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July 21, 2009

Over the Hill Experiment

Don't know how much longer Andy MacPhail and Dave Trembley can keep sending Rich Hill to the mound. He has some talent, but he can't hold it together long enough often enough to keep the Orioles competitive.

I'm guessing the Orioles still want to wait awhile for Chris Tillman, but if that's the case, maybe they need to go back to the well with someone like Chris Waters, who pitched very well in his last start and his pitching schedule lines up just a day behind Hill's slot in the major league rotation.

Bringing in Hill was a reasonable experiment, but it has not been a success. If the O's think he can be fixed, they should probably try to outright him to the minor leagues. With his numbers, it's hard to imagine a rush to claim him off waivers.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:27 PM | | Comments (104)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Much agreed Schmuck. This guy sucks. I can't wait to get him out of here. I would much rather see Berken out there than this bum. CUT HIM LOOSE

Hill is out of options? I know Pie and Salazar both are - that's why they had to trade Salazar - but I didn't know that about Hill.

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Pete's reply: I suspect if he had an option, he would have been optioned by now.

Yea, I think Hill is likely done. You cannot win if every inning you walk a guy. I can see why he wore out his welcome in Chicago. It is hard to watch and you don't have a very good chance of winning with him out there.

Moving on to tonights game, I am not too upset as I was last night. The sad fact is, the Yankees are just a superior team to the Orioles. I have to admit it and give them respect. Maybe by 2011 that will start to change, but right now we are not even close to playing with them. No need to get mad.

Peter,
Do you think he's at least worth being a LOOGY? That being said, the guy is pretty much the worst guy to bring out of the pen with a lead since he can't throw strikes. This team can't be picky about eating innings, ugly or not, with all of their young starters. Is it a gross simplification to assume that, outside of a dramatic turnaround in command, Hill may soon either get released outright or demoted to the pen?

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Pete's reply: I think you try to get him through waivers and assign him somewhere to work on his mechanics.

Pete,
Any idea what kind of moves will be made if / when Sarfate and Ray come back in a week or so? Seems like the O's have a lot of decision making coming up.
I'm all for sending Hill to the minors if we can. During the game today, Jim Palmer was just ripping his mechanics to shreds.


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Pete's reply: I really don't have a feel for what they are going to do. I'm guessing they take their time because there aren't any easy answers after Hill and Berken are moved out.

I agree, can't see anyone else picking him up... and if they do, best of luck. Waters would be the most logical replacement IMO.

Berken has looked lost too, I think he needs more seasoning. Here's a perfect example of why AM doesn't want to bring up the top prospects until they're ready. Berken has never had much hype -- he didn't even get an invite to Spring Training this year -- so I don't think giving him this shot and having it flame out is too big a deal. He can go back to Norfolk and get some more work, then probably come back when rosters expand and maybe get a couple more MLB starts. If the top 3 pitching prospects work out like we all hope, there isn't going to be room for him in the rotation anyway.

I think we will be seeing Chris Tillman sooner rather than later. And that will be exciting.

Mr Pete,
Oriole fan since 1956 or so and spent my youth at Orioles games as lived 3 miles away. It was a great ride from 1964 till 1983. Best record in baseball over that period and no team even close. Came into this season with low expectations but they are falling short of those less than modest hopes. Our kids simply are not special. Our rookies pale in comparison to other teams. Weiters has a long slow swing unconducive to the big leagues but ok in the bushes. Reimold is trying to pull everything and hits more weak ground balls to short than I can imagine. Markakis is a nice player all around but youd hope your star could carry the team here and there.
Our veterans simply are not getting it done, Huff,Roberts,Mora.
What happened to quick bat wrist hitters(Robinson,Baylor,Blair, Eddie evewn Bumbry) We simply are overmatched game after game.
Matusz, Arrieta and Tillman better be some kind of special to move this team forward.
We are who we think we are. And what the rest of baseball thinks we are. A very below average team going thru the motions with thoughts of losing controlling their minds.

I've given up watching the O's for this year. For the sake of my blood pressure, I'll wait to see what they "transition" into next year. But a look at the box score--6 runs on 6 hits for the Yanks and no home runs--suggests that Hill couldn't find the strike zone. The O's got three more hits and two fewer runs. Did anybody try to work the count?

Might as well trot Hill out there for his requisite 3 innings of ineffective pitching for the rest of the season.

There isnt much to salvage in this season and I dont see much light at the end of this tunnel beyond a few young pitchers.

Huff and Scott need to be shopped right now. Why aren't the O's on the phone with the Pirates given their eagerness to part with their talent.?

Ugh. How utterly depressing.

Hill is really just a crazy curveball version of Daniel Cabrera. What if we asked MLB if we could platoon Daniel and Hill together? Hill will come in to throw the curveballs, and Daniel come in to throw the heat? Together they might make a pretty good pitcher.

I find it pretty amazing that we have an uncanny knack for finding the wildest pitchers in baseball. It's as if we're doing it on purpose.

Speaking of ex-Cubs, is Felix Pie still on the roster? I don't think he's gotten an at bat since the Clinton administration. GM and manager need to have a discussion about the roster, because you can't waste a roster spot on a guy who isn't going to play for 3 weeks at a time. He either needs to be traded/cut or Trembley needs to run him out there on occasion. If he isn't even going to play when Reimold is hitting .167 with 0HR in July what's his purpose? I think the kid has talent, and would like to see him on occasion, but right now he isn't a 4th OF, he is the 25th man on a 24 man roster. Something needs to be done there. On another note, I thought Andino was going to get more action, at least that is what Trembley said, but he's barely been seen since the Cesar return.

Ted:

Can't agree with you on your rookie bit. The O's have 2 legitimate ROY candidates in Reimold and Bergeson. Hernandez has been very good and Wieters is certainly holding his own as a rookie. It would be a bit much to expect a rookie catcher to come in to the league and tear it up. He certainly looks like he belongs. And as for that "long, slow swing" every baseball mind in the business seems to think he'll be just fine.

Please don't start ripping on the rookies. That's all we got Mr. Ted.

I disagree on this one. If the Orioles outright him there are plenty of teams that will experiment. The Nationals seem to like to experiment, but really it is probably worth the risk since I am sure that Hill's confidence is pretty shattered at this point. What a shame it has not worked out yet. He can hit a little, convert him to an outfielder like Ankiel and Loewen.

I cannot understand some of this talk. Do people remember the Orioles are not supposed to beat the Yankees this year. The Orioles are rebuilding, even though it can make the most sane person crazy.

The Orioles are rebuilding? For the 15th losing year in a row lol

I had some hope in this franchise, maybe this year would be different. But I see absolutely nothing different about this team than the last 15 years. This is like a B movie I've seen too many times.

I've revised my thinking on Trembley. I initially thought he was doing a good job. Now I am witnessing a cavalcade of mental errors, I see players going through the motions, tamely accepting losing.

At this rate, I have no idea what's going to change the landscape of the AL East. The Yankees and Red Sox appear to remain on top for years to come.

Looking at this team since the All-Star break, this team has officially packed it in for the year, and that's sad.

Another second-half collapse in the making!

Until they eradicate this culture of losing, it's not going to matter what prospects they bring up.

It's just not good enough to accept that the Yankees are a better team. At some point you have to turn the corner and beat teams like this, or you'll continue to foster a culture of tame acceptance for losing.


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Pete's reply: Chuck, the only want to end a culture of losing is by winning. I know that sounds obvious, but there's really no other way. The question is how do you start winning, and the answer -- sadly -- isn't as simple as saying that you stop losing.

Pete,

Which player on this club is a "winner"? Huff? Roberts? Jones? Mora? Markakis? Any pitcher of consequence? The same might be said of the 08 Rays, but if none of these guys have really tasted consistent winning at the major league level, can we really be surprised when we take it hard in the 2nd half every year? If we're buying the bats this offseason, let us make sure we're buying some players who have actually won something in their careers and don't take losing sitting down. Players who don't know how to win, aren't going to wake up one morning and figure it out.

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Pete's reply: You know how you start a culture of winning. Get somebody like Roy Halladay at the front of your rotation. Trust me, if you have great starting pitching, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis and Company will start looking like winning players pronto.

I'm clearly swimming upstream on this one. No one can defend Rich Hill's performance, especially for the last month. To his credit, Hill has been up front about his failings without making excuses. But this isn't Daniel Cabrera. This guy is just 29 years old and has had a measure of success in the recent past in the Major Leagues. Over the last 3 years, he is 18-15 with a 4.01 ERA and about a .230 Batting Average Against. I'd take the opposite approach and tell him you're tossing him out there every 5 days for the rest of the year. This will take a little pressure off. We're not going anywhere this year anyway. If he continues to blow up, we lose 95 games instead of 90. Who cares. On the other hand, if he finds his groove, he can be a middle of the rotation kind of guy for several years. (In comparison, over the last 3 years, Daniel Cabrera was 26-38 with a 5.22 ERA. He also walked 50% more batters per nine innings than Hill.)

Peter Schmuck, why do you think we have to wait a while on Tillman? What more does he have to prove at Triple A? Even MacPhail has said Tillman is close.

The rotation order is set perfectly so that Tillman can make his major league debut next Monday against the Royals. I don't see why we should opt for a stopgap like Waters rather than sending Tillman out there.


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Pete's reply: I didn't really voice that opinion. I was saying if they feel that way, go with Waters instead of Hill. I'm eager to see Tillman, too, if he's ready.

Hill is a hot mess. Seems like the talent is there, just can't put it together.

No way anyone picks him up if the O's outright him.

Chuck,

There are good things happening if you look deep enough. They have brought up young pitchers some a little faster than planned. They have Wieters up here now learning the MLB game. They have Jones, Markakis and Riemold a young outfield with a great future in front of them. A better defensive infield than before, with Izturis there. Yes they are having issues at the corner infield but the defense has been pretty good. No one said that this team would compete for first place before the season started.and to avoid finishing in the cellar will be a challenge, but that is part of the deal this year. Did someone mislead you on what direction this team was heading? This was part of the plan from the beginning. Who would know that Koji would have an injury report two pages long. Who would know that Ray would be where he is now at this stage of the year. We could easily predict Hendrickson and Eaton would not last long in the rotation. .Roberts gets sick for a month. Mora had hamstring issues early in the year. Even if they signed a superstar power hitter this year for 25 million it would only bring 6-10 more wins than this and would not help. The pitchers are coming along and when they are ready, things will change. I know it is painful bit their is light at the end of the tunnel.

I don't think anyone can honestly say that the O's have been in a rebuilding mode, till Andy came aboard. You don't sign Miggy, Raffy and Javey Lopez, if you want to get young.

I never thought I would say this, but Hendrickson, could be a valuable commodity during the trade deadline. I would like to see the O's trade Baez and Hendrickson, and see what Waters can do, as well as letting Kam, finish up the year in Baltimore instead of a September call up.

Pete, if the O's don't trade Huff, do you sign him or gamble with free agency? I would be scared to lock him up for more than 2 years. I knew last year was a dream season, but I did expect more than what we are seeing from Huff. He's not bad, but the O's need that big bat in the line up. I wish they signed Dunn, but what can you do?


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Pete's reply: I would attempt to sign Huff for two or three years, but it would depend on the price, of course, This may become an easier question if MacPhail can get a corner infielder for Sherrill.

Ain't it just our luck - Huff decides to flame out and become a bum the month before the trade deadline! Same with Biaz - we can't catch a break! WHO in the world would trade so much as a used Jock strap for either Huff, Mora or Biaz?? In fact we couldn't NOW get a bat boy for ALL three! SIGGGHHH!! At least Brian Roberts has pulled his head out of his ..... Good for him. SIGGGGHHH same old same old and While I am on a roll - Wieters continues to look "soft" at the plate! Whimpy pop ups and weak grounders IF he doesn't strike out most of the time?? Who woulda thought we would PINE for Zauny??!! I am so dissapointed the more I see of the savior! SIGGGHHH! DT has buried Pie for so long he has gotten MOLDY! DH him instead of that BUM Huff Daddy a time or two - could it be any worse?? SIGGGHHH!

Peter, You're beginnning to sound like us. A scary thought. Send Hill to the minors. If some idiot of a GM wants to take a chance on him, so be it. Let someone else continue the experiment. Bring up Waters, or someone else, who cares at this point. The pitcherless O's are the punching bag of the AL East, and after so many years of head numbing punishment you become oblivious to the pain. We've become the St Louey Brown's again. Bring back Pete Brown.

Sorry, Hill has to go. A straight fastball and a looping curveball 15 mph slower off his fastball isn't going to work. Maybe if he developed a change-up or a cutter that veered away from right handed hitters, he might be salvagable. Even some movement on his heater would be positive. Let's bring Tillman up and see what he's got. And please, no more trades with the Cubs!

Hill was terrible. His body language told me he didn't care and that he does not want to be here. I wish the kid the best, but he is needs to have an attitude change to be a starter in MLB.

Can you believe Brob leads the AL in doubles and Markakis is 7th in RBIs? The rest of the vets are terrible though. What's with Huff and Mora? Now Luke is starting to get in one of those hitting funks. The lineup needs to change, Lou Pinella style.

For the love of God, Dave, please start benching some vets. Send a message before they run you out of town.

I hate to bring this up again, but the coaching staff needs to be let go, all of them. We need a turnaround now, and not sacrifice another season next year.

Perhaps Angelos should have given Tex the money he wanted. Have you seen him with the glove and bat? This guy is phenomenal. Of course Juice Boy hitting behind him helps him a lot too.


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Pete's reply: Slugger, it's hard to bench the vets when you have a short bench. Who would you play Pie ahead of in the outfield. I guess you can start Wigginton instead of Mora or Huff, but he's made as many mistakes as they have and hit into 11 DPs.

Here is a conspiracy theory:

Could Hulf's bat cool off "coincidentally" the month before the trade deadline?

He is always said he wants to be back and not get traded. Hum........ (thought bubbles forming over my head)

In the game tomorrow,could you talk to the manager and push for using Kam and Sherrill for most of the relief work as they are both good in the day as is Berken. A little worried about Kam because in the minors not so goo on the road but like Berken the Yankees have not seen him so it should help him. Maybe Baez if you think he can take it. Good in the day but bad form and not sure about his history with the Yankees. Would like a win here.
Do not understand or respect the terrible negative garbage i hear so much of about this team. Could easily see this team a contender in 2 years, Lean to bringing Tilman up. GL

Ok Tillman needs to come up , like next week for the homestand. just Cut/release/demote/trade/fire Hill One of the AAA boys needs to come up soon anyway cause Matzus will need to get a promotion soon from Bowie. If the team can get the young guys settled in we can easily not finish in last place this season.
My Ideal rotation by august will be this.
Bergessen
Guthrie
Hernandez
Tillman
Waters* should be keeping a spot warm for Arrieta in september.
Just think if we can get our rotation set by the end of the year, we could actually compete next year!!!

People that think Huff has any trade value need to go into detox.Also there's no comparison between the Hill and Berken situation. Berken has a healthy arm,it's just a matter of him learning how to pich better.The larger point there is McPhail's obsession with cheap experiments that aren't working out.Well for got about the expensive experiment named Koji.It's amazing how people continue to worship McPhail despite all the bad decisions he's made on players since last year.

Agree with an earlier poster about there being no sense in getting angry about another lose to the Yankees. I think we've got bigger concerns right now.
I have mixed emotions about the rookies currently with the O's. I honestly think Bergeson can be a Derek Lowe caliber starter for a while. I like what Hernandez has shown so far and worst case senario with him he makes a good relief pitcher. I'm not sold on the young bats though. I'm not ready to crown Riemold the 3rd starting outfielder for the next 10 years just yet. Looks like the league is getting a read on him. In fact I dropped him from fantasy team the other day. Wieters definitely has some things to work on and isn't as polished at the plate as his minor league numbers may have suggested.
Most concerning of all though is that once you look past the big 3 of Tillman, Arietta and Matusz, the cupboard is bare for the O's farm system. There are no pitchers (struggling Patton, Erbe) except maybe Britton in Fredrick, who bounced back with a great game tonight after 3 shakey starts in a row. Worse yet is the hitting. With Snyder not adapting to triple A as fast as expected and soon to be 26 year old Blake Davis floundering, you have to again look all the way down to High A where Caleb Joseph is the lone bright spot in the whole organization for position players. And he's 23, not exactly young for Fredrick. All the big names will be here by next year and then I'm guessing where going straight back to the bottom of the baseball america rankings for farm systems.
I think we have an obligation to trade Huff and whoever else we can (perhaps even Scott and Sherrill) because if our rookies don't pan out, and god forbid anything happens to Tillman, Arietta or Matusz it could be back to the dark ages for another 10 years before we ever get our moment in the sun.

Speaking of over the hill/ugly ptiching, the Royals sent out the tandem of Sir Sydney Ponson and Bruce Chen to start the double header last night!! Ouch!!! Maybe they'll sign Adam Eaton!
I bring this up only to illustrate that there are actually teams worse off than us!

It would be nice to get Tillman uo here now and see what he can do. He has dominated at all levels, so he isn't learning all that much now. He needs to be challenged to learn. Also, you don't want him, Arrieta and Matusz all coming up at the same time.

Interesting comment about Huff. Players do not tank it on purpose at this level, especially when they are playing for their next contract. Baez could have easily given up taken his money and not play any longer instead of going through the long rehab. Who knows why they are slumping but there is a lot of pressure being a last place team. But this is a year of experimenting with the Orioles. Most of the guys that the Orioles brought in here this year by free agency or minor trades have been a failure, except for Zaun, Adnino, Wigginton and Hendrickson, but they are not stars, they are bench or bullpen guys. Koji, Easton, Pie, Freel and Hill have been a bust for one reason or another. Stop gap players that did not help this team. One day they will come out of their slumps, just hope it is soon. The fall off by almost all the hitters on the team is amazing, that is called a team slump. Funny they get a little pitching they cannot hit, then they do hit the pitching goes south. Facing 9 lefties in a row shows the other clubs know this teams weakness. Look at all the slumping or injured players that the Redsox have and they are still contending. Dice K, Smoltz and Wakefield all being on the DL, Oritiz hitting .220 but they still win games.

Pie is getting a start as reported by the Sun, that will be interesting, with as little playing time as he has had since May, someone will have to escort him to left field t show him where it is.

Anyone catch Samuel and Huff almost hugging each other as Huff rounded 3rd on the hit to left. Correct me if I'm wrong, but isn't it the 3rd base coach who's supposed to get out of the way when a runner rounds 3rd, stop sign or not?


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Pete's reply: Yeah, but I think Huff had something to do with that. He's kind of unpredictable on the bases.

I find it humorous all these fans clamoring for Tillman and Arietta. Granted, the team is going nowhere and all "experts" claim they are legit major league talent. The same people who said Matt Wieters had an accurate cannon for an arm and is Joe Mauer with power. Yes it's only been two months, but Reimold and Bergesen have shown far more talent than Wieters. Posters bring up the 1.88 ERA of Matusz and the glowing numbers of Tillman. Wasn't Wieters batting .340+ with power in A and AA and to a lesser degree in AAA? Yet he's currently in the low .240. Success in the minors doesn't always commute to success in the majors. I understand it's only been two months and no, I am in no way giving up on Wieters and calling him a bust. But people need to realize there is a HUGE difference in what one can do in the minors and what one can do in the majors. I keep thinking back to all the other O's "can't miss" prospects who were good minor leaguers: Juan Bell (remember we gave up a Hall of Famer in Eddie Murray to get him), Manny Alexander, Rocky Coppinger, Jim Fuller etc etc etc. I sincerely hope all the hype behind Tillman, Matusz, Arietta and Wieters comes to fruition, but to quote many blue chip can't missers "it sure ain't easy"

Sorry TerryP,

Adam Eaton will not be playing for the Royals even though I see the fun in that. He was signed by the Rockies back in June, and has pitched really well for the triple a club and it looks like he may get a call up to the big club soon. Watch for flying objects over Colorado! So you are correct there are teams that are worse off than us.

I agree Hill is not doing enough to keep him on the 25 man roster now. But he is a thought...IF there is any way we can get him to Norfolk I'm all for it. I remember the O's having another junkball LH young ex-Cubbie and giving up on him too soon. He needed a little more time to perfect him control and become a pitcher. He did well..AFTER the O's let him get away. You know him...Jamie Moyer. Maybe all Hill will ever be is a one yr wonder. BUT there is that chance he may be another Moyer in the making. IF we can retain him and get him to Norfolk, what have we got to lose???

Hey sports fans, check out the upcoming starters listed for the O's - KC game on Monday night in B'more. Rich Hill, and his blistering 7.64 ERA opposes Bruce Chen (remember him?) 0 -5 with a 6.58 ERA. I think ESPN should make this one the game of the week as it will probably last a week.

I agree with your last few blogs Pete. Hill is done. He just isnt a major league starter. I can see the front office's hope when they got him and Eaton, to hold the rotation warm until the young studs come up. But he just cant do the job.

To me and I'm sure many others Hill just does not look comfortable out on the mound. I know they players would never say it, but they have to be a little frustrated as well. Is there a chance that Berken gets optioned with a poor start or at least moved to the bullpen? I would hate for this kid to start losing confidence.

I still find it funny how people that are watching Berken throw this year think it's the most amazing idea even to bring up Tillman ASAP. Not even just Berken, but everyone frogets how many of our young arms got trashed by being brought up too soon. Why do you need to settle a rotation in September by bring up all the young guys? So they can all get 5 losses, lose their confidence, and spend the off-season wondering how they'll live up to the pressure next year?

I'm all for sending Hill off to the trash heap, but I'd rather see someone like Waters come up in the short term. There's not much of a reward for bringing up anyone with raw talent just to "speed up the clock" on rebuilding. It never works that way, especially in Baltimore. The clock almost always goes backwards when things are rushed and that's been the problem here for 10 years.

Why does it even matter anyway since none of you guys will be watching the games anymore, let alone go to them because you're so diehard you can't watch them if they're losing? Some people really need to get over themselves.

Tilman, Matusz and Arrietta are being touted as if they were Maddux, Glavin and Smoltz. Hold your horses everyone. There is a big learning curve for pitchers in the majors. Not everyone is Zach Greinke. We would be lucky if one of the three lived up to the hype.

As far as hitting, I'm not worried about Reimold. He has a short swing, good eye and the right mentality to be a good power hitter. Give him some time. Adam Jones looked terrible the first half of his rookie season, but he's come around. I am worried a little about Wieters. He looks a little lost out there.

Predicting how the rookies will do is like predicting the stock market. You never know.

I think the O's front office will have to compliment the youth movement with some solid free agent signings:

1. They need to bring in some veteran pitching so the young guys can learn. from them. Guthrie is not a legitimate veteran

2. They need to solidify the middle of the lineup with legitimate RBI producers and power hitters, also through free agency.

It is time for Hill to be sent to Norfolk, and if he doesn't
clear waivers, so what?

On the other hand, i agree with the sentiment that this is not the time to feed a kid to the lions. The schedule from here out is horrible. It was put together by the Marquis de Sade. Find some expendable bum and let him take the hits.

I don't think he stinks, he just needs some work to keep him consistent and get him deeper. Kranitz must be working with this guy, so why aren't we seeing any better results?
As for Berken, why are we still keeping him here? He hasn't had a win since his debut.
Clearly talented, but was bringing him up premature?
Let's do bring back Chris Waters and see what happens.

If the O's truly are prepairing for next year & beyond...there is no way they can trade Sherrill now. For "Pete's" sake...we will need a closer when things turn around for us next year & Johnson or Ray simply are not closers.
I feel the O's can listen to offers but, in all honesty they will need George to save the few games they may actually have a late lead in this season & have him ready to do his thing next year as well. Put this stupid idea of trading him to rest...he wants to actually be here, how many others can say that?
If our starting pitching "of the future" comes even close to as advertised, these kids are still going to need help at the back of the pen & other than Sherrill, nobody has stepped up. Georgie has the makeup of a closer...our other options have the makeup of a cross-dresser.

Everyone brace yourselves, because we are in for a SERIOUS second half slide - there will be no improvement over past years. In fact, this 2nd half is shaping up to be the worst in years. WHO are we going to send to the mound?

Brace yourselves. The team is quitting on Trembles and will cost him the job.

And while I'm at it...when are we going to acknowledge the white elephant in the room - Weiters is not looking good out there at all. Seems that someone was a little overhyped and not quite ready for the bigs.

Wake me when this season of disappointment, frustration, and sadness is over.

Stick a fork in Hill, he's....Wait, I said that after his prior start and he's still here!

I think a catchy motto for the O's FO would be: "We tolerate failure."

This lineup is the weakess in the American League East by far. Luke Scott is the closest to a slugger we have and now he has hit the skids. To make matters worst, the jury is very much out on our so called "hope for the future players" like Markakis(10 home runs in 300 at bats but bats third most of the time), Jones(one home run his last 150 at bats), Reinmold(hitting under .200 for last six weeks),Wieters(can't hit a major league fastball) and this stuff goes on and on year after year with this organization no matter who they bring up or trade for. Its hard to see the light at the end of the tunnel when the team is about to collapse again in the second half and lose at least 90 games again. Back to the drawing board for MacFail.

Some totally idiotic comments here from people who have no patience or understanding of a learning curve. To bash Weiters for being overrated is ridiculous. He has been here for 45 days -- my god, give the guys some time to adjust. Adam Jones and Nick Markakis -- like nearly every other young player -- needed time to get acquainted with major league pitching. Lets give Wieters some time before we pass conclusive judgement.

As far as Hill, give him some more time as well. Waters isnt a long term solution, so why bother replacing Hill with him. Hill has actually demonstrated some success on the major league level, and was a VERY good minor league prospect. Lets give him more time to see if he can right the ship. If there were an obvious candidate to replace him (no, 21-year old Tillman is not obvious), then so be it. But to bring up a journeyman AAAA pitcher like Waters to replace Hill is pointless.

Here is a factoid:

We traded an power hitting, RBI producing shortstop in Tejada, who made the All-Star team two straight years since he went to the Astros for a career total of 6? What did we get in return? Luke Scott, Matt Albers, Troy Patton(?), Dennis Sarfate, and Michael Constanzo(?). How's that working out for us? Oh yeah. We do get a good 20 game slugfest from Luke Scott every season, and that's about it.

Slugger,

If anyone of those three is Zach Grienke, Orioles fans would be asking for his head calling him soft and how Andy "McFail" is overrated for drafting those guys. And we should have traded him instead of Oscar Salazar. Remember, Grienke was out of baseball because of a social anxiety disorder. And based off the responses about our other rookies Baltimore fans don't seem to have the patients for that.

It's five games after the all-star break and we've lost four of them and looked bad in the confidence department. You have to agree with Jim Palmer who intimated that the club has no fire in the belly.
What is the strategy here? If it is to field a major league team unable to sustain an offensive rally, then the strategy is succeeding.
Maybe our "away jerseys" spelling out Baltimore was a mistake. The way the team has performed this year is an insult to the city and the tens of thousands of fans who regularly follow the team, and buy tickets, and cheer wildly for a team that is going to break your heart. It's happening a little earlier this year.
Always coming up a little short is really getting old. And so am I in identifying with the team. Like the team, I think I'll mail it in for the rest of the year and wait for the University of Florida to try to repeat as NCAA Football champions. We may not win every game, but there's no quit in the Gators. Wish I could say the same for the O's top to bottom. We are a team with very talented players who are not getting it done for reasons beyond reason.

No wonder Aubrey Huff trashed this city. If I heard the shear idoicy being spewed from the fans here, I'd take a swipe at them too.

Slugger you're 0-1. Miggy wanted out and would not have produced anywhere near where he has had he stayed in B-more. Think Manny.
Groundskeeper you're 2-2. How veteran baserunners fail to score on a double in the corner (they both should have been doubles) when a hit and run play is on is disturbing. Between Shelby and Samuel there might even be 500 career stolen bases; so what gives? Why don't these guys have any respect as base coaches?
While Weiters is hitting almost .250, not too bad for a rookie catcher, his fielding leaves much to be desired. He was supposed to be ready behind the dish and he's not.

Aside from that great performance at Philadelphia, Rich Hill has no place on a team that's trying to raise the level of its play. He is obviously just there to eat up innings until a better replacement can be found. He couldn't throw anything other than that floater for a strike last night. Did you see that cookie he threw Robbie Cano? Even I knew he was going to throw a curve in that spot and I have 0 major league at-bats to my credit.

The decision is whether they're content having Hill keep the mound warm until Tillman is ready, or if they can plug someone else in there. I can't see them giving Rich another start. Maybe a mop-up guy for the bullpen role is better.

The reality is that the O's are overmatched in the AL. There is no chance for us to compete there, no matter how you slice it. We are the Pirates of the AL and will be for years to come. Don't let anyone foul you with the new prospects, new plan yada yada. The reality is that this once proud franchise started tanking the day Angelos bought the team. Say what you will and how he is committed to turn this around, but I will believe it when I see it. Who says that money can't buy happiness? Look how miserable we have been for years. Until Angelos starts matching the Yankees, Redsox, Angels, Mets, Cubs and so on, we will not see 500 baseball in this town. Maybe, we will be able to pull a Rays' type season once, but that is not the point. We want to be contenders every year. Either rally all owners to institute a salary cap, or fork'em over. It is economics 101. We can act like baseball experts and analyze every pitch and every out, but for teams that win consistently, it comes down to one thing and one thing only, MONEY. You want to be the underdog, the cinderella, whatever. It will only happen once. Is that what we aspire to be fans for? One season?

And please, don't come back with a rebuttal asking me to exercise patience. I've heard it every year. Don't tell me about the plan. The plan has more holes than a pasta strainer.


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Pete's reply: I don't think you should be patient. I think you should pick another team to root for. If I was as fatalistic as you are about the team -- and I'm not saying you should be any other way -- then I would find something else to occupy my leisure time. I think there's some hope here for a change. I don't think I would base my opinions about that on a road series against the best team in baseball. The O's lost the first game 2-1 and yesterday by two runs. They were competitive, just not very competitive.

Man, I can understand some of the concerns and criticism by people here but most is ridiculous knee-jerk hyperbole.

To criticize Markakis/Jones/Reimold is ridiculous as they are still young, doing very well and have more upside to go. Markakis only hitting 10 home runs? Who cares, you know he's a 20 something home run guy who is always going to hit around or above .300 and right now with "only" 10 home runs is 7th in the league in RBI which is more important to the team.

Concerning Huff, he's having a bad year but compared to other first basemen in the league he is still one of the top 5 in the AL and he is still 11th in RBI and this is a bad year for him. He is playing a good first base so far and he wants to stay, I say resign him with a 2 year deal. He won't be too expensive and he is still only 32.

Rich Hill on the other hand needs to be sent to the minors, this is getting to be Eaton brutal. If he is picked up on waivers, oh well. Bring up Pauley or Waters if you need to fill the rotation until Tillman is ready.

Hi Guys, I have the answer to the O's success. We need to get all the pitchers that we've had over the last few years onto all the other AL teams. Kansas City was Pitching Bruce Chen and Sidney Ponson on the same night that the Mariners had Olson on the Mound. We got rid of Daniel Cabrera and he worked his magic with the Nationals. We cut Adam Eaton and if we can get Rich Hill off the roster and onto the another team I think that we can finally begin to win! Bring up Tillman, Arrieta and Matusz and we can't be any worse. Trust me this is the answer.

Jasphil,

You said: "I have 0 major league at-bats to my credit". Neither does Dave Trembley. Why don't you put your application in for O's manager?

Ridiculous hysteria and hopelessness up and down this post. The Orioles finally settled into a well thought out rebuilding plan the day AM arrived. Prior to that they were floundering.

Their young players are doing just fine. Any franchise, including the Yankees and Red Sox, would be thrilled to have Markakis, Jones, Reimold, Wieters, Matusz, Bergesen, Tilman, Hernandez and Arrieta as its immediate future (not five years, next year and the year after). Please stop whining about the others. They are mere place holders while we slog through this year.

I live outside of NY. Ask any Mets fan if they would change places. You bet they would.

Anway, the troubles of this season are not (or should not be) news. It was always going to be this way this season. 2009 has been great to watch, with its ups and downs and the true bona fide start of the next wave- finally. 2010 and 2011 will be fun to watch, unlike anything the franchise has seen in the past twenty-plus years with the flood of promising young players. I'm optimistic. Try it, it's a nice way to live.

Dream offseason would produce a big hitting 1B (Prince Fielder?), one front line starter (Bedard again?) and a well-regarded, veteran manager. Find a young, talented 3B major-league ready prospect in a trade.

I dont get some peoples philosophy on leaving pitchers in the "minors" to get ready or trying to protect the young pitchers Confidence. If a pitcher is gonna be good at the major league level, he will have to pitch good at the major league level. Sometimes you need failure to learn how to do better, or figure out you are not cutting it. It doesn't serve any team well by having a Pitcher think he is"hot stuff" before he even throws his first pitch in the majors.


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Pete's reply: I only disagree because your statement is way to general. Some guys can come up quickly and succeed. Some need to be brought along more slowly. If you treat them like they're all the same, you might as well hire the groundskeeper to be your minor league director.

Slugger,

Here's another factoid:

Luke Scott in 2009: 18 HRs 53 RBI
Miguel Tejada in 2009: 8 HRs 53 RBI

Scott's #'s are in 128 less AB's too. Miggy only hit 13 in all of 2008 and has seen a precipitous drop off in HR's every year since 2004 while Luke's production increases every year.

I'd say it's working out pretty well for us in that "factoid" right there.

Oh, and we're saving $12 million in salary this year.

It is time to give Tillman a shot. If he flames out after a few starts, send him back out and try Arrieta or Matusz. Get their feet wet. That way, they'll be better prepared next year. Give Berken another start or two. If no improvement, send him back to 'AAA' to work on his command.

For the record, Earl Weaver never played in a Major League game and I think he did just fine.

James C,

Tejada is hitting .325 and Scott is hitting .289. RBIs alone don't tell the whole story. That has to do with your teammates ability to score on your hits. Tejada's career numbers are better than Scott hands down, and Tejada is a better hitter than Scott. Hypothetically speaking, if you're a GM, would you Trade Tejada and 4 other players for Scott? I didn't think so.

If history is an indication, we have seen all we will see from Luke this season. He is back to his old self, it looks like.

About the $12 million: You are not saving anything, Angelos is, and that is where the problem is. As it was said prior, the O's would be better served if that money was put to good use. Great financial short term gain, but miserable business decision, considering those 5 you got for Tejada will not fill the seats.


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Pete's reply: You're not really serious about this, are you? The deal wasn't Scott for Miggy. Nobody's saying Scott is a better player than Tejada. The key player in the deal was Patton, but Luke has made an argument head-to-head, which is a big bonus. Fact is, Tejada was in a big funk here and wanted out -- had steroid and possible perjury issues -- and MacPhail got a solid package of players for him. If you disagree, you're disagreeing with every scout and exec I've ever talked to about this deal. You're swimming way upstream on this one.

Slugger,

Remember that Tejada felt he needed a change from this team. I liked Miggy a lot but really you do not build your team around a 35 year old shortstop. We got a handful of minor league players and Luke Scott, not a bad thing. It is just what it is rebuilding. Painful as this may be, face it before the Orioles are supposed to be competitive as a team, Miggy would be 37, even though the Astros nor the Orioles knew that when the trade was made. You are right the guy is a player, but it was not enough, and I do not believe he would put up the numbers he is now if he stayed in Baltimore. The Orioles were so far away from contending that they had to trade Miggy and Eric the great away, or keep going down the same route, getting high dollar- high risk free agents that seemed to always have some hidden injury when they came here.

James C,

Tejada is hitting .325 and Scott is hitting .289. RBIs alone don't tell the whole story. That has to do with your teammates ability to score on your hits. Tejada's career numbers are better than Scott hands down, and Tejada is a better hitter than Scott. Hypothetically speaking, if you're a GM, would you Trade Tejada and 4 other players for Scott? I didn't think so.

If history is an indication, we have seen all we will see from Luke this season. He is back to his old self, it looks like.

About the $12 million: You are not saving anything, Angelos is, and that is where the problem is. As it was said prior, the O's would be better served if that money was put to good use. Great financial short term gain, but miserable business decision, considering those 5 you got for Tejada will not fill the seats.

I can't stand to see Berken or Hill again at this point. give A-T-M a shot at this point... Waters is probably a safer option at this point though.

I know they are all starters, any shot at seeing them come up in a long relief role later in the year?

Oh, can we pay Guthrie this offseason? Atleast get him up in the $2 mil range like DCab got towards the end of arbitration. I think the added competiton and NO WBC straightens him out next year.

Their attendance was 11th out of 14 in the AL with Tejada then last year it was 10th out of 14. So that argument does not carry weight.

slugger...

We made out great on the Tejada deal. Tejeda was a lousy fielder and can't hit for power since he stopped the juice. Plus he is probably 39, not 35.

I can't understand people criticizing Wieters. Seems to me he's doing quite well. Folks jumping to the conclusion that he's not major league material must think they know more than a whole bunch of scouts and other baseball people who clearly think otherwise.

Wieters and the other rookies are young guys still learning the ropes. All baseball fans should understand this.

Cb coach, Shamrock, and James C, or others who want to chime in.

I'm not saying Tejada made us better/worse or he would fill in the seats better than what we got. What I'm saying. Instead of going out there getting the kitchen sink for one player, let's get one or two that are good. We are no better from the Tejada trade than we were with him here. I get it he wanted to be traded, and fine, let him go. However get something for him and not just bodies to fill up a roster. Frankly as "bad" as a short stop that some make him to be, he was better than any of these yahoos we have tried to replace him with. Also, Shamrock, have you seen how many web gems on ESPN has Tejada had this year? He is on like every other night. What has Izturis and his likes done?

Slugger,

You did say that though. You are confusing me.

I'll say this for the Hill experiment: because of it I'm giving the Baltimore Sun website a ton of traffic. I'm refreshing the page constantly in anticipation of the "Rich Hill moved/injured/released/phantom-illness-that-causes-his-ineffectiveness' post. So enjoy the added page views.

Cb coach,

If you read my original post about Miggy, I'm saying that we got very little for a 6 time allstar. Yes we got bodies, but we didn't get better quality. Bad move considering we got 5 players and only one, Luke Scott could provide some production, which overall does not justify the trade.

We can read between the lines all we want. Fact is: we're no better from the Tejada trade than we were before it.

No reason for doom and gloom. Now if we were seeing this kind of pitching effort from Matusz, Tillman and company, then I'd say, okay, let's panic. But Rich Hill was an attempt to catch lightning in a bottle, to cobble together a pitching staff to give the kids time to mature in the minors. And who knows, he may still pan out. He just needs to pitch more and perhaps would have the chance to that and to work on things in the minors (like that sidearm pitch ala Flanagan...he can throw it, just not for a strike!). That and a conditioning program, he looks weak out there. I thought this guy threw alot harder. You can't get away with throwing 85mpg fastballs when your changeup is also 85mph...and it's two feet outside of the strike zone. Take this same stuff, toss in pinpoint accuracy and you've got Scott McGregor. Of course, pinpoint accuracy is a pretty significant "toss in"...Will be interesting to see what happens in the next week or so. Pete, do you think Aubrey Huff will still be here? Or might we experience a "never saw it coming" blockbuster trade of some kind? Seems to me that beyond starting pitching (and we know what we have coming in the minors) we need a new third baseman (let's face it, at 37, Mora isn't going to start getting faster reflexes) and eventually a new first baseman. Thoughts?


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Pete's reply: They certainly need to come up with one major league ready corner infielder before next season.

Slugger,

I'm not sure how you get past Tejada's power and production numbers going down while Luke's are going up. Tell me again how Tejada is a better hitter overall THIS YEAR? Any year up until this year means nothing when it comes to 2009. He has more hits, but his run production is down. If you like that trend, you must be wearing your Melvin Mora jersey today.

Plus, you're the one who just said Tejada was a "power" guy. Suddenly, when I point out that he's not, it's more important that he's an "average" guy and power doesn't matter all of a sudden? You just refuted your own argument.

As for career numbers, are you kidding? Gee someone playing for much longer has higher numbers. Good observation.

Tejada wasn't and isn't putting people in the seats either. 8 HR's Yes, that will fill seats up more than the guy hitting 18. I won't even dignify your hypothetical. If was a GM I'd take 5 prospects for a guy on a steep decline every time though.

All that being said, let's make it simple so you can keep up:

The Astros have played ZERO playoff games with Tejada. What else matters?

We can pick apart each other sentences all day. I challenge you or anyone on this post to prove to me that we are better team today and have been because of the Tejada trade, which is the point I've been making all along.


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Pete's reply: How about this. MIggy's contract is over this year, so the Orioles have Luke Scott putting up equivalent run production numbers and is committed to this team for several years and Troy Patton is a high-quality pitching prospect who might start next season in the rotation. Don't really know if anything materializes from the other guys, but I think that's proof enough for me that the Orioles are a better team right now than they would have been without the deal. I'll let you all argue over whether saving more than $20 million also should factors into the equation.

We can pick apart each other sentences all day. I challenge you or anyone on this post to prove to me that we are better team today and have been because of the Tejada trade, which is the point I've been making all along.

I agree with Nils. This team is not very good, with no signs of getting better. Even if the pitching pans out (a big IF, given the
proclivity of young arms to go Tommy John, to say nothing of the usual command issues, etc), there is no offensive center of gravity on this club. You have a bunch of spray hitters
who don't know the meaning of "clutch". Huff, Robets, and Markakis are solid, competent players, but they will never be the sraw that stirs the drink. It would be like asking the 66 O's to win on the backs of Davey Johnson and Curt Blefary, or the 83 O's to win on the backs of Gary Roenicke and Rich Dauer. There is so much work to be done, this team is not ready for prime time and likely will not be for years.


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Pete's reply: Once again, if you really believe that first sentence, you need to get a new hobby unless you like losing and complaining about losing.

I wish the Sun would stop printing rude comments like the first response to your Hill article, i.e. "this guy sucks.." I've really had it with this kind of attitude, which is also tolerated way too much at the ball park. I know we've always had this kind of thing but it's getting worse.


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Pete's reply: I am trying not to censor comments. I don't care for the conversation degenerating to the "sucks" level, but there are all ages here and that qualifies as discourse for the adolescent set.

Were the O's supposed to finish somewhere other than last?

Do young players need time to develop? And look bad doing it at times?

Was AM's plan going to happen in a season and 1/2? Could he really change the fate of a franchise so quickly? And by taking chances, some of them are not going to work out. It's part of the "taking chances". It's literally in the statement.

Is DT a hall of fame Manager or something?

Look, I'm a rabid O's fan...but to think that this year was going to look good is ridicules. EVERYONE knew that it was going to be a bad year. It's not as bad as some thought (100 losses) and the O's aren't the worst team in the AL or MLB.

Play Pie. Keep Hill in the rotation. It called learning. Adam Jones wasn't "spectacular" last year, but now he looks pretty good.

I'm concerned about the up and coming pitching. If fans don't like Wieters or Riemold as they learn, man, Tillman stands no chance. Pitching takes a lot longer to develop than hitting....

1 year from today, fans are going to be talking about how Tillman is a bust, Arreta is overhyped, and Matauz is a bum. None of those guys are going to come up and get a CY Young their first year. Hell, if they each go a full year with sub 4.00 ERA's they'll still be lynched by the fans.

Can we fire the fan base? Seriously, get some perspective and adjust expectations. The O's have a LONG road ahead of them. There is talent, but it's young and raw. It's not all going to work out, it never does. But there is Quantity of talent...that's the plan.

From what I understand the point of the Tejada trade was not to get immediately better. It was to acquire a number of prospects, build organizational depth, and move towards the goal of being better in the future.

Luke Scott is still young, can really smash the ball, and is getting better. Matt Albers has struggled but has shown signs of good talent (hopefully his injury is gone). Troy Patton is coming off arguably the most serious surgery a pitcher can have in his throwing arm. If he is able to regain his previous form that will be a huge bonus. He was a calculated risk in that trade with a huge potential upside. Dennis Sarfate is also up and down, but has major league talent and is still developing. Costanzo looks like the only complete bust so far, but I don't think he was a focal point in the deal.

Just my opinion, but I think getting 3 young players who were able to contribute in the Majors last year (including 2 bullpen arms we desperately needed) and a low risk/high reward pitcher coming off injury in return for a $12M shortstop who was not providing $12M worth of production was well worth it.

Jeff

Over the Hill experiment... Also, Over the Berken experiment. I don't think it is doing him any good to be here getting rocked each time he pitches. Let's give someone else a shot.

Slugger,

The crowned jewel in the Tejada trade was not supposed to be Scott. Patton and Albers and the combination of Scott, Costanzo and Safarte. The fact is Scott has been very productive. Albers has been a good middle relief guy. Safarte of course has his medical issues but he is going into a rehab assignment. Patton is having a tough time adjusting to triple a after buzzing through Bowie, but you still have to look at him as a top pitcher in the Orioles minor leagues. Constanzo certainly does not look like much right now. Really they received three arms and a power hitter for a guy that would not put the Orioles over the top. The Orioles will have a lot of pitching options next spring and that is what will put them over the top, not an aging shortstop that had a history of lies, most came out after he was traded. That in itself tells me that someone had knowledge. At least it was better than most of the deals done before. Tejada would not make this club win, heck Houston only has 6 fewer losses than us and we are in the toughest division in baseball. And to be honest about it I would take the Orioles infield over the Astros at this point.

~~If you read my original post about Miggy, I'm saying that we got very little for a 6 time allstar.~~

But we got a heck of a lot for a disgruntled, aging SS who was prominent on the list of steroid abusers released ONE DAY AFTER we got rid of him. And what if he was hurried out of town because Palmeiro was right and he was the source of a lot of the juice so many of our players havbe been associated with? Another case of good riddance, dont let the door hit you in your butt and welcome whatever useful parts we get for you.

Please can somebody tell me how Cano gets a hit on the ball Roberts bobbled?He wasn't even in the picture 'til 3 or 4 seconds later. That's an error plain and simple,and cost a rookie pitcher 3 more runs.And why is Huff still batting 4th with the way he is struggling.So far he's stranded 3 runners and looks clueless.And it doesn't help that the umpire calls a curve that is not even close a strike or A ball that almost hits Wigginton a strike.


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Pete's reply: Burt, Cano's getting that call in New York. Roberts may have deserved an error for the way he handled it, but I believe Cano beats the play. Can't count seconds on slo-mo replay. I certainly could be wrong, but my feeling watching the ball was that he was not going to make the play even before he muffed it.

I've been an O's fan for over 40 yrs., and yes, I get tired of seeming them loose. However, sometimes I think we take sports too seriously. In my opinion AM has done a good job with the majority of his moves, but some them I would have never made. I would have never traded for Pie, and would have gone with Montanez, Reimold, and Scott. I was not enamored with Hendrickson, but he's doing a good job as a reliever. Eaton....that's a whole different story. I believe Hill was a good pick up, but agree he should go back to AAA or the bullpen to work on his mechanics. As for Trembley, I think it's time to make a change. He was a good choice for the last year+, but with the players we have now and some of the way has used the pitching staff and shuffeling the line up, we need someone who is more consistant and set a fire under these guys. I really beleve he has lost the team. See if Cal Jr. would fill in for the rest of the year, send Hill and Matsui to the bullpen (that's were he belonged in the first place), send Berken back to AAA for more seasoning, and bring up Tillman and watch his pitch count for the rest of the year.
One other thing....lay off Huff. I'd rather have him then another high priced player this year who whines and complains. Mora...big fan but we need to bring in someone NOW to learn the position this year and be ready for next year. As for Wieters....he's you and is adjusting to the majors. He will finish strong. Patients is the key, and a better manager would make a world of difference.....Chuckmiester

See my post on the stats. The Orioles are getting more production out of that roster spot from Scott.

Also see that Matt Albers is better in the pen than whoever we cut to make room for him.

Sarfate and Patton still have an upside, whereas Miggy has none.

Keep in mind Miggy was less than 24 hours from being named in the Mitchell report and being found out that he lied to Congress. He was phoning it in on running out plays long before it became chic this year. He also aged two years in about 20 minutes when his real birth certificate came out. The guy was a whiner, a cheater, a liar and a quitter. We're better off.

Slugger,

Wow, you couldn't be more wrong about Miggy. Were you seriously using batting average to compare Luke Scott with Tejada. Average may be even more overated that RBIs. Cause over a span of a season the difference is just a few hits. Here's the number you should be looking at: .939 and. .825. That's the OPS of Scott, and Tejada respectively. I'd take that over Tejada's .325 batting average. And you're kidding yourself if you think Houston would get more than we got for Miggy. He's more than likely much older than is recorded, and he's power numbers have dwindled over the past couple seasons.

All good points on the Miggy trade by a lot of folks; however only Baltimore fans apparently think low of him. The rest of the country voted him to the AllStar game. Yes he made mistakes, but does not take away from the fact that he is a 6 time AllStar. We all know it was the Juice era, and no one is exempt. Not even our golden boy B-Rob, lets not forget that. Yes all the 5 we got for Miggy look good on paper but after 2 years we have yet to see real production from all except Luke, hence I still maintain our team is not better today than it was before the trade. How many more years do we have to wait for it to show? The Bedard trade has already paid dividends in a huge way, for now and the future.

James, Agreed

Pete -

I think we all have seen enough of the Hill and Berken experiments. Nothing against either one, but results speak for themselves. I actually feel bad for a guy like Berken because it seems he was rushed to the majors versus the others, and trying to find your game is hard enough when you aren't facing Burnett.

With that said, we need to demote both to Norfolk, assuming Hill clears waivers. Tillman comes up, because he seems about as ready as anyone. And then for 5th starter, either Pauley or Waters. Neither one is ideal, but both have been in the bigs before, and it allows both Hill and Berken to work out their kinks in the minors. If Hill is claimed by someone else, so be it, we tried.

Only other wacky thought - pick up Cabrera for the prorated portion of the $400k while the Nats eat the rest of his salary. Hey, can't be any worse than Hill or Berken. And he still has a major league arm.

But Slugger we are better, we have a future, the Orioles may loose 90 games this year, they did the same with Tejada there, the club did not have studs around Tejada, and the system was low on minor league talent. I liked Tejada a lot, my kids favorite player also. But you have to step away from this and look at the whole story, what will make the club successful when it was severely broken.

Cb coach. I know you have a glass half full attitude. I've told you that before. I sure hope to God that we turn this thing around. I admire your optimism. I don't find it in me after being disappointed for so many seasons. We're only speculating though. Having fun arguing baseball here. There is so much more to it than our simpleton view.

Cabrera? Petey that is crazy talk. Why go backwards? Do not disagree that Hill and Berken have been shaky, but we know what Cabrera is capable of, and if any MLB club thought he was capable of success they would have grabbed him by now. He does not throw mid to upper 90's any longer, more like 90, and his control is worse.

We should keep in mind the Orioles are simply sports entertainment. Fans are turning off these games by the thousands. Bring up the rookies and give us something new to watch, who cares how they do. Worst thing we may bruise their egos a litlle if they lose.
We could have some decent corner infielders growing in the minor leagues if we drafted other than pitchers for the past 15 years.

Hey Slugger,

FYI if you go to espn.com and search web gem appearances withiin last 7 days you are going to find something interesting. They have a complete tally for total web gem appearances for the first half of the season. You may be interested to know that Miguel Tejada has 3 total appearances (far cry from being "on like every other night") and Robert Andino has had 5 gems, all while only starting for about a month. Not bad for a yahoo, huh? He's actually tied for 5th most on the list. As for the few people who have suggested letting Hill keep getting starts as we have no better alternatives. What are you smoking? I don't care what they do to get rid of him but at the very least send him down to AA or AAA and let him work on mechanics. He will never get picked up by another team via waivers, if so are we really losing anything? He will never be a starter, if he gets his stuff together he may be a piece for the pen in the future for us. Bring up Tillman, how much more ready does he need to be? He has completely dominated every level of the minors and now it the time. Let Berken have a few more starts and see happpens. Then bring up a Waters/Pauley if he doesn't work out. Everyone talking negatively about Wieters is a fool who knows absolutely nothing about baseball, do us all a favor and go bury yourself. Give the kid some time. He will catch up to the pitching. PLease everyone stop being so negative, we are finally showing real upside for once and things should only get better with the addition of our stud pitchers. And lastly, yes we do sometimes look like we are mailing it in some games. You try to stay positive when you know before taking the field that if you don't score at least 6-7 runs you're gonna lose. Watch the mentality change when they are playing defense behind some actually talented pitchers.

To those who think this team will be on top of the division next year, or in 2011, HELLO, New York and Boston are sitting in this division. They've basically owned the AL East for the past 15 years.

What about next year is going to be that much different than this one if we are going to have a bunch of ripe pitchers in their first year?

So then we're realistically looking at some modicum of success 2-3 years from now.

And even if these pitchers turn out, that still doesn't make us better than New York and Boston, who are able to buy the best team money can buy.

Charles,

Who won the division last year?

I think the performance of the fans this year has been atrocious. I think we should ship them all off to Norfolk and bring in some better ones to do the cheering.

We need to keep in mind that practically nobody picked the Orioles to finish above last place in the AL East this year. They are fulfilling everyone's predictions, so I guess that shouldn't be disappointing.

Without question, though, the Orioles are a team on the rise. Jones, Markakis, Reimold and Wieters will form a solid core for some years. Bergesen is already the best pitcher on the team, and almost all of us can rattle off the names of 4 or 5 pitchers in the minors who are certain to make the Opening Day roster next year or the year after.

What's missing now? Where are the infielders of the future? Huff & Mora aren't going to be the answer, and although Izturis and Roberts are still productive, both are getting a bit long in the tooth and gray in the beard.

If the O's ever get a stable, capable starting five, they can get even stronger by having 5 bench players and 6 relievers, instead of the other way around. When I grew up in the '60s, teams only carried TEN pitchers, and there was no DH. So they all had SEVEN bench players. The Orioles are severely handicapped by having only 4 bench players. One of those is the backup catcher, who can't be used to pinch hit because he has to be saved in case of injury to the starting catcher. Pie and Andino are classic "good field, no hit" players, so they aren't much help off the bench. That leaves one bench player, Wiggy, who is decent.

The O's need to solidify the starting 5, get 5 decent bench players who can hit a little, develop some infielders in the next couple of years, and go with just 6 relief pitchers.

And I still say Rich Hill should be given a shot at being the left-handed relief specialist. With the best left-handed curveball since Sandy Koufax, he might just excel at getting out one or two left-handed hitters in late-inning situations.

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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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