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December 27, 2008

Orioles: Catching up

ivangetty.jpgOrioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail is in Florida for a few days of R&R, so there probably won't be much going on until after New Years Day, but I'm pretty sure he'll still be trading phone calls with the representatives of some of the remaining free agents.

Here's some info from relentless Baltimore Sun baseball writer Jeff Zrebiec, who managed to turn over some rocks while he was enjoying the holidays with his family in New Jersey:

Former Oriole Gregg Zaun remains the free-agent catcher most likely to end up in the Orioles lineup on Opening Day, but there have been conversations with agent Scott Boras about veteran Ivan Rodriguez (left). Whether he would be a good fit to mentor Matt Wieters and eventually step aside for the O's top minor league prospect has been a subject of some discussion in the O's front office.

My take: It strikes me as a better fit for the pitching staff, which is no small consideration, but I still doubt IRod ends up here. Unless the player development people secretly believe Wieters is farther away than they are saying, it would be bound to create an uncomfortable situation at some point in the season.

That doesn't mean I'm strongly opposed to the idea. The guy is a 14-time All-Star and a near-certain Hall of Famer, but he's not a great offensive player anymore.

Getty Images

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:45 PM | | Comments (75)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Interesting idea, if you can get him on the cheap. Pudge has played a little first base in his career, so he could do that as well as catch some if Wieters develops as fast as we all hope.Not a bad C/1B/DH to have around, if he's OK with that role.

Pete,

If a hot stove league came and went and nothing happened, was there really a hot stove league?

No thanks on I-Rod

Pete,

IRod is a fine catcher, maybe Weiters and Irod would DH when not catching? It could work, I even think pudge has played some first but if I recall not too well! Pitching, Pitching and more Pitching!

peter if you're main argument for not signing I-Rod is a lack of offense, then why in the world would the O's sign Zaun?


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Pete's reply: Not really making an argument either way. It's just an interesting possibility.

Isn't everyone being just a wee bit premature about the next Gus Tirandos?

It may be a huge mistake to think Wieters will suddenly be Johnny Bench by the middle of next year.

I'm sure he is very impressive but, with all due respect to Wieters and Zaun I'd like to see Wieters beat out the best competition possible. Let him fight for his place. IRod was the real deal once, certainly more so than Zaun.If you want to learn how to be the champ, you beat Ali or Frazier not Chuck Wepner or Joe Bugner.

If Wieters is the next Mike Piazza then surely he should have no trouble beating out an old man like IRod. And if he can't then we'll all know just what we really have here.


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Pete,

No need to print this but I'm curious about how the Orioles management structure is perceived by the rest of MLB? Obviously, AM's reputation is solid (and he has only been here a couple of years) but how does the rest of the league view his accomplishments at building a top-to-bottom organization in Baltimore so far-upper management, scouts etc? What do your best sources indicate? From what I recall, they lost a top management guy to Philadelphia and picked up a long-serving top management guy from the Reds. Is this a wash-step back-step forward etc?

I think this would be a pretty good topic for a column, particularly if you are able to really gauge what the general perception is, not just the local fluff-fluff stuff. Is there fear long-term (or yawns) when it comes to the management team AM is in the process of assembling? As a true fan who is willing to endure more pain, I'm less concerned about minor league pitchers and Matt Wieters than if the organization is truly growing and improving.

Thanks


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Pete's reply: I think Andy is well-respected for what he did with the Twins and moderately respected for helping get the Cubs within a deflected foul ball of their first World Series since 1945. The O's front office, however, was the subject of much behind-the-scenes ridicule by other baseball executives during the early part of this decade.

Just say HELL NO to I-Rod!!!

Give me Zaun.
I seem to remember Irod turning us aside on more than one occassion. Grab Zaun and another semi-dud, develop Weiters but sign 3 decent pitchers. If not, spending my money on the Frederick Key's again to see if there is any real hope.

It doesnt surprise me they would go after Ivan. This would be the O's third run at him... Remember we made a run at him in the late 90's, then again before he signed with Detriot. This is a classic O's movement...

No to Ivan Rodriguez...don't need him..don't want him...too much dough for too little show- he would be Ramon a deux at this point. And it is a sad state of affairs when the Os have to turn backflips for Geoff Zaun for goodness sake! I now think the Tex negotiation was just a decoy by that wily Os front office to distract the Yankees/Brian Cashman so we could swoop in and sign Carl Pavano without them getting wind of it. I have heard Pavano pitches great on four years rest.

It is too bad Randy Johnson signed with the Giants. I was thinking that an ALL STAR GERIATRIC PITCHER Rotation would be a perfect promotion for the Os during this year of 2009 famine. Randy Johnson, Curt Schilling, Pedro Martinez, Mike Mussina and Roger Clemens should have been signed to one year deals. Think of the excitement as the Old Man pitching staff tried to recapture their glory days and fight their way to an unprecedented title.
Even if they failed, it would be a lot more entertaining than watching Radhammes Liz and Garrett Olson try to figure it out again this summer.
Pete- you have made the statement twice now that Nick was offered 60 million for six years...is that offer confirmed by Nick and his agent? or just the Warehouse number being thrown out there? Not that we think those front office types would put out numbers that might suit their own purpose...But if it is true, it still is a lowball offer compared to Alex Rios for example...Pedroia is a different kettle of fish altogether.

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Pete's reply: My understanding is that Nick's number is about $70 million for six and the club's number is about $60 million for six. Of course, they don't publish that sort of thing, so you'll have to trust me. I'm pretty confident about this.


Ivan might be a great one or two year player - great for young catchers and for Wieters. Could pay great dividends and could DH some - still has some pop...

Three times is the charm, right? This would be our 3rd run at Pudge. Pudge would be great to handle the staff, but the O's better be creative to make sure if Matt is called up, Pudge still gets his at bats.

The A.M. name calling is absurd. I don't care what sport you run, you don't get things done in 18 months. He made there trades of guys that weren't happy here or just lazy (Ramon) and was able to get some really good young players and prospects, yet he us vilified for signing a gold glove SS instead of an aging SS like Edgar, who defensively would make Cintron look like Bordick.

Pete, I thought that fact that Brian was almost traded last year and might be traded this year, was proof that P.A. isn't running the show because Flanny tried to trade him and P.A. blocked the trade because Roberts is his favorite Oriole. What more proof is there that Andy is in charge?

The other things I don't get is how the O's are low balling Markakis? The deal was 60 mil and he can't go anywhere for 3 years, so the deal will get done, but because the O's didn't give him 75 mil or whatever the fans would give him, is absurd and I don't think people get that Tex DIDN'T want to come here. All I read is Andy offered the lowest bid, well when I go to buy a car, unless they are throwing in Halle Berry, Angelina Jolie or Jessica Alba, with the car, I don't give my best offer 1st.

Keep up the good work.

Pete,

You're right, Pudge makes sense. True, his offensive numbers declined, but he's still a better hitter than Zahn, not to mention better baserunner (10 SB, 1 CS).

If only Rodriguez had experience playing first, it would help, but even if Wieters gets the call up sooner than later, there's always at bats at DH for both of them.

This would make sense both from the standpoint of I-Rod getting rest from games behind the plate, which could help his offensive numbers, and give Matt the chance to have games where he's just focusing 100% on hitting big league pitchers.

A couple of players I'd like to see the Orioles go after (though I doubt they will in either case) are John Smoltz and Manny Ramirez. If Smoltz has recovered from shoulder surgery, his presence as veteran, Cy Young winner and future HoFer would be a real plus to have on a staff of youngsters.

As for Manny, say what you will about him, but he can still crush a pitch like few in the game today. I'm sure he'd absolutely love to get back to the AL East, especially when playing against the Red Sox (payback time) and the Yankees (he's always murdered New York pitching).

http://www.nypost.com/seven/08012008/sports/sportsshorts/happy_trails_122499.htm

There probably would be at least one (contending) team who would take Pudge off the O's hands come July if things get "too uncomfortable". It really doesn't matter whether the "bridge" catcher is -- IRod, Zaun or Clay Dalrymple -- the O's are still going to suck big time. I can't imagine ANY decent player wanting to come here, or stay here (BRob, Markakis) with a losing atmosphere in the clubhouse about as pleasant as a carbon monoxide-filled garage.

This actually seems like a really good fit to me. First, as you mentioned, Pudge would undoubtedly help the pitching staff (which, right now, looks like it's going to be a patchwork group, anyway). Secondly, he could hold down the fort behind home plate until Wieters comes up, and then he could still play virtually every day, whether it be rotating from 1B to DH to C. I wouldn't see any distraction coming. Finally, I know he doesn't have as much left, but Pudge has SOME pop in that bat, and that's important because he's right-handed. We really don't have any power from that side of the plate.

Pete: Irod is a good choice if they want Wieters bat in the lie-up and wait for his catching skills to develop over time. First base and dH are places where Wieters can get At Bats and help the power factor go up as Huff warms up.

Andy McFAIL is on a vacation. He is always on a vacation!

Your right he is not great, but still very good. I think it is better having pudge work with him, and keep both at the major league level. Let Wieters spend time at DH and have him catch 40-60 games while he learns. Pudge can still handle a bat, even though he will never hit 35 home runs again, he is still a 280 to 300 hitter with great tools still. The problem is who is going to throw to the catcher?

it's amazing how one's numbers go down when you stop taking things that make you look like the Incredible Hulk.

One way it does fit, is that there is an unwritten understanding that when MW is ready IRod gets traded to a contender. IF one has need for him that is.

So didn't I mention this like 2 weeks ago Pete? Looks like I should switch from PJ to Sports Journalism now... it's not like I'll ever find a job in either!

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Pete's reply: Yes, you were all over it and I believe I shot down the concept. The Dude abides.

Right... Oh, yeah, I forgot: IRod is RENOWNED for his ability to mentor young talent. I'm sure he'll also gladly serve as a back-up to the game's next great catcher.

Why they would bring in a rag arm catcher that can't hit either is beyond me. Surely there has to be someone better than Zaun out there. Quiroz at least had a prayer of throwing someone out. Hire a coach to mentor Wieters; let's at least get a good defensive catcher to keep the spot warm.

OK OK, Before we were worried about signing Tex because O's were a few years away and it was dead money. Now you are talking about signing a has been catcher who will command 4 mil if not more for what? Wieters doesn't need to be tainted, although this is a classic PA signing, way too much money for an over the hill player.

Sounds a bit like the Charles Johnson signing from the good ol' days (well, two years ruined by Jeffrey Maier and no World Series...), except in this case, it wouldn't seem like a great move for the sheer fact that Pudge will take way more cash to sign (his history AND Boras) than Greg Zaun.

Plus, he's near the sunset of his career, which may be the only reason he'd agree to less money and a possible back up role for half the year (or more, depending on how Wieters takes on AAA pitching).

I'd love to see Zaun an Oriole. He might not be quite the personality his uncle is, but he's a good fit for the team's vision and the club house.

Here they come..."Why's McPhail need R&R? He hasn't done anything!" What we've seen over the last 18 months is how deeply the Os had been run into the ground.

Weiters maybe ready at some point in '09 for the bigs, but why have him sit through what could be a historically bad year? Let em catch the kids at Bowie for 1/2 the year, then Norfolk, then September call up for a taste.

Good job Pete,
Reviewing and questioning, investigating and publishing the prevailing data, that's productive. "Letting Mark and BRob play out" without strident criticism of what low ball-lawyerly negotiations might ensue is counterproductive. This fan believes that The Sun staff is important to "The Plan" and the next step is Markakis. The power of the blog, of the fans, is in how the uproar effects advertisers, especially when $$$$ will be scarcer this year. If advertisers sense discomfort with the warehouse and their spin, then O's dreams become nightmares and the advertisers will deprive PA of success. PA must want Markakis because he is the "Best Deal'. PA always gets the best deal. AM has mostly obtained the best deal so far. Keep us informed so that we can maintain an appropriate uproar before the trucks leave in the middle of the night.

Bring Zaun back. He played hard for us. I rememeber him having a decent season with the jays a few years back. I defer to PETE, but he seems like a high character guy. Besides, he is a self made player, someone who may, MAY, be able to stress the finer things to Weiter without worrying about rep. Love you Pete, happy holidays.

How many teams would trade away their starting catcher without even having a plan in place to replace him? That puts you in a position to sign scrubs like Zaun and Pudge.Neither one is really a full time starter anymore so why would thy balk at being a back up to Weiters at some point this year? The answer is they'd rather play for a winning team if possible.What this means is the O's are going to wind up with players nobody else wanted.Nobody comes to the O's on purpose,well except maybe Millar.


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Pete's reply: The Hernandez deal was a good deal. Signing a two-month starting catcner is no great challenge.

Timely article on Pudge, his pluses and minuses, from Boston.

http://www.boston.com/sports/baseball/articles/2008/12/28/not_catching_many_offers/

Given the imminent arrival of Weiters, I think Zaun would be the better fit. But we still need decent pitchers for them to catch.

Pete, to continue Ellis' question, is the O's organization still perceived as before or has it improved to the point that there is not the "behind-the-scenes ridicule" with AM at the helm? Or does his deliberate nature still draw "ridicule", just different that before?


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Pete's reply: I think the reputation of the front office has improved, but I'm sure most teams still think that Angelos makes it hard for the execs to get things done.

THE WAY THE ORIOLES WON IN THE PAST WAS TO WIN WITH GOOD PITCHING AND TIMELY HITTING. I THINK THE ORIOLES WOULD BE BETTER OFF GETTING THREE QUALITY STARTERS AND BRING THEIR YOUNG GUNS ALONG SLOWLY. EARL WEAVER WOULD PATOON PLAYERS TO GET THE MOST OUT OF THEM IF YOU CAN'T GET THAT IMPACT PLAYER GET TWO LOWER TEER PLAYERS AND WIN WITH THAT. ANDY IS DOING A GREAT JOB AND ANGELOS AS WELL. WHEN IT IS ALL SAID AND DONE THE ORIOLES WILL BE A DYNASTY ALWAYS CONTENDING FOR THE PLAYOFFS. BY 2010 WE WILL BE THE NEW TEAM ON THE BLOCK AND WE WILL HAVE DONE IT THE RIGHT WAY WITH IN. NOT TRYING TO BY A CHAMPIONSHIP. PETE WHAT YOU THINK ABOUT WHAT I HAVE SAID.


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Pete's reply: I think you're a bit optimistic, but more power to you.

I ALSO THINK THE ORIOLES HAVE A GOOD TEAM NOT A GREAT TEAM I THINK YOU SHOULD BE STRONG UP THE MIDDLE SHORT STOP WE ARE, CATCHER WE WILL BE CENTER FIELD WE ARE. PITCHING SHOULD BE OUR MAIN FOCUS BULL PEN A LEFTY AND RIGHTY CLOSER AND SET UP MEN AND USE SOME OF OUR YOUNG GUNS FOR LONG RELIEF. WHATS YOUR TAKE ON THIS PETE.......

if the orioles and nick m are 10 million apart why not split the difference and get it done. look how many millions the orioles wasted on garbage players over the yrs. who's playing hardball here? the o's or nick?


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Pete's reply: I suspect they will find some middle ground once they start talking again.

Either one is fine. Zaun or Irod can share needles with fellow cheater Brian Roberts.

Pudge would be a perfect fit , he could go back on the juice and by the time MLB catches up with him Matt will be ready to go , now that's a plan.

The perfect fit: JASON VARITEK.
1.Great handler of young pitchers.
2.Has the unconditional respect of Trembley.
3.Great mentor for fellow Georgia Tech graduate Weiters.
4.Knows he has only one or two more years left so he'd be willing to give way to Weiters when that time came.
Please.... no Zaun.
And for goodness sake, no I-Rod.
I've always thought it was blasphemous to call him "Pudge".
There was only one "Pudge" and that was Carlton Fisk. I-Rod might have more glittery numbers than Fisk had, but he isn't half the leader.
SIGN VARITEK ! ! !

Lets stay away from steroid tarnished careers.

All I'm saying is you sign I-Rod to a one or two year deal as long as it's reasonably priced. He can teach Weiters way more than Ramon ever could and he won't be a drag on the line-up.

Weiters has only played half a season of AA ball and people are already throwing him in as the next Joe Mauer. It could take another full year in the minors and a lot of reps in AAA before he's ready for CC Sabathia 18 games a year. A vet like I-Rod can keep the pressure off until he's ready.

And if everything works out and Weiters develops way faster than we though, you trade I-Rod for at least 1 good prospect at the deadline in July or in the off-season to a team that needs catching help and is in position to make a run (see The Yankees last year, The Red Sox or Brewers).

Sounds win-win-win-win as long as he doesn't want the money a typical Boras client wants.

I dont believe Ivan would sign here at the right price. Although he would be a descent veteran presence and be able to help with our assumed combination of young and veteran pitchers (veterans signed through free agency). With Scott Boras involved.....he would be too expensive. I dont mind Ivan or Zaun, either way we still need another power bat in the lineup.

Pete,

Of the four unclaimed spots in the Orioles rotation, how many does the front office plan to fill with some level of stopgap veteran? And at some point this year do you think we'll regret not keeping Cabrera, at a cost likely less than one of those middling veterans, and his 175 IP, roughly 5.00 ERA?


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Pete's reply: I doubt we'll regret not keeping Cabrera, though he'll have a good run during the course of the season with the Nats. I think the FO will sign two pitchers to fill spots in the rotation. Maybe Kawakami and Redding, though I'd like to see one higher quality free agent.

I would rather see them get Jason Varitek, who is the same age as Rodriguez (36) and a year younger than Zaun. I know he had a bad year at the plate last year (he still hit more HRs than Zaun and Rodriguez though), but the guy is a leader, something this team is lacking. He's also one hell of a defensive catcher who will not only help Wieters, but the entire pitching staff. Plus, signing him takes a leader away from one of the Orioles' rivals.

We hear over and over again what a crime it is to rush minor leaguers, but in the next breath the same people will tell you that Matt Wieters must get 700AB's in 2009 or else all is lost.

Paying for a good catcher isn't a bad idea. Easing in a young player also isn't a bad idea.

The team is terrible, so it's not as though any small move is going to keep them out of last place. Why not do something right for a change? You know, just to be different.

Pete,

If we don't have any pitchers why would you need a catcher?

I Rod would be awesome here for a year. Maybe 2. He is great with young pitchers and is a 14 time all star.

"If you recall, Angelos did that a few years ago when the Orioles signed Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez and a couple of other expensive players. Remember how well it worked out."

Ummm, Peter, how about the rest of the facts?

The Opening Day rotation for Baltimore that year consisted of Sidney Ponson (as a number one starter, yikes!), Eric Dubose, Kurt Ainsworth, an unproven Erik Bedard and Matt Riley.

I don't know about you, but I would hardly consider that "competitive" - - - not by any stretch of the imagination.

Come on, you're a better reporter than that.

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Pete's reply: No, I'm not a better reporter than that. I gave you a fact and you sent it somewhere else. My point was that piecemeal free agent acquisitions that don't fit into a comprehensive plan are self-defeating. You made my point.

to the nitwits who want jason veritek he would cost the o's a first round draft pick. pudge is a 13 gold glove cather who could share his knowledge and savvy with wieters. if pudge hits it's a plus. as ;ong as he can do the job defensively and to be totally open to mentor wieters. and to the person who wrote in the orioles should sign 3 free agent pitchers. from where? the past? another galaxy? maybe he means 3 pitchers of beer.


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Pete's reply: The rules have changed. The first 15 teams in the draft do not lose their first-round pick for signing a Type-A.

If Zaun is anything like Uncle Rick, he'd be a great fit in the lineup and as a mentor for young Matt....for the money, that is. Don't forget why the O's signed Javy Lopez a few years back...I-Rod plan B.

THE FREE AGENTS THE ORIOLES SHOULD REEL IN ADAM DUNN (OF-DH) JASON VARTEK (C) BEN SHEETS(P) DERRICK LOWE (P) PAUL BYRD (P) ALL COULD COME IN AND START AND SIGN THEM TO 2YR CONTRACTS 2011 BRING OUR YOUNG GUNS UP AND READY. THE 180 MILLION YOU WOULD HAD SPEND ON TEX. WE COULD SPEND ON THESE GUYS ITS LIKE GOING FROM MAYS TO WALMART BUT GETTING MORE FOR YOUR BUCK. PETE DO YOU THINK THIS IS GOING TO HAPPEN ........

Pete,

You got a gold mine on this blog, seriously just a nickel for each blog as my grandfather used to say about opinions. But on a very serious note, just look at the feedback you get on your blog about a last place team. The passion folks demonstrate here should tell the Birdbrains in the warehouse how much their fans care. The actions they take certainly don't return the favor in kind. Lets just hope that 2009 brings us better news that 2008 and we actually start talking about signing some players who might be part of a more productive future!


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Pete's reply: I agree. The attendance at Camden Yards does not reflect the true passion of Orioles fans.

I-Rod will still want top dollar to sign with the O's. Remember that BORAS is his agent and he'll nickel and dime every cent he can!

CHEFBMORE--The "Caps Lock" key on your keyboard needs to be shut off. Thank you.

For all who are suggesting Varitek as a option, it's not a bad idea in theory (especially given that he and Wieters are both GT alums), but I wouldn't hold your breath.

Boras is negotiating with the Red Sox and it's probable that he'll end up back with them. But even if he doesn't re-sign with Boston it's not remotely reasonable to think he'll want to go from a playoff contender to a last place team.

Sorry, but the only way he consider a team like the Oriolesafter is after all other playoff contenders turned him down.

"NITWITS" ? ? ?
Oh... you mean like people who don't know anything about draft rules, yet call people names based on that very ignorance. I see. And of course I-Rod has always been known for his handling of pitchers. I mean look at all those great staffs in Texas all those years. Sheeeeeesh.

Forget I-Rod. We don't need another mutimillion dollar retread .... Been there done that

Zaunie would be a fine add....he's an ex Oriole, and Dempsey's nephew.
Which means he can "catch," unlike the horrible efforts of Javy, Gill, and Ramon.

Zaun is going to be the catcher he will come cheap and his Rick Dempsy nephew. Pitching pitching and more pitchiung is the answer for the Orioles right now.

Pete, I am curious if you think Matt Wieters should start off at AAA or if he has a great spring training, have him platoon with Pudge or Zaun, right off the bat?

I know you don't want the guy to sit, but maybe give him a few days at DH when he is not catching or do you think in the end that it will come down to not bringing him up right away because of the clock issue? I side with the owners and GMs on not wanting the clock to start, because after 6 years, the player is in control.


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Pete's reply: I wouldn't be surprised if he makes the team out of spring training, but I'd probably have him play at Norfolk for a few weeks. Just me.

No way Ivan signs with the O's, he doesn't want to play here. Wow, the O's are signing another pitcher no one else is pursuing - no surprise there. Stop gap until our "young guns" develop? Keep waiting - the minors don't have major league potentials - AAA or AAA1/2 at best. Go to the minor games and you'll see it - "ball1, ball2, ball3, home run." the O's draft poorly and train poorly. Sticking with my predictions - January sees the ticket prices increased, B-Rob gets traded, Nick says "No thanks" to a contract extension. Plan is working but will result in a team that settles into third place year after year because that is what the plan is designed to do. It's improvement, but not competition.

Pete, can you recommend any teams willing to buy me as a new fan?
How do you stand it? If you ask me, we are firmly back to "laughingstock status".

Why haven't we been talking about pitching? Ben Sheets is available, Lowe, Penny and a few others. The Orioles are not interested in taking a chance on a young stud like Sheets? They should take a chance, when he pitches he is a number 1 starter. He made it through last year, take a chance and spend some money to make us a contender.

What happened to pitching and the three run homer? Where's Earl when you need him?

I'll just take the pitching and let the rest happen with the young hitters.

What's the point of rushing Weiters if we call him up right out of spring training doesn't he lose a year that we can hold onto him, versus waiting 2 months, not to mention he's a Boras client. The O's won't compete this year, in fact I think they'd be lucky to win 62 games, so why rush him or rush to the end of his tenure before he's in pinstripes

When was Gregg Zaun ever a great powerhouse on offense?

Pete, I'm not trying to correct you if you're wrong as you suggested, but I'm a bit miffed by the comparison between the negotiations for Nick Markaikas and Dustin Pedroia because there is none. Pedroia is a good player on a very good team that's built around pitching. The fact that the Sox made the playoffs after trading Manny Ramirez and after enduring sub-par years from David Ortiz, Josh Beckett, and injuries to Mike lowell is proof. You said several weeks ago yourself that it would take more than $60 million to sign Markaikas, and it appears that he agrees with you. Pedroia on the other hand openly admitted that he loves playing in Boston, knows they will contend, and realizes others will need to get paid so he accepted less money. Can Nick say ANY of those things? Last, while Pedrioa was never considering other options, Markaikas very easily could be, especially if getting his deal done drags on and on as all negotiations tend to with the Orioles. Him getting away from Baltimore would be a dissaster. Not only is he at the center of this teams good young talent and future, failure to lock him up long-term would represent the latest in a string of PR nightmares that the Orioles simply can not afford. My sense is he knows this and is negotiating accordingly. I liked your Tommy Lasorda quote, so here's one of mine: There are times to be concerned only with appearances, others only with substance. The trick is to not get the two confused. Words the Orioles can live by.


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Pete's reply: The only way to determine value in contract negotiations is by comparing players, their performance and their contracts. Pedroia is not a perfect comparison, because of the service time differential, but if you're the team, you don't start totalling up everything that's wrong with you and put a monetary value on it and throw that number at someone. I said I thought Nick would end up getting $63 million for six years. That sounds about right to me, based on where the negotiations were when they left off. It has nothing to do with how good the team is, unless Markakis is willing to sit three years and wait to get out. I seriously doubt that's going to happen.

Who needs offense when the O's just bolstered their staff with a 34 year old lefty with a lifetime 50-63 record and a 5.07 ERA?

And he's from York! Local boy comes home! Woohoo!

My goodness, he has even played almost twice as many MLB games as he has NBA games. Boy, I hope he passes that physical.

And no matter how old Gregg Zaun gets, he will always be younger than Rick Dempsey. Maybe the Orioles should see if John Orsino is still living and wants to do some catching.

Can it get any worse? Unfortunately, yes. Cheer up, Lions' fans.

Pete, first, have the O's expressed interest (made an offer) in Sheets and/or Lowe? If so, is there ANY chance either one of them would sign here? Those two with Guthrie would make an interesting top 3 in the rotation.

Second, what do you think about Adam Dunn? He could play some first and be DH but would he come here?


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Pete's reply: I wouldn't mind having Adam Dunn. Exciting all-or-nothing player. It would really depend on the price and number of years he'll command. I think Lowe is going elsewhere, but I'm sure the O's have inquired about him. I doubt they're seriously in on Sheets. If they signed him and he wasn't able to pitch for half this season, it would confirm every negative thing people have been saying about this organization.

Even without Teixiera the Os should score runs and with the new SS play solid defense. The bull pen, other than the mysterious disapperance of the real Jamie Walker looks solid but we do have this one problem--we have only one proven starter.

Darren asks a great question. If we did bring in Sheets and Lowe we'd have a chance of a decent starting rotation and keep the bullpen rested. Heck, we might even win 90 games!

Originally posted by Charlie: Stop gap until our "young guns" develop? Keep waiting - the minors don't have major league potentials - AAA or AAA1/2 at best.

You're kidding, right? Baseball America ranked Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman in their top 25 for 2009. Jake Arrieta was in the top 50. You should probably look them up. While you're at it, look up Brandon Erbe, Troy Patton, David Hernandez, Brad Bergesen, Oliver Drake, Pedro Beato and Chorye Spoone.

Originally posted by Darren: The Orioles are not interested in taking a chance on a young stud like Sheets?

Ben Sheets hasn't been a "young stud" since 2004. He's 30 years old and he's been on and off the DL for the past four seasons. If the O's were an arm away from contention, they would be stupid to not take a chance on Sheets. But taking a chance on Sheets at this point would be stupid.

On Pudge: Zero chance he signs with the O's. The O's already have Wieters in the pipeline and Pudge wants to start. Meanwhile, Boras is going to market Pudge as a future Hall of Famer who has already lead two young pitching staffs to the World Series.

Why are fans always expressing so much concern over whether a player can obtained by the Os for a low price?? The Orioles are very well-off. The team is not hurting for money in the least. Don't be fooled!!! How can the Os not go hard after Pudge. The organization and fans alike need to learn to welcome more minority players

Sheets has some of the best stuff when he is on the mound. He only has been in the bigs since 2001 and has a 3.72 ERA OVER 1200 Strikeouts and a 1.20 whip. He is a stud and better than any O's pitcher in recent time.

Take the chance.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: You can't just say "Take the chance." How much are you willing to pay him and for how long? Are you talking a blank check for an injured guy?

"You're kidding, right? Baseball America ranked Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman in their top 25 for 2009. Jake Arrieta was in the top 50. You should probably look them up. While you're at it, look up Brandon Erbe, Troy Patton, David Hernandez, Brad Bergesen, Oliver Drake, Pedro Beato and Chorye Spoone." In defense - they are all very good MINOR league pitchers. Some (Arrieta most notably) may make the majors, BUT, how many will get injured, how many will never learn to throw "strike 1" first, how many will be traded away, how many will recover from their current injuries? Obviously we don't know, but history with the O's says only one or two make it and actually help out because the O's farm teams are poor at preparing players for the majors. I've been to the minor league parks and watched - some of these names are over-rated at best, just like some of the pitchers that were brought up last year. Hope I'm wrong, but --

I can't get too excited about Irod, I think the O's would have to dramatically overpay him to come here and if they're going to spend absurd money for an iffy player then take the chance on overpaying Sheets instead.
Zaun will work, and won't cost as much.

Next Big Orioles Move:
Ryan Freel was brought in to be able to move Brian Roberts. You saw it here first.

Sorry, Pudge is not a teacher. Pudge has been, and will continue to be, for one person. Himself. He has always been known as a hitter with a good arm. Pitchers will tell you his game calling skills are well below average. Yankee insiders will tell you he was the primary reason the team fell apart when they did. Sorry. If you are trying to develop a catcher, Pudge is not the guy to teach him. And if you are developing young pitchers, Pudge is not the guy to teach them.

Take Pudge!! He can play some 1st and also leadoff hit sometimes. Will be needed as we will be searching for a leadoff hitter with the "must happen" trade of Roberts

Great site.

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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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