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December 29, 2008

'Warm bodies' revisited

When I referred to the apparent signing of pitcher Mark Hendrickson as a "warm body" acquisition, it was not meant as a particular criticism of the guy or the move. It was simply my way of characterizing a move that isn't important enough to warrant a great deal of debate about the relative merits of the player involved.

Hendrickson might end up filling a need for the Orioles. He might be a middle guy in the bullpen. He might be a spot starter. He might get on a roll and hold a place in the rotation for a while. He also might suddenly disappear the way Steve Trachsel did last season. He's a guy the O's added to the list of non-marquee players who will come to spring training to audition for a job.

I'm only bothering to make this distinction because of the number of e-mails and comments I've been getting today that link this potential acquisition to the failure of the Orioles to sign free agent Mark Teixeira ... which is silly.

If you're angry that the O's didn't get Tex, that's your perogative and you're certainly not the Lone Ranger, but it's no cause to ridicule the routine housekeeping moves that every major league team makes at this point in the offseason to assure there are enough "warm bodies" to fill all the practice mounds in training camp. Nobody is presenting Hendrickson as an elite free-agent starter who is going to save the rotation. He's a guy who has OK numbers as a reliever and might benefit from working with a new pitching coach. It's a low-impact, no-risk move. Nothing to get particularly excited about one way or the other.

Don't misunderstand. The cloud of fan skepticism that hovers over this team has been well-earned, and there are plenty of legitimate criticisms to level at this ownership. But nit-picking this kind of roster move is a waste of negative energy that would be better spent putting a hex on the Miami Dolphins.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:27 PM | | Comments (72)
Categories: Just baseball


I honestly can't believe there are over 60+ complaints on the O's signing Mark Hendrickson. Pete, you must be shaking if the O's sign Redding in the next day or so, as then we will all hear "Tex for Redding and Hendrickson, Sox and Yanks will concede the East." Even the really good teams sign guys like this because like Pete said, there is no major investment and they don't block the young talent. Mark might not even make the team, who knows? Every move can't be compared to not getting Tex or this will REALLY be the winter of your discontent.

Pete, I was curious if you thought that Bass if given the time in FL to make the transition from reliever to starter, could seriously be in the mix for a spot? I know everyone is in the mix, but I actually thought the kid was good till he got to the 5th and ran out of gas.

...............................................................................................Pete's reply: I think everybody gets a look unless they suddenly add two or three more veterans.

Does Hendrickson still live in York, Pa.?
That should be kind of a local connection, right?

Pete's reply: Yes, he does.

Truth to power, Schmuck. Nobody -- and especially not anyone from the Orioles -- ever said the Hendrickson move was made for impact. The level of discussion about this team keeps sinking to a new low every time I feel like it can't possibly get worse. Getting angry about Mark Hendrickson is exactly as you said it: silly.


How about Jason Jennings as another warm body? He has missed most of the last two years due to the same injury but should be healed by spring training.

Pete's reply: I'm in favor of anybody who might turn out to be lightning in a bottle, but it always comes down to how much the guy will cost.

I'm already planning alternative summer activities. You had it right the first time, Pete. PA has us all standing at the gates of hell. Don't back down.

I wonder how many of the negative folks here were against the GUTHRIE signing two years ago. How dare we go after a former number 1 with some AWFUL numbers. Someone who looked TERRIBLE on paper.

Give it a chance guys. Let's see what happens when the 3 year plan is OVER!

Are payroll is hardly where it should be, I'm thinking 90 million. Pete is it that we are scared to take a chance or is it the momey is going to be saved for B-rob, Nick, and the young starters?

there are a lot of pitchers looking for work...just bring about 50 of them to camp, i'm sure lightning will strike one of them
oh sorry, you are looking for bottled lightning

never mind

News flash: Yankees get 5 billion in NYC tax free municipal bonds to build new theme park and feed Sabbathia.
Thats what Olney is reporting...or is it Gammons...or Brown...or Vescey..or that crazy K named guy...

Pete, don't apologize. You are correct in that this is normal signing for most major league clubs but for the O's this IS the signing. I see alot of complaining about this signing and inability to sign Tex but I don't see the Major Complaint needing to be made, that the O's consistently lowball (Roberts and Markakis) and never are in the mix for any Free Agent of substance. McPhail is trying to build another Twins club and PA will not put up the Money necessary to compete in this division. People might not like it but unless he starts to open up the purse strings along with player development, the best we can hope for is a Tampa Bay scenario for two years out of Ten. Mediocrity will continue to reign supreme. I would love to see a piece on what you think the orioles payroll should be based on industry experts opinions, not the opinions of the yes men in the warehouse.

alright everybody get over the Tex thing already. He didn't want to come here, had no intention of coming here so screw him, he's old news. The O's need to look at anybody and everybody with a pulse. If you get lucky and find a keeper or two to give the kids time to mature, then you've made progress. I've been an O's fan for almost 50 years, way before anybody started calling the the O's. Back then we called them the Birds, and the starting rotation was called the Baby Birds, A couple of them turned out to be pretty good, and hopefully a couple that we have now will too. Nobody ever said this rebuilding was going to be easy!

I think the utter disgust with the Ivory Tower in OPACY is the fact that this year is perhaps the largest crop of quality Free agents in the last 10 years. We say every year X won't sign with us cause we are a losing team, or we have confederate money or what ever. The fact of the matter is if you put out the BEST contract, you will get the best players. A losing team can't low ball top prospects and expect to sign them. All this BS about the Orioles CAN"t afford talent is horse manure. Between MASN, the coroporate sponsorships and Peters massive law settlements, he could pay if he wanted to. Its always been about him "winning" the negotiation, and feeling like he was burnt after the Albert Belle, and other star contract that went sour.

To win championships, you need a mix of stars and young prospects. The Orioles will never gain that balance if they refuse to pay for top quality Experienced Pitching. It is rare to see a team like Chicago a few years back or Tampa this year to win with out any seasoned veteran pitching.

How can you believe McPhail has any kind of plan if he hasn't signed a single pitcher with less then 10 weeks til pitchers report for spring training????

btw pete...thought I should metion, I really really wish the O's had signed JJ Putz!!! Would have made for the greatest radio talk show in Baltimore history...Putz and Schmuck talking baseball. Every fan in Pikesville would listen!!!

i saw that the red sox signed penny for $5 mil. couldn't we have offered him $6 mil. relatively cheap for a guy who was almost a cy young a few years back. are there any other pitchers out there who we have a shot at getting?

Pete's reply: Penny said he only wanted to play for a winner.

I understand they need warm bodies until the young pitching is ready - but they may lose 115 games this coming's going to be ugly. Three of the 4 big names landed in our division - and the rays will only get better with Price and their young players....this is going to be sad.

Pete's reply: It's already sad and has been for awhile. That's why they're in this draconian rebuilding mode.

Is it possible we signed him for his bat? He did hit .257 last year, which was better than Jay Payton.....

I just don't get what Hendrickson can possibly add. He's no former #1 pick, he's in his mid 30's so now raw talent yet to blossom. Batters hit .290 off him. 4 out of 8 years his ERA is above 5.00.

This is not about Texiera. This has everything to do with nothing, which is what this signing adds, and makes us fans wonder how this fits into the grander scheme of the O's progress.

Sorry Pete, I'm not buying the 'what he might add' scenarios. Couldn't we just have kept Kurt Birkins instead?

I agree you need another article on the finances. Make with some of that investigative journalism, talk to the Forbes folks, and lets see what the financial shape of the Orioles is really.

My calculations show they could have a 127 million payroll and break even.

Its not just this signing, we are looking at an offseason where we get a light hitting shortstop, 2 very mediocre starters, a back up catcher, and maybe Hinske..This is a large high quality free agent class. There are a number of players who would enhance our rebuilding. Next years group is not nearly as good. They have a lot of money (he's actually swimming in it not rolling), and we won't spend it. We haven't added to our rebuilding in 11 months, but we've sure reduced payroll. A competent independent analysis would conclude this team is being very successfully run to make money for the owner, not to produce a winner.

Its time to be proactive and rebuild.

I've been an Oriole fan since 1962, I was there when Frank Robby hit the ball out of the ballpark, when Palmer pitched his no hitter , and for Cal's streak. I will attend no more games until this organization is run to win, not make money for the owner.

Pete's reply: While I morph into an investigative reporter, who's going to run the blog? And, while we're on the subject, please send along the financial info you based your calculations on. If you have real numbers, you're way ahead of me.

the orioles want warm bodies. what has happened with the negotions with the japaneese pitcher. the orioles were supposedly talking with him back at the gm winter meetings.we are told how am likes to be thorough when approaching a particular player.he ought to have all of the iformation he needs on him by now. so why isn't he signed.

Pete's reply: Because, I'm sure, the agent is still bouncing stuff off about six or seven teams. They're in it, but this is the time of year when just about everyone is on vacation and most ML offices are closed.

What "top quality experienced pitching" is McPhail supposed to attempt to sign? Burnett for 80+ million is gone? Maybe now Derek Lowe or Oliver Perez for $50 million? There is no top quality experienced pitching left on the market so the O's, like every other major league team not based in New York, are going to have to bargain shop, and more importantly, hope for improvement within the orginization.

I am reading a lot of comments saying how we got rid of Cabrera and "replaced him with this guy?"

First of all, to keep Cabrera you would have had to offer him a contract to avoid arbitration or go to arbitration with him. The figures were somewhere between $3-5million.

I don't even know if Hendrickson has signed a major league contract and if he did I can bet you anything that it won't come anywhere near the $2.6 million Cabrera got when he signed with the Nats.

Lastly, nobody is proclaiming this guy as the number 2 man in the rotation. He'll have a chance to make the rotation out of Spring unless the Orioles sign a lot more arms. If anything, he'll be challenging for the 5th spot in the rotation and will replace Brian Burress whom I don't think anyone here was exactly thrilled with.

Pete's reply: The O's would have been on the hook for probably $4.5 million for Daniel, who you rightly point out signed for $2.6 million with the Nats. I suppose the Orioles could have gone back to Cabrera with a lower number, but I think they just gave up on him. In this case, I have to agree that there is some inconsistency here, since even I (who gave up on DCab last spring) think he has way more upside than Hendrickson.

I totally understand this signing and it makes sense for what it is but a rotation that looks like this:

Hendrickson/Bass hard to stomach.

Pete's reply: I agree, but I think everybody knows this year isn't going to be pretty.

Thank you Pete,
The blog continues to expose the lack of cogent criticism of warehouse strategy by other venues. Most fans are not silly enough to believe that sportswriters coopted by ESPN or MASN are likely to bite the hand that feeds them. It is not negative to try to penetrate the "feel good" warehouse spin with alternatives. Competing with the sox and the empire requires clear thinking, risk taking, and pragmatism. Qualities that have been lacking but could change. Just because PA doesn't return your calls doesn"t mean that he can't be reached. However, if past history is relevant, then its going to take .....

Face it, there are going to be a lot of warm bodies heading our way, and I, for one, am glad Teixera is not one of them. Hendrickson is not going to put the Orioles in the post season, but just like Izturis and Freel, these are guys all teams need to have. I'd also love to have Redding, and if Byrd is still out there, go get him, too. Thats three professional pitchers to bridge the gap until the Tillman/Arrieta/Matusz/Hernandez et al era begins. And with these potential signings, TAMH et al won't have to be rushed. Keep the faith, brothers and sisters.

Relax, Pete.

Peter, Hendrickson isn't a warm body housekeeping move.While they won't say this, the guy's envisioned as a starter, not a reliever.The Orioles already have plenty of relievers but almost no starters. Unless a bunch of guys come out of the woodwork in March, he's a starter unless he dies before then.

This is one of several similar moves they want to make to fill the rotation with one-year stopgaps in anticipation of Arrieta, Matusz, etc.They aren't looking for established quality pitchers here-or any other free agent who's that good.They're still in rebuilding mode.

They've already conceded the 2009 season in case people haven't figured that out yet.

Pete's reply: I think everybody knows that by now.

Brother Peter,
The cynicism of the comments you criticize is the inevitable product of more than a decade of incompetent management. Until management puts together a credible lineup, it can only expect continuing howls of derision at signings that lack credibility. These signings are demoralizing not just to fans, but players as well. Incompetence + Incompetence = Defeat + Defeatism.

Peter- You have to admit... It is starting to look like 1970 all over again. This just in, the Yankees are quaking in their boots at this MONSTER Free Agent Aquisition the O's just pulled off. Rumor has it that the negotiations went long into the night with neither side willing to budge. But, in the end, Macphail pulled it out. League Minimum plus a dollar. Angelosss just didn't want to give in that buck. Could set a precident to Free Agents the World over that the O's are suckers. And I thought the Yankees spending spree was amazing.
I mean, someone throw some ice water on Andy's check writing hand.
Good Job Andy. Do I see a 180 in the standings? 1 8 0 does add up to 09. Coincedence?

Peter, Peter, I know you have been waiting for me...

Its a festive time of the yar so I'm going to take it easy on you today but I do have some gripes but will wait until Redding, Juan Gonzalez and Sammy Sosa are signed...

BTW, How many times are we going to open that bottle before the lightning gets out?

Have a nice New Year!

Pete's reply: The two times recently that the bottle has contained any lightning were when they got Rodrigo and Guthrie.

Mark Hendrickson? This guy is going to be marauded by our inter-divisional rivals whose players are already doing that "Pavlovian" thing at the thought of taking cuts at his lollipops. This could get very ugly if he signs as an Oriole...


You are da man and I appreciate your honesty. With that being said, there has to be someone that the Orioles could go after that makes more sense. In fact you commented a week ago on the blog about not making much sense to sign a bunch of guys that never had it or projects that are 32 to 34. If the goal is to rebuild, there are several guys that could help that are still available and there are guys in the minors I would much rather see come up and see if they can handle pitching at the Major League level. We need to find out about guys like Hayden Penn, Chris Waters even Andy Mitchel. The young guys that look like they have the stuff (Tillman, Hernandez, Matusz and others) should get shots to pitch out of the bullpen. How about letting Bergesen get a shot in the rotation, he is 23 and throws it over the plate. I know people will argue that these guys need triple A experience but that is really not necessary, and things have changed in baseball over the years and that is not always where the clubs talent is in waiting, if that was the case they would have pulled a handful out of Bowie and moved them to to Norfolk last year. Triple A seems to be a place these days where you take guys that have failed in the Majors, or rehabbing their injuries, or minor league free agents that have something special they would like to work with

They need a front line starter to help the team. I do not see where Hendrickson fits into the mold. He would just be a body blocking the way of someone that is younger that has more talent. There will be better talent available after cuts in spring training. Redding is better than this guy, forget Paul Byrd sign someone that can make the younger players better, and help the team. I do not see any way anyone can sell me on how this guy is part of the rebuilding plan. I am sure if they throw some money at one of the available free agents they will come here. It seems to me they would have an easy time finding a guy that will sign to be in Baltimore for the right money.I know that they do not want to rush guys and that is why if you are a savvy team, you work them out of the bullpen, spot start them and if they do not work out you send them back down to refine their skills.

Pete: What makes more sense letting these guys prove themselves that have been in the O's system for a few years that are between 24 and 30? or bringing in guys that never had it and never will at the age of 34? Also instead of me suggesting free agent pitchers that the O's could sign, tell me your wish list. I would love to hear your thoughts on that.

Pete's reply: I really don't think they're going to get anybody too significant. I'd like one guy like Derek Lowe to help anchor the thin rotation. I'd love to watch Adam Dunn air condition the ballpark a few hundred times a year, but don't see that happening and can't reallly make a logical case for it. Other than that, I'm willing to wait until next year, at which time I'll have my claws out.

Hey Pete,
Got a question for you. What is the O's reluctance to sign a Pitcher that has had some injury issues? I know the obvious is that they would get hurt again, but what about the guys that sign for less than what they would have signed for if they were healthy? To me, this is an opportunity to sign a guy that would normally be out of your price range and you can offer him a incentive laden contract. You always see other teams taking these chances, but not the O's.

Pete's reply: I'm sure they'd be willing if the situation was right, but some of these guys still want big guarantees even though there is no guarantee they will be healthy enough to pitch.

I dont feel anyone should blame the Orioles for not getting Tex. Any home town boy that goes to the yankees is for the greed of money. Which is whats wrong with baseball today. It isnt like the Orioles didnt make a decent offer but that said take that money and fill some need holes with players that can help them compete.And at least make them interesting.

What will it take in Baltimore to realize that Tex and Mussina and multiple others are following the money and that baltimore is not a big market team! Get a grip on life people you either like baseball or you don't - sure its nice to win - but watching a team that is doing its best ot play id good enough for me.

Good Day Mr. Schmuck,
Seems a lot of people in Ballymore don't have much to do this winter. Course aways been easy to lose view of a long and twisting road in the dark of winter.
But speaking of warm bodies, what happen to Lance C.? I believe he had better numbers than Mark H. Do the birds have a chance at Tim Redding? not a bad move.

Pete's reply: Haven't seen anything since Lance was non-tendered. And, yes, they have a chance at Redding.

I still am a firm believer is re-aligning the divisions to put similiar income producing clubs in the same division. yankee -sox -angels -white sox, orioles- jays- tigers, mariners- twins- As- rays, etc. If there is not going to be a true salary cap, that would make it fair. the only folks who would not like this are the redsox and yankee fans, who could no longer beat up the weaker teams.

Thanks God for the Junior Orioles /Dugout Club that comes with the $6.00 adult tickets!

What your missing Pete, and you don't miss much, is that what O's fans want, and I think unarguably deserve, after decade of bumbling and fumbling in upper management, is for the O's to do what they say they are going to do!! After previously stating their offseason goal was improve the pitching, they allowed themselves to get sidewtracked with Texeria, a player never really seriosly thinking of them, and then counter with Hendrickson. A guy who does not does not improve the pitching! His numbers present the converse! Hendrickson, who began his career with Toronto, went 7-8 record with a 5.45 ERA last season with the Marlins. The southpaw made 19 starts and racked up a 6.09 ERA before the All-Star break in 2008, and he's posted a 5.38 ERA as a starter. WE NEED STARTERS!! Not just warm bodies! Granted, a 3.11 mark as a reliever over the last three years is solid and a warm body certainly is better than a cold one, but the O's need a legitimate number 2 AND 3, AND 4th starter! Hendrickson's starting numbers slot him more for a number 5, or middle relief corps. There are a few very solid options out there, Ben Sheets (provided healthy) is an unarguable number 1! Sign him. Braden Loper would be a great acquisition and possible number 3 or 4. Sign those kind of guys and the O's would be showing us they are serious about winning, anything else is akin to the stuff that fills large balloons... it's warm too, but we'd prefer to feel in on our collective faces this Saturday in Miami versus say late July, when the team is about to take it's annual nose dive and the FO pumps more of this warm stuff out in the form of empty promises of things to better next year. BULLPUCKY!

If you naysayers thought "Tex" was coming here for any amount of &
$'s, you are dreamers. He was never considering the O's.Get over it! We do need these "warm bodies" to bridge the gap, maybe Redding or Byrd will sign, but we are on the right track, & we'll have to be patient & support the efforts of AM, hopefully he has the full authority he needs, or it won't work. Are you listening PA ?

Yes I am a Yankee hater and the O’s don’t have a chance in hell to be a 500 team, but the Yanks make the baseball world a soap story every year.
Can they do it this year or will it cost them several more millions to buy a World Series. That is the 200+ million dollar question????
Just sending you some Oriole Love

LF- Damon – long in the tooth and can he stay healthy and he throw’s like a girl…..
SS- Jeter – long in the tooth for a shortstop and range is getting smaller.
3rd- A Rod- great numbers during season but sucks in post season when it counts. To much drama better at chasing pole dancers
1st –Teixeira- great ballplayer they did right by signing him
C- Posada- long in the tooth can he stay healthy through out the season
RF- Nady – GOOD all around ballplayer but he’s just good
1st / DH -Swisher – Hot or cold more cold than hot
2nd- Cano – hasn’t lived up to his potential
CF-Melky Cabrera – who name their kid Melky and to top that he hasn’t lived up to his potential that’s why they thought about training him.
LF/DH- Matsui- can he stay healthy
OF – S. Duncan- nice average last year…..176
CC Sabathia – FAT and shitty post season numbers can he handle the New York heat I think not!!
A.J Burnett – can he stay healthy just another PAVANO….got to love that!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!
Wang- very good pitcher can he stay health all season
Chamberlian- Can he stay healthy and will he stay in the starting rotation when he’s not drunk??
Kennedy- AAA or majors?????
Hughes- AAA or majors?????
Petite- just an average pitcher if he comes back should go back to the juice bar with Roger
Rivera- long in the tooth been around a long time can he still produce?? 15 mil ??
Bullpen- who’s going to get you to your closer?????

One thing we seem to agree on is that '09 will be another losing season so why overpay/get into bidding wars for pitchers like Sheets/Penny/Mulder etc who have injuries? These type of low cost signings makes some sense but as I stated earlier, don't prolong the inevitable cases of some of these not working out. By that I mean don't keep starting an older guy if he loses his effectiveness; better to go with a younger starter with an upside.
I disagree with comparing any signing with Daniel Cabrera. That ship has rightfully sailed and think back to all his frustrating outings before reminiscing about his limited success.
Finally, I think that too much is being made of the payroll size, as it relates to the level of competitiveness and the profits of Angelos. First, a younger team should have a low payroll because most of the roster isn't even eligble for free agency and hopefully, the roster isn't littered with high-priced veterans. Yes, we cleared some $$$ with the expiration/trading/release of guys like Payton, Ramon, DanCab/Gibbons but we should be using some of this money to extend Markakis(maybe Roberts and for the days when a guy like Jones deserves a raise.
If our payroll still turns out to be lower so be it...I don't care as long as the O's will increase it when the time is right. Historically, I see no reason not to expect that this will happen as the O's have often had high payrolls. In the transiton, if Angelos happens to turn a profit, I don't begrudge him that. I still feel that thte profit is slim at best because the attendance is dropping and many fans will stay away until the team improves.
King Peter may want to consider throwing the fans a bone by decreasing some ticket prices, to reflect the poorer product and poorer economy but I'm not holding my breath on that one!

David S. wrote that we should wait until the three year plan is over but that three year plan has been going on for 11 years!

The team's problem is that there is only one sure-thing prospect in the organization (Weiters). We have 3 hopefuls (Arrieta, Matusz, Tillman) slotted for the future starting rotation. They may all work out or none may work out. After those 3, the team has nothing. 4 empty slots & 3 hopefuls. Think Weiters won't run for the hills when his contract expires?

Some of these comments by the fans are absolutely amazing.

When exactly did rebuilding come to mean not even trying to put a competitive team on the field? I agree that one player will not turn things around but you have to start somewhere. If you're just going to throw seasons away waiting for prospects to develop then you're in for a long wait. There's only a small handful of good prospects in the farm system and even the best ones don't always work out. The fans can only take a team of Guillermo Quirozes, Corey Pattersons, Freddy Bynums and Juan Castros for so long before they just stop caring.

All teams need guys like Izturis and Freel, but they also need GOOD players. When will we start seeing some of them ?

If it's a matter of having warm bodies on the mound, I'm available. I'm a southpaw in my mid-forties, throw as fast as 60 mph, but I'll only demand $100,000 a year. Think of all the money the Orioles will save! Then they can afford to re-sign Markakis and company.

With the bad economy (stocks/retirement savings dropping like a rock, unemployment up, trade deficit etc), many O's fans just want something to look forward to in the Spring...even it it means kidding yourself a little.

What would it take to make O's fans optimistic for the new 2009 season? I think we all already know the answer...hence the frustration/resentment/anger.

I still wish the O's well...but am doing my best to not be such a rabid baseball fan.

With the bad economy (stocks/retirement savings dropping like a rock, unemployment up, trade deficit etc), many O's fans just want something to look forward to in the Spring...even it it means kidding yourself a little.

What would it take to make O's fans optimistic for the new 2009 season? I think we all already know the answer...hence the frustration/resentment/anger.

I still wish the O's well...but am doing my best to not be such a rabid baseball fan.

Somebody already mentioned that this year was a pretty good year for free agents. Pete, you mentioned in an earlier blog entry that McPhail said is a couple of years when the young talent gets up here he would be ready to spend some money on Free Agents. This is where I have a problem with "The Plan". Looking ahead a couple years the Free Agent market looks extremely weak. Teixiera was signed for 8 years, and Burnett and Sabathia were signed for over 5 years. Why couldn't McPhail sign them now knowing that they would still be here and in their primes in two years when the kids came up? This is where the Plan sounds like more smoke blowing from the Orioles Front office and more spin. I know you have hesitations about Sheets but he's better then anyone available in two years as well. The whole "we have to wait to get Free Agents" thing only holds water if you're talking about two year or less contracts. Doesn't make sense.

Pete's reply: If they had any realistic chance to sign any of those three guys, I would agree with you. CC and Tex were never coming here. AJ got $82 million and is a health risk. I can't fault them for not going that high on him.


Could you provide an update as to some of the players the O's might be focused on (more than just on the 'radar')? I haven't heard anything recently about Byrd or Garland; and are the Os considering any of the bats still out there (Dunn at first base, or someone with consistent pop playing left)? After a December of all Tex all the time, it would be nice to stop hearing his name and focus on people that might help the Os some.


Pete's reply: I'll get a little more speculative on that in a day or two. Been focused a little more on the Ravens the past couple of days.


What are the chances that Nolan Reimold will get a shot out of spring training to play left field or DH? How is Troy Pattons rehab coming? WiIl he be 100% when the season starts? One comment: I believe Liz and Olson will have a good year as starters, you heard it here first!!!

Pete's reply: From your lips to God's ears. Patton hopes to be ready to go in the spring. Reimold will get his first real look this spring, though I don't see a great deal of playing time available this season.

"......I think everybody knows this year isn't going to be pretty."
Well, Peter, I don't know that.
And I won't have it force-fed on me by either the experts or the others who write comments in this blog.
I see very bright and exciting possibilities for this team and I've seen it coming together very nicely now ever since Dave Trembley became manager by default.
If Andy had his way in 2007, Joe Girardi would have come here, but once again that Oriole magic fate stepped in the way and let the truly best man for the job have the opportunity. Same thing with making Roberts available for trade. Fate stepped in and let us hang onto the best leadoff man in the AL. Same thing with not getting Texiera, who is obviously a mercenary clubhouse dud.
Tex's numbers might be a little bit better than Huff's in 2009... but not even close to $15 million better.
With even DECENT starting pitching in 2008, the Orioles would have won 20 more games.
This year the pitchers are going to be healthier, one year more experienced, and given a shorter leash, because for every guy whose ERA jumps up to 5, there will be somebody somewhere in the system waiting to take his spot.
Not pretty?
I think it might be VERY pretty.

Pete's reply: Gosh, I hope you're right.

Peter, if the O's were in "draconian rebuilding mode" as you put it, Roberts would have been traded for prospects last year, Melvin Mora would not be getting 150 starts a season at 3B, and they would have traded George Sherrill before the All-Star break last year, when he actually had some value.

But none of those things happened. That's because they're in "kinda sorta" rebuilding mode. They know they have to revamp, but they can't bring themselves to take the full dose of medicine, and they're really stuck in the middle. Unfortunately, taking half measures is what got them in this spot in the first place.

What worries me about Hendrickson is that Hayden Penn will be lost to waivers if he doesn't make the 25-man roster out of spring training. Hendrickson is being brought in to fill a slot as swingman and long reliever than Penn should get. Penn has had a rocky couple of years, not all his fault. Talentwise and in his career path, he is about where Jeremy Guthrie was two years ago. He deserves a long look, not just a few innings in spring training, and a team that was actually rebuilding would not bring in a 35-year-old mediocrity to potentially take his spot.

Keep an eye on the Penn/Hendrickson situation. What happens with that will be a good test of whether this team is seriously rebuilding, or just using rebuilding as an excuse to go cheap.

Pete.. not for your blog, but they are talking about you on UNAWAREHOUSE:

Joined: 10 Nov 2007
Posts: 191
Location: Baltimore
Posted: Tue Dec 30, 2008 10:12 am Post subject:


Boog wrote:
When a team goes after players such as Izturis, Freel and Hendrickson, it says something about what management is thinking. Two position players that can't hit, and a pitcher that can't pitch. No matter how the apologists try to spin it, the quality (rather, the lack) of those players is revealing. It speaks volumes about where the front office is taking the club.

No matter what anybody ever tries to tell you, signing a good player is always better than signing a bad player. I mean, if a ton of farm prospects all flourish at the same time, and oh my gosh, we have to make room for that such a big problem to have? A good player is still going to be more marketable than a crappy one. If they signed Derek Lowe and then all three of the kid pitchers each blossomed tremendously (don't worry, it won't happens that way), you mean to tell me that MacPhail couldn't unload a Derek Lowe to a contender at the deadline? for a couple of prospects?

Exactly. I couldn't have said it any better. It's frustrating that no one outside of this little message board seems to get that. Schmuck as a member of the media certainly isn't helping anything by defending MacPhail and the 25 year rebuilding plan.

I think you are wrong to defend MacPhail, too, and I am a big Schmuck fan.

"I'm only bothering to make this distinction because of the number of e-mails and comments I've been getting today that link this potential acquisition to the failure of the Orioles to sign free agent Mark Teixeira ... which is silly." - Peter Schmuck

Sorry, Peter, but there is a link. The Warehouse is all high and mighty about "letting the market establish itself" (which as an economist I must say is a stone cold silly statement made by people who stare at supply and demand cartoons too long) with players like Teixeira, Markakis, and anyone else a major league team trying to win would want to have. Yet, they waste little time getting players who are barely avoiding a new profession,

And don't think for a second Markakis isn't viewing Hendrickson as a warm body, too, and if he has any desire of winning ... ever ... he would mean warm body in a disparaging way. (Of course, he is too classy to actually say it. He'll simply go away.)

Are the Orioles looking into signing another 2 SPs?

Personally I don't mind these moves at all. It just depends how central of a move this is. If it's strictly to add flexibility and depth its a decent move. Right at this point, I actually like a lot what Andy has done so far. I hate it that many Orioles fans won't give him the credit he deserves, simply due to Teixeira. It has become clear that Teixeira intended to come here. I wish that point was emphasized more than it has been. It might change some opinions. To update Andy's moves, he basically exchanged Ramon's salary for 2 C grade position prospects, INF-OF Ryan Freel, and cash. That move in itself was pretty deft, since previous regimes may have eventually just cut Ramon outright once Wieters arrived and the situation got worse. We cut Cabrera and add some SP depth in Hendrickson. Statistically speaking, as someone pointed out, Hendrickson is essentially the same as Cabrera except with better control and walk numbers. That is an upgrade. At the very least, we exchanged Very Tall potential for Very Tall command. In my opinion each of Andy's moves have addressed multiple issues at once, which is a good thing.

Hey, Pete! Love your blogs!

BTW, it's spelled "prerogative", as in your awesome shirts still do not give you the prerogative to spell incorrectly! (LOL)

This year is not going to look "pretty"? It depends on what you want to see. To me, 2009 will be pretty if:

1. We see continued development towards stardom by Adam Jones;
2. We either re-sign (my preference) Brian Roberts or get a juicy package of players for him;
3. Young pitchers like Albers, Sarfate, Liz, Patton and maybe even Penn turn up healthy, stay healthy and show development/improvement;
4. We get a well-timed arrival by Wieters, who continues to impress at the MLB level;
5. Our bullpen stays healthy, with Ray, Sherrill and Johnson providing steady, productive work;
6. We make a deadline trade or two with players like Huff and/or Mora with expiring contracts and (hopefully) nice stats to entice teams to send more prospects our way;
7. Some of the other minor league talent, from Reimold to the young pitchers (we all know their names, so I won't bother listing them) showing promise, if and when they are ready.
8. We maintain a more consistent winning % through the year, avoiding the collapses down the stretch that leave such a bad taste in our mouths. Of course, a lot of that has been do to injuries.

I think if all that (or most of it) happens, we could be close to becoming a .500 Team, which should be our first goal, even if it leaves us in a fight with Toronto to avoid last place.

Sorry about the spelling. HS English teachers can't turn it off sometimes...


Pete's reply: I'm usually a pretty good speller, but good catch.

Everyone seems certain that the Os are going to lose big the next year or two. Well, there's losing, and then there's losing in entertaining fashion ... quite a difference. Fans love homeruns; fans love offense. Even errors are exciting! So, let's go get us the Majors' most powerful lineup, (a la our '97 club). Here's an opening-day batting order that's still within the Orioles' grasp:

1) Jones CF
2) Markakis RF
3) Dunn 1B
4) Burrell LF
5) Huff 3B
6) Mora 2B
7) Wieters C
8) Scott DH
9) What'sHisName SS

Sign another Freel-like player to go in with him as defensive replacements in late innings. Trade BRob for the best pitcher we can get. Let's lead the league in some positive categories for a change: dingers and maybe walks received -- rather than given. One look at seeing Dunn launch a ball to the Warehouse could make some kid an Os fan for life. "Orioles Magic." Yes, go after Burrell AND Dunn, and let them know that we are planning to keep a "murderer's row" intact till our "kids" are pitching well in The Bigs. That should be AM's plan.

Hi Pete,

Can you provide an injury update for some of our pitchers? Will Troy Patton, Matt Albers, Jim Johnson, and Hayden Penn be ready to go full steam when Spring Training starts?

I personally think that our rotation is going to be semi-decent this year. I think that Olson and Patton are going to step up, and I think that Hendrickson is going to end up being a long man out of the bullpen and occasional spot starter. He's much more effective as a reliever anyway, as a previous poster pointed out.

Pete's reply: I think all of them will be ready to throw in spring training, but they're all big question marks.

I'm a life-long Orioles fan from Canada and I read this page everyday. (BTW Schmuck - love the blog!!) Maybe it's because I'm so isolated from the situation, but the way that I look at it, MacPhail's done a fine job considering the organization he inherited. This was a mess of titanic proportions. A mix of mostly over-the-hill vets and middling prospects isn't exactly a great starting point. The fact that he got the returns that he has is absolutely incredible. Couldn't believe how many people on here were saying "That's all we got" when Hernandez was dealt. Two decent prospects and a fire-eating supersub is a pretty good haul for a vastly overpaid, unmotivated player.

This mess is going to take years to unravel and people need to be patient. It wasn't MacPhail that wasted all that money on the bullpen or signed a bunch of guys that don't hustle or picked a pile of poor draft-eligable players. Give the freakin' guy a chance!! If the Orioles turn out to be anything like the late-80's/early 90's Twins I'd be more than happy!!

P.S. As far as Teixeira is concerned, people should be more concerned with the lack of competetive parity (ie. having salary caps) in MLB than the fact that he spurned his "hometown" team. The problem is with Selig. He's a patsy for the owners and an absolute dud of a commisioner.

Pete's reply: Ian, thanks for sticking with the blog. I agree MacPhail has done okay with what he was handed, but I think people will have a right to expect some results by next year.

Pete: Right now the Orioles are likely to win about 58 games and finish in last place. If they were to spend money on quality free agents, the best scenario is that they would win 73 games and finish in last place, so why spend the money? The answer is that the Orioles are holding themselves out to be a major-league caliber baseball team and charging major league prices. Given todays team, such would be a misrepresentation. The organization is obligated to put a team on the field that is worth paying the price to see regardless of where it will finish in the standings.

"Pete's reply: The O's would have been on the hook for probably $4.5 million for Daniel, who you rightly point out signed for $2.6 million with the Nats. I suppose the Orioles could have gone back to Cabrera with a lower number, but I think they just gave up on him. In this case, I have to agree that there is some inconsistency here, since even I (who gave up on DCab last spring) think he has way more upside than Hendrickson."

Even though Cabrera might have passed a physical for the Nats, I don't think he's healthy. And after year after year of the same old results, what kind of upside did Daniel have left? Daniel might have been reduced to a middle reliever as well.

So the upside for Hendrickson in this case is about the $3 million the Orioles save by stashing him in the pen and ridding themselves of the headache that was Cabrera. Physically I don't know what Hendrickson has left, but if you only need him for an inning or two out of the pen I think that is a better option than 5-6 innings out of him as a starter.

Funny thing is, when he wins or has a no decision he is a pretty decent pitcher. But when he loses he gets bombed. It is a night and day difference for him. I think with a winning record his ERA is under 3.00. On a no decision his ERA is around 4.30. In losing efforts though his ERA is over 8.00!

All we have to do is make sure he never loses a game and everything will be fine.

"Thats three professional pitchers to bridge the gap until the Tillman/Arrieta/Matusz/Hernandez et al era begins."
Add Bergeson to that list and then figure one out of that crew will make it.
At least based on previous hopefuls!

Hey Pete, any reason why these guys have a better shot than the Adam Loewen, Hayden Penn crowd- where only Bedard turned into an Oriole asset?
(Maybe Maine worked out, but not for us!)

Has the minor league system changed anything to help lower the injury count?

The O's should give Mulder a chance. Maybe Kranitz can straighten out his mechanics. They should also sign Garland too.

Get over the Hendrickson signing. He is basically a Cabrera equal or better at less cost and hopefully less temper and embarrassment to his teammates.

It's come to this. Peter Angelos WILL NOT go after good free agents and be competitive, well then lets get busy on signing Cuban right-hander Yadel Marti who just defected and is in an unknown location before attempting to reach the Dominican Republic to seek an MLB career, sources told

Marti was Cuba's best pitcher during the 2006 WBC, but he wasn't given the chance to participate in the Olympics this year. The 29-year-old may not be cleared to play in 2009, but he'll likely get a significant major league deal once he becomes a free agent. SO LET'S GET BUSY ORIOLES ORGINIZATION!!!!!!

"Add Bergeson to that list and then figure one out of that crew will make it."

It is Bergesen, unless there is this new pitching prospect phenom I haven't heard about yet...and I doubt that.

Since they have given up on the season, how about some suggestions on what they can do to generate interest.

a. Trade all their major league players for prospects, like BR, NM, AJ, MM, LS and any pitcher who can throw a strike and call it their 10 year plan.

b. Promote each minor league team one level. Then sell tickets at Camden Yards at AAA prices. $2.00 hotdogs, $3.00 beer.

c. Invite only players from countries who don't speak english, India, Japan, Korea, Russia, any that speak Spanish. Should make for an interesting interview after the game. The coaches would also have fun, although some signals could cause fights to break out.

MacPhail has been on the job for a year and a half. I give him credit for the Bedard & Tejada trades but they were a year ago. What has he done since then? He did absolutely nothing all season. He did nothing at the trading deadline. He has done very little this offseason. At the rate he's going, this team will never be rebuilt because it takes him forever to get anything done. If they're truly trying to rebuild then he should be getting rid of guys who aren't part of the future. Start trading away guys like Mora, Huff, Sherrill and Roberts while they have some value. If you're going to rebuild then rebuild. It doesn't have to take 5 years. It can be done a lot sooner if MacPhail would ever get moving.

As long as the O's don't have another major late-season swoon, and are showing marked improvement by the end of the '09 season, I think "The Plan" will be considered a tentative sucess. Until that happens, I hope the management will not be expecting the seats to be filled, but I, as well as many others will flock back to CY as soon as we're convinced that we have a winner on the field. I'm not a bandwagan fan - I have been an O's fan since 1968, but until we see results on the field, it's simply too expensive to attend the games just to watch your team get beat night after night. I have high hopes for 2010 - and am willing to concede 2009, but let's hope and pray that once 2010 arrives that we aren't in the same situation we are now, with pitching prospects that for one reason or another aren't panning out.

Do you think we can count on Guthrie to start 162 games, if just for one inning per game? As another before me posted, where's Rocky Coppinger when you need him? This coming season could be a catastrophic cork in the snorkel in the O's rebuilding plans. We may have some bricks in place, but pitching is, and always will be the mortar...

There is a new curse in baseball, now that the Curse of the Bambino is history. This is the Davey Johnson Curse, a pox on the house of what once was the greatest club in baseball. Think about it: Davey takes us to two consecutive LCSs, losing one to a 14-year-old truant and the other to Armando Benitez. One of those seasons the O's matched an ancient Detroit team in going coast-to-coast in first place. On the day Davey is named Manager of the Year he is run out of town by Peter Angelos. We have never had a winning season since. Wish I knew how to break the Curse but it's hard to believe it will happen as long as Angelos owns the team. God bless Andy MacPhail. Maybe he knows how to do an exorcism.

Dies ist ein groer Ort. Ich mchte hier noch einmal.

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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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