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January 16, 2009

O's: Plugging away in the Warehouse

Here's a guest entry from Orioles baseball writer Jeff Zrebiec:

The Orioles continue to have conversations with their three arbitration eligible players in hopes of reaching agreement on deals before both sides file salary figures on Tuesday.

Outfielders Nick Markakis and Luke Scott (right) and reliever George Sherrill all filed for arbitration on Thursday. Page Odle, Scott’s representative, said that he has been in negotiations with the Orioles on Scott’s 2009 contract.

"We had an offer from the Orioles on Tuesday and Luke has had me counter back with an offer [yesterday]," said Odle, who has been negotiating with Wayne Krivsky, special assistant to club president Andy MacPhail. "At this point, we’re having some pretty positive dialogue. I don’t know if anything is going to get done before exchanging numbers or even after exchanging, but we’re having some pretty positive conversations. I feel like they’re trying and I know we’re trying on our end. We’re just allowing this process to work itself out."

Odle said that he is also in discussions with the Orioles about another of his clients, free agent left-handed reliever Will Ohman. A member of the Atlanta Braves last season, Ohman, 31, went 4-1 with a 3.68 ERA in 83 appearances. Ohman, who held left-handers to a .200 average last season, is also receiving interest from the Braves, Arizona Diamondbacks, Cleveland Indians and Texas Rangers. He has two contract offers on the table, but the Orioles have yet to extend an offer.

"We’ve just been talking," Odle said of his conversations with the Orioles. "No offers have been made, but there is interest. We’re having meaningful conversations. They are staying in contact."

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Posted by Peter Schmuck at 5:15 PM | | Comments (36)
Categories: Just baseball


Add as many quality BP arms as you can, with our projected starters, we're going to need them...

Why even care about these jokers? I use to go to at least 12 games a year up to 5 years ago. To hell with them.

Peter or anyone. Thoughts about if or who might still be signed to be a SP?
Wolf? Looper? Garland? Byrd? Any rumors floating about?

Byrd and Wolf would be good just for their names.

Peter - seriously... the Orioles have GOT to get out of the habit of taking their players to arbitration. This is ridiculous.

It only sets the seeds of resentment and discontent... and when they're finally eligible for free agency is it any wonder they bounce?

Just because a player is "under team control" until whatever year (a FAVORITE of the Orioles writers and management) does NOT mean they *should* take them & treat them as such.

Boston, for example, hasn't taken a player to arbitration for years... and they seem to not only WIN... but keep their players. (I do NOT want to hear about payroll... if Angelos doesn't think Markakis should avoid arbitration and be given 5 or 6 million then SELL THE DAMN TEAM and let us fans have someone who will).

I'm embarrassed to be an O's fan sometimes. It's getting ridiculous.

the orioles can easily solve their contract issues with the players mentioned in this article. they have the 140 plus million dollars that they offered to tex. there is no need to hear or read about how they hope to sign these players. the orioles seem to be the only major league team for some reason can not get the job done while the others are moving full steam a head.

Pete's reply: C'mon Leonard, you know it doesn't work that way. Just give them what they want because you didn't sign Tex? That's a prescription for another 11 losing seasons.

We've been told for months to expect Markakis to get an extension. All the Sun writers have said he wishes to stay in Baltimore (and of course the fans are skeptical of any good news wrt to the Orioles). Is that still the case and does an extension get done?

Personally, I find the delay with Markakis to be more aggravating than the Tex circus. Markakis is a bird in hand. I hope Angelos understands there just isn't anything happening to excite the fans. Maybe he feels he can put enough Red Sox and Yankees fannies in the seats to turn a profit.

Pete's reply: I think you have to let it play out. It's just business and there are still four weeks until spring training.

Good Point Rich

Getting Nick under long-term contract might well be the O's biggest off-season move. It should be at the top of their agenda in the Warehouse. Screwing up the Tex deal was bad enough. If these guys don't lock in Nick and he walks in 2011, I will simply stop supporting this team that I have given over 40 years of devotion to. I support Andy's plan for "rebuilding" but I am a little confused (and dismayed) with the idea of possibly not signing anymore SP's for 2009 and instead going with last years flock of wannabees as reported by I am hopeful that Koji will make a name for himself in MLB (a good name, that is), but I don't get a warm and fuzzy feeling about Hendrickson. I hope I'm wrong there. Andy must see something in last years crop that the rest of us just don't see. Apparently PA is OK with where we are at this stage and that is another thing that doesn't give me a warm and fuzzy feeling. In fact, it is downright scary.

What are we actually plugging away at? What have the Orioles done this off season while others have traded and signed real ball players? Nothing, we are below medicracy and we score an F for off season activity. But thats right we are planning for the future. Zaun? Izturis? A 34 Year old Japanese pitcher has already fallen from his prime in Japan. Awesome, we wouldn't want to get real players and pay real money, lets spend the least amount possible. Well you know what they say, you get what you pay for. Hopefully no one pays to see a game. I won't, nor will I buy a new Baltimore jersey till it means something.

this is a bit off topic,but where would the top players contracts be if we didn't have scott boras thowing a monkey wrench into things with his type of games he likes to play.

Pete's reply: Smaller.

I think Scott is a little overrated -- not much defense, way too streaky a hitter. He went weeks without contributing at the plate.

all i can say is that we are going to the series this year!!!!! my god we god zaun and a no name ss!!! Oh and i forgot the 34 year old asian pitcher that most teamd touted as a bullpen guy... but he will be an awesome number 2 starter!!!! who is going to beat us????? we are an elite franchise!!!!!!! god its great to be an orioles fan!!!!

I found these comments interesting in relation to the salary cap issue.

Cubs Chairman Crane Kenney:
"I have no problem with what they've done," Kenney said. "They've done it within the rules, within the confines of our agreement.

"And if you look at the reality there, they've got a $1.3 billion stadium coming online," Kenney said. "They were probably relying on Wall Street to fill a lot of those seats. And they missed the playoffs for the first time in 13 years. So their reaction is probably similar to what I would do, which is, you've got to put a compelling product on the field when you open the doors of that new ballpark, and that's what they did."

"There's no question that, a market like Pittsburgh, a salary cap would be advantageous," Pirates owner Bob Nutting said. "You see opportunities, whether it was Tampa Bay, whether it was Colorado the year before, there certainly is a model that teams with lower payrolls, smaller markets have succeeded, can succeed, and that's where we need to focus our attention," Nutting said. "We need to find ways to succeed in the current economic environment, and we're not going to use the hope of a salary cap as a crutch or as an excuse."

Baseball might benefit from some form of a salary cap, but it also needs needs to get rid of incompetent front offices. I have a hard time feeling sorry for the Orioles when they have $8.2M tied up this year on Jay Gibbons and Ramon Hendandez. Only the White Sox are we more with Jim Thome, Orlando Cabrera and Pablo Ozuna. The Dogers will owe over time, but only $5.3M this year on payroll obligations for former players, mostly Andruw Jones.

There is good study at that compares payroll to wins.

It concludes with the fact the link between payroll and playoffs has gotten weaker over time. Of the 16 teams that made the playoffs in 1998 and 1999, 14 were in the top third of payrolls. In other words, 70 percent of the high spenders made the playoffs in those years while virtually none of the lower two-thirds of spenders went anywhere. But that was then. Since the start of this decade only 40% of top third of spenders have made the playoffs since the start of this decade. In fact, the top payroll teams in 2008 (Yankees, Mets, and Tigers) all failed to reach the post-season.

Well that would be the end of one left handed specialist in Baltimore if they sign Will Ohman. Not a bad thing,

Let's see, what will this yearbe , 11 straight years of losing? I can't believe there are people in this organization are trying to hype the fans with a 33 yr old Japanese pitcher who was demoted to the minors last year. Is Mcphail really Jim Jones trying to convince his followers do drink the Kool-Aid! What a joke!

Is anyone taking bets that the Bird's actually have a real chance to go 20 straight years with a losing record?

You gotta love agents. Clearly MacPhail would prefer agents not discuss things in the media. But as stated, 'the Orioles have yet to extend an offer'. This is clearly an agent's attempt to ratchet bidding by the other teams as well as possibly highlight the O's failure to bid so far. Pathetic, these agents are. Pathetic.

Clearly the last piece of the puzzle for this team is to add a lefty relief specialist to a multi-year deal. That worked out great with Jamie Walker, right?

It must be great to be a fan of a quality organization like Boston, where guys like Youk and Pedroia sign extensions without having to hear about the negotiations for a year like Markakis. Letter to MacPhail, you're negotiating a contract not saving a life or negotiating an asbestos settlement. It doesn't need to be this hard and time consuming, despite what this organization would have you believe.

as many loooooong relievers as possible are needed...pretty good
group of short ones already

It's a long road..this rebuilding stuff...but even though it's obvious our starting pitching will be a weak spot I'm still excited to see our new Japanese import, Guthrie and Patton. The last 2 spots are wide open. I'm also excited to see Adam Jones continue to develop, Markakis, Scott, Izturis play d, Roberts in a cintract year(and what we can get for him). That being said we'll probably win about 70 games.

Yes sir, keep on plugging away.

Sign Ohman and Whittingham ....NOW!!!! Then get Robert's and Markakis signed and let's head to spring training and get it on!!

Jason; What part of McPhail having already offered 20 million more to Markakis than the Bosox gave to Pedroia don't you get?

Did the news that it was Markakis that called a halt to the negotiations with the Orioles so he could sit back and watch what direction the free agent was going to go not reach whatever deserted island you've been on for the last few months?

Markakis is a top drawer ball player. He WILL be paid (thru arbitration or otherwise.) He wants to win.

IF Markakis extends it will be with an escape clause after 2 or three years so he can split if the O's are not contenders.

The big problem with the O's is that they punk out when it comes to bidding for stars and then they panic and overpay mediocrity. Everyone complains about Albert Belle, but he gave the O's two solid years prior to his career ending prematurely for medical reasons. Remember what they paid Segui? He was overpaid after the O's did nothing in the off season and Angelos decided that he had to do something. The only player who laughed himself to the bank as much as Segui is Pavano (fortunately on the Yankee coin). Yeah, Roberts and Markakis should be extended, but not for more than Pedroia and Yonklis got from the Red Sox. The O's should also go after people like Abreu, Oliver Perez , Sheets and Wolf for high one year contracts allowing them to test free agency in a year when the economy might be better. And we should stop the nonsense about starting Wieters in the minors this year. Any other team would be touting their great rookie rather than basically dissing him. Zaun as opening day catcher indeed!

With all the moves the Yankees, Bosox have made not mention Rays, I guess we got them where we want them. Am I missing something, did MLB issue a salary cap?? At least give me Ben Sheets and a bat. Please, this is getting absurd.

This organization is a total mess.If I'm Nick's agent I'm telling Nick to hold on.The big pay day will come when you leave Baltimore.

Natural Mystic - Angelos just told me he was embarassed that you are a fan of the team. You say the Orioles should should admit that Markakis i s worth 5 or 6 million? They were called lowballing when they offered him that and supposedly their last offer which he turned down was for 6 years, 60 million. At the time the reigning AL MVP, similar in age to Nick had just signed a 6 year contaract for 2/3 as much. So if anyone is ridiculous here, it is you.

The Orioles offerred what appears to be a fair package to Markakis. With that being said, it apparent that he is not overwhelmed with signing a long term commitment to the Orioles.

The Red Sox have made some signings for amounts that some think could be be considered great deals for the team. That is what part of what takes place when you have players that are in a winning enviroment and have front office perosnnel like a team President and an Executive Vice-President/General Manager thar are very capable and successful. While Theo Epstein and Larry Lucchino have their differences, they work with the owner to make the best business decisions. They have ventured out of baseball (Fenway/Rouse Racing, New England Sports Ventures) and use that revenue to run a team in right way.

With the resources the Orioles have, they do almost the oposite. Concerts are turned-down by the Orioles and Fantasy Camp was cancelled this year. It's the probably the first time in 25 years they are not having it. Other teams are having large attendance in theirs, so the economy is not an excuse.


I somewhat chuckle at the comments by AM earlier in the year that we were using Tampa Bay as our model. So now we have 3 arbitration eligible players when if I recall at about the six week mark of his major league career, the Rays signed Longoria for like 6 years?????? Ask Nick if were like the Rays, ask Brob if were like the Rays. No were like the Pirates and the Royals we create animosity with our own roster with arbitration, we will irritate Boras and Wieters by keeping him down til mid season for arbitration purposes and we will continue to run off our own players, *(see BJ Ryan and Brob)! And we wonder why attendance slumps and no credible Free Agent wants to play in Baltimore? Our situation didn't happen overnight and it isn't going to be fixed overnight, but we have to start now. Sign our players, show a committment to winning and lets move forward. I would better phrase the Warehouse as stepping all over themselves! Why wouldn't our own Free Agents want a premium to stay in this purgatory when every other major leaguer wants the same premium to come here, our guys know how cheap we are! 100 losses and attendance less than 1.5 Million!

People, Markakis is the one who turned down 60 mil and stopped negotiations, but it's so much easier to blame the O's front office for everything from global warming to the economy. Nick can sign or not, but this "lowballing our players" is as dumb as the "I am not rooting for the O's anymore because they didn't sign Tex." If your wife/husband/boyfriend/girlfriend, changes their #, changes the lock and moves out of state, do you think they still want to be with you? Tex NEVER wanted to be here. PERIOD!

Why do you guys care if Andy plays things close to the vest? Would you prefer that he do a puppet show and explain that he inherited not just a club, but an organization that was in shambles, as that would be fun to watch. Andy is our best hope since we dumped Pat, so if you want someone to promise you things, see if Flanny can come back and spend another 40 mil on the BP, but if you want someone who doesn't blink in a trade or knows what he wants, then give him a shot and see what happens.

Amen to Keith's comments!

Birdbrain Todd,

Your comments have been noted, AGAIN! Are you on the Orioles payroll to defend the status quo or what? If you would just leave your own original thought every once and a while and quit worrying what the rest of us think! This isn't a changing hearts and minds editorial page, merely a blog to express each of our opinions. Why shouldn't Nick want a premium to play in Baltimore, every free agent does and Nick has been here for a couple years and knows what a pathetic organization he's in! Now we need to sign Adam Jones up long-term and get this long term plan moving! But please stay off the AM Kool Aid, no apologists needed here just some originial thought!

I don't want a winning team--I want a playoff team. And the only way we can do that in the AL East is the way the Rays did it. Don't spend the money on a one year-rental of Sheets and others--spend it on the Boras draftees everyone else is afraid to pay for. Find yourself a few gems in the draft, fill the squad with homegrown talent, grab a couple of young studs for B-Rob and THEN pay for a Tex-type player or two (maybe then they won't think it's Confederacy money).
We won't be able to beat Bos or NY (or now TB) bringing in a few pricey FAs right now, so use the limited resources (compared to Bos/NY) wisely.

Go Ravens--we're rooting for you here in Colorado!

Keith, I am sorry, as I guess I was expecting an original reply from you other than Kool-Aid (so 90's dude), but from someone who bashes every move, I guess we haven't been watching the same team the last 11 years. I am glad you like the teams that Flanny put together.

Keith, nothing that has gone on for 11 years since the wire to wire season has worked, so I am being original, I am actually supporting going through some tough growing pains, because I am not sure there is any other way to get better.

Keith, as far as original thoughts, you are the guy who just hates every move so real original, as I love your bashing and crying. Nick should be paid a fair amount and he was, but the initial offer was pretty darn good, but since you didn't get the confederate remark made a decade ago and you think that P.A. actually pocketed the money for Bradford, I am not sure you will get what is trying to be done here.

I wish I was on the O's payroll, so if you have an in, please let them know that I am interested. OK?


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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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