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January 31, 2009

Orioles projected roster

The poster who goes by CB Coach wrote in and challenged me to accurately pick the 25-man Opening Day roster, and I responded -- with just the right amount of good-natured sarcasm -- that he should have asked me to do something easier, like pick the right numbers for the next MegaMillions drawing.

Then I started studying the 40-man roster and decided it's probably not that hard. There are a handful of obvious variables, as you will certainly see when you look at my list, but there really aren't that many permutations. (Yes, I could have used the word "combinations" there, but permutations makes me sound more intelligent.)

Here's my projected roster:

pauleygetty.jpgStarting rotation

1. Jeremy Guthrie
2. Braden Looper
3. Koji Uehara
4. Mark Hendrickson
5. David Pauley (right)

Bullpen

LH Closer -- George Sherrill
RH Closer -- Chris Ray
RH Setup -- Jim Johnson
LH Setup -- Jamie Walker
RH Middle -- Dennis Sarfate
LH Middle -- Wilfrido Perez
RH Long -- Hayden Penn

Catchers

Gregg Zaun
Chad Moeller

Infielders

1B -- Aubrey Huff
2B -- Brian Roberts
SS -- Cesar Izturis
3B -- Melvin Mora
Utility -- Ryan Freel
Utility -- Chris Gomez

Outfielders

RF -- Nick Markakis
CF -- Adam Jones
LF -- Felix Pie
LF/DH -- Luke Scott
LF/DH -- Lou Montanez

Obviously, I'm doing some guessing here. I think the likelihood of Braden Looper signing here is maybe 40 percent, but that's probably more likely than Rich Hill coming over and solving his command problems. And I chose David Pauley over Hayden Penn for the final rotation spot, but still think Penn makes the team. My bullpen sleeper is Perez, though I admit it's a total hunch.

If Looper signs elsewhere, I would upgrade Penn to the rotation and bring Danys Baez back into the bullpen mix, but that's a blog entry for a different day.

One more thing: If you're wondering why Matt Albers isn't listed, I believe he will make the club if he's ready, but feel that he'll need a little more time to get up to speed and probably will start the regular season in either Norfolk or extended spring training.

Getty Images


Posted by Peter Schmuck at 1:15 PM | | Comments (112)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

So Bass, Baez and Moore are gone and even Hill if the trade goes through. Is there anyone else designated for assignment/traded for a bag of balls to be named later that I missed?

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Pete's reply: Keep in mind that I don't make the decision for the club. I'm just predicting what I think the roster will look like, and that's factoring in some hunches and the possibility of some injuries.

Interesting post. I hate 7-man bullpens: the 7th is usually a waste of a roster spot on a guy who's not a major league-level pitcher, and also it encourages managers to use too many situational pitchers (the only reason Jamie Walker's still around). But in the O's case it makes some sense as they have more fringe major league pitchers than hitters.

To wit: No Radhames Liz? I guess you're assuming Baez is traded or released, but I'll bet you a Berger's cookie he pitches more major league innings from this point than Hayden Penn.

I have a soft spot for Chris Waters as the long man/6th starter, but I admit I like the talent-challenged guys who try hard. He'll need this year's pitching to be as bad as last year's to get another shot.


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Pete's reply: I think Liz starts in Norfolk because of the numbers game, but I also think the O's go up to an eight-man bullpen in late April, so I'm guessing you won't like that.

I know he is right handed, can play multiple positions and is a "good clubhouse guy", but I am wondering why Chris Gomez is such a lock to make the roster. He is going to be 38 this year and he didn't exactly light it up for the Pirates last year. Why not have some younger players on the major league roster? Why are we looking to the past? I have nothing against the guy, but I would rather see someone else head north on the 25 man roster.

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Pete's reply: Remember, I don't speak for them. This is my semi-educated opinion of what might happen. Lot of water still to go under the bridge. That's two months and 40 or so exhibition games, minor league exhibition games and split-squad games.

Pete, What about Waters?

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Pete's reply: I think he starts in Triple-A.

Pete,

You've got me all choked up as I think about 162 games with this squad, maybe more like ill than choked up! So as predictions are in order, I will predict 95 losses and less than 1.6 Million in paid attendance! Viewership on the MASN network will begin approaching Nationals numbers from 2008!

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Pete's reply: I don't think attendance can -- structurally -- fall that far. You've got about 11,000 season tickets (900,000 total attendance even if they don't use them), 19 games against the Red Sox and Yankees (maybe 500,000 to 600,000 additional tickets sold). I'm pretty sure they sell another 250,000 advance and walkup just by accident and to tourists. I do think they drop to 1.85 million unless they have a miraculous transitional season.

Pete,

No Matt Wieters on Opening Day? Since we are all bracing for 60 win season, some pre-spring training optimism would have been nice! Then again, we can probably wait until the All Star brak to see the reincarnation of Micky Tettleton.

In all seriousness, do you get the feeling that expectations are getting to high for the Wieters?

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Pete's reply: No, I really don't. The guy is projected by scouts and Baseball America to be this or next year's Evan Longoria. I think he comes up in June.

Montanez needs to get regular at bats, and he shouldn't be thrust into this situation. My vote goes to Salazar and a cut in spending.

Adios Jamie Walker.

Wait, what happens with Danys Baez? Doesn't he have to be in the bullpen mix? I realize there's that whole "can he make the rotation" bit, but he has to, unless he's moved to the disabled list or released, make the team in some capacity.

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Pete's reply: I guess that means I'm not betting on him having a very good spring.

Pete-

A healthy Albers would be quite an asset to this team. He seems to be a rather smart pitcher, also one who's willing to be tutored to improve his skills. I'd take ten to twelve wins from him this coming season.

What happened to the idea of making Jim Johnson a starter?

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Pete's reply: I don't know whose idea it was. I'm only making a very early prediction here. One injury can ripple through the whole pitching staff.

Pete,

Any updates on Looper and Hill???

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Pete's reply: I think the O's are waiting for an answer, and they aren't all that optimistic. That's why I said I think it's a 40 percent proposition. I believe the Hill thing will get done next week, but I'm not betting on that experiment being a success.

Good lineup. Decent bullpen. Starting pitching sucks. Sounds like a 70-win season to me.

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Pete's reply: I would probably agree with that, though I haven't made that prediction yet. Last year, I think I predicted mid-to-high 60s and was pretty close.

I agree with your projection mostly, Mr. Schmuck, though I'd substitute Chris Waters in for Pauley at #5 and Brad Hennessey in for Perez in the 'pen. Uehara at #3 instead of #2 is a good idea; he was a closer/minor leaguer in Japan last year, let's remember. Of course, that's on condition that Looper is signed...

As far as the order, I see it right now as:

1. Roberts
2. Izturis
3. Markakis
4. Huff
5. Mora
6. Scott
7. Jones
8. Zaun
9. Pie

What do you predict for the order, Mr. Schmuck?


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Pete's reply: My only problem is with Izturis in the No. 2 hole. Career sub-.300 on-base guy. This might seem crazy, but the best on-base guy of the non-core players is Zaun.

Herr Doktor Schmuck:

That's... pretty much the most flattering picture of a pitcher ever. "Hey, O's fans! I'm David Pauley! It's great to be here in Baltimore! Don't mind me--I'll turn around and shake your hands soon if someone could just light me a match here... *great* party trick I learned up in Boston...."

Looking over your projected roster, though, I have to say that this is far from the worst baseball team I've ever seen. The only real question marks I see are in the starting rotation. Yes, I know that makes them BIG question marks, but I'm still hopeful. This all looks so much better than it did two months ago, and we've still got some time to work!

Nice blog Peter.

I'm really looking forward to seeing what the outfield can do. My expectations are pretty modest - as long as the youngsters improve and stay competitive in games under Trembley's/Coaching staff's tutelage, should be interesting and fun to watch.

Regards.


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Pete's reply: Thanks. I don't have high hopes, but I think spring training will be very interesting.

I agree with everything save one. Please if there are ears listening PUT JIM JOHNSON IN THE ROTATION. If the popular opinion logic were true, then Guthrie would still be in the pen. How can your best pitcher last year not be considered, when you really only have 2 penciled in. You can not tell me getting up and down 5 times a week (or more) is less stressful than once every 5 days (I know they have bp sessions in between). Also if your gonna try and tell me he already had his chance, well that's bs also. From what all the experts said, (ie palmer) the big difference was his length of his delivery being altered. So if this were actually the problem, then now its solved. HALLELUJAH. Also, I know this hasn't been true with the Orioles, but relievers should almost be a dime a dozen. Pitch ONE inning and get out, hell, the specialists actually only get ONE BATTER and get out. If you can't do that, then next in line. Lastly, with Chris Ray coming back there should be enough bp depth to suffice.

Bullpen Setup Options

Ray/ Sherrill
Safarte
Baez
Hoey
Albers
Penn (what the hell, Johson came out of nowhere didn't he?)


With this O's lineup what do you think will be their record? How long should the O"s stick with the Pie experiment before they realize its on their face?

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Pete's reply: I wouldn't scoff at Pie just yet.

No, what I'm wondering is how you can leave Wieters off the roster....

The man's bat belongs in the lineup even if his glove might not (yet).

I was hoping they'd let him DH, similar to what was done with another promising switch hitter back in '77,the legendary Eddie Murray......

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Pete's reply: Why would you DH a guy who is ranked by Baseball America as one of the best catching prospects of his generation?

That's pretty good. I don't really agree with the David Pauley part, but who am I to argue? Anyway, if we don't get Looper, then aren't our chances of getting Hill greater? Also, any possibility of getting both and creating a less putrid rotatation?

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Pete's reply: Sure. I think they do get Hill, but my roster is based on my doubts that they can salvage him.

Pete:

Do you think that the O's won't pull the trigger on the Hill deal, or are you saying you'd rather have Looper than Hill?

If I have to choose between the two of them, I'd rather have Hill (was great two years ago and had great performances in the Cubs minors working directly with Kranitz) than Looper (who is 34 and has had marginal success in two years as a starter after pitching 60+ games out of the bullpen for 8 seasons).

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Pete's reply: I think they do get Hill. I just don't project him on the roster on Opening Day.

Pete:
I think Trembley is going to go with a 13 man pitching staff to begin the season which will add Baez back in and have no spot for Montanez...Baez is 5 million this year..expensive to just cut loose and he could even find a spot in this abysmal rotation (five spot is between he, Pauley, Penn in my view and two of them will likely be in the rotation if Looper doesn't sign here). Lots of runs going to be given up this year.

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Pete's reply: I don't see the sense in going with 13 pitchers on Opening Day, since there are the early offdays.

Good read and decent guess but I do disagree with you a bit. I do not think the Os will sign Looper. I also do not think that Hendrickson will be a starter. He seems to be a better reliever.

Starters Guthrie, Uehara, Pauley, Hill and Hennessey

Relievers LH Closer Sherrill,
RH Closer Ray, RH Setup Johnson, LH Setup Walker, RH Middle Sarfate, LH Middle Hendrickson, RH Long Penn, RH Long Albers

Catchers Zaun and Moeller

Infielders Huff, Roberts, Izturis, Mora and Gomez

Outfielders Pie, Jones, Markakis, Freel

DH Scott

You are left with Baez, Patton, Perez, Montanez, Salazar and lots more guys....geez that was a harder task than I thought. I started thinking the other day that the O's really almost have to many pitchers to choose from all of a sudden, especially if they do sign Looper. There are going to be some broken hearts come the end of ST. It almost seems like the O's may need to make a trade now.

Thanks for that rundown. Where do you see Troy Patton? Is he too hard to predict right now because he's returning from an injury? Any chance we'll see Chris Tillman this year?

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Pete's reply: They intend to start Patton and Tillman in the minors and could leave both down all year. But don't discount the overall quality of the pitching staff (or lack thereof) forcing some guys up late in the season.

Pete,

Next year or the year after is supposed to be the "contention" year according to MacPhail's plan, right?

Honestly, looking at this rotation (and I'm not trying be one of those uber-critical fans here) its one of the hands down worst I've ever seen on a baseball team. Not to mention the only part of the field we have locked up is basically the outfield and the catching spot (assuming Weiters pans out).

How can The O's expect to contending in the next year or two when they have to rebuild their entire infield (assuming Brian doesn't resign, and even if he does that's only one spot) and when the rotation really only has one, maybe two guys in it right now that we expect to see in the future?

I know we have prospects for pitching in the minors, but we haven't seen any of them work out so far and for the newest guys aren't just going to jump to the majors and be 15-game winners right away.

With that all said: are we better off looking at 2012/2013 as an actual "contention" year, assuming MacPhail can stand unwarranted fan criticism that long or is there really enough in place that this team will be ready to smack around C.C. Sabathia, Matsuzaka, Beckett, Burnett, Lester and Chamberlain while our starters hand with the top hitters in the league in another year or two?

Why is Braden Looper in here? We didn't get him yet, did we? Explain please.


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Pete's reply: You didn't read to the end.

OK thoughts on the roster, but the Orioles keep talking about 13 pitchers. If so, Montanez is to Norfolk, and Baez, Burres, MIller or Albers makes the club based onthe spring training games.

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Pete's reply: I think they start with 12 pitchers.

where's Matt Wieters??


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Pete's reply: In Norfolk for two months. This is my take on the Opening Day roster.

I think that Patton has a chance but I think they will keep it slow with him and Albers too at first. With the depth we have now if they get Hill and or even Looper I really see no way any of the youngsters pitch for the O's until Sept unless we get devestated by injuries again but this time we should have better guys to choose from even if that happens in Liz, Waters and more. Of course it could all fall apart if they do not get Hill or Looper...

Your roster includes a starting rotation where 4 of 5 pitchers weren't in Oriole uniforms last year. That's a refreshing thought.

Hope springs eternal and there are a few things I see that make me feel optimistic. If Mora did indeed find the fountain of youth and Huff repeats 2008, this is a very good lineup. Roberts and Markakis are as good as anyone in the league at their respective positions. Izturis is an offensive and defensive upgrade over anyone who played there last year and will provide stability. And Adam Jones really showed some momentum last year. I'm ready for the Pie experiment and just hope to see .270/5HR/60RBI/15SB + stellar defense. Let's not annoint Wieters the savior yet, but I am betting once he gets here, he's an upgrade over Ramon. And Scott is good for 25HR. This offense will score and if the pitching surprises, the team will surprise...

Pete,
You think the Orioles will have two closers? Im okay with it whoever gets the job but to have two closers im not a big fan for that.

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Pete's reply: I'm not suggesting they would get exactly the same number of opportunities. I just think Trembley will be more flexible than to just assign one guy for all of them.

I think the lineup will look like this: Roberts, Jones, Markakis, Huff, Mora, Scott DH, Zaun/Moeller and then Wieters when he comes up, Pie/Freel platoon in LF, and Izturis. This gives us speed at No. 8 through No. 3, and when Wieters appears, power from 3 through 7. As for the rotation, I'd prefer Waters and Hendrickson to switch places, Waters to start; and I think Liz will start too, leaving the last spot for Pauley or Penn.

Hi Peter,
I may be "late to the party" and maybe missed something, somewhere, so please don't scorn me for asking, but what happened to Kevin Millar? Get dumped? Left of his own accord to be a free agent? Signed on as the new bench coach or clubhouse morale booster? The next Oriole mascot?
Don't hurt me...

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Pete's reply: His contract ran out and the club has not tried to re-sign him. He wants to return, but the team told him it is moving in another direction.

I have Patton and Baez in the rotation instead of Pauley and Hendrickson - I’m guessing Patton is fully healed from surgery (is he?).

In the bullpen I’ve Albers, Hendrickson and Waters instead of Penn and Perez - Penn has a history of immaturity, I wonder if he is able to make the step to the majors. I didn’t include Montanez on my opening day roster because the O’s typically carry 13 pitchers and 12 position players at the start of the season.

Pete, like you I’m thinking the O’s will sign Looper and (I’m) hoping someone at the number 4 or 5 slot in the rotation will impress the heck out us.


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Pete's reply: Albers and Patton are supposed to be ready to go, but I think Albers may need more time and Patton probably will be brought along a little slower than you might hope.

I definatlly think Rich Hill will make the club. Its a much better chance to take on Rich Hill, who can be really good, then on Branden Looper but still Looper had a 4.16 ERA which is really good, especially for the Orioles.

I can't see Jamie Walker taking up a roster place when he can't even get one man out most of the time.He's 37 and done. They dropped Bradford last year, a younger and better pircher. Why keep Walker? Baez is costly to drop without trying to get something useful out of him . I say he gets a chance to start. I also agree with you on the early 12 man staff,but can't see Perez. I go with Bass. Otherwise agree with you Pete.

25 Man Roster
Lineup
Brian Roberts
Melvin Mora
Nick Markakis
Aubery Huff
Luke Scott
Gregg Zuan
Adam Jones
Cesar Izturis
Felix Pie

Bench
Ryan Freel
Chris Gomez
Chad Moller
When Matt come up Chad is cut ...and the line will chance to Matt batting 5th and Luke batting 6th.

SP
Jeremy Guthrie
Koji Uehara
David Pauley
Rich Hill
Hayden Penn

BP
Matt Albers LMR
Brian Bass
Mark Hendrickson LML
Days Baez
Dennis Safate
Chirs Ray
Jim Johnson
George Sherrill

Pete, agree in most of your selections,my disagreements are Pauley hasn't shown a thing, Walker is probably over the hill,doesn't throw hard enough to fool anyone, Penn hasn't learned how to pitch yet,still just a thrower,I think Liz will get a shot to start, Albers will be in the pen,hopefully Looper will come,if not then Waters will get another go round, Hill is a wasted deal and space,his numbers are worse than cabrera, could use more long ball off bench, their bats look too much alike , got my fingers crossed that Pie will be able to hit at least .250, otherwise Montanez takes his spot with maybe Salazar getting a chance to show his bat(.351) in the winter league.don't know much about Perez,still got a lot of money in Baez and will probably keep hlm, but think Burress is gone on next cut of course if they change their mind and bring along some of the kids,the season might be a little more interesting anyway .keep guessing Pete you are surprising me with your selections after some of your posts previously.

Pete, youve said that you think that the O's will get Hill, but do you think it will be a good pickup? And who do you think the PTBNL will be?

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Pete's reply: I think the PTBNL will be conditional on how he performs. I believe it's a good pick up because they have nothing to lose, but I have my doubts it will work out all that well.

I know you don't make decisions for the Orioles in the "real" world but here in "Pete's" world you have the final say. I think Andy and Dave shape the Os roster to highlight those players they hope to move at the trade deadline. It's the fastest way to restock the minor leagues. Of course they might not succeed in getting anything of value in return but they should have some marketable commodities. And Andy and his team seem to be able to assess hidden talent. He has to deal with the Cubs because everyone else saw what he did to Seattle and they grab there wallet even if he is only calling them on the phone.

Thanks Pete. Hope you're right about Wilfrido Perez. I saw him at rookie level Bluefield years ago. Pretty darn good.

batting order

roberts
jones
markakis
mora
huff
scott/montanez
izturis
zaun
pie/montanez
starters...guthrie, Uehara, penn, liz, waters bullpen with albers ready to go..albers, johnson, ray, sherrill, sarfate, pauley, and a couple of lefties you can pick em for now. i would like them to try to trade sherrill and jamie walker before the season starts for 2 or 3 good young prospects in the 2 deals. my guess is macphail won't use any of last yrs bowie rotation unless somebody really pitches lights out. and that would be very good thing as oppose to some of the other possible starting pitcher possibilities.

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Pete's reply: I don't see how they would be able to deal Walker for anything. Sherrill has value, but you might want to see what you've got before you start unloading relief pitchers.

Pete,

Jamie Walker?

Surely you can find an Orioles lefty that's better than a dismal 6.87 ERA. Walker is suppose to be a lefty specialist ,but he can't get lefty's out. I can't count how many times Trembly threw him in to get a lefty out in a crucial situation and watch the ball fly out of the park or a no-doubter double down the line. I say if Albers is ready then the spot is his. If not, then why not throw the position to Chris Waters or Alberto Castillo?

My spring training surprise will be Brad Bergesen. If he breaks out do you put him in your 2009 rotation?


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Pete's reply: I wasn't picking the roster, I was predicting it. This isn't necessarily how I would configure it, though I don't think it's far off.

Since you made the assumption that the O's are signing Looper and getting Hill, does that mean you do not think they will sign Wigginton as the righty bat they need?

Though there are many opinions as to who makes the staff on Opening Day, it will be a revolving door all year to see who can and can't cut it in the bigs. Everyone gets a chance at some point unless they get lucky and their Opening Day selections are doing the job. Not likely but one can daydream.

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Pete's reply: Yes, I am predicting they don't sign Wigginton.

What is the deal with Troy Patton, is he going to pitch this year at all?

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Pete's reply: He's supposedly ready to go, but I think they'll slowplay him.

In the Looper vs Hill discussion, one's first instinct would be to pick Hill who has demonstrated more talent in the past. He has been a high strikeout pitcher. But it seems that once a guy looses the location of the plate he often never gets it back. The first example that comes to mind is Rich Ainkel. He never had an arm injury, he just couldn't find the plate again. The same thing happened to Steve Blass who had a great world series against the O's and then couldn't throw strikes. Off hand, I can't think of a pitcher who came down with this problem and was able to recover

Why don't they go with a 3 man rotation and a 9 man bullpen.... starters never go more than 5 anyway so they'll be well rested...

Pete,

Hate to nitpick, but you list Gregg Zaun as Greg Zahn in your roster list.

Just wondering if The Sun does any drug testing.

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Pete's reply: No, but if they did, I would only test positive for cake.

Pete...just want to say you do a great job of replying to most comments which you don't see out of most other guys...I respect that and keep up the good work!!

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Pete's reply: Thanks, I try, though the frequency depends on what else I have to do each day.

Oh God... when does football season begin?

Wilfrido Perez in the bullpen on Opening Day? OK, here's your challenge: Please tell me everything you know about Wilfrido Perez, without consulting with Jeff Zrebiec or anyone else, that makes you think he's going to make the jump from Bowie to Baltimore. Good WHIP? More strikeouts than innings in the minors? You have a better chance of seeing Rosie Perez in the bullpen on Opening Day.

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Pete's reply: His first name, oddly, is spelled with an "i" instead of an "e."

Hey Pete-

When do you think we get Hill, if we do?


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Pete's reply: I'd say maybe Tuesday or Wednesday.

Sweet! 60-102

I would rather chew aluminum foil and scrape my fingernails against a chalkboard for a week, simultaneously, than watch Jamie Walker throw another baseball in an Orioles uniform.

So if the Orioles release Baez, they will owe over $12M to players (Gibbons is still on the payroll) who won't be on the roster.

Pete, I was actually looking forward to the mega millions pick, but you have changed my mind on a few things. Pauley could look good in the spring and may be the 5th starter. The Orioles will go through 2 weeks without needing him and they do not have options so he could be in the bullpen to start the season. With all the money the Orioles have invested in Baez with very little return, if he does well in spring he should get the nod. I was thinking a 13 man pitching staff but they only need 12 for the first few weeks, I believe Scott Moore will make the club again in April instead of Montanez, because of the options.

Looks actually not that bad....until you get to the starting pitching. I don't think Walker makes the roster, why keep him if you can keep someone else whose out of options instead. Really the only thing he's got going for him more than the other guys is he's left handed

I'm disappointed we're not giving Akinori Otsuka a chance.

But hey, that's life as an Orioles fan.

Pete,

The Dude has hit the nail on the head. Figuring after 2009 we don't have a 1B, 2B, SS, 3B or DH, or said a different way, we have a catcher and hopefully 3 OFs, most of our young pitching arrives but you can't expect miracles, I would agree our "contention period" won't begin until 2012 provided the cost cutting/slashing doesn't continue and it might be 2112!

You know permutations is not a good word choice because order does not matter. Technically, you are really doing combinations when you build a roster.

Pete.....You have dumped Baez or cut him..........Do you think the O's would eat the 6 million due ? I know they did with Gibbons, but if Baez is ok it's hard to imagine.......I think Bass would be a better long man than Baez, however.

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Pete's reply: There are other possibilities.They could trade him, DL him and keep him at extended spring training or release him.

Are we ever going to see Nolan Reimold on the major league roster? I'd take him over Pie in a heartbeat!

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Pete's reply: And what would you base either judgment on?

Who cares? It's the Orioles. They'll lose 95 games. Can't wait until the NFL Draft. When do the Ravens start training camp?

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Pete's reply: Obviously, you cared enough to click, and I thank you for that.

I don't mean to be rude, but isn't it "Zaun," not "Zahn"?


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Pete's reply: Yes, my bad, and no, that's not rude.

I don't care who starts and who relieves, as long as they find somebody who can THROW STRIKES.

Another season of watching these clowns walk 7-8-9 hitters and dig their own graves again and again, and I'm moving over to Australian Rules Football.

Pete-

Anyone who thinks this team is going to have a 70 win season should get in line for their distemper shots and saliva tests. I am already dreading the "dog days" come August, when the wheat truly becomes separated from the chaff. Murderer's Row couldn't help this group of starting pitchers. It could get real ugly again (read twelve years) and Trembley will be shuddering every time that phone on his desk rings. The Asbestos King will lay his manacles on the team again. Call it Manifest Destiny for the black and orange.

Wait a minute. What exactly happened to Brian Bass? He's still with us, right? Did I miss something?

Never mind. I missed your last post. Sorry.

Wait a minute! You mean the O's didn't sign Teixera?!?!?

I like the picks but will differ on a few:

Perez- Baez
Looper- Hennessey (working long relief)
Montenes- Donnie Murphy

Moore Bass and Burres are dropped from the 40 man roster for catcher, Murphy and Hennessey

If the O's are depending on Mark Hedrickson to be a #3 or #4 starter it's going to be a LOOONG season for the O's. The gentleman has a career major league ERA of over 5. Getting rid of Olson and DC and then counting on Hedrickson as a starter just doesn't make sense to me. I would guess he will not last til June as a full time starter.

Pete,

To me this roster looks like the worst fantasy baseball team ever drafted. By it's looks, the owner/drafter/GM still has 80% of their draft dollars in their pockets. Ah, that's right the teams name is the Orioles, makes sense now!

Any word about whether Andy MacPhail has come up with a 4-year offer for Roberts yet?

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Pete's reply: Not that I know of, and I wouldn't keep it from you if I did.

Pete, I love the blog.

I'm wondering what your thoughts are on Scott being traded at some point.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I don't know that he has tremendous value, but I do think the O's would consider it if somebody needed him enough to offer something good.

Pete, I think Gomez, Freel and Moeller, are almost locks for the bench, but say we don't get Wigginton (I would like to have him on the O's), who potentially in your opinion, could beat out Lou Montanez for the 4th spot? Pete, the reason I bring it up, is Freel will get a lot of time in the OF and so Gomez is the only viable back up in the INF to Cesar and Brian. Luke can play LF (I know he is our primary DH), so wouldn't it be wise to get someone who could play 3B or 1B? I don't see them high on Moore, but I can't think of another prospect that we have other than Oscar (stretch calling a 30 yr old a prospect), who could fill the INF needs.


...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: The guy who could beat out Montanez is his older alter ego, Oscar Salazar.

The O's would have been a lot better off going after Garko than Pie even if it meant giving up more talent. Garko had 90rbis last year and Pie isn't going to be a run producer. It also doesn' t make sense to keep signing pitchers when we already have so many players who have to make the team.Even Justin Christian would have been a better project in left than Pie.

Peter- Long time admirer of your work and your great sense of humor. I am a friend of Craig Brazell (spring invitee) and hope he gets a real shot to make the team- and think he has a decent chance. He had some impressive numbers in Japan last year and can hit it a country mile. I didn't expect to see his name on your list but wouldn't be surprised if he s there at the end of March. Can't wait to see your reports from Ft. Lauderdale!

...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: He's certainly in play, and a lot can happen over seven weeks of spring training.

Actually, Mr. Schmuck, permutations is correct rather than combinations as order matters. You wouldn't want the center fielder pitching or the 9th place batter batting 4th.

One more thing-I do not look at it as a good lineup. The fact is that will be the lineup like it or not. You hope for improvement from Jones, if not you really you get hardly any production at all from your 6. 7, 8 and 9 hitters. If Huff goes back to his 2007 numbers, or if Mora has injury issues the O's are in trouble. If you look at the offensive side. Hernandez had better stats than Zaun can put up, Millar had better stats than Pie will put up. Our shortstop stats will get slightly better than our 6 headed monster last year. One big key is Jones, if he can improve that will be great. He learned how to hit a curve ball at the major league level last year. If Pie hits .200 or lower in his first 30 games he could see the game from a seat in the dugout and Freel could be out there full time.

I predict the lineup will move Markakis behind Roberts again it really makes sense, why put a guy there that is going to get on base 26% of the time?. with Mora, Huff, Scott, Jones, Zaun, Pie or Freel then Izturis. Freel could move into the 2 hole when he starts playing everyday. I guess the real good thing will be that Wieter's will be up at some point this year and that should add some punch to the lineup.

Defensively they are better, big difference is shortstop. Not sold on Pie, his fielding percentage was not that great. Zaun might throw out a few more runners than Hernandez but really the pitchers have to hold the runners better, and with so many green pitchers that the orioles had last year, that is going to be a tough job. I am sure the coaches recognize that as a weakness and will work on it in the spring before everyone reports. When you add it all up if you get 70 wins and learn something great, if you get to 81 it is a miracle.

Pete: What do you think the threshold of pain will be for Pie? Pauley? If Pie is hitting .200 after 30 games, do you keep playing him. If Pauley is getting hammered (on the field) and he is having a hard time making it out of the third inning in his first six or seven starts, do you think they will keep throwing him out there?


............................................................................................
Pete's reply: That's a good question. I think it's a lot more than 30 games, unless he's hitting .110 and contributing nothing.

I don't think we're getting Looper and I'd give Perez time at Norfolk. I hope I'm wrong, but Jamie Walker could be done, although the lack of lefty options helps his cause (and Perez's for that matter). We should have signed Trever Miller or Jeremy Affeldt. I'd take Moore over Gomez because of age and upside. I'd find a spot for Bass and Waters- on balance, I think both could be the 4th or 5th starter of long man.

Speaking of injuries:
Don't look for Hayden Penn to stay in that lineup this year. I being willing to say that he's in his last year or two, either with the organization or in baseball.
Lou Montanez will win that LF position and Pie will end up coming off the bench, and will sooner than some may believe be off the team.

Pete-

gradyjerome writes that he wants pitchers who throw strikes. What a novel concept. It seems that with each passing season there are fewer MLB pitchers who can achieve that feat. The degreadation of the game is great for the fans who like those 11-10 games, but for those of us who think of ourselves as baseball purists, it's tantamount to a slow death. Warren Spahn, I miss you and what your era meant to MLB.

wow..I am just happy that I am a hockey fan so that I don't have to watch this club until June when the Stanley Cup is over and Weiters is up doin his thing.

You're off the hook Pete. I officially withdraw my challenge to you to provide a compelling argument for keeping Millar as you ably boasted that you could in an earlier blog. -5 points.

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Pete's reply: Sorry, I'll try to get to it at some point. The muse just hasn't struck me yet.

Hi Pete, not trying to be picky or difficult - but as a scientist I just wanted to make the point that "combination" and "permutation" are not interchangeable words - although in the minds of many they seem to be. Combination is a grouping of things in which the order is unimportant. In a permutation, the exact order is very important. A classic example of the misuse of these words are in the "combination lock". It should actually be called a permutation lock since the order in which the numbers are applied is critical.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I stand corrected, though several reputable dictionaries and the thesaurus actually list combination as a synonym.

The starting pitching is still crapolla and looks like no help coming this year. The big question is still the O's best player. It seems that BRob may not have all the options he had before the FA market turned sour. Pete, do you get that feeling?


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Pete's reply: His options remain open, because nobody knows what will happen next winter, but the Orioles are in a tough spot because he doesn't have nearly the trade value he had a year ago. If they can't convince him to sign, they'll probably have to hold on to him in case a contending team suffers a big loss and/or becomes desperate for a top-flight leadoff guy.

Here is my currently projected 25 man Opening Day Roster:

You will note that I have included Hill and not Looper.. The latest news sounds as if Looper will not be signed. If Hill is obtained, there is zero chance he does not make the roster.

Albers was able to pitch a couple of innings in October, and has recently reported no soreness in his shoulder... I think he will be ready come April.

Frankly, this is not a bad 25 man roster... and there is a lot of internal depth for the pitching staff.

When Wieters comes up in late-April, he will give the lineup a large boost...

The O's could surprise some people, this year.


Roberts 2nd
Jones CF
Markakis RF
Huff 1st
Mora 3rd
Scott DH
Zaun C
Pie LF
Izturis SS

Moeller, Montanez, Freel, Gomez

Guthrie, Uehara, Hill, Liz, Albers

Sherrill
Ray
Johnson
Hendrickson
Sarfate
Penn
Pauley

With Bergesen, Hernandez, Tillman, Mickolio, Hoey, McCrory, Patton, Arrieta, Matusz all arms that could help the staff at differing times during 2009.

*Baez traded or released before Opening Day
** Walker traded or released before Opening Day
*** Montanez a 4th OF, vs Reimold a legit prospect that needs everyday at-bats... if Scott is traded at some point, Reimold can take over DH.

Pete,

ESPN reports in it's Rumor page that the O's are still in the hunt for Looper according to the Baltimore Sun. Here is what they said:
The Baltimore Sun predicted that the likelihood of Braden Looper signing with the Orioles is maybe 40 percent.

The newspaper added that the odds of landing the free agent pitcher probably are greater than Rich Hill being acquired from the Cubs "and solving his command problems."

You better be careful how you respond to these posts as now they are official Sunpaper reporting.

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Pete's reply: Thanks for the heads up.

There's another reason to leave Wieters in the minors for a few months that doesn't get discussed much: service time. If you bring him up on opening day (and he stays permanently) he'll get a full year of service time for 2009, which means he'll be a free agent after 2014. If he doesn't get a full year of service in 2009, then he finished 2014 shy of 6 years and won't be a free agent until after 2015. As optimistic as your readers are, 2009 is going to be a winning season, so why not try to hang onto Wieters longer when he'll make a difference?

Note that this is very similar to how Oakland has handled many of its great young pitchers over the last decade.

the reason he didnt put Weiters in the opening day roster is if we wait and bring him up we have an extra year that we have control of him as an oriole. Remember Matt is a client of Boras if you think he is going to sign an extension like Evan did with the Rays. You people are crazy. We will have to compete with the Yanks and the Soxs when this kid becomes a free agent.

If we wait and bring Weiters up in June we get an extra year of control of him in an orioles uniform. If this kid lives up to the hype we will want that seeing he is a Boras client. If you think he will sign an extension with us like Evan did you people are blind. We need to have control of this kid as long as possible and hope we have enough money and are competing by the time he is a free agent. If not then all the Baltimore weiters jerseys will be going to goodwill. Just being real right Pete....

One more thing:

Who are we more likely to get: Looper or Hill?

Or both?

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Pete's reply: Hill, I think, but if you asked me who has a better chance of being in the rotation on Opening Day, I'd say Looper. It makes sense if you think beyond just signing the guys.

Why is Andy MacPhail so high on Pie, and so down on Reimold? What the hell has Pie ever done at the major league level? We need a big bat in the outfield, and that big bat could belong to Reimold

I'm on a question palooza, pete. haha

ok 3 q's

1. how do you think felix will do this year?
2. how do you think matusz will do this year?
3. from what you know, are we after any other pitchers, cause macphail said we are looking at a bunch of pitchers, but i've only heard about two: hill and looper.

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Pete's reply: 1. I think PIe will get 400 at-bats and hit .240, but play good defense. 2. Matusz will start at Frederick or Bowie and be one of the dominant pitchers in either league for the first few months of the season, but fatigue will set in near the end. 3. I think they're still in play for both Hill and Looper. Hill may get done tomorrow.

Pete,

My understanding is that a large part of the reason the Cubs are talking about trading Hill is that he is out of options. GIven that, how can you conclude that the O's will trade for him but not have him in the Opening day roster?


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: They'll have almost nothing invested in him, so they can waive him at the end of spring training.

Good question Steve- I think that he feels responsible for Pie and wants to prove he was not a mistake. Scott Moore seems to be another, that is why I think both will make the club. For me I agree with you, with one exception Pie can play centerfield also. So on paper it looks like the orioles have all positions backed up. Left backed up by Scott and Freel, Center backed up by Pie, right backed up by Freel, Third backed up by Moore and Huff, Short backed up by Gomez, second backed up by Gomez and Freel, First backed up by Moore and Gomez. Not to say that Reimold or Markakis cannot do an emergency job backing up center until someone can come up in case of an injury to Jones. That is the only way I see it. Reimold played most the time in right because of his arm. He has not hit the triple A yet. I guess the Orioles look at it as low risk to have Pie, but Montanez who is also one of McPhail's guys did look good at times last year and he should have gotten a shot this year, but that does not look like a fit now. Pie played almost every game in centerfield so left is still a new position for him, maybe they have something planned, but at times you have to wonder. Getting Hill and hopeful to see Looper will be huge for the Orioles.

Interesting, the Hill rumors are as well. I know the guy had control issues but who knows maybe he will click with Kranitz, hopefully if we get him. I really want to be optimistic about our O's this year but its gonna be hard to make a transition to baseball after my Caps season, for a change. Maybe I'll set my sights low, that way if I'm wrong it'll be a great year.

Pauley's name was included here to stir up some conversation, right? You've not actually seen him pitch, right? It was a WAG, right?

Pete,

Why not move Jones into the #2 hole in the lineup? I really dont see anyone else fitting in there.

...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I've been looking at that slot the past few days and wondering about it, since Izturis is a bad OBP guy and Zaun is probably too counterintuitive in spite of a decent OBP.

Anonymous said, "You know permutations is not a good word choice because order does not matter. Technically, you are really doing combinations when you build a roster."

Actually, Peter is quite correct in using permutations because he is NOT using the word in a mathematical sense, but rather in a journalistic sense. Therefore, permutation simply means alteration or transformation.

On Peter's behalf, I accept your apology.

The with-Wieters lineup is going to be the best we've seen in a long time, if Huff can continue to produce. To wit,

Roberts
Markakis
Wieters
Huff
Scott
Jones
Pie/Freel
Mora
Izturis

now, Trembley probably doesn't play it that way, exactly...he seems likely to put a Mora, or a Freel or Pie in the 2 hole, and they probably will give Wieters a little bit of time in the 5 or 6 or 7 hole to get acclimated. But I would guess that the above is pretty close to the best lineup they could field....and it would be the best one I've seen out of the team since 1997, at least.

Clearly Ben Sheets is still available, and, if he remains healty, is clearly a staff ace on almost any team. If the O's spent a little bit of cash for him, then signed Looper too (although I really am not impressed with him at all) I would think that could possibly vault the O's to a .500 team. They've a decent offense, superb defense up the middle and in the OF. AM was ready to pony up $20mil/yr for Tex, why not spend a 3rd of that for Sheets for a couple of risky years?

Pete, Do you actually think the FA market and the economy will turn around by next Winter? Do you think BRob will turn down an offer by the O's? Unless I missed it, I haven't heard one. Of course, I mean 3/4 years.

..............................................................................................Pete's reply: The O's current offer has been reported as three years for $30 million. There is speculation Roberts wants four years and a little higher salary.

The way you're leaving out some big future names, might Norfolk go undefeated this year?

It;s probably a little late to comment but I thought the "euphoria" by the Baltimore media and O's fans on the Markakis signing was a bit much. Markakis is a super ballplayer and seems to be a great guy. Might make in all-star roster or two, especially with O's needing at least one rep. However his production for a rightfielder, one of the most prolific offensive positions in baseball, is probably only a little above average. I know he brings speed and defense more than the typical rightfield stiffs but to make him one of the highest paid in recent position player contracts doesn't really move the O's that much closer to becoming an above average team. Early in the off-season did we consider penciling Makakis in left or even center and seeking a "masher" in rightfield especially since we have no "mashers" for the other two "masher" positions, DH and first base. (Huff's year was clearly what is called and outlier season). And especially when our offensive production at shortstop and left field are way below average and our production at catcher, 3rd, and 2nd is only average. Before everyone screams, I think Mora and Roberts are great guys who represent Baltimore well but again, compare their average production with the average major league production at those spots. You just can't move a team above mediocrity when you settle for "average" or below and your "anchor" for the future just slightly above verage at his spot (Markakis) Just a thought TC

Don't be surprised if Nolan Reimold makes this team out of spring training. The Os need another right-handed bat with power. Freel is a nice utility guy, but has no power, and I just don't believe Montanez or Salazar have enough talent. Unless they wind up signing someone before spring training, Reimold will be the guy.
Also, I think Hill, Penn and Pauley all make the rotation (w/Guthrie and Uehara). I don't believe Looper will sign here and that's probably a good thing. The bullpen will be Ray, Sherrill, Johnson, Hendrickson, Jim Miller (he is going to surprise some people) and the last two spots will go to either Albers (if healthy), Bass, Perez or Hennessey. I don't see Sarfate, Walker or Baez making this team. I look for Weiters coming up mid-May and Patton getting a shot if anyone falters.

I know this is your prediction on what you think the Orioles WILL look like on Opening Day, but I'm interested to know what YOU would like them to look like on Opening Day. Any changes from your projections?

...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I'll have to think about that some.

Hey Pete, We hear alot about the big three pitching prospects Arietta, Matusz, and Tillman. Do we have any other really promising prospects for the near future? How close is Rowell, Erbe, and Snyder? Others? Also, are they going to move Reimold to another position because of Pie?

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Pete's reply: I think if Patton is still healthy, he's got a chance. I think Snyder has the best chance of the three you mention. Don't know what they are gonig to do about Reimold, but he doesn't fit this year.

One other thought about the up coming season and your lineup/pitching prediction vs the fans' predictions. I can see Zaun starting a lot more games than is generally predicted by the fans post the arrival of Weiters. I can also see Weiters DHing a lot. Catching at a big league level is a, well, it's another ballgame. No one talks about his defense. How is it, anybody know?

Just wondering Pete, as a journalist is it annoying or amusing when people try to correct your spelling and grammer? (As a sports fan I think this sort of thing should be left to people named Francis.)
Great blog, I tried to make a roster myself about 2 months ago and just did an updated version. Gotta tip my cap to MacPhail for his efforts based on these before and after improvements:
1B From Millar to Huff
LF Scott to Pie
DH Salazar to Scott
C TBA to Zaun

Rotation:
1 Guthrie
2 Albers to K Uehara
3 Liz to Hendrickson
4/5 G Olson and H Penn vs. the best of the lot between Pauley/Albers/Hill/Liz/Patton/Penn
(that's my handicapped order)
My only question,
What's the status on Jimmy Hoey?

P.S. I'd also like to nominate you as B-more's "Voice of Reason - Sports version" since you talked me off the ledge when my new favorite traitor Teixeira spat in our direction.

Good work AM-Now I have to revise. I am guessing the O's will carry only 12 pitchers and yes they have some tougher decisions now. Too bad for Montanez and Salazar and Moore.
Orioles Roster
Pitchers (12)
Starters
1. Guthrie
2. Hill
3. Koji Uehara
4. Looper
5. Penn

Bullpen
1. Johnson
2. Sherrill
3. Ray
4. Albers
5. Walters-I am guessing the Orioles will not have Walker make the club
6. Hendrickson
7. Sarfate
Catchers (2)
1. Zaun
2. Moeller

Infielders (6)
1. Huff
2. Izturis
3. Mora
4. Roberts
5. Wigginton
6. Gomez

Outfielders (5)
1. Jones
2. Freel
3. Markakis
4. Scott
5. Pie

Pete: Where will Wigginton get playing time? He has 80 career games at first. Defensively I do not think he is better than Mora at third but he may get time there.

"Peter- Long time admirer of your work and your great sense of humor. I am a friend of Craig Brazell (spring invitee) and hope he gets a real shot to make the team- and think he has a decent chance. He had some impressive numbers in Japan last year and can hit it a country mile. I didn't expect to see his name on your list but wouldn't be surprised if he s there at the end of March. Can't wait to see your reports from Ft. Lauderdale!"

Uhm, maybe you should look at his numbers in Japan again:

.234 .292 .446 with 19 doubles, 27HR, 87RBI, 30BB, 139K. Those are basically Tony Batista major league numbers being posted in Japan. Not good.

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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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