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December 27, 2008

Orioles: The payroll question

Scratching my head a little over the number of comments about the Orioles and their incredible shrinking payroll. There are a lot of fans who believe that's a sign that Peter Angelos is just hoarding money and doesn't care about fielding a winning team, but I don't subscribe to that theory.

Frankly, I think the size of the payroll right now is irrelevant. If I had to choose between the Orioles winning 69 games next year with a $60 million payroll or winning 72 games with a $100 million payroll, I'd go with the lower one based on the hope that Andy MacPhail is conserving the budget for when it actually might make a difference. If that time comes and the O's still won't open their checkbook, then all the naysayers will be able to say they knew it all along -- and I'll tip my cap to them -- but a lot Andy's critics are way out over their skis right now.

I really get the feeling that some fans want the club to buy a bunch of free agents this year just to show them that the front office really cares. If you recall, Angelos did that a few years ago when the Orioles signed Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez and a couple of other expensive players. Remember how well it worked out.

Before somebody chimes in that I've somehow fallen into the club's pocket, remember that the reason Mr. A does not return my calls is because I challenged him to open his books on a couple of occasions over the past few years when he has claimed financial hardship. I bring that up so that I don't have to listen to another wave of criticism from cynical readers who think I haven't been digging hard enough to get exact revenue figures to support their widely held belief that Angelos is rolling around in a giant vault full of $100 bills like Scrooge McDuck.

That said, everybody's entitled to an opinion, so I'd like to hear from the Andy bashers. Just who would you choose to start a new five-year plan when you run MacPhail out of town after just 18 months, and what would you do to turn the Orioles into an instant contender if you're not willing to wait through a player development cycle? I'm all ears.

Don't know that anyone in the warehouse is going to be listening, but I'm reminded of something Tommy Lasorda told me years ago when I mentioned that the fans in the stands probably disagreed with one of his managerial decisions. I'm guessing MacPhail would concur.

"If I listen to the people in the stands,'' Lasorda said, "it won't be long before I'm sitting up there with them."

Schmuck on the air: If you'd like to argue with me live, tune in from noon to 3 today for The Peter Schmuck Show on WBAL (1090AM). We'll be talking Orioles and previewing tomorrow's make-or-break game between the Ravens and Jacksonville Jaguars. If your out of radio range, go to WBAL.com and click on the "Listen Live" icon.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:30 AM | | Comments (177)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

It's got nothing to do with Andy. It's just the build up of 11 years of losing and frustration that the deck is stacked against teams like the O's. Revenue sharing works great for the NFL, why not MLB? The Rays did well this year and may have a couple of years of success until their guys become free agents then the Rays become the Yankee/Red Sox farm system. Signing free agents at least gives fans some hope. Andy is fine, the problem rests with Bud Selig and a lack of committment from MLB to assure the integrity and competitiveness of the game is more important than the success of the big market teams. I would just love to see Brian Cashman have to actually compete for free agents instead of just opening up the checkbook. MLB is a mess and you will see even more empty seats all around the league this season.

I've been season ticket holders since 1954. I know people think I'm crazy ( I got the tickets from my father). I think MP has the right approach. I don't respect the player who leave their clubs, who gave them a chance. I know money talks, but how much money do you realy need. I know this is a social issue, but this is crazy. Anyway, I think the O'S have the right approach., do you want players, or Yankee's.

people are being irrational because they didn't land the hometown hero. Despite investing so much time in pointless website and online petitions (they'd have been better off having everyone send PA a dollar)

I don't need the O's to spend money of FAs just for the sake of spending money however I am concerened that they dont' seem to be doing anything to address the rotation which is a major hole in the team.

Going into the season with just Guthrie would tell me the O's dont' care about the fans or even attempting to field a competitive team

Standings and playoffs aside, If I'm going to go to a game I want my team to have a 50/50 shot at winning the game, is that too much to ask for?

Pete, if you would rather win 69 games with a $60 million payroll versus winning 72 games with a $100 million payroll, why aren't you on the AM bashing train? I'm having a really hard time following your arguments because they are not cohesive in the slightest bit. There are a ton of fans who don't want AM to go out and buy expensive free agents at this time, but still don't like the job he's doing. As for asking people who else they'd rather have is a completely misleading question. The answer is: someone who can win and be straight up with the fans.
Personally, I'd rather win 60 games this year with a $45 million dollar payroll, no Roberts, no Guthrie, no Huff, and no Sherrill, but that's not likely to happen. AM hasn't shown the daring to make such bold moves. You talk about how lucky Baltimore is to have AM, but he's really not doing anything significantly different than Flannagan. He's afraid to lose too many games even if it makes the future that much better. Good on AM for saving money for the time when the O's will compete. That's not the problem, the problem is that he could be saving even more money, which is vitally important when our neighbors to the north don't have the same worries. Why are Roberts, Guts, Huff, etc. going to be on this team? Why were they on the team last year? AM is not committed to a total rebuild - that's why he's got detractors. Either spend money to build a winner, or rebuild through trades, the draft and player development. He's stuck in the middle. That's not the sign of someone who's decisive enough to succeed in today's baseball environment. Plus, you're the one who's stated a 5 year plan, not AM. You're the one who's stated payroll could get to $110 million, not
AM. We, the fans, still don't know whether that's legitimate or not.


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Pete's reply: I didn't make up the $110 figure. Peter Angelos threw out that figure awhile back as a target. And, yes, I used the term five-year plan, though largely as a figure of speech. Nobody put out an exact timetable.

Good morning pete from florida. I read the O's could end up in Fort Myers, is this a fact? I live 10 miles from their.
Ok, I was one of the people really upset about Tex, after a couple days to settle down i've come to realize Your right. Andy said we were not going to compete for the playoffs until 2010. I would love to see us open the downs to Japan by signing kawaki or whatever. I don't think B Rob wants to wait 2 more years, AND I DON'T BLAME HIM, but Markakis is a different story. Could Markakis be the reason we didn't sign Tex? If so it's not a big problem now, wait until Nick is 28, he'll be batting more then 280 average, 30 or more homers, and 120 RBI, like the one we just wanted to give 140 million to. I really enjoy the columns. I check in at least 5 times a day.

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Pete's reply: I don't have any inside info on spring training at the moment, but have to believe Fort Myers is in play with what has been happening in Vero Beach and Sarasota.

Why would you bash A.M? He made two of the best trades in franchise history last year.

Put the bash where it belongs.P.A. and his idiot sons.

angelos has spent plenty money over the years. most of it was wasted but that's what happens when you sign overrated free agents who bring little to the team. free agents, particulary, top flight free agents makes sense when you need to fill one or two holes and not 5 or 6. you need to develop your core with home grown talent or young players via trades and fill in the blank or two with a free agent. look how the successful yankee teams were built in the 90's. look how the red sox of the 2000's have been built.

I've been season ticket holders since 1954. I know people think I'm crazy ( I got the tickets from my father). I think MP has the right approach. I don't respect the player who leave their clubs, who gave them a chance. I know money talks, but how much money do you realy need, I'm talking as a person, $10,000,00.00 is a lot of money, let alown $22.5. Heck, if we made $1,000,000 in our lifetime?
,. I know this is a social issue, but this is crazy. Anyway, I think the O'S have the right approach., do you want players, or Yankee's. I'm not happy with the way PA has run things, but thats the way it is.

Hey Pete, now that Tex is not coming here (I think I'm finally out of the denial stage, what step is that?) one has to wonder what our options are, not only presently (Giambi? Blalock?) but in the future. It seems to me that Brandon Snyder, a former catcher/first round pick has been hitting very well. How does he fit into the Orioles plans? Will he be in Bowie this year or remain in Single A? Is he legit?


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Pete's reply: I assume he'll move up. Had a good Arizona Fall League season and they like him.

Peter....oh Peter,
Dont tell me you now prefer the orange Fools Aid over the margaritas?

I dont buy into your philosphy about Ole Pete bankign the money. If that is the case, why are they playing hardball with Roberts and Markakis negotiations? You said they are bank rolling it until the right moment. Isnt that the right moment to use it?
Andy McFail's biggest downfall is his LACK of communication to the stakeholders....the fans. Example, are we going to get a player (then who) or money for Bradford? Or did you just unload him to save money..hmm where did that savings go then?
I dont care if anyone in the warehouse listens. Because I wont be in the seats this year. My season ticket will NOT be renewed. Enough is Enough!
What happens when all of a sudden, McFail changes his tune and starts saying we need to bring up the kids to try them out when he fails to sign a starting pitcher who isnt a retread or a 35 year old cast off from the far east? Are the fans going to believe its all about money then?
Some people will never see the light and I dont really care about them. But the fence sitters need to send a message to the ownership....but not attending the games.
AGAIN ENOUGH IS ENOUGH!
So please dont change course and become another propaganding tool for McFail. You are a very intelligent and great reporter.....I hate to see your column turn into another one liek the School of Ole Pete

Merry Christmas to you and your family!

"r" is for redundant...Cant wait to see this years slogan "come see the kids" O's magic, You gotta be there,
I GOT IT ....they will take one from Chuck Thompson's book

ISNT THE KOOL AID SWEET

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Pete's reply: Correct me if I'm wrong. The O's offered Markakis $60 million when the AL MVP signed with Boston for $40 million over the same term. How much to you want them to offer Markakis? Believe it or not, there is a correct number that has nothing to do with whether they are stingy or not.

Peter Angelos has not proven himself to be vrey smart in the arena of baseball. However, getting McPhail was a very large step in that direction. Now, if he (and the fans) can just show some patience, we will escape the basement. We may not have a trophy in the near future, but I would settle for respectability.
DT

Peter,

I will answer your question of how to rebuild the team, but not in this post.

Let's play out your logic:

1) You say the team shouldn't spend money on FA's until they are good, or a contender.

2) The payroll is slated to be the lowest in the AL in 2010, and most sane people expect a last place finish for the O's in 2010 (barring some sort of animation of dead tissue in the Warehouse).

3) So, using Peter Schmuck logic, a bad team should NOT use its resources to improve the product on the field. A bad team should remain bad until they can come up with a non-financial solution to losing. Spending money doesn't fix anything.

Hence, if the team remains bad, it never has to spend any money....EVER.

Is that how rational people live their lives? When you get a flat tire, do you have it repaired, or do you say, "well, the car is already five years old, so it's not worth fixing it. The roof is leaking, but why spend money on it."

I'd like to introduce you to the AL East. You know, the division where one season of not making the playoffs is cause for a HALF BILLION in spending on free agents by one team. A division where the Baltimore Orioles once won a title, with the highest payroll in MLB.

Why in the world would you want Peter Angelos to rake in an even larger profit while the team wilters on the field?

This is why I claim much of the core of remaining "fans" have a sick desire to see the team lose as many games as possible.

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Pete's reply: As always, your logic is impeccable. I was in favor of signing Teixeira, if he wanted to come here. I am not in favor of signing Tom, Dick and Harry to win four or five more games and gum up the roster. Been there. Done that. Not that complicated. If they can sign Derek Lowe to shore up the rotation, I'm all for it. But signing Jon Garland for $13 milion a year?

Peter,

Here is what the "lynch Angelos & MacPhail mob" want in a new owner:

Local people

Financial muscle

Willingness to stay out of the way of their baseball people

Baseball people with the resume for operational success

Desire to win the World Series

The name everyone keeps bringing up is Cal. I think he is a hero as a player but other than being a local boy and wanting to win the World Series, there is no indication he can fulfill the other requirements. The Aberdeen Ironbirds hardly qualifies him to go up against the likes of the Unclean and the Nation-who-shall- not- be- named. Maybe some time down the road but I'm assuming these Oriole loyalists want to win while new American made Ford pickup trucks are still available for purchase.

Assuming Angelos sticks to the non -interference part of the deal I would have to say he (and MacPhail) fit the bill as well as anyone. If he didn't want to win the World Series, why did he drop all that money on those free agents in the 90's? I've lived in both towns and I see no evidence that Angelos is anywhere near the kind of owner that Mike Brown of the Cincinnati Bengals is. Now there is a man who truly does not want to win, who only wants to maintain the illlusion of competitiveness; for him winning the Super Bowl would be a royal pain and hurt his bottom line. The Bengals made a tidy profit last year and probably will again this year.

I totally agree with you. The mess the Orioles made is going to take time and will not be a quick fix. Keep in mind that these are the same people that chanted for a new quarterback every week when the reality was we didn't really have a viable option until this year. MacPhail is our best option and he knows what he is doing. Everyone seems to forget that we have had 2 very good first halves the last 2 years until lack of depth killed us. They are showing signs. The Orioles are going in the right direction, have some patience for God's sake.

The lack of financial resources committed to player development and scouting in last 15 years has hurt the Orioles more than anything. That's where Angelos strangled this franchise and that's why we are where we are today.

From that standpoint, Angelos has "scrooged" the fans and lined his pockets and those of his idiot sons.

Peter,
God Bless you for bleeding orange and black. I used to do the same. But the fact is Angelos wouldn't even allow a competitive offer to Texiera for fear he might accept it! With the new television deal, Angelos' pockets are deep and you can't tell me if you sign a player for 8 years that at least 5 or 6 of them won't be competitive years if you believe the coolaid the Orioles are putting out now. I don't blame Andy for this. I think he just fell into the same trap we all did, believing in a money hungry, power hungry, little man with no allegiance to the people of Baltimore. Keep on keeping on Peter. Even Custer had his tiny regiment believing they could whip thousands of sioux indians! Its all in what you make yourself believe.


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Pete's reply: What makes you think I bleed orange and black, because I'm not crying that it'll never get better. I don't know if it will ever get better -- I'm pretty skeptical about the chances of really competing with the Yankees and Red Sox anytime soon -- but I'm going to explore what might work and try to look at it from the standpoint that it's possible. The alternative is to whine every day about how bad things are and offer no solutions.

What I see Andy McPhail doing is trading now (Tejada, Bedard) for the future (Jones, Sherrill, Scott, etc). I think he has absolutely maximized those trades.

Of interest, that I have not heard commented, is that he is waiting for some contracts to expire that are limiting his flexibility (Bradford - now traded, Walker - his last year, Huff - who had a great year last year, Mora - his last year). Its not that they are bad players, but as we saw with the SS signing - short term (2 yr) fill a need, provide contractual flexibility for the future while trying to put a decent team on the field now.

We are now into the hard part - trading/signing for the now. Lots has been made of Tampa Bay - well, they had 10 horrific seasons before making the playoffs. I'm not sure thats the model we want to follow.

As we saw with Texeria, the O's and Nats were used to find the baseline price. Then the real team(s) were contacted.

Somehow, the O's need to stabilize the pitching staff so that the future upper tier free agents see them as a viable option. I see this as a multi-year effort - meaning you will likely only get lesser free agents this year and next, but we will hopefully gather some momentum, perform better, and then be considered more of a destination to some of the better free agents in the future.

I am hoping against hope that Roberts re-signs with the O's. I see positive traction going on now - his leaving will be a setback. I'm not sure if he wants to stay - but we should be willing to overpay to keep him!

No beef from me on your comments here. My beef th McPhail isn't that he isn't jumping off a cliff on over priced free agents but that he wont get creative trading some of the excess pitching prospects for a 1st baseman.We don't have a ton to give up but surely we could get a Hoffenpauir (sp) or Votto.Waiting to trade Roberts for a haul will just weaken one poition at the expense of others,unless AM gets two top chip major league ready players for BRob at least. I'd also trade Sherill or Guthrie for the right price. A 60 win club doesn't need a closer like Sherill.

Pete
With all due respect...when you have been through 15 years of this same organizational behavior, then maybe you will see why there is doubt as to whether Macphail is going to actually be allowed to do anything differently than his predecessors. If you think public opinion of Orioles fans can ever influence the owner to make a decision, then just ask yourself...do you think it was fan opinion that rode Davey Johnson and Pat Gillick out "on a rail?"
This organization is run by one man and one man only...always has been, always will be. All the significant decisions are made by the same individual. Unfortunately, public opinion can't change that fact.
However, my problem with Macphail is not the decisions per se, which have been good thus far, nor with the current payroll (except for Nick's situation) or not signing Tex, and certainly not with putting up with losing in the hope of making a longer term plan work. No, my problem is with his seeming lack of regard for communicating with the remaining loyal fan base. Many informed Orioles fans see the Chad Bradford situation as a micro example of this larger communication problem. Andy could just sit down for an interview with you or the beat writers and answer these questions, or go on a talk show, or a sports program, or write a column. But no..in that way, he comes from an old school baseball family and does seem to reflect that old school baseball philosophy that typically regarded fans as uninformed suckers rather than as sophisticated (and fanatical) entertainment customers.
Of course,it also could be that there are owner required limits about Andy talking with the media or the public.
When and if Andy answers the very small, simple question about Chad Bradford and admits to a mistake if he thinks he made one, then maybe fan trust about solving the larger problems will be a bit easier to find.
For now, in brief response to your question..if I were the owner (and that is the only way that you are going to get a different result- different owner, not different GM)...I would sign Nick TOMORROW and if it set a new precedent for dollars...GOOD..that would be exactly the message I would want Nick to know- that he is a truly unique talent to us and to those fans who pay all the bills and provide all the profit to me as owner.

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Pete's reply: Nick can only hope you buy the team soon.

Tell 'em Pete. It'd be a shame if a restless fan base sabotaged this thing as it was getting started. Now if they play around too much with Markakis...

I think the issues people have Peter is that Teixiera was the perfect guy to ante up and pay whatever the cost for. The o's have no good power hitting position players in the pipeline. Pitchers they have but no position players--Weiters aside of course. Teixiera fulfilled a huge need--reliable power behind Markakis--which would give their young pitching scoring to develop behind. It's easier to learn to pitch in the bigs when your team can score you 5, 6 runs a game. The Nationals had no problem going all in so folks wonder why they can step up but the o's throw in the smallest offer which just invites speculation that they did it just for show and were never serious about it. People are dying for this team to be a winner but don't get the feeling that ownership shares that passion. You don't need to go out and throw money after every free agent but when there's a guy who fills a need and can be a cornerstone you go after that guy as hard as you can. Yeah we have Markakis and Jones and Roberts but why would any of those guys stick around here when management refuses to get them any help? Better to just bide their time until they can be the ones signing a fat contract with a winner somewhere else. (re your beloved Angels, Guerrero will be old by 2011 when a younger, great fielding, good hitting right fielder will be a free agent, so why would he sign back with the o's?) That the fans' thinking and the stale argument "there's a plan, wait for the plan" just doesn't cut it anymore.


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Pete's reply: If Markakis is willing to gamble a lifetime of security to make that point, I applaud him for his guts. He'll re-sign in a few weeks.

Peter-
The only question or statement I guess, I have is, If Angelos has said publicly that he knows it will take 110 -120 million to contend, and the O''s are capable of that, (93million in 97), then a few years we were hanging aroung 60 or 70, and even further after 09 (losing roberts,huff,more,gibbons,hernandez, etc) that the whole point was so we could go after Tex? I still think if the O's would have done what the Nats did, he would be here right now. But say that isnt the case, why does it always seem like to sign a contract with the O's is the toughest thing in the world to do? The extensions never get done. Moose, Bedard, BJ Ryan, and Nicky, to name a few. Now, I know Macphail is only the last 2 years of that, but its almost like a stigma. Weiters, was tough. Matusz was supposed to be easy, and that went to the wire.
What do you think?
I tell you, a lot of my feelings on this could change if they land Kawakami. Just because you are rebuilding doesn't mean you still don't try. I saw his scouting video, and he looks very solid. He could be a signing that, who knows, 3 years from now, could be a solid 5 in a playoff run to help balance out the Kiddies. He has experience in big games playing for the Japanese "Yankees". I think this could be a good investment. Plus, if you can some how get a decent 1-2 punch......Guts, Kawakami,Looper, who knows, they might surprise some people. Offense was not, is not, will not, be the problem.
What do you think?

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Pete's reply: I don't know where you got the idea that he would have come here for the same offer as the Nats. His agent didn't even want a counter offer from the Orioles.

Great stuff Peter,
I think anyone who rips into Angelos and Macphail should at least first show that you have ever once run a business (successful or not).
I am afraid so many people who rip into other people for why they won't do this or that in their business haven't got a clue. Macphail has presided over two world champions. I'd say that has earned him at least a few more months, eh??

Case and point Tex and the comments that Andy made afterwards. They should have broken the bank for him and still would not have been at $100 million, more in the $90 million range after signing a couple pitchers and a backup catcher and I think you are looking at a 80+ win team.

the only people that need to be run out of town is anyone named Angelos. somehow the other partners in ownership could raise enough money and buy out angelos,the orioles might go somewhere. we just might not hear all of the poor mouth junk and they wouldn't low ball the players when it comes to offering contracts.

All I'd like for them to do at this point is to sign 3 or 4 free agent stop-gap starting pitching, a couple more arms for the bullpen, a mentor-catcher, and a first baseman with some power in his bat. If you look at their offense last year (depends on if Huff and Mora have the same kind of years) it was very good. Is that asking for too much Pete?

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Pete's reply: Probably. Don't see how they'll sign three or four starters. I'd settle for two.

Pete,

Again, Albert Belle signed for $13 m a year. In today's dollars that would be almost $17 m. Use an inflation calculator. So, throw in the $4 m we would have arbitrated to Cabrera and we could have made a run at Tex.

I made a dinner bet with a friend that Markakis never signs a long term deal with the O's. It would have been more likely if Tex had been hitting in front or back of him. Shame he won't stay in a few years.

Throw in the fact that the O's and MASN are stupid enough to show a great game from the 90's a couple of days ago when Camden Yards was packed. I'll bet there aren't more than 1500 fans in the stands for the White Sox series the third week in April. Why would Nick ever want to be part of that. I don't think you understand the level of animosity towards the ownership of the O's - that we ain't never coming back.

Give MacPhail three more years before you past judgment on him. I am a long-time Orioles fan who lives in Minnesota and has seen him build the Twins into World Series and consistent division winners. He will do it first by stock piling arms in the farm system. Then developing positions players that can field and hit. But most importantly all nine players will play as a team and have the right attitude. It sounds a lot like the Oriole way of the 70's (although the 3 run homes may be missing).
Your will be a little frustrated by his timing on issues and how he holds this cards pretty close to the vest. But you will forget about all of that when the Os are in the playoffs. I think Andy being an Oriole is a clear sign that Angleos wants to field a winning team. We will have to wait to see if the young players are locked in contracts when they prove they deserve them. That day may soon be coming with Brian and Nick contract negotiations. If those two players are not locked in or value isn't received in a trade - then I will start to question the intent of the ownership.

Im on the building through the farm side of the fence but there are some things the O's should have done that makes sense for the long haul but require spending Uncle Pete's money....

1 - Sign the 22 yr old Japanese pitching prospect Tazawa who signed w/ Boston. There are some other very young FA's out there as well.

2 - Stop negotiating & purchase a spring training /minor league facility. JUST DO IT!!!???!!

3 - Deal your vets for prospects....this process has been too slow. If you look at other teams who have committed to a youth movement alot of times they make quick moves in order to turn the roster upside down. It happens almost over night. Its called shaking things up. I dont want to watch another season of 30+ somethings as our position players. Does it really matter who we wait & wait to get for Luke Scott?? COME ON!!

4 - Ink Markakis....this should have been done last year. It may be too late now. Start working on Wieters & Jones as well. This is the current model,,see Tampa & Milwaukee

5 - Hire Davey Johnson...there I said it....I like Trembley, but this town bleeds Davey

MacPhail is absolutely on target in building for the future. BUT...

But MacPhail shoulders MUCH responsibility for the latest failure in 2008. First, he Phailed to put a major league shortstop on the field behind a group of very young pitchers. Would YOU pitch to contact with Alex Cintron behind you? Secondly, he Phailed to get an experienced Major League starter or two to mix in with the very young pitchers. This would have helped to teach them.

There is no doubt that the Orioles would have had to overpay to get a shortstop and a couple of experienced tutor-pitchers on the field. That's o.k. After watching 11 years worth of crummy baseball in a Maryland-taxpayer funded stadium we are owed the extra effort.


I could not disagree with you more. Baseball is a business. That business is ENTERTAINMENT. Stop kidding yourself about the "sport" concept. People turn out to the park to be entertained. The tune it to tv games to be entertained. The reason attendance keeps goin down is the O,s entertainment value is at an all time low. Nobody wants to see a shortstop that we can't even pronounce. We dont want to see another "catch and throw" guy behind the plate. Most of us would rather see that 100 million payroll for the hope of today. After 11 losing seasons, we are tired of hearing about building for later. You can build for later by long term good signings of today. The turnstiles will prove me correct again this year. The 60 million dollar losing seasons have eroded all fan support, and yes angelos is hoarding all the money. We kept hearing about money coming off the books. We keep hearing about MASN contracts infusing money, Just how STUPID do you think the fans are. Pete, i think it is great going toe to toe with angelos. DONT LET HIM OFF THE HOOK NOW!!!!

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Pete's reply: I understand what you're saying, but buying guys to improve the entertainment value of the team is what they've done for the past 11 years. You've got to build a foundation so those big-money free agents can make a real difference.

Remember the fan. You do not field a team to play for the owners to an empty stadium or private TV viewing. This is entertainment. When does anyone go to a movie knowing the movie was a "D" rated quality. What Premium actor would be in a movie knowing before it started the movie would be a "D" quality and not get reviews to compiment their talent.

So fans are the attention point for a mlb organization. The entertainment has to be worth the dollars the fan pays. Attendance is falling. Hope is dwindling. Therefore contribution to profits are falling. MASN is contributing more each year. The accountant can tell you about the profits to meet the owners preference for what story of profit or loss they want. Not difficult at all.

So the Hope that was pumped up in the fans by the O's before the free agency period about the hunt for Tex built up the hope. The hunt was not equal to the hype. If you like a girl you pay attention with gifts.,have people tell how nice you are and constant bidding with date requests. Did this happen with the courtship with Tex. Ho Hum was the attempt. Who cares if he did ot come. The attempt was less than the propaganda from the O's about a serious attempt. Stop thinking the fan dumb. Stop thinking the fan does not see the walk and talk contradiction.

I did not want Tex. I want pitching. So get in the hunt for real and quality pitching with 3 year deals. Really make the minors talent force you to bring them up when ready. Walk the Walk.No more Talk.

This is not a hit on McPhail. This is perception of what is happening Perception is everything.!!!!!
Yes the fans are the primary target. Currently the O's organiztion has dismissed them as consequetial or secondary.Give the fans some baland.The futre and taday in the plan.Make it a more competetive enviornment. Tehfans are not requiring a world seriens now. Just let them have pride.

Careful you may be in the stands anyway with the lack of effort continuing.

Lasorda makes a pretty good point. There's a reason these people are getting paid a lot of money to make these decisions, and there's a reason they don't listen to the beer swilling masses.

I also like the comparison to the Tejada/Lopez/Sosa years. Big spending for moderate performance (not Tejada, but the other two). The way to build a team is to get all the surrounding pieces in place through player development and then fill in the final gaps with your Teixeira's and your Tejada's. This current O's team is far more than 2 position players away from contention right now, and AM knows that. Frustration can make people stupid, and that's why I'm glad Andy's there. He's level headed enough and patient enough to know that these things take time. The Ray's didn't get from last place to first by buying the best free agents, they built their team and then filled in the gaps. Lets just leave Andy to his own devices, give him the time to do what he said he would do.

I think your comments are slightly off mark, at least in my opinion The Os were selling out in the late 90s due in part to the great quality team of players that were fielded during those half dozen years. If I remember correctly, P.A. decided he didn't want to pay the market rate for those same players so they went elsewhere for more money, more or less. The sprial had begun, the turnstiles turned a little less each year, the quality players were offered a little less by the Os than other clubs, P.A. was vocal about not paying the going rate for quality (seems like that started with Albert Belle), scouting the the minor league system, once the stalwart and envy of the other owners, was severely neglected. In direct relation, if you are not putting a quality team on the field, homegrown or via trades/free agency, the fans will not be generating the revenue the team sorely needs for salary and development. I guess Pete assumed the die hard fans would continue to put money in his pockets even though he wouldn't pay for the quality players or invest in the future by keeping the farm system in top condition. Now, we are rebuilding for the 11th season in a row, and as I have followed the Os, every year we are "headed in the right direction." Fans aren't buying into this anymore, sign us a few superstars, build the farm, and get our current grade A players signed to long deals. Tired of the same old, same old. Let's see where we are with Markakis come spring. My guess says he goes the way of Mussina, signing with the sox or yankees by next christmas. Baseball is a business, you have to invest as well as take chances that proven commodities will continue to produce results (free agents). stop being so scared of every little thing. Prove me wrong, PA, give us long suffering, patient fans a winner, or sell the club to someone who will.

With the Yankees' purchase of yet another pennant, I can say that I have seen the future of major league baseball, and it's downright ugly...

Pete , when Andy first got here , it was a three year plan , enough said. Have some more Kool-aid..............

Go Ravens,,,,


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Pete's reply: Okay, then if it's a three-year plan, wouldn't it make sense to give him more than 18 months?

Lets compare the Orioles to the Yankees. To do this we will have to consider the effects of YES and MASN. Owning these networks contribute money outside of the baseball reported figures. We will consider not just revenue but cost. What is important is income, revenue-cost. The Yankees have very high revenue but very very high costs. The Orioles have decent revenue but very low cost. Their income is higher than the Yankees. For 2002-2006 the Orioles had the 3rd highest income in all baseball, 270 million higher than the Yankees.

Lets look at 2007. Yankees revenue was 327 million in 2007(which includes at least some YES), costs were 374 million, earnings -47 million. YES revenues were 340 million. The Yankees own 36% of YES so their share was 122 million. Costs probably totaled 40 million(guess) for a net of 80 million. Lets say there are no YES numbers in Forbes(probably wrong). Then Yankees total =-47 million+ 80 million =33 million.

Oiroles 2007 revenue=166, costs 158, income 8 million plus supposedly they got 26 million from MASN = a total of 34 million. Higher by 1 million than the Yankees. 2007 payroll was 90 some million, add 30 miilion of these profits and you have a 120 million payroll with the Orioles doing a little better than breaking even. The difference between 120 million and our fast falling payroll goes straight to Angelos pockets.

This is before taxes, the Orioles tax situation is better by far.

Conclusion the Orioles have more money to spend, but desperate to put money in Angelos pockets, don't. In fact MacPhail has been dumping payroll from the 2007 figure for all he's worth. This business about not being able to afford an individual player like TEX is total bullcrap.

The Yankees desperate to win, spend like drunken sailors.

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Pete's reply: Obviously they could afford Teixeira. They offered him more than $20 million per year.

Hi Peter:

I think that the root of the problem has been the fact that they have had a lot of bad luck along the way and a. When they signed Lopez, Tejada and resigned Palmeiro it was pitching that got us in trouble. Who would know what would happen to Ponson, Riley and others. It looked like we were headed in a good direction with Ryan, Beddard, Parish, Cabrera, Maine, Riley, DuBose and a few others. Ponson and Riley ended up being character issues and Riley probably caused his own injury issues. With Ryan the O's did not want to show the money. Parish and DuBose injuries and Cabrera could not find the plate. Then a few years later you find that Loewen has severe arm injuries and then the Benson for Maine deal that was just a mistake. I do not blame the GM in the past and do not believe they made mistakes with getting Tejada and Lopez back then. Remember Javy had a very good year when he came over and Tejada had 150 RBI. They were something like 79 and 83 that year, with a lot of young pitching coming up. Unfortunate for them it did not work out. Back in 2005 when it was known by everyone that Lopez and his knees and back could no longer hold up, we went after Hernandez, who had an excellent season in his first year with the team. Chris Gomez was an excellent utility player and could have helped at Shortstop last year.

The O's were kind of like the Cubs injuries to Wood and Prior really kept them from World Series contention.

Also I never thought that between the time Angelos took over the team until 2008 that he was cheap. He spent money on big name free agents. They tried to get into the Dominican and recruit. I have been an Oriole fan for a long time and will continue. I just wish people would stop looking at the problem as financial and recognize it is has been a series of unfortunate events that young talented pitchers that they scouted, recruited and signed did not work out for one reason or another. Sure every team has this kind of luck but it seems we have more than our fair share.
Think if they all stayed healthy, stayed out of jail and threw a strike over the plate it could have been great.

Sorry Pete I rambled. Love to hear how you feel about that.

Hi Peter,

I agree with you to an extent... at this point, it may not make sense to buy FAs just to show fans we will spend money.

It would, however, be nice to field a team that we can at least feel is competitive next year. An adam Dunn would be a start. The team can afford it.

I would be much more on board with this team if they made an announcement next week that markakis and other Orioles were signed up long term. If they allow Markakis to leave in a few years, this town will go nuts. i hope they are not blind to this.
I would only allow Roberts to leave if we stole another teams top prospects like we did in Seattle. (Did bedard get cut in Seattle? I would invite him back if he is free and willing)

Hope your holiday is being good to you

Tim

I have no problem with the way Andy's working except we need to SIGN NICK NOW!!!!!!!!

I have no problem with the way Andy's working except we need to SIGN NICK NOW!!!!!!!!

I do think, though, Peter, that PA would be happy if MacPhail brings the Orioles to respectability, Twins- and Cubs-style, rather than continuing dominance. And maybe that last is impossible in this division. Nevertheless,I'm with you: Nothing good happens quickly. And I'd much rather see our own stars develop than try and root for a bunch of dollar trollops like the Yankees' FAs.

I'm not an Andy basher. Baseball just doesn't make any sense to me. If these small market teams can't compete with the Yankees and Red Sox, then why not tell the NY and LA teams to form their own 5 team league and the rest will form their own league. Rather than the jr. and sr. circuit, just the rich and pow.

My heartburn is where they are spending and not spending. Throw $150M at Tex but Markakis and Roberts are still seeking deals. They waive Cabrera and need four starters. Yes, he spent money a few years back but was it money well placed? Drop some cash on some quality starters and drop Guthrie into the 3 spot. Ben Sheets is a quality starter. True, he's had health issues but the club can control some of that with a quality pen, which they now seem to have in B'more. Garland can throw a ton of innings. One of the Japanese pitchers may or may not help. Lowe is still out there. This team could have been very competitive this year with some arms. They could be in '09 with some arms. I haven't heard a word about pursuing an arm other than the two guys from Japan and they are hardly aces.

They went into the season with unknown arms a couple years ago and it crushed 'em. They appear to be wanting to try it again. It's what the Nats did last year--good result there, as well.

SIGN SOME STARTING PITCHING!

1) what are the odds Markakis just decides to wait for FA?

2) we don't have a starting rotation right now and all we've done is subtract Daniel Cabrera. The time so fill our rotation with pitchers not named CC or AJ was when everyone was waiting on the aforementioned starters. Now everyone will turn their attention to the remaining starters and we'll be left with the scraps.

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Pete's reply: I think Nick will sign an extension in late January and I don't think there are a lot of sure-thing starting pitchers out there right now.

I think Andy is doing a good job. This team is being built for 2010 and beyond; not 2009. Would it have been nice to get Tex and/or AJ? Sure. But the $260 Million can be better spent on 5-8 guys rather than 2. History has proven that small payroll clubs can have success in small bursts when everything clicks. Now, we just need to wait and hope the the AA players make the right strides so that in 2010, the Orioles can contend like the D-Rays this past year

Hi Peter --

Great job covering the O's as always. However, I have to disagree with you a little here.

In my mind, signing a significant free agent or two has nothing to do with showing that the front office cares and it has nothing to do with 2009. In my mind, the O's should be looking at significant free agents at 1B and 3B especially because there simply aren't any organizational alternatives when Huff and Mora's contracts are up after 2009. And other than Roberts, the trade chips have pretty much run out. So if they don't sign an impact free agent to play the corner infield positions, and there aren't any prospects projected to be ready at these positions in a year, then who will play there? If you can answer this question, I'm all ears. But right now, the contracts at 1B, 2B, and 3B are all up after this season, and MacPhail's done nothing to fix this since being hired.

That's my beef with Andy and with the organization's unwillingness to sign one or two long-term solutions at these positions. Otherwise, where will they come from? Thanks again Peter, and I'd love to hear your opinion on this.

Pete, I want to know what the MLB draft consequences are for not making a big signing. Won't the Orioles get an extra draft pick that's somewhat early in the draft because they didn't make any high-dollar acquisitions?

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Pete's reply: Not really. The teams that lose big free agents get some compensation.

Pete, I want to know what the MLB draft consequences are for not making a big signing. Won't the Orioles get an extra draft pick that's somewhat early in the draft because they didn't make any high-dollar acquisitions?

If so, I'm okay with missing out on guys like Texiera (sp?) so that the Orioles could hopefully do something the Rays did this season and build through the draft.

Your blog ironically proves that Angelos is about the money. Angelos won't talk to you because you tried to expose the financial situation of the Orioles. Exactly the point many have been making. It is a second rate franchise that is only worth something because it makes money, not because of the product on the field.

Ok you argue, McFail is trying to give us a presence in the Far East and South America, but how long will it take us to catch up...5 years?...10 years? And is this real or just tokenism? Is our budget in those areas equivalent to the Yankees or Red Sox or Dodgers? Probably not even close.

And McFail has done nothing to right the spring training home situation. We still don't have facilities to house both the major and minor leagues. One of the reasons is the Orioles are looked upon as a second rate franchise..and not signing Tex helps to fuel that impression. Florida cities won't pony up money for a second-rate franchise and Angelos apparently won't spend it either.

With MASN, even in 2009, not every game will be in High-Def, because with Angelos is always being second-rate. I turn on DirecTV and the sound is usually missing for the first 10-15 minutes...although that is usually a blessing since there is no honesty on the network.

You mention the Tejada and Lopez signing as some evidence of something. Big names, lots of money, but Lopez being judged the equivalent of Ivan Rodriquez was a error in baseball judgment. Plus, wasn't that the year we missed out on Vladimir Guerrerro because we thought we could low ball him as the only bidder? Beattie and Flanagan were just the second-rate talent willing to work for Angelos. And the results showed.

Pat Gillick signed high-priced people like Alomar and Surhoff..and it was successful, but Gillick was a first rate talent..who Angelos promptly rode out of town.

If McFail has a plan, what is the projected roster for 2010 or 2011 and what is he projecting as those player stats? Let's see some meat on the bones. And why don't other baseball people think we will be competitive anytime soon?

Answer the questions Peter.


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Pete's reply: Don't have time for all of them, so you can read my response about the money under another comment here. Andy is not in charge of spring training, but he is the one who insisted that the situation be corrected and got the ball rolling on that. Unfortunately, they seem to be messing it up again.

Remember, Peter, that the responses you get don't necessarily reflect the general view of O's fans. A reactionary majority is more apt to write in than the patient majority. I'm with MacPhail, and don't see you as parrotting a club line.


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Pete's reply: Thanks, I appreciate the perspective. I won't complain, however, about the passion of the people here. That's what the blog is all about, so I hope people care enough to write.

Pete,

Your comments are spot on. Who cares if we win an extra 5 games and burn up $20M in payroll. Stick to the plan. With some luck we will have a .500 team in 2010 and a playoff contender in 11.

Is Angleos rolling in 100 bills in the vaults?

Not having the access of some intrepid reporters I did a few calculations on what I could find.

1998 Salaries- 72 million
1998 attendance - 3685194
1998 Avg. Ticket Price - 15.00

2008 Salaries - 67 million
2008 Attendance - 1950075
2008 Avg. Ticket Price - 22.00

Using the CPI off the Bureau of Labor and Statistics 72 million in 2008 dollars is 94 million today.

So our salaries in 1998 compared to 2008 were (94-67) or about 27 million dollars higher.

Factoring in adjusting for ticket prices and higher attendnace only accounts for about 12.5 million more in revenue. This still leaves 27 million-12.5 million are close to 15 million more for Mr Angelos. This doesn't even factor in the amount of profit Mr. Angelos made from MASN which he made none of in 1998.

So is "Angelos is rolling around in a giant vault full of $100 bills like Scrooge McDuck."

You're damn right he is. All one has to do is the math. There's a reason he doesn't want to open his books, but salaries can be obtained via ESPN. Attendance figures are easy to find, and avg. ticket price wasn't as hard as I thought.

One other thought...With the recession hitting the auto industry so hard, how can the Detroit Tigers in Motor City have double our payroll in salaries? We were ranked 21st in the league in 2008.

http://sports.espn.go.com/mlb/teams/salaries?team=bal

This is why the failure to significantly match the Yankees offer for Tex bothered me so much. Angleos obviously had the money based on these figures, and your comment:

"..based on the hope that Andy MacPhail is conserving the budget for when it actually might make a difference. If that time comes and the O's still won't open their checkbook, then all the naysayers will be able to say they knew it all along -- and I'll tip my cap to them."

Signing Tex to a longterm contract was affordable based on these numbers, and it would have made a real difference, Our failure to build a franchise around him (5 year plan) indicates they will only build a franchise around lower salary players that will allow Mr. Angelos to swim in those 100 bills, or should I say thousand dollar bills.

When the St. Louis Browns moved to Baltimore in 1954 it was stated it was due to declining attendance and lower salaries. When the Browns moved to Baltimore the city was only to eager for a team and they were patient to rebuild for 6 years. The fans after losing season after losing season in St. Louis had had enough. We have now become the St. Louis Browns. In the O's first season they were 54-100. It really has come full cycle.

It wil lbe interesting to see if attendnace can reach 1.5 mil this coming year. Without Red Sox and Yankee fans I seriously doubt we come close to that.

Pete,

Your comments are spot on. Who cares if we win an extra 5 games and burn up $20M in payroll. Stick to the plan. With some luck we will have a .500 team in 2010 and a playoff contender in 11.

I am one Orioles fan that is extremely FOR keeping McPhail. I've been in agreement with most of his moves. I still don't get the D. Cabrera move since we only have 1 pitcher. Of course nobody is going to agree completely with someone else's ideas. However, he has done a fabulous job since he's been on board. I believe McPhail is the one that sold the importance of not being overly strict in terms of the cost to sign draft picks. I believe McPhail to be a big reason why we drafted Wieters. The Izturis signing is not a headline grabber, however it is an excellent baseball move. McPhail's Bedard haul has a chance to be excellent if Tillman progresses. The one thing I would like to see is, finding some nice gambles to try to hit on, if their price is somewhat reasonable (i.e. Sheets or Penny). I personally would be more interested in gambling on Sheets for $10MM than Kawakami. McPhail's short tenure has been EXCELLENT for the O's thus far and we all should be extremely thankful that he's heading this rebuilding plan.

Pete,

This is just my stupid opinion, but playing Scrooge last spring with one of your rising stars, Markakis, was not the wisest thing to do. In my book, simply not a wise business move. The fact that the Orioles are not closer to signing Markakis or Roberts to extensions tells me they have no intentions of fielding a competitive team and are just pulling the wool over the fans' eyes.

To put it another way, if this was Wall Street, Markakis and Roberts would be wrapped up in well deserved contracts. Well run corporations go out of their way to make sure their performers are well compensated AND taken care of.

The Orioles?? Well, let's just say they are great when it comes down to quacking like ducks, but they just cannot seem to back up their BS with solid actions.

I'll end my rant by saying every year we hear how they are going to build this team into a solid organization and every year it seems to keep sliding into oblivion.

Do I hear 52 wins this year?


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Pete's reply: People were saying fiftysomething wins last year, too. Who knows?

I don't think it is a question on whether or not Andy MacPhail is doing a good job or if Peter Angelos is hoarding money or not. We've been stuck in 11 straight losing seasons where every fall and pre-season we hear that the GM (and there's been quite a few in that time) is planning on rebuilding for the future. Over and over and over. Since the previous GMs were inept at doing so, we as fans find ourselves stuck in a broken record and it is obviously frustrating.

I do not want Brian Roberts to go, but since we did not sign Tex, I feel that he is now back on the block for "rebuilding". I think MacPhail has done a remarkable job in getting good value prospects during the fire sale, but there is going to be no face of the Orioles franchise for the near future. Roberts' status has changed several times in the last two years and I am certain that Markakis will not extend his contract. I am sure that the majority of Orioles (with more than two years of major league experience) do not think that their positions are secure now and can be traded at any moment for more rebuilding.

Through any free agents signing though...the real question becomes how the Orioles can possibly compete in the same division as the Yankees and Red Sox. They can clearly buy any player they wish. They are the first choice of any free agent that wishes to win a World Series. Who is the face of the Yankees? Jeter? You can almost compare the Yankees to Blackwater - both have hired guns. If this off season doesn't scream salary cap to the remaining baseball owners, baseball is doomed. I think everyone that is a fan of football will say that salary caps have kept EVERY team in contention and that it is fun to see who will be good from year to year as it changes all the time. Until baseball institutes a salary cap, we are stuck with about 5 teams buying the high priced free agents and the rest...well, they just provide places to spotlight future signings by those 5 teams. It is not fun for fans of any team other than those 5. Camden Yards will continue to be filled by Yankees, Red Sox, Mets, etc fans and that does not make it fun either. I will continue to only attend Orioles games when free tickets are given to me. While I'm still a fan of the Orioles, there is no reason for me to spend my hard earned dollar, especially in this economy, to watch as sub par product that is constantly in the rebuilding stage.

I have 3 irreconcilable problems with your comments:

1) Roberts and Markakis contract status.
2) The 2010 free agent class (when the O's are supposed to turn the corner) is purportedly quite weak.
3) The O's have gotten so bad they are simply not attractive and it will take a few years to turn that around.

The sad truth is the team will dissolve before it matures unless a few dramatic gestures are made. The O's can afford a few strokes now but stockpiling cash means nothing if no one wants it because alternatives are just as lucrative. We will find ourselves forced to overpay for second rate talent like Clark and Deshields if that happens and you and I both know the result of picking the leftovers.

Low payrolls in the AL East won't get you 68 wins, maybe 58. Our payroll has to go up just to get pitchers and hitters to want to come play in this division. We are going to play 76 games against division teams that had a combined win % of .566 in '08.(All were well above .500) That's a 91-92 win avg. How do you convince a decent free agent to come here and play. You have to overpay them alot. I bet every single f-agent that would improve us(not the one's that wouldn't) will not come here. If you were Looper, Hendrickson, Miles, Redding,Dunn or a Japanese free agent, would you come here when you could probably land on a team with a solid immediate future and not play the east's beasts for about half the season. You half to jack your payroll up. You'll see the Rays do it even more.

78 wins. The signing of Tejada, Lopez and Palmeiro in 2004 took the O's to winin 3 games of .500. Which was a big deal since all of the OF and DH game little in the way of offensive output. Also the pitching staff was in need of some help.

In the end they never upgraded those spots. In the end its just really bad that in 2005 the best starter was Bruce Chen.

Pete,

Your reply to one of my posts about Mark Teixeira was pretty interesting, how in the past he dismissed your queries about him coming to the Orioles.

While I can readily believe it, it is curiious that he made all those seemingly very pro-Oriole remarks that he made.

Now, if you conveyed to Andy MacPhail Tex's indifference to playing for Baltimore, then he certainly had no illusions enter about where the team stood in the bidding (read, pretty much out of the running before it even started).

If such is the case (and again I'm qualifying this, people), then the O's bid could only have been a token effort, given Andy's knowledge that he wasn't playing on a level field.

There's no question that Orioles were at a huge disadvantage, because it's unrealistic to expect a player to take a hometown discount to play for a last place team that may or may not be ready to compete in 2010.

Too much to ask from Tex, but that's where we get back to the lowball bid. Again I wonder, why bid at all if they're not going to make a real go at it?

As for the attacks on George Steinbrenner (& Sons) as "greed incarnate" and other words to that effect, I totally disagree. There's nothing wrong with an owner wanting to bring the best players to play for him and then paying them handsomely.

This isn't Little League, where there's a "mercy rule" for blowout games, so it's silly to expect the Yankees to stop sign superstars because it's "unfair" to the rest of the league.

Is the system out of whack that allows such stockpiling of talent. It is if parity is what you're looking for, but it what's in place now and Steinbrenner is playing by the rules.

So blame the system, if you want to hurl blame around and the players union that helped that system be set in place by its adamant refusal to allow a salary cap to be put in place.

Of course, we don't need to worry about salary caps with the Orioles. (LOL) As for the Lasorda remark about listening to people in the stands being a good way to end up sitting there with them, if the front office doesn't get a reasonable facimile of a major league team on the field pretty soon there aren't going to be many people in the stands to sit with anymore.

Don't they get it?! Or do they need a few more years of declining revenue to get the point across? (Yes, it's good to build the farm system, but upgrading the product on the field is equally important: No fan is going to go to the park in 2009 based on the knowledge that Brian Matuz may pitch there in '10 or '11.)

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Pete's reply: Don't misunderstand. Tex was quite nice about it, but he basically stuck to the "I play for this team and want this team to win" tack when I brought up Baltimore. I've heard second-hand that he said it would be a dream come true to play in Baltimore, but there was no evidence he felt that way this year. The O's talked to Boras several times and, at least from what I've heard through the grapevine, were not encouraged to participate in the final bidding.

don't forget that angelos wasn't the first orioles owner who spent money on bad free agents looking for the quick fix, meddled with the baseball side of the business, more or less taking over the gm job and ignoring the minor league operation so the team never had a resource for player development. the problem goes back to edward bennett williams. the orioles have had 18 losing seasons out of the last 25. it takes more than a yr or two to make up for 25 yrs of mismanagement

Pete,

I don't think the $$ were the problem in signing Tex as much as the length. Long term contracts are the current fad. When teams start getting burned in 2-3 years with these 5-6 year deals for players with only 2-3 years time in they will end. We have had our share in Tejada, Hernandez, Mora where our hands were tied. In order to get these deals teams also have to give a no trade clause and they are stuck with the player if they don't live up to their potential.

Hello Peter,

While I was all for the signing of the "Greedy Bastard", I'm fairly happy with the moves that Andy has made so far. Born & raised in New Jersey as an Orioles' fan now living in Rochester NY, I had a front row seat to The Bronx Zoo in the 70's & 80's. The same things were said about Steinbrenner then that they say about Angelos now. When George backed off a little & the Yankees started to develop some players, i.e. Jeter & Rivera, they started to win consistantly. Then they would buy players to fill there other needs. I see the start of this for the O's. Let's give Andy more time. I thinks he deserves the shot, he has a good track record.

Good Lord...after reading all of these comments, you would think that the sun rises and sets with the Orioles record.

Unfortunately, baseball has put themselves in a situation where the big market clubs, specifically Boston and the New York teams, dominate the free agent market. There is no way that mid-market teams, like Baltimore, can compete. For example, MASN will never bring in the amount of revenue that the YES network brings in. I think we are heading to a situation where the owners will have to push through a salary cap during the 2011 re-negotation. If the players want to strike during a recession (which will probably still be going on), let them.

Until then, I think that we should stick to the McPhail plan of re-building the farm system and hoping for a little luck along the way.

You do agree that it won't be us fans who hire or fire Andy Macphail ,don't you? So you saying the fans are either giving or not giving him 18 months or 3 years is actually pretty ridiculous, since only one person makes that decision, right?
It wasn't us fans that ran Davey Johnson, Pat Gillick and Jon Miller out of town?
Or hired Syd Thrift?
No, the answer to any Orioles future success comes down to NEW ownership.
Two articles in Florida papers this week about spring training/ Orioles management were revealing.. - let's see..maybe the Angelos (plural) can alienate the whole state of Florida...
Your comments about these articles? (as I have not seen any Sun reporting about this controversy?)

http://www.verobeach32963.com/news/News121808/121808_Orioles.htm

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20081219/COLUMNIST/812190359/-1/NEWSSITEMAP

And we are still patiently WAITING on the Chad Bradford answer! Oh, and by the way, Nick wouldn't have to wait for me to buy the team..somebody like Mark Cuban would do just fine! Go Os!!!


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Pete's reply: I've answered the Chad Bradford question about a hundred times. They almost certainly will get a cash payment, if they aren't already. The alternative would be a player you've never heard of.

What everyone seems to be forgetting is that Peter Angelos does not need to make money with Orioles. The thinking that he won't spend the money because it's about the bottom line makes no sense. The man is worth billions. It's more about not being played or taken advantage of by the agents to pay on these fringe level free agants. It's not abot spending 12-15 million on a great player, it's about not spending that much on Jon Garland or Kyle Loshe. AM sees that the market is about to crash on whomever is left in the Middle of Jan and players who wanted 13 million in November will go for half in Jan. Keep up the good work Andy!

Peter, you are starting to sound like the biggest Oriole apologist of them all, Tom Davis. And believe me when I say that I want to puke if I hear the guy say one more time, "See, what the fans don't understand...". Oh we understand Tom, we understand its not 1996 anymore and salaries have risen but PGA is stuck in a time warp. We also understand that you are on the payroll there big boy.

But seriously Schmuck are you on the payroll as well? The tone of your blogs is starting to suggest that you are

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Pete's reply: Then go read somebody else. I let everyone express their opinion here and I respect everyone's opinion whether I agree or not. I do not appreciate you questioning my integrity simply because I disagree with you.

Peter and your Fans,

Here is what I believe is the most up to date FA list [including ages]for Starting Pitchers. Anybody see anything to get all hot and bothered over?

Matt Belisle (29)
Kris Benson (33)
Paul Byrd (38) - Type B, offered arb
Roger Clemens (46)
Bartolo Colon (36)
Shawn Estes (36)
Josh Fogg (32)
Freddy Garcia (33)
Jon Garland (29) - Type B, offered arb
Tom Glavine (43)
Charlie Haeger (25)
Mark Hendrickson (35)
Livan Hernandez (34)
Orlando Hernandez (43)
Chuck James (27)
Jason Jennings (30)
Kenshin Kawakami (34)
Jon Lieber (39)
Braden Looper (34) - Type B, not offered arb
Rodrigo Lopez (33)
Derek Lowe (36) - Type A, offered arb
Pedro Martinez (37)
Mark Mulder (31)
John Parrish (31)
Carl Pavano (33)
Brad Penny (31) - Type B, not offered arb
Odalis Perez (32)
Oliver Perez (27) - Type A, offered arb
Andy Pettitte (37) - Type A, not offered arb
Sidney Ponson (32)
Mark Prior (27)
Tim Redding (31)
Kenny Rogers (44)
Curt Schilling (42)
Ben Sheets (30) - Type A, offered arb
John Smoltz (42) - Type B, not offered arb
Koji Uehara (34)
Kip Wells (32)
Randy Wolf (32) - Type B, not offered arb

I was hoping Tex would be a Cal Type individual who would take the 140 Million over 7 years with a clause after 3 years that if the Os were not contenders he could get out of Dodge, but he was'nt. I guess there is only ONE Cal Ripken. As far as the Orioles upping thier offer I think they were right in not doing so, Tex alone was nt going to make us contenders. I think if the Os could get Redding and another arm to eat up some innings and maybe get a veteran like Lowe we could have a decent year of maybe 70 - 75 wins with Weiters also joinging the club sometime early in the year. And, yes a catcher like Zaun would be great. But realistically Lowe probably won't want to come here to finish fifth. We really don't need Tex we need more guys like Rich, Rick, Tito, T Bone, Brother Low and Gary who give 110% everyday. Remeber the 1983 Os. Of course I am a woman and most of you men could care less what I think. :)

Pete, I think you're missing the point entirely. AM is not doing a bad job by not signing big ticket free agents like Teixeira. He's doing a bad job by not securing enough young talent to ensure a competitive team within the figurative 5 year time line you delineated. Whatever, though. If AM leaves, or gets driven out of town by angry fans, that's on him. Your attitude towards your audience, Orioles fans, is increasingly antagonistic and belligerent. The guilt trip you tried to put on us was ridiculous. If you want to take an honest assessment of the job AM is doing, that would be great. What you are doing, however, is apologizing for him for one reason only: choosing not to sign big ticket FAs. That's not enough. This discussion is getting tiresome because you contiuously refuse to acknowledge all the duties, all the different methods of a GM, or PoBO. You can continue to call fans stupid or crazy, but it might be to the detriment of your own readership.
Also, you stated that the O's tried to win for 11 years by spending money on free agents. That's only barely true and doesn't take into account the quality of free agents, years, or money spent. There's a big difference between signing Teixeira now, and signing Tejada then. Your perspective is extremely narrow.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I don't think I'm antagonistic except when somebody claims that just because I am not asking you to go to the warehouse with picket signs, I must be on the company payroll. Spare me at least that. I am taking the narrow perspective that you can't judge MacPhail as a failure after 18 months. What has he done wrong from a player development standpoint? Frankly, until he doesn't sign Markakis and Roberts, you can't really judge that either. Last time I looked, there aren't any games between now and spring training. When they fail to sign Markakis, I'll be right there with you. When they fail to sign Roberts and get little for him in trade, I'll jump all over Andy. The problem is, everybody wants to make interim judgments, which is great for my blog, but often make little sense.

Andy Haters = Football Fans or Fantasy Baseball owners who don't realize a MLB team in the AL East is a Super Tanker and can't be easily moved.

One final thought. If the O's had a payroll of $100 million, they wouldn't win 72 games. Nice red herring, though.


..............................................................................................
Peter's reply: It was a pretty casual example. Let's not nit-pick.

I think you make a lot of sense Peter - next years free agents...Holliday (of), lackey, Webb, Cliff Lee, Beckett, Bay, Crawford...granted, some have options for 2010 - but the idea is a year or two from now as the young pitching starts to come of age - the O's will have plenty of cash to throw around (assuming you're correct with Angelos).


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Of course, I don't know what Angelos will do. He could be hoarding money for all I know. There's no logic to that, but with this team, who says there has to be.

We've been losing for 11 years. As long as Angelos owns this team, we have no reason to believe that the fiscal decisions are wise. You can cite statistics to support McPhail's strategies and you can cite statistics that can totally make him look silly. It's a wash so it all comes down to the root problem: Angelos. We're just tired of being the geek in the corner at the Homecoming dance who doesn't have the guts to ask the pretty girl to dance. Any bold move can be a flop. We know that. But all these whimpy moves are just plain demoralizing.

I don't have the patients to read through all the other posts but great job on this blog. I am a full AM supporter and personally I'm a little surprised with the lack of patients by the rest of the O's fans. If after the young talent he is going after gets to the majors and are busts, and this team still can not compete then I agree with bashing him but unitl then let it play out. He has made one good trade an done exceptional trade. Let's see where he goes next. Have some patients, its been 11 years what is one or two more to do the job the right way.

Pete,

I love you like a brother, and Happy Kwansa, and New Years to boot! But wait just one minute with these "hey I'm not in PA pockets and who wants to pick on Andy"! This story isn't about Andy Mac who most of us here think well of and his job in his first year was great and so far this year blah! But the story is about PA and his deep seldom used pocket reserves! So lets do a story that talks about our salaries from 2004 through next year 2009, then lets add to that the MASN influx. Ok so we haven't landed a 2,3,4,5 starter or a bat in the middle of the line-up but we got some rule V guys, a couple utility players and the least expensive passable SS on the market. How has our investment in our minor leagues, Asia and Latin America gone and how much exactly have we invested? I'm not insinuating your in PA pockets but it certainly appears without a shred of evidence you seem to repeatedly fall in with the company line. I'm with Andy all the way too, he made great progress with his two trades last year, BUT progress requires continuing to move forward and since those two trades, all I see is BRob leaving and Nick thinking hard about the committment of this team. I'm usually a glass is half full type but Pete we've dumped salary the team is no better, the evil empire, Red Sox nation and Tampa are well ahead of us and were all supposed to get excited about losing the guy Brob who makes us run? Lets keep the discussion to PA and his checkbook and layout what is being done. I don't want to see a bunch of over the hill signings for long term, but Adam Dunn, Jon Garland would be two very viable additions that WILL COST $$$ but will add stability, interest the fan base and will NOT break Peter the Greats bank nor destroy Andy's plan!


...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I'll be okay with signing Garland and Dunn, I guess, though you'd be committing a ton of money to the front years that might not get you past 75 wins. I'm afraid, however, that soon after they signed Garland, the same people pulling for him would be saying what a stupid organization this is for committing that much money to a pitcher who will have trouble winning half his decisions on this team.

Peter

The obvious issue here is that MLB needs a salary cap and negotiate with the player's union to get out of guaranteed contracts.

For once, I am on board with you on the progress MacPhail has made.

This organization has been an absolute train wreck the last 10 years and finally we have a vision for the future - Building the Farm System

MacPhail executed two outstanding trades in moving Bedard & Tejada. Unfortunately, we have only two remaining trade pieces that have value (Sherill & Roberts).

The farm system has a long way to go, but it has improved greatly in the last 12 months. Here are a couple of highlights:

Matt Wieters, Chris Tillman, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Nolan Reimold, Billy Rowell, Troy Patton, and Brandon Snyder.

I think we should get aggressive in the 2010 free agent class that includes: Rich Harden, John Lackey, Matt Holiday, and Adam LaRoche.

The future looks very good and I see us being competitive in the 2011 season.


Peter,

What you say makes sense, but my cynicism says that the reason Angelos hired MacPhail was actually TO HOARD money! Look, I agree that a free-agent purchase now will not help the O's much for the next couple years, but remember you would have been signing Teixeira for six years beyond that when, ostensibly, the Birds should have some "stud" hurlers in the mix. Additionally, a big signing would prove to the fans that the Oriole front office really does care. The Orioles shouldn't expect more than 15,000-20,000/game next year. Hey, you reap what you sew.

But let's get back to MacPhail. Show me where he spent significant dollars in Minnesota. Yes, they developed players, but they never went out and got a big free agent. And they even wound up letting a few big names go. My gut tells me that Angelos hired MacPhail for that very reason. So Angelos can hoard the money and still come up with a winner. That works if you're not in the A.L. East. And let's be realistic. The sweetheart media revenue deal Angelos has in place is a much greater source of income than the Twins ever had.

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Peter's reply: And I'm hoping your wrong, but can't say for sure you are. MacPhail said his hope was to be in a position in the next year or so to sign a couple big free agents to complete the picture after he builds the foundation of young talent. We'll see if that happens when the time comes. If it doesn't, then it will be obvious that Angelos is either too cheap or just can't make a decision quickly enough to close a deal...or both.

First lets look at the payroll numbers

2008: $ 67,196,246
2007: $ 93,554,808
2006: $ 72,585,582
2005: $ 73,914,333
2004: $ 51,623,333
2003: $ 73,877,500
2002: $ 60,493,487
2001: $ 74,279,540
2000: $ 83,100,000

Now considering that baseball's gross revenue has doubled since 2000 and the O's have added MASN this seems very low indeed. My guess is it will end up even lower for 2009 as I don't expect Roberts to be on the opening day roster.

Here is a quote from PA himself in 2005:

“We’re doing the best we can with a $75 million payroll,” Angelos said. “It’s tough to deal with teams that have double the payroll or triple. We expect to be increasing that payroll to compete.”

How much of an increase?

“In order to be competitive in the American League East,” the owner said, “you have to spend $100 million at a minimum, unless you push the right buttons and have the insight that Billy Beane and Terry Ryan have.”

So PA himself was advocating a 100 million dollar payroll in 2005 and now they are sitting around 60 mil?

As for fixing things? I explained that the other day, I would draft overslot kids whenever feasible in the draft for the next 4-5 years and allocate somewhere in the range of 18-20 million to sign these kids. I would also invest much more heavily in Latin American prospects.

The key to winning in the AL East for a team like Baltimore is either build the best farm system in baseball or hope a meteorite hits Fenway when the Yankees are in town.

I'm really somewhat amuzed by the naivete demonstrated here. PA is sitting back counting his green, while his front man is nickle and diming the low end of the free agent market and dumping any salary currently on the roster. All the while PA's bank account continues to rise, even though attendance goes down. I guess PA's share of the Yankees excess tax will grow (Caching), Don't forget Hernandez dumping and Bradford (Caching, Caching) and low balling Brob (Caching) and dealing with a Spring training site (Caching) and how can we all forget the oodles we saved on Tex (CACHING a DING, No like most successful business who reinvest in their business, Ole PA is lining his pockets nicely!

Go O's, and everyone at the Sun should consider a fund raiser for PA maybe we could afford more than a AA product on our fine Camden Yards!


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Pete's reply: You may turn out to be 100 percent correct here, or you could be missing the point entirely. I hope you're wrong, because if you aren't, why are you and I even wasting our time talking about this team.

The O's have been re-building ever since Cal retired. They did nothing other than talk about the old winning years, with NO effective scouting. Pitching and defense wins, with good on-base % and only moderate pop. You can go out and fill in a blank if need be. Trouble is that O's never get close to needing only one or two players....they always need five or six, so it's a self-fulfilling prophesy that we NEVER should invest in the one big free agent that comes along.

By always re-building, the O's will seldom compete, because as they get a LITTLE better, the rest of the division is improving also. Unfortunately, PA will not buy a few high-priced players while the scouting supposedly improves. Meanwhile, we have to pay MLB prices to see AA ball.


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Pete's reply: No you don't. You can go to Bowie and see Double-A baseball for Double-A prices. Nobody is forcing you to go the ballpark.

Peter: When did you become an Angelos and Front Office Apologist?

FACT: Peter Angelos has not invested money into this team since the offseason Tejada was signed. And prior to that, who knows.

Angelos doesn't care, and it's evident. Otherwise, he would have fielded a winning product years ago.

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Pete's reply: I don't know when I became a Peter Angelos apologist. I'll call him and find out. Oh, never mind, he hasn't returned my calls in a couple of years because I have been too hard on him. Geez, now even I'm confused.

TEXIERA is the reason we didn't sign Texiera. He had a choice and he made it. Stop blaming various people in the Oriole hierarchy.
In fact, stop "blaming" anyone at all and thank the Lord your God, Shiva, Budha, or who or whatever devine intervention stepped in and saved us from that absurd fate.
Andy broke the rules with his offer to Tex (he said that himself) and I hope he doesn't break them again.
It's only pressure from fans who think they have an instant solution to the Orioles recent decade of losing that has pushed Andy to the brink a couple of times now.
Leave him be and let him do this HIS way, will ya? I think he's doing just fine.

Pete, whatever the Sun is paying you it surely is NOT ENOUGH because dealing with these idiots on a daily basis would drive me to heavy drinking!

I think my favorit of these comments was the real "special fan" who indicated that Markakis was going to sign with the Yankees or Red Sox next year for big bucks. Geeee, Nick might find that kindof hard since he is under club control for THREE MORE YEARS!! lol

Love your posts Pete, keep up the great work!

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Pete's reply: Thanks. Hopefully, there will be something new to report in the next few days.

Here is a suggestion for 2009

Lets leave Wieters and our young pitching at Norfolk all year.

Our Orioles have a culture of losing that is very hard to break. Instead of exposing the future stars (I hope) to this culture, lets build a great team in AAA and have these guys come up together in 2010 or 2011 and hey can bring a new winning culture with them.

Isn't that the way the Orioles of the mid 1960's did it?

It probably won't happen this way, but I would leave Weiters in AAA to get to kknow the pitchers who will turn the Orioles around in the future. Sign Greg Zaun to be our regular catcher (should make Dempsey happy).

What is our draft position this June? I hope there is a good shortstop available when we pick.


Peter S...keep up the great work

I just think that a good chunk (I don't know if it is a 1/3 or 1/2) of O's fans are jaded and/or broken mentally. I agree with Peter completely, and also suggest Jason hit the hills and find another team or someone else to read. His tone is pathetic.

This is one of Peter's better blogs, and he hits it right on the head.

I think the O's should legitimately consider picking up three free agent starters. If I got to choose, these would be my top candidates:

1) Innings eater such as Paul Byrd, Braden Looper, Derek Lowe, or Oliver Perez. Of these, my top choice is Perez because he's the youngest and left-handed.
2) Kenshin Kawakami, although only as long as the price stays reasonable. If the annual contract value exceeds $12M or length of contract exceeds three years, I think Jon Garland is a better option for the money.
3) Take a shot at one of the reasonably young, yet oft-injured players that are available. This list would include Ben Sheets, Mark Prior, Mark Mulder, or Carl Pavano. Offer a one-year, incentive-laden deal with a team option just in case they pan out. I doubt Sheets would consider a one-year deal though.
4) Former Orioles such as Rodrigo Lopez, Jason Johnson, or John Parrish.


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Pete's reply: I'd be okay with one of the injured guys, but you'd probably have to take Sheets out of the mix. He might be the best of the bunch, but there's probably not going to be much of a discount for taking the risk.

/rant on

I have to say, some of the stuff I'm reading from the posters here seems ludicrous.

Trade Brian Roberts? WHAT FOR? Who would you get that's better? He's one of the best second baseman in baseball, not to mention a real good leadoff man. If he was on the open market, the same people wanting to trade him would, in my estimation, be demanding PA open his checkbook to sign him.

Get conscious people. If you are going to rebuild the team, you need a good nucleus. You want a team that's strong up the middle. Wieters, Roberts, Izturius, Markakas. I'd take that quad any day. Mora on 3B will add ribbys, and he doesn't hit badly. Yeah, it would have been nice if Tex had come here to play first, but HE DIDN'T WANT TO COME HERE. Cripes, from what I can gather, they made a pitch and Boras/Tex never even picked up the phone to fish for a counter. Personally, I sincerely believe that until we get a good pitching rotation, the players to whom a Series matters won't give the Os a second look. THAT is what you invest time and money on. Problem is, CC wanted enough to buy his own team. After that, who was left? Jon Garland for $13 million a year? Derek Lowe? Well, maybe Lowe. But when it comes to pitchers, who can say when an arm will give out? Just ask the Mariners. They went out on a limb to get Bedard, and sure enough, he goes on the DL with arm problems.

OK. Enough venting...

/rant off

Almost every move (and there are very few) that AM has made has involved saving payroll. Another source of income that has been ignored since we've had a near $90 million payroll is MLB revenue sharing.
This team should easily be able to afford a $100-110 million payroll. It's not spending the money, it's spending it the right way.

We've complained for years about there not being a "big bat" in the middle of the line up. Adam Dunn is sitting right there for our taking. How does AM plan on replacing 1B, 2B, 3B and DH in 2010 without signing some free agents. He traded our two biggese bargining chips last off season (something no other GM was allowed to do) and he really does't have those assets available now. No one is going to give a lot for Robert or Huff knowing they'll hit free agency in a year.

Winning is a balance of player development, drafting, free agency, waiver claims, trades, and international talent. AM is only accomplishing half of those.

Another flaw is AM is still using his business plan form 15-20 years ago. can you imagine Walmart having used the business plan for Newberrys???

AM is a good guy but not creative, does not take risk when needed, and is too methodical to get this organization back on track.


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Pete's reply: I don't think "too methodical" is necessarily a weakness with a team that has been too impulsive for the past 11 years.

Pete,

Haven't post in a while. Keep up
the good work.

I believe you that Angelos doesn't
return your phone calls. He'll return
Buster Onley's. What a petty
jerk. Angelos must know how
much he is hated around here.
So he turns the screws on the
media and the fans.

Pete,

Ever see the terrible movie "Revenge of the Nerds"? Remember the part when they face the reality that theyr'e geeks and nerds! Well I feel much the same was as an O's fan! While the nerds, dressed different (new O's Unifiorms) and tried to alter their culture (much like trying to sign Tex, but not really trying ie... the low bidder) but in the end were still the O's. The patience of Job is required and the O's have the right guy in Andy to lead the charge, however the puppet master PA really doesn't seem to have his heart in winning. Yeah we had that "ONE" year when we signed Miggie and Javy and we followed that up with? My concern is if and when our system develops which honestly is many years away as Wieters is our only legitimate everyday prospect and Mora and Huff will depart next year! The O's scored more runs that two teams in the 2008 playoffs and 4 out of 5 of our starters shouldn't have been in the bigs! So as we capitalize on our tremendous windfall from dumping Hernandez, Bradford, probably soon to be followed by Roberts and add the MASN influx and what are we doing? Looking at an over the hill Japanese pitcher and some retreads. Another poster listed the free agents available, some are old, some have been hurt and some are expensive, OK we have tons of money, at least $140 that we saved on Tex. So even if we bought four of these guys at an average of $10M a piece thats only $40M a year. Further, incentive laden contracts for older and injury prone guys like Penny and Pavano may be the route to take, make them earn it! Then we need a DH or 1B depending on what Huff does but since it's likely he'll be gone in a year a 4 year deal for Adam Dunn who hit 40+ homeruns every year (in much bigger parks than Camden Yards might be a nice get! It's not that were just pissing and moaning, we deep down want the O's to give a little back and show were not writing off the next 4-5 years. Everyone writing here loves the O's and wants to support all they do, but PA needs to get a quality Public Relations guy, say Peter Schmuck who can clearly articulate what the hell is going on, not just that Andy has a plan and we need to be patient! If we didn't care we wouldn't write! You provide a great service and take a lot of unnecessary heat from us all! Keep up the great work and keep the faith!

The baseball owners and Commissioner should take a good hard look at the automobile industry to see what caused its demise.The same will kill baseball-the UNION.

Pete,
I love ya, but some of your argument is based on the comment, " If you recall, Angelos did that a few years ago when the Orioles signed Miguel Tejada, Javy Lopez and a couple of other expensive players. Remember how well it worked out."

The fact they signed players is not the problem. It was the players they signed. Hundreds of other free agents
worked out well for other teams.

IMy biggest concern is not McPhail, who you are obviously a supporter of, but the front office regimes, ulimately headed by Angelos. Had his leadership not allowed attendance to drop 50% in 10 years, the Orioles could easily afford to sign who they want. Based on the 1.5M they have lost from since 1998 (and this is just based on 1 year, as their would be revenue loss from 1999 would be cumulative) and an average ticket price of $15 (conservative based on the studies on MLB teams) is $22.5M !!!! That's without parking, concessions, etc.

It doesn't matter if the payroll is $62M or $70M. Angelos is guaranteed by MLB $130M in revenue. Based on Forbes reports, his (the Orioles) expenses are in the $114M range.

He might not be rolling in bills, but the spreadsheert is very unbalanced.

Peter, I think you have hit the nail on the head. I agree with you that the McPhail approach should be given at least 2 preferably 3 years. That being said ,and I have been an O's fan since 1969, the one thing I think that continuously angers the real and longtime Oriole fan is how slow the front office is to make an obvious choice. I refer to the now long running Roberts and Markasis debacle. Having made what I consider the correct choice in not signing Texieria then the face of your franchise for the foreseable future is going to be Roberts and Markasis. It is imperative to get their deals done assuming Roberts wants to stay both to show the fans you are serious in putting an improved product out there and to the industry to show the situation in Baltimore has stablelized and is on the upswing. I for one would be very happy if Andy would get the agents together with Peter Angelos lock the office doors and get it done, that is going to be the real key to this off season.

I find it ironic that there are so many people bashing AM for his supposedly "terrible" decisions so far. All he's done in his 1.25 offseasons are avoid dumping huge sums of money into limited numbers of players, execute a trade that was an absolute steal by anyones calculations, and build depth in the O's farm system by stocking it with young talent for the future.

The only way anyone can say he has erred is on the side of caution, but I say thank goodness! We needed a little bit of that around here.

The difference between AM and the "cautious" approach that we've had in the past is that AM has the stones to pull the trigger when he sees the right deal in front of him. For goodness sake people, the offseason isn't even over and you're already writing off Markakis and Roberts to the Yankees and damning the O's to another 11 years of failure. This is after half an offseason, that so far, has netted us a gold glove quality starting SS (which we needed), some depth on the bench (which we needed), and so far anyway, nothing to suggest that we will in any way miss out on signing Markakis. Nick's agent said before the Winter Meetings that they were putting negotiations off until after the new year. Pay a little more attention and take a look at what HAS happened instead of what HASN'T, because alot of the things that HAVEN'T happened either will happen soon, or shouldn't really have happened to begin with.

For completeness sake, the quote I used from PA advocating a 100 million dollar payroll in 2005 is from the NY Times.


http://www.nytimes.com/2006/09/22/sports/baseball/22chass.html?&pagewanted=print

Mr. Schmuck, I think you could probably get more peace running a daycare. The whiners in the comments are ridiculous. Keep up the great work.

Pete,
I don't mean to offend anyone but I find it extremely ignorant about baseball to have thought Teixeira was going to save this franchise. Haven't we learned before with Tejada? During that period, Flanagan and Beattie signed Javy, Raffy, and Tejada. They courted but was rejected by Konerko and Vlad. We were rumored in trades for Piazza, Giles, and IRod. We have been in the mix for high profile, expensive players before. We have reeled them in at times. But haven't we learned YET?

Personally I am glad we didn't get Teixiera. I understand the emotion behind wanting him play for us. He is a great all-around player without a blemish. He would have been a nice Oriole to watch everyday dig out grounders, bat in runs, and launch shots to Eutaw St. All true. BUUUUT, it wouldn't have made a difference to the longterm fortunes of this club. In fact there was a good chance that it would garuantee the club stays about the same ~70 win level. Haven't we learned YET?!

We saw with Tejada that after a couple seasons of mojo-sapping late season collapses, even the better players in pro ball can ebb in enthusiasm and performance. To build a true winner, this team needs many players, not one star. We just may have a few young stars already on the club. But we need more players. Wouldn't Teixeira's contract have drawn money away from the touted International effort MacPhail has started? Japan? Latin America? Wouldn't it had left fewer resources to sign high draft picks like Wieters? If we had a chance to pick a Wieters in the next draft, would we have to pass because of signibility concerns? Not signing vs. signing Teixeira is measured by rest notes, not by the count of homeruns. Not by the count of defensive plays. How many game-saving hits and/or grabs would it take to recover the loss of that young gifted player we could have signed?

The way I see it, the Teixeira issue is measured in the exchange of the many young good players we could have tomorrow for that one great player today.

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

The only problem with that analogy is he quit signing quality players after that. Tejada was left to stew in the ineptness that followed. And for doing so, he was blamed for everything that went wrong in Baltimore to include the flu outbreak of 2005.

1 problem with your theroy of win 69 games this year at 60 million or win 72 at 100 million. Unless Peter you are signing this expensive free agent to a 1 or 2 year deal I fail to see your logic. I agre the Orioles are not going to win in 2009 nomatter who you sign but spending money on a 6 year deal I don't see as being $ foolish. If the kids aren't ready in the next few years they never will be.


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Pete's reply: I was in favor of signing Tex. It just didn't happen. If you're going to sign someone for that long, it just has to be the right guy.

Stay strong, Pete. These people are shortsighted and hateful. Tommy Lasorda's advice is suitable for just about anyone with a three digit IQ. Don't let stupid people tell you how to do your job.

I'm not an Andy basher. He's proceeding the only way baseball will allow a smaller team to compete.

I've also never been convinced that Peter Angelos cared about fielding a winning team other than perhaps a few of his early years as owner. The fans and owners measure success in different ways. As long as the club balance sheet comes out in the black, the club owners win. Most reckoning on the O's financial sheets have them as winners for pretty much the entire decade the teams stunk up the field. Other team owners are in on the game, which is why they don't care much to change it.

The bigger question is why the supposed attempt to build up a club now? After years of clearly inept front offices, we now see a sharp professional. I think it has more to do with the ego of an aging owner looking to patch up his reputation. I'm not sure how long it will last, and I'm still not buying into the sincerity of this attempt. Peter Angelos has earned every last ounce of my cynicism.

We can only hope that the O's will spend when the time is right...I will say it again...that means they will have to outbid the other teams for that "special player" and I have a very hard time believing in that scenario...The only reason we got Tejada was because he was pathetic in his walk year and the Yankees had Jeter at SS, if Miggy would have had a normal year the market would have viewed him differently and he would not have been an Oriole. When you want that "special player" you have to outspend everyone else to get him. It really is not that hard of a concept, when and if this actually happens I'll be the first to applaud, until then I don't believe that some lawyer in Nigeria has 5 million dollars for me if I give him all my personal information and I don't believe in the O's willingness to spend their money.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I have absolutely no problem with that level of skepticism, though I believe that the problem is not so much the amount of money involved as the chronic inability of PA to just make a deal that everybody is happy with. That's why, for example, the spring training situation continues to drag on.

Here's the deal Pete. O's need to sign 3-4 FA pitchers. Period. No pitching, no washee.

Pete:
Pretty touchy about Chad Bradford weren't you? ..I am sorry I missed Andy Macphail's direct answer to that question...could you direct me to where Andy answered it?
Your condescending remark about it being a "player you have never heard of" is not appreciated. More likely, it would be a player you have never heard of.
As someone who is a lifelong resident of Baltimore, you might just want to take into account that there are good reasons why the fans are highly distrustful of the ownership?.
Do you think Macphail, after just 18 months, has any autonomy to decide on his own about whether or not to sign Tex or Nick or trade or sign Brian Roberts or do you think PA has to sign off on ALL these decisions? Orioles fans were sold a bill of goods that this GM would be different, would have autonomy, hands off, etc. , but it seems to be the same old dysfunctional pattern.
Besides caring deeply about the team, long before and after sports reporters or commentators may have left the area or gone to other jobs, there is also a taxpayer consideration given the amount of dollars poured every year into maintaining/running Camden Yards through the Authority.
I do appreciate your being open to comments and questions and I do respect your willingness to entertain the diverse opinions expressed on this blog. Thanks


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Pete's reply: Sadly, I am not a lifelong resident of Baltimore, though I have some family roots here. I've gotten the Bradford question dozens and dozens of times and I have asked Andy about it. It started out to be a PTNL, but apparently turned out to be a cash payment, though they have never officially announced anything. Andy has conceded that the deal turned out to be a mistake, because nobody stepped up to take over that role. Certainly, I understand the skepticism about this ownership and I share it, but I'm not going to blame MacPhail for it. He'll bear some responsibility in time, because he took the job and indicated that he would have the autonomy to implement his own program, but I'm willing to give him another 18 months or so before making a judgment.

Welcome to baseball hell, work hard to develop talent just to watch them leave. You hope to have a competitive team like Tampa for one or two years out of every 10 or 15.

Boy I'm excited, I am retiring in a few years so I will probable miss the glory year in 2015.

OR we the FANS could force the issue and boycott baseball, hit MLB in the wallet and they will change.

Otherwise welcome to baseball hell.

Pete,

When you look at the numbers and what the O's could afford in 1996 and 1997 it should be obvious that if the Orioles produce a winner or look like they are serious about producing a winner fans will come to Camden yards and the Orioles will make money, even with a $125 - 150 million payroll. You mistakenly suggested that I wanted the Orioles to continue signing fringe free agents as they have been and ignoring the draft and minor league development. That's not true. You mentioned that the O's front office has made terrible draft choices in the past. Well guess what? They've made terrible trades and free agent acquisitions in the past as well. Signing a guy like Teixiera or Sheets is a lot different then signing Millar or Trachsel. It's about making smart signings. If someone can please show me how signing Teixiera for 8 years and $21 million a year will stop us from developing our young guys I'd like to hear it. If we can't compete in 5 years then we're not going to ever compete with the "Plan" because all our young talent should be producing at the ML level by then. With Teix our payroll would still be under $100 million. The bottom line is we can either wait for a miracle or we can get our payroll up to $125 -$150 million and improve our chances. Why do people think that the only two ways to competed in the East are to either spend over $200 million or to spend nothing and rely on the draft like the Rays? We have more resources then the Rays and we should use them to improve our chances so we don't have to wait for a miracle. Our young players can then come up under less pressure with a higher chance of success. Instead we have guys like Wieters and Matzsus coming up with the weight of the franchise on their shoulders and being setup for failure. If we had Teixiera and or Sheets/Burnett then when Wieters or Matzsus came up the focus wouldn't be entirely on them. Now if they come up and fail the organization is set back 5 more years.


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Pete's reply: I don't know why you continue to act like I was against getting Teixeira. I was very much in favor of that, and think he would have been a great fit -- someone to build around with Jones and Markakis at the heart of the lineup -- but he didn't want to come here, so you move on to other things. I'd like Sheets, too, but think the price will be prohibitive for a guy with that medical history. If they sign him for tens of millions and he can't pitch for a couple of years, everyone will just use that as more proof of the team's front office incompetence.

I found this whole Tex saga and what Angelos is willing to spend humorous on two points- one, he was never coming to Baltimore to begin with and you can't blame the guy for having some common sense. Secondly, the last thing the Orioles need is some guy to hit 40 homeruns and drive in 100 runs. They had enough offense last year to be a competitive, .500 ball club. What McPhail has to do is get some pitchers on this team that aren't horrified to throw strikes, have more than one pitch in their repertoire and can access the knowledge it takes to attack hitter's weaknesses. I'm still waiting to hear about teams interested in obtaining Brian Roberts for experienced, dependable pitchers. Until something happens along those lines, this is going to be one pathetic team-possibly even worse than last year's version. We could be setting some pitching records this summer that will be quite embarrassing.

Pete,

Perhaps Mr. MacPhail can get a New Year's 1/2 off sale on Andy Pettite. Give him $16 million but for 2 years. Happy Holidays!

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Pete's reply: Pretty sure Andy Pettitte will re-sign with the Yankees for one year at $10 million. I'd take him for two years at $16 million, but I think he'll be happy to re-join that star-studded Yankees rotation if he decides not to retire.

Your comment:

"Pete's reply: I understand what you're saying, but buying guys to improve the entertainment value of the team is what they've done for the past 11 years. You've got to build a foundation so those big-money free agents can make a real difference"

You seem to be implying that you can't build a foundation WHILE signing nig-money free agents at the same time. That's just hogwash. Signing "BAD" big-money free agents is a bad idea, but Tex has been a proven commodity and is relatively young.

This is what bugs me. If you look at the numbers, Angelos HAD the money to match the Yankees offer and he didn't by 2.5 mil a year. So now we're fed this BS that we need to build a foundation without spending any money. We're told we must be like the Twins, and wow, didn't Tampa do it last year. The logic is absurd. First off both those teams have much better SP than us, and Tampa lucked out on the Kazmir deal, and Minn. had Viola for years. We have one friggin starter. One!. We traded away Bedard and Loewen can't pitch but even if he could, he won't play for us. DCab was non-tendered. We now have the biggest group of question marks in the biz. I think it's possible our SP staff could very well have a 6 ERA average team total. We need more than Kawakami. We need Sheets. Screw the injury concern. The only reason we could afford him is BECAUSE of the injury concern or else Boston or the damn yankees would scarf him up. For God's sake you've got to take a chance. Signing Isturis is not getting the job done.

Angelos is Scrooge mcDuck, and doesn't give a crap about the fans in the seats. And McPhail has his plan, but some of us over 80 can't wait another decade to see us move up to 4th place.


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Pete's reply: I think Tex would have been a great fit, but he didn't want to come here and I don't think the O's offering him $180 million would have changed his mind. If so, I think they might have done it.

A few days ago I lost my cool and declared myself a Yankees fan, but, today I find myself back on the blog Pete. I guess the Orange and Black are in my blood. However, I will be watching the Yanks this season, should be fun watching them whatever the outcome, wow, what a lineup.

I truely hope you are right and Markakis resigns to a long term extension. If he does, it will be a sign for the future.

As for B-Rob, I agree with the fans who say trade him. He is not going to factor in in a few years and we will see his decline, lets trade him to the Cubs now maybe for Vitters ot to the Reds for Votto. Those 2 clubs have shown that they will deal with us when others will not.

I also agree with the last post, lets leave Weiters in AAA with the pitchers of the future. There is no sense to bring them up, they are not going to win 80+ games. Lets let them develope cohesion and comraderie at AAA and bring them up together in 2010, maybe we sign Holiday to go with them.

Lets get Jones locked up, and maybe, Ceaser will pan out and be a solid defensive SS and surprise us at the plate, he puts the ball in play!!

We have a bargain in Huffat DH and he surprised us all last season, He would be a fine DH for us for another 5 years. He put up great numbers, lets see if it was a fluke.

Andy will do a good jobe, but lets trade those trade chips in B-Rob now, maybe we can deal Mora at the break for a couple of prospects. He has shown some signs of life and may intrigue a few teams.

As for you Pete, keep up the fine work, just pick a side and stick with it, although as a good journelist you can't do that. I will keep reading and will stay an O's fan for life I guess.

As for Tex, it all settled down for me when I saw that he had said he prefered the Yankees all along. He is a bum for playing the O's fans like he did and I hope he fails in NY and is miserable.

Ed in Alaska

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Pete's reply: We knew you weren't a Yankees fan. We were just worried that you might decide to give up baseball and run for vice president in 2012.

You write a column, frequently do radio with C4 and Kendel Ehrlich, do your own radio on weekends, cover O's and Ravens live!! Do you really read all these posts as well? If so, how do you find time to sleep?

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Pete's reply: Yes, I do read them all, but I'm not able to answer as many as I would like. Happy Hoilidays.

Pete,

What about an occasional MBL realignment? Or, a switch to the NL? Let some of the other teams see what it's like to compete with the Yankees bank account and have NY fans fill thier stadium seats. That should help us get a salary cap in baseball.

Tom from PA

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Pete's reply: That sounds nice in theory, but even the most frustrated O's fans wouldn't really want to give up the rivalries with the Yankees and Red Sox. There has to be another way.

Pete,

Here's a problem I have with McPhail and "The Plan" and one reason why I don't trust him. He said in 3 years when the young players are hopefully ready he will be ready to sign a big name Free Agent or two. Last I checked Mark Teixiera signed for 8 years and the O's were offering at least 7 years. That means Teixiera would be 31 and still have at least three years left on his contract when McPhail's magic three year mark arrives. So tell me why McPhail won't sign the perfect big name free agent this year knowing he will still be in his prime and under contract when our young guys get here? All we get from McPhail is cost cutting and talk about a plan. He had the perfect chance to put his money where is mouth is here and he blew it. This is why he cannot be trusted. The fans need more then just words and a promise. This was his chance and he blew it big time. Look at the Free Agent list for 2010 or 2011 and tell me who is a better fit then Teixiera for the Orioles? How can anyone trust this organization after what they've done without any proof? Every action indicates the opposite of what they say. I would like for a journalist to hold McPhail to his statement and call him out on his conflicting actions.

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Pete's reply: I think they wanted to sign Tex, and he didn't want to sign here. I agree he would have fit into the plan nicely.

I like Oriole fans better than Raven fans. The O's fans have absolutely brought the response here, most of it quite intelligent. I've never seen a Ravens blog where the team fans have posted so much research and used so many cogent arguments. It's good to see.

I like Oriole fans better than Raven fans. The O's fans have absolutely brought the response here, most of it quite intelligent. I've never seen a Ravens blog where the team fans have posted so much research and used so many cogent arguments. It's good to see.

Peter,

Anybody who thinks Andy MacPhail makes the management decisions of the Orioles is taking a giant escape from reality. Nothing goes on at the warehouse without the approval of Larry, Moe, and Curly; I mean Peter, John, and Lou Angelos. At some point Andy will become frustrated at the meddlesome nature of the Angelos family and move on to greener pastures. I understand the need for patience in building a contender, but at this rate I may not live long enough to see one.

Secondly, using Tampa Bay as a model for building a major league club may be forgetting the fact that the Rays endured ten straight years of last place finishes fielding some of the worst teams in big league history. Is this the model the Orioles should follow?

Finally, I believe it is the responsibility of the organization to develop a steady stream of talent while at the same time signing free agents that will help the team win games now. I want to spend my hard earned money to support a bonafide major league ballclub that has a chance to win every night, not five years from now.

If pete angelos is not being cheap, then how do you explain the team's unwillingness to pay for Mark Teixeira and to make serious attempts to resign Roberts and Markakis? There is no reason for the team to have a shrinking payroll when their income increases through the MASN Cash Cow. Maybe Teixeira never wanted to sign here, but if the team is not willing to open up the checkbook for him, who are they going to do it for? Jason Giambi? Paul Byrd? Enough is enough.


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Pete's reply: I don't know for sure if he's being cheap or not, but I explain it by reminding everyone that the O's offered $20 million per year for Tex, which would have made him the fourth-highest-paid player in the history of the game. They offered Markakis $60 million over six years, $20 million more than the AL MVP took for the same period (albeit with less leverage). The Roberts situation is hard to read, because he's saying some of the right things but may not really want to stay, so I'll let everyone assume what they want.

You know if you wanted to swim in that vault of money, it would have to be bills. That dive into coins would only result in getting blood on your money.

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Pete's reply: I'm just amazed I'm not the only one who remembers those Scrooge McDuck comics where he had a diving board above his vault full of money.

Pete, I don't have a problem with Andy. I like the decisions he's making. I'm not persuaded we couldn't have upped the offer on Teixeira, and that it wouldn't have dramatically improved the team. But it's like this....

I have a 6-year-old who recently learned how to play Monopoly. And I asked him, "Let's say you sat down to play and you got to start with $5, while the other kid starts with $5,000. Would you want to play?" And he's a gamer, so he said, "Yeah. I'd give it a try."

I said, "Good. Now what if you had to play every game that way? Would you want to start out like that each time?" He answered, "No way!"

Monopoly is an interesting game because everyone starts with the same amount and it's what you do with it that counts. Most games are like this. Major League Baseball isn't like this.

Teams like the Phillies, Rockies and Tigers can make it in every once in a while, sure. But the difference is that the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels field contending teams every year. The Tigers had one World Series shot and dropped back into mediocrity. The Rockies were a fluke and tanked last year. If this game gives my team its "turn" to succeed once in a generation, I've got better things to do.

When MLB takes a page from the more popular NFL and NBA, it will become a national game again. Until then its a four city game with a scrappy kid from some second-tier city thrown in. If the Phillies repeat this year, I'll eat my words, maybe.

Pete,

I think it's funny how pessimistic Orioles fans have become but 11 years of losing does that to a city. I think the orioles have a good young crop and need to get a couple of pitchers and a power hitter in here soon. The Angelos comments wont go away until he sells the club. The Macphail doubters wont go away until the O's play a competitive 162 games but Lord knows I hope I dont have to hear about Texeira for the rest of the off season. I beg the O's to sign someone that WANTS to come here so I can stop hearing about the kid who DID NOT WANT TO PLAY HERE!! Can you title your next blog "Get over it!!!"

With the current consecutive losing streak, it would take a miracle to have a marquee free agent sign with the O's. Let's face it, the O's are climbing an uphill battle when it comes to attracting any free agents. The O's fans should realize that this team is
still a couple of years out (possibly more) from doing any damage in the AL East. The arms in the farm team still need some seasoning and once they're ready, let's hope the young guns can produce some wins. Maybe after that, the O's can entice some of the bigger names to come this way. But, until then, hoping for another Tex or Burnett to come to Baltimore in the near term is really an exercise in futility.

Well I, for one, have had a complete change of heart......particularly after the Teixeira fiasco. First of all Tex flew his colors by signing with the Skankies. He's in it for the money....PERIOD! He ain't a Marylander anymore. I think, in the long run, it will be infinitely more fun watching the Orioles at least attempt to "grow" a competitive team even if it doesn't work. In the meantime it's going to be incredibly fun to root for the Skankies to FAIL!! With all the astounding greed in the game of baseball who cares anymore? There are tons of folks that can't afford to eat. It's going to be good for me and for baseball to root for the small market towns with brilliant front offices who, with little means, put together good to great teams (like the Twins). And then root like hell for them to embarrass the crap out of teams like the Skanks, Angels, Red Sux, Mets, etc. It's just a game folks so let the kids play!! 8 years 180 million? Nuts, absolutely NUTS!!!

Of course, we don't know anything, we're just fans. We're the same group that has paid the freight for the last 11 years of losing. When McFail leaves, we should hire you Schmuck because you know everything. Isn't there something you could do in California with your buddy LaSorda?


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Pete's reply: Speak for yourself. Most everybody else on this blog is pretty smart.

Everyone says we should sign all these FA pitchers. How do we get them here? They don't want to play here. It's to tough against the east.


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Pete's reply: If you want a Derek Lowe, you're going to have to over-bid the Red Sox. If you want one or two of the lesser guys, you can probably wait three weeks and see who's getting desperate to sign with somebody.

Pete,

Your mantra (and the club's) seems to be "stick with the plan", and generally I agree with you. However, if you really believe that the plan is paramount (as does the club), then why did you and the club promote the idea of paying a very good player $20 mil a season and negating the plan? Both you and the club have spoken repeatedly about the "special circumstances" involved but I just don't see it. So, if a player was born and raised in Anne Arundel County then "the plan" should be ignored, right?

Perhaps we should review the birthplaces of potential free agents available in the next two off-seasons to determine if the Orioles will stick with their great plan. I guess if there is a good one from Anne Arundel, Baltimore or Carroll Counties, you and the club will again advocate disregarding "the plan".

This logic reminds me of the guy who leaves his pretty cool and fairly hot wife for a hotter girlfiend, until the hot girlfriend leaves him for something better. He then runs back to the wife to salvage the relationship and does nothing but repeatedly praises the wife...until another hot girlfriend comes along.

Happy Holidays!


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Pete's reply: I've said all along, I think Tex would have fit into the plan. The plan was to build the foundation by signing and acquiring young talent and then filling a couple of key holes with top-flight free agents. It might be a year or two early, but Tex would have been one of those players, since he would have been here for at least seven or eight years. The fact that he's a homegrown kid was just a bonus that would help stem the attendance decline.

Pete,

It's funny to see people state Oriole financial numbers with such certainty. How the heck did they find out? I certainly don't know the numbers, but I think the Red Sox and Yankees can beat the Orioles in the payroll department any season. And that means that the Orioles have to build from within. It is indeed wise for them to avoid the free agent follies. McPhail is doing the right things. But I also think it won't matter because the Orioles have the misfortune of playing in the AL East. Too bad they're not in the AL Central. Success may be a little easier to find there.

All,
I noticed this quote from a blogger "We can only hope that the O's will spend when the time is right"! The problem, when the time is right, we the O's have an aura about us that we are cheap and we don't even take care of our own, BJ Ryan, BRob and Nick! Remember Vlad, remember Konerko and how can we forget Tex! Folks, our team leadership is doing exceptionally well financially, the only place he's losing is on the field and he just doesn't care as long and the balance sheet is in his favor. You just can't turn wanting to win on and off, Free agents and their agents aren't dumb, they know where the committment from ownership lies, NY Bos, LAA and NY Mets and the Cubs and White Sox. Sometimes you have to establish yourself, and there is nothing PA has done to establish himself but a cheapskate money grubbing owner!

Pete,

Thanks for opening the forum. I believe Andy has done a great job. To date, he has handled the "low hanging fruit" exceptionally (trading Bedard, Tejada), signing Matt and drafting Matusz.

I believe the club will only spend marginal payroll dollars over the winter waiting until 2010 when only Cesar Izturis is signed at the moment.
Only if Brian Roberts is traded do I believe the club will attempt a larger signing this winter.

The autonomy question is hogwash. Did John Henry fly with Theo Epstein to see Scott Boras? Who turned off the negotiotians for Boston? You think Brian Cashman controls the unlimited checkbook? Get real people.

I think even Andy wonders how much real talent the farm system holds after the Fantastic Four. Erbe, Patton, Hernandez may surprise us in a good or bad way. I think 2009 is a holding year. More time to access the farm system and the economy, with the Orioles ready to buy next offseason.

Soon Andy will have to make "his play". Slow and methodical, or Billy Beane style, he will make the "defining moment" deal of his tenure.

But please, lets give the man time. He hasnt "made" a misstep yet. But soon his steps will have more risk-Roberts, a large free agent contract, trade a positional prospect for even more pitching prospects....that will be what defines Andy and the "new Peter Angelos".

The problem is quality players don't want to play for Baltimore.It doesn't matter what you offer.That is the problem that the Orioles won't tell you.

There are two decisions made by the management that I would like to have explained, or commented on.
One:Bradford was an outstanding relief pitcher for the Orioles last season.Given that pitching and relief pitching are two areas we are seeking to stenghen, shouldn't we have kept him? Was the return-whatever that was-worth it?
Two: Why was Markakis given the minimum contract when everyone regarded him as a key player on the team? It must have discouraged him and sent a bad signal to the fans and the players thinking of coming here

I'm not an O's fan, just a tourist on this website. I play AL fanstasy baseball, so I'm familiar with all the O's players and minor leaguers...

My outside impression of the O's is that Angelos is a bitter old man who feels that since he can't compete with NY and the RS in wins, he will take the opposite tack, and just rake in as much money as possible from the team.

Without a salary cap, it's almost impossible to compete with NY and Boston. Yes, the Rays did it once, mostly because Cashman can't figure out how to spend $220M properly.

The O's plan is to "develop the farm"...Well great, but every other team in MLB has the same plan. What do you think Tampa's plan is? Or Toronto's? Even the RS and Yankees talk about "developing the farm". The RS have a 10 times better "farm" than Baltimore. Good luck with the "farm plan", it will probably never work.

I believe that Angelos is going to cut payroll to the bone, hardline Roberts and Markakis, if they leave, so what? As Peter writes, what's the difference betwen 69 wins and 72? Or 60?

PA's goal is to make as much profit as possible until when (if) some distant time in the future when all the O's prospects magically mature successfully at the same time, and then, and only then, will he consider trying to sign an expensive free agent.

In the meantime, PA can just keep claiming "we're sticking to the plan", and he can keep making A LOT of money. The alternative is for him to risk his personal fortune on players who probably won't be good enough to beat NY and Boston, and he's done doing that.

Sorry to be a downer, but I don't see much hope for the O's (or most other teams) without a salary cap.

Peter, I honestly think the Orioles and McPhail do not have a plan. If it is to go young where are they doing that at? Markakis and Jones are it until Wieters comes aboard. Everyone else is over 30.

McPhail says he wants to compete in 2010 but how does he intend to do that? If he's playing and signing over 35 year olds this year how is he going to get the young guys (?) Major League experience?

Why don't they do what the Indians did years ago and what they Rays have done the past few years, bring the young guys up, play them now, get the experience and cohesiveness now...

By 2010 which is only 1 year away the Orioles only have one young guy (Wieters) .

Plus you know as well as I do that the Oriole's always overprice and overbill their minor leaguers.

Why not trade a Garret Olson for a 27 year old offensive SS like Khalil Greene? They could have done that last month but like always, didn't pull the trigger. Do that trade and play your cards right (signing the players) and you could have had your middle defense (with some good offense) with Jones / Greene / Roberts / Wieters in 2010 and beyond.

Please don't tell me that Olson will be a good one either. I heard that with Beau Hale, Loewen, Riley, Ponson, Coppinger, Cabrera, etc... We need to start trading some of these minor leaguers for some young Major Leaguers like a Greene, J.J. Hardy, etc.

Look, the Orioles are not going to pull the trigger on big money Free Agents and if they do the FA's aren't coming here so instead of relying on our over-hyped minor leaguers they need to start trading for young ML talent.


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Pete's reply: Of course there are still a lot of older players. When MacPhail got here, he already had Huff, Mora and Millar. They weren't going to cut those guys at a cost of $20 million and play Single-A guys in their place. He has moved Miguel, Bedard and Hernandez. I'm guessing by next year this team will be very young.

Pete,
I am sorry to see you tarnish your reputation as a sports writer of great insight (you do have such a reputation with me) by posting blogs that rationalize the failure of the Orioles to field competitive teams.

No doubt MacFail is a more talented baseball executive than the late Syd Thrift. I would rather see MacFail than his Dickensian predecessor preside over the salary dump. AM did pick up a few attractive players when he traded Tejada and Bedard.

That said, he is still "MacFail" to me because he abets a fraud, confusing the fans by rationalizing Angelos' business decision to field a low quality product, by diverting a substantial group with the thought that he is "rebuilding" which is just a weasely way of saying "cutting Angelos' operating expenses."

For example, MacFail is perfectly content to give contrary, incoherent explanations of the O's failed attempt to sign Mark Teixeira:

a) on the one hand, they tried to sign him, while offering $40 million less than the evil Yankees, but couldn't have been expected to succeed because there is no salary cap, Boras did not call them back; Teixeira is a blighter...blah, blah, blah.

b) on the other hand, they really couldn't justify spending that much on one player. He really wasn't worth it. If they had signed him for $180 million, under the Equator principles, they might have had to pay Markakis what he is worth, and before you know it, Angelos' total payroll bill will have doubled.

MacFail has rented out his family's esteemed reputation to dignify a fraud. The Orioles are not a "low income" team. In fact, Angelos has made a conscious decision to convert the O's into a marginal product because he apparently thinks he can make money more reliably that way. To date, he has been rewarded on the bottom line for this commitment to discount baseball. As other posters have pointed out, the Orioles had the 3rd highest income in the Major Leagues from 2002-2006, while fielding horrid teams. "Spy" even suggests that the O's net revenues exceeded those of the Yankees by about a quarter of a billion dollars during that period.

That is not as impossible as it probably seems to most fans because the Yankees owners want to win and therefore spend money to do so, even when that puts their bottom line at risk. Angelos does not want to win. He has found a formula which has made the Orioles one of the more profitable franchises in baseball by fielding losing teams every year.

Angelos' strategy is almost perfect. But he has a PR problem. For his "discount baseball" to continue working, he must maintain the pretense that he actually wants to win. A lot of the team's remaining fans would balk at supporting him if they understood that their owner was intentionally fielding a bad team because he calculated that he could make more money that way.

A man like MacFail, who lends credibility to Angelos' deception, actually forestalls the advent of a better team by encouraging casual fans to look forward to improvement, of which there will be little, if any.

In my view, "rebuilding" is a fraud designed to elicit good will from trusting fans who have been swindled year after year by the pretense that the Orioles would field a competitive team when they have no intention of doing so.

If Angelos wanted to win, he would pay market prices for some of the superstars who really can play baseball at the highest level. They are few and far between, so their value is great. If we had a few of them, and could develop some middling talent in the farm system, we would have a chance to win.

Finally, I would note that it really didn't take 10 years to turn around Tampa Bay. It took only three years after Stuart Sternberg bought the team for them to make to the World Series. If he, or another owner who loved baseball the way Steve Bisciotti loves football, owned the Orioles, we would be a great franchise again within three years.

If he wanted to be aggressive, it might not even take that long. What do you think?


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Pete's reply: I appreciate your attempt to patronize me before showing me how much smarter you are than me. I think you are wasting your talent here. If you believe what you wrote, you are also wasting your life hanging out in the blogosphere. You hate Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos. I got that four or five posts ago. I'm happy to banter with you, but if you really are sincere about that, what the hell are you doing here day after day? Why would you have the slightest interest in what I have to say or what the club is doing? You've identified the situation as absolutely hopeless, so participating here is the equivalent of rubber-necking at a fatal car crash. I think it might be time for you to get on with your life. Your thoughts?

Pete,
You're absolutely correct about all this. We are incredibly lucky to have Andy MacPhail. Keep up the great reporting.

The Tejada and Hernandez signings were supposed to be a new start. It wasn't.

The O's still have no spring training facility worthy of a 1970's team much less one "building for the future". They still have nothing with regards to international scouting. In fact, the '85 Royals are ahead of the '09 O's in that regard.

And the inane argument of 69 wins and $60 mil versus 72 wins and $100 mil makes me think Mr. Schmuck thinks we are all brainless boobs. Do you REALLY think the Orioles will manage 69 wins? Do you REALLY think Mark Teixeira is only worth three wins? Oh, and Teixeira wasn't going to cost $40 mil per year so I guess Teixeira and $15 mil worth of decent pitching was only going to be worth three stinking wins.

And what about the future? What boatload of talent is "progressing" through the O's's system that will produce 82 wins and warrant spending at that point?

And I should say "supposedly warrant" since Angelos has shown very limited desire to spend any money at any time. He's more interested in leveraging everything and everybody that gets into his circle of life.

What's the projected salary for 2010? And don't guess at Markakis or Roberts at what they will be making. They won't be wearing orange and black in '10 unless the Giants make an attempt.

Oh, and offering $20 mil per year when YOU KNOW someone else is going to offer more is like jumping into a teammate's arms claiming you would have been in the fight if you weren't held back.

Teixeira may not have wanted to be here but that would have been because (1) the O's show no real plan or desire of winning (saying "we really mean it this time doesn't cut it for players or the fans), and (2) the O's really didn't want him.

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Pete's reply: You are on angry Waspman. I hope you cheer up in time for the Ravens game.

I'll believe in the Orioles when they pay the going price to keep the talent they have. My question is, will Weiters, Jones, Markakis, and Roberts still be around when the young pitching starts to produce results?

The level of sheer hatred and cynicism to Angelos is quite breathtaking. Here's what I find interesting.

Most of the posters seem to be absolutely certain about the FACTS of the financial situation of the Orioles and Angelos. . Those of you who can get their emotions just a little bit under control and who have some experience working for companies with large and diverse revenue streams surely must realize operations like the Orioles take great pains to conceal the true nature of their financial dealings and the like. I certainly wouldn't bet Schmuck's house on the accuracy of the figures mentioned on this blog,would.you? And if you do, you probably thought Anna Nicole married that old guy for love.

So if you suspect Angelos of hoarding money like a squirrel that's fine (that makes no sense by the way) but its only that, suspicion,, gossip, certainly not facts. I mean I thought Ashlee Simpson could sing her own songs for goodness sake. And if you think that Angelos is taking care of his interests first and then putting what is left into the team., you are probably right about that. But the majority of MLB owners do that as well. Only the Steinbrenners plow just about everything back into the team but, as we all know ,they are different. I'll bet that most of you would do that as well if you were in the same boat. But don't tell me you have the complete financial numbers in front of you because I doubt anyone outside the inner circle and the "proper" authorities do.

Second of all, we just had a season that , even though it ended badly, was a lot more promising and entertaining than anyone thought it would be and gave us some glimpse into the possibility that it might get better.

Third, you all think eleven years is a long time? How about the KC Royals for one example. No post season for 23 years and not really a threat for about 18 years and they don't even have to deal with NY and Boston. And they are in Missouri. And think about how many great teams and players they had.

I realize you are FANS in the fanatic sense so logic doesn't enter into it but AM may be the best shot in years of this franchise beginning to get right. There are many examples of other franchises that are run at least as badly as this one; the difference is that because of the tradition, there are these unrealistic expectations and an incredible sense of entightlement about the situation. It's amazing they got a man of AM''s resume in here to take over this cluster and you better hope he stays cause no one else with functioning frontal lobes is coming in here anytime soon.

Switch out Angelos? Fine, I've worked for a number of multimillionaire power guys and they are largely the same, do it better than expected, do it under budget and have it done yesterday. Now if any one of you can convince a trillionaire out there to take over this cluster , fine, save your energy and recruit them instead of writing to these blogs. Angelos very likely is not going anywhere for some time at least not willingly. I doubt he reads these blogs so all you are doing is wearing out Schmuck, who if he is on their payroll, better go back and ask for a raise to put up with all this dreck.

Try moving on to something amusing for a change like whether they should sign a guy with a name like Looper.

pete, I agree with you all the way. AM is the one glimmering hope we have and to push him out would be worse than not keeping Mussina.He's revamped our minor league system. Made three good trades and has put us in great position to compete in the future. With our pitching in the minors who are all but Brandon Erbe going to be in the show after next season. With a staff consisting of Matusz,Tillman,Arrieta,and the constantly overlooked Bergeson we will contend for years to come. AM all the way and we do need to resign Markakis. Roberts to if at all possible.

pete, I agree with you all the way. AM is the one glimmering hope we have and to push him out would be worse than not keeping Mussina.He's revamped our minor league system. Made three good trades and has put us in great position to compete in the future. With our pitching in the minors who are all but Brandon Erbe going to be in the show after next season. With a staff consisting of Matusz,Tillman,Arrieta,and the constantly overlooked Bergeson we will contend for years to come. AM all the way and we do need to resign Markakis. Roberts to if at all possible.

Pete's reply: I appreciate your attempt to patronize me before showing me how much smarter you are than me. I think you are wasting your talent here. If you believe what you wrote, you are also wasting your life hanging out in the blogosphere. You hate Andy MacPhail and Peter Angelos. I got that four or five posts ago. I'm happy to banter with you, but if you really are sincere about that, what the hell are you doing here day after day? Why would you have the slightest interest in what I have to say or what the club is doing? You've identified the situation as absolutely hopeless, so participating here is the equivalent of rubber-necking at a fatal car crash. I think it might be time for you to get on with your life. Your thoughts?

Wow. Perhaps I was mistaken about you. I thought you actually believe what you write, and much of the time I find myself entertained by you and sometimes agreeing. I don't think I patronized you any more than you patronize the fans by buying into the incoherent and baseless rationalizations that the Orioles present for failing to compete.

You are obviously a smart man. You should be able to see through this tissue of absurdities which poses as "re-building." The Orioles have become the 3rd most profitable franchise in baseball, while stinking it up year after year.

I see that as the base case from which to mount an improvement, not as a situation which is "absolutely hopeless." As always, the question is "Then What?' Many here who are denigrating Mark Teixeira, and calling for patience to let MacFail work his magic do not seem to be fully cognizant of the implications of the Forbes analysis for framing the discussion we fans have every off-season.

Perhaps if you devoted an entry or two that rather than rationalizing the team's failure to do anything decisive to improve, they might be shamed into doing something? Of course, that implies something flattering about you, namely that you would be prepared to alienate the powers-that-be with the O's to tell a story which needs telling. I sort of thought you might be the rare person who is not too timid to tell powerful people what they don't want to hear.

The reason I try to communicate with you, is because I took you to be worth persuading. Your response makes me question the effort I spent.

The only other thing I can say is that I have young sons who love baseball. If most Orioles fans saw matters as I do, the team would be more likely to change, either because their support would fall away, or because Angelos would be shamed into making an effort. (This, too, may be a misconception on my part, as Angelos may not be the type to become embarrassed.)

In any event, God help me, I do love baseball. And I'd like to see the Orioles become competitive again before my boys and grown and gone. So when I work I take breaks and read your stuff. When you make me mad enough, I write comments.

Perhaps you're right about your blogs being a waste of my time. It might be a better plan to read some good books. Or even write one.

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Pete's reply: We all get frustrated, but my sensitive spot -- and I shouldn't have one writing a blog -- is that moment when a commenter tells me that I would be a much better blogger and would improve my deteriorating reputation if I would just started expressing the opinion that he or she wants expressed. If you've read me as a columnist, I've spent a lot of my career calling Peter out on various issues, but I'm not going to fall into the trap of spending all my time on a mission to "shame" him. Do you honestly think it would have any effect at all, other than to turn me into a boring, bitter guy who would sound the same every day?

Peter

Keep up the great reporting.

Being a life long fan, I find it amazing how out of touch our fan base has become.

The reality is that we could have signed Tex, Sabathia, and Burnett and we would still be a .500 ball club. MacPhail deserves another two years and let's see where the payroll is in 2011.

I suggest a blog on educating our fans on the young talent we are developing in the minors.

Can you please tell us how the O's player development budget compares with the Yankees, Red Sox, etc? How does the O's budget in those areas compare overall? In the Far East? In South America?

To buy into your theory that it isn't about the money with Angelos, we should be outspending them in player development. Are we?

Where is there any evidence that we are competing financially on any level with the Yankees or Red Sox?

And if McFail isn't responsibility for spring training, who is the incompetent fool?

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Pete's reply: The spring training situation is being handled by John Angelos. Don't have figures from Red Sox, Yankees or Orioles, but have to believe the Sox and Yanks have been spending more on international scouting, since the O's really didn't get seriously into the Pacific Rim until Andy got here.

About two years I told my son, now sixteen years of age, how I hoped he would live to see the Orange and Black in a World Series. I told him that as a baseball fan, there's no greater thrill than seeing your team go to the Big Stage.
Now I'm thinking I better prepare that same speech for my yet-to-be grandson or granddaughter...

i love how nobody even considers that fact that teixeira is the one who made the decision to take a few more million to forsake team.

i guess players just aren't seen by the public as capable of making decisions based on anything except a high dollar offer.

of course $140 million goes as far in severna as $180 million does in nyc but even that aside...

Wow I have just lost an hour of my life reading every post here. I could write a 30 page essay on the immense stupidity I have just waded through. Kudos to you, Mr. Schmuck for enduring this daily. I would like to help you out here a little. For everyone who has written saying we should have signed Teixeira, HE DID NOT WANT TO PLAY HERE PERIOD. He played us off of the Yankees, Angels and Red Sox. Is that clear or have I gone to fast for you. Now next thing that bugs me to no end, Daniel Cabrera. Some one couldn't understand why we got rid of him when we had four empty spots in our rotation. Well with him we still have four empty spots in our rotation. His pathetic performance coupled with his gross immaturity earned him neither more patience nor time. So be thankful when he starts pouting on the mound and hits someone intentionally and ends their career because of it at least he will be wearing a different uniform. Next and I am just guessing here that Andy McPhail still has two more World Series rings then anyone else here posting in this blog, not to mention decades of baseball experience from which make decisions. It also seems to me that Peter Angelos has always been about winning, but the desire to win and the ability to win are two different things. In the mid 90's he spent money and gave us fans a great two years which in a medium market was also alas unsustainable. At the same time he much like a younger Steinbrenner was more convince of his own ability to make baseball decisions then he had the right to be. Jerry Jones of the Cowboys might fall into this same category as well. These are successful men worth billions accustom to making the decisions and it takes time for men such as these to realize that as successful as they have been they might not be that successful in judging sports talent. Due to a stubborn streak that undoubtedly served him well in the legal profession he might have only realized that baseball men like Andy McPhail are the right men to making decisions about baseball matters. I could continue but I would rather offer a couple of thoughts for the upcoming season. Signing Brian Roberts would be a good idea if only to trade him later in the season for a bigger cache of players(not that I necessarily support this idea of trading but a player with a 5 year contract is worth a lot more the a soon to be free agent). Certainly Nick Markakis should be offered a long term deal roughly in the area of 6 year and 80-90 million, but that being said we don't have to sign him this year we still contractual control over him for at least two more seasons maybe three. Next the most pressing area of concern is the starting rotation. I am happy with Guthrie but we need four other guys. I admit to knowing very little about the Japanese pitchers but a 34 year pitcher reasonable success in Japan would probably give us some solid innings. I would also take a gamble on a two year deal with Mark Prior for the league minimum but load with incentives. Then I would take a real gamble on Ben Sheets offering him a good size contract and maybe a healthy insurance policy after a thorough physical. He did pitch nearly 200 innings last year with a 3.09 era. Then I think its up to the younger pitchers to start proving they are capable of pitching on a major league team. Liz, Penn, Patton, Olsen they all should have long looks this season and Penn and Olsen should either start performing better or be thinking about a new profession. They have both had previous major league chances, it is time to show some progress. Finally an effort to sign Adam Dunn should be made if for no other reason then to provide protection for Markakis. One other thought why not offer Curt Schilling a contract laced with incentives if he still wants to pitch. His experience would be worth it alone. Finally, I think we should realize that there is no solution that will result in immediate success. Even if Peter Angelos sold the team this moment to Cal Ripken we will not win this year or even the next one most likely. We cannot spend a half billion each off season to compete. We must look for bargains, developed within through scouting and drafts and buy our free agents with care and consideration occasionally taking a gamble like on a Ben Sheets. Due to the present baseball world this now has to be the Oriole Way.

We did not make a strong bid for Texiera and I am OK with that because I do not believe he would have made a significant difference in the win column at this point time. What bothers me, is that we seem to be low-balling our best player, Nick Markakis and even Brian Roberts. That is really upsetting. These are home grown players who seem to like it here, so why not pay them what they are worth? We certainly will not have much success in getting other topline players to come to Baltimore.

The other issue is our lack of action in acquiring pitching. This is the area where we need the most improvement and yet we have not made one move to improve our pitching staff (except non-tendering Cabrara.)

I'm a lifetime O's fan who was transplanted to Pittsburgh about 15 years ago. We all know what's happened here with Baseball... it's a tragedy. The park is beautiful (though Camden Yards is and always will be the bar that set the standard and my favorite) but the fans are now... well... for the most part gone. The team does very little to field a contender and spends nothing (relatively speaking) while churning a profit year after year.

My fear is that Baltimore will become the same. I feel the fans in Baltimre (myself included) are the best and most devoted (Pittsburgh is a football town, as we all know....) as Baltimore is and always will be the O's town... but after 11 years... how much more will the fans take? At what point will ownership concede to JUST being a profit machine, as in the Pirates case, and not worry about being a winner. Or... has that already happened?

I don't know what the answer is, and I don't pretend to fully understand what MacPhail is up to, as I don't see much difference between him and Flanagan... I was hoping to sing Tex for all the reasons mentioned, but mostly because his presence in the lineup would translate into 15 or more wins in a year alone... putting us around .500. That is worth the $$ in today's baseball.

Oh well... here's hoping we haven't become the Pirates II.


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Pete's reply: I was hoping they would sign him, too. The O's have a long, hard climb to get back to respectability, and face all those obstacles of their own construction. They can get there if they really want to...but whether Peter Angelos is truly willing to do all it takes remains an open question.

To the 'the Wayward O' - Congratulations. You have written the longest paragraph ever.

Peter,
You stated in a response to one of the cmments left here. If you've read me as a columnist, I've spent a lot of my career calling Peter out on various issues, but I'm not going to fall into the trap of spending all my time on a mission to "shame" him. Do you honestly think it would have any effect at all, other than to turn me into a boring, bitter guy who would sound the same every day?"

I appreciate your take on this. I used to be the same way ando now I don't devote emotion to the situation. You on the other hand, are doing this for a living and have to retain some asembalence of sanity.

I shouldn't speak for the fan base, but what the hell. The sentiment is that no matter who is the GM or whatever title they give that role, their is a lack of confidence in the organization and that means Angelos. When an owner is rarely seen, and when he is it revolves around some letigous situation with the team and shows little interest in communicating with the fans, their is no faith in almost anyone in the organization.


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Pete's reply: Which I totally understand. The O's have to win back the confidence of their fans. It's completely on them. I hope they find a way to do that, but I'm not terribly optimistic.

Peter: I don't usually post to agree with you here, but you are right on the money. Fans who want signings just to see some of Angelos' money spent did not learn the lesson of the last 10 years. McPhail did well last off-season and he's doing OK so far this off-season by not hampering the future with expensive mistakes. Turning around the Orioles is a multi-year project that takes patience.

The sensible thing to do next is trade Brian Roberts, who won't be good anymore by the time the O's can compete. Fans who want to see a pennant flying over Camden Yards should support such a move.

Rick;

Agree with your take on PA. There is much to critisize him for, but a desire to win or a willingness to spend money aren't among them. Those who think so either aren't old enough to know about everything he has done since he bought the team and/or have long term memory problems.

I remember PA not wanting to throw in the towel and over-ruling Gillick when he wanted to dump a lot of high priced talent. What about the signings of Belle, Alomar, Palmeiro, Bonilla, Tejada etc.

PA is a pretty easy target, and for good reasons, but people need to get real about what he deserves to be called to account for.

Here's your summary comment. As I have been saying to anyone who will listen, the ' Tex ' wasn't ever coming to B-more !!! It was always the allure of the " pinstrips " !! He and that squirrel Boras knew that from day one. The rest of the theatre was just posturing to establish the desired $ figure. Having said that, all that's been said about PA and AM is moot. Let's move on, sign NM and BR, sign a couple short-term starters, get a Neimold or Snyder up here along with Weiters and get it on!! For God's sake, no more of these ' over-the-hill ' postion players who have no bat speed or who can barely get to first base. The B-more fans are great sports fans who will root like hell for some kids ( such as Guthrie ) who'll get out on the field each day and scrap like hell!! We'll be there, and we'll drown out the stupid drone of the Yankee punks and the Boston fruitcakes!!

"One:Bradford was an outstanding relief pitcher for the Orioles last season.Given that pitching and relief pitching are two areas we are seeking to stenghen, shouldn't we have kept him? Was the return-whatever that was-worth it?
Two: Why was Markakis given the minimum contract when everyone regarded him as a key player on the team? It must have discouraged him and sent a bad signal to the fans and the players thinking of coming here"

Apparently you must have been talking about a different Chad Bradford. I didnt see him getting anyone out in Balt and even though he was good for Tampa in Sept I didnt see him get a key out in the playoffs at all and give up a couple of key hits. In fact, knowing how important payroll is to Tampa I consider it a small albatross for Tampa in 2009 to carry his contract and maybe him.

As for Markasis, Papelbon and Hamels received the same treatment. Its the way it works, you start changing it for Nick and then Matt will want it and Matusz will want it....and payroll keeps going up. If one team changes it, then all the teams have to respond.

There was no sinister ploy by the Orioles in either case.

I've been a fan since the late 50's and correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe our most sucessful teams were when there was some consistency with managers, coaches, vp's. If we could go 3 or 4 years with the same we may start a winner. Remember Tom Kelly didn't win every year, but he kept his job.

Pete -

See guys like Brian can spew about past history, and that's it. They offer no solutions. Because we don't buy the remainder of the junk out there, AM & PA are in cahoots, and will never spend any money. You asked the question, that if you are not happy with AM, then tell us who you'd have fix this. Notice Brian never addressed that.

I'm good with the job Andy's done thus far. I'd like to see what he accomplishes over the next 2 offseasons before I offer a verdict.

And one last time on Tex, the guy had no interest to be here. You look like a fool and play into Boras's hand when you throw more money out on the table. Some people just don't get that Pete!

HAPPY 2009,

Well not really, I mean with our rotation of Guthrie and the four chipmunks, and a DH named? No 2009 should be entitled More embarrassment is much more appropriate. So as we head into Pirates, Royals and Nationals territory brace yourselves for continued mass exodus as Brob and Nick contemplate departure. I thought we were following the Rays plan, oh thats right they signed Longoria six weeks into last season? I'm not to sure exactly what our plan is, if if comes to not spending money we can follow the Rays plan, but if signing our own stars longterm we have the Pirates and Royals plan. Anyway, we certainly have those Rule V signings and the utility infielders to get exceited about. And how did I forget, Rick Dempsey's nephew (who wasn't any good when we got rid of him the first time) now that we could devote an entire blog to!

Adam Dunn, Sheetz, Garland and the Japanese guy anything less (and expect less) is what were dealing with here! Continued longterm futility!

Not So Happy New Year I guess!

Thank you Peter Angelos!

Amazing. Just lost a couple hours of time, but probably worth it. I have been an O's fan all of my life, and I have to say they have went straight to hell with the ownership of PA. Sorry Pete, but the only thing he had going for him was Cal Ripken, Jr. Since Cal retired (the last game I went to by the way), the team has fallen farther and farther into malaise. Cal was his largest draw, and the only reason he didn't F that one up was due to Cal's personal goals that superceded PA's financial ones. Plus it made PA some hefty coin. The team wasn't playing an A game during that time, but Cal and the streak were a major draw. Ticket sales have dropped since then.

I read all this about players, money, etc., and it actually annoys me. I own 2 successful businesses (something one poster said he wanted to read before someone posted) and you don't make a winning combination with all of this crap. There needs to be a plan, a reasonable plan, with carefully thought out goals and equal execution. This whole ball club looks like it's working by the seat of it's pants.

I for one would love to see Cal buy the team. I think the fans would be supportive, and he brings a lot to the table - far more than PA. Cal's whole background is baseball. He knows it inside and out. How anyone could say he wouldn't be right for ownership amazes me. I don't consider his Aberdeen facility to be anything but something he always wanted to do and additional income providing something decent to children. I think Cal's qualifications are much deeper than someone making a flip remark about his Aberdeen business.

Time for a plan! Not the usual let's haggle with palyers until someone else gets them - we would have had to pay them real money anyway.

PA pisses me off. As a matter of fact, so do you Schmuck. You think it's okay to constantly be giving years upon years of chances for someone to run a business responsibly and then act like we're just now giving someone a chance? BS. Pretty soon, the fan base will go so far down that the O's will be the ones with the Mayflower vans leaving Baltimore in the dead of night for some faraway place. THEN everyone will be sorry.

Please - we pay for tickets, etc., NOW. Let's make PA accountable NOW. I would have to pay high ticket prices whether they win or lose with your suggestions. Hell, add another buck or two to the ticket and let's get some winners on the field, mixed with some newer talent.

Every single month, quarter, and year I re-evaluate my businesses for profits, losses, consistency, and quality and adjust accordingly. I would never refuse to buy a high dollar piece of equipment because, well, it costs money. PA needs to learn how to do the same.

Oh - and as for this being entertainment? Yes, it is, but it's entertainment that ends with a winner and a loser. The PAYING PUBLIC deserves wins, and as many as possible. You know - the people that get PA and all the players paid? Remember us - the ones that want to see a win? We could always be optomistic when the team loses and say they came in second. Just remember, second is the first loser.


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Pete's reply: So, you're saying that if a new piece of equipment became available, you'd call the manufacturer and say "Send it and charge me whatever you want for it. Here's a blank check." I'm going to go out on a limb and say that you're attempt to compare baseball to your business breaks down at that point.

Pete, two questions, if it is not simply PA being cheap then why did they trade and get Scott? Don't get me wrong, I like Luke Scott but he is 31 and Teixeira is going to be 29. Tex is a need position and a power hitter. Can there be any other reason? Tex was the PERFECT fit.

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Pete's reply: Maybe, just maybe, he had absolutely no desire to come here.

Tex did not want to be here. Period. 30 million yearly and he still wears pinstripes.
Roberts wants out. Period. Great guy/player but we can not force him to stay. Not a money issue.
Start with Nick and start building. With 3 years to go, a very unstable economic horizon and his youth working for him he would be a fool not to take the deal, but
If he wants to go we can not stop him.
To rebuild a winning tradition takes time.
Grow up you whiners.
I want men who want to be here.
Who decide in their hearts they want to be here for the right reasons.
Andy has done great and must continue a dark and frustrating path regardless of the whining nabobs of negativity.

Peter,

I agree that there is no one left worthy of the money, at least no one that will come to Baltimore.

I only say that the O's should have made more than a "generic" bid for Tex. The O's are needing three maybe four young pitchers to excel from the minors, not one. My question is? Is it better to have your position players in place before the young pitchers arrive in two years, or wait until the pitchers arrive before supporting them? Please remember that even though the minor league system has imporved, there is still no infielders in the minors expected to make an impact any time soon. What is having three or four good young pitchers worth if they have little or no support behind them?

I think that it is preposterous to believe that the Orioles are "saving" money now to invest in the future. Businesses do not work that way. You take one year at a time. All of the "savings" from the last four years have dropped to the bottom line and into Peter A's pocket, never to be seen again. There is no magic bank account where these savings are held to be spent in the future. If this was the case, the Orioles should have had enough money to sign Sabathia, Burnett and Texiera, like the Yankees did. Let's stop kidding ourselves. Peter A has a much stronger desire to make money than to build a strong team.

I do think it is rather strange that so many posters are calling this off season a wash out. If I remember correctly it is still THREE MONTHS until the end of Spring Training. AM made his ntwo big deals last winter. HOW much do we have to trade this winter? I also remember the O's picking up an old, washed up pitcher just B4 the opening game of the 1962 season. He was released by the yanks at the end of Spring training . He went on to have 3 decent years with the O's. (Spectaular years by the way our starters did last yr!) His name was Robin Roberts. Patience. I know we are all out of it right now, I too hated to see the Evil Empire spirit away a Baltimore Boy..AGAIN. Let's give the Management another couple of months B4 we condem this as a horrible off season.

Only 1 team in all 4 major sports leagues (MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL) has a longer streak of consecutive losing seasons than the Angelos Orioles. There's no excuse for being this bad for this long. Picking up garbage like Cesar Izturis and Mark Hendrickson isn't going to change things. I guess saving money has become more important than winning ballgames. I'll save my money too and stay home.

.

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Pete's reply: Not sure what your gripe is with Izturis. Solid defensive shortstop for $2.5 million per year. I don't think Cal was available.

Preach on Brotha! Great Blog! I don't know what team some of these people are watching when they make some of the comments they do. Grant it the plan calls for patience and many don't want to hear that, but the wheels are definitely in motion and I am way on board. AM is doing an outstanding job - he already got the guy from Seattle fired. Tex was not going to make a $200mil difference and pitchers that everyone keeps talking about are not coming here, ie B Penny.

So id you are a diehard like me just keep the faith! I definitely can see it coming - hang in there; you to Mr. Schmuck you are doing and outstanding job.

What incentive do teams such as the Orioles, the Royals and Athletics have heading into spring training? It's got to be very mentally draining to know that your division's winners have been predetermined because of the almighty dollar. Baseball is listing terribly, and if the ship is not righted in the next few years we can say goodbye to our national pasttime within the next decade...

OK,
so let's say we go with the re-building plan concept. Where is the list of top prospects that have been acquired this year that we can pin some hopes on? Where is the evidience that the O's are doing what makes the most sense- rebuilding our minor league system????

Spending some money and trying to compete does NOTHING to slow down the rebuilding process.

We aren't talking about signing an outfielder to take at bats away from Markakis or Jones.

We need to fill holes to compete.

Does MacPhail get bonus money for his bargain-basement signings.

There's no rules against trying to win a few extra games while you are rebuilding.

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Pete's reply: I guess you can make that argument, but who is out there that's going to turn this thing around? And would you waste $100 million or so just to have the team win 10 more games and finish fifth again? You could buy Adam Dunn and Pat Burrell and Derek Lowe and Jon Garland and you're still not going to finish better than third. If that's what you want to do, go to town, but it will hamper you in the future for relatively little upside now.

Pete: My problem with Izturis is that he can't really hit and doesn't get on base. Defense is only half of the game. His .299 career OBP isn't going to cut it. What is it with the Orioles and their fond affection for collecting guys who can't get on base?

I am amazed by the degree of pessimisim voiced by the fans here. I understand it in that it's been so very long since the O's had a winning season but people who say this team will only win 62 games are not taking a realistic look at what the O's have.

Frankly, to have a winnning season the O's need to add 2 or 3 effective (read not great but effective) starters. They have defense, they have run scoring ability, they have an ok bullpen if the starters don't consistently throw 105 pitches by the 5th inning because they can't (or are too afraid) throw the ball in the strike zone.

There are a couple of guys out there who would meet the need until the youngsters are ready. Sheets and Lowe come to mind. They likely won't come to Baltimore unless they don't get offers from winning teams. So, we may not be able to meet that need thus our team will score a bunch of runs and lose a bunch of games.

I don't think I can take another year watching Olson and Liz throw balls because they can't or are afraid to throw strikes. I don't think I can take another second half collapse because the bullpen is overworked.

I don't expect the O's too contend but they can be competetive and even wim more then they lose with effective starting pitching. AM knows that and my message to him is this may be a pivitol year for the franchise. Relaistic or not, the fan base has given up on the O's. The failure to sign Tex, even though you made a decent offer could lead to the biggest drop in attendence in major league history.

Here's a suggestion: Sign Markakis to a six year 85 million dollar contract. Take Johnson out of the bullpen and make him a starter. Take a chance on a couple of the youngsters as starters. Remember the baby birds? Do something to give the fans something to hope for!

Pete-

Can't believe I'm in the old-timers category, but I don't go to the O's to be entertained, except as much as good baseball produces a by-product of entertainment. I tend to believe that AM comes from my school- that is: The O's are a regional asset which has, in recent years, squandered the goodwill of the local citizens. Buying new players won't make this right and it won't put the other local assets fans (Ravens) back in the seats on any permanent basis.

Pete, I love you man. You are without question the most optimistic Oriole fan I have ever seen. Even when everyone else sees dark clouds, you see the sun. Keep it up, really. But anyway, I think the payroll issue is not really about people thinking that Angelos is rolling around in his $100 bills and laughing at us peasants as we still support the team. It just that nothing seems to make him part with that money for the good of the O's, even with 12 (and most likely 13) straight losing seasons on the horizon and with attendance dwindling the way it is. It just seems that Angelos is waiting for some magical mystical day to spend his money, but that day is really never coming. I remember a few years ago, it was "smart" for him not to spend the big money because Texiera was going to be a free agent in 2008 and Pete was going to basically give Mark a blank check. (we see how well that worked out right?) Then it was Pete shouldn't give Tex or any other free agents major bucks because the money should go to pitching. Well I must have missed something, because the last time I checked, the newest Orioles picture is Mark Hendrickson. (this is so laughable) And then it was the fact that Pete should hold on to the big money because he will pay his homegrown talent. (Again, last I checked, neither Markakis nor B-Rob had new contracts and the Weiters signing came down to the last second). And when he occasionally did spend money in the past, they were just terrible decisions. Albert Belle, Tejada, and Palmero ALL had whispers of steroid use, and Javier Lopez had an incredible season only because it was his contract year. He never played like that before then and has never played like that again. Yet you pay these clowns the big bucks?? My point is; Angelos and his money are like when your wife has those special towels in the bathroom that no one can touch because they are for company only. Yet years later, you realize that that "company" still has never showed up. Andy is doing the best job he can possibly do considering who his boss is. No reason to be mad at the Yanks, they do everything by the book and up to MLB standards. It just so happens that they have an owner who actually wants to win.

............................................................................................
Pete's reply: It certainly helps that the Yankees have four times the revenues, but the O's are capable of spending more than they have lately.

Hi Pete;
MacPhail's plan will work, but only to the point of getting the O's into a position to compete for 3rd place each year, around 82-88 wins per year. Why? As I've stated, the plan is to fill in as best we can with free agents now and then insert players that have come up from the farm system. The problem I keep referring to is the farm system. The O's farm system is broken - it does not prepare players, especially pitchers, for the major leagues. Anyone who attends 30-40 minor league games each year should be able to see this. And while there are exceptions such as Weiters, overall, the draft choices don't work out. Again, I'm not knocking MacPhail, it's that I don't think everyone understands that his plan is just to get to the middle of the pack and hope that the rest of the division has a bad year. Also, I hope Nick signs on long term, but if it were me, I'd wait it out to see what happens so that I could have options. As for B-Rob, he'll be traded. Oh, and the ticket prices will be raised. To really change things, start with the scouting department, then the standards that the farm teams use to teach.

Pete: I am glad that we have MacPhail. My fear is that he won't have the courage or the authority to strip down the major league club in order to add prospects. According to Baseball America, the Bedard and Tejada trades transformed our minor league teams from the botton of the pack to the middle. Apart from pitchers and Weiters, our minor league cupboard is bare. This means that we need to sell BRob and any other player, other than Nick and Adam, who might fetch a prospect or two.

While much of what I have to say can be found in the cumulative discourse above, I feel the need to toss my two cents in...

I suppose I shouldn't be surprised to hear so many O's fans knocking McPhail, but it seems both unfair and unwarranted. What has Andy done that prompted such vitriol? The Tejada and Bedard deals were, in the estimation of most people, fairly brilliant. We missed out on Tex, but that had more to do with Tex and Boras than Andy or even Peter Angelos. From day one, Tex has been all about the Benjamins. Why would anyone expect anything else from him?

I actually agree that we should have pushed harder, offered more, forced him to leave cash on the table in order to sign elsewhere, but it's quite evident to me that, in order to ever step foot in Maryland again, Boras stopped taking McPhail's calls. Think about it. Tex would never have been able to spend Christmas with the family in Severna Park ever again if it came out that he left money on the table to sign with the hated Yankees...or anyone else for that matter. While that's all conjecture, it doesn't really matter. The fact is, Tex or no, we weren't going to compete next year. Signing him would have actually been an act at odds with the 'big plan'.

And there, McPhail has been an undeniable success. While he alone can't be given all of the credit (Jordan deserves a healthy dose, among others), McPhail's tenure has coincided with the addition of Matt Wieters, Adam Jones, Chris Tillman, Luke Scott, Jake Arrieta, Brian Matusz, Tony Butler, George Sherrill, Kam Mickolio, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Xavier Avery, Bobby Bundy, and LJ Hoes to name a few of the club's more prominent prospects, youngsters, and movable parts (though Wieters and Arrieta were drafted prior to McPhail coming aboard, he DID sign them). Only Oakland can compare in terms of both quantity AND quality over the same period.

The real reason signing Teixeira was, to my mind, a vital step on Baltimore's path back to respectability, had to do with the symbolic value of the move and its potential 'domino effect'. I DO believe that NOT signing Tex may doom any hope of re-signing Roberts and, though I think Markakis will eventually choose to sign, losing out on the hometown hero clouds and complicates the issue. Furthermore, signing Teixeira would have made a profound statement...to the fans, to the team, and to baseball...that the Orioles ARE, in fact, committed to winning...and winning SOON. With our farm system only now beginning to show signs of life and top talents like Wieters and Tillman on the way, Big Tex's long-term contract demands would have actually made sense! Sure, we'd almost certainly struggle in '09, but, with seven more years to the deal, we'd have him locked up for when the time eventually came and we were ready to compete. If that's not enough, he'd fill a real hole at first, provide first rate defense to back an extremely young pitching staff (prospectively), and offer both protection and- at least potentially- leadership; a mentor to the 25 and under class of kids accumulated- Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Reimold...

Insanity is often described as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result. This is what we've seen for 11 years. It's bleeping CRAZY!!! Still, lay blame where it belongs- squarely on the shoulders of one Peter Angelos, esquire. I'm not going to say he doesn't want to win. I'm not going to say he's stupid or even that he's ignorant when it comes to baseball. But he IS greedy; he IS stubborn; he IS meddlesome. And he's done more to hurt this once-proud franchise than any single owner in the sport of baseball over the past thirty years. Added to the misfortune of playing in the game's toughest and most economically disproportionate division, mismanagement at the top has been the bane of Baltimore and led to the (understandable) lack of patience we see amongst the remaining fans today.

Still, we mustn't give up hope or stray from the course. Part of the problem for all of these years has been a lack of focus or commitment to a plan of any kind. There have been so many maps and objectives and initiatives and ideas and shifts and shakeups...all in a sport that rewards continuity; that demands patience. Just as a season is a 164 game marathon- not a sprint- rebuilding is a course of action that inherently requires that precious and maddening resource: time.

Far too often, baseball is a monkey-see, monkey-do sport; full of clones and copycats. The template du jour is Tampa Bay. Held up as a shining example of scouting and player development, the Rays are the rare exception to the rule. Offering a blueprint that makes sense and SHOULD be aped- preferably without the decade of futility leading up to the triumph- Tampa's true triumph was in understanding that a foundation must be laid; that where the money is spent has greater significance than the amount; that the pursuit of success requires- above all else- an unwavering, organization-wide, long-term adherence to a singular plan of vision and clarity. We will never outspend the Yankees, but we can beat them on the field. Doing so, however, will take time. It will take good judgment, skillful leadership, an intelligent front office, a strong infrastructure... And though we may wish for the mercenary masher like Mark Teixeira to join our merry band, greatness, in the modern game, will almost always come from within. The good news in this is that such a team is both lasting and far more rewarding than any store-bought dynasty. ...Because once the initial thrill of actually contending turns into familiarity, it matters HOW you got there.

Ok, I'll be the wise guy, in 11 years of sub 500 play, WHO or WHAT grand situation might AM be waiting for, he had a hometown kid turned super star, but that wasn't good enough, then what the heck is!!! According to AM it might a second coming of Sammy Sosa I hear he's ready, if the pots right. Come on enough already, O's management trys "little", unless a player falls intheir laps, Markakis, Roberts and yes even Jones( one bright move). Enough is enough, how long do you temp, posture and promise the fans of the AM PLAN, or was the signing of Hendrickson in it and the fans missed it.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: You've got get over Teixeira. Andy couldn't have signed him for $200 million.

The percetages show that the Orioles will win again sometime. But just look at their track record (or should I say "same old record"). They say if nothing changes,nothing changes. I don't see anything significantly different than any other year. Develope the farm system. Pay for the FAs sooner, not after their all picked through in the name of having "patience". It seems like more of the same for the Orioles.

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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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