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February 3, 2009

Orioles: Wigginton on board, too

wiggie2ap.jpgThe pending acquisition of infielder Ty Wigginton -- who is expected to sign a two-year contract after he passes a physical -- raises as many questions as it answers. Does he play first base, and if he does, when Aubrey Huff moves back to the designated hitter slot, does Luke Scott become available to trade?

Really don't know the answer to that yet. Since Scott probably isn't going to get you a decent starting pitcher, I assume the Orioles go to spring training with everybody and see how it all shakes out. Odds are, somebody gets banged up during the extended exhibition season, and Wigginton provides flexibility at a number of positions. The two-year guaranteed contract would assure that one hole will automatically be filled when Melvin Mora and Huff become eligible for free agency after the upcoming season.

Still searching for the old Andy MacPhail, who has been so busy the past month he's starting to make my head spin. Not the Linda Blair/Exorcist kind of head spin, but something similar. The guy is supposed to be the most conservative, methodical GM in the business and he's made more moves than just about anybody else in the game.

Wigginton (upper left) provides the additional right-handed power bat the club has been looking for all winter and upgrades the team's offensive potential. The pitching staff remains incomplete, but MacPhail has made good on his promise to significantly upgrade the organization's position depth. This is not, however, good news for any of the position guys hoping to make the jump from the minor leagues this year.

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 12:22 PM | | Comments (93)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Pete,

Gotta say I really like the addition of Wigginton. The flexibility he gives to the lineup and his overall attitude and hustle are things that will endear him to O's fans. "Gamer" is a cliche in this game, but he certainly is one. Do you think this is insurance for if/when Pie flames out?

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Pete's reply: I think he's insurance for a lot of positions.

Very solid pick up. With Pie, Scott and Huff all lefties, we needed some right-handed pop. Consistent 20+ homer guy. I think you can get plenty of at-bats for him, Scott, Huff and Mora between 1B, DH and 3B. I think Pie will get every chance to play LF with Freel spelling him against tough lefties. I think you're right that they are going to have to keep Gomez to spell Izturis, so I don't see how they keep 13 pitchers. Stupid to do so in my opinion. Bench of Freel, Gomez, Wigginton and a catcher is not bad. This doesn't bode well for Lou Montanez.

Gald to see another solid acquisition by AM. As far as the guys trying to make the jump from the minors, I would rather have them "earn" the jump than just making it because we have no other options. Now that football is over, I am all O's, 24/7.

Peter: can you do me a favor, and request that your fellow Sun sportswriters no longer use the word "versatile" to describe a guy who plays a bunch of positions really, really badly?

Wigginton is not a "versatile" infielder; he's a DH who can occasionally take a glove out to the infield corners and stand around looking lost for nine innings.

I don't get this acquisition unless it means that the team already has a deal in the can to move Huff or Scott. (At which point, I would applaud it.)

i like wiggington. mora is old and needs to retire sooner than later. protect all our lefties i.e. markaik, pie, huff, scott. love line up of brob, jones, mark, wigg, huff, scott, pie, zaun, izturis. melvin should go back to utility (plus he would be a good pinch hitter/bunter since thats how he gets a decent amount of hits anyway).

A decent pick-up - nothing to get too excited about. I think they should take Alfredo Simon off of the 40 man roster rather than Scott Moore. With this signing, I really hope that the Orioles don't waste a bench spot with Gomez. I like the guy all right but he is going to be 38 in June. It would be no big loss; Mora can play shortstop in a pinch so could Freel, probably.

I've always like Wigginton and thought he'd be a good fit for the Birds. Glad to see they were able to pick him up. I think Mora's good days are definately behind him.

LOVE this move. There's a lot of bargains to be had and this recession isn't going to last forever. And competition and depth! What novel concepts.

Now if we can just get the same thing going on the pitching side...

Wow, I am actually getting excited at the changes for the coming year, and Andy didn't break the bank-- and Weiters isn't even penciled in yet!

Just a little worried about the shabby pitching, the defense and offense will be fine.

Wow, I am actually getting excited at the changes for the coming year, and Andy didn't break the bank-- and Weiters isn't even penciled in yet!

Just a little worried about the shabby pitching, the defense and offense will be fine.

Um, Exactly which position guys were we expecting to make a jump this year form the minors?

I thought the Orioles were done after the Rich Hill acquisition. I like this move. Ty will add some more power to the lineup. So what's next... we need another starting pitcher and we need to sign Roberts.

He is being methodical. Andy let the market soften, and is now getting players cheaper than what he could have a couple of months ago.

Well played Andy. Keep the long term focus in mind

Wigginton can play 2nd base. This may start up the Roberts trade talks again.

1) Since Gomez signed a minor league deal, it is possible that he starts out at Norfolk (without having to pass through waivers) and comes up if needed, right?

As you said, this is a good move for next year as well since he can plug a hole that will have at least one missing part.

2) If Rich Hill or David Pauley aren't living up to all we would hope in ST, do you think they'd actually be claimed off waivers? I don't suspect that we'd demote Hill so fast since he apparently needs to be working with Kranitz specifically, but I could see a situation where they try to sneak Pauley through.

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Pete's reply: Depends on what happens injury-wise with some other clubs.

I think that Wigginton signing has to signal that a move is afloat to secure a quality pitcher. We now have a logjam of corner infielders and an excess of utility and outfielders. I can't believe they are giving up on Freel before he sets foot onto the field. Neither do I believe they can keep them both unless they trade Mora, Scott or Huff. Mora provides pop and a great glove that would be missed. Huff has a great bat, but I've never been a fan of his at 1B or 3B. DH is his best spot. To me, they should put Wigginton on 1B and Huff at DH. That gives them the most power and the best defense.
Package Scott,Montanez, and Burres who is awaiting assignment, along with Walker or Sherrill, and trade for a quality starter, if you can. Then sign Looper. I believe , that with this being accomplished , our starting pitching would be fair to good and the rest of the team pretty good. I think we cah afford to trade Sherrill, as he was not a strong second half pitcher, and also because of us having Ray, Johnson, and Baez and Albers coming back.

Outstanding move.

Now, let's get Looper onboard to shore up the pitching staff, and MacPhail will have completed an outstanding off-season

What are the odds that the acquisition of Wigginton may lead to a trade for a starting pitcher, given some of the excesses we now have?

Thanks for the post Peter - but I don't see how Scott gets dealt... Do we package him with Brob if we can't agree to terms? Or maybe with Sherrill to get back a SP? I would hate if Scott took ABs from Pie in LF and Huff at DH. It would just seem unnecessary to keep him and Wiggy on the active roster.

Also - can I get credited for first using "Wiggy?" Maybe throw a couple bucks my way when you use it!

Check out Wiggington's splits vs. LHP. Now look at Scott's and Huff's vs. RHP. Between these guy we have a serious power threat against RHP and LHP. Prior to Wiggington's signing power vs. LHP was a serious concern. Plus now we have the versatility to move Huff, Scott, or Mora. Great acquisition in my opinion.

I love the Wigginton signing Pete and agree with you about the impact it might have on Scott. Keep your seatbelt on. AM might not be done yet.

One thing I really like about this club is that a lot of bad attitudes (Miggy, Hernandez,Payton) are gone and replaced by class veterans like Gomez and run-through-a-wall types like Freel and Wigginton. With the young guys he's brought in it's important that they have those kinds of guys to look up too.

With one more addition of someone like Looper to the pitching staff, this team might be a lot better than people think.

I agree with this move. Added extra insurance as there will almost certainly be injuries throughout the year.

well, there could be a platoon between huff, wigginton, and scott at 1st and DH plus wiggington can fill in for mora to give him a day off or huff at third for that matter. seams to me just more flexability, plus scott can go into left if pie isn't hitting.

Keep all of them. Wigginton can spell Mora (who has had some injuries the past few years) and give Scott or Huff a break against left-handers. There's no reason all 4 of them can't get 400 - 500 ABs.


Slow and methodical defines the extension process for Markakis & Roberts.

As for the rapid fire pace of the other moves, they're all basically low-risk moves that are not going to cost anyone their job, hence, if they make sense, there's no reason to drag the proverbial feet.. The only risk MacPhail has taken this offseason has been giving up on Olsen, who's still young enough that he could figure it out. However the measuring stick on that one will be the development of Pie.

Hey, Schmuckers. You got a larger copy of that picture of Wigginton? I'd love a large enough copy to print out for my son.

Wigg's form is just about letter-perfect. Totally balanced, hips exploding open, eyes locked on the ball, front arm almost completely extended. Awesome.

For all the O's bashing we've all done, you are right that they are becoming quite stocked with position players. This gives the minor leaguers nowhere to go, which means they'll use them as trade bait when they upgrade their pitching staff after the 2009 season. I think I can see a light at the end of the tunnel -- it's still very faint but it's there.

It's another low risk move that will pay dividends if there is an injury, trade or we lose someone next year via free agency. The O's now have two super utility men that play just about everywhere. Given Freel and Wiggy's injury histories, it's a very sound move.

Kind of a sad commentary on the lack of power in the Orioles organization when a 23 hr a year guy is referred to as a "power bat." Just saying....

Honestly Pete-This is a good thing, Wigginton could play left when there is a good lefty pitching. Could play first some. Really I think they can keep Scott, Huff and Wigginton busy. Really do not see Wigginton playing much at 2nd, maybe I am wrong but he looks a lot bigger than he did when he was a Met. Could be the uniform made him look bigger! At least that is what Barry Bonds said.

So I see this making the team better defensively as well as offensively. If we aren't going to have the best starting pitching we will make sure that the defense will help them as best we can. This is the best line-up I see for this roster:

Roberts 2b
Mora 3b
Markakis RF
Huff DH
Wigginton 1b
Jones CF
Zaun C
Izturis SS
Pie LF

Once you add Wieters (if he makes the jump like he's made the others) that's a darn good lineup. This of course is if everyone stays healthy and does what they've done in the past. Luke Scott makes the team better offensively in the near future but I think it's time to trade the guy. Why not package him with one of the young pitchers not named Matusz, Arrietta or Tillman and get a number 2 or 3 starter. Heck throw in two of those "other" young pitchers. McPhail has a lot of pieces to play with now and I for one am excited!

Chris Gomez should start looking for other teams that have interest, I think he just got replaced. He will (pending injury) not make the team now.

Would we pay 3 Mil a year for a bench player?

Lots of Roster questions after this deal!

Would he be the Regular DH subbing for Huff and Mora on there day offs?

Does he have the glove to play 1B? (I have no idea on that, but do know he played more 3B than anything)

Is Scott be traded?

Questions are many! Answers to come during the spring.

Pete are you headed to spring Training?

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Pete's reply: Absolutely. Will be blogging all day every day from Lauderdale.

Another quality signing by Andy. I assume that Wigginton will get plenty of AB's at 3rd and DH. While I hope that Felix Pie develops into the type of player Andy sees in him, he is certainly no sure bet. This lets Scott play LF with Wigginton DH'ing or spotting Mora or Huff in the field if the Pie experiment doesn't work out so well after 250 AB's or so. You could also see a Scott/Wigginton L/R platoon since Wigginton kills lefties and Scott is obviously much better against righties. Still, for 2yrs/6mill, it's a quality signing of a solid, veteran, versatile bat. I'm not sure I've objected to one move McPhail has made this offseason.

A good acquisistion because he is a better fielder and younger than Millar. But offensively, he has very similar numbers to Millar. Is it really that much of an upgrade? Very slight, on a scale of 1-10 on position players I give Millar a 3 and Wigginton a 3.5. Neither one would start at first base for any team in our division, enough said. It may win us one more game this season.

Oh yeah!! Pete, ... if you remember my name from the zillions of post you get, you know I've blogged many times on how many ways Ty could help the O's. Now Mora can have his annual hamstring pull, and he'll be covered! Wow! No pre-trade buzz; A.M. jus' gotter done with admirable stealth. This made my day! Now, ..... get B-Rob signed and Looper on board, and we can call this an A+ off-season! Beyond the euphoria, who do you see being the most expendable at this point, and when? And as I said in my prior Schmuck blogs, the giddy freaks ( NY ) and geeks ( R-SOX ) who come come pouring into the Yard lookin' for the automatic ' W ' might have to fight like hell to get it. Come to think of it, ...the recent turn of events might cause B-Rob to view the future of the O's more favorably.

In all reality, there aren't really any prospects in the O's system that are ready. Maybe Scott Moore, but he would have to have a very strong spring to have any chance of making the club over Chris Gomez.

Luke Scott may not get the O's a decent pitcher in trade, but Brian Roberts might. Remember, Wigginton can also play 2nd base.

With all the trades the Orioles and Cubs have made between each other, why don't the Orioles and Cubs just trade franchises?

You know the Cubs become the Orioles and Orioles become the Cubs.

Mora only becomes a FA if the Orioles buy out his option for 2010.

http://mlbcontracts.blogspot.com/2005/01/baltimore-orioles_112321768568552760.html

scroll down to find Mora.

Since I posted yesterday that the next step should be to sign Ty Wigginton, I'm as happy as a pack of Steelers fans when you jangle your keys in front of them. By Oriole standards at least, McSucceed (let's stop the 'McFail' references folks, okay?) has made significant strides to improve a rotation that, until he got rolling, consisted of Jeremy Guthrie and Air. We have Hill now, and our first toehold in the Japanese baseball market, and let's not forget Pauley from the Red Sox. The elephant in the room remains Brian Roberts who, unless I totally missed something, still hasn't been traded nor has signed a contract extension. My guess is things will be quiet now until spring training to see how things shake out as usually some team's big name suffers a half-season-to-season-ending injury and is suddenly in need of a top flight 2nd baseman, winkwinknudgenudge. I don't think Andy is going to sign any of the other so-called "quality starters" still available as Looper is underwhelming and Sheets has injury issues and Mr. PA doesn't cotton to that. Nice to see Orioles news finally getting top billing!

Why is Huff still around? So what, he had a "renaissance" type year in '08, that he won't be duplicating in '09.

Terrific addition. There have been rumors all offseason Pete that Scott would get packaged with Roberts to Chicago in a Floyd deal with one of their 2nd basemen coming back as well.

Pete: quick question?
With 85 free agents still on the market, do you think there is collusion among clubs to keep prices down -OR- are free agents out of touch with economic reality???

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Pete's reply: I really don't know. If I was an agent, I would suspect some collusion. If I was an owner, I'd call it a logical response to a tremendous economic downturn.

I wonder if he can throw a curve ball

Yea Pete, I don't get it. Yes I like the idea of Chad, but it bumps Luke maybe which I don't want to do. I thought we were set besides pitching. My head is spinning. Bring us a real starting pitcher.

Just curious; who are the position guys hoping to make the jump from the minors? Oscar Salad-bar? Luis Montanez? What other minor league position players are ready for the majors? Have I forgotten any? Surely this is probably going to be the final year in an Orioles' uniform for Huff and/or Mora. Wiggington is another good move made by MacPhail.


Wiggington is also backup at 2nd base. Don't be surprised if Roberts is dealt for a decent pitcher.

I really like the signing in most cases, but I don't know if they're overstocking too much on the DH/1B position. I'd prefer Felix Pie to start most games in LF so he can develop the same way Adam Jones did last year. However, I worry that this move will force Luke Scott to occupy some time in left. Also, Ty Wigginton has always struck me as more of a 3B than a 1B, so I don't know how much this really puts Aubry Huff back at DH. Even if Huff does DH and Wigginton occupies first (or vise versa), that leaves Ryan Freel (whom I like a lot as the reserve outfielder) and Luke Scott on the bench. On top of that, you need a back up catcher in Chad Moeller/Guillermo Quiroz and a backup SS in Chris Gomez. It's great, but after all, it's not the NL where you utilize your bench every game. With all that said, it does provide the Orioles with a real bench for the first time in years and a much needed right handed power bat. Also, it really opens up trade possibilities and provides terrific injury insurance across the board. My question is: do you think this will effect Pie's playing time?

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Pete's reply: Yes, but he'll still get a chance to play every day.

Some how this deal reminds me of Alan Wiggins who was a Oriole through trade or purchase. Wiggins was a speedster who played 2nd base but had a problem when he ran up the 1st base line. The 1st base line disappeared. He had a affinity for white lines.

2009: the transfOrming

Wigginton reminds me a lot of Huff, which isn't a bad thing. But he's too good to keep on the bench. And so is Scott. How do keep both and give them regular at bats (especially if Pie is going to go every day)? I don't want Scott to go. There isn't an O who has jacked the ball like him in a while. He really sends them. If he had the chance to be a regular starter I see him having great home run and rbi totals.

I think I would like to see Wiggington play mostly, 3rd. Mora to me is mostly done trade him or let him go spend time with the family.

Nice addition, Ty and Freel give the O's lots of flexibility at a lot of positions. Alas, one of them is not SS.

The Pirates discovered last year that Chris Gomez is no longer MLB caliber at SS and restricted him largely to 2B and 3B. Maybe the O's feel differently, but I hope they limit the pitching staff to 12 and take a long look at guys like Justin Turner and Blake Davis as backups to Izturis. If Izturis gets hurt, the cupboard is bare.

The Orioles will be losers for 10 more years if they don't get some real quality pitchers! the name of the game is pitching and defense, home runs look pretty but pitching and defense win championships,PERIOD!

Great move for the O's, Wiggy was one of the only Astro that played consistently well last year. I have been watching from afar, and I think the O's have made some shrewd moves this offseason. My favorite teams have always been my hometown Cards, and my longtime residence Astros, but I have jettisoned the dead weight that is my Astros fandom, and picked up my Wife's hometown O's as my new team to follow. I even get the added bonus of both the O's and Cards having a ton of history between them. The local baseball bobblehead Richard Justice told me to follow your blog Schmuck when I asked for a suggestion on writers to read, and so I have. Considering the O's are a bit of Astros East Coast, I know a lot of the players already. So bring on the Yankees and Opening Day!! I plan on being at the Yard cheering the O's on.

Pete-

This comes as a pleasant surprise, but unfortunately he cannot pitch.

Love this deal. While I harbor no illusions of this team competing in 2009, this is probably our best bench in ten years. When Wieters gets called up, we'll have a good defensive catcher that gets on base, a fast guy that plays 2b and the outfield, a bat with power that plays the corner infield positions and maybe LF, and our fourth bench player, in my ideal world, is Luis Montanez. If we get any starting pitching, we'll be respectable on a lot of nights

Last year I picked up Wiggington in fantasy baseball due to his multi-position eligibility combined with some solid pop in his bat, a rare - and welcome - fantasy occurrence.

Anyway, I remember telling a friend that I "picked up Wiggy today".

This proves beyond all reasonable doubt that I was the first in Baltimore to refer to this gentleman as "Wiggy" and would like full public credit and any and all ensuing financial blowback for my obviously exceptional foresight.

Making Ty Wigginton an Oriole is one shrewd move by Andy MacPhail. I believe Ty will enjoy hitting at Camden Yards.

I am curious if he likes to impart hitting wisdom like another Ty we know:

"Be the ball, Felix, be the ball."

340 ba
424 obp
531 slugging
against lefties

freel in left, wig at 1st or dh against lefties
very strong numbers

Great move w/ Wigginton - still concerned about the rotation.

Reality check: Wigginton played EXCLUSIVELY in the OF in 2008 (and badly), and OF-1B in 2007.

He hasn't played second base since 2006, and even then (a) he was terrible at it, and (b) it was only for 43 games.

There is ABSOLUTELY NO WAY he plays second base for the Orioles this year unless there's some kind of bus accident that takes half the team out of commission for an extended period of time, coupled with some sort of nuclear strike on the city of Norfolk, Virginia.

I love this signing. I've seen Wigginton play quite a bit, and he is a gritty player that adds another dimension to the O's, both offensively and defensively. Dave said he doesn't want any of his position players to play every game, so I think Freel will spell Adam in CF and play some in LF. Luke will get some time in LF, DH and RF, as Nick needs a day off and to come out of the game when it's a blow out which is something that Dave said he couldn't do last year. We went from Bynum, Fahey, Cintron and Quiroz to Freel, Wigginton, Gomez and Zaun (when Matt comes up) so to quote Larry David "pretty, pretty, pretty good."

This might be the 1st spring training where guys can't just come in and expect a job. Only good things can come from competition.

Pete, I said at the beginning of the week halfheartedly, to pick 2 guys that have to come off the 40 man roster because Andy doesn't just do one thing, and the Mac Daddy of Baltimore, didn't let me down. I sense that Andy will get one more SP, because guys like Liz, Patton, etc., need to spend as much time in the minors as possible. No more rushing.

PS those saying Melvin needs to hang it up, did you see him play last year?

I read all the comments and I see a recurring pattern here of "trade Roberts becuz Wigginton can play second". You REALLY don't want Wigginton to be the everyday 2b. Also, why is everyone so ready to dump Luke Scott? Mr. P-ay is not a sure thing. Also, platoons are not necessarily a bad thing, and the O's had a pretty good one in left field once or twice before.

Roberts to Chicago, Dye to Cinci, Homer Bailey and another prospect to the O's? It combines a couple rumors. Any chance?

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Pete's reply: I don't know, but it's an interesting thought.

This definitely makes Spring Training interesting and competitive. I like what Millar brought to the clubhouse but I like Wiggingtons numbers and imagining them at Camden Yards. The club still has alot of "if's" that could make them competitive offensively and defensively this year. Do you think they'll hunt down another pitcher Pete? I'll see you at Spring Training!!!


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Pete's reply: Yes, I do think they'll come up with one more arm.

Good solid move. That should do it for the bats. Now just work on the pitching and the Os should alright. I would say add another starting arm capable of going deep into the game. The addition of Wigginton, Freel and Pie should cut down on injuries from platooning. It worked back in the day with Roenicke and Lowenstein, why not now?

Andrew T. do some research you are the new Jack otherwise...He played 82 yes 82 games at 3B last year HARDLY "exclusively" OF in 2008.

IN FACT he has almost played EXCLUSIVELY in the IF his entire career. FACT. proof:

http://shup.com/Shup/111842/do-some-research-82-games-at-3B-08.png

In fact he also has made only 8 errors playing 2B in 120 games at 2B, here are the rest of his fielding stats btw:

http://www.baseball-reference.com/w/wiggity01.shtml

sorry dude you are very poorly informed and i have to call you out on it.

Any chance this is a move to put pressure on Brian Roberts? Wigginnton originally was a second baseman.


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Pete's reply: I don't think they are playing games. They want to sign Roberts. If he doesn't want to come back, it doesn't make a lot of difference who else they get.

Are we beginning to have a package that might appeal to the Padres for Peavy? Restrictions on trading partners can be overcome. Sherrill, Scott, Reimold and pick from the 11 pitchers like Liz, Albers, Baez, Hennessy, Patton, Penn, Walters, Burres, Pauley, etc, I think it could be a better deal than the Cubs were offering and we would have a true #1 through 2013. We have no one who is ready to be a real number 1 starting in 2010. Rookies almost always need a transition period.
A Peavy, Guthrie, Hill (optimist me), Uehara and whoever is left after the trade to compete for the 5th spot. It could even be a pretty good rotation this year before the "untouchables" Tillman, Matusz and Arrieta are ready for the big leagues.


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Pete's reply: I don't think it's possible, but I don't know Peavy.

Pete,

I like this move. We needed depth, and Andy has addressed that concern. Even the starting rotation has interesting possibilities. I said interesting, not sure how this shakes out, but I'd like to see if any of these guys in the starting pitching mix have anything to offer. And if baseball has taught us anything, it's that it has it's share of success stories coming from the least likely suspects. A great pitcher who comes to mind for me is Dave Stewart. This guy hit rock bottom starting off his career, and saved it by hooking up with Dave Duncan. I mean this guy looked terrible with the Rangers back then.

Anyway, I think we have a place for Ty, Luke, Freel, & Moeller. Luke will take a lot of at-bats at DH. Where I see all these guys getting at-bats is with Mora health issues. I mean the guy can't seem to get away from the DL long enough. And at 37 I don't think that improves!

Now Peter, tell Andy to extend Roberts and call the off season quits! Give him the 3 yr 30 mil, plus 4 th year at 8 mil, with a chance to earn up to 12 based on incentives. Something creative, that gives Brian his 4 year deal, but doesn't cost the team big money when at 35-36 yr old, his game drops off.

Is Andy trying to put together a team like the Rangers that can rake but cant pitch? If so mission accomplished. I predict 15 losses this year when the Orioles score ten or more runs. As an aside Pete, one time I shoveled snow from the sidewalks on my entire block. I was busy much like Andy is, it snowed later that evening and covered over the sidewalks again and although I was busy as it turned out I really hadnt accomplished anything at all.
Thats what I think Andy is doing -- busy work. Last place is last place. Another crappy year looms. He is re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic. All that said Wiggington seems like a good pick up 23 Hrs is nothing to dismiss but how's his curveball ?

I agree with Dave Taylor. I also am amazed at some of the comments. The fact is Mora, Huff and Roberts were three of our brightest stars last year, just happens that Wigginton plays, and people want to see them all sit down for the new guy coming. I like Wigginton coming here, and there will be plenty of playing time for him. Really if Huff had numbers like Wigginton had last year he would have been booed out of town. Mora will not last forever but his second half last year proved that he is worthy. Wigginton has never driven in 100 runs or scored 100 runs. Nothing against his talent because I am happy he is here, but he is not here to replace Mora or Huff this year. Pie will not play every day. The deal is he has to be on the roster the whole year. I am sure that Trembley will get creative and find ways to give Adam Jones days off and put Pie in center. I am sure Mora will get his share of days off also. Also sometimes knowing a guy is behind you that can step right in is good for both the players and the club. They need to be hungry. Maybe Wigginton will get to start 25-30 games in at third, 20 at first, 40 in the outfield 25-35 at DH and that would be without injury. Remember last year Jones, Mora and Scott had various injuries. Payton still managed to get over 300 at bats. The fact is Wigginton said it best he will play hard and respect the game and let things fall into place.

This team is shaping up to be good offensively. The pitching should keep them in 4th or 5th though. What is going on with Looper?

"Kind of a sad commentary on the lack of power in the Orioles organization when a 23 hr a year guy is referred to as a "power bat." Just saying...."

Those 23 HR came in 386 AB and along with his 22 doubles, led to a .526 SLG% while playing in Houston, not exactly an offensive powerhouse.

He held his own against RHP, and absolutely clubbed LHP, something the Orioles have had trouble with for the past few years. It seemed like every team in the league would call up some lefty kid to pitch against the O's and manage to beat them.

Yeah, he's not a pitcher, he's not Tex, but he will be a good fit for this team and help improve the overall quality of the team. That is the idea. Plus, with Huff and Mora most likely not coming back in 2010, Wigginton can hold down one of those spots.

My very first thought when I heard this was "there goes Roberts" and/or "they just pulled a CYA move in case they trade Roberts". If they do, I think it will be Freel that plays second, not Wigginton. Trading Roberts solves all these hypothetical roster problems, doesn't it? Freel would move to second, and the bench would be Wigginton, Gomez and a catcher. The O's are slowly weeding out all of the players that made them 100% unwatchable last year -- now, if they just get rid of Walker, I may actually watch some games. If he's on the team, they've lost me for another year. Using him is like forfeiting a game without even trying to field a full team.

This, and the Hill trade, appear to be addressing organizational depth issues. Competition for positions is healthy and necessary for a team like the Orioles at this point in time. Too often the last few years one or two injuries devastate the lineup and leave the team with no proven options and their farm system cannot yet keep up with demand. I like these moves, not all will pan out, but MacPhail understands that reality in baseball. Too often in the recent past Orioles front office has pinned all their hopes on one or two guys stepping up to save the season and that is a recipe for colossal failure as we have seen.

Are we assembling all these old devil rays from all those bad teams a few years agao or what??? Hendrikson, Huff, Wiggington, Reyes

Pete,

You said it best by describing MacPhail as "methodical" because that's how I look at some of these moves.

Wiggington can play 3B and can even show up at 2B occasionally so to me that says that something could be in the works on talking Mora into going to Cleveland or elsewhere (to a contender anyway) and freeing up that spot for Wigginton or maybe even Moore to split time at. -OR- he could have something in the works to move Roberts elsewhere to get back a young SP with high upside.

I don't know, that's what it seems could be in the works to me seeing as how we're pretty much getting nowhere on an extension for him. They're just saying all the right things so it looks good on both sides.

What are you thoughts? Think I'm even close?


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Pete's reply: I've pondered those kinds of possibilities, but Mora has a no-trade and would be tough to convince to waive it. I think Andy is stocking up for the spring and will let things shake out for awhile.

This is a nice move as depth is always a good thing. I think we are all assuming Pie will work out and i am not sold thus adding another exp`d player only helps out with the prob/poss dissapointment in Pie.

Its a long season

I can see Luis Montanez going to a team looking for an inexpensive righthand hitter, in exchange for a pitcher who is off the radar screen but has plenty of upside and potential. Walter Jocketty sends Andy MacPhail Ramon Ramirez or Daryl Thompson (laPlata MD) for Montanez. Deal might be already worked out just waiting for Wigginton to sign.


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Pete's reply: That's a nice thought, but Montanez does not have that kind of trade value.

One thing that is amazing me here are the people who are ripping on Mora. He is solid with the glove. And his stats are nothing to dismiss. Even with a slow start for the year he hit .285 with 22 hrs. After the All Star break he hit .376 with .656 SLG
and 1.076 OPS. Now his paycheck may be high (for an Oriole) but if that slot was open and someone with his stats was available this crowd would be boo hooing all year if we didn't sign him, and when did anyone here give a damn about paying too much. He also is above league average for his position is all categories.

If Roberts hasn't signed by mid-March and some team makes an offer the Orioles can't refuse then I think the Orioles will trade him.

Looks like Wiggington will be our utility player and a good one at that. The acquisition of Chris Gomez seems like a waisted move though but you can never have too many good infielders to draw from in time of need . As this team ages , they'll need someone who can sub in those infield positions and could be an improvement at those positions during the long season . My thinking is that Ty Wigginton is the best acquisition that Macphail has made during this off season .

Wiggington could be the Millar type over the next several years. Good, consistent, 110%, plays a couple of positions, etc.. Pitching is still the name of the game and I would really like to see 1 or possibly 2 of the Oriole prospects stick with the club and make the rotation. Giles, York, PA

I see Wigginton as a logical replacement of Millar and Payton. Who knows if Pie is ready to be an everyday player? Are there to many position players keeping some of the younger guys from moving up, yes - so what? If these younger guys are exceptional, at some point Trembley will find room for them.

The Detroit Free Press says th Orioles are likely to sign John Parrish. Have you heard anything about that?

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Pete's reply: His name has been floating around for awhile, but as of a couple of weeks ago, the O's did not seem to be involved. It wouldn't surprise me, however. He was lights-out in Triple-A largely as a starter last year, going 10-1 with a 2.97 ERA. Might be another interesting experiment.

The Detroit Free Press says th Orioles are likely to sign John Parrish. Have you heard anything about that?

Pete;

I see that a number of your readers also know that Wiggington is a natural second baseman. He gives the O's a lot of flexibility (in case of a Roberts trade or if Pie-Oh-My is the player I think he is). Of course if Roberts goes, that opens things up for a move on Orlando Hudson, who is a really good second baseman, leaving Wiggington as a really nice insurance policy (a trade with the Angels might be interesting too, perhaps Roberts for Kendricks and Escobar?).

I think it's a great move. The O's are shaping up nicely everywhere except starting pitching and frankly, there's not a lot out there on the FA market one could count on. So far we have Guthrie, Uehara (we have no idea how effective he will be) and Hill (we have no idea how effective he will be). Hendrickson (we have a solid idea he won't be effective), Penn (we have no idea how effective he will be) and Waters (he is either super or awful) seem to be the leading candidates for the remaining two slots. I love the Bullpen, the fielding, the offense and FOR ONCE the bench but frankly we have no idea how effective the Starting Pitching will be!

I think another 31+ year old guy like Wigginton and John Parrish fits in nicely with our youth movement here.

Knowbody mention this angle. I haven't heard about any movement on the Brian Roberts contract extension. Weird how Ty says his favorite position to play is 2B. Freel plays 2b too. Seems Brian Roberts is expendable if the right deal comes along. I love me some BRob but it doesn't look like he will be here when we are ready to contend and his value is as high as it ever will be. I hope I'm wrong unless the right deal comes along and then I golf clap when he comes to town with another team.

Hey Pete,

Huff + Wiggington = Roenicke + Lowenstien?

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Pete's reply: I don't know. Huff isn't a very good outfielder.

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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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