the team, and don't address the pitching in a significant way, then we become nothing more than the East Coast version of the Texas Rangers. If we can add Tex with a hometeam discount to some degree say 8 yr deal for 135-140 mil, and add a couple of journeymen starters, and extend B-Rob & Markakis then I say pull the trigger. However if Tex isn't willing to give the O's any hometown discount, then he ain't a homer anymore.

I think TerryP's point was more of what good does it do us if we sign Tex but can't improve the pitching. Yeah fans will initially come out to OPACY to see Tex, however once the pitching falls apart and the team slides in the standings, those feel good moments are gone, and so is your increase in attendance.

You really want to get the fan base charged up? Build this team the right way, through scouting, the draft, then developing young talent on a consistent basis. Shrewd trades where both sides benefit are good too! But we have to get over this mentality that the FA market will save the day. Use it to bolster a weakness while your building the farm system, and then later to add the missing piece.

Me personally, I'd rather see Andy go get Jon Garland & Kyle Loshe, then offer a 2 year deal to Orlando Cabrera. Extend B-Rob & Markakis, monitor the waiver wire or any young underperforming players cut loose (like Carlos Pena or Big Papi in the past). Invite Reimold & Snyder to ST and give them a shot at making the team. And continue focus on international scouting & the 2009 draft.

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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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