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July 9, 2009

Dump Mora? Not so fast.

Melvin Mora has not been himself for the past month or so, but it's premature to start clamoring for the club to release him and (a) play Ty Wigginton there full time; (b) play Oscar Salazar there; or (c) move Aubrey Huff over there to make room at first for Luke Scott or surging minor league prospect Brandon Snyder.

moragetty.jpgDon't give up on Melvin just yet. He hasn't hit for power in awhile, but he appears to be heating up and he still is -- easily -- the best defensive option at third base. Defense matters, even on a team that isn't in contention, because it makes your pitching staff better and affects the development of your young arms.

The Orioles hold an option on Melvin's contract for the 2010 season. If he stays on pace to bat .250 and drive in 44 runs over the whole season, you start experimenting in late August and September and don't consider keeping him for that extra year. I'm going to go out on a limb, however, and predict he makes that decision harder than you think.

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Posted by Peter Schmuck at 7:29 PM | | Comments (72)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Now you're talkin'!

Mora may not be fully spent, so to speak--and when Hargrove consigned Mora to permanent sub status, I totally disagreed.

However, while he still has some gas in the tank, maybe he can bring a few prospects in a trade. He could become a pinch hitter and reliable sub for a National League team.

Scott for First Base!

He cannot remain at that position next year. He is blocking someone else from playing there and he must either be a bench person. or he must go. The decision will be made when trade either now or in the off season. If they get a third baseman or they bring someone up from the minors he will leave.

everyone is saying the orioles should replace mora i wonder how many are thinking about that no trade clause he has in his contract. i wonder how much longer teams are going to put no trade clauses in players contracts. it would seem to me that no trade clauses come back to haunt teams when they have potential deals and they are not able to make the deal because of such items in their contracts.who is chone figens agent maybe the orioles could make an effert to get him after the season. he is an orioles killer. on a different subject what is or has happend with the arazona spring traing facility

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Pete's reply: No word on Tucson. Wouldn't hold your breath.

I still believe in Mora. He has made some spectacular plays in the field. Once he adjusts to the player he is today and eliminates some of the mental errors, I think he's going to have a heckofa 2nd half.

Last year he was hitting (or wasn't i should say) somewhere around .240 nearing the AS break if I recall correctly. He's had some timely hits and some (fan interference HR negated) balls hit right at people. I'm thinking he's going to blow up at anytime and I'm glad to have him when he does.

It matters not who is playing third this season as this is a season that is pretty much lost already. So, yeah, leave Mora at third....Huff certainly is not the answer at third and neither is Salazar...The Os will need to find a third baseman at some point in 2010 or 2011 if they are to move into contention...perhaps that is part of McPhail's "grow arms, buy bats" theory.
I think Brandon Snyder is going to be the Os answer at first base.
So, yes, keep Mora....unless you get any trade options for him...at which point I am OK with Wigginton/Huff/Salazar for half a year too...

Let me start by saying that I love Melvin Mora and wish nothing but the best for him and his family. I really hope he heats it up in the second half. He is a second half player after all. I don't however see him with a place on this club long term and in that thinking, we should trade him to a contender, give him a shot at post season play and get another building block for the future. I realize he has a no-trade clause, but prehaps he will wave it if we pick up his option before the trade. Because Mora still has a high trade value as a third baseman and is a second half player, we should do what is best for Melvin and the Orioles.

KEEP MORA!!!

Espn had a link from Baseball America ranking the top international players for the upcoming signing period. One the list of 25 were about 10 SS. Besides Sano, does the club feel any of the others might be possible?


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Pete's reply: It's hard to get a feel for stuff like that, because teams play spy vs. spy when it comes to international scouting. Also, I haven't been on site with the club in a week. Hope to limp over tonight or tomorrow.

There is no way the club will pick up Mora's option for next year.

I like the guy alright but he's definitely had his selfish moments with this team and I will not be sorry to see him go.

this was me oops? i don't like being anonymous in some circumstances though lol:

I still believe in Mora. He has made some spectacular plays in the field. Once he adjusts to the player he is today and eliminates some of the mental errors, I think he's going to have a heckofa 2nd half.

Last year he was hitting (or wasn't i should say) somewhere around .240 nearing the AS break if I recall correctly. He's had some timely hits and some (fan interference HR negated) balls hit right at people. I'm thinking he's going to blow up at anytime and I'm glad to have him when he does.

I don't see how anyone can say a bad word about Mora off the field. Wasn't he the only current Oriole that showed up at Elrod Hendricks' funeral? He can still play some pretty good defense at third even if he doesn't hit much anymore. I do hope the O's explore what options they have in the offseason before committing to picking up his option.

I wouldn't be too quick to put Snyder as our first baseman next year. I took in a Tides game at Gwinnett the other night and was really impressed with Aubrey. He has a sweet swing and is much closer to playing in the big leagues than Snyder. Snyder looked frustrated out there and should need another season or two at Norfolk. Aubrey deserves the first shot.

I tend to agree with you, Peter.

Defense at certain positions make huge differences. Lack of good defense at SS, 2B, 1B usually looks pretty obvious, but 3B is trickier. It's a position where the difference btwn good and bad defense gets harder to see. Subpar 3Bs don't even get to the balls they should reach and they go for hits. Everything else isn't so routine, or at least, the difficulty level rises. To the casual fan, it just looks like your pitchers are bad.

I remember after a while I thought Tony Batista was "ok." Then I saw a string of As games where Eric Chavez manned 3B. All of a sudden, to my eyes, Batista was the defensive equivalent of a plank of wood stuck in the ground.

I will never understand why Melvin isn't a huge fan favorite? This guy wants to be an Oriole and has represented the team with a great deal of pride, on and off the field. When healthy, he has been an offensive threat plus his defense has always been excellent.

I don't know how much Melvin has left in the tank, but he has earned the right to be the starting 3B for the Orioles this season. I hope Melvin makes it tough for the O's to not keep him around, but if this is his last year in Baltimore, I am going to enjoy watching the final season of a very classy Oriole player.

I say get rid of all the veterans right now. I love them all. They are good guys and good players; however, let's face it:

1. Luke Scott's stock will never go higher than right now
2. Huff should have been traded last year when he was on fire
3. Same goes for Mora. I know they can't trade him if he does not want to. With Mora they will have a hard time if he does not hit. In which case he should definitely be benched.

If you want to win games you have to have a "what have you done for me lately attitude". I know it's cut throat attitude; however so is the AL East.

Maybe Mora can become our 3rd base COACH next year......he has played every infield position along with being an outfielder, too! (remember the super sub years of 2001-03 before he became our reg. at 3rd?)

thanks Melvin, its been fun watching you....

Corner positions are power positions. We already have an all defense shortstop. I don't think we will have Mora at 3rd next year getting paid 8 million to hit 8 HR's.

I don't care how much he hits in the second half, if I was McPhail I would be thinking this is a lot of money to be paying a guy for half a seasons production year after year. In the meantime, he contributes to the team being out of contention again by the all-star break and the fans see this. I don't see how McPhail can keep saying we are building a contender and let this situation continue at third base.


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Pete's reply: He has a no-trade clause, so they'd have to eat the $4 million remaining for this year, plus lose infield depth and defense. Doesn't make sense to do that without a young guy ready to pop.

Kinda strange thinking of replacing Aubrey with Aubrey at first base. I'd like to keep the Aubrey--you, know the guy with the instant mustache--that we have now at first base.

I appreciate Melvin's glove. Last season, he was the hottest hitter in the majors over the second half of the season. Watching him struggle at the plate again in the first half this season, I kept thinking what would happen if he arranged his contract so he only played the second half? Would that still be the second half for him? Last year, it was an old fashioned cortisone shot over the All-Star break that did wonders for #6.

Pete, It's amazing how certain some of your readers are that Melvin shouldn't be back and/or won't be back.

I guarantee you many of the same people were saying exactly the same thing last year around this time, then he went on to have a torrid second half that was as good as anyone's in baseball.

And I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that he's going to have another strong second half again this year; maybe not as hot as he was in 2008, but then that's a tough act to follow (if he does get that hot then the Orioles are going to be an exciting team to follow).

The reason I think this is because of what I see of his play at third. He has made some plays that would make Brooks Robinson proud, plays that require phenomenal reflexes. If Melvin has those reflexes at third, then he can still turn on a fastball.

His power outage is puzzling, but it's important to remember that he's not primarily a power guy. Yes, he's had a few years of 20+ homers, but 15 is a more typical number for him. If he gets hot, that certainly would be in reach for him.

Incidentally, Melvin recently told the Orioles' announcers that his power would come back once he has a two double game. Well, that game was yesterday. Now we get to see how well he knows himself.

I can't see why so many people are so anxious to run Luke Scott out of town. He is having a great year, hitting better against lefties, and we have him under control for a couple more years before he can become a free agent. Also he's only 30. What's with the bums rush?

I'll 2nd the excellent post from Birdland Todd.

I have rooted for Melvin for years. He's brought a lot to this team: production, passion, and personality. I also will enjoy seeing him play this year, since it could very well be his last. I agree that it may be time to replace him after this year is up, but we'll see. Any way you look at it, he's an Orioles classic, and I would put him behind Brooks and Cal, slightly ahead or maybe tied with DeCinces, on the list of best 3B in Orioles history.

Melvin has a history of being a second-half hitter.

As for Jim, who says Mora is blocking someone in the minors, I ask, "WHO IS HE BLOCKING?" I think 3B is the only position where we do not have a reasonable prospect in our system. That is not to suggest that Mora should stay beyond this contract, but I see no one beating down the door to replace him (no one tapping lightly for that matter).

I've listened to everyone say dump Mora, and I'll admit I've had my few moments where I'd like to see Wigginton play more. But dropping him outright or trading him would be the wrong idea. Last year, I believe his average was sitting pretty between .230 and .250 before the All-Star Break. Coming out of the All-Star Break, he lit a fire under the Orioles, and was batting well over .350 (wasn't he at .450 for a bit?) in last year's second half. His power numbers went through the roof, and he finished with over 100 RBIs despite his terrible start.

Pete, like you said, we've got his option for 2010, but let the man finish out the year. If nothing else, he's got a damned good glove, and some excellent range for a slow old man.

Pete,

In all very due respect, I think you left out one of the things that will be one of the largest deciding factors for his departure: His impact on the Baltimore area. He is always a part of the area in Baltimore, and he LOVES it here. He has raised his 3 beautiful children here. I often play with the Orioles roster and see what would be the most efficient in my eyes, and every time, I tend to lean towards Wiggy at third now. However, I can never build up the ability to put myself in the shoes of the person that after 8 seasons in Baltimore in which he was a HUGE player on and off the field, has to tell him that he is going somewhere else. I'm not saying the guy is Cal Ripken, but he is certainly has filled the majority of the off-field void that Cal left after '01

your thoughts?


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Pete's reply: Can't argue. I'm a Melvin fan and will continue to be, but there will come a time when he'll have to be replaced. I just don't think it's this year.

johnjames: The only PRODUCTIVE thing you could do is make sure the name JAMES is NOT DISPLAYED in your name. It's disgracing me greatly with your drivel.

Anyway, Mora gets my benefit of the doubt this year, but 2 poor first halves in a row tells me enough about betting on a 3rd. I love the guy, but he's costing us way more runs at the plate than anyone else would give up in the field.

I think Scott could be turning into a great fulltime DH. That being said, you still listen if someone's making an offer. Especially if someone wants to overpay. I don't think he's in the pool of guys that need to be dumped just yet.


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Pete's reply: Don't worry about JohnJames. He was banned from here a year ago. In fact, he's the only one who has been banned in all the time I've done this. Not because he criticizes me, but because he has nothing to say about the subjects we talk about. If he writes in and blasts me for a specific stance I have taken or a specific post, I'll leave him up. But his posts only stay up until I log on and see them.

i'm cool with him as long as he plays good D, and hits for average...

it may help for him to grow a mustache too.

THAT being said. We need to start fortifying the whole infield. Buy bats O's.

If you look at the current lineup, there are no changes needed except at third.

I know Melvin has been a solid citizen around town and his second half last year was quite phenomenal.

But, his no trade contract makes it almost impossible to move him. He is entrenched in the community and has said many times that he does not want to move his family.

That said, maybe he would move for a contender? While trading within the division is looked down upon, Boston needs a third baseman to replace Lowell who is always hurt and they always have young talent in their system such as Clay Bulchholz.

Pete,

Is johnjames your father-in-law?


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Pete's reply: Hmmmm. Hadn't considered that.

the guy's performance really hasnt been the biggest change to me. They guy could light a room with his smile as was seen in the WBC when he played for Venezuela, but he doesnt look like he is having fun at all. I dont know, Im not around the team like the writers, but I think its his morale that has changed

Well I think the only ones that are saying trade Mora are the negative fans that want to trade every player that has a bad week. Mora has had a few setbacks this year and will be fine. If some of these posters were running the team they would have traded the following already:
Roberts
Mora
Huff
Guthrie
Wigginton
Koi
Hendrickson
Baez
Bass
Sherrill

Really crazy stuff, but the fans have a right to say what they want and this one says trade Pie. Don't we owe the cubs a player?


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Pete's reply: Yes, and I think it's Chad Bradford.

MM showed his stuff Wednesday in Seattle, when he ignited the ninth-inning comeback with a double. In the field, he made a fabulous bare-hand snag and quick throw to first to nip the runner. That said, it sure would be nice to see his smile light up Camden again. Oye, Mel, el dicho es "play ball," not "work ball."

Besides total committment and attitude, the big thing missing from the Orioles line up are 2 power guys who have to be reckoned with.Without 2 guys that have to be pitched around you won't win it all even with good pitching. 3d base and 1st base need 25-30 homer guys with 100 rbi capability until the catcher comes of age. The outfield is great but it doesn't scare many pitching staffs. Giles, York, PA

Ok will someone actually look at the numbers. go to ESPn and check out the stats. They will tell you the post all star numbers for each season.

Here I'll do it for everyone Check out the difference in OPS:

Yr -- 1st Half -- 2nd Half
'07 ---- .790 ----- .704
'06 ---- .767 ----- .685
'05 ---- .861 ----- .780

Mora has been a better 2nd half hitter ONCE in the last 4 years. And that Hot half was what? Less then 200 ABs. After he got a Cortisone (steroid) shot in his shoulder. Each other season his OPS dropped 80 points.

I like Mora as a person. He seems like a good person. But he is 37 and has lost it. He lays down a perfect bunt and gets thrown out by 3 feet at first. A long fly ball to the OF and he can't make it to 3rd before the throw.

He snags a lot of balls. But his arm isn't good enough anymore. Last year Millar had to scoop his balls out of the dirt on pretty much any play that Mora moved left or right. I have seen the same stuff this year.

And yeah I understand Mora is liked around here. But so was BJ Surhoff and the O's did not resign him when he was a free agent.

Pie is still young with upside. Salazar is a decent PH but his is also on the wrong side of 30 for a rebuilding team.


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Pete's reply: Thanks for the research. My only problem with your post was putting steroids in parentheses after cortisone. That's wrong. It is a steroid, but a legal one that is not the same kind of steroid that is considered performance enhancing. Apples and oranges.

He is a second half hitter and the O's are eliminated by the time he gets hot.
Who's career is he short circuiting ? The O's lineup is weak anyway and propects coming up are thin.Let him play his contract out until they have a
better option.

It's time to cut bait with Melvin. At times he shows a disinterest in playing the game the right way, and for better or worse, he is a link to the horrible losing teams of the past decade and the mindest that contributed to that. Any offensive pop he may provide in the second half can more than be made up by Wiggy. I've always liked Melvin's glove, but it's time to move on to a new era of O's baseball.

Trade and get what you can, or just let him go so he has time to latch on to a new team.

Oh and here is Mora's Zone Rating (The percentage of balls fielded by a player in his typical defensive "zone"):

7.744

FYI thats LOWEST in baseball of the 22 3B that qualify.


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Pete's reply: Might want to define that stat a little better. It sounds like he fields only one of every 14 balls in his fielding range. I doubt that's what it means, but that's what it sounds like.

It sure took a while on this post but SMBaublitz and Giles got to the core issues. Mora is not a "second half player" whatever that ridiculous label insinuates (based on small samples and incomplete data typically).
And in keeping Melvin, the Orioles simply lose ground to their competitors. Other teams in the East have players that can change the game with a swing. We hope we have a couple of those guys and I truly think AJ and Wieters will be those guys. But it just is not enough. I would be content with a Figgins-type whose speed can alter games. But guys like Mora, Wigginton, Moore, etc. are just good enough to play in the majors. Granted, it is amazing to be average in this difficult game but do we want to win a championship, or throw out a bunch of nice guys? THere are nice guys all over the community. I would prefer my baseball team plays to win.

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Pete's reply: It's not about keeping Mora. It's about who you have to replace him.

They have to keep him until the end of the season. Hopefully he'll get a little more consistent as the year goes on. He appears to be doing that now and hopefully that can carry over into the all-star break.

I think they have to let him go after this season, but I don't like the FA options either. I'm not too high on Adrian Beltre or Chone Figgins. Both are past the prime age of 28-29 and both will probably demand too much. Of the two I'd go with Beltre who at least has potential of upping his power totals by hitting in Oriole Park and he is also decent defensively. I don't see Wiggington at that position full time and I'd prefer that Huff remain as DH/1B since I don't trust his defense.

Don't buy it. Last year Melvin was still struggling at the plate at this time, but didn't have near the power outage he has had this year. On the other hand, Ty Wigginton also had a very good second half, as good as Mora, last year, is five years younger, and even when he's not hot is a power threat. He's not a brilliant defender, but he's shown he is capable. Thank you Melvin for your time here in Baltimore, but I release Mora and let Wigginton play there full time for the rest of the season. He's probably going to be your opening day 3B in 2010 anyway.

come on people get a clue. Because a guy has 1 good 2nd half in his career does not make him a 2nd half hitter.

Huff is a 2nd half hitter. Markakis is a 2nd half hitter. Mora is barely a hitter.


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Pete's reply: This is pretty important to you. Are you trying to buy his house?

"Pete, It's amazing how certain some of your readers are that Melvin shouldn't be back and/or won't be back.

I guarantee you many of the same people were saying exactly the same thing last year around this time, then he went on to have a torrid second half that was as good as anyone's in baseball.

And I'm going to go out on a limb and predict that he's going to have another strong second half again this year; maybe not as hot as he was in 2008, but then that's a tough act to follow (if he does get that hot then the Orioles are going to be an exciting team to follow).

The reason I think this is because of what I see of his play at third. He has made some plays that would make Brooks Robinson proud, plays that require phenomenal reflexes. If Melvin has those reflexes at third, then he can still turn on a fastball.

His power outage is puzzling, but it's important to remember that he's not primarily a power guy. Yes, he's had a few years of 20+ homers, but 15 is a more typical number for him. If he gets hot, that certainly would be in reach for him.

Incidentally, Melvin recently told the Orioles' announcers that his power would come back once he has a two double game. Well, that game was yesterday. Now we get to see how well he knows himself."

Uh, people are now talking about Mora not being back next year because of his contract situation.

Eveyone knew he'd be here this year because of his no trade clause that he's obviously not gonna waive and his big contract.

I love how people rave about his great 2nd half last season. That's great and all but what about the first halves? Those games count too and in consecutive years he's been terrible.

His reflexes in the field will translate to his performance at the plate? He will start hitting for power once he gets a 2 double game? What's next, he'll start hitting for power once he gets his tarot cards read?

Give me a break.

The Orioles would look like fools to pick up his option for 2010. Buy him out for a million and move on for crying out loud.

SMB, do you have his RBI totals divided up by half? Runs scored?

Thanks

SMB
You had to go and put facts into the equation, didn't you.
Terrible baserunner...pouty at times....average defensively....37....lost power.... did i say mopey.....If you are looking at this logically, he must just go and enjoy his millions doing something else.

I've posted a few times about the O's releasing Mora and I still think it's the right move. I'm sure it won't happen for a variety of reasons, most of them sentimental. I'm excited and optimistic about the o's team and organization but 3b has become a black hole offensively and defensively. Mora is 37 and his option won't get picked up, if it is you can point directly to Peter Angelos, as Macphail is way too bball savvy. There is little room for sentimentality in running a sports franchise, it can make you worse in the short term and delay important long term decisions. For the record Mora is at his best a below average defender and at 37 is a good bet to get worse not better. While I don't think there is a longterm solution for now a Wiggington/Andino platoon would seem to be at least a small improvement over Mora. I've said it before and I'll say it again regarding Andino, this season, which is about transition, why not stick the best glove on your entire team at 3b and see what the defensive upgrade gives you? For a team that seems on the cusp of having a nearly all rookie starting rotation, it really behooves the team to put the best defenders possible behind them. I'm not sure who that will be next season but this season there are few options on the team or in the minors.

Would we be a better team with Wiggington as the every day 3rd baseman?
Let's see.... better power (wiggington), defensively, probably a wash, baserunning a wash, I don't know I guess we do need someone else over there....Huff at third, Luke Scott/Salazar as your first basemen. That would be better I think.


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Pete's reply: Obviously, Bill, you don't care about defense. This isn't a fantasy league, you know.

SMB- You are correct cut them all, anyone that do not meet your stats sheet cut. Notice that Wieters is not that strong on stats, heck Huff, Markakis, Roberts and Mora have not played up to their abilities clean them all out. Funny in your stats you did not go back one more year. Also numbers tell part of the story. With runners on he hit 300 in the first half, 390 in the second half. OPS is over rated. You have to give Mora his PT in the second half, he is not going to be traded, then next year you need to concentrate on breaking someone else in. Who are you going to put at third right now from the O's system? There will be no trades.

Mora, Baez, Huff.... let them go. We'll be a better team for it.

Who are we going to replace Mora with next year? If you look at the free agent market at third base, there is no one available. Here's a list (from Cot's Baseball Contracts):

Third Basemen
Adrian Beltre SEA
Hank Blalock TEX
Geoff Blum HOU
Joe Crede MIN
Pedro Feliz * PHI
Chone Figgins LAA
Troy Glaus STL
Mike Lamb MIL
Melvin Mora * BAL

(* indicates team or player option).

Who on that list is worth picking up?

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Pete's reply: I'd take Beltre, but I doubt they would pay for him.

Echoing a point made by Anonymous -- and disagreeing slightly with Bill Frederick's assertion that Wigginton would be a baserunning wash -- I think we should keep in mind that over the past several years, whether he's been hitting or not, Melvin has been an absolutely atrocious baserunner. Even in situations that haven't ended in dramatic, Jack Cust-esque disasters, Melvin always seems to make poor basepath decisions. (Whoever suggested making him the 3B coach...wow. I only hope you were kidding.) As such, there might be an argument here that -- given the team-wide baserunning problems -- Melvin should be let go because as a veteran who runs the bases poorly, he's setting a terrible example for the Joneses and Weiterses of the squad, and contributing to a larger baserunning problem.

That said, I think Pete's basic point is correct -- beyond possibly shoring up the overall baserunning situation, we don't gain a lot by letting Melvin go right now. Salazar and Wigginton are both 31 and are not long-term solutions. If we can trade Melvin (maybe with Sherrill?) for a real 3B prospect (i.e., not Mike ("George") Costanzo), I'm for that. And if that doesn't happen, I kind of like the idea of moving Huff to 3B next year and letting Snyder take a crack at 1B, because Snyder is (or should be) part of the overall big picture. But we have no organizational depth at 3B, and given that Melvin is still serviceable defensively, I agree with Pete's broader point that cutting him or replacing him with Wigginton or Salazar would be an overreaction.

Pete,

I thank Melvin for his loyal service to the team, but at this point it's addition by subtraction (unless he is willing to take a reserve role).

If the Orioles want, I'll take the league minimum to stab at some ground balls and one-hop it to first base . . . and I can run through stop signs with the best of them.

Although I agree with you that its about having someone better to back-fill his position. I think its a pretty arrogant attitude for Melvin to think at 37 he is entitled to a position on a Major League roster. I hope to see the Melvin Mora farewell tour kick off in September.

Pete's reply: This is pretty important to you. Are you trying to buy his house?

I've seen his house and I only wish I could buy it.

My vote is for keeping him through this season. I don't really think that he has a whole lot of trade value. If he tears up in the 2nd half, then re-evaluate him. I definitely think we should trade Huff for a couple of prospects and use Ty and Oscar at first. If Mora goes and we are stuck with Ty or Huff at third we are in serious trouble. You think fundamentals are bad now? Take Mora out and you compound the problem immensely.

Shawn (Lincoln, NE), I like Mora but you've been turning over too many cow chips if you think LA's Figgins couldn't replace Mora!

SMBaublitz, You make some valid points, but I think some you overstate some and devalue others (like I guess we all do from time to time.

Okay, last year was the only time in four years that he had a stronger second half than first half of the season. I think it's fair to say he will need to come close to last year's performance to have a chance at coming back next year.

While conceding he doesn't run as well as he used to, not every player in the lineup has to be able to run like Adam Jones.

I don't think his arm is nearly as bad as you make it out to be.Were he even half that bad he would be leading the majors in throwing errors, and I doubt if he's even close to the top in that category.

You write that Mora makes a bad throw "on pretty much any play that (he) moved left or right." This is wildly inaccurate (no pun intended). He's made several great plays this season where he gone to either side, dove to make the play and fired right on the money to first for the out. His glove work has been outstanding.

Like Peter, I found your stat about Melvin's range rather dubious (see my reply to "Anonymous" below).

Mark, I think we can agree on one thing: More than first half or second half statistics, the front office is going to look at what he did over the course of the season; that's the bottom line of the evaluation.

Reflexes at third base (it's called the hot corner for a reason) are relevant to hitting a fastball, because each skill involves something called fast muscle twitch response. So, when you notice Mora not getting around on fastballs anymore, you'll also see him fail to make the plays at third and vice-versa.

Your tarot reading comment was amusing, but fails to take into consideration one important point: Mora's been playing professionally for more than a decade; he probably does have a pretty good idea of when he typically gets hot, so if he says a two double game is what it ususally takes to jumpstart his hitting, he should be given the benefit of the doubt. Like I wrote, we'll know soon enough whether he's on to something or just blowing smoke.

JDAnonymous, Melvin below average or just average defensively? Come on, have you been watching any games this year? He's made a number of highlight reel caliber plays, plays that most third basemen are lucky to get a glove on, much less gotten the out. Some of those plays prevented the tying or winning run to score, or prevented runners from moving into scoring position.

If I had to guess, Melvin is going to need to finish the season no worse than in the neighborhood of .285, 15 hr, and 80 rbi, while continuing to play solid defense for the front office to even consider resigning him.

At 37 nothing is guaranteed a player except that he's closer to the end of his career than to the beginning. It's possible that even with a strong second half his option isn't picked up.

(Note to all Mora bashers: I know you want him out of town ASAP, but unless the highly unlikely occurs and Melvin falls flat on his face, Peter Angelos isn't going to release him. If you've been Oriole fans for any length of time you should know that's how it works. No way P.A.'s going to eat nearly $4M, especially after losing quite a bit when Jaime Walker was released. Ain't gonna happen.)

Hey, the ESPN article on Adam Jones and Markakis said that both of them really want to play the infield. Maybe we should release Pie, make Melvin the 4th outfielder and let Adam or Nick play third.

Everybody relax. Mora isn't going anywhere this year, nor should he. Its not about statistics - Its all about the Benjamins.

If we were a contender (which we aren't), and he was killing us at the plate (which he is) then maybe they'd release or trade him.

Since we're not contending, we aren't going to release him and eat his salary, unless there was a prospect waiting in the wings (which there isn't)

Therefore, he will finish the year here unless someone overwhelms us with a trade offer (which won't happen) AND he gives up his no trade clause (which also won't happen)

So, for this year, we have to keep him and hope for the best. Unless he has a big second half, it would be a huge mistake to pick up his option for 2010. Even then, for 2010, it would be better to try to find a replacement via trade or free agency.

Mora is decling faster than most of us expected; in fact, I was one of those who pushed the O's to extend him back a few years ago. What we have now is a decent defensive 3rd baseman but one who's less than average offensively. He's probably going to finish out '09 because PA won't eat another 4 mill and we probably don't have anyone better right now. That's why 3B should be an off-season priority and there should be no further discussion about bringing Mora back at all in '10. He likely won't handle being a reserve very well anyway.

We seem to have two issues going on here.

One, is Melvin any good? The answer here is a resounding "No". In the last 3.5 seasons his OPS+ has come in at:

91
98
114, and
70 (so far this year).

Note that 100 is average on this scale. He is a below-average big league hitter now.

His defense is not enough to make up for his lack of offense, either. Note that his Zone Rating is -1.4 this year.

His offensive woes are made more painful by the fact that he plays a premium offensive position. He just ain't getting it done.

Second question, do the Orioles have someone better to replace him with? The answer is an equally resounding "No".

Conclusion: The O's need something better than Mora at 3B if they're going to contend. They have no prospect in the minors who can upgrade the position, so they'll have to look for a FA or get something back in a trade. For this year, if they can find a sucker to give them anything of value for Mora's dubious "services", they should take it; this season is lost any way. If they can't, and I can't imagine they will, then they might as well let him finish out the year and wave good bye to him after the year is out.

I agree with the premise that you don't DFA Mora. Besides not having a current replacement that can handle the hot corner respectably, Mora has earned the honor of finishing out this season. It would be bad PR. No more Venezuelans for the O's and some bitterness that frankly sending down one of our mediocre relievers would eliminate.

That said, Melvin is solid defensively, but he is not elite. He positions himself poorly at times but I like his hands and his consistency in making routine plays. Third base needs to be a dynamic position unless you are loaded elsewhere on the diamond.

Problem is that FA is thin where we need it. I guess that may be a flaw in the "buy the bats" approach. Good ones that don't cost a fortune get extended. That leaves a market of highly paid question marks.

I'd love for the O's to find some way to keep Mora long enough for him to be on a contender, he deserves it more than anyone, but I'm just not sure how they can do that.

Mora is average 3B player, with his age and declining in bat speed , power, lets trade him to contender team like the Boston, who need 3B for some minor league, as least he get a chance to make to playoffs.Mora is good guy offfield too.As the Orioles with young movement , up coming power house, using some minor players trade to Toronto for Starter Hallaway, aleast he a #1 starter for 4 more year anchor and mentor the top prospects come up. As for Felix Pie , he need more times to develope into power hitter, he young, have upside , potential , maybe not outfield switch him at 1B or 3B so he have more at bat.Look at Adam Jone , how he progressing with more at bats since he arrive from Seattle.Pie need more playing times before we judge him a bust..

Looking at that list above i would defenitely take Figgins, Blalock,and Beltre over Melvin Mora. It has nothing to do with Melvin as a person, i just think they would all help us more next year.

TDK,

You have to learn how to spell.

O's don't have someone to replace him? Wigginton? Salazar? Huff? All have played 3B in the majors. You telling me none of those guys can hit .262/ .324/ .326? Can any of them play it defensively well enough to be better then the worst 3B in ZR?

Yes I went back to the 2005. I didn't got to 2004 because 1. that was 5 years ago 2. Mora was still in the 'prime' years of his career. 3. I already did the research for you what more do you need?

Ok you want RBI splits? I'm hopped up on MTN DEW lets see:

2008: 48 - 56
2007: 41 - 17
2006: 44 - 39
2005: 47 - 41

Yup, numbers still say he wasn't a 2nd half guy.

Replies to others:

- O's released Gibbons with years and over $10 million left on his deal. I think a few mil for Mora won't be a problem.

- Not everyone has to run like Adam Jones. But when you tag up or bunt for a hit you BETTER MAKE IT. And he hasn't.

- Mora is 37! He has peaked! Nick? 25. I think he has also shown he is a 2nd half hitter. Huff? Yup also 2nd half hitter. No he is not the hitter everyone (but me) thought he would when we were discussing Teixeira this offseason. But he is actually having a normal Huff season. Wieters? Rookie. Also he is at .375/ .444/ .563 this month.

- Mora is like Jeter. They will make an awesome play. But they don't have the range to make the normal play. When its a hard play he will gun it beautifully. But then on an easy grounder he picks it up and short hops the 1B. But any ML 1B should be able to scoop those.

ZONE RATING: http://www.baseballthinkfactory.org/files/dialed_in/discussion/what_is_zone_rating/

Overall Mora gets to 1.5 less balls then the average 3rd baseman.

- OPS is not over-rated. Batting average is over-rated. OPS shows how a player is worth better then most other stats. If he is a good On Base guy or good Slugging guy the numbers are higher.

And I wish Mora was hitting. I do. I have nothing against the guy. If he was hitting it wouldn't be an issue. But for a team looking to go younger without a chance to make the playoffs it might make more sense to give someone else some ABs.

I just find it funny how people are ready to get rid of Pie. A 24 year old raw but speedy outfielder with upside over a 37 year old 3B that peaked half a decade ago. Both guys have 2 HR and one is barely playing.


.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: How many fantasy teams do you have going right now? Just curious.

Pete's reply: I'd take Beltre, but I doubt they would pay for him.

Uh, Chone Figgins.

Hello.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Was he on that list? I'd take him too.

SMBaublitz , You make a strong case, though I still find a few things with which to take exception.

* 1ST HALF vs. 2ND HALF -- Okay, you've got me on this one. Since he came up with the Mets in 1999, Melvin's split for OPS is .807 to .769 (note that strictly speaking this isn't for halves, but pre- and post-All Star break). I think I'm the one who got this whole second half stuff started and I'll yield on that point, save to say that if Mora is to have any chance at coming back next year he'll need to go against his usual dropoff and put up numbers that equal (or, more likely, exceed) what he did last year. It remains to be seen whether he can do that.

(Note: You say you've nothing against him, but at one point you dismissingly refer to his "'prime' years" as if to insinuate that he never had any. Actually, Mora's had more than one good year, highlighted by 2004, when he hit .340, 27, 104. Sure you can say benefited from Miguel Tejada batting behind him, but he still put up those numbers against major league pitching for a full season. Give credit where it's due!)

* ZONE RATING vs FIELDING AVERAGE -- I wonder why you want to put all of your eggs in the ZR basket. You really harp on that. Yeah, it's an important (if slightly subjective) criterion for measuring fielding, but it's hardly the only one. Having that in mind, I checked another stat, FA because I wanted to see how well he handles what he gets to, and the answer is quite well, thank you very much. At. .970 Mora has the third best fielding percentage in the American League, trailing only Joe Crede and Scott Rolen.

(Note: You make way too much out of the supposed high amount of balls thrown in the dirt by Mora. There's no way he could have an above average FA if he were that bad, because no first baseman could bail him out that many times.)

* BASE RUNNING -- I can't recall Mora not making the next base when he had to tag up. Yeah, more than once he's made some boneheaded attempts to go from first to third when he had no business doing so, not that he's the only Oriole to run the team out of an inning this year. As for bunting, the question is whether he was incapable of beating the throw or someone made a flawless defensive play. I do think, however, that he has at least one bunt single this year.

* SALARY -- The O's getting rid of Gibbons was a special case; given the steroids issue they didn't have much choice. Again, I emphasize that that is not how Peter Angelos normally operates. Still, you're right, they can unload Melvin's salary if they believe it's in the best interest of the team.

* AGE vs PERFORMANCE -- Yes, he's 37 and he's on a team that's going younger, but there is always a place for someone who produces. I don't care if a player is 47, if he still has the tools. But does Melvin still have the tools? If not, then he should bow out gracefully. Make no mistake, as things stand he very likely has a place with this ball club when he retires. He doesn't want to move his family out of the Baltimore area and wouldn't need to if he accepts this as the end of his playing days and takes another position in the organization.

Thanks for the heads up Pete. Stole my joy of quoting some more of his gems from previous posts, but I'll survive. I was searching back and thinking I've really lost my mind, they're not where I thought they were.

I put it as 'prime' because I was quoting the standard. Prime years are supposed to be 27-32. I did see the .340 season. And thought the O's should have dealt him after that season. When he could have gotten the team something.

But at the time the front office did not like selling high. They preferred to sell low on a lot of players. Rodrigo Lopez and Jorge Julio come to mind as well.

I love Melvin, but people need to remember he'll be 38 going into next season. Unless he has an incredible second half there is no way the O's will have him at 3rd next season. It's possible he could play another season as a bench player, but it seems highly unlikely Mora would ever be willing to do that. If we're voting, I would say the team let him finish the season and offer him a bench role for next year. If he shows no interest, the club should do everything in their powers to give him a respectful send off at the end of the season. Melvin Mora has been a pleasure to watch over the years and deserves our respect, but the O's need to get younger at third base.

Melvin does just fine in his position. The Orioles have made great strides this season. Trading one person isn't the solution for improvement. The O's need to continue to build through the farm system and quit wasting money on "has-been" players. Bottom-Line: It's all about the pitching!!

Pete,

The O's are not going to get much in return for trading Mora. So, the only way you trade him is if you do a big blockbuster package deal that includes Mora, Huff, and hopefully Pie. I would not trade Sherrill since the bullpen is already struggling and there is no one who really could take his place (Ray and Johnson are not going to).

The O's have to move along their best 3B prospect in Brandon Waring. He has hit 20 plus HR's in each of the past two seasons. Currently he is at 15 HR's, cut his strikeouts in half, and bumped his average up 30 points from a year ago. He could very well be the power hitting 3B we have been needing, but he could be a year or two away.

The O's will have to figure out what to do with their veterans. If they do not intend on resigning them, they need to trade them while they can. If they know they are not going to sign them long term, they have to trade them and get something so they don't give them up for NOTHING.

Pete,

Why I find Melvin more than average defensively, he is no longer a productive bat, particularly for a thirdbaseman. He may and probably is our best option at 3B, HOWEVER, if it means risking Salazar to waivers to save his @$$, I say cut him loose now!

Melvin is not part of our future, and as long as we can keep him without disrupting even the slightest part of our futuer (Salazar is a professional hitter), ok, otherwise CUT HIM LOOSE!

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