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October 4, 2009

Orioles: RIP 2009

The Orioles are ending the 2009 season on a tiny upswing, their three-game winning streak averting a 100-loss season and allowing Dave Trembley the opportunity to enjoy his contract renewal out from underneath their long September losing streak.

Can't remember the last time I was this eager to get a season over with, and I'm guessing I'm not alone. The past month, in particular, has forced everyone to consider the possibility that the current rebuilding program is not quite as far along as some had hoped, though Andy MacPhail will doubtless be burning the midnight oil in October looking for ways to speed things up and position the O's for a more respectable 2010. Godspeed.

Somebody called me out today for writing a column wondering just how we should interpret the decision to rehire Trembley. No disrespect to Dave was intended, and I'm sure it didn't diminish his ability to enjoy at least one more year of job security, but I think it's fair to ask about the team's intentions going into next season.

Inquiring Schmucks want to know. Do you think MacPhail will be able to make enough offseason progress for the Orioles to be competitive next year? To define our terms, I'll set the bar for competitiveness rather low, at a 15-game improvement over this season.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:01 AM | | Comments (68)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

I think the Orioles have enough talent as presently constituted to improve by 15 games next season (taking for granted said talent's health).

Problem is that I don't see a single free agent who "makes sense" for the Orioles (the issue of whether free agents even want to come to Baltimore notwithstanding...).

Everyone keeps saying "we need a veteran starter, we need a cleanup hitter"...well, who can the Orioles go after? I just can't imagine that the O's will be able to improve their roster via free agency this offseason.

And if they also don't want to trade top minor leaguers...

All things considered, if the O's stay healthy and don't add anyone significant to the roster this winter, I think they'll finish with ~80 wins in 2010.

15 Games?

Without at least 3 significant additions (that cost significant money), there is no way they'll be 15 games better. How would they?

People just keep throwing out the names (i.e. Arietta). Problem is, he has zero experiance, and at best, he'll have Tillman like stats.

15 Games? That would be a HUGE improvement. To do so, you need to improve the team dramatically.

People point to Tampa a couple years ago, right before they hit paydirt. Looking back at that team though, they were WAY more prepared to make run the following year. The O's are not even close.

15 Games? Why, because some of the rooks will have more experience? Please!

15 Games? I'll give you half that (which would be amazing for this organization). 15 though?

I'm heading to the Ravens game and thank goodness, I'll not think of the O's once.... not once!

You wouldn't either Pete, if it weren't your job!

I'm sure I'm not the first to make this joke, but...

Dave Trembley is now 3-0 with the O's in October. Not even Joe Torre could claim to be perfect in October.

The Orioles just blew a chance to improve by about half that but they rehired Tremblay. His poor managerial style will cost them 5-10 wins again next year.

I do feel that we are in for another long season as the free agent market for our needs looks bleak. We will show improvement as Tillman, Matusz, and Bergesen will keep us in many more games than last years starters.

I think we will not have a major trade for power but will elect to promote from within. I see much more power from Wieters and Jones. If the bullpen gets an overhaul we could see .500 next year.

All this is predicated on DT following thru on what he said recently about starting to hold players accountable for not hitting cut-offs and bad base running etc. He also said he will not continue the stupid 1 inning and done for his bullpen next year.

But as the saying goes i'll believe it when I see it. I am skeptical about a leopard changing his spots.

I just don't see it Peter unless, LIKE I'VE BEEN SAYING ALL THE LONG, they get a dependable starter, a middle of the order hitter and a reliable bullpen arm. Now that may not seem like much to a lot of teams but the Orioles have floundered so badly in their attempts to bring in outside talent the last 12 years it makes one wonder if they really want to win. So although I would love to see progress and I really don't think the team is that far away from respectability but I have my doubts that they will do what is needed this off season.
NOW I ASK YOU PETER. Do you think it is possible Macphail can pull this task off?

Even if the O's improve 20 games... So what?! Still no Playoffs. Just .500. The best thing that could happen to Baltimore is for them to leave the AL East. I love the O's but they will not be competitive any time soon. When our young stars become free agents, maybe we'll sign a couple. The others will go to Boston, NY, or LA.
See you at the yard next year!

I am old enough to remember all of the good years the Orioles had, from the 60's, 70's, 80's and even the 90's. Everyone has an opinion of what it might take for the Orioles to return to the greatness they once had. Although I am still a die hard Orioles fan, I have lived in Southern California since 1970. I was never much of a Dodgers or Angels fan. But that changed when Mike Scosia took over the helm in Anaheim. Some say the Angels success was due to Scosia managing the team as if it were in the National League. Perhaps. But the true reason for the success started with a minor league system that acquires and drafts talented players. It continues when the minor league players are trained in the philosophy of the Major League team, so they are ready to perform when called up to the Show. It manifiests itself with a Major League team that makes every pitch count, whether on offense or defense. What the Orioles have been truly lacking is a philosopphy. The days of running the club as if it were a fantasy league team are over. Draft and acquire good young players, train them in the Oriole way, and stabilize the club with management team that establishes their philosophy in the minor leagues and continues with the same philosophy in the majors.

Thank god this season has come to a merciful end......feels like i have been saying that for the last 13YRS!!!!

Anyhow....we all know what we want in our Christmas stocking for the 2010 Orioles...now we need to see how disappointed we will be once again.

Sure we have some nice young players, but to tell you the truth i really dont know why the 2010 version of the Birds will be anything to write home about.

I dont have confidence in ownership, or leadership.....on and off the field.

I am tired of all the nebulous terms being thrown like "short term pain"..."rebuilding"....and "eye on the future".

How about some specifics from Mr. McPhail...Like how many wins would you consider for the 2010 season?
I would like an exact number......not some philosophical mumbo jumbo about "improving at a rate that shows growth".........i want a number. I want to be able to judge McPhail on a goal that he has set at the beginning of the season. If we can get the number then we can all get on the same page as far as expectations are concerned.

There is no business in the world that does not do yearly goal setting strategy.

I think as fans we should demand some numbers.....and i dont want any pie in the sky bull crap like " we expect to be a play off team"...............just tell me the truth.....60 wins, 70 wins, 80 wins.......i am a big boy just quit talking to us fans like we are 7 years old.

Anyhow......its been 13 years of bad management, bad signings, bad planning, and bad baseball. I want someone to grow a set and tell us what is the plan and how do you expect to get there.

By the way.....also think the Orioles get new coaches for next year, and that at least one of the coaches is ready to take over for Dave T if and when he get offs to a bad start. I would hope Dave is on a very short rope.

The Orioles will win at least 15 more games next season if Adam Jones becomes a superstar instead of a shooting star.

I think Andy Mac's comments sounded more like an ultimatum than a vote of confidence. If the O's get off to a rough start next year I have no doubt that he will not hesitate to pull the plug on Trembley. Being as detail-oriented as Andy is, I wouldn't be surprised if he already has a Plan B in place if the O's don't show early improvement.

http://sportspoof.com/

Hi Pete,

My God what a depressing thought that the premise of the post is for us to try to predict what it will take to go 78 and 84 next year.

I'd really like to think that Macphail is going to play to win next year. How about that for a premise, and what it will take?

It's been a long hard season, but I hate to see it end. My favorite day of the year is Opening Day of the Baseball seaon and the day I hate the most is the day the Orioles season ends (also the day the guy comes and closes our pool, very depressing, especially since this was a lousy year for swimming in PA.)

Mark Teixeira!

Oh wait. He is not a free agent this year. I guess we should have tried harder to get him...

I din't think they nessisarly NEED any player moves to improve. Huff was having a lousy year. Whoever plays 1st (Aubery, Snyder, Scott, Wiggington) will put up just as good or better numbers. Roberts, Guthrie and Mora ALL got off to poor starts thanks to the idiotic WBC. O's should ban all org players from EVER participating in that farce again. Weiters will catch from day 1. NO EATON! The young guys WILL improve. How can the pen get any worse? Reimold, Pie and maybe Florentino will be here from Day 1. Now, WHO COULD the O's add that would make a difference? As another poster pointed out, FA crop is not suited to the O's and do we REALLY believe a top guy would sign here? No, improvement will come, and from within. I see Turner and Aubrey at the corners to start the season and Snyder and Bell taking over at a later date. Bell was tearing up AA to end the year and Snyder was just starting to come around in AAA. Hope. That is all we have..that and a pile of young arms that are FAR better than most of the ones on this years opening day staff.

(yes, there are O's fans in Canada!)

Fellow O's Fans & Pete,

A pleasure to see so many thoughtful (positive and negative) responses here, instead of just the emotional knee-jerk venting. Some of you bring up many great points, and it's enlightening to read your comments. Just thought that I would add a few of my own here.

First, Pete, I enjoy reading your column, and I commend you on having the courage and conviction to remain resolute and forthright with your views, even though it (invariably) means some readers call you to task. We can't please everyone all the time (and it's good that we all have our own views, as we are entitled to), but admire you for being honest and sometimes sticking with a potemtially unpopular view, rather just writing whatever people want to hear - keep up the good work, Pete!

Second, I think that we do have an excellent nucleus to build around, but as talented as our young pitching may be, we need to recognize that it most likely won't begin to achieve it's potential for at least another couple of years. Therefore, I don't expect us to be contenders next year, but I do expect legit improvement (10 wins at least, ideally 15), and I agree with Grant that if we stay healthy, 15 is certainly attainable (and possibly even more).

I also agree with Grant that the big issue withy free agents isn't necessarily whether they want to come here or not, but also is tehre one who makes sense for us at this time? Lackey, yes, but I don't think that will happen. The only other marquee names are Holliday and Bay, and while we could use their bats, we don't exactly need a left fielder (Reimold and Scott). If we actually "bought" one ofthem, that Nolan would be DH and we would have to trade Scott (he isn't going to be our 1B). There are no marquee 1B out there, or 3B, except for Figgins, who I don't think we will get. I'd rather wait for Bell, who should be up sometime next summer and hopefully be a fixture by 2011.

Last, I think that to trade for Gonzales or Fielder would be a mistake, even though I like both of them a lot. Both would cost a ton of prospects, and Fielder is only a year from free agency. I think that if we are to shell out mega $ for a free agent in the next year or two, it should be for Fielder after next year. I think he would be a fantastic fit for us and I say hold off a year. If we can swing a deal for say Derrcik Lee, whould would presumably cost us a bit less than Fiedler or Gonzalez, then go for it, but otherwise, let's wait for Prince after next season. One legit trade target though should be Zambrano. Risky, I realize, but he's got awesome stuff, a burning desire to win, and the passion to want to go to a team that will yearn for him to be its ace. We could also probably get him on the cheap (in terms of trade value not his salary), as the Cubs have oft been said to want to trade him and reduce salary).

I'll close with a hypothetical trade (I know, I know - this won't happen, but it's fun to hypthesize):
Zambrano and Lee for Scott, Waring/Snyder (one or the other), D. Hernandez, and one blue chip pitching prospect (eg - Erbe or Britton) - gives us our two needed pieces, and lets the Cubs shed salary while attaining their replacement first baseman and bat (Scott would rake at Wrigley and would likely be a favorite of Piniella and Cubs fans), while also giving them a strikeout guy in Hernandez and a legit pitching prospect for next year or 2011. Not such a far-fetched idea after all, is it?

I would like to see us get back to at least 75 wins next year, as a springboard for better things, quite possibly contention, in 2011.

Have a great off-season everyone!

The O's should make the playoffs next year because all the rookies got the experience they needed.
Just Think we traded Eaton for Bergesen
we traded Rich Hill for Matuzs
Koji should be healthy
Tillman should be much better. Reimold will rake...You negative folks are missing alot.
We traded Weiters for Zaun.
We haven't even talked about Erbe and Arrietta and Guthrie getting back to form.

Pete, We don't need to sign any free agents except maybe some bullpen help. Andy Macphail is crazy....like a fox

Go O's Playoffs 2010!!!!
less than 500 next year gets Trembley fired. We should definitely be in the hunt for the wild card

Pete;

I think an 8-12 game improvement is a little more realistic than 15. On the other hand, the 88-89 Os went from 54 wins to 87 in one year, and as I look around that rostor as compared to the one we have now, I see a lot more upside for today's team.

If;
1 Weiters steps up big the way I think he's going to.
2 Jones and Reimold take another step forward.
3 Brian and Nick do what they usually do.
4 and we sign a decent bat for 3rd base

then we have the basis of a pretty good offence.

I think Matusz is going to have a good year. This guy has the pitches and the make-up to be a real good one. If Guthrie gives us something closer to what he did in 07 and 08, and Bergesen wasn't just teasing us with what he did this year, then our pitching looks decent to good with the signing of a veteran pitcher or Tillman or Arrieta emerging.

The big edge that the 89 team had over this year's team was the bullpen. AM has to seriously address that. If he does, and a lot of other things go right, a winning season is possible. Hey, I can dream can't I.

release Bass
release Albers


thats 20 odd wins right there

Pete,
I thought this was the first time you wavered from your stance in support of Trembley. To be fair, I thought McPhail made it perfectly clear at the press conference that moving forward the Orioles manager will be judged by wins and losses. I don't think that was wavering at all by re-signing Trembley. I thought it was the respectable thing to do given that McPhail knew Trembley had little to no shot at being successful with the team he had this September.

I've enjoyed the board here this season, but like most of you I was relieved to see this one finally come to an end.
15 wins is indeed a pretty low bar to be considered competitive, even for our purposes I'd like to consider 81 wins as my benchmark.
I think it's possible. We're not gong to get a real top notch starter or bat, but we may just grow the bat with Weiters, it's not beyond reason to see him hit 30 hrs. next year, optimistic, but not crazy.
With a middle of the pack veteran starter to at least lend some maturity to the rotation, if Bergesen and Tillman and Mautusz show some good gains, our staff can improve significantly.
Hopefully DT will study his game tapes for the season and come back a more effective manager himself.
I mean Geeze, Pete, next season is a long way from now, who knows what can happen? I have faith in MacPhail doing what he can. I have the faith of any fan that all our rookies will improve and I say hell yes the O's can have a .500 season next year, the '88 team lost 107 and then the '89 team was in the race to the bitter end.
How can you count them out now?
The O's will be a .500 team next year.

Well. The Blue Jays drop 3 in a row. Obviously a protest against the firing of free spending Billy Beane disciple Ricciardi. Mostly a protest by those who did not have the opportunity to negotiate a long term deal with him.

And speaking of things Most Valuable,
the Orioles were named the Red Sox Most Valuable Player today in ceremonies at Fenway Park. David Hernandez was there to accept the award, and was charged with 7 hits, 4 walks, 3 HRs and 8 runs, even though he didn't throw a pitch. Hernandez later thanked the Red Sox on behalf of the entire Orioles organization, and said he is most looking forward to the Orioles World Series share, that is if the Sox make it that far.

Go Os!!

I will be realistic with 2010. I think several Orioles will probably improve. I think Wieters has a very realistic chance at improving rapidly with a lot of power. I like him a lot but I think Reimold COULD regress. I think the Orioles OF will be a strong point overall. Overall I think the lineup will get more consistent behind the individual evolutions of Wieters, Jones, and Markakis.

As far as pitching, as much as I am hopeful for the young core, attrition always factors into a rotation, experienced or not. I think Matusz and Tillman are really exciting guys to watch. If those guys pitch anywhere close to 200 IP with about 4.00 ERAs that would be successful seasons of growth and strong contributions. With a little luck here or there, either could have a VERY good season, it's within striking distance. Though because they are so young, both stand equal chances to have developmental years with ups and downs. Even though TIllman has more pro experience, my bet is that it's him that goes thru struggles. His pitch selection feels a little more youthful sometimes. Matusz seems to have a more mature style of pitching, and doesn't seem to try to overpower hitters at the expense of movement and command. I think Guthrie has a bounceback year, but I fear he never quite returns to his above-average first year compaign. Statistically he was a little lucky that season, and this year he was a little unlucky. Overall he's probably somewhere in the middle, which is still a very productive ML pitcher. If the Orioles truly want to gain more Ws in '10, they will have to add a legitimate veteran SP who can at least eat innings and perhaps be in the 4.00 ERA range. Right this minute the Orioles could be primed for a few key high value/low cost moves away from being one of those young teams that wear an "up and coming" label.

As far as Free Agents wanting to come here or not, in recent years past, Orioles teams didn't offer a real chance to be good. What's different today is that, this Oriole team has legitimate up and coming talent, acknowledged baseball-wide. Players (who are sometimes Free Agents) pay attention to that talk too.

This offseason may feel a little different in the Free Agent market. I'm not suggesting that recent trends will change with the top tier guys. They have the chance to pitch for contenders, and, accept high value dollars. Though the middle tier guys who must measure several factors into their decision, may think harder about Baltimore than years past.

PETER:

OK, you have one new starter at mid- to high-range cost. Please name your top three realistic prospects.

Matusz is obvious.

Bergeson is obvious.

Guthrie is middle of the pack.

Koji and the Stork are in the bullpen. Same for Hernandez.

Who is the fifth starter?

Discuss, oh blogger.

It was quite the ending to the season with the O's executing two bunts in a row to win the game. Despite its current endangered status I suppose that is why fundamental baseball survived over 100 years.

Can the O's win 15 more games? - yes, if they solidify the last rotation spot. Guthrie might have to take his lumps again as #1 but our #2 - #5 starters have to be better than their counterparts.

Basemonkey;

I think its still a little early to hope for high value free agents signing with the Os. I'm in Toronto and can remember the free agents who came to the Jays to help them win a couple of World Series.

Jack Morris came, not because the Jays had three promising pitchers like Bergesen, Matusz and Tillman, but because they had Key, Guzman, Wells, Ward and Henke, guys with proven records, not just potential.

Ditto for Paul Molitor and Dave Winfield who saw established vets like White, Carter, Gruber, Alomar and Olerud.

Potential is one thing. Proven performance another. We need to hope that our young guys prove themselves 2010, and I think they will. If so, this time next year the kind of free agents we want will give us some serious consideration.

Of course the O's need to be adding at least a big bat & starting & pen pitching. Hopefully those here will be hitting the off-season training hard. Does anyone else train as hard as B Rob?

Can Markakis jack up about 5 lbs or so? He probably could'v been doing this in past
offseasons. (juice free natch).
& I hope that's not tobacco he's chewing.

Jones, Reimold & Weiters need to continue strengthwork & speedwork & bp & armwork. Can
Weiters throw from his knees & use the height? & speedwork would help Weiters stay out of a dp or 2. He doesn't have to be so slow; I'll bet Heap, Ngata & Oher can smoke him in a 40.

Tillman also needs to hit the gym & jack up & do strengthwork & armwork. He also needs deliverywork so that he uses his legs & body. Maybe Palmer can help?

It'd be a shame if these guys are not at least maximizing.

15 wins should be a piece of cake with all the injuries the O's took into the last month of the season. Plus they won't be starting off the season with the rag-tag bunch of pitchers who started 2009.Last offseason the front office didnot show an ability to sign 1 player that was not a bust. Ty Koji Adam and Rich Hill are cannon fodder. Pie is a 4th-5th outfielder at best. We have a bunch of exicting young pitchers in the wings who should be compeitive next year. Maybe Jason berken will be in relief as he seems to be able to make it thru the order once. kam milicko looked awesome at times. guthrie bergenson matsuz and tillman look like talented starting pitchers who want to pitch here. Mora maybe fine to keep if we sign him as a platoon player with apropiate salary. I think the o's will definitly have 15more wins next year a real improvement would be more han that more like 25 to 30 should be the goal.

fire harbaugh

I agree, Pete. I've thought all along that we have to meet or exceed .500 ball next year.

I like that the Orioles retained Trembley, because in a all honesty, to fire him for this debacle would be like firing a mechanic for not fixing a car properly when they only tool you gave him was a donut. Fair is fair, and pinning the blame on Trembley was NOT going to be fair.

Look at Berken, Hernandez and Hill. 47 games between those three and a whopping 13 wins out of them. 53 home runs given up in those games. How is this the tools to win? It's not ... This was to see if these guys could contribute every day at a major league level and they can't.

But look at Bergesen, Tillman and Matusz. 39 starts, 14 wins, 12 losses and each had a WHIP below 1.50. Hendrickson was our other project pitcher and we found that he could contribute. Plus lets not forget just how many players on a short bench were hurt.

The Orioles did what everyone suggests teams do and never do: they took a long hard look at themselves. They know they have 4 starters going into next year, 5 quality position players and they know what holes they have to fill.

I'm glad they took the year to get a plan in place because we will NEVER outspend the Yankees or Red Sox. We will NEVER attract free agents like those teams can, either with cash or prestige. The only way to win is build andget lucky.

And really, to know what you really have to build towards a potential run is more valuable than an empty .500 season to watch the yankees win 102.

On the other hand, they need to sign a closer, 2 established relievers, at leat one top of the rotation starter, corner infielders and a backup catcher. McPhail has quite a to do list ...

We'll be lucky to get to 75 wins next year. While the young pitchers are improving, the staff needs an ace, veteran mentor, (not a Trachsel type), a bullpen, a closer, and corner infielders with pop. Don't see that coming by free agency. I think we win a few ore, get more competitive, but still nowhere near.

I think 15 wins in rather doable -- it averages out to just one more win against each team in the AL. I won't factor in the silly inter-league nonsense. Of course, it also requires having a healthy Adam Jones for an entire season, a healthy Bergeson, a healthy Reimold, and a healthy Pie, and it also assumes that this quartet can improve modestly upon their rookie experiences, rather than regress as the league adjusts to them.

I'd like to see a 1992 approach to free agency. Cy Young and Babe Ruth aren't available, but it would be an ideal time to grab some Rick Sutcliffe types: i.e, PROVEN short term veterans who can produce and who can mentor and who can help tide the team over until the FA market is
a bit deeper.

Too early for me to predict anything for 2010 other than Megan Fox, will still be gorgeous and MASN will roll out their annoying Birdland commercials.

I like Garland a lot because he pitches a lot of innings which is something we need to save the BP and take the pressure of the kids. Lackey, is going to cost a lot and if the money was even, would he come here? I doubt it, but signing Garland, seems realistic.

I love the MLB package because you get the perspective of how different teams view the O's and their players, and Luke Scott, is always talked about in a positive light. I do think Luke and some of the lower level prospects, could be packaged. If the talks are true about Uggla, I could see the Marlins, as potential trade partners.

I want to give a shout out to Melvin Mora, a guy who came here as a throw in, turned super sub and then, he turned into the 2nd best 3B in the history of he Orioles. He is outspoken, but I don't know any athlete, blogger or poster who isn't, but Melvin, loved the O's, the city, fans and he played with pride. I am worried that there wont be a heck of a lot of opportunities in free agency for Melvin, considering that Abreu, had to beg to get a deal last year, but whatever happens, I've always enjoyed watching Melvin play the game, as well as watching him enjoy bringing his kids to the games. It's nice to see an athlete, care about his family and community. Melvin, certainly did.

I think that it is time to run Angelos, McFail, Trembley, Kranitz and Crowley as far away as possible. Like Tobago for example.
These BUMS have shown that they are the epitome of bad baseball.
McFail has demonstrated that he must have a grudge against himself by bringing Trembley back.
Enough is enough. Mr. Mc Fail please leave if you have no desire to build a contending team rather than subject us to your endless excuses and alibis.

Didn't read all the other posts...I know the sentiment is a power hitter in the middle, but what about Figgins from the Angels to hit leadoff and play third? He's good defensively and I think his OBP was around .400 this year. Plus, gets Brian (doubles machine) in the 2-hole driving in some runs. Then Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Reimold... I like that lineup a lot. Just don't think that power corner bat is coming, so maybe you get creative and change up the top a bit. Figgins just seems like a winning player to me--obviously doing something to help the Angels.

Pete, I don't understand why you think that getting rid of Aubrey Huff will do anything but improve the team. Huff, never a very good player, is clearly at the end of the line. Look what he did after he was traded - .189, 2 HRs. He was already the worst 1st baseman in the AL, after Giambi was released, and he proceeded to get even worse. The team needs players who get on base, who walk 80, 90, 100 times a year. That's how games are won.


..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I don't think games are won by walking, but on-base percentage is a great stat. If you're a good cleanup hitter, you get walks, but you also get clutch hits. Aubrey wasn't a great player, but he was better than what was there after he was traded. Obviously, somebody thought he could hit...and that somebody is playing off for an October berth.

Pete, I don't understand why you think that getting rid of Aubrey Huff will do anything but improve the team. Huff, never a very good player, is clearly at the end of the line. Look what he did after he was traded - .189, 2 HRs. He was already the worst 1st baseman in the AL, after Giambi was released, and he proceeded to get even worse. The team needs players who get on base, who walk 80, 90, 100 times a year. That's how games are won.

Do not look for improvement from this organization. Its not and has not been a matter of talent. Best prediction for next year is 100 losses - or more.

The results are totally a function of ownership and management with a flavoiring of the way that MLB is structured that rewards teams like the Pirates and the Orioles for maintaining losing organizations.

No minor league team made the playoffs. Not one column inch to that.

Until the organization demonstrates and demands winning at every level nothing will change.

I for one was on the don't bring tremblay back bandwagon. He and the whole coaching staff should be gone if only because they're guilty by association with the years of losing. On the other hand, I'm happy for him because he never had a chance with the hand he was dealt and most managers are only as good as the players they have. I do find it hard to believe he'll change his "people skills" stripes. If Brian Roberts sulks one more time after he strikes out on a bounced ball with out busting his butt down to first, pull him aside and tell him that's not how its done here anymore. If he does it again, yank him. You can't discipline the top players then lay it on the others.

As for the McPhail haters, I'd like to know what you would've done differently to have this club further down the road to respectability. The team was an expansion franchise at best when he took over. His patience got the Os the steal of the century in the Bedard trade. The Tejada trade looks good too when you consider what they would've been paying him for 15 HRS a year or so the last couple years. Until we see where Troy Patton ends up, we can't judge that one. 2010 win total? 74.

cush

Seriously, how can we expect not to be 15 games better next year? Matusz had 5 wins in 9 starts. Give him 30 starts next season and he'll win at least 15. That's 66% of your improvement total without batting an eyelash. If Bergy doesn't take another line drive off of his shin and pitches the entire year, he'll easily win 5 more than this year. Poof, no fuss, no muss, where's the dilemma?

It is way too early to make any call for wins and losses for 2010. MacPhail and staff have a lot to do over the next three months and by February we should see what they have, going into spring training. Believe it or not, these guys are pretty smart, MacPhail and staff know how short the franchise is on talent. The Orioles will have to make trades, find free agents that are not offered arbitration and maybe one big type A free agent. There is no way you can go out and sign three type A free agents, so it should be fun to see how things progress in December and January.

Nice comment by Markakis about him hitting fourth, did his best, but not his comfort zone.

What a miserable year! Having said that, it was fun watching the new guys come up. Most ofthem improved over the course of the year, all except Berkin and Hernandez.

The club needs to trade for a top flight starter, even if it means letting go of Markakis. The club needs to trade for a middle of the lineup hitter who either plays 3rd or first.

The club needs to find a closer-somewhere. The club needs to figure out how to change the poor message they sent out with the Trembley rehire: We do not expect to be even close to competitive next year.

It is way too early to make any call for wins and losses for 2010. MacPhail and staff have a lot to do over the next three months and by February we should see what they have, going into spring training. Believe it or not, these guys are pretty smart, MacPhail and staff know how short the franchise is on talent. The Orioles will have to make trades, find free agents that are not offered arbitration and maybe one big type A free agent. There is no way you can go out and sign three type A free agents, so it should be fun to see how things progress in December and January.

Nice comment by Markakis about him hitting fourth, did his best, but not his comfort zone.

Personally, I'm sorry to see the season end...just when things were going good, but if you're going to close out a season, it's not bad to close it out on a 4-game winning streak. I think the team made a lot of progress as we won games with youth, not with tired nearly over the hill veterans who have no real future. We did it with 24 year olds instead of 38 year olds. The starting pitching will most definitely be improved now that we have Tillman and Matusz and Bergesen (if his leg ever heals) here. Yes, we need a solid veteran starter and yes, we need a big Eddie Murray type hitter, preferably a third baseman since right now we have a huge gaping hole there. It made sense, politically at least, to keep Dave Trembley and hopefully he'll do better next year as a field manager in the majors. Now we're stuck with just football for the next four months. Ugh. I'm a Ravens supporter but will always, ALWAYS, first and foremost be an Orioles FAN. GO O'S!!!!!!!!

I think the O's offense next year can be pretty good even without adding anyone! Am I crazy?? How about this lineup:
2b Roberts
cf Jones
rf Markakis
1b Scott
lf Reimold
c Wieters
3b Wigginton
dh Pie
ss Izturis

Maybe bench of Turner, Montanez, Moeller, ??? ANyhow this gives Bell and Snyder time to develop a bit more in AAA, maybe get called up during the year. Can't forget Aubrey and Hughes too. Throw in a full season of Bergesen, Tillman, and Matusz, I think 15 games at least is doable, hopefully more. Are there holes? Yes, but I've seen worse than this!!

Unfortunately the one trade the Orioles can't make is of the ownership of the ballclub!
Angelos has destroyed what was once a proud franchise. As long as Peter, Paul and Mary run this club get used to last place!

Tom,

You still do not have a clean up hitter, and before I put Wiggy in full time at third base I would negotiate a new contract for mora, around 1.5 million. At least the defense would be good.

The lineup will need help. Either speed or power. See what happens.


The season ends on a 4-game winning streak, with the last 3 games coming against a team in organizational meltdown.

Did I mention the 4-game winning streak was preceded by a 13-game losing streak?

At least we diverted from losing 100 games! We'll always have the worst 2009 AL record, though.

Cheer up, Rays fans. As disappointing as your season may have been, you still ended up with a winning record (second year in a row), and you won 20 more games than the Orioles did.

The Os would have a respectable lineup with what they have now if they change their philosophy on hitting and make it more about 'Whats my plan for getting on base this time?' Roberts seems to be the only one with a plan when he goes up there. Jones looks like he can be a regular .290/20-25/85-90 guy if he'd show some patience. Nice to have a guy like that hitting 6th in the AL East. Weiters can hold down the 5 hole (he clogs up the bases in the 3 spot) and Reimold and Markakis make a tough 2-3 in the order. All that said, they need someone in the 4 spot. Give me .260/38/100, someone the other P has to be wary of in a big situation.

Every fans favorite team becomes a pennant contender over the winter and every season most fall short. I think the O's have the field talent to improve but not sure they have the field management leadership to get out of last place in the AL East.

CB Coach;

I'm not sure what you mean by the Os being short on talent. In the bullpen to be sure, where we need a major reconstruction job, but not in position players or starting pitching.

Add a competent every day third baseman who can hit 20 HRs to what we have now and I wouldn't be unhappy starting the season with that. As far as starting pitchers, we've got a load of kids with talent.

Now, if you're talking about fully mature proven talent, I'd agree.

Bob C,

We will not be competitive with what we have right now. We do not have a first baseman and it is pretty clear we do not have a third baseman, unless the team negotiates a small contract for Mora. Aubey has been ok, but do you really want to hand over first base to him, if they had some top notch first baseman in the minors that was close it would be fine, but we do not have anybody ready for first or third base. So there is a lot of risk there.

We are short probably two starters to go along with number 2, Guthrie 3. Matusz 4. Bergesen

We need a few relievers and most likely Berken and Hernandez work out of the bullpen. But I would get Johnson out of the closers role. We really need a number one starter and a closer.

Also I should add there will be a lot of non tendered players this year, because of the economy that we will hear about shortly.

But you see how other teams that are in trouble also rebuilding are putting their money in a closer, so Trevor Hoffman signed today for one year and a mutual option with the Brewers and they have to overhaul their rotation..

Dealing Sherrill as I have said since July hurt the Orioles and his 1.70 ERA is simple proof of that, no one on the Orioles is close to being that good.

The only ones that should come back to the bullpen would be
Micolio
Johnson
Ray-maybe
Hendrickson
Hernandez
Berken
That leaves room for one closer, if MacPhail-Trembley go that direction.

Hi CB Coach;

There's not much to disagree with in your assessment of the Os needs. A third baseman, a closer and some bullpen depth for sure.

I'm not as uncomfortable with Aubrey at first as you are, provided we can get a reasonable right handed bat with some pop that he can platoon with. (Not Wiggy) He put up some good minor league numbers, and did very well for the Os, although he doesn't have the kind of power I'd like to see.

I see you only mention Guthrie, Matusz and Bergesen as starters. Am I to assume you don't see either Tillman or Arrieta as being ready to help out.

The Rays today fired hitting coach Steve Henderson following a season in which the Rays set team records for runs, home runs, on-base percentage and walks.

Can we get him? Please? The O's have been among the worst in the league in OBP and walks in particular for decades. Terry Crowley was lucky to be in baseball- now can we get someone who knows how to coach? Please?

I was really turned off by the orioles' performances after July in both 2008 and 2009. The one thing we needed to see this year was a good end to the season...
Did not happen. Jones injured (2nd season in a row), another utter pitching collapse for the bullpen and starters, Reimold and Bergesen did not get to finish, neither did Tillman or Matuz, we have no obvious starting corner infeilders (I wish Scott could, that would be awesome...)
These things are not on Trembly. He has to play with the players he's got and see. I can't speak to any amazing strategy efforts (ex. baserunning has been terrible at times) but I am going to go ahead and believe in the O's and Andy. What we need is a complete season next year. Not the half a season like we got this year and last. We need our best players playing in September. And we have some of the best young players, Wieters and Reimold have some of the best averages as rookies this year in the AL. Bergesen too.
But not only that, we have four start worthy outfielders, Felix was great until he got injured, Reimold, Jones and Markakis.
The fact is, the orioles can stay this course of growth and win at the same time. There is no reason for the O's to be the bottom of the barrel in the East. Enough about how tough the East is, the Orioles have dominated the division in the past. We are not going to buy a division championship, we have to earn it and KEEP the true talent we have and keep the farm system strong.
Trembly and Baltimore deserve to have a true complete season with a true team intact.

Pete, I have to admit you've thrown me a curve with your column, especially after you defended the "bring back Dave Trembley" position so well against Kevin Cowherd (is that his real name?). I realize, of course, that with your talents you could just have easily have taken the other side of the debate and argued equally well, because this certainly didn't seem to be a lock favoring Trembley.

While I agreed with much of what you wrote, the confusion for me comes in comparing your "unclear message" column to what I heard Andy MacPhail say at the press conference. In fact, after reading it I was reminded how Phil Rizzuto, when broadcasting for the Yankees, would mark "WW" for his scorecard for "Wasn't Watching." (I've always found Scooter's admission one of his funniest anecdotes.) I'm thinking if you were at the conference you should have marked "WL" for "Wasn't Listening."

Early on you say, for example, that many fans are going to look at the decision to keep Trembley at the helm as "an indication that the progress of the rebuilding program has slowed to the point where the Orioles need a caretaker manager for at least one more unproductive season" and in reading the rest of the column I don't think it's a stretch to say that to a large extent you agree with that assessment.

Has the rebuilding program slowed? That's not what I heard MacPhail say. Specifically, he stated: "I told Dave earlier this afternoon, 'I think we're out of Phase One,'" he said. "And that's the most destructive and the toughest phase, where you're essentially tearing down and you've got the real construction in front of you."

Logically, then, MacPhail believes that the slowest part of the process ("the most destructive and the toughest phase,") has already occurred and that the team is now out of that phase.

And how can anyone reasonably think that rebuilding has slowed after considering how many quality rookies made their mark with the team this year, getting enough playing time (even, most importantly, against the Yankees and Red Sox) to help prepare them for 2010.

As Orioles.com correspondent Spencer Fordin summed up the season, "Record doesn't reflect Orioles' progress."

Granted, not all of them are going to star next season, but I think most will agree that having Brad Bergeson, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman in the Open Day rotation is already a definite upgrade over Adam Eaton, Rich Hill and Alfredo Simon, while Jason Berken, David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio look to be able to help in the bullpen.

Once Matt Wieters got comfortable playing in the bigs, he gave us a preview of what to expect next season, and that is a huge upgrade not only at that position, but also in the lineup. Felix Pie made strides in becoming a productive player, while Nolan Reimold and Michael Aubrey also impressed.

So I'm at a loss to see where the slowing is supposed to be; rather, the team made significant strides in righting the ship. Yes, there are the needs to be filled. A power hitter would be nice, but with Wieters and Reimold playing a full season, both capable of hitting 20+ homers (and maybe closer to 30), and with plenty of other good hitters up and down the lineup, is one really needed that much?

So I don't see getting the power guy as crucial to the team's success as getting a truly good starting pitcher;
don't get me wrong, another bat in the lineup wouldn't hurt, but I just don't see the need as being as pressing as solidifying the starting rotation.

This team can't move forward--it won't move forward--in the standings until it first addresses it's biggest need, and that's fixing it's pitching staff from ace to closer.

If the O's can land a legitimate solid front of rotation guy, the bullpen situation should largely take care of itself, because with a quality starter added to Jeremy Guthrie and the trio mentioned above, the rotation will take many games into the six inning or beyond, thus taking the heat off of the beleaguered relievers for a change and making the retooling of the 'pen an easier proposition.

And as I mentioned recently, while signing such a pitcher is unusual for MacPhail, it is not unprecedented. As CEO of the Twins, he went out and signed Jack Morris in 1991, so it has happened, Andy taken a deep breath and opened up the purse strings wide for an ace (Incidentally, Morris was the highest-paid pitcher in the majors that year at $3.7M/. Part of MacPhail's current reluctance to go after a high-priced hurler is his experience with Morris, who bolted to the Blue Jays after only one season in Minnesota.)

You say we shouldn't expect much progress next year, unless MacPhail surprises us with big moves that mark "a dynamic change in the quality of the lineup and the pitching staff." Well, I agree, while of the opinion that even if no changes were made we should expect to field a better team and at least modest progress.

But I don't know why you think it will take a surprise, Pete, because both MacPhail and Peter Angelos said early on in the year that we could expect to see the Orioles to spend considerably more in the offseason in an attempt to land some quality talent.

And make no mistake, Angelos has the money to go after the big free agents and go toe-to-toe with the Yankees and Red Sox anytime he wants to. For those who doubt it, take a look at "Baseball's Billionaires," which ran in Forbes early this year.

http://www.forbes.com/2009/04/22/baseball-billionaires-baseball-values-09-business-billionaires-wealth.html

People seem to forget that in the 1990s he brought some big name, big salary free agents to Baltimore, including Roberto Alomar, Scott Erickson and Rafael Palmeiro or that prior to the 2004 season he splurged and brought back Raffy, along with Javy Lopez (they should have signed Ivan Rodriguez instead, but that's the luxury of hindsight) and Miguel Tejada (a year later they'd sign Sammy Sosa, past his prime, yes, but he still got $7M).

No, the only reason that false perception arose is because from Angelos' point of view, he's been burned too many times (think Albert Belle, Sosa, etc.) and from the free agents' point of view, because Baltimore hasn't been a desirable place to play for years.

Still, this might be the year to open the bank for someone like John Lackey, outbid everyone else and hope he's willing to come aboard a team that may still be a year away.

In summation (LOL), to me MacPhail was quite clear: The O's have reached Phase II of the rebuilding process, some good players are going to be obtained in the offseason and Trembley had better be ready to manage with wins and losses being more of a factor.

If the O's have a bounce back season in '10, Trembley likely will get a new contract. By "bounce back" I mean a season where the team shows improvement , how improvement is expected large;y will depend on who the Orioles acquire this offseason.

As for your question, Pete, if the O's are able to get a couple of good players (and by good I mean All-Star quality or near All-Star quality), I think that given the core players already on the team, MacPhail's probably going to expect a little more than just a 15-game improvement (let's not forget, this team finished 34 games under .500!)

If he can't find that level of talent, then probably 15 games is about right. I think the team is going to leap into fourth place in the standings over Toronto, no matter what though this is as much about the Blue Jays being in disarray as the O's improving. (Could you imagine the Jays without Halladay?...or the Orioles with him?!)

It should be an interesting offseason, to say the least and one we hope will further aim this club in the right direction.

I'm confident the O's can improve next season but I don't forsee a winning record. Of course, it depends on how the offseason goes, but I would settle for 75-78 wins, which would be a huge jump from 2009. I like Matusz alot and Tillman showed flashes, but are those two going to beat the Red Sox and Yankees? Don't forget that's 38 games right there and the O's went 7-29 against those teams this year and I dont see Boston and NY taking a step back in 2010. The bullpen is an absolute mess without a closer and there are holes at 3rd and 1st. Still, 2010 offers more promise for this franchise than it's had in about a decade.

Ken Francis;

I agree with you that we might not need the big bat that everyone seems to think we do. I sure hope so because I don't think we're going to be able to sign one. I just cannot see top level free agents signing regardless of how much money AM is waving around.

Take the example you give of Jack Morris joining the Twins, and then the Jays. In both cases he joined rotations that had other veteran starters and good arms in the pen. Also, the Twins and Jays had solid proven position players.

We have a lot of good young talent who offer a world of potential, but don't have proven records. That is going to factor into the thinking of any free agent. AM is going to have to be waving around a lot more cash than anyone else to catch one.

There is some potential for disaster in doing that, particularly over paying for a pitcher. To get Lackey to come here is going to take a lot of money. How much more than whatever NY or Boston is willing to pay would it take. Whatever it is, it's the kind of money sitting on the DL that would hurt a team like Baltimore.

I believe Tillman and Arrieta need more seasoning. I believe that Tillman was rushed to the majors and he is not the type of pitcher that can dominate when he misses, so in my opinion he needs a little more time down on the farm. If the Orioles elect to keep him in the rotation that may be too much for him right now. If the Orioles are concerned with innings pitched and all you can do is go by what the recent history has been, you can bounce him up and down and restrict him, without effecting the rotation. Albers, Baez and Bass will all pitch in the majors next year, just time for the Orioles to cut loose, and one maybe two of them will be good next year, but you have to have change now.. You could work Tillman out of the bullpen next year, but if you have Hernandez and Berken there already do you want a third young guy in there? One needs to stay down, and Tillman makes sense. He needs to learn how to pitch, and the Orioles must protect him. Bergesen and Matusz both showed they are further down the line of knowing how to pitch. To be honest about it, Hernandez has the same fastball as Tillman and an excellent slider. He hides his pitches well and needs to work on location, the bullpen will help him more than Tillman.

Sorry I did not answer the question completely. I am a pitching coach, so I am always thinking pitching.

Aubrey may be a good fit at first if the Orioles go after a power hitting DH or third baseman. There is not a lot of those out there. Also if I could make two moves that I believe would help the Orioles offensively is getting Figgins and a power hitter to bat clean up. Do you really want to see Wieters or Reimold thrown in that position at this young stage of their careers? Jones will strike out 180 times if they throw him there. Scott is not the guy also. They need someone that is going to drive the ball and put fear in the opposing pitchers mind with runners on, does that describe anyone we currently have? That is the question you have to ask and the answer is pretty clear there is no one in the organization that fits that bill, not for 2010 and probably not for 2011.

bob c, It's true that Morris joined quality Twins and Blue Jays rotations, but my main point was simply to show that, contrary to the common belief, MacPhail has gone after big money hurlers before.

Yes, it's highly unlikely that the O's can land a top shelf free agent, but it's time that AM start making the effort. Last year was a good start with Teixeira, even though Andy was outbid. He made a reasonable starting offer and it wasn't his fault that Boras never got back with him after he said the O's were willing to go higher.

Of course, Tex wasn't a free agent pitcher, and that's where AM's phobia comes into play. As much as I like his approach in general, MacPhail is too reluctant to go after top end pitchers (he will sign low risk, low yield retreads like Eaton, however. hoping that somehow he can luck out).

What AM can point to are nightmare signings like Carl Pavano, whose near $40M, three-year contract with the Yankees yielded only a 9-8 record over three injury-plagued seasons and was so much New York money down a rat hole.

The proverbial poster boy for bad free agent signings , a picture of Pavano probably hangs in Andy's office, before which he lights incense, sits cross-legged and intones the mantra, "I will not sign free agent pitchers...I will not sign free agent pitchers...I will not sign free agent pitchers."

But this is ultimately a losers' approach. If Cashman in New York took the same approach after the Pavano fiasco, he would have never signed C.C. Sabathia or A.J. Burnett in the offseason.

Cashman's approach is to put a team on the field capable of going to the World Series, whereas AM's is to be careful not to get burned. Or in other words, it's playing to win versus playing not to lose. (Incidentally, one criticism I have of Trembley's managing this season, even before all four wheels completely fell off in late August, is that at times his in-game decisions looked more to avoid losing than to win. Like AM, there's a lot to like about DT, but this seems a failing with him. )

While MacPhail's conservatism is not of itself a bad thing, there are times when taking risks to get markedly better is called for. And really the risks aren't that big when we consider that nothing get's signed without a physical. Let Andy view the Pavano deal for what it was: an aberration.

This offseason I hope he at least makes it clear that Angelos has money to spend and that the team is serious about contending. Presuming the O's young talent blossoms in 2010 the way many believe, he will have at least sown the field for signings in next year's free agent harvest and could reap a big crop.

Ken? Where are you going with that? We will see what happens. Really timing is everything. The Orioles had too many questions unanswered before the 2009 season started. They could have added 49 million in free agents and still finished last.

Hope this off season is different.

CB Coach, You're right, acquiring big name free agents last offseason wouldn't have made much of a difference, but you missed my point. Maybe I wasn't clear enough, so let me try again.

When I mentioned MacPhail making an offer for Teixeira, I think it was understood by nearly everyone at the time that the Orioles were in all likelihood going to get him, but that's not the point.

Now, had Tex's desire to be close to home been great enough for him to have said he'd bebe patient for a year or so as rebuilding took place, it would have have been a great coup and invariably sped up the process of fielding a contender again. Again, that wasn't a realistic hope, yet it doesn't matter.

What matters is that AM threw the O's hat back in the high ticket free agent ring as a way to let people know that the team would be moving back into the hunt for the major stars. And that's important not just to the free agents, who are now seeing a core of players in Baltimore that bodes well for the team's no-to-distant future, making it a more attractive location than in recent years, but also to the long-suffering O's fans, who would like nothing better than a winning team to cheer for.

As you say, timing is everything, but MacPhail timed the Teixeira offer perfectly, in anticipation of this offseason and beyond. Let's hope he is able to land a decent player.

Well there is not a lot out there, yet. Have to see what the decisions are by clubs who hold options. Even though it may tempt Andy to look at some aging stars like Delgado and Thome, I hope they pass. Actually the Orioles made a huge attempt to sign Carlos 5 years ago, and he declined the offer, signing with the Marlins.

Reality is if it comes down to signing some has been, or someone that is a high risk player, I would rather just see them stick with the youth movement. I saw that Connelly wrote something about the Orioles needing to sign someone that can eat innings, and in the same article mentioned Beddard, considering his unfortunate injuries, I do not think a guy coming off shoulder surgery equals inning eater.

CB Coach, I agree with you about this not being a banner offseason for top-end free agents, particularly in terms of an impact bat and that MacPhail needs to look the other way when it comes to the aging sluggers.

True, it might be tempting to say that since the Orioles likely aren't going to contend in 2010 there would be no harm in signing, say, Delgato to a one-year deal.

After all, he's two years younger than Thome and seems to have a bit more left in his tank (30+ HR for the O's would certainly seem attainable). The big red flag with Delgato, though, is his balky hip which has been a problem over the past two seasons and finally required surgery in 2009.

The trouble is that his signing would be a detour from the youth movement. Unless the team can find a younger slugger for the right price, better to stay with someone like Aubrey, who can hit with gap power and maybe more (around 20 HR for him seems doable).

So, yeah, I think you're right that the team would do better to stand pat if no good choices are out there for Andy (better no decision than a bad one).

As for Bedard, he's a risk I think the Orioles need to at least consider. Yes, the surgery on his arm is problematic, but he is going to come relatively cheap wherever he ends up. According to an August 14th Seattle Times article, the Mariners may have an interest in resigning him at the right price:

"The Mariners have a window of opportunity between now and 15 days after the end of the World Series during which time they can negotiate with Bedard exclusively. If nothing happens, then Dec. 1 is the deadline for the team to offer salary arbitration to Bedard.

"This would be unlikely. Bedard earned about $8 million this season, and the minimum he could be offered in arbitration is a 20 percent pay cut. That would mean the minimum offer would be for around $6.5 million — a lot for a pitcher coming off his second straight season-ending surgery."

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/mariners/2009665623_marinotes15.html

Then there's the question of how quickly Erik bounces back. According to the article, the soonest he could resume baseball-related activities would be mid-December, but it could take until February.

No one, whether it be the O's, the M's or any other interested team, is going to sign him without a very thorough-thorough to the point of obsessive-physical, and possibly more than once physical. And not only a physical, but some sort of verification that Erik still has his electric stuff.

Some totally unreasonable fans have tried to claim Bedard's a malingerer, someone who wouldn't give the O's the innings even when he was healthy. That is absolutely untrue, really to the point of being a slug. (Two season-shortening operations over the past two seasons should be enough to convince any fair-minded person of that, but the proof's in his stats for his last two seasons in Baltimore:

2006
IP - 196.1 W-L - 15-11 ERA - 3.76 K - 171

2007
IP - 182 W-L 13-5 ERA - 3.16 K - 221

http://www.baseball-reference.com/players/b/bedarer01.shtml

If it comes down to itI don't care if Bedard never gets to 200 IP as long as he can give the club180+ IP a year (and that's 180+ quality innings, not like the mostly bad 200 Guthrie threw this year). Anytime a pitcher can get over 175 IP in this era, he's clearly going deep into games and giving a rest to the bullpen.

At the right price, MacPhail should snatch up Bedard in a heartbeat. Potentially, the O's could have a plus rotation with that addition.

I think it will take a change of ownership to get the Os back on track. I have followed the Os faithfully for over 40 years and it is so disappointing to see what was once a great baseball institution absolutely suck so bad today. And it all pretty well correlates with the owner coming on the scene....

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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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