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January 19, 2009

This week in Orioles baseball

Though the Orioles remain coy about the Nick Markakis contract negotiations, it appears that the deal is essentially done and awaiting Nick's arrival in Baltimore this week for a routine physical.

Why does he need a physical when his health wasn't an issue last year? Because the team has a right to make sure he didn't have a motorcycle accident or something during the offseason before it commits to what could be the second-largest guaranteed contract in club history. He'll likely be in midweek to see the team docs and have some kind of news conference as soon as everything is official.

It could be a busy week for the medical staff. Catcher Gregg Zaun is expected to undergo his physical on Tuesday. And the way things have been heating up the past few days, Andy MacPhail might be lining somebody up for Friday, too.

If team officials could have had their way, they would have held off on announcing the Felix Pie/Garrett Olson deal and commenting on the Markakis negotiations until early this week to steer clear of the Ravens big game last night against the Pittsburgh Steelers. Now, unfortunately for local football fans, the Orioles can take the stage for good.


Posted by Peter Schmuck at 6:00 AM | | Comments (31)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

I do not think the Orioles stirred up any issues that the Ravens would be upset about. If they traded for someone really good I think that may have been different. Trading for a career minor league player that is 24, that was out of options and the verbal talk of extending a contract of someone we already had rights to, does not make even a curling team lose focus or direct attention away from a championship game.

I love McPhail's comment that he will be with us all year. Really? Spring training has not started yet and he is on the team for the whole year? He has already won the job? Montanez put up better numbers last year and a guy named Scott was not so shabby in left field. In fact I have Pie down for seven errors in the minors last year and Scott made two.

Lets look at the numbers Pie in a 130 career MLB games Average .223 3 HR 30 RBI will walk every 14 at bats and will strike out once every 4 at bats and he is a lock to be the opening day LF and for the whole year. Platoon with Freel, we will be hoping for lefties to pitch against us.
Montanez in 38 MLB games .295 3 and 15 he has a slight chance of playing for the Orioles. Was the triple crown winner for the Eastern League.
Scott .257 23 65 will have to give up the outfield and be the part time DH while Freel shares time with Pie. This stuff is getting deep here. They want athletes sign Heyward-Bey and teach him baseball! The Orioles had success with platoons in left before Lowenstein-Roenicke and back in the 60's they had a lot of platoons in left but I do not believe the results will be the same.

I really wish Olson the best and hope he puts up numbers like Moyer did after the Orioles let him go for a washing machine.


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Pete's reply: The reason Pie will be with the team all year is because he is out of options.

If team officials had their way, they wouldn't tell you jack squat. The baseball world does not revolve around MacPhail's head.

Pete,

When you say the O's could be lining something up for Friday too, was that just a joke because of how busy the last few days have been, or do you think there could be additional moves this week?


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Pete's reply: Just saying that there has been a burst of activity so you can't rule anything out.

With the orioles sending out e-mails urging people to buy tickets, I think it appropriate for you to point out the moves the team has made to improve on it's last place finish.


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Pete's reply: Been doing that for weeks, though I don't know if the O's are going to get out of the cellar this year.,

Great news on the Markakis front and the Zaun deal will cement the catcher's spot leaving room for Wieters to move up when the time is right. Now they need to move on to Roberts. Sign him to an extension or move him in a trade. I know the word was there wouldn't be much trade interest until Hudson was off the market, but what is the latest on either front?

Good trade for the O's. They have a lot of guys like Olson, and they can spare him.

Classic case of buying low. If Roberts goes, Pie's your lead-off hitter.

You're right, the Orioles get to take the stage, and it is indeed sad. The most obvious thing to do now is get the Markakis deal done. The money is close, just do it and move forward. I have no major issues with the direction on the field now that MacPhail is here. But the Orioles, namely Pete and the boys, continue to mismanage the PR side of things, which, by comparison, is the easier of the two to be good at. When your on-field product is poor, treating the fans right becomes even more important, doesn't anyone in the warehoues get that?

I still don't understand what we're doing for pitching this year. The past few years we've had at least a semblance of a rotation to start the year, but after injuries, the last few months of the season are always a parade of no-namers making emergency starts from the minors. Not surprisingly, we go into the patented O's late-season death spiral and the losses mount. This year we're *starting* the season in that boat. There is exactly one proven MLB starter in this rotation, and it's a serious stretch to call him a #1.

Pete-------the O's can take the stage but they don't have much of an act , maybe they should have been on the stage that left years ago,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,,sorry but you set me up,,,,,,,,,,,,The O's may well be terrible for years to come but they need to learn one thing from the Ravens , learn to appreciate the fans , I'll say it again , learn to appreciate the fans..............

Hi Pete,

Well, now that the Phillies have signed Cole Hamels to a three year contract, the Orioles should try to trade him even up for Brian Roberts. Chase utley's hip surgery may keep him out until June, and when he is ready to play he will probably be used a s a DH.


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Pete's reply: To get Cole Hamels, you would have to trade Roberts AND Markakis, Not going to happen.

Hello Pete,
Pie, Jones & Markakis might be a pretty good outfield. Do you think that Andy might be close to signing one more pitcher? Also, unless they get a plus arm for Roberts, I say sign him & let this team grow. I'm excited for the season to start. 76 days til opening day!

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Pete's reply: Wouldn't be surprised if they signed one more starter.

Pete,

How does the Pie trade affect Reimold this year and next? Are there those in the org who think lesser of him now then say......... two years ago?

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Pete's reply: I don't know if his stock has dropped, but his chances of being in the O's lineup in the next couple of years got a lot worse yesterday.

the model is the twins,look how mcphail ran them-be competitive, and not over priced-see yankees-we'll sign a strong arm and a lesser thrower-patience!!

the model is the twins,look how mcphail ran them-be competitive, and not over priced-see yankees-we'll sign a strong arm and a lesser thrower-patience!!

As much as I like the O's I feel as though we won't be seeing any winning seasons for a while. As long as Peter Angelos is the manager, we won't be seeing too many wins. Unfortunately, he is the owner, not a coach, manager, or player, so it's not like we can get rid of him.

The Oriole's problem, we get excellent players, but get traded because they want more money and Angelos won't pay them. What does he do? Trade them for rookies with little experience. Trading Miguel Tejada for Luke Scott did pay off, but that was still a risky gamble.

It's player's attitudes and the crooked ownership that has made me lose interest in the sport of baseball.

Pete -

You think Andy adds another pitcher by week's end? I think he really has to. After listening to a lot of baseball insiders opinion on the status of Sheets, I've backed off my thinking of signing this guy. I think we are better served going after Garland or Looper. Also you think the interest in Wigginton is dead? I think so, but a last second deal of Roberts would change that if Ty were still available. Your thoughts?


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Pete's reply: I don't know about by week's end. Maybe by offseason's end.

hey peter, just thinking outside the ol' box and wondering your thoughts.
it seems feasible to me, given the o's emphasis thus far on getting a right-handed bat, that going after a left-handed outfielder like pie may show that they're a) second-guessing the need for a 13th pitcher on the roster, thus leaving room for b) either lou montanez or oscar salazar to break camp as a right-handed sub for pie and/or scott vs. southpaws. i'm guessing it's more that the club is okay leaving themselves with that option in spring training than actually leaning that way at this point in the winter, but given mcphail's comment that they're not necessarily expecting any more acquisitions this winter, it seems plausible. any thoughts?

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Pete's reply: I think they go to 12 pitchers only if they acquire another solid starter.

cb coach; In isolation, the number of errors a player makes can often times be misleading. A good player with wheels like Pie is going to get to a lot more balls than someone slower. He'll make more catches, prevent more runs and yet also have more errors simply because he's making more plays.

I also think that expecting great numbers from 22 and 23 year olds is misguided. We all understand that when it comes to pitching but lose sight of it when it comes to position players. I don't know what the exact numbers are, but for every Markakis who is able to have success at that age, there are far more who don't, many of whom turn into good major leaguers between age 25 and 27. Pie has time. Let's all take a deep breath.

Maybe it will be a couple more years before we can properly evaluate the guy, but in the mean time my trust is with AM. He clearly has seen first hand something in Pie that he likes. Who am I to argue with him.

As far as Freel platooning with Pie against right handed pitching, I certainly hope so if his splits last year are indicative of his abilities. He hit 339 with an 823 OPS.

I think McPhail is doing everything right. The O's need to acquire as many promising young players as they can get. Wether it be through drafts, trades, or signings. Trading for Pie was a great move. While I think Olson will develop into a fine pitcher, Pie has the potential to turn into a 5-tool OF along with Markakis and Jones. Does that mean he will, maybe/maybe not, but at least someone's taking gambles on young players with potential.

This orginization had been seriously damaged by Peter Angelos and his rotisserie baseball ownership. The days of signing overpriced washed-up has-beens is over thanks to Andy McPhail.

So keep going Andy it's about time the O's had a future again.

I hate a 3 man bench, as handicaps the manager in so many ways. I am still holding out hope that Garland's price will drop and the O's can swoop in and sign him. A guy like that would allow a 4 man bench and he is another guy that can give you 6 + innings which helps the BP.

Pete, anyway the O's get creative with B Rob? I mean, what about overpaying him for 2 yrs. like 14-14.5 mil a season? This would allow Brian to see the direction of the team, make a lot of money since the market isn't what it was last season and allow the Orioles to keep their most poplular/best player.

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Pete's reply: I think it's up to Brian.

O's need three more starting pitchers or they will have another losing season. They need it now or may lose Roberts, Markakis because they want to start winning games. We need to keep the good players and add players around them. Or we may go back not forward. The fans do want to win too!

Does the name Corey Patterson ring a bell with anyone. I watched a lot of Cub games last year. They really wanted Pie to be a success, just like with Patterson before him. These two are the same guy. They can't make changes to cope with what major league pitchers will do to them. Two great AAA players who can't make it in the majors. Considering the state of Oriole pitching, this was a real dumb deal. If the O's want an athletic player in left field, sign Abreu.

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Pete's reply: I would think a fair-minded fan would give the guy a chance to fail before labeling him a failure.

cb coach -

I don't think we'll ever agree on anything...

"Trading for a career minor league player that is 24, that was out of options..."

You bash the O's for trading for Pie and about seven sentences later, you praise Lou Montanez, a 27-year-old career minor leaguer.

"Spring training has not started yet and [Pie] is on the team for the whole year?"

You said yourself that he's out of options. What did you expect?

"In fact I have Pie down for seven errors in the minors last year and Scott made two."

Pie played center field in the minors. He made 180 putouts in 84 games (2.14 per game). Scott played left field in the bigs. He made 200 putouts in 106 games (1.89 per game). Pie's range factor was 2.20. Scott's was 1.92. Do you seriously think Luke Scott is a better fielder than Felix Pie because Scott made fewer errors?

"Lets look at the numbers Pie in a 130 career MLB games Average .223 3 HR 30 RBI ... Montanez in 38 MLB games .295 3 and 15 ... Was the triple crown winner for the Eastern League."

Right. Let's look at Pie's big league numbers despite that fact that he never got regular playing time in the bigs. And let's evaluate Montanez on 112 at bats in the bigs and one stellar season in the minors after years of disappointment. Good idea...

"Scott .257 23 65 will have to give up the outfield and be the part time DH"

I would assume that, unless any other moves are made, Scott is penciled in as the full time DH with Huff manning first base.

"I really wish Olson the best and hope he puts up numbers like Moyer did after the Orioles let him go for a washing machine."

Moyer left as a free agent after watching his ERA jump each year with the O's and never tossing more than 152 innings in a season. He put up a 5.21 ERA in 1995, his last year with the Birds. There was no reason to bring him back. But I guess hindsight is 20/20...

Why didn't the Orioles go after Ivan Rodriguez as their catcher. He is probably a little better then Zuan and he is at least a former star that would have given the fans something to talk about!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Does the name Corey Patterson ring a bell with anyone.

Carl -

Corey Patterson and Felix Pie may be similar players, but their career paths couldn't be any more different.

Patterson was a stud in A-ball and not much afterwards. He was asked to be a full time starter with the Cubbies in 2002 and his lack of experience and lack of maturity really showed.

Pie was a stud all through the minors and hasn't had a chance to be a full time starter in the bigs. 2009 with the Orioles is his chance. His minor league numbers show that he deserves that chance.

If the O's want an athletic player in left field, sign Abreu.

I guess the rebuilding plan hasn't sunk in for you yet. Rebuilding teams don't sign 35-year-old outfielders.

I'm excited about Pie. I really hope he gets a chance to succeed in '09.

What happens if Roberts is not traded or signed by season's end? Do we end up with nothing? Gee, look how good baseball is with free agency and the players union. The inmates are running the asylum

Seriously, did you say that Pie would lead off if Roberts is moved?

Did I also read someone say that 'Pie is a great move'?

Has anyone really looked at this guys career minor/major numbers? Do people really buy into the 5 tools hype, or does anyone look at a 'history' of stats?

We didn't give up much for this guy, but we're stuck with him for the entire year, just because he's out of options? And he already gets at minimum, a platoon gig in LF?

As for Markakis, the O's had absolutely no choice in the matter. With this year being a PR nightmare, they couldn't allow this to drag on. I'm happy that he got his 66m....I just feel bad for him that he'll likely never play a meaningful game as long as Angelos is in charge.

Your job is to report and comment on the moves Peter....and you do a great job! Last year there were a couple good trades to talk about. This year though, it's not your fault that the moves have been so pathetic that the O's will continue their run as one of the worst franchises in pro sports.

Ok, so we have the outfield back logged.

What about pitchers?

Any chance we can sign Akinori Iwamura for a year or two so one of our long guys can go to the rotation?

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Pete's reply: If they acquire him from the Rays and put him in the bullpen, that would be quite a story, but the next two weeks could be interesting. Lots of people still available. Who would have guessed Manny would still be out there.

Oops, I meant to say Akinori Otsuka


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Pete's reply: I figured it was something like that. I haven't heard his name here, but you never know with everybody still out there.

"b" and Adam B,
Great posts.
The Orioles are going in the right direction. You will never satisfy negative people.
The Yankees have no desire or room to allow a player to develop. The Yankees did this before and it was called the 80's and early 90's.
It takes time to rebuild and fix the mess that rotisserie baseball got us in.


Dave

Why is it when people question Machails moves, they're chastised as being negative?

Take Pie for example.... While the blind faithful see huge upside, I see his stats. I mean if a corner OF doesn't have power, shouldn't he have tremendous speed? I haven't seen anyone mention of his CS to SB ratio. It's absolutely horrible for a player who's played this long in the minors.

Then there's our Japanese import. Is he not on the downside of his career, or do we just say 'hey, at least we're now in the Japan market'? Note: One Japanese paper has already noted how horrible the O's have been for years... How sad for Baltimore PR....

Am I being negative if I can't find one positive thing to say about Mark Hendrickson other than that he eats innings? I know, I know..... he's a bridge to the kids.... Please!

Is it negative to say we've signed a SS who has found it brutal just staying on the field? I will say he's better than what we had, but is that saying anything at all...really? He's the future?

I saw positives with the trades last year.....and I noted as much. But how has one move been positive this year? I mean are we really suppose to be positive simply because Macphail is making moves?

The Markakis contract had to be done. With the warehouse begging for ticket buyers, they simply couldn't wait any longer. Still, it was a good move.

Even Zaun is a good pick-up while Weaters gets acclimated..... See, I'm being positive!

I guess the point is Peter, why must we hear year after year 'don't expect much this year' from the warehouse and the media? Do we wait the 10 years it took Macphail to build the Cubs into a decent team before we're allowed to be grumpy?

Anyway, I guess I just wanted to make my case for the differance in being negative to simply reading the stats....... Looking at the history of this years pick ups just makes it tough to buy in soooo easily!

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Pete's reply: No, you have every right to break down each move statistically and decide for yourself whether it's worthwhile. That's fair and I do the same things. My shot at the grouchy Cubs fan was because he called me a flunky for not joining in the MacPhail bashing. I think he's doing what he has to do -- and what he can do -- to create an environment where it's possible to make some moves and get respectable. But it would not have happened if he had come in here last year and spent the winter signing free agents. That would have been just more of the same. There would have been some stars, but the team still would have been systemically unsound in perpetuity. I think it's necessary to lay the groundwork at the expense of this season. Don't see any way around that. That's why I'm giving him the benefit of the doubt.

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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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