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September 29, 2009

Bull session

johnsonap.jpgIt seems like every Orioles loss brings a new appreciation for the size of the job facing Andy MacPhail during the offseason -- and there's obviously way more to it than finding an impact guy for the middle of the lineup and one of the corners of the infield.

No matter who's swinging the bat, there will be little hope for solid improvement if the Orioles go into spring training with the same group of relievers that has floundered so dramatically in the second half of this season.

When MacPhail talked about the club suffering a little more "short-term" pain after George Sherrill was dealt to the Dodgers, it seemed to make sense, Now, with Jim Johnson's status as a dependable closer very much in doubt, the makeup of the entire 2010 relief corps seems problematic. We all knew the club was going to miss Sherrill, but we -- and maybe even Andy -- didn't know how much.

Johnson (far right) and Chris Ray probably will compete for the closer role next spring, but their uneven second-half performances have created the need for an additional last-inning option. There were some brief moments when Kam Mickolio looked like he might have the right stuff for the role, but we're talking about an area where you need some sense of stability. Might have to go outside the organization for that.

Maybe Mark Hendrickson sticks around as an all-purpose left-hander and Cla Meredith stays in the mix, but the Orioles are going to have to bring in or develop one more dependable middle guy. I suppose that could be Jason Berken, but I'm not going to be too confident if the O's come back in the spring with most of the usual suspects.

So, I'll throw it out there. Who would shore up this bullpen? And who should be on the next bus out of town?

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 7:53 AM | | Comments (99)
Categories: Just baseball


Any chance we can get Sherrill back!? I think the O's cannot depend on anyone in the system now as a closer. In terms of who to drop from the line-up, I would say McCrory, Albers, Bass and Baez have earned their walking papers. Johnson will stabilize as an 8th-inning guy next year, not sure about Ray. THe others--Henn, Lambert, Waters, etc are still mysteries. A good closer is essential even in a rebuilding year to keep up confidence on the part of the starting pitchers--I hope MacPhail sees that.

Certainly the O's need more talent in the relief corps. But more than that, they need a winning mindset. Guthrie seems like and probably is a great guy. However, his quote after losing his last start, that he did not know the O's had lost seven in a row, blew my mind. Losing eats at hardcore competitors like a cancer, and they find a way to get it done. Denial, and platitudes about it's a long season, we just try to play hard everyday, etc., are just variations on a losing theme. Somebody has to change the mindset, and it has to start somewhere.

The bus going out of town should be full! Johnson has shown he is dependable when in the correct role, and being the closer is not it. Before Ray got hurt, he was dominate, but he even fell under the pressure during big games, so I dont think we can depend on him as closer either. No one else outside of Hendrickson and the two I mentioned should be around next year. Meredith has shown he has potential, so I would keep him in the picture. For the love of all that is holy, please don't put Berken in the pen...he couldn't get through 1-3 innings as a starter, when they put him in the pen for like a week, he was still terrible...please dont consider that an option...

There are plenty of options for the 2010 bullpen. Johnson, Ray, Mickolio, Albers, Uehara (should be considered for the closer's role), Berken, Hernandez, etc...

I'd like to see Koji be a middle guy or long man. He's was very effective for 4 or 5 innings this season, but the other teams always caught up with him by the 6th at the latest. The O's gave him a legitimate shot at being a starter and he wasn't up to the job, but as a long reliever I think he could be very useful.
I have no faith in Johnson or Ray as closers, I always thought Ray was overrated and Johnson has been proving regularly he can't do the job either. Berken is another solid option as a middle man, but I just don't see anyone in the org. right now to take that closer position.

With very few exceptions, closers are not long term propositions. A good example is Lidge in Philadelphia now. When you are losing 100 games and can't even wish for more than 82 wins next year, the closer is not the main question for the Orioles. Relievers and a bopper in the middle of the line up and a 3d and 1st basemen are 4 of many other holes to fill. I've been a fan since 1954 but not fielding a major league caliber team is getting old!

I say the only "arms" currently in the bullpen that should still be there in 2010 are Johnson (NOT as closer), Castillo, Mickolio and Hendrickson. The rest let go; and yes that includes Chris Ray. He's had plenty of time to recover from his surgery and for lack of a better word, he stinks. The only way I'd keep Baez is if he takes a huge salary cut. He was pretty decent early in the year but not worth $6 million per year. Albers also has stunk up the pen. I would also make Koji the closer. He's been lights out for the first three innings in every game he's pitched, plus he throws strikes. The rest, get rid of them; surely there has to be better out there in free agency or else down on the farm.


I think that Johnson is better suited for the set up role, and should be slotted there come next Spring. Mickolio may be the best option to develop into a closer that is currently on the roster. Chris ray should be traded or released, he really can't be counted on to close or set up, and is not an innings eater.

I agree that Hendrickson should return in long relief. As far as the remainder of the bullpen, I think it is worth bring back Baez to see if he is healthy enough to fill a long relief role. Hernandez may be better off working out of the bullpen in order to work on his command.

I don't see any benefit to bring back any of the other relievers. The void {which is more like a black hole} will have to be filled through trades and free agency.

What I would like to see from the organization is an honest appraisal from Macphail of where he thinks the team is in the rebuilding effort, and to assess what went wrong this year. Macphail himself indicated early on that he felt the talent level in the organization was deeper and that he would be disappointed if the team suffered another second half meltdown.

As I said yesterday, even if I were qualified, I would not want Andy Macphail's job at this point. The situation has has gotten progressively worse on his watch and sooner rather than later the "plan" is going to have to produce results.

I want to see Andy's plan to win in 2010.

Koji closes in 2010.

Albers should lose 20 pounds and see if that helps his command!

McPhail might want to consider trading Pie for some major-league ready bullpen help. Pie has opened some eyes around the bigs and might bring some decent return. Fiorentino looks like he'd be a decent fourth outfielder who wouldn't play much anyway with a healthy Reimold, Jones and Markakis.

Koji seems the current best choice as closer next year. Johnson, meridith, Mickolio, Ray, and hendrickson should be in the mix along with whatever else is obtainable either by trade or free agency. They all need to go to spring training to compete for a job. Give the one way out of town bus tickets to Albers, Sarfate, McCrory, and Baez. The others back to AAA or on the bus too.

I would like to see Koji close next year, and Johnson pitch as set-up man, with Mockolio if he starts the year well. Ray should be a low leverage pitcher, and perhaps Baez if he'll come back for cheap. Hendrickson in the pen.

I would like to see the Orioles attempt to convert the failed starting prospects into potential relief options. I see Hernandez fitting into that role nicely with his limited repertoire and his better stats 1st time through the order. I think the Orioles should either cut bait on Berken and Waters, or try to turn them into short men. Why not? We have a pretty good idea they can't start in the big leagues.

I am also intrigued by Jim Miller.

If Koji can't start, then we should think about signing someone from outside. But I think a higher priority is in acquiring a big bat and a solid SP. I certainly hope McPhail recants or was bluffing about his reluctance to trade any of our prospects: those guys are longshots, and at some point you need some proven talent. Hang on to Matusz and Weiters; everyone else should be on the table, including Tillman and Arrieta.

There have been so many disappointments this season with so many players performances and Johnson's has to be one of the biggest in my book. No matter what or who the Orioles try they don't win so what's the answer? It all starts with coaching and I am very umimpressed with the current group so lets start with a new group sorta like a fresh coat of paint brightens up the day. To be 40 games out of first place is so absurb that it isn't even funny. It stinks to be frank.

Koji for Closer!!!!

release Bass
release Ray
release Burken
release Albers
release McCrory
let's clear the deadweight and bring in some fresh arms. Johnson and Mickolio are the only ones deserving to stay. I like the idea of using Hernandez as a reliever.

Pete while you were riding camels, I made the following post and I am sticking with my story:
They will have to do something. The fact is you cannot continue down this path, the attendance is awful (except Redsox and Yankees games) and if you do not renew I would not blame you. They seem to be making moves that make no sense, however MacPhail says on every move, this creates short term pain. I disagree with him but he is the boss. Losing Sherrill is long term pain in baseball time. Really they are getting further away year by year it seems. The fact is they need the following and everyone sees it. They have to spend money.
One premier starter, to go along with Guthrie, Matusz, and Bergessen. four or five current pitchers that will compete for starting spots (Hernanded, Berken, Arrietta and Tillman) the ones that do not win should go to the bullpen. Really not interested in the Rich Hill experiment Part Deux, injuries, unable to throw strikes and will be 30 years old. Really still believe the Orioles should have stepped up and attempted to sign Pedro when they had a chance, now they will have a ton of average pitchers to choose from because Lackey will not sign here.

Three relievers that can get people out a new long term right hander (but could fill with one of the starters that do not make the rotation (would rather see some of those guys in long relief anyway, a lefty and a closer. I would imagine that the Orioles only have interest in keeping Johnson, Hendrickson, Mickolio and Ray. For some reason they still like Albers, Bass and I think they will part with Baez.
If they do not address these issues they will loose badly again. The second worst pitching staff in baseball is not going to get better without change. I would be thrilled to see them get Wagner, but that will not happen, I am sure he wants to go out a winner. So they have a challenge there, but who knows maybe the Orioles can guarantee Wanger the full time closers job and Wagner would care about that more. Valverde is a free agent also, he would be worth it. From the left side, there is Grabow, who could come cheap, along with Brandon Lyon.

.Personally I would like to see the Orioles make a pitch to Matt Holiday, I really find it humorous how you here how deep the outfield is in Baltimore, I think that they have two solid outfielders and two that have not proven enough. If they cannot then you do not have a lot to look at. First base is going to be interesting, Scott really has not looked to bad there. Who knows if he can ever be consistent.

The only third baseman that is a fee agent that really excites me is Figgins. The rest unless you trade someone do not interest me especially Glaus who I hear mentioned sometimes. If they do not sign Figgins they should just negotiate a deal with Mora, bat him 8th and look to replace him mid year at least his defense is solid.

Now is the time for Angelos and MacPhail to change directions for all the fans. The attendance in 1997 was 3.7 million and it has been a steady slide. This year will be the lowest since 1988, at old Memorial Stadium. Radio ratings are up a little that just means that people are listening to something on their way home from work or whatever,and they are not heading to the ball park. Now the real judge is the TV ratings which have slipped a lot. So people (even before the Ravens and NFL started the new season) are losing interest in a game that was once relished in Baltimore. If you bring back the same cast of characters you will lose another 200 thousand fans, and Angelos will lose TV ratings so he gets hit twice, and in tough economic times he will loose corporate sponsors. so the fact is investing in ball players that have talent now will be well worth it. There was a game with a rain delay last week and there was less than 100 fans left at the end, that is no exaggeration, when Weiters hit the game winning home run there was only one other person in the outfield stands to contend with to retrieve the ball. If this was between 1992 and 1997 there would still be 25-30 thousand there. I do not blame the fans at all.

You look at our area, really it is a good baseball state. Good leagues for top players like Baltimore Metro and BPA, and good high school programs.
This effects everyone, what are the kids doing if they are not watching or playing baseball? They are switching to spring soccer or Lacrosse. If this is not turned around everyone looses.

Dave Trembley is not to blame, really I do not know how he won 60 games to this point, but if the Orioles can lure a really good manager in that has good relationships with some winning ballplayers, bring him in and see if we can raid someone else. Fact is MacPhail has been raiding the Cubs but not for impact players, the guys we got were not in their plan.

What a mess!

Your thoughts?

The bullpen is in need of some serious help. McCrory is a AAAA pitcher, Bass can't throw enough strikes, Clay can't pitch in the AL, and I don't know what's up with the overall health situation of Sarfate and Albers.

It looks like the bullpen base is Johnson, Koji and Mickolio and then possibly someone like Hendrickson in a middle relief role.

The closer is going to have to come from outside the organization. Octavio Dotel would definitely be an interesting possibilty as far as a "resonable" price tag. Kevin Gregg or Saito could be a worthy gamble if one of them came cheaply enough. An eye should be kept on the health of J.J. Putz.

For bullpen help, I've got the key-----> as in "KeyKO"!
But seriously, Kiko Calero is a guy the O's really really should go after. A 1.89 era, 67k's in 57 IP, the NL only hit .183 against him and he has already had success in the AL (A's). The O's really need bullpen help and this guy is solid!

Brendan Donnelly could be decent addition. And in decent, I mean a nice upgrade from Bass. David Weathers could help.

If we could add to that Dotel and Kiko the bullpen would be "reasonably upgraded".

Personally, I am looking forward to 13 in a row this time next year, what about you?

Brian Bass and Bill McCrory should be banned from baseball. Right up there with the Black Sox, Steroids, Pete Rose, and Cory Doyne.


I've always wanted Johnson to be tried out as a starter (before his struggles this year). Stretch him out in the spring and if he doesn't make it we have plenty of room for long relief on this squad. To me he was too valuable this spring to be an 8th inning guy. Teams that lose 98-100 games shouldn't and don't have that luxury. Maybe next year we can try him as a starter.
Bullpen for next year should consist of Hendrickson, Meredith, Uehara, Bass, and maybe Hernandez. If we don't burn them out by June maybe they won't suck so much down the stretch. I'm at a loss for a closer but w/Hendrickson, Bass, Hernandez as the long men I think they can eat some innings.

The following relievers should not be back: Baez, Bass, Ray, Sarfate, and McCrory. I do not understand why the O's did not bring up reliever Jim Miller from Norfolk at the end of the season. He had a super year there, with a 2.69 ERA in 54 games, including 17 saves. He did far better there in my opinion than any of the relievers they brought up, and he is on the 40 man roster! A mystery to me!

Big Al,

That is not a bad idea, Johnson when hurt tthree years ago, had hoped to turn back into a starter. Hey every MLB pitcher was a starter at one point in their life's. Funny how it works out. Some of the ones that go to the pen, is because they do not have enough pitches, some because of stamina and most because they are not as good as the front five in the rotation. I do not think that Johnson has any of those problems.

If you told me at the beginning of the year that Hendrickson would be one of our best pitchers and would be part of the mix in '10, I would have laughed. Such is the sad state of the O's pen. The only good thing is come of the annual meltdown is that we know who NOT to bring back. Time to cut ties with the likes of Baez,Henn,Albers, Sarfate, McCrory, Meredith. Ray should be given a 'pass' only because he's been injured and has had success in the past. I know you can't force him but maybe he should pitch in winter ball.
Johnson also gets a pass because he may have some use as a set-up man and we can't torch the whole pen..Micklio/Koji have some upside and Castillo gets another look because he's a lefty and hasn't been quite as bad as the others.
In a nutshell, the 'pen basically needs another overall and who is anyone's guess. I suppose that's why MacPhail is being paid the big bucks but evne he must be scratching his head right now. I guess the Houston trade is pretty much a wash right now-Scott for Tejada as Albers & Sarfate are duds, Patton is injured and where is George Costanza?
Let's review our needs over the winter-2 starters, 3-4 relievers, 1b/3b, maybe a Dh and a bench player or 2..
Our strengths are our young OF,2B C and some of our starters.
When you look at the whole picture, it's going to be awhile before we are close to competing. Does MacPhail face reality and admit this to the fans or does he bury his head in the sand? I'm guesing he makes poor Trembley the sacrificial lamb, signs a few more Wiggy-types and/or ex-Cubs and says things are on track!

Not one of our current bull pen staff can be considered reliable ( Koji is hurt- who knows what he'll be like next year). I think we are in real trouble here and the front office has underestimated the depth of the problem. How many high scoring games have we lost because of these jokers? A banger and one or two new corner players won't mean anything unless we can stop the 7, 8 and 9 inning bleeding.

Bus out of town? Unless the owner is on the bus it doesn't make any difference. To compete the team must acquire 2 starters,a middle relief guy, a closer, and 2 big bats. These guys cannont be the "has beens" or "never will bes" that the management spins as being great baseball players. The only way to get them is to buy them.

The most creative thing the Oriole management has done the past 11 years was come up with the annual excuse for another dismal season. Having run out of excuses, this year they created one by taking the semi-competent players off the rooster so they can say we lost because wedidn't have ______ for the final push.

I like Mark Hendrickson in the bullpen.
I also like Alberto Castillo.
So there are two lefties.
If Sherrill is a FA then sign him as closer and that makes three. I think he'd like to return to Baltimore.
If not, then make Guthrie the closer. Either way, Jeremy should be in the 'pen... but I think he'd make a great closer.

I'd like to see David Hernandez used as a reliever.
Also Uehara. Micholio has great potential as well.
Meredith rounds it out.
I'd give Sarfate one more chance this spring.

I'd like to see a starting rotation of Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman, Patton, and Arrieta.

Wave bye-bye to Bass, Ray, Waters, Johnson, Henn, Lambert, Baez, Albers, Berken, Hill, Liz, and McCrory.
None are better than AAA caliber pitchers.

Sorry, this is exactly the collapse I was expecting before the season started because (a) the Orioles started with 37 "pitchers" and hoped the shear numbers would produce something, and (b) teams like the recent versions of the Orioles don't handle September well.

It is funny how the 6-2 start (the pitching was crap even for those eight games) is the only element preventing my prediction for 58 wins in '09 from being correct.

As for "b" (above), look how Tampa Bay collapsed when they traded Scott Kazmir. The funny thing given their situation is they might have done the right thing for the long term. Still, the morale of the players still onboard for '09 can't help but think about '09 in '09. Hence, they, too, collapsed.

As for the O's, I don't have the answers because it is going to take an overwhelming process that won't reach fruition in one offseason. That process will be a dynamic one, not a ststic one. No one knows what may develop 12, 24, 36 months down the road.

However, one can prepare.

Give MacPhail credit for one stepping stone. The minor leagues have improved. There is still room for improvement but lower levels don't have just numbers.

The Orioles need to take significant steps in filling needs their needs. It is no secret what those needs are. A bonafide stud starter. A bonafide stud closer. A reliever with bonafide credentials. Power at the corners.

If a free agent or two fits those needs, then let the bidding begin. And, yes, you might have to overbid at this stage. Years of frugality and futility has its price.

If the right player is available in a trade, there are no untouchable players wearing the black and orange. None.

There are 15-20 players on the current roster who I like. Some, I like a lot. Some, I would like (all things being equal) to remain as Orioles.

Nevertheless, it is going to take imagination to create a genuinely improved roster that can some day with more successful offseason (and inseason) transactions be a winning team. That may mean a multi-player trade. Or, it might mean a multi-team trade.

The Orioles need to target players on the cusp of the major leagues as they did with Adam Jones.

Since doing all that will be necessary is unlikely to happen in a four-month span, the next type of player the Orioles should target is the veteran player who had brilliant success as a major leaguer. I have heard the arguments that (a) you don't want to spend that kind of money on a player who is past his prime for a team that isn't going to win short term anyway, and (b) won't be around when the team is successful.


They are needed for two reasons. First, they will show the young players how to go about their business to be successful in ways coaches can't. Second, they will act as place-holders for when the farm system produces the replacement or until one is acquired.

Even though Mike Mussina was the stud, Rick Sutcliffe provided a stabilizing force in 1992-93 that led to Fernando Valenzuela, Jamie Moyer, Scott Erickson, Kevin Brown, David Wells and Jimmy Key.

One name I didn't include was Sid Fernandez. Laugh if you want, but El Sid had two complete games in the strike-shortened 1994 season for the Birds. That is exactly what the entire Oriole pitching staff has this year.

As for Dave Trembley, I couldn't care less. I have been thoroughly unimpressed with him but any manager of stature is going to need players and upper management with vision and ability. I'd go after Buck Showalter if a change is needed, but any managerial change should be considered supplementary to the genuine needs at hand.

I think the team looks mostly the same as it did this year, just more experienced. They need to go out and overspend on a free agent closer

1. Guthrie
2. Bergenson
3. Tillman
4. Matusz

LR: Berken
LR: Hendrickson
LR: Koji
ST: Ray
ST: Mickolio
ST: Hernandez
ST: Johnson

Thats 13 pitchers. Someone will probably be hurt or flame out.

Remove Hendrickson for Albers last night: 3 runs.

Remove Meredith for Sean Henn Saturday night: 3 runs.

Koji for closer, Johnson for set up, Hendrickson for long relief and the rest on the bus out of town.

2 words for next year's closer - Armando Benitez!! lol

It amazes me how people, including you Pete, keep paraphrasing MacPhail:

We all knew it will get worse before it gets better.
We all knew this was going to be a losing season.
We all knew the O's were going to lose 100 games this year.

Does Mac-Nostradamus know when we will win? It appears that he has the foresight on losing down pretty good.

One thing is for sure, the O's are still a profitable franchise despite the losses. I don't know how Angelos does that, but kudos to him.

Henn and McRory need to be kicked off the forty-man roster. There's no reason to try to resign Baez.

Bass, Sarfate, Lambert and Waters need to be sent down to the majors. If they're taken by another team, then whatever.

Castillo is good against lefties to be able to stay in the majors, but I'd keep either him or Hendrickson.

Meredith, Albers and Ray are all guys I wouldn't mind having back. I'd try to give Albers and Ray one more chance to be successful. Albers had a few good months this year and Ray is coming back from an injury.

I'd like to see Uehara, Johnson and Mickolio become the heart of this bullpen.

I think if the bullpen was healthy, it would be much better. Considering the bullpen is missing three of its top four relievers, it simply can't be expected to do too well.

Still, a closer is necessary. I like Billy Wagner. Otherwise, they'll go for a cheap second rate closer.

Will go back to Sun archives and check out 2nd/3rd Team All-Met HS pitchers and get back to you if any are interested in wearing orange and black or if they'd would rather chase girls in OC next summer.

Being without Sherrill shouldn't have been a surprise since he really was a non-factor in the second half of 2008 (14 games, 3 saves, 6.60 era).

The problems are so much deeper. Needing to start with a fresh manager. I know people will complain there is no talent, DT is a nice guy,etc. but his handling of the game and managing of personnel is severely lacking.

Certain people have a way of immediately garnering respect and improvement, even if it isn't immediate 90+ wins. They can be hard to find but are worth the effort. Guys in sports like Parcells, LaRusa, Leyland, Torre, etc. They need to find a respected baseball guy (with experience managing at some level) to help move them forward. This yearly collapse has to end, not to mention the non-stop lack of fundamentals.

Wow, a lot of consensus here. Ron made a great point that Jim Miller should be in the O's bullpen next year. So should Castillo. Hendrickson and Johnson should be there. That's 2 righties & 2 lefties. Mickolio has awesome stuff, but needs to get better command. Perhaps he makes the bullpen, but he could benefit from more time at AAA. Send him to Norfolk and put Koji in the bullpen. Baez should get one more chance, at least until Mickolio is ready. Give Meredith another year. At least his delivery gives hitters something different to see. I'd put Hernandez in the bullpen too. He has an excellent fastball, and a good curveball that does him no good because he can't throw it for strikes. He can't be a starter on just one pitch he can command, but he could be a good reliever until he learns to command his other pitches. That's seven for the 'pen.

I think a number of O's pitchers have proved that they don't belong in the major leagues. That includes Bass, Albers, Berken and Ray.


Bullpen: Righties: Miller, Koji, Meredith, Hernandez, and Baez or Mickolio. Lefties: Hendrickson and Castillo.

Starters: Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman, Guthrie, and whoever proves himself in Spring Training - maybe Arrieta, maybe Patton, maybe a free agent, maybe a surprise.

I'd sure like to see these kids (and Guthrie) learn from Matusz and Bergesen that's it not VELOCITY that matters; it's 3 OTHER things: movement, changing speeds, and location. In other words, except for Bergy and Matusz, they need to learn to PITCH, not just THROW.

With the exception of a new solid starter and maybe a new solid reliever and a right-handed power-hitting corner infielder, the O's have the pieces in place and just need to gel by getting some time playing together at the major league level. And the right-handed power-hitting corner infield positions may get filled from within by Josh Bell and Brandon Waring.

Can you imagine a lineup of Bell, Izturis, Roberts and Waring in the infield, Reimold, Jones & Markakis in the outfield, Wieters catching and Luke Scott at DH? In a couple of years these guys could be the Big Red Machine reborn in black and orange!

The O's aren't that far away from being a contender, even in the AL East. Just a couple of years of experience, a new starting pitcher or two, and a reliever or two.

I have a dream!!!!

Okay its been talked about all day but ill bring it back up. Why did Trembley take out Hendrickson after 85 pitches and use the worst pen guy possible for the situation? Trembley is living in his own fantasy world and needs to be gone. Fact is this idiot should have been gone months ago. Dave Jauss deserved a shot before the offseason to prove himself before the wrecking crew comes in and fires everyone.

Love all the talk about needing relievers. Guess everyone is ready to go next year without a single proven major league starter. O's keep doing that and it keeps turning out the same.

Why dont the Orioles take the yankee approach? The Orioles have ALOT of starting pitching depth in the minors, well why not ease Arrieta, Britton and Erbe into a starting role. I say when these three are ready for Baltimore, start them in the pen ( Which will strengthen are pen) I mean seriously, i bet they would do way better then the guys in our pen now and at the same time they gain confidence. By throwing an inning here, an inning there, these guys will gain the confidence that they can have succcess at the big league level and once they are throw into a starting role they wont feel overwhelmed. Could you imagine Arrieta in the pen throwing 95-98, Erbe setting up Johnson/Ray, Britton throwing low to mid 90's sinkers out of the pen...... Geez. Go luck Al East.

I was 27 when the Orioles won their last World Series. On my next birthday I will be 54. That's half a lifetime. The question is, will they win another one in my lifetime? I hope so, but I'm beginning to wonder.

Why dont the Orioles take the yankee approach? The Orioles have ALOT of starting pitching depth in the minors, well why not ease Arrieta, Britton and Erbe into a starting role. I say when these three are ready for Baltimore, start them in the pen ( Which will strengthen are pen) I mean seriously, i bet they would do way better then the guys in our pen now and at the same time they gain confidence. By throwing an inning here, an inning there, these guys will gain the confidence that they can have succcess at the big league level and once they are thrown into a starting role they wont feel overwhelmed. Could you imagine Arrieta in the pen throwing 95-98, Erbe setting up Johnson/Ray, Britton throwing low to mid 90's sinkers out of the pen...... Geez. Good luck Al East.

WE ARE SCREWED NOW!!! Bob McCrory is out! Wait is that a good or bad thing??

Angelos, either sell the team and/or fire Tremblay and all his phoney baloney coaches and bring in a REAL baseball manager like Bobby Cox and bring back a REAL baseball Pitching Coach like Leo Mazzoni. Otherwise, I will boycott the Orioles in 2010. Since you took over the team in 1993, except the playoffs of 1996 and 97, this team has become the laughing stock of the AL East and Major League Baseball. Enough is enough.

I love the Orioles.

The only problem is they play in the MLB, which is fubar. But I'll follow them till the day I die.

I love the Ravens.

They play in the NFL, which is a stellar business organization and knows how to create a great product. And I'll follow them until the day I die.

McPhail created this monster, not Trembley. Showalter is not coming to the Charm City so stop whining. If he leaves the booth at all, he'll be heading back to Texas...Houston style. Valentine has made it known he wants back...and the Nats have made it known they want him. So if the O's let Dave go, who do we get...Willie Randolph??? Please excuse me while I lose it. I have never seen a bullpen so pathetic in my life. Why is Albers even on the 40 man roster...he couldn't make the UNC roster. Tell him to get the surgery or hang it up. Johnson as a way in hell. Closers are technically supposed to save games not blow them. Chris Ray? No life on the once promising fast ball...mop up at best with a real team. Sarfate, Bass, McCrory...gone. Kogi...long relief, Hendrickson, lefty/lefty matchups, spot starter & long relief. This is not Trembley's fault...this Oriole pitching staff is the worst since the 62' Mets. When you look up the definition of "Bullshi t", there is a picture of each & every Oriole reliever. Bottom Tillman, Albers, Sarfate, & Luke Scott for Cecil. Sign Billy Wagner as our closer. Opening day rotation in no particular order: Guthrie, Matusz, Bergenson, Berken, Hernandez. Relievers: Koji, Hendrickson, Ray, Johnson, Meredith, Mickolio & a Free Agent signing of a real reliever with a resume. Just remember who's giving away players & getting nothing back. Last year This year, Georgie...a AA pitcher & the Cookie Monster & Huff...a kid that can't throw strikes. Kind of sounds like a perfect fit for the bullpen assembled by Mr. Cub.

Forgot about Meredith... Thi Hendrickson is the odd man out if Berken makes it as a long man and Hernadez goes to the pen (as he should).

1. Guthrie
2. Bergenson
3. Tillman
4. Matusz

LR: Berken
LR: Koji
ST: Ray
ST: Mickolio
ST: Hernandez
ST: Meredith
ST: Johnson

I'm not sure any of the guys in the BP are worth keeping, but a whole bunch of them obviously need to go: Ray, Sarfate, Albers, Bass, Baez, Meredith, Henn, McCrory.

Castillo, Johnson, Mickolio and Hendrickson have earned consideration for next year, and the team should see how they perform in spring training.

Shamrock -

Seriously? You want this team to sign a free agent closer? Are you into wasting money?

Take a look at the 2009 relievers who signed deals as closers prior to the season (and please don't point out saves as a meaningful statistic):

Kerry Wood: 2 years, $20.5M, vesting option for 2011
2009: 4.33 ERA

Brian Fuentes: 2 years, $17.5M
2009: 4.13 ERA, 1.43 WHIP, 1.91 K/BB

Francisco Rodriguez (aka The Artist Formerly Known As K-Rod): 3 years, $37M
2009: Continuing trend of slip in every meaningful category. Career WORSTS in: ERA, BB (needs one more), K (unless he K's 6 more), BB/9, K/9, K/BB. Not a good sign for a 27yo with a violent delivery.

So you really want to spend $9-12M on a closer? Because those are the kind of delas that Rafael Soriano and Jose Valverde are going to be looking for. Maybe Billy Wagner would sign on the cheap, and I'd certainly be excited about that. But when it comes down to it, it really makes no sense to commit big money to a closer.

Here's who should definitely be kept from this season: Mark Hendrickson, Jim Johnson, Cla Meredith

Here's who should get a look in Spring Training: Koji, Alberto Castillo, Kam Mickolio, Chris Ray, Chad Thall, Ryan Oullette, Josh Perrault, Luis Lebron, Wilfredo Perez

And here are some free agent relievers that the O's should look into:

- Wagner

- Chad Cordero - Only 28 years old. Sign him to an incentive based deal and, If healthy, he could be a huge addition

- J.J. Putz - See what the Mets do with his option. Consider an incentive based deal on him as well.

- Joe Beimel - Lefty with a pulse. Could be had for a million or so.

- John Grabow - Lefty with a pulse and good numbers. Don't spend too much though.

- Juan Rincon - A couple of very good years with the Twins before he started bouncing around. Maybe invite him to camp and see how he looks.

dave taylor. I feel your pain. I just turned 55 this week and at this rate, I might be 60 before we even compete! I really thought we were headed in the right direction but now I'm not so sure.
Just when we fill some holes, more pop up. For example, we finally seem to have found a solid catcher and a couple of steady OF and now we have no one capable to playing 1b or 3B at even average levels and no one to pound out 30 Hrs.
I've already went on my rant about the state of the 'pen but forgot to add Bass to the 'see you in another life' crew.
It's funny reading these posts that most of us agree who should be gone from the inferno known as the O's pen-Is MacPhail tuned in? Stay tuned!!!

In semi-response to Terry's post, I have question to those of you who "thought we were headed in the right direction, but now aren't so sure":

What changed your mind?

Did the prospects disappoint you?

Did you really expect Matt Wieters to establish himself as the next Johnny Bench in his first season in the bigs and only his second season as a pro? Have you given up on him because he didn't hit 30 homers? (Note: Since August 15th, Wieters is hitting .322 with an .856 OPS. And the month of September? .360 with a .952 OPS.)

Did you even think Nolan Reimold would play for the O's this year? (Note: When Reimold's season ended, he was hitting .279 with an .381 OPS and 15 homers in 104 games. And that was with a bad Achilles.)

What were you expecting from Chris Tillman? Cy Young results immediately? Sure he's been knocking around, but I was feeling pretty good about that stretch from early August up until his start against Tampa when he put up a 3.99 ERA over eight starts. Unfortunately, the O's couldn't shut Tillman down after that last gem (6.2 IP, 1 ER) because they don't have anyone else who can start.

How about Matusz? I know for a fact that nobody expected him to pitch in the bigs this year. And he put up a 4.63 ERA against big league talent in his FIRST YEAR OF PROFESSIONAL BASEBALL (sorry for the caps, but I really wanted to drive that one home). And his last five starts? A 3.73 ERA. And that run was capped off by a great start against the Yankees in New York. Not bad at all.

Who else was there to be excited about?

Markakis? He didn't progress as we all expected this year. I know I was expecting something like a .300/25/100 line with an OPS close to .900. But let's not give up on Nick yet. He's proven that he's got the skills to put up those kind of numbers and he's still only 25. Maybe the guy just had a down year.

Roberts? He seemed a bit sulky in the middle of the season, but I'm not going to complain about Gold Glove quality defense to go along with a .280/.358/.460 line, 55 doubles and 29 stolen bases.

Jones? He tanked after a huge start, but he's still only 23. He'll make adjustments and he'll come back next year as a better, more consistent player.

Guthrie? Yup. He bombed. But let's see how he does next year without the WBC.

As far as I can tell, those guys were the only ones that we had any reason to be excited about. So what happened? Why aren't you excited anymore? Were the prospects not good enough for you? Did Markakis' down year really affect you that much? I'd really like to know.

I really don't think we know what the quality of the current bullpen is because it has been so mismanaged this year. There may be some quality there but the way players have been used is far from the way to show their best stuff.

My observation is that most successful managers generally put a reliever in the game and leave them in until a fixed number of base runners get on (hits, walks, etc.). Of course there are exceptions but by and large, if the pitcher is getting them out, they stay in the game. Conversely, if they start to load 'em up, out they come. DT does just the opposite. He leaves them in regardless of how many runners reach base. He seems to want to take them out after they get so many outs (1, 2 or 3, depending on the pitcher). I can't remember how many time Castillo came in and got the first runner out, then gets pulled. The next pitcher allows hit, hit, walk, home run, but stays in the game. Go figure!

I forget which GM said it but one of the better ones said that middle relievers are a crap shoot. One year they are good, the next they are not. Don't overpay; you are wasting your money. It was a story that ran a few years ago after the O's shelled out the big money for Baez, Walker, Bradford and some other guy named Joe. Looks like the GM was right.

I keep seeing posts saying we need to sign Free Agents to fill the wholes...has anyone looked at the FA list for the upcoming off-season? It's awful! MAYBE, there is one or two relief pitchers that you might consider, but nothing at 1b/3b and no real big bat.

We are going to either have to bring up some additional youth and hope it pans out, or make a trade that has us giving up a player or two we do not want to lose.

We can revamp our BP with some of the players we have now.

Starting rotation:
Hernandez/Berken or Trade

Uehara (Closer)

I keep Ray and put him back in the minors. Sarfate, Bass, Baez, Henn are gone. The rest are either in AAA or gone. Rich Hill gets one last chance in ST to prove he can pitch (and must pitch lights-out) otherwise you let him go.

I suspect Hernandez, Berken, and Guthrie are going to be in trade talks if we are trying to find another pitcher or bat. I also believe this means Britton, Erbe, and Arrieta are possibilities to be traded.

I see out outfield as Jones, Markakis, Reimold, and would like to see Pie, but I suspect Pie could get packaged in a trade. Would not mind seeing Pie and Reimold split time in the OF and DH.

Scott needs to be traded to find a better fit in our line up. Wiggy stays because of contract and flexibility in his position play. Can't understand what happened to his power this year, but I really thought he would have 20-25 HRs even in his limited play. I see him holding down 3B until Bell is ready (hopefully by mid-season).

Roberts a set at 2B and Wieters at catcher. Moeller should re-sign as backup until Caleb can come up.

1st base is still a mystery...Aubrey plays well and hits for average, but we need more. Hughes? Snyder? Probably not long term. This is where we need to make a painful trade and get somebody. Would love to see Fielder if we could wrap him up with a contract extension. I know a lot of people like Gonzalez from SD, but I am not sold on this guy. Dreaming, but a left-hander capable of hitting 35-40 home runs coming to Camden Yards...yeah that would be nice.

Keeps Izturis at SS, but we need to find a new SS for 2011. Turner on the bench along with Lou.

That leaves Andino out of the mix.

Not going to with the East with that team, but it SHOULD be enough talent with the right Manager to win 82-86 games. This assumes that we do not overwork the pen in the 1st three months. Our starters need to be going at least 6 innings, and would like to see them stretched out to 7 or more in many cases.

This does not give us a lot of changes over the roster now, but as I started with -- the FA is not the place to look for talent this year. And how many of the 'baby birds' is anyone willing to trade?

David -

I'm pretty sure it was Billy Beane who made the comment about about middle relievers being a crapshoot. In fact, I think he actually said all relievers are a crapshoot.

If it wasn't Beane, it should have been. The A's are first in the AL this year in Bullpen ERA.

Their top four guys in innings are Andrew Bailey, Michael Wuertz, Brad Ziegler and Craig Breslow. Some combined numbers on those four:

ERA: 2.57
K: 282
BB: 92
Salary: $2.3M

And it's not like this year is an anomaly. The A's do this every year.

Hi b,

Excellent points all.

Now let me add to that:

Who of us expected the team to be this bad this year? I admit I knew we were not going to be good but I never dreamed we could lose 100.

Did Andy Macphail expect to lose 100 games this year? How about Peter Angelos?

Did we get equal value and top level prospects for all of the veterens Macphail has unloaded?

Do you think that Macphail will patiently continue to work the plan by planning to lose while attempting to rebuild for two more years? Three more? Four more? Five?

Does Andy Macphail have anything up his sleeve, or is that all there is?

Will the Orioles surprise us in the offseason and aggresively attempt to improve the product on the field through trades and free agency?

Being honest and a knowledgeable fan, in what year in the future do you think the Orioles may finally post a winning record?

I went to the game last night and it must be so disheartening for the guys who are putting out great effort until the end. Roberts is one of them.

Whoever makes the team in the BP next year MUST earn it. No past performance. Here's my picks:
Koji (7th inning)
Johnson (8th inning)
Baez (Closer) I know, I'm the only one. This man has been a successflu closer and has the right attitude.
Hendrickson LP
Waters LP
Mickolio (7th inning w/Koji)

I have seen enough of Albers for now. The good news is they have a lot of arms for the pen, since there is always a need as the season weras on.

One last voice of heresy. I would try to sign Mora for one year. He is still one of the best gloves at 3B and after checking out the production of most of the 3B guys around the league, Mora is in the upper half. I think he could give one more good year before Bell is brought up.


Bobby V would be great manager for the O's, but ....

Bobby Valentine, fresh off his six-year stint as manager of the Chiba Lotte Marines in Japan, is returning to ESPN as an analyst on "Baseball Tonight."

Valentine, who led the New York Mets to the World Series in 2000 and the Marines to the Japan Series title in 2005, will make his first on-air appearances during the two League Championship Series and the World Series.

Valentine, who previously worked for ESPN in 2003, will take on expanded duties in 2010. He will appear on "Baseball Tonight" and 1050 ESPN Radio in New York, and contribute to, the local ESPN sports site that launches next year.

Uehara - closer
Johnson - 8th
Mickolio - 7th
Grabow - lefty specialist or 1 inning guy
Meredith - 1 inning guy or ground ball specialist
Hendrickson - long relief or lefty specialist
Hernandez - long relief

For next year's manager, we need two things: Someone with solid major league managing/coaching experience who has experienced winning and knows how to instill a winning attitude on a team. Second, someone who understands pitching better than we have seen lately. Three ideas that appeal to me are all former catchers--Kevin Kennedy, Dave Duncan, and Buck Martinez. I feel that any of the three of them would be a good fit for our young pitching staff. Look at the other former catchers who are successful managers now, like Girardi and the Angels manager.

This is going to be a long one...

Gil -

"Who of us expected the team to be this bad this year?"

I expected from the start that this was going to be the worst season of the past dozen. Do you know why? Remember the starting rotation on Opening Day?

1. A worn out defacto ace (Guthrie),
2. A Japanese reliever (Uehara)
3. A 6'9" lefty with a 80mph fastball (Hendrickson)
4. A journeyman from a Mexican league (Simon)
5. Adam Freaking Eaton

That rotation equals 100 losses. Sub in Bergesen for Uehara for a few months than bring up a trio of rooks after Hendrickson, Simon and Eaton failed and that still equals 100 losses.

Pitching wins games. The Orioles haven't had successful pitching this season. That's all there is to it.

"Did Andy Macphail expect to lose 100 games this year? How about Peter Angelos?"

I have no idea if Peter and Andy expected to lose 100 this year. If they were being realistic, I think they had to have seen it as a possibility.

"Did we get equal value and top level prospects for all of the veterens Macphail has unloaded?"

Andy got value and then some for Bedard. That was already one of the best trades in team history, if not baseball history.

The Miggy trade wasn't as good, but Patton's still in the pipeline and just getting rid of Tejada without having to pay any of his contract was a good thing. Especially since the trade happened like the day before MIggy's steroid history came out.

We're still waiting on the Sherrill trade, but I'm still pretty excited about getting a corner infielder with pop (Josh Bell has an .843 OPS in the minors, and he put up a .933 mark in 30+ games in Bowie) and a 21yo local power pitcher for a 32yo reliever.

And I love the Ramon Hernandez trade. Ramon's putting up backup catcher numbers in Cincy (when he's healthy) and we've got a usable infield piece in Justin Turner and another power corner infield bat in Brandon Waring.

I'm also much happier with Felix Pie in the outfield mix than I was with Garrett Olsen in the pitching mix.

"Do you think that Macphail will patiently continue to work the plan by planning to lose while attempting to rebuild for two more years?"

I'm tired of the whole "MacPhail is planning to lose, philosophy of losing, etc" schtick. No team plans to lose. Furthermore, no team plans to lose 100 games. Do you think Andy brought in Koji, Hendrickson, Wigginton, etc thinking "Hey, I'm planning to lose this year, so why not?" No. He brought those guys in thinking they could help. Koji looked to be a big help after his first couple of starts, but then he got hurt. Hendrickson was nothing in the rotation, but he's been a solid bullpen piece. Wigginton was brought in to be a utility guy with 20 homer pop, as he had been for the past three seasons. Who knew he would only hit 10?

So, in short, I don't think Andy's going to go into 2010, or any other season for that matter, "planning to lose". There's a big difference between "planning to lose" and rebuilding I think he's going to do the best he can with the resources he's given. And that's about a billion times better than any of the previous regimes from the past 12 years.

"Does Andy Macphail have anything up his sleeve, or is that all there is?"

I guess you're asking if MacPhail has any other ideas other than "planning to lose". We should be clear on my opinion on this based on my last response.

"Will the Orioles surprise us in the offseason and aggresively attempt to improve the product on the field through trades and free agency?"

I think they aggressively attempeed to improve the product on the field through trades and free agency last off season. Regardless of weather or not players/agents were just using the Orioles to bump up offers from other teams, MacPhail aggressively pursued A.J. Burnett and Mark Teixeira last season. When all was said and done, it was clear that Andy and Angelos didn't want to spend more than what the Yankees offered to bring one or both of those guys to Baltimore. And I'm glad they didn't. Beating out the Yankees for either of those guys would have crippled this team for YEARS.

That said, I do think MacPhail will be aggressive in the market this year. Unfortunately, the market is pretty ugly.

The only decent options at first base are Nick Johnson and Adam LaRoche, and both of those guys come with huge negatives. Johnson can't stay healthy and LaRoche can't hit in the first half.

Shortstop is pretty weak too, though I wouldn't be opposed to signing Bobby Crosby or Khalil Greene to a cheap one year deal to see if they can rediscover their stroke.

For third base, I do think the the O's will go hard after Chone Figgins and if he signs elsewere, Adrian Beltre. I wouldn't be surprised if one of those two was starting at third base for the O's in 2010.

On the pitching front, the only guy I'd like to see in orange and black long term is John Lackey. I think MacPhail will inquire on Lackey, but if the price is equal to Burnett's, there's no chance. Other guys that MacPhail will/should look into on short term deals: Rich Harden, Aroldis Chapman, Andy Pettitte, Ben Sheets.

Trades MacPhail will/should look into: Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, J.J. Hardy, Dan Uggla, Jorge Cantu, Nick Swisher (he hasn't been mentioned as a trade candidate, but he's an excellent defense first baseman).

"Being honest and a knowledgeable fan, in what year in the future do you think the Orioles may finally post a winning record?"

If a rotation consisting of Guthrie, Bergesen, Matusz, Tillman and (insert Free Agent Acquisition or rookie here) can be successful, I think the Orioles can win 85+ games in 2010.

Again, sorry for the book. Hope it doesn't bore anyone.




How about looking into trading for David Wright to play 3B for the Orioles next season?

b ..I don't have any concerns with any of the players you noted ie Roberts, Weiters, Markakis, Jones, Reimold, the young starters...if we had 6-7 more guys like them, we would probably already be close to contention. I can live with Guthrie because like you, I think he'll bounce back and even this year, he's probably a 13-15 game winner on a better team or even one with a half-decent 'pen.
I've been following baseball and the O's for over 40 years so I fully expected a 90 plus loss season. I also expected some improvement as the season went on, figuring that the young players would gradually improve. After a 40-48 first half I wasn't expecting a 20-46 meltdown in the 2nd half. Yes, we had injuries but so do most teams.
I guess another disappointment were the rapid decline of Mora and Huff, which really hurt our offense. I didn't expect that and neither did MacPhail or he would have made sure he had a back-up plan or better yet, traded these guys last year. Huff in particular was a huge disappointment; I was pushing for the O's to extend him(shows what I know!).
I've already ranted on in previous posts about the sad state of the 'pen and I'm not sure how easy it's going to be to fix it. Every year it seems like it's a crapshoot trying to find reliable arms.
I am also not sure about some of MacPhail's trades. Right now, the only one that has been definitely in our favour is the Bedard deal. Many of his trades are insignificant-for example, Freel, Meredith, Hill, Gathright. The Tejada deal has been a wash as far as I can see, unless Patton recovers from his injuries. Albers and Sarfate have been busts so far.
The jury is still out on the Sherill/Bell deal and Pie also.
Yes, MacPhail did draft Weiters and Matusz but anyone here could have done the same thing as the O's had the top picks and all the scouts had them ranked high; it's not like he went out on a limb!
Finally, the lack of fundamental baseball and at times, lack of hustle was a turn-off, and some of this could be blamed on Trembley and some on just bad players.
MacPhail has a lot of work to do over the off-season to fill the various holes and I am waiting to see what he does and if he will make some type of state of the Orioles address. Does he say that everything is on track or does he say that things are going to take longer than expected and maybe even suggest time frames for a competititve team? Only a blind optimist would suggest that we are even going to smell .500 ball with most of this current squad.
gil- Those are all bona-fide questions but wouldn't hold my breath waiting for answers. MacPhail seems to like to play his cards close to his vest and I can see why. If he admits that we are at least 3 years away from contention, then he alienates the rapidly declining fan base. If he goes off on a best-case scenario and the O's continue to lose 95-100 games then he risks getting canned for not delivering.
No matter what he says or does over the off-season, I'll keep following the O's.

A couple other managerial candidates (picked out of thin air) for you all:

Former Managers:
- Buck Showalter

Current Coaches:
- Jose Oquendo
- Mickey Hatcher
- Harold Baines
- Terry Pendleton

MiLB Mangers:
- Matt Walbeck
- Rocket Wheeler
- Ryne Sandberg

No Experience:
- Craig Biggio

Just a few ideas.

And I just saw on mlbtraderumors that Stephen Drew may be available this offseason. I expect Andy to inquire there as well.

Terry -

Not sure why you pointed out the "insignificant" trades (I would call them minor trades). Every GM makes them.

For every Bedard mega-deal, there are four or five Salazar for Meredith type deals.

Also, I think the ruling has been made on the Pie trade. Unless Garrett Olson can bring down his 6.56 career ERA and Hank Williamson figures out how to stop giving up a lot of runs in the minors, I'm pretty sure the team that got the multi-talented 24-year-old outfielder won.


Great Post! I think 85 wins is a terrific goal and can be achieved.

It will be interesting to hear Macphail's year end assessment and 2010 outlook, if there is one.






* * * * * * * * * * * *


b. I made mention of the 'insignificant trades because while every team make these for one reason or another, the O's need to make more trades that have a bigger impact-such as the Bedard deal. If we don't make some 'bold' trades or take a chance etc then we are only spinning our wheels.
Of course, those types don't materialize very often but let's say we have a chance to pick up a big bat, then depending on the package, MacPhail should consider pulling the trigger.
Hey, maybe we should bring Olsen back-his 6.65 ERA would fit right in!! Just kidding!
I'd love to see us win 85 games next year but MacPhail is going to have to work a lot of magic. I'm all for it and eagerly await to see how the off-season unfolds. It definitely won't be a 'stand pat' one and surely things can't get any worse!

What is really disappointing is that we did not get more for Sherrill. Hopefully Josh Bell will pan out at third and Dave Johnson will make an impact on the pitching staff. But thus far, it sure looks like the Dodgers made on this deal. I don't see a closer in the O's system at this point. They need to find one outside of the organization if we are to make progress next year.

Lol Al!

and now for a little comedy. We could always bring Doyne back as a closer.

can we trade Peter A to the Ironbirds For Cal R.???

Good job O's! Way to lose out on Sano to the Twins!! I could understand if the Yanks or Cubs got him but we lost out on him to the TWINS!!!!!

What I suggested is what I expect the pitching to look like next year, not what I want it to look like.

Koji throws too soft to close. Need someone to blow it by them late when they are tired.

b- I would take any of those you mentioned! They are all better than 5-6 ERA stuff what we have now. I say "overpay" because that is what it will take to get a guy to a 100 loss team. They need someone to be the guy back there.


Josh Perrault, Kam Mickolio, Alberto Castillo and particularly Wilfredo Perez and Luis Lebron all have closer stuff.

As I've said before, the best thing for our bullpen is to find a true ace. The pen's shoddy performance is as much due to their overuse as it is the loss of Sherrill. The vast majority of us would like to see Guthrie, Bergesen, Matusz and Tillman start next year. If you replace the starts made by the wannabes this season with a 200+ inning 14+ win guy, you not only get the chance at a winning pct. by our starters but the bullpen works less and gets to pitch with a lead more often. It also pushes Hernandez, Berken and other prospects to the bullpen where they'll get experience against major league batters without the stress of starting games.

Concerning the exact personnel, it looks like JJ's our best immediate internal option to close. I don't exactly know what the difference is between his '08 season and this one - if it's mechanical, psychological, whatever - but there's a chance he might figure something out before next April. I wouldn't bet on it though, and I think we'll have to go out of the organization if we want to look competitive next August and September. That being said, I also have doubts we'll secure a reliable closer before the beginning of next season. I propose we have a closer-by-committee to start off the season that includes JJ, Ray (if he works on stuff this offseason), Mickolio and Uehara. We should have some combination of those guys begin the final two innings of every game until there's a consensus on who closes and who sets him up. Baez has been an asset and would be a good idea to try to bring back but I believe his contracts up and I don't think he deserves a third of what he's making now. In Spring Training, we'll most likely let all the other guys compete for spots in the bullpen. The only guys, I see, definitely making it out of camp are Meredith and Hendrickson. Sarfate has a pretty good chance too. Another lefty and there's your lackluster 2010 bullpen.

Looking back at the rotation, if we do what we should, someone like Lackey or Pettitte will start April 6th, followed by Guthrie, Bergesen, Matusz and Tillman. After giving those prospects a full year in the majors to develop and the other prospects more time to develop and debut with the O's, and should we keep that ace for another two or more years, it would be real interesting moving Guthrie to the closer role. Someone else mentioned it in this entry, and I think it could work. It seems like he has the velocity, the stuff and the mindset to close out games. Obviously, we're no where near that right now, but I was just wondering if there's been any organizational talk at all about doing something like that?


I can have my doubts if I want and don't have to explain them to you. I have been a O's fan since I was 5 and always will be unless, and only unless, they pull an Irsay on me and leave town. I'm just tired of this never ending rebuilding program. I'm also tired of seeing 3 run leads blown away in minutes thanks to our sorry bullpen. Back in the first half of the season, this team was among the league leaders in come from behind wins. Since the all star break, how many come from ahead losses have there been? It gets discouraging when this team goes into its annual 6 and 40 finish. So there, that's why I have my doubts.

speaking of "bull"... is Joe maddon really using 5 pitchers to get through 2 innings of O's batters that have mustered 1 run in a inconsequential game?

Oh the humanity!!!

TerryP -
Be honest, how many games a year do you go to?

oh, and one more thing, Cesar Izturis is the best thing we can send up there as the tying run at the plate with 2 out in the 9th and expanded rosters???

dave -

You can have your doubts. That's fine. But I can have my hopes just the same.

And don't talk about a "never ending rebuilding program". For the first ten years of this crap, the front office stiffs were just putting a fresh coat on paint on a house with termites and a rotting foundation. Now, MacPhail is tearing down the house and building a new one. Kind of like Extreme Home Makeover.

Of course you need to swap out the guys who have made a case for exclusion next year-Albers, Sarfate, Ray, and Baez could leave all on his own. Bass was gassed by Aug 1, but before then he was surely not the worst of the bunch.
So you keep Johnson and Hendrickson, Koji you have signed, and maybe let a couple of the young guys come up and pitch out of the pen.It doesn't look like there is a closer in the bunch, and closer by committee has been tried and not worked out so well, by teams other than the Os.
I'm not an advocate of spending big dollars on relievers. You should be able to fill the long relief and bridge roles from within.
Just as an aside, how much better would the pen be if the starting pitching was even decent? It's nearly impossible to make a case for the way most of the bullpen pitched this year but I have to think that the O's starting staff would have doomed even a good bullpen.
Maybe it's simply a case of doing your best to keep the notriously unreliable breed of pitcher- the reliever- off the field as much as possible.

Another good game on the basepaths for 'get Wiggy with it'.
And this just in from the Sun-"Bullpen Makeover on its way"(MacPhail says struggles of lare have shifted his off-season approach)...I hope he starts by releasing the deadwood (the 'guilty' are well-documented in this thread!) immediately after the last pitch is thrown this weekend. By doing so, he will send a clear message that incompetence will no longer be tolerated. What's the point of inviting this sorry bunch to spring training, other than to pitch batting practice but even then guys like Albers and co. can't find the plate anyway.
I have to say that in a way I'm impressed that MacPhail recognizes one of the big '09 problem areas. Let's just hope he picks the right arms to fill the 'pen.

C'mon Brob.. 4 more doubles!


Good call! What, did you call that in the 2nd?

Not tough predicting a loss with this bunch however.

Remember though everyone, as the warehouse has said for over a decade 'it's not about this year'...

Hilarious..... The longest losing street by any team this year, by the worst team in the AL.

Don't worry though, we have Arrieta next year - lol!

espn was laughing at the team earlier tonight, and they won't stop now....

Enter Spin!

You are impressed that MacPhail recognizes one of the big '09 problem areas?

It took this long to see that? Give me a break.

Greg B. I presume you mean Orioles home games and the answer(honestly) is zero. The reason is that I live in Ontario -why would you ask?


If you go back to my original post, you'll see that I said "I hope so, but I have my doubts". I have my hopes too. Each one of these losses kills me.I think McPhail has done well enough, and we've seen some good young talent this year, but the discouraging part is that there are still so many holes to fill. I'm on your side b. I want them to win too.

Can Joe Flacco pitch?

I aonly asked because, there are a lot people here that defend the Orioles and never support them.

Root for the Blue Jays, it's less painful.

I only asked because, there are a lot people here that defend the Orioles and never support them.

Root for the Blue Jays, it's less painful.

Think we'll go 3-2??

Speaking of playing for the second draft pick, why not play for one of the top 8 picks for a decade or so, just like the Rays did before making it to the World Series last year? I wouldn't mind B. J. Upton, Jeff Niemann, Evan Longoria and David Price in 6 years. And maybe all of that added losing, all of that "trying to lose, trying to get picks" will build up their latent potential so that when the time comes, we'll start winning some games and all these guys'll think it's Christmas in April and Christmas in May and Christmas in June and Christmas in July and August and September, and if we can keep that going into the offseason and the World Series (unlike the Rays), maybe we'll have another championship in Baltimore!! Here we come 2020!!


You are actually correct. The organization has sent so many mixed signals over the last 12 years that we have a right to be skeptical that the team is committed to any set strategy.

Now we are to believe that 100 losses is actually better than 90 or so because we are headed in the right direction, and the Angelos family has decided once and for all to really blow it up and start over. Give us a pass, we really mean it this time.

Pateince is a virtue and we have fans had enough of that to qualify for Sainthood.

I believe that this is all just another feint by the Angelos family, and that Andy Macphail will move on in another year or so. He brought some temporary credibility to the organization, but soon the ether will wear off and even the Kool aid drinkers will see it for what it is....100 losses as far as the eye can see.

The only true rebuilding strategy is for Peter Angelos to sell the team. He has too much baggage to overcome, even if he really has seen the light.

If Peter Angelos really cares about the community, and I think he does from a philanthropic standpoint, he will do the right thing and let the team go.

Hey Greg. If I lived near Baltimore I would likely attend quite a few games per year. Despite living in Canada, I''ve always been a huge baseball fan and rain or shine, will always be an O's fan. Unfortunately(or perhaps fortunately!) I usually only see them play on the tube. Once in awhile, I'll catch them in Toronto but I can't stand that parking garage they call a stadium.
Next to the RedSox and Yanks, the Jays are probably my least favourite team so cheering for them is out of the question!

Well it takes time to build when your broken badly. You know the years that Baltimore was in the running year after year, our minor leagues were well stocked and Rochester came in first like eight out of 12 years. So building within is good, but you have to trade or sign free agents that make sense. I am sure that everyone would have liked to see 20 - 30 more wins on the board this year, but it just was not in the cards. Be prepared for another down season next year, if the bosses do not address the major weaknesses.

I would start by addressing the issue of SP's not playing deep into games. Rick Dempsey was on the radio a few weeks ago talking about how he Ran/jogged to prepare for a season On October 3rd I would suggest to every Oriole to run for 3-5 miles daily. Pitchers should have better endurance, Fielders players will be playing better late in the season. It doesnt make sense to Worry about a bullpen if your planning on overworking it anyway. If pitchers pitch until the 7th inning your bullpen is set! I also like the Idea of Chris Hoiles managing.

Before the Orioles can determine the best approach to fix their bullpen they should study the recent history of failed attempts.

Approach #1: spend your entire FA budget on middle relievers to stabilize the bridge to your closer. Result: The guy you spend the most money on is terrible in his role as "8th inning" reliever and the manager's failure to accept this culminates in a decade-defining moment (the Mother's Day massacre in Boston).

Approach #2. A move towards power arms stockpiled through trades and the draft and promoted as "major league pitchers" despite the fact their mechanics closely resemble a spinning pinata. Result: a seemingly predictable inability to control their pitches leading to massive walk totals and bloated ERAs when mlb hitters force them to pipe their 95+ mph fastballs.

So with past as prologue we should:

1. Avoid multi-year FA signings which lock us into a continuing cast of underperformers. Instead of signing a closer coming off a career year like Fernando Rodney to a risky long-term deal, look for a Billy Wagner or Mike Gonzalez who want an opportunity to close and would be willing to sign a one-year deal with a vesting option based on performance.

2. Target specific pitchers in trade. Examples:

A. Michael Wuertz RHP of Oakland who had a breakout season at age 31 and is arbitration eligible. The A's rarely pass up an opportunity to trade a player at his highest value who is about to become expensive. Cost: 2 young prospects with upside.

B. Dan Runzler LHP of San Francisco: the Giants are as desperate for power as we are for bullpen help and may be willing to part with an unproven youngster despite a breakout season where he has compiled both a sub 1.00 ERA and WHIP at 5 levels. Cost: Ty Wigginton or Luke Scott.

If I had to pick 7 pitchers from the current 40-man roster going into next spring it would be:
1. Koji
2. Jim Miller
3. Kam Mickolio
4. Cla Meredith
5. Chris Ray
6. Mark Hendrickson
7. Alberto Castillo

needed here

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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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