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January 20, 2009

O's: Losing an Oscar

My friend Roch Kubatko, who will be savagely roasted at Rams Head Live tomorrow night (tickets still available), reported a little while ago that the Orioles have designated Oscar Salazar for assignment to make room on the 40-man roster for catcher Gregg Zaun.

It's a curious move, considering the team has been seeking right-handed balance and Salazar just had a big winter league season. The guy has to go through waivers, so there's no guarantee the Orioles will be able to sign him to a minor league contract.

If I was a conspiracy theorist -- and who says I'm not -- I would be wondering if this move is an indication the O's are close to signing somebody like Ty Wigginton. Otherwise, I -- like Roch -- would have suspected that one of the many marginal pitchers on the roster would have been designated instead. Stay tuned.

One more selfless plug: I'm going to be wicked funny tomorrow night at the roast and you can come down for a mere 25 bucks and hang out with me and Roch and even some real sports celebrities. To buy tickets from the Cool Kids Campaign, email Sharon Perfetti at SPerfetti@comcast.net or go to the Rams Head Live website.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:55 PM | | Comments (25)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Wicked funny? Please...this is Baltimore...not Boston.

This is really a comment about your most recent article. You observe that it is difficult to compete long term against the Red Sox and Yankees. I dsiagree. Unlike the smaller Tampa market, Baltimore and Toronto are very large markets with previous high attendance success. If the Orioles ever field a playoff race capable team (i.e. 90 wins or so), with the added gate and advertising income, they could easily afford a $150 million per year payroll. What New York, and more recently Boston, has achieved is the ability to field teams capable of contending for the playoffs. I am not saying that it is easy to become a team capable of reaching the playoffs, just that if they ever fielded such a team, their increased revenue would certainly allow them to sustain the success.

Nice Major League allusion in your column. Just watched that the other night again (have no idea how many times now).

If Wiggington is close to signing i think it's a great move.

Bad move by the Orioles. Not really sure where he would have fit on the team but he consistantly hits the ball. Doesn't strike out often. But he was a man without a position. One thing the Orioles do need is position players. I think half of the 40 man roster is pitchers. I do hope they do sign someone like Ty Wigginton, a right-handed bat who can play multiple postitions.

Pete,

At least the Orioles don't have to deal with mascot problems.
http://www.azcentral.com/sports/diamondbacks/articles/2009/01/20/20090120spt-dbbaxter.html

"The Diamondbacks have cut ties with the man who played their team mascot, D. Baxter the Bobcat, after he was arrested on suspicion of extreme DUI. Hamilton, who was driving a Toyota Scion bearing the Diamondbacks' logo, had a blood-alcohol level of 0.155, according to the result of a toxicology report. He also admitted to officers that he had smoked marijuana earlier in the day.

The mascot costume was in the back of the vehicle, the report said."

Pete, that's really too bad about Oscar...he was pretty steady, and I'll never forget that HR against the Pirates to tie the game.

But, I guess if this opens a spot for a guy like Wigginton, then that's fine by me...I hope he finds success somewhere, he seems like he has the tools to be of use to a team.

In reference to your column most all of our acquisitions are mediocre. How do you compete with quality teams by acquiring mediocre talent. Is that the plan? We are still not spending money, which does appear to be the plan. Defense and pitching are a decent way to go, lets spend some money on the pitching.

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Pete's reply: The plan is to get to a point where spending that money will make a difference. Spending it now may hamper future inprovement. Case in point, all those contracts they have been waiting out that have players making $8 million at the end of them.

I don't understand giving up a right handed bat at this point. Makes no sense.

AM has some difficult decisions in the next couple of weeks.

Things seem to hinge on Roberts extending. If he doesn't extend, will he be traded for pitching, and Freel moves to second. If Roberts stays then Freel seems superfluous, but would garnish little in a trade.

I wonder if Scott and Roberts would be traded what kind of young solid pitcher we could get back. Floyd from CHI?

I do think we might be able to get someone like Meyers from PHA for Freel and one of our many minor league pitchers. We might even be able op the offer and get Meyers and Donald for say Freel, Scott and a minor league pitcher.

The Phils need to cut payroll with Howard's arbitration request. Meyers is a bit pricey, but we need a pitcher who has some reliability beyond Guthire and perhaps Uehara. Unles we can sign the Cuban pitcher, this may be the way to go.

As to Oscar's departure, I can't udnerstand why Simon couldn'r have been left off the 40 man. He'd easily have cleared. Osacar won't.


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Pete's reply: I guess we'll find out soon enough if there's method to this madness.

Oliver Stone said that it's because the O's are about to get Ty Wiggington.

I'm actually encouraged by this move Peter. It's the first time I've seen any sign that the warehouse may be weeding out mediocrity.

I get the need for right sided balance, but we're talking about a thirty something first baseman with below average power. I know he could also help from the right side at DH, but maybe you're right in that they're holding out for someone better? I know......crazy!

I'll be there tomorrow by the way and now you've set yourself up to be 'whicked funny'.

Pressure's on!

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Pete's reply: Glad you're going to make it. I'll be there early. Come by and say Hi.

I just watched the press conference with Koji for the first time and I'm getting excited to see him pitch this year, but tell me Pete, how in the world will him and "Gregg" Zaun communicate when "Gregg" goes out to the mound?
Also, is there a chance that he could do some broadcasting with his uncle Rick Dempsey on his off days? I read that he worked in the booth while with the Blue Jays.

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Pete's reply: I'll go with Koji's comment. He said he would communicate with body language, but reassured everyone at the press conference by adding "but I like girls."

"Wicked funny?" Are you a Boston reporter in disguise? Or just a Baltimore area fan who has decided to cut their ties with the Orioles and pretend they've been lifelong Red Sox fans?


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Pete's reply: Wanted to see if anybody was paying attention.

Long time reader, first time commenting... I was scrolling through The Sun's Free Agent tracker and one player that I haven't heard ANYTHING about is SP Livan Hernandez. I think it would make sense for the O's to go after a sure-fire innings eater if they really want to give the guys down on the farm some time. Whadduya think?

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Pete's reply: I'll take just about anybody right now, but haven't heard Livan's name mentioned in my travels.

Pete--This move must be a prelude to the Birds inking Wigginton. If not, it is stupid.

Oscar was one of our few bright spots last season. I don't care how old he is, how much his defense is disparaged, the guy can flat out hit. And he has a fearlessness at the pate, a competitive grit.

Do I like Wigginton? Very much so. He plays hard, has versatility, has pop, and hits in the clutch. If he's not coming to Baltimore, don't let Salazar go.

Dave said last year that he doesn't want any of his players to play every game, so if the O's sign Ty, I still think there are enough ABs for everyone. Huff played better at 3B than at 1B in my opinion, so he can spell Mora. Freel and/or Gomez can spell Brian and Cesar in the INF, so I think this is a very good problem to have.

If Huff can put up similar #s in 09 to what he did in 08, I would think this is a guy the O's would want to keep around after the season because you can't compete in the AL without a big time DH. Thome, Thomas, Big Papi, etc., have shown how valuable that position can be.

Pete, I didn't think the O's would give 1B to Huff, on a full time basis, so my question to you, do you think maybe they don't want to mess up his game? I mean, he had an amazing season, so my guess is that why not see if he can do it again as the primary DH without having Huff, worry about fielding and what not. A lot of players say it's not easy tojust go to the plate 4-5 times a game without being in the field, so if you have someone who not only, can do it well, but likes to do it, why rock the boat if you don't have to?

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Pete's reply: I don't think it's that so much as they are just doing as much as they can reasonably do. It's still possible they end up with Huff at first for 130 games.

Pete--Your column "MacPhail making moves this offseason" was a pleasure to read.

I, too, believe Pie could become a fine player in Baltimore. The outfield of Pie, Jones, and Markakis is defensively outstanding. Offensively, it too, may become a thing of beauty.


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Pete's reply: We can only hope at this point. The O's need some thing to go right pretty soon or there won't be anyone to watch them when it finally does.

Pete, other than Markakis & Roberts what position players have the O's developed? Who was the last last one besides Weiters, not a given yet.
No wonder this team is so bad. They have to get players from other organiztions. Name the player I'm missing but I think other than those mentioned the last one was Cal. Way to go PeterA.

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Pete's reply: Which is exactly why Andy MacPhail made player development the No. 1 priority when he got here.

So all you can afford to pay is 25.00 bucks to get us there. OK I am sold! We will be there. You better be wicked funny tomorrow. You can do a Who's on first routine with Roch.

You ever think that Oscar is just not in the plans? Maybe they have what a plan for just four bench bench role players. Gomez, Freel, backup catcher and Scott for DH. Then you have your 13 pitchers. Since Pie will be on the team all year no matter how he performs that would eliminate Montanez and Salazar.

Whereas losing Oscar Salazar isn't gonna damage the organization, I just don't understand why they never gave this guy a chance. He performed at EVERY level and is just a guy who is born to hit! I hope Oscar gets a chance to play in the bigs this year and really does well. He's paid his dues, put up the numbers, but gotten screwed by the O's.

It just goes to show that if you aren't one of Andy's chosen boys or come with a Cub pedigree then there isn't much opportunity with the O's. I think Salazar could have hit .500 this winter and still have gotten cut. I'll be very surprised if he makes it through waivers.

Even if they were close to signing Wigginton, they'd still need to designate somebody else for assignment when Wigginton signed. Why wouldn't they designate the pitcher now and then designate Salazar once Wigginton passed his physical?

Only way it makes sense to me is if there's another trade happening soon with Salazar thrown in as a minor leaguer to sweeten the deal. I suppose since he had a great winter season it's conceivable that another team might want him as a throw in on a trade.

Might want him in a trade!!!??? The guy is at the age in which he would be in his prime. He has consistently led the league he is in in batting avg., OBP, etc. I don't know any other factor that one player could possibly have that would make them a better candidate for the majors. He will produce. WE MUST KEEP AND USE SALAZAR, PLEASE go to www.thebaseballcube.com and look at his stats, help me petition to KEEP OSCAR!

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Pete's reply: We're obviously not talking about the same Oscar Salazar. He is a career .283 minor league hitter who has averaged one home run every 30 at-bats, almost entirely at AA or lower. He has had a couple of real good minor league seasons the past two years, but let's not cannonize him just yet.

First, I would like to say thank you for commenting on my comment, for it is my first from you and a honor. Last year he hit .316 in 443 AB in AAA with 13 homers (which projects to about 20 if he gets a full 580) which earned a promotion to the majors where he still hit .284 while slugging over .500. Huff at DH, Salazar at first, Scott at DH if Huff needs to play 3rd, Freel spelling the infield as well as the outfield along with Scott, all in all it shows durability and depth. Should we not at least be able to get something for someone, I mean typically a plethora of talent works it's way out in the good, not in the form of cutting the depth? P.S. He also led the Arizona Fall League in batting avg.

To Dave who's talking about a possible deal for Phil's SP Brett Myers by sending them Ryan Freel and a couple of minor leaguers. Let's see, the Phillies management could then send us Hamels, and Rollins, and Utley, if we include Montanez and Melvin. Then see, we could trade Roberts for Zambrano and Izturis for Peavy after Peavy waives his no-trade because he loves eastcoast seafood so much.

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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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