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December 26, 2008

Orioles logic

Since there have been several posts over the past few days questioning the logic of pursuing a thirtysomething Japanese pitcher during a rebuilding period, let me try to clarify the situation. The Orioles need to fill four slots in the starting rotation and -- if you were paying attention in August and September -- clearly need more pitching depth to get through the season than they presently have in development.

That is going to require some stop-gap players, who don't necessarily fit into the long-term schematic but might prevent the 2009 season from being a complete embarrassment.

There is an additional rationale for pursuing a pitcher such as Kenshin Kawakami. Though he might be no better than a No. 4 starter for two or three years, he fills one of those holes and also puts Baltimore on the map for future players coming from Asia. He's no Daisuke Matsuzaka, but the Orioles have to start somewhere and right now they are basically invisible in the Far East.

Listen, I'll jump right in with the rest of the naysayers if Andy MacPhail's plan still looks like this in a year or two, but I find it troubling that a lot of disgruntled O's fans are ready to call him a failure after just 18 months. Did you really think that a player development system could be overhauled in a year and a half?

Frankly, and I know I'm going to offend some of you, if you're calling him McFail after 18 months, then you deserve an organization that starts a new five-year plan every two years under pressure from its fans. I experienced this kind of mentality as a fan and then a baseball writer in Anaheim, and it only took the Angels 42 years to get to the World Series. Not sure I want to wait that long again.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:10 AM | | Comments (131)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Pete, you're missing the point. 2009 ought to be a total embarrassment. It's not about 2009. It's about acquiring enough talent to compete with the NYY and BOS. AM hasn't done that. In fact, he really hasn't acquired that much talent to begin with. Most of the hopes of the organization rest on players drafted or signed by Flannagan. Anyone who looks at the current minor league talent, the amount of money the O's are willing to spend, how that's going to lead to a loss of homegrown talent, never lead to a point where there is enough elite talent on the team at the same time, and compare all of that to the NYY finances, and the finances and development of BOS, and still thinks AM is doing a good job is not thinking clearly. I know that might have offended some parts of you, Pete, but if you are thinking that he's MacFuture Success, then you will indeed get a franchise that won't another WS for 42 years. I didn't even know it was a 5 year plan. Nevertheless, there's not enough talent to compete in five years - why can't you see that?

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Pete's reply: You only get to draft once a year. Of course, a lot of the young players are from the Flanagan era. He came in and completed the signing of Wieters and drafted/signed the best pitcher in the next draft. What did you want him to do, elbow the other teams out of the way and make the next 10 first-round choices, too.

Pete, how about Penny? Granted he has an injury history like AJ, but if we could get him cheap for 2-3 years to bridge the gap for the young arms he would be worth it.

I don't blame McPhail. I blame Peter Angelos and his idiot sons for taking our team and giving it the longest losing streak in the history of the franchise.

For taking a great organization and turning it into the laughing stock of M.L.B.

Any reason to believe the Yuckees or the Sux won't swoop in & steal this guy 2?


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Pete's reply: Nope, other than they have more expensive fish to fry.

Good one, Pete. I agree 100%.

Peter--

Do we have a shot at Kawakami, now that other teams (including Boston) have gotten in the bidding? Are you suggesting we might be inclined to overpay a little to establish this presence? I thought Uehara was the lead dog because we were the only ones looking to use him as a starter.

Any sense for other possible starters we're looking at as a stop gap (say, P. Martinez?)

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Pete's reply: The O's may be interested in a veteran like that later in the offseason, depending on circumstances and price.

But Pete-we're over halfway to the 42 year mark. Seriously I don't get the rush to judgment on McPhail either since he inherited a mess. Things are looking a lot better, not withstanding Teixeira, than when he came to the warehouse.

What is the plan? Where are the details?

Boras and Tex didn't believe in the plan. How many others in baseball think it is a failure and how does that impact the O's future?

And remember that two of McFail's key acquistions both have torn labrums and if history is a judge, neither Patton nor Albers will come back.

You think Markakis isn't thinking twice about an extension? Roberts?

What will Boras do with Weiters down the road...Yankees or Red Sox here he comes?

Don't worry about 33 year old Japanese pitchers, McFail won't sign them either.

Pete,
I find myself agreeing with you more and more these days.

I am fine signing at least one of the Japanese pitchers, but are we willing to overpay for him to come to Baltimore with other teams also in the bidding?

Pete,
Calling him McFail after 18 months?? There were people calling AM McFail 18 MINUTES after he took the job.

Andy's doing a great job so far. He turned two players (Tejada and Bedard) into nine players and injected some talent into our minor leagues which will pay off here soon.

Now, he's got to bite the bullet and do the same thing with Brian Roberts. Various reports over the off-season so far have said that the Diamondbacks, White Sox, Cubs, Indians, Dodgers, Mets and Cardinals would be interested in his services.

I know that "B-Rob" is a fan favorite, but he *is* on the wrong side of 30 and his type of game - based on his speed - typically fades quickly when it starts to go. Signing him to an 5-year extension is definitely something that the Orioles should not be doing. Andy has to go out there and trade BR for the maximum return that he can get - concentrating on the position player side in the return this time.

JR

I liked the comments of the reader responding to the Yankees major moves -comparing them to the players the Orioles got-what a shock!! What major really good player wants to come here to play for a meddling owner who knows nothing about running a team and had 11 losing seasons? This franchise is in poor shape-although Andy Macphail brings some glimmer of hope if he is allowed to be turned loose and do things the proper way .Did anyone really take the Mark Texeira drama seriously? All that was a ploy by his agent to drive up interest and the price of potential other suitors and it worked. Lets get real here and see it for what it really is and has become-a JOKE.And Daniel Cabrera-he is destined to turn it around somewhere else. Most others that have left inthe past have. They start fresh someplace else and do much better. At 28 years old-too young and far too much too much potential to give up on just yet-especially with such a shortage of pitching at the najor league level plus we werent paying him much either.

Pete:

I could not agree with u more. I am very upset that we cannot sign high quality free agents, but MacPhail has already turned our minor league system around and has brought us some quality major league ready players in trades. Our strength is building from within and the occasional good trade. I am as frustrated as the next O's fan, but I still feel that the organization is going in the right direction. If we really want to build a strong team, Mac's who we need in the driver's seat.

adding someone decent to pitch for a yr or two makes sense as long as it's not for real big money. the jerks who knock the job macphail has done no very little (o.k. nothing) about baseball. he added something like 5 players on the big league club his first yr. plus added some much needed depth to the minors and this yr got rid of a cancer in ramon hernandez and added an everyday shortstop. you can't take all the mistakes angelos and edward bennett williams did to destroy the minor leagues by signing numerous over the hill free agents and losing draft picks and expect to make up almost 25 yrs of mismanagement in 18 months. since winning the world series in 1983 the orioles have had 7 winning seasons and 18 losing seasons. when will people understand the "quick fix" is not the way to build and maintain a successful business. happy healthy new year pete.

I liked the comments of the reader responding to the Yankees major moves -comparing them to the players the Orioles got-what a shock!! What major really good player wants to come here to play for a meddling owner who knows nothing about running a team and had 11 losing seasons? This franchise is in poor shape-although Andy Macphail brings some glimmer of hope if he is allowed to be turned loose and do things the proper way .Did anyone really take the Mark Texeira drama seriously? All that was a ploy by his agent to drive up interest and the price of potential other suitors and it worked. Lets get real here and see it for what it really is and has become-a JOKE.And Daniel Cabrera-he is destined to turn it around somewhere else. Most others that have left inthe past have. They start fresh someplace else and do much better. At 28 years old-too young and far too much too much potential to give up on just yet-especially with such a shortage of pitching at the najor league level plus we werent paying him much either.

Asbestos King is 82. The Steinbrenner family is trying to win one more Championship before King George fulfills his Bucket List. Squire Angelos must have written his Bucket List but apparently returning a champion to Baltimore isn't on it.
I suggest we make mojitos and watch Cinemax for the next 5 summers.

Great article Peter. Well said in a short number of words. Keep up the good work.

Excellent post, Peter. I certainly understand and appreciate both the frustration and passion of my fellow Orioles fans. However, too many fans are associating Andy McPhail with the failures of the 9.5 years before he arrived. I am disappointed that so many fans are only giving him through this offseason to judge whether he is the right man for the job. He inherited a mess of HISTORIC proportions (how many teams have had 10+ consecutive losing seasons?). He isn't going to produce a SUSTAINABLE turnaround in 18 months.

I believe in him and I also think they are heading in the right direction. I also don't think it's his fault that we didn't get Teixeira. These players have changed and are so money hungry its insane. There are people out there with no jobs because of the economy, and the Yankees spend that kind of money, to be honest your going to start seeing less fans in the future if this keeps up, Baseball needs a salary cap and congree should step in and do something about it! GO O's!!!!

Hi Peter. I just wanted to drop in my two cents here. I do agree for the most part that Andy McPhail should not be judged as a failure, however, I would like to see a more "let's go out and get more done" attitude out of not only McPhail, but for the entire organization as well. It still seems as though we are dragging our feet on resigning both Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis. I'd also like to see them really start filling in the holes in the rotation. I understand that it's always slow around this time of the year, but it feels as though we move in slow motion as an organization. There is very little left out there to get excited about, so a little urgency in getting what is available would sure be nice. We very well may have to trade Roberts now if he's not willing to wait around for Andy McPhail's plan to bear fruit. If so, I hope he can pull off a deal like he did last year for both Bedard and Tejada. But this organization seems to drag it's feet too much and I for one am getting quite tired of it already.

Pete,

I forgot to ask! What is the status of Troy Patton. Will he be ready for the start of spring training-Wherever that will be! Also, how serious are we about Dunn?

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Pete's reply: I think Patton will be throwing in spring training. Don't think Dunn is a likely option, but haven't heard anything either way.

Great points Peter... Andy has a plan, was willing to move beyond the plan if he could land Tex, but Tex didn't want to play here folks. Speaking with a person who played with him for several seasons growing up, he wasn't that much of an Orioles' fan. That was all just marketing. He had no wish or plan to come here. Simply looking for the best deal. We move on! Andy tried to land him, even though one player wasn't going to bring us to .500.

Keep at it Andy - I'm a life long fan who remembers the glory days and would love to return there. A key player here and there - (Frank Robinson) - but mainly with player development. I will root for the home team - I am an Orioles fan. I want to see effort and a plan! That's not asking much.

You're right Pete, we need patience, A.M. will work out fine. Go O's!

Pete,

I'm not so sure your comments will be well received by some, but, as for me, I could not agree more. It appears that Andy MacPhail has a plan, is trying his hardest, despite the criticism to stick with it, and overall, is bringing us back to respectability. It won't happen this year, but I believe that beginning next year we will see improvement by leaps and bounds. Hopefully, we can dispel the "money is everything" myth that permeates the game these days.

Go O's!

Peter,
I do not count myself among the MacPhail naysayers.......like you say...not anyway yet!
What I do find disconcerting about the Orioles is what I perceive as their negative reputation around baseball. I do know if I was a potential free agent signee it would bother me to see that the Orioles have not shown the willingness to lock up their key pieces such as Roberts, Markakis and Jones to long term contracts. I feel that as much as free agents are looking for winning situations (and $) they also are looking for long term stability....something that seems to be lacking in the Orioles organization. By locking up your key pieces it would show that a team does have a positive.....not hopeful....plan in place to win. I feel that the present Orioles management's "talk a good story" is pretty well known around MLB and it's getting old.
Thanks

Ditto!

Schmuck you don't normally display such logic, but this time you dead-bang nailed it. For the baseball teenagers crying "failure", a suggestion, stay the course. A baseball team is like an ocean-liner; it takes time to turn it around.

Peter
Your rationale on pursuing the tired arms of the free agent market is right on! However, this assumes that in 2, 3 or 4 years our young arms will be ready to take over. But as you know, that is an assumption that has bee made around here for some time now! No legit free agent pitcher will even consider Baltimore. The problem is not necessarily with McFail (although his record in Chicago was not the greatest) it is with PA and Co.! They are forced to build from within because no free agent with any talent will want to be a part of this organization! This organization will continue to be bottom feeders in the free agent market. I'm hoping that Nick and Brian will stay around but that’s not a given. If I'm Brian or Nick, I'll want to see what the free agency market is going to offer for my services.

AM, though he may not move at the pace we'd like as frustrated O's fans, has the O's heading in the right direction. Tex would have sped up the process a little (still need the kid pitching to develop before it will get "serious") but he wasn't coming so it was just a waste of time and effort that only frustrated many an O's fan.

Kawakami is worth a shot, esp. if you can sign another veteran to take some pressure off of him. But the Sox are supposedly after him too so that makes it unlikely that we'd outbid them (unless you know more than you are letting on).

Pros for Kawakami
1. He opens the doors to Asia like you said
2. He is an experienced pitcher that will eat innings (we hope better than Igawa did for the Yankees).
3. Probably more upside than Looper, Hendrickson, Redding etal since we know how they pitch. Ugly!

Cons are
1. an unknown commodity in MLB and could be another Igawa.
2. Longer term commitment than a journeyman pitcher like Looper, Hendrickson or Redding so riskier if he flops.
3. unlikely to be able to tutor the kids like a MLB veteran might since he is learning about the majors himself. (but that is what coaches are for)

We have to fill the voids for a year or 2 while we wait for the kids to step up and take over the rotation. He's probably at least as good as anyone else that we might get so why not
give it a shot.

Pete , Merry Xmas and Happy New Year to you !
I dont think for a moment that MacPhail is MacFailure . He is going need at minimum , 4 years , not 18 months as some fans here believe , to see marked improvements on the field .
However , I believe there is a bigger problem than O's rebuilding plan or Angelos tightfist budget policy . Its Major Baseball itself , the main culprits are Player's Association Union and blood -sucking Agents . The luxury-revenue tax of $ 27 million charge to Yankees ? The Yankees just spent $ 423 million , do you think the revenue tax gonna scare them? I know you gonna say Players , Agents and Yankees are legally permited to engage in this practice . I honestly dont see that changing unless the Owners start contracting/bankrupcty procedures to force the Union/Agents to agree to Cap for baseball . Simultaneosly , the fans (not just O's fans ) need to boycott attending/spending on baseball . I know the Owners/Fans have failed to break the Union in the past , but how much longer will public get fed up with baseball economic realities?

I think Andy MacPhail is doing a terrific job. I was as disappointed as any one else that we didn't get Texiera. But I think Andy has made great strides and I think he has us going in the right direction. Also, I think, in hindsight, this was more about Tex not wanting to come here than the O's offer. It would have been exciting and made us a better team instantly to get Tex but I'm willing to wait and see how this rebuilding plan works out.

You are correct Peter. The previous 11 seasons should be enough evidence that they need a complete rebuild from the ground up. It is not a problem that can be fixed by just throwing money around, just ask the Yankees. Andy has made several very intelligent decisions in his short time here. He should be afforded the opportunity to continue rebuilding the organization. Nobody wants to suffer through another 70 win season but if thats what it takes to finally see the light at the end of the tunnel so be it.

Hear! Hear! Pete. Just remember, half the population is dumber than the other half. And the lower half you are hearing from are those who think the term "McFail" is so gosh darn clever they can't resist writing in and using it. Being negative is much easier because all you have to do is criticize instead of coming up with a better idea. I guarantee if these "fans" called in and you asked what they would do, they wouldn't have a sensible answer.

Tommy LaSorda said it best--in professional sports, a team (and its players) have one job: WINNING

Rebuilding is another term for losing.

Dump the euphamisms.

It's not about McPhail, it is about getting the talent to win, either on the open market or through old-fasioned player development. Since the mid-1990s, the Orioles attempts at both have tanked.

My prediction? 70-92

Agreed Mr Schmuck. McPhail has done a fine job working w/ what he has . This org was in the sewer before he took over.

The truth is that those calling for his head just dont know baseball.....

I do like the idea of bringing in 29 yr old Adam Dunn. We could use a masher around here to spice things up.

Pete , I agree with you signing 'stop gap' pitchers is important in this plan , I still don't see why we can't be more competitive through it all. I don't think Andy has failed yet , he hasn't had enough time to fail I just don't see the O's moving closer to the competition , if anything there is more distance between the O's and the rest of the division. What kind of plan is that ?

Great post Peter. You hit the nail on the head with this one. People forget that there are 14 organizations that haven't won a World Series since the O's won in '83. I understand that people want to win and so do I but look at things rationally.

I think MacPhail has done a good job so far. Tha Tejada and bedard trades last year both worked out pretty well for the O's. Rebuilding this team from the mess it's been isn't gonna happen overnight. I'd rather take the sure and steady route than go for free agent quick fixes that didn't work in the past and won't work now.

I, for one, do not call him "mcfail".
He has brought stability and sensibility to this ballclub.
As I wrote in another blog, paying Tex $20+million per year would have been absurd when you've got 2008's Silver Slugger (Aubrey Huff) to play first base for roughly a third that much. For Tex to have been worth that kind of money to the Orioles, he'd have to bat .925 hit 95 homers, and drive in 300+ runs. It's just ridiculous.
The problem I have with the Japanese pitchers isn't only their potential for mediocrity. It's culture shock. I just don't see them fitting in with this team.
And I also feel that we have quite a few pitchers in the system who could fill those spots while learning on the job. I have a feeling Andy thinks so, too.
Guthrie, Bergesen, Tillman, Patton, Waters, Penn, Liz, Matuzs, Baez, Olson, Johnson, Sarfate, Albers, Micholio, Castillo, Ray, Hernandez, Sherrill, and Walker will all be there this spring trying their best for roster spots. And you always get the few others who surprise you. I just can't see spending any more $$$ to "stop the gap". Let the guys we've got show their stuff.
The only "gap" we need to stop is to sign a good veteran catcher to help handle these guys over the next year or two while Weiters evolves into the everyday guy. Jason Varitek would be perfect.

Pete,

You should not take the arrows from O's fans at the team and team ownership/management personally. I expect the sportswriters (who do not cover New York) all have a lot to lose if MLB fans walk away in droves...but folks like myself are not upset with the writers...just the system that allows the New York teams to dominate the off season.

What does cause me concern with writers is when they make too many attempts to say "the glass is half full"...even when they understand the system is broken/unfair.

O's fans know we go after whatever the "rich teams" decide they don't want...or we call up whatever we have from the minors. Does that mean we cannot win...no. Does it create what many consider an unfair advantage/disadvantage...yes.

With all this said, Baltimore fans should root for the Ravens and their favorite college sports team.

Pete,

There is another way to enter the Asian market and that's dueing the International signing period. How may front line International free agents did we sign> Zippy! We all know we have 4 rotation slots open but Mark Hendrickson? Give me a break. Why not take a flyer on player coming off an injury like Colon, Pavano or Penny. At least they've done something in their career. I think most people are frustrated because it does not seem like AM makes small moves or takes advantage of our record in waiver claims. Have we made a decent waiver claim? He should have been all over trying to get Anthony Reyes when the Cards were looking to deal him. I personally don;t see an agreeive, talent pursuing GM.

He needs to do more because the players in the farm system are not good enough to ever make us a contender.

Hey Pete,

I'm with you. I had a partial season ticket plan from the opening of OPCY until about '97. It was about that time that I began to see the writing on the wall. Angelos was running smart baseball people out of town (Gillick, Johnson, and, worst of all, Jon Miller) in favor of aging veterans with big names (Bonilla worst of all). After watching the young guys play as a team this year and seeing the fruits of MacPhail's deals (Jones, Sherrill, Albers before getting hurt), my friend and I have picked up another partial plan. The only reason we were willing is because we think AM is doing it the right way and Angelos appears (for the moment) to be letting baseball people make baseball decisions. I REALLY wanted Teixeira on this team, but I am not disturbed with the Orioles or MacPhail for not getting him. I put that on Tex himself. Now I am torn though. Last year I wanted Roberts to go for whatever we could get. After seeing the chemistry this year and the production with him at the top of the line up, I want them to extend him. Is that in their best interest long-term? I'm not sure, but he's a good guy and a good player, and he's fun to watch. Let's extend him and Nick and sign a few stop-gap pitchers. I'm ready for a big season...maybe 75 wins, but I expect we'll start to see our future when September rolls around.

Now that the Teixeria thing is over lets do what we should have done from the start and take that money and get some PITCHING

1. Nice post and I agree, Pete. This organization is vastly different than it was 18 months ago and MacPhail has a lot to do with that. Everything, in fact. This team is on a very solid path. A path that did not include competing this year, unfortunately.

2. I still wanted Tex. He would be a great cornerstone to build around, even in two years. I am disappointed that the O's didn't become more active in the discussions. I also have to go back to you previous post and say the Yanks have always been out of control, but there are tolerable levels (especially when some others get the spoils), and then there is absurdity. So Tex wasn't the only part of it, but he was certainly a tipping point.

3. Now that we did not get Tex, does that change the ramifications for Roberts and Mora here? More likely to be traded since we clearly aren't competing this year (and probably not next).

Peter, I don't have to go into all of the reasons why the O's have become the laughing stock of MLB. And while I fully understand the "plan", besides player developement, you would think somewhere in MacPhail's job description there is a line about increasing fan interest and filling up the stands. If that isn't MacPhail's job, then whose is it?

MacPhail did a decent job last year in that regard: the trades for Bedard and Tejada gave us fans a lift. So much so that resigning Tracshel to fill one of those infamous "holes" was seen for what it was.

But this year MacPhail is out of bullets. His only tradeable commodity is Brian Roberts and trading him away creates another "hole" not only at 2b but as a leadoff hitter. I don't see any minor league prospects that can fill either spot, let alone one that can do both. So while trading Roberts may be inevitable, it's another one step forward, two steps back.

The O's have so many "holes" they continue to try and fit square pegs into round holes. Maybe MacPhail's "plan" will eventually change that. But for now, given what I am seeing, I see another 60 win season (IF we are lucky), attendence that will be at an all time low, and all the media types calling for patience using this team as fodder for their wrath by the All-Star break.

So in that sense he is MacFail, this team is actually worse then the one from last year and unless we do the O's standard of rushing prospects, pitching help is not on the way until the year after.

In the meantime at least if we had an offense that scored some runs, hit some tatters and generated some excitement, I'd settle for being the Texas Rangers East until the young pitching came around. Once the Tex domino fell, I don't see anyone left that fits into MacPhail's plan that is going to help this moribound offense or do anything better then eat up innings.

So we are essentially the Pittsburgh Pirates South. But we do have Baltimore on the road jerseys. Be jealous.

how many world series apparances do the marlins and devil rays have in the last 11 years??? Not sure my math isn't that good? I think Wayne Huisenga has the best approach buy a World Series, than scrap the entire team!!

If you want to be realistic it should take this team 5 full years to rebuild the farm system and get the major league team back into contention. I suffer severe brain lock whenever I read about how good the Orioles farm system is now. Just tell me how many five skill position players are at Bowie and Norfolk? There is pitching in the pipeline but how much actually makes it to the Show is also an unknown. Not all of them are going to reach their potential. In the long term having the 2009 season be a complete embarrassment would not be a bad thing. It should result in better draft picks that enable the Orioles to further improve their farm system. In the short term it would be excruciatingly painful to watch. Perhaps we could emulate the Lions fans with orange t-shirts with "120 losses Yes we can" in black lettering across the front and "I survived 2009" on the back.

I agree it is premature to call him McFail but what I don't understand is why he is seeking nothing but discounted players and trying to stay within about a $75 million payroll. When the O's were competitive they were paying over $100 million. Of course attendance was much higher in those days, but in order to get out of the low-attendance low-income downward spiral they need to break the cycle. Perhaps Tex wouldn't have come to Baltimore even if they had offered the same $ as the Yankees did, but McPhail should have matched their offer. If Tex turned him down, we would know it wasn't for lack of effort. And if he had accepted, don't you think much if not all of his salary would have been paid for by extra attendance? Not to mention making the team more attractive for other potential free agents......

You're on the money, Brother Schmuck. The mess that Angelos created will take awhile to turn around. McPhail knows what he's doing. It would help if MLB comes to its senses and establishes a salary cap to keep the Evil Empire from destroying the game with the same blind greed the Wall Street gang, a few miles south of Yankee Stadium, used to devastate the financial system,

Good for you, Peter. Andy MacPhail is the best hire Peter Angelos has made since firing Davey Johnson and his boss.If the family can keep hands off, the O's have a good chance to be better quickly. Outbidding the Yankees for one player would have thrown the whole scheme out of whack and complicated the re-signing of young stars for years.

Can I get an "AMEN" from the congregation?

MacPhail has (in my estimation) yet to make a misstep in his rebuilding, and those who are calling him out are mouth breathers who don't understand that it will take time to undo close to 20 years of poorly run infrastructure (what do you think led to 11 straight losing seasons?). MacPhail hasbuilt winners everywhere he has been, and if you don't like what he is doing, be a poseur and root for the Yankees or the Red Sox or some other team and leave the seats for those of us who actually root for the TEAM. Don't worry, when the Orioles return to prominence you can dust off your Markakis bobblehead and tell whoever is sitting next to you at the bar that you have been rooting for them the whole time.

Now get off my lawn.

"F" is for what I would call these people if this wasn't a family friendly blog.

Well put Peter. We knew it would be painful and slow...

Hi Pete,

I have been saying all along that since he got here Macphail has done all the right things, right up to realeasing Daniel Cabrerra. It's unfortunate that the Orioles waited 11 years to start a true rebuilding effort, but it is what it is. My comany has held six tickets to 15 games for 29 years and believe me, I have thought long and hard recently about spending the marketing money elsewhere. In recent years the tickets mostly end up in my desk and I can't even give them away to my own employees, let alone clients.


That being said, I and many other fans are watching Macphail and the Orioles very closely to see how long this effort takes to become competitive.

I agree with the decision not to spend all of that money on Texiera. No one player is going to make a difference at this point. Now when and if the team gets to the point that adding a Frank Robinson makes a good team great, like it did in the winter of '65, then I say go for it.

Until then, slow and steady does it.

Excellent point, Pete. O's fans have to realize we're never going to match the Yankees or Red Sox payroll unless MLB institutes a salary cap. And what are the chances of that happening? So you're not going to win if you try to beat them at their game with less than half their resources.
Fans clamoring to change direction with every wind shift, instead of patiently building a solid organization, need to realize that they are engaging in the same behavior that they discredit Angelos for in ruining the franchise over the past decade.

Right on, Peter! It's imperative that pitchers like Tillman, Arrieta and Matusz be ready before they are thrown into the fire. Let them pitch in Norfolk or even Bowie this year. McPahil just needs to fill in the rotation for a year or two and then let 'er rip with the young talent being gathered now.

Amen, Pete.

We have to remember that baseball is a game that is measured in decades and centuries. So we have a decade of losing baseball, fine. The Cubs have had a century of losing baseball.

Pete,
I think that the O's should go hard after Redding and/or Looper, then try to get a Japanese pitcher. Fill the rotation slots, then look for a 1B. I really like the idea of trying to trade for Hank Blalock. The guy is still a threat at the plate, he's younger than Tex (I think), and he can play 1B and 3B. Everyone is worried about his health, but I think that this is due to him always playing 3B, and we know how hard it is to stay healthy there (examples: Mike Lowell, Eric Chavez, etc.). I think that a move over to 1B can really help Blalock stay healthy. Besides, he would cost a lot less than Tex. The only question is: who would we trade for him? I say try to deal Luke Scott and a low-level prospect. That way, Reimold gets his chance to come up and we dont have to worry about any money issues. What do you think?

Peter, I certainly agree about the farm system and all. And that we as fans have to give MacPhail some time to see his plan through. But as A FAN they got to throw us a bone once in awhile!! Right now there is no way I re-new my 29 game plan,hopefully the team will give me a reason to change my mind. But it will awfully hard to go to Opening Day as it stands right now!!

Thank you for a welcome dose of perspective.

The problem for all O's fans, as well as baseball fans in general is the almost heartbreaking state of the game, many of it's franchises, and the overall atmosphere surrounding it. You have storied franchises like the Pirates and Reds, with terrific ballparks and no ability to compete - no hope basically. The Bucs were forced into selling off some of their best players - to the Yanks of all teams. Year in and year out it's the same thing. MLB consists of 5-6 teams with all of the financial resources to get and keep the players they want, and the rest of the teams either are resigned to losing them, or don't possess the "ability" to land these players - the O's pursuit of Tex as exhibit A.

The heartbreaking thing is there is nothing short of the nuclear option that will change this reality. The success of the Rays is just one of those situations that demands further scrutiny. It took 10 years of patience and careful drafting to produce this result. Are the O's willing to wait for the time it takes to produce these types of players, particularly with no assurance of future returns?

I can understand the frustration of all baseball fans in this environment, and I feel that MLB in general is losing an entire generation of fans to this malaise. By the same token their isn't squat they can do about it - not if they want to stay in the baseball business.

So, I'll continue to hold out hope for my O's and have faith that they'll finally get back to the business of player development, and hope for really good results!

Pete, of course the Orioles are invisible in the Far East-they're invisible in the AL EAST! And it's already been 25 years since the O's last trip to the fall classic, so whats another 17? As far as Mcphail goes, sure the criticism of him at this point is unfair. This mess took years to create--it will take years to correct. But fans are tired of waiting and being asked to be patient and most of all losing. Year after year being told that Santa is on his way is great, but sooner or later you're going to need to see some gifts under the tree.

MacPhail is doing a great job of lowering the payroll, which is why he was hired. Winning is secondary. Since when are we a small market team that can't afford free agents. Pete you need to get ahold of the Forbes people that do the baseball earnings figures and see how good they are. Is YES, MASN and the like included in the figures. If Forbes is right the Orioles are swimming in money and easily could have afforded Tex..
A blogger I think on one of yours said Boras #2 guy said they got back with the Orioles to see if they wanted to match the Yankees, answer was no. Any truth to this.
I like a lot of fans, and I've been one since 1962, will not be going to Oriole games next year. Angelos leaving is the only hope.

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Pete's reply: I haven't heard that, but everyone is going to believe what they want to believe. If I'm his agent, I say that, too, to get the heat off him. But it's possible.

Thank you for pointing out what should be obvious to a lot of fans. Too many posters appear to have thought the team could get righted overnight. The old saying "a watched pot never boils" is very appropriate for the O's right now. I say steady wins the prize!

Pete,

If you can logically tell us how the Orioles will rebuild this club into a perennial winner when they continue to drop the ball with regards to contract negotiations with current young players like Markakis, Roberts, etc. I believe they are running the risk of alienating our future stars with their currently cheap negotiating tactics.

For example, I believe they gave Markakis the league minimum one year contract before the 2008 season.
Why not show some goodwill and give him something more in line with what he truly deserves. I know you'll say it is a "business decision", but isn't business all about trying to make both parties feel like they came out ahead. I have to believe Markakis is counting the days before he is eligible for free agency.

Ditto for the Roberts negotiations.

McPhail wants arms for next season. My belief is that they should have countered Cabrera with a contract that had built in incentives but at the same time gave him a decent minimum. Look, the guy signed with the Nationals for around $2.5 million. This tells me he would have listened to whatever the Orioles would offer.

Now we are going to find a few "stop gap" pitchers to avoid an embarrassing season? If I recall, last season was not all that embarrassing until the end of July/beginning of August.

Personally, I believe Angelos has dictated that he wants salaries to be slashed under the guise of "building a winner". This con job will fool most of the fans for only a short time. After the 2009/2010 seasons, it will become clear that there is no intention to build a winner AND keep the young players.

It bothers me too when I see people calling him McFail. He took over an organization that was/is at the bottom in every conceivable way. This organization needs the slow and patient approach of a MacPhail-type. Ever since his hiring, I've wiped the slate clean with Angelos. It appears he wants the team to be respectable again. I can't say I agree with every single decision the team has made, but I'm also not a baseball man. It's clear that MacPhail and the team has a plan, a logical long term plan and that's all I need to know as long as they stick to it and see it through. We need to build from within before we can chase free agents, which are going to have to be the final piece of this puzzle. I would love to have seen Texiera here, but I also don't like the idea of just writing him a blank check, that's the Yankee way not the Oriole way. That being said, I still hope to see lots of "Te$$$eria" signs at the ballpark on Opening Day. Or how about "¢¢ $abathia"...

Good points Peter.
I will remain patient for 2 more years but I do expect them to be somewhat competitive in 2010. 85 wins would suffice. But most importantly I want to read of 3 , maybe 4 can't miss prospects that play positions other than DH or 1st base or left field. And there better be 3 or 4 more just about to emerge. I have been a fan since 1957 or so and yearn for the days of yore. But I also am realistic and see a comparable to the Colts departure in March,84. The Orioles left the previous fall. There was a cheap imitation in 1996 and 1997 of free agents and bums(see Bonilla) but the Oriole tradition died in 83. What I am being patient for is a return to that WAY of doing baseball

Thank God for you!!!! You finally said what I have been thinking for awhile....Baltimore fans (maybe just fans in general) think they know everything.....It's pretty obnoxious and clearly lessens the enjoyment of reading blogs.....If all of these so called fans are so qualified to render an opinion on something they know very little about, perhaps they should run for political office (they would be much better suited for that line of work)....if not, just shut up, sit back and give the man a GD chance!!!!

I couldn't agree with you more. We aren't going to spend our way to the promised land. Guys like Kawakami, Redding etc are needed as place holders for Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta and the other promising pitchers we have in the minors,

Let's spend some of the money we saved by not signing Teixiera to lock up Markakis because he, Jones and Weiters are the core of this club going forward.

As far as '09 is concerned, I don't think the O's are that bad, assuming AM can sign a couple of decent, not great, starters who can lend a little stability.

We've got a pretty good looking outfield of Markakis, Jones and Scott with Freel backing them up. The infield looks pretty good with Weiters, Huff, Roberts, Izturis and Mora. If Ray and Baez can return to some semblance of their old selves, we've got a good looking bullpen with some depth.

While there is still much to be done, from where I sit I see a much better club than what AM inherited 18 months ago. I'm going to reserve judgement of AM until 2010, 11 and 12. So far so good.

I think AM has done an excellent job working his plan, despite those who expect instant results. Those kinds of results are endemic with fans today, and it just doesn't happen. I've never been impressed for the Angelos baseball ethic up to this year, when AM was given--hopefully--the keys to rebuilding the franchise. Can't get excited about what the Yanks or Sox have done--that's what they always do. I've watched this team since 1954 (and actually earlier in the International League), and it's got to come from inside with a little cherry-picking mixed in. Since AM never discloses what he's doing, one cannot judge how things are moving, particularly the naysayers and boobirds. He really doesn't ask their opinion! And shouldn't.

Wikipedia already has Kawakami's entry listed as if he plays for the Orioles.

Great post, Schmuck.

The problem is that the fans in this town too often compare everything to football (not that they completely understand all the complicated workings of football either). In baseball, drafted talent takes years to make it to the Major Leagues. In football, you can usually count on several draftees making contributions to the team the very year they are drafted.

When you screw up a franchise in baseball, it will take several years to bring the club back to respectability (especially when you are not willing to spend big dollars to make frivolous free agent signings, like paying over $20 million per year for 1/25th of your active roster). When you screw up a franchise in baseball and don't know what you are doing (see: Thrift, Syd or Beattie, Jim or Flanagan, Mike), it will take a lot more time to bring a club back to respectability. Signing Miguel Tejada and Javy Lopez shook up the fans in Baltimore, but it didn't get us any further in the long run. Signing Teixeira would have excited everyone, but we wouldn't have been any closer to contention than we were after we signed Tejada and Lopez all those years ago. No one would have cared about Teixeira if he was from North Dakota.

The bottom line is that fans need to relax and let Andy MacPhail do what he does. His Bedard and Tejada trades have looked great so far. Getting rid of Ramon Hernandez seems to have gotten us at least one solid player (while getting rid of another lazy one).

Rebuilding the Orioles will be a long process, but that is the name of the game in baseball. It requires patience and understanding. You can't go from last place to first place in one year in baseball like you can in football. No one can build a contender in one off-season. MacPhail has a proven track record of putting together contending teams. Unfortunately, he can't make our prospects jump from the minor leagues faster than normal. He puts his pants on one leg at a time just like the rest of us. However, when Andy does it he usually makes World Champions.

Good article Peter. Right on the money. I too want to see AM get the time he needs to build a club that can compete. Unfortunately, many of our younger fans grew up with computers and expect instant gratification, as in, " Why can't AM just push the button and do it now?" It's not their fault. It's just how they've been conditioned. Fantasy baseball doesn't help the situation either. I was part of that long before it was called "fanatasy". As you know, it's all about numbers, not attitudes, personalities, work habits, etc. It changes the fan's perspective.

Fact of the matter is that we can't spend with the Yankees or Sox, at least not yet. Most of it has to do with these fans who fall off the bus everytime we loose. Yankee and Redsox fans continue to go to games and boo regardless how bad the teams may be. Because of that they have the revenue to outspend anyone else. O's fans need to understand that this team is no longer a power in the league and Angelos is doing things to change that. He got MASN and he's developing a the O's name around the world. It's going to take time for this team to catch the Yankees and Redsox so we are going to have to be patient. We stretched ourselves and reached out to Tex but that's more than we should spend for any player at this point. Our real priority should be to sign one of the Japanese pitchers. That fits both the short term and long term needs.

I love what Andy MacPhail is doing. I'm enjoying the journey we're taking with this team--last place or not. You see the stocking of the farm system--even with players who may not have a shot at the majors. But he's elevating the Orioles system0--slowly but surely--on all fronts.

Tex might have been nice but I'm not sure he's ever elevated a single team he's been on. He's a good player and the O's gave it a shot. But its VERY clear he had no intention whatsoever of landing in Camden Yards. He gave no indication that we've ever heard of that he truly wanted to be here.

Mr. MacPhail, please continue your plan (and I hope you stick around to see it succeed). For this team and this city, it's the only way we have a shot of competing again.

Anyone who thinks McPhail is not doing a great job is either uninformed or far too near sighted. McPhail got Scott, Albers Sarfate, Sherill and Jones, with Tray Patton, Tillman, Mickolio and others in the offing for Tejada, a shortstop with declining defensive skills (and, if you’ve ever played or coached the game, you know it’s the most important defensive position on the team) and Bedard, a moody pitcher who turned up with arm troubles. Moreover, McPhail established an Oriole presence in the far east—long overdue—and expanded the Orioles’ presence in the Dominican Republic and other Latino countries. This off season, he’s shored up the defense with the signing of Izturis, made space for Weiters, and now he has thought far enough ahead to have Freel—not a bad player—on hand for second base should he trade Roberts. Further, the offseason is not yet over. Anyone who thinks that’s failure or that McPhail has done nothing apparently won’t be satisfied by anything but instant gratification, and that thinking is what has left the O’s holding up the East from the bottom for a long time.

Although no Orioles fan wants to hear stop gap, the reality is none of us wants to see another Sidney Ponson or Daniel Cabrera who is rushed up before they are ready and never really get it.

Any chance of pursuing Bedard and Sheets? They have arm troubles but are young enough to be here when we can compete or in the worst case, dangle at the trade deadline.

Although no Orioles fan wants to hear stop gap, the reality is none of us wants to see another Sidney Ponson or Daniel Cabrera who is rushed up before they are ready and never really get it.

Any chance of pursuing Bedard and Sheets? They have arm troubles but are young enough to be here when we can compete or in the worst case, dangle at the trade deadline.

Pete,

Merry Christmas to you, your family and blog readers!

Hmm, "Orioles logic." An oxymoron joke is awfully tempting here, but in the spirit of the season I'll refrain.

Yesterday, you wrote that the Orioles appear to be "in serious contention to sign Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami."


But are the O's really "in serious contention" for Kawakami? It would be nice, but I really doubt it (in fact, I doubt if they're in contention at all). There are plenty of suitors out there, including the Mets, Twins, Braves, Angels and Cardinals. Add to that potentially all of the other West Coast teams, and possibly, (who else?) the Yankees.

Yet it's the Red Sox who appear to be in the driver's seat on this one. Even if the rumored 3-yr., $21M offer isn't accurate, the following link still shouldn't give O's fans much reason for encouragement.

http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2008/05/kenshin-kawakam.html

So, careful drinking the front office's Kool Aid. As I recall, not too long ago the team was supposed to be "in contention" for Teixeira, and we now see that Angelos and MacPhail were never serious about signing Tex, not for one moment.

It was all about creating the perception among O's fans that management was finally getting serious about going after a top free agent, but when the smoke cleared it was learned that MacPhail had made the lowball bid (admittedly a 7-yr., $140M "lowball"!), never moved from that intitial figure despite a nebulous claim of "flexibility," never seized the moment to meet with Tex and Boras after the Boston's owner's failed meeting (a golden opportunity missed--what better time for MacPhail to have asked for his turn at bat and bring Cal in tow to remind Tex of Oriole tradition?) .

I don't have a problem with the O's bowing out when the bidding got too rich for their blood, but two things in the scenario are troubling: 1. MacPhail promised fans serious pursuit of Teixeira, which he shouldn't have, as he pretty much knew going in
that he'd be outbid; and 2. Once having entered the fray, he needed to at least show some signs of aggressive pursuit over and above the all-but-worthless line about "flexibility."

Ttrue, there are times when that appoach might work, but he of all people should know that he's got to go beyond that when he's negotiating with the relentless Boras and is up against shrewd rivals like Cashman and Epstein, if he wants even the shadow of a chance.

Of course, as I mentioned above, the O's never really wanted Teixeira (certainly not enough to seriously fight for him), as this was all about the illusion of contending for Mark's services. But that's toying with the emotions of the fans is hardly the way to win them back.

Lest I be misunderstood, be it known that I think Andy MacPhail has, by and large, done a wonderful job in getting this franchise pointed in the right direction. In fact, there are only two things he's done that I don't like.

First, obviously, the Teixeira bidding, primarily because he (and Angelos) should have been up front with O's fans from Day One, and said, "Look, we'd love to have him, but realistically we have no shot at signing him since we can't afford him." Yes, fans would have grumbled and been disappointed, but at least they wouldn't have become bitter about it becasue false hopes had been built built up by the front office, only to knocked down by its utter lack of effort. (If there's a silver lining, it's that maybe some free agents will see that the team does have some money to spend, which might make Baltimore a slightly more attractive place to play.)

At least losing out on Teixeira didn't hurt the roster, as he was never on it to begin with. Unfortunately, the same can't be said about MacPhail's second error, which was the pointless trade of Chad Bradford to a division rival as a pretty much straight salary dump, in which the O's will get back a nobody from the Rays.

How big a loss is Bradford on a team starved for pitching? Well, his 2.45 ERA was the second best of all Orioles pitchers with at least 10 IP (bested only by Jim Johnson's 2.23), and he even had a better WHIP than Jeremy Guthrie (1.190 to 1.227, and slightly better than Johnson's 1.194).

His ERA and WHIP were both also significantly better than the O's All Star closer George Sherrill. Bradford, then, was quite simply one of the best pitchers on the staff. Since he doesn't turn 35 until the end of next season and is a soft
tosser who should be able to pitch effectively for years (see Jamie Moyer), I can't see the logic of MacPhail on this.

Andy's move is all the more confounding given that he later signed a Gold Glove caliber shortstop in Cesar Izturis, and Bradford, when on his game, is a ground ball-inducing machine, which would have been a perfect match. (All of which just goes to show that upper management can have bloopers--they're just never highlighted with Sports Center video clips.)

A potential third mistake is the decision to non-tender Daniel Cabrera. Is a Mark Hendrickson or a Tim Redding really a better alternative? (To be revisited in October...)

I agree with you to a degree, Pete.

So far, I've seen MacPhail do nothing with free agent dollars or sign anyone to an extension.

The trades and drafting have been great, but it's for naught if you can't keep your own. The slow, deliberative process works great when you're on top, but when you're on the bottom all it does is make people move on/want to move on. I pretty much agree with about 95% of your posts, but when Markakis announces that he's just going to wait till free agency, you'll be calling him McFail too.

Are there really people out there who think Andy MacPhail is doing a bad job? I have been an outspoken critic of the Warehouse for years now, but even I have to admit MacPhail is doing a very good job. Not just good, very good. The Bedard and Tejada deals were some of the best, most lopsided trades in baseball in years. The Bedard trade is honestly looking like it could even be Reverse Glenn Davis. We have stocked our farm system with Matusz, Tillman and Arrieta down the pitching pipe plus a ton of other promising young position players including Adam Jones. It sounds to me like a bunch of people who know nothing about baseball have sour grapes over not getting Teixeira. You all need to grow up. It indeed sucks to not have landed the hometown ballplayer, but the asking price was outlandish - and not just for us, for the Angels and BoSox as well. MacPhail is doing an excellent job however, and haters need to back off.

Pete,

Great post, well said! Question, since we have no Japanese players in our system, do you think if we went out and told both Kawakami & Uehara we want them in Baltimore next season, it would significantly boost our ability to sign em both?

I know Uehara is viewed more as a reliever, but heck, let's give the guy a shot at the rotation. If it doesn't work in the spring, put him in the pen.

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Pete's reply: I think they are talking about both, but my sense is that Kawakami is most likely.

Pete,

Please don't placate us. As usual your right about the job Andy did last year in moving Tejada and Bedard, kudo and even Kudo plus! But in the world I live in we get an annual performance appraisal and thus far this offseason we are sucking hind teet! We have money, we need pitchers, not end of the road guys in there mid to late 30's we sign for 3 years (can you say Baez, Walker, Bradford)? Lets make an investment in our future, lets spend a little money, you know the $150 we didn't spend on Tex, the MASN money, the salary reductions of the last 3 years, it's time Peter The Scrooge Angelos gives the fans something to come see! The rule 5 guys, utility players, a two bit shortstop????? Progress, I really don't think so. At the same time, we have reinforced to the world of free agents we are two bit players and our very own, Mussina, BJ Ryan, Brian Roberts and Nick, have or will all walk. The O's need to draw a line in the sand, that from this day forward we are players and are playing to win. Pete, who is our DH? Huff is ok at first, but who is the BIG bat at DH? Adam Dunn's 40 dingers annually would be nice batting between Huff and Wieters!
The fans need the Sun writers not to be apolligest for the O's but hold them accountable. Tex didn't want to play here and we would never pay him, but Andy said we needed pitching, not more of what we saw last year but upgraded pitching, go and get it!

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Pete's reply: I think the fans need the Sun writers to be honest, whether the truth hurts Peter or it hurts the fans. I think if you spend that $140 million on a bunch of three-year contracts for medium free agent pitchers, you're going to wake up three years from now with one 80 win season and not much better off than you are now from a long-term perspective. If they can convince a Derek Lowe to come here, great, because he'll help bring along the young pitchers, but I wouldn't just spend that money to spend it.

theres a great quote from john harbaugh in your paper today...

"you dont rebuild.....you build upon the talent you have"

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Pete's reply: I guess he's lucky he's not managing in the AL East.

I agree Peter, but I don't think signing this guy is enough.
We need to sign and lock up every borderline guy we can, eventually someone (hopefully not everyone) on the roster is going to go down with injury. If your LUCKY you need at least 9 starting pitchers of major league caliber to make it through a season. We just let go of one of our biggest innings eaters in Cabrera. So sign away Andy. Your going to need them.

Magic number is only 162. That is a good plan we are working under. i just cancelled my MLB pkg. Baseball just doesn't get it

Pete, you are right, Andy needs more time. I think the fans are frustrated. I'm sure you know that we have no infield after this yr., all free agents save ss. Bringing Tex in would have excelerated our rebuild, also keeping Roberts. I think we have been set-back quite a bit

Pete, any truth to the rumor that the Yankees have offers on the table to Lebron James, Tom Brady, Michael Phelps, Tiger Woods and Barack Obama?

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Pete's reply: Can't rule anything out at this point.

I completely agree with you on this Schmuck. I think AM is doing a great job. The reason the bottom fell out last season is that most of our starters had never pitched for that many innings over such a long time. We had 4A pitchers or pitchers who just weren't ready up here. They need to be in the minors getting innings and experiences that will boost their confidence, not their ERA's .

To those who think that AM hasn't acquired talent WHAT ARE YOU SMOKING?!?!?! The Bedard and Tejada trades brought us ten players. AM said that you don't expect all ten to turn into MLB players and that's why you get 5 for 1. Tillman, AJ, Sherril, Scott alone worked out better than an injured (again) Bedard and a gruff, 2 years older Tejada.

Tex was not going to work here. For those of you who said Boras and he didn't see the plan you are wrong. It's that the plan didn't work for them because it means Tex had to wait past his prime years to compete. All I have to say is AROD in Texas. They are still reelling from that contract. It set them back. We don't need that. I'd rather have two really good players or three good players for 20 mill a year over the next 8 years. Mark my words 2010 and 2011 you are going to see a lot of home grown talent make the O's a force in the AL East.

Peter, I couldn't agree more. Anyone who thinks this organizational overhaul should be complete at this time is not very realistic. The moves that have been made need time to play out. I have faith in MacPhail to do this the right way and if we need to sacrifice another bad season in 09 for an enduring future then so be it. We were still a last place team with Teixeira or without him this year anyway.

Logic, logic, logic, logic, Orioles logic. Feel it happen!

Forget about 09. The O's will not be in the hunt. There is a realistic chance that they can win 90-plus games in 2010.

That means younger players should be getting a chance to play when they're ready. Reimold needs to get at least 250-300 ABs in the majors this season. Somebody in the warehouse must not like the guy, but he put up a very good season at Bowie and stayed healthy all year.

Olson and Liz should get one more extended chance in the rotation. Penn should go north with the team unless he absolutely shows nothing in spring training.

Huff and Mora will be gone at the end of 09, and the O's should be looking for other options. (I also doubt that either will approach their 08 performances anyway).

Also I doubt that Roberts will extend, so the O's need to look to get as much as possible in a trade -- including his possible replacement.

Markakis should have been locked up last off-season. He gets more valuable every day, and the O's failure to extend him is my big criticism of MacPhail.

I agree with you Pete. Anyone wo seriously believed we were in the "Tex" derby had too much eggnog. If we had gotten him then what? We get to see the O's lose a lot of 10-9 games the next few years, wow, how exciting. This team needs arms, and all the money that might have been wasted on Tex can now go towards getting a couple.
If the O's stick to the plan, then maybe in another year or two they'll be in a position where spending big bucks on a celebrity bat like Tex might make some sense. As for now, I like what McPhail has done and hope Angelos continues to give him a free hand.

Defending the Orioles logic is like defending Pickett's charge, Custer's strategy at Little Bighorn, or the Empire's decision to leave a 2-meter exhaust vent hole in the Death Star...


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Pete's reply: The designer of the Death Star never factored in that young Luke would be able to harness the Force. Honest mistake. Could have happened to anyone.

MLB is dying, you can't find quality players anymore, now they are trying to recruit cricket players from India. It is being removed from the Olympics. My son now plays lacrosse in the spring. We are experiencing the death of our national sport, so only having 5 or 6 competitive teams is only one more symptom.

Happy New Year

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Pete's reply: If you're definition of dying is setting an all-time revenue record this year ($6.5 billion), you're right on the money.

Ken Francis -

I have to disagree with your assessment of the Tex negotiations. Kind of hard to seriously go after someone who was never serious about playing in Baltimore. I like everyone else certainly wasn't privy to any conversations between MacPhail & Boras, but I think it's safe to say that the agent kept the O's in sniffing distance while he patiently waited out the market. That's how Boras operates. I think Andy thought he had a shot. Maybe not a great one, but Tex must have given him the impression he consider playing for the O's. And that's the Teixeira we all know too well down here. Not exactly an upfront guy. The Ranger clubhouse is better off without him from a team chemistry standpoint, and we got some solid players in return.

And to term a 7yr/140 mil offer as lowball is ridiculous. It was their initial offer, and Andy was very smart to let them know their was flexibility in going above that offer. In other words, it called the player & agents bluff. Once Boras steered all conversation about Tex to his other clients, MacPhail would have been a fool to offer a larger contract. Anyone who knows anything about Boras will tell you that.

So, in closing, I'd have to say that the fair haired golden boy from my hometown of Severna Park lied to Andy. MacPhail's downfall was believing Tex. In my book, Andy is the one who walked away with his integrity intact.

Pete,

Just out of curiosity what is the success rate for first round draft picks in the Major Leagues? By success, I mean All Star games because that is what it will take to compete with the Yanks and Red Sox. We have to hit home runs on all most all of our picks for this to happen. What happened in Tampa was statistically improbable and most likely won't be repeated. Why do we have to compare ourselves to Tampa and markets like KC when Angelos has much more resources to deal with? We were once able to afford payrolls over $100 million a year and we were competitive. That was before the MASN deal. What's changed since then? The park is half empty but that's the whole cart before the horse deal. You put together a $100 million payroll and win and the fans will come to support and pay for that expense.


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Pete's reply: The payroll will be close to $100 million if they just re-sign Nick and Brian and maybe sign one decent free agent pitcher. Don't think that's going to do it.

Pete, I understand that we do need to fill roster spots with stop gap players until we can fill from within in a year or two, but even then the O's will have to step up and sign a legitimate free agent hitter and or pitcher, and until they actually beat everybody elses offere that doesn't look realistic. A good team is a mix of youth, veterans, role players and studs, we seem to have most of the equation except the "studs", Markakis is good, but I would equate him to a Kenny Singleton back in the day. He is NOT a player that will put the team on his back and carry them like a Manny, or Jeter, Pujols, etc.

Eventually the O's must be the highest bidder, end of story.

And life goes on... Merry Christmas to all and to all a good night!

Pete, I just don't understand why a guy like Adam Dunn doesn't represent a viable option for the O's. He's one of those guys who gets shunned because of the low batting average and the high strikeouts but look at his OPS! The guy can flat out bash and he's a legitimate threat every time he comes up. How many guys out there can do that? He plays a decent 1B and won't cost a fortune. What's the downside?

The O's rebuilding plan will get them exactly what is planned - a team that will finish in the middle of the pack year after year. Andy MacPhail hasn't failed, but he can't make the O's competitive within this division. The minors were weak and are still weak and will remain weak. Watching the Keys this year was fun with Matt Weiters there, but there isn't another major league possibility there. With pitchers it's "ball1, ball2, ball3, home run." The better free agents will always go elsewhere and people like Weiters will leave as soon as they can. The only mistake with Cabrerra was not trading him in June when it looked like he may have a clue. Daniel is physically uncoordinated (that's why one pitch is good, next one is anywhere) and you don't somehow get coordinated at age 28.

the business model for the o's is the twins and pirates. don't laugh. look at the twins record over the mcphail era. low cost ,home grown talent-ie pitching, defense and the occasional big bat.
ny is having a difficult time selling it's new high priced tickets. and is incapable of growing talent,ala phil hughes-so they go out and buy the high priced players. still haven't won the big one.
see the phillies and rays.
be mad because over priced players don't come to baltimore- but also be mad over 5.00 beers and 50.00 dollar tickets paying for guaranteed contracts for 200 career hitters.
don't forget that these pampered athletes,take off plays and games at will while getting more income than all of us make in a lifetime.
so stop going to the games and cancel masn.
you want to change the dinamic of the sport. think what the aforementioned will do to revenues and contracts. too many baseball games anyway, which is why football is such a bargain


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Don't think you can mention the Twins and Pirates in the same sentence. The Twins are the model for how it can be done. The Pirates haven't done a thing.

Peter,

MASN payed the Orioles and Nats $26 million dollars this year. On top of this Angelos owns the network and received a lot more of that since the network is becoming quite profitable. Why then do we have to stick to a plan where we rely strictly on low priced draft picks and minor league callups instead of mixing in that young talent with guys like Teixiera? "The Plan" is strictly a plan to save Peter Angelos a boatload of money and McPhail was one of the only GMs that would take the job. Back in the late 90's the Orioles were in the top 5% in payroll and still making money because Camden Yards was full every night. What's changed since then? Why can't we still spend that much money? The only reason attendance is down is because Angelos went on the cheap after not winning the series in 97'. The payroll has declined since then, along with the attendance. The Orioles total team salary this year will likely be what it was in 1997. The problem with that is that when you add in inflation it's about 30-40% lower then in 1997 yet the team actually should be receiving more money now due to the MASN deal. We all know that if you spend the money and put a winner on the field Camden Yards will be full again. Regardless of what spin the Front Office may put on "The Plan", the numbers just don't add up to anything but Angelos being cheap and just putting a pretty label on it called, The Plan.

Pete,

I actually agree with you. I think getting Kawakami would have more positives than negatives. I think Macphail is doing an admirable job and in a couple of years we will have a solid starting rotation.
My question for you Pete is what if we do get Kawakami? You said he may not be any better than a #4 starter. If that is the case and you had to bet... Who do you think our starter will be on opening night(assuming Guthrie is the starter opening day)? For a bonus....Who starts at first base on opening day(assuming Aubrey Huff is DH)?

I believe too many people are using the word great. NO ONE in the O's organization is doing a great job. That is a fact with ongoing proof.

If you look at two years ago we had holes in Centerfield, Left field and First. Now we have holes in Left, First and Shortstop (lineup hole). We had two good starters in the rotation, now we have one. We had one decent catcher, now we have a rookie that needs to cut his teeth at the MLB level. We had Bradford in the bullpen (received nothing for him, and I do not want to hear about CASH because he was cheap) and we should be getting Ray and Baez back but those guys were here way before AM came here. I am not saying he is doing a bad job, it is far from great though. We tend to over use that word. The guys he brought here over the last few years have not been impact type players yet but hope they will. The fact is the fans deserve a team that strives for excellence. Baltimore is a not a small market team, just remember Major League Baseball gave Angelos compensation for the Nat's coming here. I do not want to hear anyone crying poor mouth. Just think of it as a business, if you had a bad loaf of bread that tasted awful and you complained to the company "that was the worst loaf of bread you ever had", and they answered with " We are rebuilding now". Would you really buy another loaf from them?

I hate to ruin everyone's Christmas but I prefer to believe in facts and numbers instead of fairy tales with fancy names like "The Plan." Here are a few of those facts and the numbers to back them up.

In 1996 and 1997 the Orioles were in the playoffs and were also had the best attendance in MLB. The Orioles also had the highest and second highest payrolls in baseball those two years. In 1997 the Orioles were ranked as the second most valuable franchise in MLB. What's happened since then? Now the Orioles are the 18th ranked franchise in valuation. Angelos has driven this team from 2nd to 18th in 10 years. After 1998 the Orioles steadily declined in payroll and Won-Loss record, however remained in the top 4 in attendance in MLB. In fact in 2001, after 4 consecutive years of 4th place, the Orioles still ranked towards the top in attendance with over 38,000 per game. Today the Orioles rank in the lower half of MLB in both attendence and payroll but received $26 million from MASN, not including Angelos' personal profits from the company. Obviously you can only take so much losing and fans had enough. Angelos however is still making out like a bandit because of the MASN deal. While his payroll and attendance have both dropped to the lower half of the league, his money from MASN has made up for the loss of revenue from ticket sales. Angelos has NO reason to increase the payroll. He can either spend $100 million more and hope Camden Yards sells out and he makes money or he can do what he's doing now and get the MASN money and guarantee his revenue stream and profits. 1996 and 1997 proved that the franchise has the means financially to compete with the big boys and win however it's more of a risk business wise so Angelos comes up with "The Plan" while continuing so slash payroll and have his PR team preach to the fans that we are a small market team and this is the only way to go. It's a brilliant plan because it seems like the media is onboard and half the fans but it to but it's nothing but a snow job. The numbers and the Orioles past history just don't add up to what he's trying to sell. This city and fans deserve better then an owner and GM lying to us and trying to sell us on the fact that our only chance is to follow the plan of the Rays, the 29th ranked franchise value wise in MLB.

............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Thanks for the history lesson. We all know this team has been mismanaged into a huge hole. That's not news. The notion, however, that they have some great reservoir of cash they aren't spending is not fact but suspicion. It's possible, but when you draw half of what you drew 10 years ago, you're probably not as flush as you were then. The fact is, they screwed things up royally, and now the fact is, you have to find a way to fix it. Your solution appears to be to do what they've been doing all along, spending sporatically with no rhyme or reason. Angelos spent a ton of money on Tejada and several other free agents a few years ago and it accomplished little. Do you want to do the same thing again? WIth no foundation, the free agent purchases are just flushing money down a hole. I'll take "The Plan" you refer to so derisively over that any day.

Agree 100%....even Ringo said "time takes time."
Feats, don't McPhail me now!

Peter,
I was insulted by your reader who wrote that those of us who know that AM is doing a great job as GM are not thinking clearly. This person is obviously some one under the age of 40 who suffers from the debilitating desease of youth and inexperience. AM did a masterful job in handling the MT affair. He didn't allow his franchise to fall prey to S.Boras and M.Teixeria like the Nationals did? He correctly positioned the Orioles in the the bidding process, which in illuminated the dirty little secret that MT had no intention of coming to Baltimore. If MT wanted to be an Oriole, AM positioned the team so he could be an Oriole!
Now ontothe MT deal.With all of the fanfare surrounding the Yankee off season, they still might not make it to the post season or the World Series. They ovERpaid for MT and for AJB. Those of us who have been around the AL East have seen the Yankees for decades pay over the top for players and the Orioles would own them because we had the model farm system that produced outstanding pictures and excellent position players. AM proved to me that he has a"clue" about returning the O's to respectability through his savey handling of MT. I thought that the O's were going to fumble their way through the off seaaon and free agents, but AM"s professionalism has sold me buying tickets to home games this year. The O's are on the right path finally!!!!!

First timer. Here is something that really bugs me. Here are the O's losing for what 10 plus years. Anyway were always drafting in the top ten. Where are all those 1st rounders? Then you see the Yankees & Red Sox. Always winning. Drafting in the lower part of the draft. They seem to be doing alot better at finding the talent that can make it to major's quicker than the O's. Where have we failed? Why does it seem we need to develop our players longer? Then you change GM or new player development person. They need five years to turn things around. That's what been frustrating to most Oriole fans. I don't really blame a young player for not coming to the O's. He's wanting a chance to "WIN NOW"! All they can be told is give us three years to develop our player in the minors. Well as I see it we had three cycles of waiting three years to develop talent in the minors already.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: They did a poor job of drafting in the early 2000's, but their last two first rounders are pretty good. They'll have another very high pick next June, too. In that department, they appear to be coming around.

Yup. Andy MacPhail has successfully allowed the "market to set itself" -- which happens when one is on the sideline. Way to go Andy!

Now, the Orioles have a clear picture in how to underoffer (a new word for an old strategy) Markakis. And those applauding The Plan of not offering enough to make a difference will be just as pleased when Markakis "wants to see what's out there." I'm sure he will speak wonderfully of the Orioles and Baltimore as he rubs his hands together ready to escape.

Rebuilding doesn't happen in one year when an organization is as inept as the Orioles. However, if rebuilding really is part of The Plan -- and that is a mighty big if -- it needs to be done from all ends: drafting, developing, scouting, maintaining and recruiting. And it needs to be done at all levels: rookie league to major league.

The only thing I see is drafting, and that seems to be mandatory. Two trades and almost nobody signed for 2010 -- sounds like 2009 will only feature 90 or so losses. 2010 may be the start of benchmark losing seasons that'll make the '62 Mets look downright professional.

Plan ... yeah, right.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: The O's offered Markakis $60 million at the same time the AL MVP was signing for $40 million. What do you want them to do with Markakis...a blank check? He's not going anywhere for three years and would be a fool to roll the dice for that long. He'll get signed by spring training. Worry about something else.

Peter,

Apparently you believe that good results come from magic, and not hard work.

Since hard work and good decisions are lacking in the Warehouse, it'll take MAGIC to produce a winning team.

MacPhail has done virtually nothing for an entire year other than cut payroll. He makes excuses constantly, and his flat-out dishonesty is growing (where is that player from Tampa?).

He came up with his "plan" after watching Tampa have a miracle season.

And people don't bother to check MacPhail's actual record as a GM. It wasn't good.

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Pete's reply: He came up with his plan 18 months ago, but you weren't paying attention. Please tell me what concrete things you would do TODAY that would get the team to the playoffs sooner than what McPhail is attempting to do. I await the solution.

Okay, we get all this young talent and as soon as they can, they'll go where the money is (i.e. Stankees/Red Sux). Why do you think Markakis is dragging his feet accepting $60 mil? He knows he can get more. I blame the players for being so greedy and the owners for feeding this habit. Unless a salary cap is put in place (which probably won't happen in my lifetime), teams like the O's don't stand a chance. I've been an Oriole fan for most of my life (and I'm 47 years old). I practically grew up at Memorial Stadium watching players who were a part of our community, not the prima donnas that baseball players are now. Money is probably the primary reason these kids go pro now. Only love of the game they have is how much money they can make. Sorry, I guess I've just become a little jaded about the whole sport.


.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: The young players have to stay with their original team for six years. None of them are sitting around waiting to go somewhere else until the last year or so. Too risky. They want to sign a long-term deal and get set up for life. If they don't like it here after that, they can just demand to be traded and probably willl get their wish. You don't have to worry about Markakis waiting around three more years to become a free agent. That's a bad gamble on his part with $60 million on the table.

Pete
You are the voice of reason. So many readers of the sports page don't live in a world of reality. This isn't the NFL where you go from last to first in one or two years, although they expect it.
McPhail is making progress and doing it the right way. I hope more writers put a positive spin on the Orioles because if .most people can read it , they believe it without question

TX O's Fan--

Did Teixeira lie to MacPhail? That's a strong accusation, and although it's awfully tempting as a rationale for what transpired, none of us were there.

There is no doubt that Tex could have expressed to MacPhail his longtime love for the O's, just as he did in 2007, when he waxed poetic about his them (even while he still wore a Rangers' uniform).

http://mlb.mlb.com/news/article.jspymd=20070706&content_id=2071694&vkey=news_bal&fext=.jsp&c_id=bal

http://bringmarkhome.withthispetition.com/

It's entirely possible then, that part of Tex really would have liked being an Oriole, but their lowball bid probably cooled him to that idea. (By the way, my calling the O's bid "lowball" isn't meant in a pejorative sense, but a strictly factual one--they offered a seven year contract and never upped it, while all the other teams offered eight years.)

I find it hard to believe that MacPhail actually thought Teixeira would bite on a hometown discount. If the Orioles had contended the previous year (or even had a winning record), and had a starting rotation that wasn't held together with duct tape, then, yes, maybe such a reduced rate may come into play.

Since the O's aren't in a position to contend next year, they should never have started with a lowball bid. They needed to be credible right out of the gate, and the faltering step put them at a disadvantage from the get-go. Given the competition, the intial offer just wasn't credible.

My point was that if the O's saw that they couldn't compete dollar for dollar (even with the sorry Nationals, for heaven's sake!), then it was time to bow out gracefully instead of going the "flexibility" route when it became clear Angelos wasn't willing to open wide his bank account for Tex.

Andy easily could have said Teixeira was too expensive a week earlier than he did, bowed out gracefully from the bidding war, and we would have understood, would have accepted it. Just say it, that's all.

I'm not so sure that Mark Teixeira is a villain in thiis; more likely just someone who wanted to make big bucks and play for a winner. As for Andy MacPhail keeping "his integrity intact," I certainly agree. He was in a tough situation, for sure. I simply think he might have handled it a little better.

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Pete's reply: Ken, I talked to Tex personally about this twice over the past few years, but not very recently. Each time I asked him about playing in Baltimore and each time he basically dismissed the question. So I find it pretty believable that he had no desire to play here, especially the way things eventually turned out.

Hey Pete, nice name by the way..

Couple things...You say that we need pitchers to keep 2009 from being a complete embarrasment, but if 2009 gets us 70 wins instead of 75, while guys like Liz, Olson, Penn, Reimold, etc, come along, they it's worth it being a bit more embarrasing. Keeping seasons from being embarrasments is why we've gone out and signed Conine, Millar, Izturis, and now potentially stopgap pitchers.

Now, I'm not really talking about Kawakimi..I agree there are some positives with him, and when the price is right, you don't really need to be in contention to sign a FA. But guys like Redding, Looper, and Hendrickson really make no sense.

Also, you replied to another comment by asking what else AM could have done to get us closer to contending.

How about going after guys that are either blocked or their club has soured on, such as Felix Pie, Rich Hill, Anthony Reyes last year? He needs to be more aggressive at this stage in the process.

Thanks for all you do Peter and have a great New Years and beyond.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Thanks. Happy holidays to you and yours.

Pete,

Orioles tradition has always been that we develop our own pitching. Right now, in the Oriole organization the pitching potential is therein the minors(i.e. Tilman, Hernandez, Bergensen, Penn and a few more). and they have stop-gap pitchers(i.e. Waters, Burres, Hennesey and Bass). They also so have pitchiners with potential who have major league experience(i.e. Albers, Sarfate, Liz and Olson).
what they really need is a veteran major league pitcher(preferbly left-handed) who can anchor the staff along with Jeremy Guthrie.

Well, as great as the Evil Empire looks on paper, why bother to play 162 games + the postseason? Just size em for their rings. Unfortunately, perhaps for them, the games will be played and what a wretched bunch they'll be if they don't win the World Series, or the unthinkable happens - they fail to make the postseason. Who knows what they'll spend next year - a cool billion maybe? It'll be interesting to see how the baseball Gods react to this spending spree. It seems they're already bent out of shape a little over the Yankees tearing down the Cathedral of the most successful franchise in the history of sports in order to throw up a brand new Bright and Shiny so that they can make even more money. Could it be a coincidence that the first of those 26 championships came during the first year that Yankee Stadium opened - 1923 - God's chosen sports team? For those that have been paying attention, it would appear that the baseball Almighty have already been active. Does anyone think it was just a coincidence that those bugs came out in Cleveland last year? Did it seem a bit unusual that the Yankees missing the playoffs this year for the first time in 13 years coincided with running Joe Torre out of town and the closing of the House that Ruth built? Of course, it's ridiculous to think that there might be some sort of extraterrestrial spooks that oversee the National Pastime. But then again ya never really know for sure - unless perhaps you're a Cubs fan.

who gives a flying fig?

Pete- Rates are really low, you should consider refinancing your house in Jimmyville. It's really hard to comprehend how much of a shill for the Orioles owner you have become. Shill pays the bills I guess.

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Pete's reply: Thanks for the nice compliment. Some people on this blog can actually disagree without making bush league personal attacks on those who don't share their opinion. Obviously, you're not one of those people, but Happy Holidays to you anyway.

  Peter; I have posted four or five comments and have never got a response from you .I know that you get alot E-mail I just want to know if i'am saying something wrong with what I'am writting.I been an Oriole Fan since 1954 ,when I was 14 years of age,I'am a die heart O's fan.I remember when they won all the time,and when they didn't win alot.From 1954 to 1965 they weren't very good,but I love the Orioles and it makes me sick to see all the Yankee's and Boston fans in the park.If you so called Oriole fans don't want be a Oriole fan,win or loose then go root for someone else,but for crying out loud,shut up about the Orioles, Thank you !!!  Curt from Wheaton,Md. P.S.Get off Mr.Angelos and Mr. MacPhail back

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Nothing wrong at all, just a lot of emails and it comes down to percentages. Can't answer them all I'm afraid. Happy Holidays.

I agree Pete. Even if the O's matched some of these higher offers, what free agents have you seen that can't wait to jump into an O's uniform. The organization has to be built from the farm system up.

Sad part is, changing headlines only mask remakes of old stories. Hot prospecs change names, from Olson and Penn and Lowen to Tillman and Matusz and Weiters. The only time a prospect really means anything is if they make it to the major and live up to the hype. There's been talk about the O's depth in the farm system, and it appears there's depth at the fragile position called pitcher, but not a whole lot in position players. No shortstop of the future, and who is that will replace Roberts if he's traded? It's embarrassing to read the posts about more patience. If the O's only win 70 games this year instead of 75 on their way to a rebuilding season... well, if they do, they'll more than likely lose the likes of Markakis (Roberts if he's still here), and Weiters when Boros can free him to a lucrative contract elsewhere. Some positive movement, whether through free agency or exceptional trades, would be the kind of fuel that might put people in the seats. It's exciting watching a team develop, but it's dreadful watching a team that steadily declines because of inaction and poor decisions. I believe in McPhail, but give us something more than headlines rewritten, while the story remains the same.

If you think about it rationally, what incentive is there for the Oroles to succeed? The present structure of MLB is so skewed toward a couple of big spending cities, that any successes the Orioles have will only make them a top producing farm team for the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels. This is currently what makes money for MLB. The "haves" get richer and the "wanna be's" keep trying and actually subsidize the player development costs of the "haves'. How weird is this? It will only stop when the fans of the "wanna be's" stop buying tickets to games and cancel their cable subscriptions. History shows that isn't going to happen. So get used to it Oriole fans. MLB has deemed it essential to keep Boston, New York and Los Angeles in clover. We're here with other minor major league teams to help them.


...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I guess that makes sense if you think an 80-year-old billionaire would rather have a few million more dollars he'll never spend than a championship. I don't think Peter is a good owner, but I don't doubt he would like to win.

pete: you are right on...a team cannot
have enough pitching...these are the
kind of steps an organization takes
when it is reinventing itself. McPhail
is doing the job right...keep supporting
him and his efforts. have a great 2009
keep them coming

I have been a life long Oriole fan of 27 years now, I do agree with the rebuilding because we really need it, especially from the Syd Thrift and Flanagan days. My question is when if alot of these guys dont pan out, ie Rocky Coppinger, Calvin Pickering, Alex Ochoa , that we traded away for Bonilla, and the list goes on. Whats wrong with adding a Ben Sheets, Derek Lowe, or a Adam Dunn.Heck why not someone dare I say Andy Petite? Just someone to help out for atleast two years while some of the younger guys have time to develop and develop right. You never know maybe with the addition of one or two of these players will get us atleast somewhat close to 500 and maybe put a few of us fans back in the seats.We need a face, a proven face.

Peter:

I understand your logic for why the Orioles did not sign Tex, but I think we must look at the past. Whenever the Os had a marketable ( good player) in the past, they have either traded him or lost him to free agency. I think the same will happen to Markakis and other prospects that become stars. PA will not pay them and they will star with another baseball team. Why would a good player want to labor with a loser? They also do not owe the O's anything and will also sign with the highest bidder or be traded before they are eligible for free agency.

I hope you are correct, but our history does not bode well and I do not believe them anymore. I say it again, how many championships did Macfail bring to the Cubs. I think he was a Mcfail with th Cubs. The proof is did they win World Series? If the O's continue trying to rebuild this way as they said in the past, they will not break 500 in my lifetime and I am 60 years old. I have bought many tickets in the past, but I will not buy them anymore. I will not go to the yard to see a triple A team with Orioles uniforms. After they trade Huff, Roberts, Mora, and maybe Markakis for prospects.

I think the future of major league baseball in Baltimore is less than 7 years.

Jack from Harrisburg

That comment that said you are missing the point is ridiculous. You hit the nail on the head for why they need to sign pitchers that won't be here in a couple years. Looks like some of these people just want to fight.

Pete- you hit this one out of the park. Here's another way to look at this situation. You have an organization whose best pitching prospects are still realistically at least three years away from being productive at the major league level, coupled with an organization that is reluctant to sign any free agent pitcher beyond three years. The result is, in the short-term, an organization of last resort for career wash-ups, has-beens, and never-was(es); the steve trachsels of the world who either can't find work elsewhere, or who just want a place to finish their careers in a low-pressure environment. The proof of that is in the pudding- we haven't signed anyone yet because they're all likely still waiting for other offers. Why would any pitcher of any particular talent sign a two or three year contract with a team that is still 3 years away from being competitive? If we can sign any veteran pitchers to go out there and eat up 200 innings next year, wether they be Japanese, Portugese, or Chinese, we should be considering ourselves lucky.

Orioles will not win for more than one reason but mostly Peter Angelos does not want to spend any of that blood money he makes.
We need a salary cap to even the playing field,but MLB does not care about the fan.Change is needed!!!!!!
9 pm world series games in Nov. when football is more important because every team has a chance

If the truth be known, I think we are getting a little spoiled. We can actually see the light at the end of the tunnel, but we are so used to the recent woes of the franchise we want to believe the light is another train. MacPhail, although not publicly admitting to any hard and fast plan, seems to have an excellent idea of what he wants to accomplish, and when, and seems to be steadily improving the franchise. I too, want to win now, but I think he is developing a team that will be competitive for years. It may take another few years, but when they get here, they'll be good.

Go O's!

All of this sober talk about five year plans is BS. We don't need to wait five years. Maybe if you're talking about revamping the entire organization from the minors up, yes. But if we simply added the FAs the Yankees did this year, our pitching lineup would look something like this:

Sabbathia, Burnett, Guthrie, Olson, Liz (or take your pick)...

And our lineup would look something like this:

Roberts... Jones... Markakis... Teixeira... Huff... Scott... Weiters... Mora... Izturis

Don't tell me we couldn't be competitive with that lineup... The point is, it's time to start making a couple of BOLD moves to improve the quality of the team on the field NOW. Fans cannot be expected to write off whole seasons, year after year. If for nothing else, you'd think Angelos would understand this as a businessman!

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Pete's reply: If the O's had spent $450 million on those three free agents this year (and that assumes any of those three players would even consider coming here), the Orioles still would be a third-place team at best. You've still got only three-fifths of a rotation and two-thirds of a pennant-winning offensive lineup.

We still have a baseball team?

Pete's reply: You only get to draft once a year. Of course, a lot of the young players are from the Flanagan era. He came in and completed the signing of Wieters and drafted/signed the best pitcher in the next draft. What did you want him to do, elbow the other teams out of the way and make the next 10 first-round choices, too.

Hey, Peter, there's something called International Signing Period. Wouldn't surprise me if you never heard of it; AM and Angelos haven't either.

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Pete's reply: Once again, I'm humbled by someone much smarter than me.

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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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