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August 3, 2009

O's: Will Mora make it through Detroit?

It'll be interesting to see what happens over the next couple of days, with the Melvin Mora situation still simmering and a couple of roster moves imminent. Looks like left-hander Chris Waters -- who's already with the major league club -- will be activated to take the place of Jason Berken on the 25-man roster any time now, and there's still the roster move pending tomorrow to make room for Brian Matusz to start the second game of the series.

Could Melvin be released in the next 24 hours? It's certainly possible after he called out manager Dave Trembley on Sunday, though the club would be on the hook for the remaining $3 million or so on his contract and would also be a little short at the corner infield positions. I'm guessing Trembley would be willing to make that sacrifice at this point, but Andy MacPhail might not. Melvin is not in the starting lineup tonight.

If you want my full take on the situation, my column on Mora for tomorrow's print edition of The Sun just posted on the Web site. You can read it here.

Radio tonight: Join me and Ravens receiver Derrick Mason on "Sportsline" tonight at six on WBAL (1090 AM). We'll also talk to Orioles beat reporter Jeff Zrebiec about the Mora situation. If you're out of signal range, go to and click on the "Listen Live" icon.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 5:31 PM | | Comments (49)
Categories: Just baseball


Not being in the lineup tonight doesn't sound too promising.

Holy Crap! How will they ever replace that run production? Last place is in the bag now!

Well I would guess Mora's attitude tonight will tell the tale.

Too bad he stuck his foot in his mouth.

Let him go, platoon Huff & Wig at 3rd, try out Riemold at 1st, and let Pie play!

I have to laugh because I read all the time, how players have no loyalties, but we have one in Melvin. I don't think he handled it the right way, but none of us reading this blog, have done more for the O's than Melvin has. You take the good with the bad, and there are more positives than negatives when it comes to Melvin and what he has done, both on and off the filed in Baltimore.

Pete, I hate to see his career end with the O's by being released. I know he wont be back next year, but there is a big difference of not having your option picked up and instead, being dumped. Melvin deserves a better fate.

I'm sorry, this isn't some guy who's been working at a job for 24 years and has to stay on for 1 more year for retirement. This is a major league baseball player underperforming for the entire year. I mean really, 3 HR and 27 RBI in August!? Now on top of this he's acting like a baby and bad-mouthing his manager in the media.

I say dump him and leave Wigginton at 3rd for the rest of the year. This should have been done 3 months ago

Time to try someone else...find a way to play Scott, Wigginton, and Huff...or bring someone up from the minors.

Mora sees the writing on the wall (after this season), and could be trying to force the issue...which would allow him to shop for his own team.

Just a thought.

Time to try someone else...find a way to play Scott, Wigginton, and Huff...or bring someone up from the minors.

Mora sees the writing on the wall (after this season), and could be trying to force the issue...which would allow him to shop for his own team.

Just a thought.

Time to try someone else...find a way to play Scott, Wigginton, and Huff...or bring someone up from the minors.

Mora sees the writing on the wall (after this season), and could be trying to force the issue...which would allow him to shop for his own team.

Just a thought.

I don't think Melvin handled this well, but I don't think he should be released over it. If he demands to be released or traded that's one thing, but just cutting him loose seems a little extreme. If they do, I wonder whether they would have any interest in Chris Shelton who was just DFA by the Mariners. I don't know much about him but he put up decent numbers while in Detroit.

Agree with Birdland Todd that it's sad. But here's my issue and it comes down to the difference between the Red Sox and the Orioles. David Ortiz brought two world championships to Boston. He might be the most popular player on the team, both with fans and with players. Recent PED notwithstanding, he has been a great ambassador for the game and one of its most recognizable assets. But when he was struggling, Francona did everything to snap him out of it. He moved Ortiz down in the lineup. He sat him for an entire weekend. Did Ortiz complain or feel "disrespected"? Nope. Ortiz was beside himself. He apologized to fans. He went to see an eye doctor. He obsessed over his failure to help the team.

Meanwhile, Trembley finally makes the call and Mora feels dissed, ironically citing a comment from Ortiz himself. Has Mora obsessed? Seen an eye doctor? Admitted he has failed? Zero accountability. He clings to his All-Star status from five years ago as proof of his ability to be in the middle of the lineup. Sorry Melvin, but that was so long ago that tonight's starting battery was in high school.

I really appreciate all Mora has done and I recognize his importance in the community, but his 10 seasons in Baltimore have been 10 losing seasons. And as much as I hate saying this, sometimes it is worth wondering how much of a coincidence that is. Bad attitudes and bad habits are contagious. I'd rather the O's bring back Millar for a season and make sure the kids learn that the game is fun and even more fun if you win than keep Mora around and promote the concept of entitlements...

Pete only two things can come out of that ill advised outburst to the media, 1 they can release melvin outright or 2 they can fire dave t.With this many young guys now on the team it looks like it will have to be releasing melvin because the orioles can not afford to let these young kids get the wrong idea on who is really in charge of this team. However lets not kid ourselves for one minute there are veterans on this team that probably will side with mora just for the fact that he has been here 9 years. This is a very tough time for the orioles right now and Andy better do the right thing.

Fox, i really like your thinking. (and thats not a statement i've ever used before)

I have never been a huge Mora fan but the guy still makes some great plays in the field and stuck with this team. Both sides of this situation look childish and should try hard to resolve it. Cutting Mora loose in Detroit would be a horrible way to end his career. Yes he popped a shot at Trembley but can you blame him?! This is a frustrating season and we shouldn’t be too quick to kick a guy that spent 9 years with the Orioles to the curb.

Let Pie play? He can't play a ball off the fence to save his life. He looks like he's chasing a chicken out there!

Trembley said he wants a right-handed bat for whoever replaces him next year. Troy Glaus would look good over there at third.

Let Pie play? He can't play a ball off the fence to save his life. He looks like he's chasing a chicken out there!

Trembley said he wants a right-handed bat for whoever replaces him next year. Troy Glaus would look good over there at third.

I say keep losing and see if We can up our Draft pick slot. Right now we are about Pick #6. I think the Worst we could do is 9 or 10. (if we get on a real hot streak, it might get to 11 or 12)

We probably cannot catch the National. But maybe a #2-4 slot is a workable goal.

We can draft Strasburgh once the Nations screw it up and he goes back into the draft.

The unoffical goal should be to tank and Draft Strasburgh. I think that is what Melvins goal was when he opened his mouth on Sunday. Actually was probably doing Andy's dirty Work. Andy had him make the comments so we could achive the Goal of re-drafting the Nationals Screw up of not signing Strasburgh (assuming they do not get it done)

Look at the big picture, but with bringing up the youth, we may find a way to win a few to many games so the Pirates can draft Strasburgh instead, then trade him to the Yankees or Sox.

Reimold has no experience at first base. Let Wiggy and Mora split time at third some so we can see if Wigginton should be back next year or not.

You guys want to see this team go even more to @hit?? Release Mora and see what happens you might just have to fire DT also (which might not be a bad idea). Dave Trembley doesn’t work well with veteran players because he’s used to managing minor league players and doesn’t take things into account like egos and time served on the team.

Melvin Melvin Melvin.....sounds like he is just as frustrated as the rest of us fans.
Best case scenario is for Andy to call Melvin into his office, have a man to man discussion and ask Melvin to apologize to the team, the fans and to Dave.
The truth is Melvin should have been on the bench since the all star break....LOOK AT HIS NUMBERS.
This has nothing to do with respect. The organization has given him respect for the last 9 has to do with frustration. He is not the ball player he once was, and it is painful to watch, and for Melvin, painful to go thru.
My a man....apologize...and finish the season with out further incident. The O's can release him after the season, and he can look for a new team where he can hit 300, have 100 rbi's and hit 25 home runs. Just like a Disney fairy tale.
Melvin Mora......good guy....bad judgement.

melvin shot himself in the foot for his outburst. the orioles just can't allow a veteran player make bad impressions on the young players. if ii is not a good business move to release him at this time,releasing him might still be the best thing to do

Mora sure hasn't looked very happy for the past years, even though he managed to get the desperate Orioles to overpay him to the tune of 8 mill/yr. That sour puss, constant baserunning blunders and feeble production at the plate isn't going to make me miss him wearing the orange and black. As far as 'eating' the 3 mill remaining on Mora's contract, that's chump change considering they paid Gibbons 11 mill to disappear and besides, the O's likely raked that much in from the annoying RedSox fans last weekend.
A guy like Mora has declined quicker than most of us thought, especially since he did put up a monster 2nd half last year. His latest outburst could have been orchestrated by Melvin himself; I mean maybe he'd prefer to go home early and help take care of the youngsters(at full salary of course!) rather than sit on the bench and watch another ugly finish. Surely he knows his career is over at this stage anyway because no team is going to sign a 3B with no pop and now with an attitude to boot.
I've been an Orioles fan since 1964 and to me, part of being a fan is liking the players and/or becoming attached to those wearing the O's uni. I never really felt that type of attachment with Mora but he did give us a few good years but it's time to move on. I really liked what Sherrill brought to the table and I guess that's why I was so ticked when they traded him. This was not at the same level of sadness I felt when the Orioles traded my all-time favourite Eddie Murray but the point is that part of being a fan is forming attachments. By the same token, throughout the years, it was hard to cheer for guys like Albert Belle, Jay Payton, Steve Kline, WIll Clark and numerous others too painful to even mention.
Hopefully, we can build a team that is both a winnner and fun to watch...I'd rather see us weed out the malcontents and deadwood sooner than later..

I like Melvin. I think it's just a case of somebody venting in frustration as he's about to be fired. Some people deal with it better than others. Perhaps a few of the posters here might have similar experiences.

Okay people Mora is a product of the Orioles terrible system over the years. They have enabled his selfishness and now are making an example of him. It just doesn’t make sense and the O’s would have to pay him 3 mil. Luckily Melvin talked to management today and seems to have smoothed things over.

Can the Os put him on the DL or suspend him for the rest of the year? If he was trying to talk his way out, why let him. Just make him go away until the rosters expand in September and then dump him.

Troy Glaus? Are you serious? Not what a young team needs. Adrian Beltre on the other hand would fit nicely. Great fielder who would hit 30+ homers in Camden Yards. Chone Figgins would be a possibility too, but I'd rather have the power bat.

If everyone here would stop and think for a minute. If you're a manager you don't use a cut-throat attitude with 1 month left into Melvin's career. How do you think you're going to bring in veteran bats here via free agency if you show no respect for the ones you have here? It's not like we're competing and Melvin is dragging us down. His defense is still above average. Melvin was on fire last year and for period of about 1 1/2 months carried the whole team. How quickly do we forget? He said he has played hurt this year for Trembley. There might be something to this that we fans do not know about. We all talk about patience with the new players and MacPhail's plan, but we are hypocrites for being impatient with Mora and not respecting what Mora has done for us on and off the field. This guy has been a class act. He's played like a warrior for so many years on a crapy team. He has given back to the community via charity. Always humble and selfless. It speaks volumes when someone like him is fed-up with an incompetent manager. Don't think for one second those players in the clubhouse do not sympathize with him.

There was a right way to handle this and the Oriole's botched it. You pull the guy into Trembley's office and thank Mora for his tenure and accomplishments then explain reality. Tell him you are willing to go with him for so many games to see if he can get hot in the 2nd half and say after that you can't promise anything. If he doesn't like that, offer him a trade if he wants it. Instead, we get the great communicator (Trembley) talking Mora up as a second half player then inserting Wigginton on a nearly everyday basis. Trembley preaches telling players in advance their playing time (a bad idea) but can't even talk to a player face-to-face about a diminshed role? But this seems to be the new Oriole's way just like Flanagan found out he wasn't wanted by McPhail after doing the same thing himself to Elrod Hendricks. Now it is Trembley's turn as he will be unceremoniously "not renewed" after the season. I think he is a decent guy as his lack of rebuttal shows but he proved in one move he is not the communicator he claims to be.

Did the Red Sox Fly to Detroit and Put on our Uniforms? Nice First inning!!! SO Far

As far as I'm concerned, Mora's a dead man walking. Kick him out before he poisons the clubhouse any further. First Steve Kline, then Ryan Freel and now Mora. IT'S NOT ABOUT RESPECT! IT'S ABOUT RESULTS! Whatever happened to the Lenn Sakatas and Benny Ayalas of the world?

I sure Roberts would learn how to bunt!

Birdland Todd and slugger...
please ....what exactly has Mora done for the Orioles??
he accepted a way too generous contract?
(I did not want to sign him at the time)
he has called out other managers (perlozza) for not "telling" him he would be sitting one day...
he constantly demontrates poor baserunning.... he is an example of "me, me, me" not "team first"
please spare me the idea he has been a model oriole,
he should be released immediately for insubordination and that is that.
please spare me the idea that the O's and Baltimore owe him anything. Fans pay to watch him perform, not call out his manager while he is having a poor year.
he is overpaid, has been overrated, and now is showing his colors.
You know, it's not just PA that has been here for the past 9 years. There has also been someone in the heart of the lineup and his initials are MM
no, not the candy

Mora "humble and selfless"???

have you actually heard what he said????

Total 'MEMEMEMEMEMEME and by the way I AM AN ALL STAR!!!!!!!!!!!!!!


how humble!
how selfless!

Buck Martinez just had to say, soon after we jumped to a 5-0 lead, that "the Tigers can't score runs." Thank God for at 'em balls. Even the outs are scorched.

I had some negative responses for some of the Tillman bashers after his first, but I admit that it was without having watched the game. I definitely think calling someone a bust or overhyped after one start is rediculous and we as fans certainly need to be more patient.

Having said that though, young Mr. Tillman has not impressed me one bit, now that I've had the chance to watch him through the first 4 innings of tonight's game. He's all over the place except with his fastball which has been coming in right down the middle with no movement. He seemed very hesitant to throw his other pitches (especially in the first) and has had trouble commanding them since.

Hopefully it's an experience he will learn from. You have to believe at this point that all the scouts and baseball people around the country were right about his ability and potential. It's worrysome though to see him with this tenativness and such a lack of control.

Good thing we're not rushing the youngsters to MLB too quickly. Wieters, Berken, Tillman...yep, they're all ready for the Show.

Yeah Mora done. Blah, blah, blah.

Nice plays by Cabrera and Thames. Wieters is going to be nasty next year. He's holding out, trying to feel his way on. Not a bad job from Tillman considering the bats gave him a 5 spot.

Yeah, they need to send Tillman and Matusz back to Norfolk. A need for starting pitching does not make a pitcher developmentally ready for the bigs. If Hill and Berken could pitch and Koji and Bergie weren't injured, would they still be risking the psyche of their young arms?

Please Adam Jones, stop taking the first two pitches down the middle and then swinging at the next pitch down and away.
Please Nick, stop fouling off the first two pitches and then taking the third strike right down the middle.

The Melvin Mora nonsense doesn't warrant coverage. It's the least of the Orioles problems.

Lack of depth at the corner infield??? You can't have depth if you don't have anything resembling starters!!!

I've been to Detroit. Mora might not make it out.

Look on the bright side, if he stays there, he can buy a house for a large house there for $17,000.

Mora really put this club behind the 8-ball. On the one hand the team is short on corner infield depth. On the other, that's the only thing that's keeping him on the team right now. If Mora thinks he's been disrespected, he's already gotten half a season's worth of chances to turn it around. Trembley was not asking him to become an All-Star, just average. The power and onbase numbers support Trembley's decisions. He's been fair enough with Mora but, Mora is now falling victim to a personality trait that has served him well in the past. His refusal to accept organizational evaluations which dug in his stubbornness to prove them wrong has always helped him become an overacheiving MLB player that surprised a lot of "experts." Now it's that same thing that prevents him from seeing the end of the ride.

I think the example issue is a major one. On a team with so many young players, this is a teachable moment. No single player is above the team. I happen to think Boston's choice of cutting Manny was a moment like that as well. When a team can cut ties with a future Hall of Famer, it sends a clear message to every young player, "If they can cut him for being selfish, they can cut me. Who am I?" This whole episode has been born out of accountability. Mora's actions leave Trembley and MacPhail no choice but to search for some serviceable depth and cut Mora. Keeping a malcontent who shows up the manager, and the perception of being rewarded for it, is a choice in itself and can send an unintended message.

Bill Frederick - your Mora commentary was excellent

Basemonkey - your analysis of Mora's traits was great

Slugger - I have a question for you ? Where Trembley disrespect or done Mora wrong?

If the big guys are serious about building a decent team in the next couple of years, then third base is one place where they'll have to spend some money and get an established solid performer, or even a star. There's sure no immediate help at Norfolk. If there's no plan to get better soon--and the recent influx of low-level minor leaguers has me wondering--then we might as well keep Mora, and see if we can get Ponson and Cabrera back.

I like Mora and am very sad to see his frustration coming out in childish tirades against DT.
I had been hoping he'd be willing to ease his way out, accepting a one year deal for less money and playing time, but that's not an option anymore. Releasing him outright would probably be a mistake, but Wiggy needs to be on the field at 3b most of the way from here on, and if Melvin shoots off his mouth again he needs to be gone.
It's a shame for his tenure to end on such a sour note, but he has no one to blame but himself.

Release him.

He has no problem with Baltimore. He has an issue with the fact he has had 200 productive at bats the past 3 seasons. He thinks being an All Star years ago entitles him to Cal Ripken treatment.

He is not what you would call a Fan Favorite. Go to any O's games the last 5 years you might see one or two Mora shirts. Mostly ones given away at the ballpark. He is not Cal, Brady, Surhoff, Roberts or Markakis.

No one wants an everyday 3B slugging .330.

He told reporters he does not see himself coming back. Neither did anyone else. This is not new to him either. He has been a bad role model for the young guys. The 'Me First' attitude that ruined the clubhouse. He is the last of the breed.

O's already said good bye to Tejada, Bedard, Cabrera, Payton, Hernandez, Gibbons and a few others. Time to finish the job.

I know Mora is a good person at heart. But he is not in the O's plans. Let Wigginton play 3B the rest of the year. Let Andino back up at 3B. Or even Huff. Let Luke Scott get some work at 1B. Let the DH spot give some guys games off. Pie has hit well lately. DH Reimold, Jones, Pie, Wieters and Markakis in a rotation. Let them rest some they are part of the future of the team.

Wasting At Bats on Mora is pointless. It was pointless last year when Payton and Millar got at bats. Trembley got on my nerves over playing the Vets. How can Mora say the opposite is true?

And anyone whining about the young guys needs to buy a clue. Wieters has less then 200 ML at bats. He has a ton of pressure on him. I think his .304/ .333/ .435 vs right handers shows a lot of promise. I doubt he saw so many left handed starters in the minors the quality of the Major League ones.

Placido Polanco is 0-5 against Hendrickson with a bb thats it!!! Why oh why didn't Trembley leave him in? Doesn't this guy use stats to make his decisions at all? Davey Johnson had his numbers always ready which he learned from Weaver.

Pete's reply: You obviously haven't been paying attention. Every time somebody's 0-fer lifetime against an Orioles pitcher, Gary Thorne points it out right before the guy gets the game-winning hit.

You'd think at his age he'd be willing to do anything to stick with the club after retirement. Of course, he's a millionaire and assuredly looks at future employment differently then the average working schmo. I guess you can afford to be a "what's in it for me" guy when you've been accustomed to a lucrative contract and your name penciled into the daily lineup. Just show us some class Melvin, that's all we ask. Set an example for some of these young guys about what it means to be a big leaguer.

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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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