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December 25, 2008

O's move on

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail hasn't just been sitting around the past week or so waiting for a callback from Scott Boras. He has been working on various other free-agent fronts and appears to be in serious contention to sign Japanese pitcher Kenshin Kawakami.

The search for a stopgap starting catcher also continues. Former Oriole Gregg Zaun, the nephew of Rick Dempsey, remains under consideration. He's probably the best available player for the Orioles' purposes -- they want someone who will start for a couple of months and then help break in top prospect Matt Wieters -- but there is some question whether he would truly embrace that concept.

That's not a shot at Gregg, who would be fun to have around again, but he's a gamer and he wants to play, so he'd have to come to grips with the fact that he would be accepting a diminishing role.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:40 AM | | Comments (61)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Man, that McPhail is really working hard, isn't he? "In serious contention" is Warehouse code for- tell the press something about someone we have little chance of actually signing.
And the Os have to beg and plead Gregg Zaun to come to the Orioles...oh brother..
Let's see...Yankees add Sabathia, Burnett, Tex....we add....Cesar Izturis, Ryan Freel and maybe if we are really lucky somebody like Tim Redding and Gregg Zaun. Gosh, it must be Christmas!!...Sure, this sport doesn't need a salary cap does it?

The only way we sign Zaun is if it comes with a gag order on Dempsey. Dempsey spouted off every chance he got last year about Zaun being his nephew. He would be insufferable without the gag order.

"...appears to be in serious contention to sign..... "

Those words should never be used when referring to the Orioles FO.

O's should sign Petttite. What you think?

Peter, why are the Orioles so "serious" about trying to get a 34-year old starter...FROM JAPAN. Japanese baseball is not even close to the Majors. What can a a 34 year old Japanese pitcher bring to a team.

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Pete's reply: Partly to improve the O's presence in Japan so they have a chance at other Japanese stars in the coming years. They are invisible there right now.

Why would Kenshin Kawakami want to sign with the O's when he has interest from multiple other teams, including Boston?

You ever going to ask McFail to lay out the details of his "plan" other than continue to make the O's the laughing stock of baseball?


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Pete's reply: The Plan is no secret. He laid it out from the beginning. Not that complicated. Pour money into PD. Sign top draft choices. Make deals to bolster organizational depth. Grow. Teixeira was an exception, but I thought he would fit well into that plan, since they would have Markakis, Jones, Tex and maybe BRob to build around. I understand your impatience, but interrupting it to buy a bunch of so-so free agents (not talking about Tex) is what got them into this mess in the first place.

I would think he would get more time then your average backup would. Not only would he be the starter for the first three weeks of the season I would also think that the O's would not want Wieters to be catching more then five games a week. If it was me plotting Wieters' first year I would put that in stone, one day off a week and one game at DH.

From what I have heard from Zaun I think he is willing to do it, the problem I see is that the O's think they can get someone cheaper.

Untill the front office proves to me they are willing to not go cheap I will assign that motivation first to any decision they make.

Being an O's fan since the age of 8 (41 yrs) It's refreshing to see that the O's still don't get caught in all of the hipe about a supposed star. Tex couldn't carry Boogs glove! Andy, just keep plodding along putting one piece in place at a time. Sneak up on the East, and bushwack em. Let the Yanks buy a pennant again, there is no glory in that.

Doesn't really matter who they sign , I hear they are in negotiations with Jay Gibbons to play first base. When is everyone going to realize this organization is screwed up , Andy knows it also , he just keeps a large supply of Kool-aid by his side drink up fools..............Merry Christmas to all the great fans of Baltimore who deserve a better owner than Peter the great. Go Ravens........a franchise to be proud of......

Have a really happy holiday Pete!
People shouldn't really put blame on the organization for not getting Tex. Truthfully, the guy is a professional baseball player with a sharp agent and clearly wants something more than the "hometown" location. He wants to play for a team that is in contention from Opening Day. A team that has a recent history of playing very good baseball. And the fact that he can buy a bigger wallet to hold all that cash is certainly relevant.
I'm not a fan of the Yankees (that's my wife), but I think that everyone knew that after last year's debacle, the Steinbrenners were going to throw big bucks into building the team. And Tex clearly fits into that along with Sabathia and Burnett.

The question is...what will happen next?

Have a very happy New Year and we'll see you at the yard!

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Pete's reply: Thanks and Happy Holidays to you and yours. It might be a better year, particularly if the Ravens win on Sunday and Baltimore can start next year in the playoffs.

Thanks for the updates Pete, it's good to know the O's didn't have all their eggs in Tex's basket, of course those eggs were rotten anyway. I'm curious if the name of Sal Fasano has come up at all, and if he's available. He did a nice job for the O's a few years back and could fit this role as well. Happy holidays to you and yours, Pete, and keep up the great work on the blog, it's greatly appreciated!

That is what I want to hear - like the rest I'm sad Tex didn't sign - but let's get on with it - what is our next move? What is Andy up to of late? Who will start games for us? When will Matt come up to the big club? Can we sign Nick? Can we sign or trade Brian? Let's get on with it Orioles' fans...

Pete,

Cal Ripken is certainly aware of this city's discontent with the O's ownership. Do you have any sense as to whether he has ever gotten his financial buddies together and had a serious discussion with Angeles about a sale? Not only would players and agents be more willing to come to Baltimore, but the citizens of this city would once again feel proud to be Orioles fans - we'd even be patient with the rebuilding process!


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Pete's reply: I know of nothing going on with Cal, who is busy with his minor league teams. Also, I wouldn't be surprised if Cal might shy away from diving into this situation. It's going to be very hard for anyone to return the O's to glory with dire situation they've been in and the division they're in.

I think it's great we didn't get Texiera! One slugging first baseman does not bring championships, never has, never will. Now if we were one or two players away from winning it would be a different story.
180 million to ONE player is ridiculous even in this market which will probably look even worse next year and in two or three years. Let's have Macphail get back to the plan and trade Roberts for 4 or 5 prospects.
I predict that Huff will put up better numbers than Texiera next year. If I were a betting man I would put some money on that.

Finally we move on! It would be nice if Gregg Zaun would embrace the idea, but wouldn't blame him if he didn't. Any timetable for when Kawakami wants to sign a major league contract? Pete thank you very much for your blog. By far the most entertaining source of Oriole information-gathering out there. Merry Christmas (or the holiday you might celebrate this time of year) to you and yours!


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Pete's reply: Happy Holidays to you. Bet it's cold there right now.

Wow ! Andy has been trying to do his job. How much did he offer Nick? How much did he offer Brian? How many pitchers is he going agressively after? We need 4 starters.

McFail will give us more of the same year after year. We get the retreads and hasbeens blended with the youth until they can Escape to New York. Perenial contenders for 5th place each year. If he won't sign Brian I hope he tells us the deal Brian turned down. I bet it is below market just so he can justify trading him away.

Peter Angelos please sell the team!!!!!!

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Pete's reply: I believe he offered Nick $60 million when the AL MVP just signed for $40 million. There's plenty to criticize this team about, but failing to give every agent a blank check is not one of them.

Pete, unless I am mistaken, the O's do not have a single major league player signed beyond 2010. Am I wrong here? If I am right (which I think I am), what's up with that?

Is there 1 other MLB team that has no major leaguers signed beyond next year? This is our plan? I can't wait for the short restroom lines this year.

The only ones I feel sorry for are the folks who were laid-off and lost income because the O's keep losing attendance. Innocent victims of PA's incompetence.

Pete,

Do you see the O's still trying to find another run producing bat? I mean going after Tex because of his local ties couldn't have been the only reason to jump into that bidding war. If you think they will look for another bat, any hunches on your part who they might consider?


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Pete's reply: There are a few out there like Dunn, but I think the O's viewed Tex as the exception, so I don't think they're eager to drop a three-year deal on somebody for $15 million per year.

"Pete's reply: The Plan is no secret. He laid it out from the beginning. Not that complicated. Pour money into PD."

Pour? Seems more like a trickle then a pour so far. The O's were 10th in expenditures in the 2008 draft, this despite thier first round pick requiring a rather large hunk of change. Teams ahead of the O's include AL East foes Tampa and Boston. In fact the O's spent less on the 2008 draft then the 2007 one despite having second and third round picks to sign.

The O's also spent practically nothing signing Latin American talent this year.

Yes they are taking baby steps in Japan and Latin America but I think the word pour is a vast overstatement of the current situation.


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Pete's reply: Well, I suppose that's another way to look at it, though I think you're asking a lot of Andy to expect him to be finished upgrading player development in 18 months. It's going to be easy to criticize him all along the way, and that'll be the safe bet since fixing this team is a monumental task that could fail no matter what he does. I'm going to give him a reasonable amount of time and try not to second-guess every small transaction. Bottom line for me. I think Andy has put the team in position to get better over time. How much better is anybody's guess.

I for one am feeling quite optimistic. It probably is just the spirit of Christmas but I think we as Orioles fans have quite a lot to look forward to. This is old - http://www.baseballamerica.com/today/minors/awards/player-of-the-year/2008/266825.html

Reread it. It will remind all of you that we have are own 'Tex' in the wings.

Well Pete this is the way I see the big picture.

The O's are always going to be at a severe payroll disadvantage against both the Red Sox and the Yankees. To make matters worse currently Baltimore is not looked upon as an attractive place to play.

Therefor the O's have little chance to compete against said Red Sox and Yankees in the free agent market. In order to place higher then them in the standings they must make up this ground elsewhere.

To make matters worse both the Red Sox and Yankees are competently run organisations. They already have dealings in Japan, their presence in Latin America is likewise in a much more advanced state then Baltimore's. They also both have a recent history of being willing to go over slot to sign what they feel are top talents in the draft.

In order for Baltimore to catch up and then pass the Red Sox and Yankees in these areas they need to take massive action, which IMHO they have not done. I am talking real risk taking like in rounds 2 and on next year picking over slot guys and having a budget 15-20 million to sign guys. The O's do that then by 2012 they should have by far the best farm system in baseball. They similarly need to toss money at the Latin American free agents.

Having highly talented young players under team control for six years at a time will itself pay for the rather large expenditures I am promoting.


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Pete's reply: I've got no problem with that in principle. It always comes down to who you spend the money on. The O's have picked over-slot guys the past two years and have signed them -- getting the best position player and the best pitcher without the No. 1 pick -- but you only have so many draft choices.

Patience! This FO is trying to recover from 15 years of disorganization. Not getting Tex was probably OK, and making a pitch to a #3 starter from japan cannot hurt us. Matusz is already a five pitch pitcher, and Guthrie is a good #2. One or two of the kids come alonng and we add a solid arm in FA, we can compete (.500). Relax everyone.

On the bright side, the Yankees won't be in the running for Albert Pujols when he's a free agent after 2011. Maybe THAT's the signing that puts us back in the playoffs!

Pete,
Merry Christmas,
I read your blog because it is the most entertaining aspect of being an Orioles fan. I suppose I should blame my father and Jerry Hoffberger for setting me up for a life of frustration. It was just so much fun back in the day. I never imagined how frustrating it could be.

Now, even you compound the frustration by seeming to have sipped too much of the MacFail/Angelos Kool Aid. Seeing MacFail at work over the past couple of seasons actually has raised my respect for Flanagan, who was actually willing to spend Angelos' money, albeit for has-beens and never-weres. I wonder if some of his player signings were not a form of "guerrilla war" against the "warm body" strategy of profiting by fielding a hopeless team of scrubs?

In any event, if you must take the Angelos Kool Aid, just to be polite, please take it in small sips and spit it out when no one is looking. We need more scrutiny of the Orioles's strategy until they actually field a winning team. Giving MacFail the benefit of the doubt is a recipe for many more years of losing.


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Pete's reply: I have to respectfully disagree. What do you want him to do, take a poll and see who the fans want to sign. He's only been here for 18 months. You start over again now -- or interrupt the program -- and you might as well take a nap until 2015. The guy made two great deals last year. The only things he has done wrong this year is failing to spend $82.5 million for a pitcher with a sketchy medical history and failing to convince Tex that he doesn't really want to be a Yankee, which we now know was totally out of his control.

Kawakami? Doesn't he write for the Mercury News?

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Pete's reply: Indeed he does. Good guy.

I think the O's are going about this all wrong. They should post a want add:
Wanted SP, must be able to provide 200 inninigs+ w/era under 4.5. Salery 3-4M Two year contract provided. Apply to A. McPhail etc.
Wanted C, major league experience required. Must help train rookie. Salery negotiable. Be able to handle back-up role

Ok, ok, so we didn't get Tex! Yeah I'm disappointed like everyone else, but y'know what? Let him go to NY and eaten alive just like Giambi, Mussina, and Randy Johnson. Now, we have to get back to business and that is our pitching staff, or should I say those folks that throw the ball to the catcher (I don't think its a "pitching staff"). There are still some good arms out there. If the Os can get at least 1 or 2 good arms, we should be alright. And just because they're full of all stars and big checks, we shouldn't be afraid of NY or Boston, the team to beat in AL east is south of Baltimore (remember them??)

Merry Christmas Pete. Hope things do turn around for the O's. But I think its not fair to be expecting alot from Matt Wieters. I saw him a couple of times at Bowie this year. He still needs lots more work. He was heavily overmatched in Bowies playoffs vs Akron. I think we need a catcher like Zaun for at least 2 yrs. Remember Matt Riley (24K arm) he was rushed up here and never made it. Alot was put on him. Nolan R from Bowie looked more ready for the majors.

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Pete's reply: I think Zaun is probably coming and will get to play a lot. They'll bring Wieters along slowly this year, but he's going to have some tough times regardless.

The Orioles are a joke, plain and simple! When are you fans going to stop throwing your money into this team?

Schmuck says McFlys plan is to throw money into player development... How? After losing out on Tex McFly is looking to sign over 36 players Redding, Hendrickson and Zaun!

And how many players on the starting roster are under 30? Two! Jones and Markakis!

The other starters, Mora, Huff, Izturis, Scott, Guthrie, Roberts, "No catcher - Zaun" and "No DH Listed" are all over 31!

This team has no clue just like the last 11 years and they play the fans every year...

Think about it, the Nationals were giving Tex more money than the O's!

The O's want players given to them by using the "Hometown discount" garbage. Wait till Gavin Floyd, from Severna Park and Mt. St. Joe becomes a free agent. We will hear the same "Hometown Discount" garbage...

Oh, but they did trade for "Silly" (As this paper called him) Ryan Freel...

Come on fans, use your better judgement, save your money and go see the same product in Bowie with the BaySox.

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Pete's reply: Just wondering. If you're no longer an Oriole fan, why do you regularly write some of the longest posts on this blog...and they are all about the Orioles. If you don't want them to concentrate on player development, what is it you want. One big free agent? Two? They've already gone that route. Only a fool stays in a burning house, yet you're advocating the same strategy that got them 11 straight losing seasons. Spend a lot of money haphazardly to make the fans happy right now. Great plan.

One question Pete. Who said rebuilding and being competitive were mutually exclusive ?

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Pete's reply: When you're playing in the AL East, I think they are.

I just love the coment from spy about the kool-aid.Hillarious! Cal is the only one to save the O"s.Why does angelos want to own a team he "s terrible.Zaun?let wieters catch 162.

I just love the coment from spy about the kool-aid.Hillarious! Cal is the only one to save the O"s.Why does angelos want to own a team he "s terrible.Zaun?let wieters catch 162.

Quick question. Not sure if this has been asked before, but isn't ivan rodriguez a free agent?

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Pete's reply: Yes. He's also a Boras client and he's not looking to step aside in two or three months. But I'm sure the O's have at least talked about him.

I have not been a regular fan since the Albert Belle / Jon Miller fiasco and the Orioles have fallen further since then. I sucked it up and went back to the ballpark a few years ago and on the way in, the Palmeiro / Steroids story broke. I watch this for the same reason people watch NASCAR, the wrecks...

On a related note, one day we will be able to look back and say that the spineless ownership and the (way too powerful) union along with the New York Yankees destroyed baseball

Pete, First Merry Christmas... I read your reply about "The Plan". Question: As currently set up we are without a 1B, 2B, and 3B player for the 2010 season. We have no one in the system to step in and fill those roles. What is AM's plan for this.

Also, it would be interesting if you could do a report on 1B players we are considering. We've heard Blalock (who is terrible away from Texas) and Hinske (who can't hit lhp). What about Sean Casey???

Finally on the Japanese pitcher. Has any pitcher from Japan been successful in MLB at age 34 or beyond????

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Pete's reply: Wow, you ask a lot of questions. I think the interest in the Japanese pitcher is (a) to fill one of those four holes in the rotation and (b) to tap the Japanese market where the Orioles have been invisible. If Kawakami comes here and does okay, then the Orioles will be on the radar of other Japanese stars who want to come over. Gotta start somewhere. The "plan" is to continue to fill the system with players who can grow into those roles, and it probably will include a deal to shore up one or more of those infield positions next year. I don't want to promote a Brian Roberts deal, but I think that's a possibility.

Pete, First Merry Christmas... I read your reply about "The Plan". Question: As currently set up we are without a 1B, 2B, and 3B player for the 2010 season. We have no one in the system to step in and fill those roles. What is AM's plan for this.

Also, it would be interesting if you could do a report on 1B players we are considering. We've heard Blalock (who is terrible away from Texas) and Hinske (who can't hit lhp). What about Sean Casey???

Finally on the Japanese pitcher. Has any pitcher from Japan been successful in MLB at age 34 or beyond????

I heard from a very good source that Steve Bisciotti wanted to buy the Orioles but Petey wouldn t sell....I hope Petey was haunted by ghosts of Orioles past last night and awoke this morning wanting to sell the team....Its ok to dream isn t it????


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Pete's reply: I've never heard Bisciotti as a likely buyer. I've heard Steve Geppi (with Cal), but Peter isn't selling.

I don't understand why everyone has to be anti-Kawakami and anti-Japan for that matter. Japanese baseball is not some sandlot joke, this kind of ignorance is exactly why we are "invisible" in Japan right now and behind most franchises internationally. MacPhail is just doing what his predecessors should have. If we get Kawakami, I for one will be glad to welcome him to Baltimore, as should all of us.

Peter, Peter, I write long blogs because it is my way of venting... I was a fan for 30 years until 4 years ago when I saw they are doing the same thing every year...

McFly isn't working on any plan when he wants to sign 36 year olds Redding, Hendrickson, Zaun, etc. And please don't say they are doing player development. How many decent players have the Orioles put out in the past ten years? Markakis, Roberts, Bedard... Its the same year after year...

If you bought a car from the same automaker that broke down 10 years running would you keep giving them your money?

Look, I lik your columns but the average fan is tired of the same ole bull... I know of 4 fans (average years of fandom is 26 years) and they all have given up on the O's. Look, I stuck with them for 6 years of garbage baseball and then realized that its the same old stuff... How many managers? GM's? Dual GM's? Talks of Free Agents we are going after?

I say it now, McPhail will leave because he is handcuffed and cannot do what he wants. Just like the others, Gillick, Beattie, Wren, etc... Just watch, he will get tired of it... Maybe not this year, but he will...

I gave the Orioles 6 years before I jumped, now they have to give me just two years of over .500 baseball before I spend money on them again...

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Pete's reply: That's fair enough, I guess, but your assessment of McPhail (and I think your disrespectful reference to him undercuts your righteous indignation) is short-sighted. The guy has to put a starting rotation together and the young guys collapsed at the end of last year. So he has to do some stop-gapping. I'm curious. What exactly would you do? It's not like he can go out and sign a bunch of 22 year olds of any note. Player development takes time, and you don't seem willing to give him any time at all. Do you want him to throw Matusz out there right now. Wieters? Or do you want him to fill those holes for a few months and let it happen more naturally? Or do you just want to blame him for the other 10 straight losing seasons? It seems like you aren't willing to give the guy a chance to get anything right.

PA won't sell as long as the goose is still laying eggs, but I think that day is coming sooner than you think, this years attendance may kill that goose. Along with the lose of corporate sponsors, advertising revenue and a bad economy.

Play offs, Play offs, I just hope this team wins a game.

Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the house there was no new first baseman, turned out to be a louse. A blank check was hung by the chimney with no care, In hopes that St Teixeira would soon be here.

The children were nestled all snug in their beds,
While visions of hometown heroes danced in their heads.
And mamma in her replica jersey, and I in my Orioles cap,
Had just awoken from a long winter's nap.

When out on the TV there arose such a clatter,
I sprang from the bed to see what was the matter.
Away to the couch I flew with great cheer,
Hoping ESPN was reporting Tex was here.

Buster Olney told me it was no-go of course
But wait, oh my, the news got much worse.
Instead of coming to his hometown Bawlmer
Big Tex was going to New York to become a Bronx Bomber.

Instead of screaming out an Hallelujah chorus,
I am going to spend my Christmas cursing Scott Boras.
The Yankees have again tried to buy themselves a pennant,
And I'll be left April 1 rooting for Kelly Stinnett!

"Buy AJ Buy CC, Buy Mark Teixeira!"
It's a free agent Blitzen!
Here's hoping Big Tex
Gets a high fastball in his kitchen!"

It will hurt when we see him holding up a Yankees jersey
Whenever We can We will Always go boo thee.
We'll never forgive you, try as we might
For you would not sign with us - the price was not right.


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Pete's reply: Outstanding.

I wouldlike to see the orioles now take a young pitcher and try to trade for the next tex as in texas justin smoak for a lot less money.

Andy McFAIL.....Beyond Useless
Beyond Worthless....An insignificant puppet...a playtoy of the Greek....
Boycott the games...speak with your wallets

Agree w/Schmuck about the relatively modest goals of the O's off-season plans.They weren't going for much, and I'm certain they knew that Teixiera was never coming here.I cannot believe how gullible so many people were about this.

But now I'd like to see them trade for a couple of young players, particularly for the infield. They have nothing in their system.Huff should go, Roberts too if he won't sign here.Get something for Olson while they can...I wish that Pie trade w/have happened.


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Pete's reply: The only way you get good young players if you trade Roberts. Nobody trades good prospects for mediocre prospects.

Peter, you're not handing out Kool Aid, you're handing out a rational perspective more O's Fans need to assimilate. Player Development in Baseball is a multi-year project and I think our GM has done an OUTSTANDING job so far. By far the most important moves he's made were the Bedard and Tejada trades and in both, he greatly exceeded my expectations in returns. The Bedard trade may go down with the Milt Pappas trade one day! Signing Wieters and Matusz shows we're moving in the right direction with the draft (and I expect we will get another potential building block at #5 in 2009).

I hope we go slow with Wieters and the young pitchers. You made an excellent point about the Kawakami signing being about sending a message to other Japanese players - I hadn't thought of that! We need several 1-2 year stopgap players and signing Kawakami would accomplish at least two tasks at the same time.

I also think we may be positioned for some nice trade deadline moves in 2009, with Mora & Huff at the top of the list of players who could push a contender over the top, depending on their need.

Last, although I would prefer we keep Brian Roberts, if what teams out there are possible trade partners? I know Milwaukee has both a young SS and an outstanding SS prospect...any other situations you can point out? I love your column and your blogs!

ml

A major league owner should be a SPORTSMAN first like Jim Busciati of the Ravens . Money is not concidered but winning is . The fans have to put out the money so the owner should do the same or else sell the team to someone who wants to win regardless of cost . McPhail is shackled with Angelos as owner and we'll never put together a great team that can win without obtaining those players who demand a high salery . The Yankees sign such players just to keep their competitors from having them . If the Yankees hadn't signed those free agents they have who would be left beside Jeter, Cano , Posada etc. Mr. Angelos please sell the team to someone who is willing to spend the money needed to obtain those players needed to win it all .

I might as well get in my two cents worth. Oops, I better not say that, PA may pick up that money,too. Tex is gone, screw him and Bor-ass. We are still four (4) starters short, and all we're talking about is a guy named Kawakami who is already 34 years old and never pitched in the MLB. Oy....... Have a nice holiday season everyone.

I think that the Orioles would be better off going after Uehara now while still attempting to Kawakami. Their skills are close to the same plus Uehara is viewed by some teams as a reliever and he wants to start. The Orioles would give him a better opportunity of cracking the starting rotation then most teams.

If the Orioles reel in one of these guys then that would be good for the rotation but if somehow the Orioles would reel in both Uehara and Kawakami then that would be a major positive for them as it would open up the possibility of other Japanese players taking a closer look at the Orioles as they come to play in MLB.

I think not signing tex was a GREAT thing. The only time he has been on a winning team that I can remember were the angels. Who were already playoff bound before he got there. What do you guys want 2 be the texas rangers part 2. I say trade Brian Roberts while he is healthy and in his prime for prospects and build the farm system. Keep huff until after this year to recoup a draft pick (barring a good year), and build our team through the draft, and trades. Whats your take Pete?

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Pete's reply: I still try to re-sign Brian, though it's going to be tough.

Why are we searching to sign a stopgap catcher when we can just throw Chad Moeller out there for a couple of months? He has MLB experience and can't be much worse than Zaun.

No Longer An Oriole Fan -

If you truly are not a fan of the team, then you never were! I go back to the mid 60's with this team. And yes I'm quite frustrated with the current ownership as well. I despise the handling of Moose, Jon Miller, & Davey Johnson, as well as the Belle signing. That said I'm never going to throw in the towel on MY TEAM!

Pete is correct in his assessment of this team's direction. MacPhail has made some moves that were not handcuffed by ownership. He traded a star SS and starting LH pitcher and got a solid return for Tejada and high marks for the Bedard deal. He cut the strings on the Gibbons deal when many thought that Angelos would never let Andy make that call.

Yeah signing Teixeira would have been sweet. Would have definitely helped the rebuild process. But you have to have a partner willing to come here. He didn't want to be here. And the lame response of throw more money at him smacks of desperation. The Nationals did that, and how did that work for them?

Andy Macphail has been here 18 months, yet you want to lump him in with the previous regimes.

As for your issue with going after 36 yr old players? Well OK Zaun fits that description, but his role is to chip in with the catching duties until Weiters is ready for PrimeTime. And Zaun is still a serviceable catcher at 37. Hendrickson & Redding are not 36 yr old to my knowledge. Not spring chickens, but as Pete indicated you are not going to find young 20 something yr old hurlers on the market. CC was the exception, and everyone else except the Yankees lost out on him.

So the plan is to add some short term vets that can give us some innings while the prospects ply their trade where they are suppose to. In the minors! And the 09 draft will continue fortifying our system as well. I'm willing to bet that in 2010, this team looks more formidable to division foes.

Anyway, No Longer An Oriole Fan, take your bandwagon and steer it towards DC. They need any kind of fans.

Does anyone know what kind of financial muscle Cal Ripken has? Because if anyone thinks he has the kind of cash to go against the Red Sox and the Yankees they must be delusional. And what evidence is there that he knows anything more about building up a farm system and a contending team than MacPhail who has done it anumber of times?

If Cal bought the team he would have to rebuild it all over again and so impatient fans would have to wait even longer for their team to be in contention. Then again maybe most of them would pass away by then..


I used to think that Baltimore fans were among the most intelligent and most savvy in the country. Apparently this is no longer the case. I keep seeing references to "McFail", and I keep reading about how we need four starters and we're not out there getting them. Who are we supposed to get? Derek Lowe (36, wants 4 yrs $60MM), Ben Sheets (younger but injury prone, also wants similar contract), Andy Pettitte (has said he will retire if he doesn't go back to NY), or Oliver Perez (led the NL in walks last year)?

The reason were after guys like Kawakami is because it's stupid to spend that kind of money on players with that kind of baggage when the organization and all its fans are hoping that in two years Guthrie will be our #4 starter behind Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman (in no particular order), with Penn, Liz, Olsen, Waters, Bergesen, Hernandez, and Erbe fighting it out for the #5 spot. We need to go get guys like Kawakami, Pavano, Redding, etc. to eat innings for two seasons so we can be competitive in the games we're supposed to be competitive in. That's all. As upset as I am about the whole Teixeira ordeal, he would not have given us a better chance to win now.

This is for all Oriole fans who say they are leaving us and for the ones who are diehard ORIOLE FANS who are staying on board.
Mark did not want to play here period. He knew if he did, he would be king where ever he went even when driving home to SP afer a game and having a beer at one of the beer joints on the way home and to talk to the hometown people about that days game. HE DID NOT WANT TO DO THAT. For a couple of million a year or maybe 3.something he wanted to play for the yanks. SO the fans should BOO him out of Camden Yards when he gets there just like he did against us (the fans).

Now don't hate the Yankees for signing him They had to. NOW LISTEN They Just lost Giambi who was a threat to hit a HR anytime at the plate. They needed to get someone who was at least close to his level. So they got TEX whick to me is a downgrade from Jason's POWER. They also Lost a 20 game winner MIKE M. Which they had to replace with a 20 game winner no upgrade there. So the Yankees had to do what they did just to stay afloat in the east just to maintain.

Now if you can listen some more here

The Orioles on the other hand are improving hand over feet !!!!
When Matt Weiters is in the lineup We will perhaps have the best Catcher in Baseball With Ituzeres at Shortsop one of the Best Defensive players in the business today (remember Mark Belanger) could not hit a lick but could he play defense. We have Adam JONES which he could turn out to be one of the all time best in Center (remember Paul Blair)
Right Field we have Nick M need I say more at 2nd we have Briab R. need I say more In left we have this guy who could hit 30 hr's this year at 3rd base we have a great steady guy named Melvin who loves this team and plays all out every game and plays with intensity every game The manager will be manager of the year soon. Pitching Orioles will have the greatest bullpen in the history of the orioles. Now the ONLY thing we NEED is STARTING PITCHING. Now if they can get 5 dependable starters NOW LISTEN 5 Dependable Starters COMBINE them with the offense provided already and with the upgraded and ready to go BULLPEN they could RAISE a Few EYEBROWS this year I Will REPEAT 5 Dependable Starters Maybe with 2 or 3 Free agents and what we have could put us over the top Remember the Yanks Are just maintaining on keeping pace with the O's

This is the only way to look at it

You people think you know baseball. Do you think a team can turn it around in one or two years ? Give Mr. MacPhail some time for crying out loud. If you don't see improvement in three or four years, then complain.The people before him mess this up not him.Besides this started when Mr. William Bennett own the team not Mr. Angelos If you love the O's and your really a baseball fan then give it some time or root for the Yankee's and shut up about the O's. I think for the first time in years the team is moving in the right derection.Yes I would of like Teixiera but he had no intentions of comming hear to Baltimore. Thanks Curt from Wheaton, Md.

I am an "elder" Oriole fan having watched the AAA Orioles for several years,the building of the first new stadium after the old "horseshoe", watched the rebuildiing of the newer stadium from the "Castle on the Hill", saw the 1-0 game open the Yard and suffered the deteriation of the franchise since. I'm a FAN who lived to see greats, near greats and not so greats play and I'm still a FAN with hope to see them compete again. I't can't be too long but 2+/- yrs of fill-ins with not so grts.is ok for the long term good of proper development, even if I miss it. MacPhail is doing well tho the impatient can't see it but don't think Angelos or his sons are going away. There is probably more money here than in asbestos, still we can hope. Farming your talent is the cheapest but a good way
to go tho patience and a great development team are necessary and let's hope that decimating that group is not thought to be a saving by the Angelos's. Still we can all have hope, look at the Ray's and the Ravens.

Curt from Wheaton, Md........take an English class for crying out loud.

Pete,
First, let me say Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to you and yours. Second, please tell me you were kidding in your response to "No longer an Oriole fan". So how long should O's fans be prepared to wait for the "player development" to kick in? Why can't the O's concentrate on player development and sign a few good free agents at the same time? Please don't tell me that PA can't afford it. Why couldn't they sign good pitchers? I believe the answer is simple, money.

On a final note, anyone that thinks not signing Teixeira was a good or great thing for the O's has got to be kidding. It is much bigger than Teixeira. Don't you realize the signals that are sent to our players and free agents? Why do you think B Rob and Nick haven't signed contract extensions? There is no commitment to winning, and that is what every player wants.


...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: They can, but good free agents cost you both money and draft choices. I'm okay with that, if the players fit, but I'm not okay with the notion that the O's should just go out and spend that $140 million on another wave like Tejada, Javy Lopez and Co. a few years ago.

It would be a good idea to have Zaun here if he plans on starting 2 more years. That would force him and Wieters to really go at it and, if Wieters is good enough, he'll beat out Zaun. And if Wieters isn't good enough to beat out Zaun...well then he isn't the wonder kid everyone says he is. Let Wieters earn his money and the overblown expectations that everyone is placing on him.

Also to everyone calling Texiera a traitor. that extra 2.5 million a year or so amounts to about a 14% raise from the Orioles offer. If Peter Schmuck (lets assume he makes $100,000 a year for the sake of argument ) was offered about $114,000 a year to write for the NY times ( and a opening into the NY endorsement market) would defy anyone to tell me that he would not be real tempted to take it.

Would you all call him a traitor then? In fact, double that to $128,000 ( to make up for the fact that Peter is not a hometown boy) and I still defy you to call him a traitor.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I'm okay with the analogy, but a 28 percent raise would not be enough to get anybody from Baltimore to go to New York. Of course, when that 14 percent is $2.5 million instead of $14,000, it's a different story.

I grew up in Maryland as a huge baseball fan of the Washington Senators when I was young and after they moved I adopted the Orioles with all my heart. I have followed the O's from the last days of Brooks and Jim through the great Eddie Murray days, I remember the Cy present -Jim Palmer Cy Future Storm Davis days,Mike Flanagan has always been #1 in my heart. Rick Dempsey will always have a special place in my heart and of course the favorite son Cal Ripken and always #1 in my heart who I have a museum of memories. I have a museum in my home in Jacksonville of all the great Oriole and Cal moments.In my heart I want to still love the Orioles but you can only live in the past so long. I lived in the Baltimore-Washington area for 40 years. I live in Jacksonville,FL now but have made it down to see the Orioles in Spring Training every year since I moved here in 1996. But alas Its time to move on. I have suffered as a baseball fan over the last 10 years and after the last of the great Orioles, Baines, Surhoff, and even Palmeiro (he may have lied but I still liked him as an Oriole) left and the owner who at one time I supported, Mr. Angelos, let this team go to the trash heap, I have tried to remain loyal.But how can you any longer. I was there in 1979 for Orioles magic. I was there and suffered through 0-21 and then saw the resurrgence Why Not year with the great pitching hopefuls McDonald, Mussina, and Rhodes. Through all of this Cal was always there and gave me hope with his attitude. Where have you gone "Cal Ripken" the team needs your winning ways. I will never understand why the owner of this team doesn't go to the guys who in my book would rebuild this team to new glory days, Cal and Eddie. I see them as a great team who would pump some of the old philosphy of baseball into the new players. They both played under some great baseball teachers in Earl Weaver, Cal Sr.,Elrod Hendricks,Johnny Oates , Frank Robinson and even Davey Johnson(who to this day I don't understand why he isn't a manager somewhere). I don't want to live in the past but I am a believer that history has many valuable lessons and these great men I have mentioned here were some of the best teachers I ever saw. How about a new manager and coaching staff, manager Cal Ripken, bench coach Eddie Murray, first base coach Al Bumbry, third base coach John Shelby, and my personal favorite pitching coach Rick Sutcliffe although I think cakes Jim Palmer would be great also.Hitting coach is the only person who would remain Terry Crowley I still believe is one of the best at teaching the art of hitting. Rick Dempsey would come back as my bullpen coach and bring back the glory days of the past Oriole bullpens. Ah but I am dreaming now and what a nice glorious dream it was thinking back to 1982 and 1983 when Earl and Joe took this team to its last great achievement. Glory Days no more Baltimore. I have no problem losing Mark T., AJ, or CC but all of them to the Yankees(yes I have problem with that).Yes MLB needs to have a salary cap,they need to dump the commissioner Bud the spud, and bring in someone with love for the game like a Frank Robinson,Willie Mays or Hank Aaron. I think the Orioles should sign Pettitte and Mussina to teach their young pitchers how its done.A veteran presence on a young pitching staff can go a long way. But alas I dream and will always be a baseball dreamer but the Orioles have sucked many of my dreams away and I am now left with no favorite team in baseball and being a great baseball fan that hurts. The Orioles just don't give me any hope anymore no matter how pretty you try to paint a future picture....

I just seem to remember the bad signings. I hope we continue down the path of building through the minors and trades. Takes time but makes a solid team.

Signing Japanese players can only be good for the Orioles. I follow the Japanese team Fukuoka Hawks, and have been to games in Japan and allow me to say this; Regardless of your preconceptions of how well they play(which is better then Americans think) they take the game more seriously then most of our guys do.

They do warm ups at game speed, they run out ground balls even in a blowout, they practice practice practice. Baseball is more then a paycheck, it's a battle. Honor is at stake.

We need some of these players to rub off on our lazy players. We have so many players that loaf around, don't cover bases, don't run to first, or round first thinking two.

From a marketing stand point it can only make us money, the Japanese follow their MLB players with a passion. The newspapers list their statistics every day, and the nightly news breaks down their games. Note how many Japanese are in the stands when the mariners or the Red Sox come in to town.

The Japanese game continues to get better, we need to get a foot in the door.

We need this guy.

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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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