baltimoresun.com

« Ravens: Kelly Gregg and me | Main | Reflecting on the Rios deal »

August 11, 2009

O's: What a beating

Help me out here. Is there anything left to say about Jeremy Guthrie's lost season that hasn't already been said. He struggled again on Monday night against the Oakland A's, who don't exactly summon up images of Reggie Jackson or the Bash Brothers these days. Guthrie was on a 200-pitch pace when he left in the fifth inning and he doesn't look like he's got an ounce of confidence left. Gotta feel for him, but the only thing left to do this year is stay healthy so he can start over next season.

It's not hopeless. Lots of pitchers have tailspin years and then come back to be very effective, and Guthrie has above-average velocity and a decent repertoire. He just can't seem to miss a bat when he makes a mistake pitch. Lots of people have pointed to his participation in the World Baseball Classic as the beginning of the end of his chance to establish himself as the true ace of the Orioles staff, but there has to be more to it than that.

For his sake, you have to hope he thinks that was the reason and comes back next spring confident that an uninterrupted training camp will help him get back on track.

In the meantime, however, the Orioles must go into the offseason prepared to compete for one of the best free agent starters on the market. The bright young pitchers who are auditioning right now for next year's rotation need someone to look up to at the front of the rotation, and Guthrie does not have the mound cred to be that guy.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 12:30 AM | | Comments (79)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

He misses his Zauny….

Guthrie was damaged goods when we got him and we might have squeezed anything left out of the guy.

We need to stop getting fixer upper pitchers and either home grow them like we are doing but if we go and get a vet we need to get someone without any issues.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Can't complain about getting Guthrie for the waiver price. He was a pretty good pitcher for awhile and might be again. Even with what's happening now, he was a steal.

His postgame comments sounded like he has tossed in the towel for this year.

Maybe he doesn't want to lose 20 games.

Like I said--put him in the pen, and let him close a close game.

Honestly, he's not damaged goods, and I am among those who thing the WBC was the WORST thing for Jeremy. He probably thinks so too, and his perfectionist mindset won't let him let it go.

I think the Orioles hitters and pitchers have possibly finally cost Trembley his job. It is time for a change. Pull Dempsey from the booth, get him in the dugout or get Ripken. Something has to change. It is not just about Guthrie being hit around. They managed one run tonight against the A's.. Not that it is Trembley/s fault but the clock is ticking and you cannot fire the players.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Do you really think Cal wants to manage this club?

Guthrie's WBC stint doesn't explain his ineffectiveness during the last third of the 2008 season.

I don't like the WBC, and I think it's possible that it affected Jeremy in the 1st month or so, but not now. The league may've caught on to his stuff or hopefully, he's just having bad year, but the O's F.O., knows that Koji wont be a starter next year and any notion that Jeremy, will be the proven vet to these young kids, is gone. I don't care if they overpay, but they need a real vet for these young kids to learn from.

I would rather have DT as the manger than Dempsey. This team needs an actual manger, no more 1B, 3B or BP coaches, but someone that has experience as a big league manager because whoever the next guy is, it will be Andy's man and that means, he will probably get a full 3 years to prove himself because you can't run in new mangers every year if you want to win, especially when you have a very young team like the O's do.

Pete, what do you think of the Chi Sox, getting Rios in a salary dump by the Jays? He is a good player that is struggling a bit now, but he is up there with Nick, in terms of defense, for a right fielder in the AL.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I'm not impressed. From a year-to-year standpoint, they have to pay him more than Markakis and he's never driven in more than 85 runs. The White Sox can afford to pick up $60 million, but they didn't get him cheap, even without giving up players.

Please tell me where there is any glimmer of hope for the O's.
I wrote during spring training that the O's would stink yet again this season and that I was finally giving up on them. Looks like I was not too far off base.
Living half way around the the world, good news from home is always a treat, but the O's just can't provide any - again this year.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Everybody knew they would stink this year. Yes, there's a glimmer of hope. They do have quality young players. Let's see if they pop.

"In the meantime, however, the Orioles must go into the offseason prepared to compete for one of the best free agent starters on the market. The bright young pitchers who are auditioning right now for next year's rotation need someone to look up to at the front of the rotation, and Guthrie does not have the mound cred to be that guy."

I completely disagree. For one thing, Guthrie should have more than enough "cred" thanks to his pitching extremely well for a couple of awful Oriole teams in '07 and '08. For another...the Orioles should compete for which front line starter(s), exactly? Erik Bedard? Lackey? Harden? Webb if the D-Backs decline his option?

Not only will a free agent pitcher almost certainly be extraordinarily expensive, but he'll also (again, almost certainly) come with an injury history that'd make most O's fans cringe. Maybe I'm speaking out of turn, but I'd rather the Orioles avoid paying above market (which would probably be required for a FA pitcher to consider signing) in order to lure/sign a "star" pitcher with "cred".

And if you're instead implying that the O's should sign a declining veteran with a (past) all-star pedigree (which I don't think you are)...well, should I really go into why that's probably pointless from a on-field production standpoint?

::coughpedrocough::

The Orioles need to save what cash they have for locking up young players through arbitration years and beyond. The FA market shouldn't be a go-to until *at least* 2011.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I appreciate your patience and would agree if the rest of the fan base was like you, but this team needs a quality veteran starter to add to this mix and it needs it soon. Don't know if anyone in the free agent market will be a perfect fit, but at some point you've got to take a risk. I would consider Bedard if he's really under market, but not anyone else who is still rehabbing. Obviously, if no one is out there that fits the bill -- or is willing to come -- then your hands are tied.

Get rid of Trembly,, PLEASE!!!!!!

Pete, I'm looking for the white flag. Rarely is a generalized comment accurate but I will risk saying the entire O's roster has quit. I'll let you explain who is culpable but position players and future pitching staff are in place and I can't discern a pulse among the whole group. The calm and patience you preached following the All-Star break hasn't resulted in effort on the field and a mutiny is afoot. This team is in dire need of competitive leadership who will not tolerate lack of effort.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I disagree with much of your premise. Just because a series of good young pitchers have stifled the Orioles doesn't mean they have quit. I still see players diving for balls and stealing bases. I think if they had quit, they'd be relaxed at the plate in run-production situations instead of pressing. I think you're totally misreading that part of the situation. Are they inept with men on base right now. Absolutely. Very frustrating to watch. But if you're telling me Reimold and Wieters and the young pitchers have quit, we're not watching the same team.

Cubs. Indians. White Sox. Red Sox.

Grant, I think you're absolutely right. I remember looking up the free agents for this up-coming offseason a couple months ago and thought the same thing. All the top options are seriously injury prone guys. Too much risk. Tbat's money better spent at 3rd base (although not much after Figgins and he's nut even a prototypical thirdbaseman) or a 1B (not sure who's available there).

Who started this notion anyway that a veteran pitcher (probably a has-been if the O's are the only team landing him)is a necessity for the sucess of the young guys here now. Is said veteran actually going to teach them how to pitch better? I thought that was the pitching coach's job. Or teach them how to act like a professional? There's 20 or so other guys in the clubhouse (and hopefully a new manager) that can assist in that department. Who was the veteran that tought Glavine, Smoltz, and Maddux how to pitch on the Braves all those years ago? I'm having a hard time remembering his name.

In short, I couldn't disagree with you more Peter. An overpriced injury prone veteran starter is the last thing the 2010 O's are gonna need.

Hopefully Huff flys the coup for two picks in the top 35 in next year's draft. Mora is gone. Maybe we add some corner infield depth through free agency, pick up a couple of flame throwers for the bullpen and pray that all the young talent develops. That's about all you can do.

Oh and I almost forgot, NEW MANAGER!!!! But that should go without saying at this point.

Do these people (aka:KyleProBollernowanonymous)really think things would be different with a different manager? Earl Weaver couldn't win with this current team. I'm sure the same people were calling for Joe Maddon's head all those years in Tampa Bay too, and what happened? Give the ROOKIES time to develop. The future still looks bright. Bergesen, Reimold, Wieters, Tillman, Matusz are here now learning. The outfield is set for several years. The pitching will develop. It takes time. Think of how much better the team would be with VIABLE corner infielders. That is the clubs most glaring weakness. Mora's gone; Huff maybe around one more year at best, and that's iffy. To those mentioning Lackey, Halladay, Webb, et all, the question is would any of them want to come to Baltimore, not will Angelos offer the money. With the Markakis, Roberts, Wieters signing, Angelos has shown he will spend the money. He offered a great amount for Teixeira who just didn't want to sign here. Same with Mussina years ago. The money offered was damn good; the players just didn't want to play for a franchise going nowhere. But now the future looks bright with the rookies on the squad. Most "experts" say it takes a good five years to turn things around; MacPhail has been here for just under two and look at the changes since then. Patience is a virtue and will make winning all the more sweeter. Forget the 12 years of losing and think of the gains made just since MacPhail has been here. If you can't see the difference then all I can say is you like to hear yourself whine and cry.

At the rate people are asking for Trembley to be let go, you'd think the Orioles actually had a team capable of winning consistently. Funny stuff.

Fans are often way too quick to call for the head of a manager/coach.

In this case, it's necessary. The Birds have a ton of raw talent, but need a shake-up. It won't do any good this year, so they need to play out the season with the goal of setting a foundation for next year. A few good off-season acquisitions and a new field boss can change the attitude and outlook.

No one can convince me that a team with Markakis, Jones, Reimold, Montanez, Roberts, Wieters, Bergeson, Tillman, and Matusz is hopeless.


guthrie didnt do well, not a surprise there. But even if he let up just one run in 7 innnings, he would still have been on the hook for the loss.

there was no offense again.

If the offense can't score any runs what difference does it make how many runs your pitcher gives up?

Guthrie would have had to pitch a shutout last night to win with the 1 run that the offense eventually managed to score.

2 to 1, 9 to 1 or 100 to 1. A loss is a loss, and for 12 years now the O's have grown accustomed to losing.

Get off the Trembley watch! I agree with Smitty, let the players develop under Trembley, truly appreciate the challenges associated with losing at the MLB level, bring in an ace and new coach for next season and start fresh! Do not make a change at this point in the season, they have nothing to gain by losing a coach!

I think Trembley should be given until the of the season. There are a couple reasons. One, let's see if the young pitchers show any kind of life under him. The starting staff at the beginning of the year was pathetic and no one could win with them. The young guys have talent, but Trembley has to get something out of them. Two, if you fire Trembley an interim manager (Jauss) may light a spark under the team for a short period. That may lead the FO to think he's a long-term solution when he may not be (ala when Trembley was interim). If we fire Trembley we need to have a comprehensive search and not just hire a guy because the team does well for 40 games.

Pete - what big name FA starters are available after this season?

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: It's not a good market for the O's because the top pitchers are suspect medically and there are relatively few corner infield guys. Still, you don't know what teams will be doing at that point. You just saw the Blue Jays give away Alex Rios for payroll reasons, so the O's could be in position to come up with someone that way.

This is bad times to be a Baltimore Orioles fan. We are facing a possible 100 loss season again and no one thought so, at least around Baltimore, that it would again come to this. There is no point in bringing back the same coaching staff if by keeping them you maintain the status quo. Of course the owner is still making money so why go for an upgrade? My biggest disappointment this season however is the fact that the veterans on this team did not pull their weight exposing the many weaknesses on this roster.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Who didn't think it would come to this. Everybody who made a prediction before the season said it would come to this.

I can't buy into the idea that the WBC (as lousy an idea as that thing is) hurt Guthrie for more than a few weeks. Why not put him in the BP for a while to see if he can straighten out, send Baez down, and let Andy Mitchel have a shot at it? I really don't see that there's anything to lose at this point, and at least Mitchel will add some enthusiasm which seems to be all but gone from the O's now (little wonder).
My biggest concern for next year is still the offense. When I brought this up yesterday you opined that they need a starting pitcher and a corner infielder and then they could be competitive. Do you really believe we are that close? I't's hard for me to see the O's being just one bat shy of being anywhere near close to competeing right now. How many runs have they scored since the break? If you discount the 10 they scored in that debacle against the Sox they can't be doing much better than 3 runs a game can they? One bat is going to change that significantly?
With the best pitching in the world they cannot compete in the AL East scoring 2 or 3 runs a game. Sure Weiters and Reimold will probably do better next year, but what if Huff continues to slide? Who will they replace Mora with? Can we really live with the incredibly innconsistent Scott at DH? I think the very very best the O's can expect next year is a winning record, and even that is looking more dubious with every 1 or 2 run game the O's post in the second half.

Donald,
Don’t be foolish. The O’s brass, experts, and fans knew this was coming this season. That’s why they put Baltimore back on the away jerseys and tried to make MASN more yokel because they knew times were going to be rough this season and wanted to try to get people on board preemptively before the tidal wave. Every publication had the Orioles ranked at the bottom or close to and in most cases couldn’t even keep up with the changes on the pitching rotation also many columnist totally ripped the team saying the front office dropped the ball worse than in previous seasons and were going to suffer. The Baltimore media just played a game with the fans to help the Orioles.

Not once this year did I say that Trembley should be fired. Now though it may be time to look to make a change. I like the guy for a lot of reasons. He is a stand up guy but I am not the GM or any of the other executives in the Angelos ivory towers. Just going by the history of managerial changes the Orioles have had, and I am thinking his time may be up. As I stated he cannot pitch, hit, run, field or throw, but you cannot fire the players. I would hope that he finishes the year. It is pathetic how the team has played this year, especially in the last month.

No coach could win with this club this year.

If the O’s get swept by the A’s then the Angels series Trembley deserves to lose his job. Manager takes responsibility always.

It's funny that a lot of self-proclaimed experts were complaining about the O's cutting Guthrie's salary this year.

When we get a new manager he better be allowed to pick his coaches. I don’t think any good manager will come to Baltimore because for some insane reason the O’s want to keep their loser ones intact. So we will probably end up promoting somebody in house connected to this bad season and have a repeat next year. I was at that game last night and I don’t want many people around next season that were connecting to managing this years team. It’s a pathetic mess!!!!

Guru,
Don’t get cute. Guthrie’s money and the WBC might have played a factor. It doesn’t take much to totally throw off a baseball players game and money plays a vital role.

Note the mechanical way that Crowley has our hitters bat versus the other teams who swing at the ball. I have been saying for too many years that the O's will not win until they dump the Crow. Why can't they see that?

Also, please let Mr. "fundamental" leave quietly along with the Crow. Thanks for your 20 year minor's work. Enjoy your retirement!

Andy,

To be honest the manager did not pick his coaches and did not have much to say about the players either. Those decisions came from upstairs. Rebuilding has nothing to do with last nights game, the ace was on the mound and the Orioles put the best lineup they have out there and the get beat bad by another rebuilding club.

Pete:The Orioles most likely will not sign a free agent ace pitcher. Number one reason I do not think they can get one. If they do they will have to overpay to get an ace to take a chance with this club unless they also sign a few free agents first like a power hitting first or third baseman and a top notch closer. Your thoughts?

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I think they'll have trouble this offseason because of the makeup of the market. Not a lot of perfect choices, unless they go for a big-bat outfielder (like a Jason Bay) and move one of the current outfielders (Reimold) to the infield. That's a stretch, but I guess it's possible.

For those of you who think Dave Trembley should keep his job answer one question: What has he done on the field that would warrant him being the O's manager next season or beyond? And the notion that the team needs to play better before a good manager would consider coming here is equally insane. Part of the reason that the team plays poorly is BECAUSE of it's manager. So we should wait and hope that he does a better job, start winning and getting the team moving in the right direction and fire him then? If you think the field boss has no impact on his team's play you need look no further than right down the road in DC. The Nats are taking more batting practice, infield practice, have a much different mindset and are simply more confident under their new manager. This is according to the the players. They are 12-4 over their last 16 games and have won eight in a row The Rockies were awful too in the beginning of the season until they replaced Clint Hurdle with Jim Tracy. Now they're 1/2 game out of the wild card in the National League. The Orioles need a new voice, a new direction and a new manager. Give Dempsey a shot. It's time.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Next year is no time to experiment with a "give him a try" manager. If the O's make a change, they need a known quantity.

Well here we are again. Its almost like Groundhog Day. But I think this season has been more promising that in recent years, but for the remainder of the season, the Os should not worry about losing, and use the rest of season to work on next year. The upgrade should not only be in the bullpen and corner infield, but the coaching staff as well. They all need to go (except T-Bone).

Pete,

It seems that as the season goes on, the O's continue to make other team's bad pitchers look good and decent pitchers look great. What's going on with the bats? No run production. Is there a point where we look past the players and wonder about the hitting coach? Is Terry Crowley to be held accountable for any of the hitting woes?

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I'm guessing that everyone will be under review at the end of the year -- which is the appropriate time for that.

On the one hand, 100 is just an ordinary number, one more than 99 and one less than 101. But because we humans started our math by counting on our ten fingers, we based our number system on ten, and 100 became huge--ten times ten. So for the O's to lose 100-plus times this season, as seems pretty likely, is seen as a big deal. To avoid that number we'd have to finish the rest of the year 17-33 or better, a winning percentage of .340. Since the break, we're 6-17, for .208. So we'll have to really pick up our game greatly to reach 63-99. That hurts. I knew we'd me bad--not mediocre, but bad. But still, I 100 is a benchmark of badness--just as 100 wins is a milestone of excellence--and I had unreasonably hoped we would not go there this year. I need have another cup of coffee, pet my dogs, and look at the funny pages for a while.

Pete,

I will have to disagree with you and all of the MASN experts talking about Guthrie's stuff being good. I heard the same thing during the postgame show when Palmer, Dempsey and others are saying that his stuff is still good. His stuff his horrible. These hitters are not getting lucky. They are hitting cookies thrown over the middle of the plate. Plain and simple. This guy had one good season. Once the AL hitters adjusted to him it shows why Cleveland dropped him like a hot potato. I don't see anything different from him now that I saw in his first or second year with the O's. He has given up the long ball since day one and he throws right down the middle. They have figured him out, and his best is not good enough.

That said. Last night's loss is not entirely on Guthrie. Where was the offense? Taking a day off?

Lastly, when the whole World knows Trembley will not make it past this season, why not fire him now and start the transition to winning? Does this team look like their buying what the manager is selling?


.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I guess if you know more than Jim Palmer, you must be right.

It is not Crowley's fault. He spent everyday with Felix Pie, getting him to a point to hit .240 which is a miracle to me. Who has a mechanical swing? Huff, Jones, Riemold and Scott take huge swings. Roberts and Markakis and Wieters looks to be making contact. Really they are hitting okay but not in the clutch right now. It is enough to drive a person nuts.

They have to find a way to lose more so they can get the top pick Stephen Strasburg because he will not sign with the Nats but would sign here.

steve carlton comes to mind as one pitcher who had a bad year like guthrie is having this year. steve carlton came back to be a very good pitcher for the philies. i am also of the opinion that there is something more to guthries pitching problem.the wbc is something that should have never been started. it would be nice to acquire a top notch free agnet pitcher in the off season.to think that it will happen is in absolute dream land

Exactly what manager is going to be able to "light a fire" under these guys? Wasn't DT brought in to do that - and we have the same results. I think it's time to get rid of the whiny babies on this team. How many managers do we need to go through? Hasn't anyone figured out by now that it must be certain team members, not the manager doing this? Isn't Mora the longest tenured O on this team, yet doesn't want to take a leadership role? And then there is B-Rob, someone else who doesn't want to take a leadership role. Maybe it's time to clean out the clubhouse instead of constantly hiring/firing managers. I wish they would forfeit the rest of the season rather than watch their lack of desire on the field.

D Lange had the correct viewpoint on Trembley.... the players have tuned him out and it's time for a new voice and fresh perspective in the clubhouse. It's embarassing that the lowly Nats are actually on a roll right now that dwarfs any hot streak the O's have had in the last 2 years. The team has thrown in the towel on DT, it's time for Andy McPhail to do the same. PLEASE!!!

Yes Pete,

I agree and said the same thing on a previous blog. Andy Macphail hoped for the best this year and got the worst. The Orioies will now be forced to overpay and bring in a proven winner to stabilize the rotation.

I support Macphail on the rebuilding effort but Andy himself has said that the team should be competitive as they rebuild.

This year is shot and we will give him a pass. He revealed his stategy with the awful pitching staff that broke Spring Training. But Andy, it would be unfair to the fans to ask us to absorb a similar beatdown in 2010 while waiting for some of the young pitching talent to mature.

The rebuilding effort has devolved into an emergency from a pitching standpoint.

Tell the owner to be prepared to spend some money on pitching in the offseason. We fans deserve a better effort on your part and PA's part.

Leonard,

Bad comparison in my opinion. Steve Carlton was a lefty. If you're a lefty and pitch and chew gum at the same time, you can have a pretty good career. Second, Carlton pitched for 24 years. For 20 years of pitching in the big leagues he never held an ERA of higher than 3.90. Only very late in his career did he have a couple of seasons where his ERA was more than 5, which is expected of someone who pitched for such a long time. Also his ERA while he played for the Phillies never went above 3.9. I don't call that struggling. He had one year with the Phillies where he gave up 29 home runs. Perhaps that's what you are referring too.

SM,

Why would AM throw in the towel on DT for losing? DT is executing AM's PLAN to perfection. Peter Angelos should throw in the towel and send both AM and DT packing. He won't.

I think it's a real stretch to blame the World Baseball Classic for Guthrie's troubles. Hundreds of players participated without missing a beat in '09. He looks like a pretty well-conditioned athlete so the 'disruption' is something he should have been able to adjust to. Besides, he has pitched some good games so maybe it's just one of those years...Personally, I think Guthrie will bounce back and win 12-14 games in '10 but like many noted, he's not an ace/#1 guys etc but a solid starter nonetheless. Sometimes an off-year makes you better in the long run; at least Guthrie seems to be a battler.
In many ways, '09 is note going exactly as planned. Who saw Guthrie having a bad year, Huff and Mora's rapid decline and Scott not grabbing a chance to be a force? I think most of us saw the bad starting from Eaton and Hendrickson right from day on(although maybe Hendrickson has found a niche in the 'pen).
I see a lot more work to be done obviously over the off-season and who knows if Trembley will be around next year? It's easy to accept a 90-95 loss season but once we hit 100 and let's say a 18-54 second half then at what? Do the Orioles fire Trembley and/or MacPhail? I'm sure MacPhail has a longer leash but if the O's only win 25% of their games in the 2nd half(a possibily given their schedule and brutal play) then sacking Trembley may be necesary.

The first FA priority should be to duplicate Brian Roberts (i.e. Chone Figgins) at the top of the order. Starting in 2012 Roberts has full no-trade protection and needs to know he can be replaced if he doesn't start playing inspired baseball.

I am not sure why DT keeps talking about a power-hitting right handed bat. What does he consider Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters, and Adam Jones? Has he heard of Brandon Snyder? And why does he consistently sit Reimold to play Felix Pie if he needs right-handed power? What does he consider Ty Wigginton - a patient, high OBP, contact hitter?

As far as pitching, the best ones have injury risk (Lackey and Webb). I would not pay FA money unless it was a short-term deal with incentives. I like the idea of signing a closer like Fernando Rodney and moving Jim Johnson to the top of the rotation instead.

AAhhh......there is nothing like the taste of a 60 W - 102 L season to stimulate optimism.

The light you saw at the end of the tunnel at the beginning of the season turns out to be the dreaded on rushing train.

It is unbearable to watch, and depressing to contemplate.

Even the Nationals give their fan a ray of hope and something to cheer about with an 8 game winning streak........we haven't won 8 games since the all star break.

Football season has officially started in my house.

What do all these coaches do? Does anyone actually LEAD the players in showing them how to play the game? I don't see Shelby and Samuel as those types. Dave Jauss looks like a DT advisor. The Crow is a hitting technician and Kranny is a pitching technician. Alan in the bullpen watches the relievers get ready. If DT isn't a take charge guy, then who is? Every time I see managers on the contending teams, I see a whole different personality type --- which is exactly what this team of young folks and veterans getting ready to leave needs.

Fixing the mess begins with a different thought process.

The WBC is great. Orioles fans should appreciate it more, because it gives us a chance to root for a team that's actually good.

Moreover, I always wonder why Americans don't take more pride in our national teams.

People wave the flag around election time, but where are they when their local pro baseball team's pitcher dons the national uniform?

Pete,

I hate to break it to you, but this team QUIT a long time ago.

Slow, uninspired and just plain lazy.

Here's description of Guthrie:

Fastball, Fastball, Fastball, Fastball, Change-Up, Fast Ball
GONE!

Pitch selection and lazy mechanics. Guthrie like the rest of the team checked out a while back.

I can't say I'm surprised about Guthrie. He's the usual fluke pitcher that the recent Orioles have fallen all over themselves about, claiming him an "ace".

Guthrie is a scrap heap project, no different than Jorge Julio, Bruce Chen, Jason Johnson, or any other fluke pitcher the O's have counted on since approximately 1999.

He's now a fluke pitcher that is two years older, playing in a league that has figured him out.

It's all about the Trembley watch now.

Fans are understandingly emotional about this. Some argue that he should stay because the roster is so weak. Others say that he should go for a plethora of reasons, ranging from in game decision making, to a lack of fundamentals, or lineups used.

I would argue that its simpler than this. I think his "style" of heaping overwhelming praise on these young players is counterproductive to their development. He has already labeled Matusz "a top of the rotation ace for years to come" and continues to heap praise on Adam Jones whenever his name is mentioned. Well, Adam Jones plays way too shallow, doesn't get great jumps, and is incredibly anxious whenever faced with an rbi situation as a middle of the order guy. Perspective is what is needed from a manager. Constructive criticism, not unconditional love. I'm not sure what DT's end game is, but suspect he's just in survival mode and figures by making as many pals in the clubhouse as possible he'll get to keep his dream job.

When Guthrie participated in the WBC it was like he was throwing batting practice to the other teams' hitters. It was terrible to watch and this season he has continued to pitch that way. I don't believe the WBC effected him. I think he just isn't a very good pitcher. Much of it probably is mental. He looks really lost most of the time. I think that's why Zaun helped him with the mental part of the game.

Furthermore the WBC is a great thing. Having lived in Venezuela and other Latin American countries as well as living currently in Panama you see what the WBC is all about. People throughout the world have great pride in their countries and want to especially beat countries like the U.S. where baseball really started. It's embarrassing to send players like Guthrie to the WBC when only the truly best should be there. How he ended up being on the team is a mystery to me. But guys like Roberts loved it. It's like the Olympics and far more important and interesting to participate in and view than this season and past Os seasons.

I am not at all optimistic with this team Guthrie included. The team is dead, they have no energy, no desire to win, no grit, no leadership and no emotion. I tought the signings of BRob and Markakis were monumental at the time but now I would not mind seeing both traded, neither are leaders and appear disinterested in the game. Lets say good bye to Huff and Mora as well. These guys are playing a game the most of us would kill to play in the finest ball park in the country. DT, it is time to move on, you are too nice and too huggy with the players. The players are men playing a boy's game, thus they are boys and need discipline not hugs. hey are losers because they want to be!

Oceanwarrior,

Good observations. Positive re-enforcement works. You don't want to bring your guys down every time they screw up. They're are professionals, or so we hope. They know when they screw up and it is not worth dwelling on the negatives. However when the team is so horrible you have to change that thinking. I think that style comes from managing in the minors and it is better suited there. Up in the Bigs as you point out you have to be a bit more critical of their play and focus on getting the job done. I think praising a few young players as DT has done is just part of the feel good propaganda.

I have noticed the same thing about Adam Jones. His bat was hot and that's why he made the all star team; however I think it wasn't well deserved. His defense has been suspect all year. His decision making at the plate after the all start break remind me of his early games with the O's where he looked every bit of the rookie that he was. I think the AllStar thing got to his head. He swings like he is some kind of Jason Giambi at the plate, taking big cuts. Don't get me wrong. I love Adam, and he is the least of our worries this season, but if he wants to be a leader on this team as he has expressed, he should step up every aspect of his game, not just focus on hitting home runs.

As a coach you are only as good as your talent. You cannot make a Tim Lincecum out of a Jeremy Guthrie. You cannot make a Albert Pujols out of a Aubrey Huff and you cannot make a Mark Reynolds out of a Melvin Mora. The young pitchers will struggle but the struggles of Guthrie, Huff and Mora hurt this team at least for this season.

Going totally off topic Pete,,,,did you see Tulowitzki's "triple" that gave him the cycle last night? I think scorekeepers have gone off the deep end. First, the left fielder bobbled the ball trying to pick it up, and then the relay guy made an awful throw that, had the third baseman been able to catch it, tulo would have been out by 15 feet. I am getting tired of the hometown scoring. I think it's time to hire full-time scorers who cannot score in their home ballpark. I know many sportswriters perform the scoring duties, so I don't expect you to agree with my full-time scorers idea, but what do you think about some of these scoring decisions?


.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Actually, not many working sportswriters score any more, so that wouldn't affect my opinion that much. I didn't see the play, but hometown scoring is no new thing. It is irritating sometimes, but MLB isn't going to spend the money to add a full-time scorer to each umpiring crew, though it probably would be a fine idea.

Isn't it possible Guthrie came to camp angry over the Oriole cheapness in needlessly cutting his salary.Would you go the extra mile or keep the same attitude toward your bosses, if you had a really good year and your boss(even though he could)cut you 15% of your salary?I'm not saying this is the right thing to do,but an attitude adjustment,could lead to these negative results and not wanting to talk to the press after games.

Pete,

You are another member of the local media excusing the team for their performance, because they have a plan in place and MIGHT be decent in a couple of years. Yea way to go O'S. What free agent in his right mind would sign here? They had to completely overpay roberts and markakis to stay. Tillman I think will be very good. Matusz i dont see it. I read the detroit papers after his first start and nobody spoke nice about him. leyalnd even said we were pathetic at the plate swinging at balls and taking strikes. Then he got rocked his second game. Porcello of detroit is 20 and only had a few minor league starts and he is 12-8 for a contender. hanson same for atlanta. I am afraid we will continue to lose for the forseeable future. Pete stop drinking the orange koolaid.


............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I don't think this team is very good. I think it's a pretty bad team, actually. But I knew better than to focus on wins and losses this year, and told you all you would have to do the same to tolerate another losing season. If you can't do that, I suggest you draft your fantasy football team and look away, because it isn't getting too much better this year.

Nope he came to camp as a MLB player that gets paid and has to do his best so he can get a better contract. His cut was not that much through the arbitration process, every year there are several players that go through this when they do not have the league minimum time requirements met. Plus it is about self respect and Jeremy surely would have wanted to be top notch this year. Just hope he can turn it around.

The issues with Huff and Mora hurt also, they are playing to get a contract also for next year, last year they combined for something like 212 runs batted in and this year they will be lucky to combine for 140.

There's alot of comments here about bringing Dempsey out of the broadcast booth and making him the manager, but I think you're targeting the wrong ex-catcher. Personally, if he were interested in the job, I'd hire Buck Martinez. The more I listen to him, the more I appreciate his understanding of the game and his intelligence which I'd say is light years above most of the folks we've trotted out to manage this club in recent seasons.
Yes, the Orioles do need a top flight Roy Halladay type starter to anchor the rotation, but I can't see why anyone of that ilk would want to come here. We're "heading in the right direction," but pitchers of this ilk don't want to join a club that's "still making the journey," they want to join the team that has ARRIVED. That ain't us, folks. And as long as we're talking about club needs, toss in a 40+ homer guy. As I've said MANY times in this blog, we need an Eddie Murray, we don't have an Eddie Murray and we haven't had an Eddie Murray since...Eddie Murray. Got to have that "please don't let it be HIM coming up with the game on the line" guy that strikes fear in the hearts of opposing late inning relievers. I'm sorry, he's a nice guy, but Aubrey Huff doesn't strike fear into ANYBODY's heart...or spleen, kidney, or "lovesponge" for that matter. We have a lineup of good, some VERY good hitters...but no one GREAT. Adam Jones may develop into that, but like the team, he's still "on the journey." Oh, and we could use a new third baseman. You don't want a 37 year old third baseman unless he's Graig Nettles who could probably still pick it today (which, by the way, is the nicest thing I'll ever say about any YANKEE, dangthem...)
As for the enigma which is Guthrie, I don't know. The guy gets the ball up there in the mid90s, has movement on his pitches, but for some reason can't keep the ball from fluttering over the the middle of the plateBOOMMMMMMMMMM! Maybe he needs to learn another pitch. Call up Mussina and have him teach Guthrie that knucklecurve of his. Couldn't hurt.

let's try to look on the bright side. if the orioles keep losing, they could get the first pick in the draft, and if they got the first pick, they could draft super prospect bryce harper... just a thought:)

I couldn't bear to watch that game last night, I understand that the heat was at and dangerous levels, but the A's were out there too. I couldn't stop noticing the body language of the players and it occurred to me that the losing aspect that has plagued this team is beginning to rub off on the young players like Reimold and Weiters. Unfortunately, for as much as I defend him, Mora seems resigned to another losing season as do Roberts, Huff and Scott.

This is why I think the environment the FO has brought the club's young and promising talent in to is not a good one to grow young players in. The swagger they all come up with from being on a winning Triple A team is all but gone as shades of Gibbons, Bigbie and Garrett Olson begin to creep back into my head. Young players who looked like they would be good mainstays and suffered under the losing culture of this club.

Pete,
I am positive this blog thing is a pain in the a**. You get your writings creds and end up with bob,abc and typical fans like me. Unfortunately or fortunately the days of simply writing for a local paper are over.
But Pete I believe we need to recall the fact the truly talented players avoid Balto like the plague. The list is extensive and not sure we want the cold mercenary who will come "to get paid". Thats Redskins mentality.
The fact is Camden Yards is not pitcher friendly. Why would a pitcher come here to watch their era's blow up and their loss column grow.
I have said it since 1992.
Deepen those power alley's by 20 feet minimum.
Take left field back 2 rows.
take Center back to 420 feet.
Than our young kids can pitch to the field. Ala old Memorial Stadium. Ok,keep the cheap right field porch for giggles.
But lets build on pitching,defense,fundamentals ans speed. Can't do it in a bandbox. Camden is a wonderful place but will retard our growth and ability to attain,retain and develop top notch talent.


............................................................................................
Pete's reply: It would take a major construction project to increase the left field distance. It's probably more possible in center field. If you recall, they did move home plate back one year, but the sightlines really didn't work doing it that way.

I am profoundly disappointed by this team's laying down. One would think they'd play hard at the end here, to prepare for next year and get into the proper frame of mind to turn things around. One would think they would be working hard to support DT and help him avoid the Lee Mazzilli/Sam Perlozzo treatment that now seems unavoidable. One would think that they would be doing SOMETHING to jar this train off the track to the toilet that it is on.

One would think these things, unless they had seen it all before like we have. Before this is all said and done, this might be the worst record out of the past 12 losing seasons.

Peter:
This isn't really on topic, but want to ask this question: What do you know about Josh Perrault and his major league outlook? His minor league numbers this year are dazzling. If The Sun's reported on him, I've missed it.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Very good control. Very good ratios in the minors this year. But, your right, I haven't heard much from the major league club about him. He's 27, so he's not a young prospect, so he needs to get a look pretty soon.

The idea by maxmorf about getting Mussina back into the teaching mode for his knuckle curve deserves a little consideration. Why not, indeed?

Maybe someone in the front office should step back from the forest of doing things the conventional way --- and not improving the future --- and try a little unconventional thinking.

We have some great up-and-comers in the kiddie corps of pitching. Why not see who can toss the knuckle curve? Might be a terrific pitch and it doesn't put any strain on young arms at all.

Seemed to work for dozens of wins for the Moose. Whaddya think, Pete? You there, Pete?


............................................................................................
Pete's reply: Yes, I'm here. I don't think MIke has much of a relationshp with the O's, which is too bad. As far as teaching the knuckle curve, I don't know. The fact that the pitch isn't that common in the big leagues, I wonder if it's realistic to think it could be passed on to someone like Guthrie.

djph -

Greg Maddux was 27 years old when he joined the Braves. He had five 15+ win, sub 3.50 ERA seasons with the Cubs in the rear-view. When he was a 21-year-old in Chicago, he had guys like Rick Sutcliffe and Scott Sanderson showing him the ropes. The fact that he's an absolute genius didn't hurt though...

Smoltz and Glavine had guys like Charlie Leibrandt, Rick Mahler and Zane Smith around in their early years.

Pitching coaches are (sometimes) great, but when was the last time Rick Kranitz pitched in the bigs? Half-past never by my watch. Having a big league veteran around in a rotation full of 22-year-olds is never a bad plan.

If the O's do go after a veteran starter this offseason, I'm hoping for Doug Davis.

Hey Pete What's up with the White Sox taking on that huge Rios contract? Here's a guy who has really underproduced and why would anyone throw him anything but a breaking ball out of the strike zone?
And how come the Whtie Sox can compete almost every year with that lineup? Their pitching is OK but they run out a lineup that looks like a slow pitch team(Konerko, Thome, Quentin, Perzinski) which goes to show I guess that there's no set way to win. Maybe Guillen is part of the reason also, although I can't stand him, he seems to get the most out of his teams.

Certainly, this team isn't very good when they play uninspired ball(and only the most delusional would say they are) or play well below expectations. There's an old saying that players usually play to the numbers on the back of their bumble-gum cards. This team hasn't been. If these guys had been playing up to their potential, they might still be bad, but not this bad.

But the thing is, everyone in baseball can see what is happening here. Whatever you think of Andy MacPhail, he is a respected baseball man, and that alone can convince a type A to come here. I mean think about a sales pitch to a big name. Mention Weiters, the baby pitchers, the young, athletic and talented outfield, the power arms in the pen and down on the farm.

There is a lot to like about this team, but it has been overshadowed by the losing and seemingly un-caring play. Every person likes to feel they are needed and with the egos around, any guy would probably like to come in here and be the piece that puts this team over the top.

You don't think this team would be a contender with Halliday anchoring the rotation? Just think of Halliday, Tillman, Matusz, Guthrie and Bergeson. Or throw in Arrieta, Patton or Britton in there. Any and every team in baseball would like to have that kind of talent.

Once you get Halliday, you don't think any great position player would follow? Let's face it, we're here, we see the every day shortcomings and it is easy to get cynical, like the guy who says he doesn't see it with Matusz after two major league starts. It's easy to be negative.

But a signing here, a hotshot rookie there, and whaddya know? The Orioles are relevant again. All I can say is, think positive, people, better days are ahead.

BTW, baseball is not and never was a "kid's" game. For one thing, children don't have the well-developed brains necessary to devise such a complicated sport.

There wasn't a group of kids playing stickball in a clearing somewhere when a group of grown-ups happened upon them and picked up the game. It has evolved over the many, many years(there were mentions of a game called "baseball" in diaries from England in the mid 1700's) and kids picked up the sport because their Dads were playing it. It is a multi-billion dollar enterprise for the entertainment and pleasure of adults. Remember that.

Pete's reply: I guess if you know more than Jim Palmer, you must be right.
---

Pete,

I'm gonna use one of your favorite lines:

Way to see the forest through the trees.

Jim Palmer is not saying what he really feels first and foremost. Second: He is not one to talk junk about other pitchers no matter how bad they are. Can you imagine what happens to Guthrie's confidence or even career if Palmer calls him out?

Guthrie's does not have good stuff. I don't have to be an expert to see that this guy throws the ball right down the middle. You don't give up 25+ home runs on average every year for the past 3 years by nibbling the corners or pitching down. This guy pitches up and has since day one. Why is everyone so shocked that he is getting hammered?

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply I think we're arguing semantics here. You're talking about location and command. I'm talking about velocity and movement. He definitely is not locating well, but he has the stuff to win when he is able to do that. I think it's about focus and confidence, more than anything. And I don't think you can accuse Palmer of sugar-coating. If he thinks somebody doesn't have what it takes, he'll say so.

Know more than Palmer about what?

Thank you BobbyBallgame, it's always nice when your fellow posters give you a nod for a good idea. Realistically, I've found that when this sort of thing happens, it happens on the player level, i.e. Guthrie himself calls up Mussina or calls up somebody he knows who knows Mussina...or runs into him at spring training or at some baseball event or in winter ball, next thing you know Guthrie is being interviewed, "Yeah, I ran into Mike at the such and such event and asked him about it. We had a practice session at the park and I've been playing with it ever since. I hope to use it in a game sometime soon..." And so it goes. A pitch like a knucklecurve would definitely look different given Guthrie's repertoire which, I have to say, looks alot alike, i.e. his fastball/curve/slider all look about the same, just "variations on a theme." Of course, if you REALLY want to get daring, Guthrie could call up Dave LaRoche and have him show how to throw the "La-Lob," the former Yankee reliever's spin on the famed "Eephus" pitch. Now that's one to grow on.

Here's a question for you, Pete. Completely off topic, but it involves a Baltimore athlete and relates to some signings by the baseball team.

An item on your radio station's website says that Aaron Maybin, who played at Mt. Hebron and Penn State and was drafted by Buffalo, still has not signed, partly because the pick right before him, Micheal Crabtree, still hasn't signed with San Francisco. In the piece, Maybin's friend and advisor, former NFL and Penn State LB LaVar Arrington, says that because number ten(Crabtree) hasn't signed, it is hard to determine number 11's(Maybin) value.

The NFL and NBA have quidelines and the Orioles just signed three of their picks, according to Dean Jones, and all went above MLB slot recommendations.

Don't teams go into the draft with an idea of what their picks are worth? To me, it's silly to base A's contract on what B signs for, because the two players might mean two entirely different things to their team. I guess it is the way it is, but there has to be a better way.

What do think of what Arrington says about the Maybin/Crabtree situations?

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: From an agent's point of view, it's the smart thing to do because Crabtree is trying to get more than the slot figure. That, I guess, might help make the case for a little more for the guy behind him.

What maxmorf is saying is exactly to the point. That fear striking hitter sets up a lineup. Like a Manny Ramirez or Hanley Ramirez. Other names David Ortiz (not really this year), Ryan Howard, Albert Pujols: they all make the lineup that much better. Maybe that is why Texiera would have been a help. And unless there is someone in the minors to fill that role (which there is not right away) there has to be a trade.

The type of Veterans the O's need.

The following is an exert I took from MLB.COM/Padres.
David Eckstein is talking about not wanting to be traded to a contender at the trade deadline.

--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Eckstein echoed those sentiments this week, saying his reasons for wanting to remain in San Diego were because of the challenge of helping mold a young team and being a part of something that's growing, not something that's on the decline.

"I've been through a lot of stages in my career, having been on teams that won, on teams that were supposed to win, teams that are young," Eckstein said. "But knowing the direction this club is going, I want to be a part of that.

"I want to be a guy who can help these young guys out. I don't think this club is as far off as some people think. They've got to learn how to play the game the right away, because next year, there's not going to be any excuses. These guys are starting to step up."
---------------------------------------------------------------------------------

A Total PROFESSIONAL in my book! Eckstein does the little things that don't show up in box score, that makes watching a baseball game, "a Baseball Game." He doesn't need a coach to remind him. It might be helpful because that's what coaches are paid to do, he doesn't need to be told!

I didn't see the play, but how the heck you don't score from third on a fly to the center fielder? How can you have a man on second and third and not score at all? Choke up on the dang bat and slap the ball the other way! Stop being selfish and play as a team or leave, the sooner the better.

I sure wish the O's would bite the bullet and jettison some of the O's Vet's, and bring in some "Baseball Players".

I just heard on the radio while driving home from work here in San Diego, that David Eckstein is unsigned for next year. I know he's not a a big glamorous Home Run Hitter or some fire-ball Pitcher, but if the Orioles could be so lucky to land Eckstein and a Veteran of two like hime.

Another Veteran I would go after would be Trevor Hoffman, don't know if he signed a one or two year contract with the Brewers.
Just an example of another Excellent Vet for the young Pitchers to have around.

While the future of the O's is definitely in rebuilding the farm system, (I really hope it works this time) the kids need some on the field leadership.


Chris -

Here's a translation of Eckstein's comments:

"The Padres are the only team on which I'm a starter. I don't want to ride the pine. Please don't trade me."

I'll just kind of spitball some ideas I had scrolling through the comments:

- I'm not sure how you blame DT for players not getting the job done. People say he's Mr. Textbook, but those books were written by WINNERS doing what DT is being criticized for now. They just had players that could do it.

- I don't want to see Bedard back here. Talk about someone who quits. It's like he wanted to beat the traffic the way he'd search a coach out on the bench to say he was done for the night.

- I think Guthrie shot his season with the WBC. The tourney is a great concept, but not many people who participated have done all that well since.

- Reimold at SS was an intriguing idea.

- Calling Wieters, Reimold and Markakis "power" guys is a bit of a stretch. A "power" guys to me is someone capable of being top 10 in HR's.

- I don't think Mussina likes the Orioles at all anymore, so I doubt he'd go out of his way to teach someone a pitch that's as difficult as the knuckle curve. He was pretty torqued about the Surhoff deal in 2000, plus the O's weren't going to let him go back home after a plane crash involving his hometown in PA until a rainout pushed his start back. He loved/loves that town. He also went to Yankees games when he grew up in PA, which is part of why he ended up there. I'd honestly settle for any pitcher seeking out anyone for help though. I definitely support the concept. Same for the hitters. No one is knocking down the doors for extra time in the cage from what I hear.

- I'd like to see a legitimate vet come in to pitch. I think Moyer wouldn't be too bad even though he's ancient. He just got bumped to the 'pen for Pedro, which means he's expendable in Philly. Also means his arm will be rested for 2010. That's my realistic request. Brandon Webb would be an interesting risk to take though maybe.

Boy, some of the things you guys write. Wieters is one of our power hitters? He has 15 RBI's! PIE has 11 in 100 less at bats!! Every right-handed pitcher in the American League KNOWS he can get Jones to swing at a curve down and away. They've used it as their out pitch for Jones all season. Same with Huff, only with left-handers. Crow hasn't made a dent in their strikeout records over the entire year. The reason the O's NEED a front-line pitcher is three-fold; to win games, to be a stopper and to be someone with "creds" who these young guys will WANT to learn from. While we're her suffering on the East Coast, watch what happens to Oakland if they don't pick up a Mentor for their all-rookie starting staff. Ask Palmer how much he learned from Robin Roberts while he, Palmer, was coming up with the O's.
Incedently, our almost all-rookie starting staff is a product of AM's failure in the off-season to come up with at least three upper mid-level starters (and I'm not talking about one of them being a 34(?) year old pitcher who spent the previous two years pitching in relief in Japan.). There were guys out there who went to clubs not much better than the O's. $$$ beats a winning record almost anytime, especially for all but the top pitchers. Why do you think Roy Holliday is still with the Blue Jays?

Sorry Pete: I should have clarified. I should have said Billy Ripken. When I said Ripken, I know everyone assumes Cal. If they change managers, I would rather have someone from the Orioles past manage the club rather than outsiders. Also, I do not believe that Trembley is the biggest problem. I like the guy for his philosophical approach and how he never uses the media to get down on players. He can only work with the cards he is dealt, seems like he does not have enough aces in his hand, but regardless the manager is the one the finger points towards.

Post a comment

Please enter the letter "s" in the field below:
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.

Schmuck column archive

Upload a photo of yourself or a friend wearing the new Peter Schmuck T-shirt, which is on sale at gotschmuck.com
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

Most Recent Comments
Photo galleries

Search our new database for every home run hit hit by the O's and the opposition — home and away — since 1992.

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Sign up for FREE Orioles alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for Orioles text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Blog updates
Recent updates to baltimoresun.com sports blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Stay connected