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January 10, 2009

O's: Market strategy?

When the Orioles indicated that they would stand down in the pitching market after signing Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara to concentrate on their remaining position needs, I really didn't give it a whole lot of thought. But there's really no reason why a capable front office staff would have to compartmentalize like that. It's not as if you're talking to Gregg Zaun's agent 24 hours a day.

I don't want to give anybody too much credit, but when Brad Penny agreed to that one-year deal with the Red Sox, the thought crossed my mind that Andy MacPhail might have decided to lay in the weeds and see if the price of free agent pitching continues to drop. There is a pricing point where it makes sense to gamble on recently injured guys, and it's possible that the Orioles are keeping their powder dry.

It's also possible that MacPhail is just being true to the plan. He said at the outset that he prefered to develop or trade for pitching and fill holes with free agent position players. That's pretty much what he has done, though there are a lot of people -- including me -- who would like to see the Orioles step up and sign one quality run-producer to make the offense more exciting.

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Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:43 AM | | Comments (32)
Categories: Just baseball


Did the Os sign Kawakami and I missed it?

What about Mora, Huff and Markakis? I would consider guys who drove in 80 to 100 runs as quality run producers.

Pete's reply: Yes, and I'd like one more to go with them.

Is there a particular run producer you would prefer or predict the Os to get? Or another pitcher the Os might try to sign?

Pete's reply: I'm not championing anyone in particular.

Pete I had a dream last night... the O's were playing washington and Dan Cabrera was pitching for the Gnats. His final line: 2 runs on 4 hits 11Ks and 0 BB. he pitched a complete game. I woke up in tears.

Pete went to WBAL and I was disappointed to hear the football talk.Supporters of this team should have been better than this to embrace a team stolen from another town. I hope they lose today so you can get back to talking Orioles. Chris Gomez signing is more important than some over hyped zero substance football game.You were talking about a bad bounce of the crooked ball, Pete there is no strategy in Football or about as much as you may find in wrestling or hockey.

Pete's reply: The Orioles were "stolen" from St. Louis. The Lakers were stolen from Minneapolis. The Colts were stolen from Baltimore. The Chiefs started out in Dallas. The Twins and Rangers each used to be the Senators. No logic to this town rejecting its football team on those grounds. Go Ravens. We'll have plenty of time to talk baseball soon.

I hate to say it Peter but you can wish in one hand and crap in the other and see which one gets filled first!

Pete's reply: Given that choice, I'll keep wishing.

The Orioles have a market strategy? AM has hardly uttered 1 word since last year so I have no idea what he is doing. His actions sure arent saying much. He opened the vault but failed to sign Tex. Why he cant use that money to sign some decent pitchers is way beyond me. While most teams have their rosters set the Orioles are sitting quiet and still deciding who to sign. Now most of the FA's still out there are signing minor league deals with invites to ST. They aren't coming to Baltimore anytime soon. I keep hearing they want to sign either Gregg Zaun or IRod but nobody is saying anything. The Orioles aren't just going to finish last but they probably will fall off the planet as well. I'd be surprised if they win 40 games this year. The Yankees and Red Sox are buying everything that nobody can afford.

As much as I like to follow the team through the press, the Orioles truly have become irrelevant. It doesn't help them that the Ravens have captured everyone's attention (again) and it goes to prove how successful sports teams can be if they have the right leadership up top. The Ravens have that and always have.

The Orioles have been the butt of everyone's jokes so much for so long that the chance of regaining a shred of credibility is nil. They are all alone now as far as being the worst franchise in sports and can probably compare closely to Football's Detroit Lions. Total and hopeless mismanagement over such a long term. They truly are all alone in baseball. At least Kansas City and Pittsburgh can claim that they simply don't have the financial resources to compete. The O's can't make that claim. Unlike the Tigers from 4 years ago, the O's are not willing take risks and overpay for top players who can truly turn things around, which is exactly what happened to a horrendous Tigers team a few years ago. Angelos is smart though. He hired McPhail who has credibility and can put a spin on things and say he is "rebuilding" when he is actually "cost cutting".

Many people, like myself, have found other things to do with our time and money in the summer, including, as amazing as it may seem, following soccer. Until Peter sells to Cal, the Orioles will have the same relevance locally as the Skipjacks.

Sign Wigginton

And hey what about Pavano getting one year and reddman possibly getting 1 year for what 2.2mil. Give me a break the rotation still has 2 huge holes. I mean this is going to make for another really long summer. If he invested in one of those guys we may have been some what compeditive but this is going to be another dry summer for us and it make me sick. I've been following the 0's for 20 years and I just can't take much more losing. i pay a ton of money to go to the game pay a ton for a burger and beer and this is the best they can do for me. I will not go to a single game this year. You will find me a Ripken stadium.

Pete - I agree it would be nice to see the Orioles step up and sign one quality run-producer to make the offense more exciting, but it doesn't seem to me this should be number one in priorities. Their offense was pretty decent last year (granted I'm counting on Mora and Huff to have the same kind of year they had last year and Weiters to produce immediately), but they number one need should be at least one more starter. Pitching and defense is how they are going to get back to winning. So I hope McPhail starts trading for it because it seems to me the development part isn't as close as some folks think.


When did the Orioles step down concerning free agent pitchers? The last I heard was that Kenshin Kawakami was still being considered, although the Braves is rumored to be close a deal with him.

As for that "one quality run-producer " we'd all like to see added, there's still one monster bat available...Manny! While the Orioles probably won't go after him, they should. Imagine this lineup: Roberts, Markakis, Huff, Ramirez, Mora, Scott, Jones, Wieters, Izturis.

There's an offense that could score some runs. I'd love to see what sort of stats Huff could put up if he was protected by Manny! And to have Ramirez going up against his old team with something to prove; that could be really interesting.

And to be quite frank, there's no other free agent hitter available whose abilities at the plate are remotely close to Manny's. Sign him, Andy!

If you are just now realizing that MacPhail can only do one thing at a time... then you really have slept through much of the last 18 or so months. Having a Psychiatrist and Neurosurgeon on the FO staff would not be out of the question.

Pete's reply: He can keep doing one thing at a time if that one thing is equivalent to the Bedard or Tejada deal.

I was surprised the Astros let go Ty Wigginton...we could find a spot in our lineup for him.
I'd like to see us sign another pitcher. I think the O's have too many question marks - I don't want to have another September like we've had the last few years when the pitchers have worn out and we fall like a rock. We need opportunities for the young guys to fill in - but with so many coming back from injury or previous ineffectiveness...


Any indication as to whether AndyMac feels constrained by da owner? Is he happy in his job? He's gonna succeed Selig, right? So this is just a way station, what I've heard.

Pete's reply: I assume he'll be here through next year. I've heard the same stuff you have about replacing Bud, but who knows?

With a lot of teams having maxed out their budgets and a lot of free agents yet to be signed, do you think there will come a day soon where some respectable free agents will consider the O's? We have some money to spend and plenty of at-bats/rotation spots to offer. I see us as becoming more of a realistic destination as prices continue to drop and these guys see a decent paycheck and a starting role available in Baltimore.
BTW- Great 'carpe diem' column on the Ravens. You are right on the money.


When rebuilding and we'll use that term losely, most teams try to get younger, trade older vets for younger and multiple prospects and basically fill holes with what's available to buy time until their own prospects, all pretty basic stuff!.

So without Andy actually articulating anything, I will suggest this isn't a rebuild it's a selloff! At the end of this season we will be without a 1B, 2B, 3B, DH and for the most part SS and still need 4 SP to back up Guthrie. Noted, we have pitching prospects who may be ready in a year or two. But who is filling the aforementioned holes? We have one "for sure" position prospect and if you noticed I didn't list catcher! NINE Major pieces to which there is NO ANSWER. And were signing Gomez, Freel, Isutris, Hendrickson and our new Asian addition? Am I missing something? None of the aforementioned acquisitions are in or headed to their prime. None of these guys would be bench players if/when the O's become competitive. None of these guys can/will make an impact on 2009 or 2010 record, so what's the point, PA and AM are buying time? I believe the Oriole fan base is being sold a bill of goods, that were to continue supporting an inferior product when the road map or "PLAN" doesn't appear so clear! Enough of the Coolaid drinking, it is what it is and at this juncture it looks like a sham, it walks like sham and sounds like a SHAM! Too many proven but questionable players have signed at reasonable prices with incentive contracts and where were we? Sheets, Garland and Dunn are still there for the taking, but SHAMO's are looking at Looper, Byrd and Sexson???? SHAMO's - pass the Cool Aid!


While I truly appreciate you unabashed loyalty and support for AM :Pete's reply: He can keep doing one thing at a time if that one thing is equivalent to the Bedard or Tejada deal." Richard Nixon opened the door to China and that's not exactly what he's remembered for. In other words what have they done lately. Since the goal is to be competitive and/or win I don't exactly see what it is anyone is so enamored by AM. He made two great trades for Tejada and Bedard and a very good one dumping Ramon, but unless it makes us competitive/winners or even .500 I'm not beating the drum for the guy. Now from Peter Angelos' perspective AM is the best GM ever as he continues to add to PA wealth! See the trees past the forrest!

Pete's reply: I thought the goal was to be competitive and win for an extended period of time, which requires a different strategy than signing a bunch of expensive, short-term guys now.


The last time I checked, you have to win the first one to get considered a dynasty! I'm not disagreeing with your statement, but not all acquisitions should be looked at as short-term stop gaps if your trying to progress. Dunn, Garland and Sheets are young enough to be around a while, unless Silent Andy is saying through silence that no players on our current roster will still be in MLB when the O's are expected to become decent, so everyone to include Adam, Nick and Guthrie should all be on the trading block! I understand the rebuilding concept, but the Baltimore Orioles are a Professional Baseball Organization (or are supposed to be) and while it might be classified as a job to play baseball, Professional Baseball I believe is a form of entertainment in which fans pay huge sums to view and the product on the field doesn't look to be very entertaining! I believe you can rebuild and field a competitive and entertaining team. So for instance, lets hypothetically say the O's believe they could be competitive in 2012 when a bulk of their pitching should be in Baltimore. Spending money in 2009-2011 which will come off the books before the GRAND YEAR of 2012 will make it available in 2012! I believe the Warehouse looks at it more like, if we can't be competitive NOW, why spend now. Well the why spend now is to keep the fans coming to the park and to let free agents know we are trying to win. All of a sudden 2012 is upon us and free agents during the winter of 2011 will still be saying, why would I want to play in Baltimore they've never shown a committment to winning! I want the O's to win as much as the next guy, I just find it frustrating were signing all these bottom of the heap kinda players and the warehouse expects the fans to buy into some mysterious plan. That would be a tremendous leap of faith to which I'm not drinking that cool aid!


If the goal isnt to win a championship every year then what is the point?

Pete's reply: That would be the Yankee philosophy, but the point is to get in position to win year in and year out. There is absolutely nothing they could do this year that would make them a World Series team. They could spend $500 million on free agents and it wouldn't be enough. You have to build the foundation so that those acquisitions put you in position to be a yearly contender. Otherwise, those expenditures inhibit your future.

So if we accept that the franchise was in much worse shape than anyone cared to admit before hiring MacPhail, and that it will take longer than a year to turn things around we are drinking the kool-aid? Yes, it would be nice to see some first rate pitching signed, but there's nobody out there that is a sure fire bet to turn around the rotation. At this point the Orioles would still have to overpay to get anyone decent.

As for some of the names mentioned - Manny? Please. Why not Barry? He'd cost less and wouldn't be much more negative in the clubhouse. Pavano? His last 7 starts last year he averaged less than 5 innings per start, and had a 5.77 ERA for the year. That's supposed to be an improvement over what we already have? If you're Tim Redding, would you rather go to the Mets or the Orioles? At this point, Adam Dunn is one of the bigger bats out there, so naturally his price is going to be the highest. Big bat, not so good in the field. If the price is right, he'd make a good pickup. But he will also command a longer term contract, and I don't know that he is the right guy to give a long term deal to.

I am an Orioles fan. That means I root for the team, and will try to get to one or two games a year. The number of games I go to has more to do with my cash flow situation than it does the performance of the team. For others who don't want to pay to see the team in person, that is their choice and their right.

For all the things Angelos has done that I don't agree with, ever since he hired MacPhail he has seemed to not be the issue. I don't believe he doesn't want to win, because he knows if the team wins its value goes up. There is a greater chance of his selling the team AFTER it gets good than before. And I don't for a minute believe that Cal would overspend on payroll if he bought the team because he would not have as deep pockets as Angelos does. Cal would run it as a business, understanding the need to invest, and to get a return on investment. That doesn't include unlimited spending for MLB payroll.

The negativity here is really ridiculous. You people act like this stuff is relevant to your daily life. Let Macphail do his job and you go and do yours. If you don't want to support the home team, quit the constant whining and root for the Phillies.

Just stop with the constant crying and let the rest of the offseason play out. I'd love to have a pitching staff of a bunch of young fellas and so would many other O's fans.

And Peter, I love your insights most of the time, but the last thing this team needs is to get some temporary expensive run producer when we have every right to think the lineup will be just as potent next year.

Go O's!! Andy is following the plan, and if you don't know what it is, I am glad you are not the G.M. and you don't know enough about baseball. There, now I feel better.

Oh yeah, Andy, if you read this, Trade Roberts. I hope that is still in the plan.

Pete's reply: They probably will go with this offense, but I disagree it doesn't need improvement. You're banking on another career year from Huff, a breakout year from Montanez or Salazar and no decline from Mora. I hope you run that table, but those are some long odds.


Great insight or is that more negative whining? On the trade Roberts note, I would suggest you follow your own advice and let Andy be Andy and don't quit your day job!

Do you understand the concept of a blog? Or is it everyone is to fall in line with the company line, accept failure, attendance plumeting and everyone be happy about 100 losses? Since this is a blog your opinion is appreciated along with everyone elses good or bad, but I would presume that since your reading all this blah blah stuff it must be relavant in your daily life! As far is rooting for Phillies, I live in PA and have rooted for the O's for more than 40 years, but I will give Philly fans and their media coverage credit for one thing, they don't go along to get along and they object to bad ownership, bad front office deals and bad play! And if you think that's bad, who won the last world series?

Pete - if one more person writes about the Orioles failure to sign Texiera I'm gonna puke. He made it very clear in his Yankee press conference that he was going to one place only. The other teams were just bargaining material. I'm hoping McPhail is ultimately vindicated in a few years but with current ownership it is definitely a challenge. It all starts at the top.


While I wouldn't mind seeing the Orioles sign Adam Dunn (1 homer every 4 games sounds really nice), I do think that our offense will improve without him. Izturis is a more solid hitter than Castro, Bynum or Fahey. Zaun is a decent hitter, and Wieters will be a much better hitter than Ramon. I also think that Adam Jones will improve this year, as will Luke Scott, since he has a year in the AL under his belt.

Before we get all "lynch mob mentality" here, let's try for just one second or so to forget the "I hate Pete" (Angelos, not you, Mr Schmuck) banter, and take a look around at what all the "buy everyone you can, at whatever price" logic has allowed the Yankees to accomplish in the past 8 years. Now I understand we have 11 or so losing seasons in a row, but to quote someone whose name I can not recall, "2nd place is the first loser", meaning there are 29 other teams in the same position as the O's every year, including our beloved "neighbors to the north". So, let us give Mr. MacPhail a chance, to see "exactly" what, if any plan he has before we accuse him of being just a "cost cutter". How long has it been since Oriole prospects showed up in the "players to watch" column? When were we last mentioned as a player in the far east? So, go, write your vindictive diatribes about how poorly the O's are run, and how much better a job you (who have all the answers) could do, but don't forget to continue to hide behind your "nom de plume", because in a year or two, when it is evident this team has truly turned the corner, you're going to tire of all those "crow sandwiches".

Go Andy,
Go O's!

Don In Indiana


You have far too many Republicans on this blog! Why do I say that, because of the way folks want to make their points. ""buy everyone you can, at whatever price logic" I quite honestly haven't heard that argument once, but if Republican (and I am one) ever gets into a discussion they draw on the worst possible scenerio! I believe the banter as Hoosier Don refers to is the cry for Quality not quantity versus buy a lot and spend a lot!. Prospects are what Don is referring to with players to watch, but how many prospects have the O's had that actually panned out? I certainly don't have all the answers and I'm not sure AM has them all either. But Don, don't put words, particularly incorrect words in peoples mouths! There are good acquisitions and there are bad ones, I think most people on this blog question the productivity of "cost cutting" by acquiring the cheapest players available vice quality additions. And I'm certain based on the acquisitions of Freel, Hendrickson, Izturis, Zahn , Sexson will all make your humble pie taste better!

Pete's reply: Keith, I'm scratching my head trying to figure out the political connection here.

Can we cap Keith Rowe to one post per blog?


Just making the point when having a discussion, the discussion goes nowhere if one or both parties go dropping the big one. I find that Republicans use this strategy all the time, thus nothing get accomplished. The blogger was saying "buy everyone you can, at whatever price logic". No one on your blog made that analogy, merely most talked about quality acquisitions versus quantity. To that point to make such a statement basically eliminates good productive discussion. The same can be said of the Republican position on Stem cell research, they go dropping the big one about cloning immediately and a productive discussion never occurs! Hope that helps!

Pete's reply: Yes, it does, but both Republicans and Democrats to that, depending on the issue.

You have to build the foundation so that those acquisitions put you in position to be a yearly contender. Otherwise, those expenditures inhibit your future.

Look at what Rowe says this is precisely the point. They are not doing it they are dumping salary. In 2010 we need a DH,1B 2B, 3B, and in 2011 a SS. Just what plan is in effect to fill these. In rebuilding you acquire quality young players for positions of need. I don't see that this off season, I see acquiring mediocrity that fills none of those positions but is cheap. There are good young players of quality in this free agent class that would further our rebuilding. It only reguires money. Next year's class is not as good.

Position wise our farm system is close to empty, there is nothing in place there to rebuild with. We have 3 good young pitchers but if all 3 don't turn out to be 12-15 game winners, we might not compete until 2025.

The truth as evidenced by the facts is Angelos won't spend. To save the team we need to boycott it, only then will he sell. We also need a concerted effort to the tax authorities to have the Orioles taxes raised. They have a great tax deal based on the implied idea they will reinvest it in the club. Its going instead to Angelos pockets. Lets take this gift away.


You had a response from Frank, who stated that he has found alternative ways of attending sporting events other than going to Orioles' games.
He mentioned soccer as a new you think Frank could include me on his "alternative events" list? I just get so tired of the Orioles coming up with new versions of what ultimately pans out to be gussied-up spins on regurgitated mediocrity...frustrated? Yeah, I'm losing faith that this organization can ever rectify past mistakes. Hurts to say it, but it's heartfelt...

Pete's reply: If soccer does it for you, I applaud you for finding a workable alternative.

who is this texeira fella you keep referring to? Is he the new fella they got to wear the big orange bird suit??

Anyway, I am on the fence on Roberts. I guess it depends on an overwhelming offer with MLB ready player(s) and if we can sign him or not. The longer we wait to trade Brian, the less we will get in return. Either sign him or trade him before spring training, or you could possibly get next to nothing, because by then I doubt Brian will pass up free agency (unless he gets a major injury).

I'm not sure what big bats/run producers are left on the open market, or are available via free agency. I guess anyone can be had for the right price.

Zaun is a good short term signing. IRod would have been an overpaid mistake, he doesn't want to play here anyway, look at the other few times we tried to get him here, we had "confederate" money! If he wants to come here now, he must be desperate.

Keep up the good work, Schmuck, love the frequent blog topics!! Makes my day go faster.

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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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