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October 31, 2009

O's: International intrigue

I'm sure a lot of people would like to see the Orioles boldly go where they haven't gone before and pony up the big money it will take to sign Cuban left-hander Aroldis Chapman, but I wouldn't hold your breath.

There are several indicators that point in the opposite direction, which likely means that the club's meeting this week with Chapman and his agent is more public relations than aggressive international player development.

Don't misunderstand. I'm not saying the Orioles weren't really interested in talking to the guy, but when you consider what it could cost to sign him -- some say $40 million or more -- it's hard to imagine the Orioles really being in the ballpark with some of the other teams that have shown interest.

The club wants to have a solid international presence, but came up about $1 million short on promising Dominican infielder Miguel Angel Sano when the competition for his services was relatively light and he signed for only $3.15 million. If they would balk at Sano at that price, what makes anybody think they'll be a real player at $40 million for Chapman?

The Orioles did pony up $10 million for Japanese pitcher Koji Uehara last winter, but they aren't exactly bragging about that acquisition anymore...and we're not hearing a lot of chatter about their new emphasis on international player development like we heard at this time last year.

Hopefully, the team is still just as committed to a global approach, because the O's are going to have to keep every avenue open if they are to have any chance of competing with the Yankees and Red Sox on a yearly basis. They probably will never be able to out-spend them, so they're going to have to out-scout them, both here and abroad.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 12:50 PM | | Comments (88)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Come on,

This organization won't make this deal...

They'd rather go for the has been closer from Asia (who couldn't be a starter any longer in Japan) and make him an key component of the starting staff in 09'. All while saying they did it to help make inroads within the Asia market.

Problem is, he can't stay on the field (Japan already knew such), and it made young players who weren't aware of Baltimore, realize just how bad the Orioles are (see Japanese news clips).

The subject is laughable, especially when people say 'well at least AM is going global'.........

Yeah Pete, those global players can't wait to get to Baltimore!

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Pete's reply: Wayne, I could have sworn that my post said that I didn't think the O's interest is particularly sincere, so you're sarcasm is kind of out of place. Here's a question for you, however. Would you sign Chapman for $40 million if you owned the team? Based on the fairly tepid success of the Cuban players who have come over here, I'm not sure I would.


If Chapman's going for $40M+, I hope the Orioles don't sign him.

As I said in response to another post: If they have that kind of money to spend, I'd rather see them put it towards John Lackey and/or Chone Figgins.

Daisuke Matsuzaka should be proof enough that it's crazyh to sign international players to lucrative deals. Aside from an INSANELY lucky year (2.90 ERA, but a .260 BABIP and he lead the league in walks), he's been below average at best.

I think this is exactly right... if no major league team thought Sano was worth $4 million, why would we be expected to pay 10-15 times that for Chapman? This is an expensive lottery ticket that the O's just aren't in a position to buy, and shouldn't buy at that price.

If the Orioles have one thing, it's good pitching prospects. All of whom make way less than $10M a year. Unless Chapman is a Strasbourg-type prospect (which I assume he's not), it ain't worth it.

Over priced is over priced no matter where the guy comes from. As b points out, if they have that kind of money to throw around there are better places to throw it.
Quick question Pete.
What's with the weird starting times for playoff games? I can understand the typical 7:05 starts during the season, but I just don't get what the reasoning is behind starting at 7:57 instead of just 8:00 or 8:05.

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Pete's reply: They've been doing that for years. I don't know why, but I bet it has something to do with starting before anybody watching on TV might check to see what else is on at eight while they're waiting for that 8:05 start that really is 8:12.

Pete,

Say it ain't so. please! There are two issues here, the O;s are cheap and nobody wants to come here to play! And why should either of those change. PA is making a handsome profit with one of the lowest salaries in professional baseball and every player, even international players surely know this is a last payday place! Yeah I see the likes of some over the hill, who can't land a gig anywhere else! How's that plan working out for y'all these days. A 13th season in dead last!

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Pete's reply: That's Keith chiming in from our masochism chat room. If you really believe all that, Keith, why are you still paying attention? I don't understand why you're fixated on how much money Angelos spends. He spent as much as anybody for years and got nowhere. Now, he is spending more than anybody else on the draft, which makes more sense to me. Of course, I'd like to see a couple good free agents signed this winter, but I agree it's hard to convince anyone to come here.

Regarding your story about administrators and their silly rulings, the whole zero tolerance policies by schools and other groups is simply a way to weasel out of making good decisions. Maybe it is partially due to all of the legal issues but people need to put common sense ahead of rules/laws/etc. Kind of like when a kid gets suspended for having a tylenol or something.

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Pete's reply: I absolutely agree.

Who speaks in public first? Dan Snyder or Peter Angelos? Actually, has anyone seen Angelos recently? I think he is like the old SNL quote, "Generalissimo Francisco Franco is still dead".

It's so funny to see the Redskins go through what Oriole fans have. You could transpose the team name in the articles in the Post, on TV and feelings of the fans. It is like the Orioles from a few years ago before anger turned to apathy.

Pete, If the Orioles are going to shell out big bucks on an arm, it should be a veteran arm. Chapman has a lot of potential, but he's no sure bet. If the Orioles are in the market for a good young arm (and they are), they can draft one with another high draft choice.

Even, for the sake of argument, say Chapman signed with the O's. At his age, he's probably not ready to help the team right away. Stephen Strasburg, who's the same age as Chapman, just as highly touted and similar in stuff from the right side, did nothing for the Nationals this season, even though there were rumors that they were going to bring him right to the majors.

Best case scenario for Chapman probably is to come up late next season like Matusz or early 2011. Then, again, he's played against the best competition in Cuba, which on average is likely to be Double-A caliber. so maybe he could come right in and start with the Orioles.

As for Sano, I don't think the O's liked him that much. From what I read, they never were able to see him in any game, just practice sessions, and there wasn't enough in what they saw to justify spending money on him that could be better used elsewhere.

Jumping into the international market is great, but it makes no sense to waste money just to make a point. From the club's vantage point, Sano is too unknown a commodity to take a risk in signing.

Speaking of international signings, the O's aren't bragging about Koji simply because he spent much of the season on the DL. He did nothing to shame himself.

I'm sure they're not closing down their Far East office just because of that and that they still have Yu Darvish in their sights.

The Orioles can spend as much money as the Yankees or Red Sox, and I'm puzzled why you and others insist on making the tiresome assertion that they can't. Obviously, you believe that, but why?

Peter Angelos is a billionaire (and no, that's not a misprint--it's billion with a "b") and he spent serious money on free agents like Belle, Alomar and Palmeiro in the mid to late 1990s. Nearly ten years later he brought Palmeiro back in 2004 and signed Tejada and Javy Lopez to go with him in the same year.

The problem isn't that the team can't afford to go toe-to-toe with the big boys, it's that no top free agent wants to play for a perennial loser when he can get comparable salary for a contender. Quit being such a pessimist, Pete (though it's easy to be one given the circumstances, I know). Once the O's start making some noise in the standings they should have no trouble attracting the best players.

Wayne, Koji was made a closer in Japan not because he could no longer start, but because he was coming off of injuries. He's better than you think and definitely not washed up. He should be a major contributor to the Orioles next year.

Pete,

To answer "YOUR" question, I guess being a lifelong fan means little when you move from coast to coast and can change alliegance like the wind shifts. My father has rooted for the Red Sox since 1930 so genetically I guess waiting them out is a family thing. But this team and the people who cover them have made excuses and apologized for what the front office does or doesn't do for too long. I mean look at Washington and the Redskins, the papers, former players even Sally Jenkins and Tom Boswell are lighting them up! I don't see what is so sacred with my beloved Orioles! They need to make some SUBSTANTIAL changes, either buying players, trading for players taking some chances on the foreign market (for players with and up side, as in under 30) or get a manager that can fire this 13 year failed organization fired up and coming to play every game.

I believe the quote is second place is just the first loser. Well were the last loser and have been for some time with little hope of moving past Toronto, Tampa, Boston or NY!

So yes we could all write in that, things are really looking up, Andy has a great plan, PA will buy players when we need them and DT will turn into Joe Torre overnight, WAKE UP! This is the Baltimore Orioles under the PA ownership, they can't even appropriately be represented to honor the greatest Oriole ever! Classless and Cheap!

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Pete's reply: Well, you're going to think what you're going to think. The Brooks thing was a ridiculously overblown "controversy" manufactured by people with an axe to grind, and if you're going to disregard that the Orioles organized the thing, sponsored it and everybody who was in town in the organization was there, then you're just looking for any excuse to rip them and you don't care what the truth is. I haven't changed my allegiance because I have no allegiance and I'm not supposed to. That's your job to be a fan, or not be a fan, but don't blame it on me that I don't share you're jaundiced view. If I felt the way you do, Keith, I'd go do something else. The fact that you grew up an Orioles fan doesn't absolve you of control over your future happiness. If you choose to be unhappy, then wallow in that and enjoy it. As for me, I've ripped this front office plenty over the years and I'm sure I will again, but my opinion is my opinion and we've opened this forum so you can express yours.

If the Os put 3m fannies in the seats and added that to their other revenue streams and wanted to put 20% to the bottom line, what's there salary cap so to speak?

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Pete's reply: I don't know their numbers, but another million fans -- especially if everybody were actually showing up to see a good team -- would be worth probably $50 million in additional revenue (tickets + concessions + parking). I suspect if they draw $3 million every year and had a good enough team to push up the MASN ratings, they would be able to afford a $120 million payroll and still make a nice profit. Just a guess, however.

Pete, this is just typical Orioles MO. Pretend they're in the hunt for a big player and just come up a bit short in the end! How exciting! When in reality their interest really amounted to a pile of horse s#!$. Its about selling season tickets you know.

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Pete's reply: Well, if that's true, it's not working.

We were sold a bill of goods several years ago that MASN would generate such a large pot of money that the owner would be competitive with the big dogs. What happened? Isn't it making money or did the owner forget?

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Pete's reply: I don't know how much money it makes, but the Comcast surcharge alone is a pretty nice revenue stream. I think they've got money to spend, but they still need to spend it on the right things. You might be happy to see them commit $300 million over five years to Rich Harden, Matt Holliday and Adrian Beltre, but I don't know if you'd like the end result. I'm willing to risk it, however.

Over the last ten years, 2000 to 2009, 25 teams have raised their salary by an average of 94%. Five teams have lowered their salary, three by a small amount. Two teams have lowered their salary a lot, San Diego by 20%, and the Orioles by 19%. Next year with money coming off the books, the Oriole figure will reach a drop of 35-40%.

Much has been made of the fact the Yankees revenues are so high the Orioles can not compete. This is only half of the equation, costs are the other half. The Yankees revenues are much higher than the Orioles but their costs are far far higher. What really counts is earnings or income, which is revenues minus cost.. Totaled over the eight years from 2002 to 2008, the Orioles have the third highest earnings in all of baseball. Over this period the Orioles earnings are 300 million higher than the Yankees

The Yankees are a team desperate to win and run that way. The Orioles are run to make money, winning is secondary. MaPhail has done a superb job of lowering payroll while appearing to compete. He’s succeeded, we’re heading to number one in earnings. Peter Angelos does not need to make money on the Orioles, that’s why its such a crime he runs them this way. If Angelos is going to run the team this way we need to take away the low low tax deal we gave him. Teachers are being furloughed while Angelos uses this to line his pockets, not put a winning team on the field. So no we won't compete for Chapman

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Pete's reply: Good luck with that. The stadium deal is ironclad. If the state tried to change it, Peter might end up owning Camden Yards outright.

Dave, where's that info come from? I read it somewhere a couple times and i forget where it was

Hi Pete,


That was a great job of doing the front office PR job as to why we won't, shouldn't and can't sign and can't sign Chapman.

Hell, the Orioles don't need Greg Bader or Bill Stetka when they have you to analize and apologize and justify.

You contradicted yourself in your own post when you said that it was probably PR and then said "Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying the Orioles weren't really interested". Well, which one is it?

I thought writers were supposed to be somewhat contrarian to the establishment?. Pete, one thing I have noticed about you is never paint yourself in a corner by making a declarative statement and leaving it at that. You can't please everybody Pete.

The team will never get better as long as the fans and the local media are as patient as Delta Dawn.

We need someone in the media like yourself with credibility to just flat out unload on this inept organization. If Phil Jackman were still here Angelos would have a contract out on him.


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Pete's reply: I resent your post and am damned tired of being told that I'm a lackey because I won't write what you want me to write. I'd be fine if they signed Chapman, but I made it clear in the post that they weren't willing to cough up an extra million for Sano so why would anybody think they would really go after Chapman. How is that apologizing for the team? By the way, I'm done justifying myself to you. If you challenge my integrity again, any personal conversation is over. I've said a million times, if you want to blast my opinion, fire away and we'll have an honorable argument. Saying that if I don't agree with you, I'm in somebody's pocket is the greatest insult you could pay me. Won't stand for that. Wouldn't expect you to, either. Last time.

Cush, salary data is from USA Today. Earnings come from Forbes and include rights payments from YES and MASN to Yankees and Orioles. Yankees own 35% of YES and Orioles own MASN. Those profits are not in the numbers.

I find it interesting that people form opinions based upon information that is completely unsubstantiated. Many people have reacted to spending $40-60MM to sign Chapman as if that is the number put forth by his people. The FACT is that number was mere speculation suggested by one ESPN Desportes reporter, Jorge Arangure, some time ago. Everyone seems to have latched on to that number as the gospel. NO ONE from the Chapman camp has publicly set a price for his services including the length of the contract. Suppose it was a 7 year deal that started at $3 MM the first year and escalated from there? Would that change people's mind's about the value of signing him?

All of this notwithstanding, I don't know if signing this kid is a good deal or not because I am not qualified to assess his current skill and potential. I have heard that he throws 100 mph, but has some control issues. The first capability
makes him unique because coaching can't teach a guy to consistently throw with that velocity. At the same time, 21 year olds...especially southpaws have been known to take a little longer to mature.

Finally, two comments for Ken. First, Steven Strasburg signed with Washington at the August deadline. Since he hadn't pitched competitively for 10 weeks, the Nationals decided not to have him join their team and had him pitch in the Arizona Fall League instead.
It was the team's decision. Second, when one plays for the Cuban National team, the level of competition far exceeds that of Double A baseball.
Remember how they fared against the Orioles in direct competition as well as their success in international play including the Olympics?

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Pete's reply: You're probably right about assuming too much about the price, but don't think that his people haven't floated a number. Happens all the time. I doubt anybody just made that number up, though I guess it's possible.

Harvey, You're right about the Nationals' decision on Strasburg, but there would have been no guarantee of success had they done what was rumored. Since he was a pitcher coming straight out of college he wouldn't have been up to the burden of all those extra innings right away, much like Matusz.

In that regard, Chapman 's a bit different. You're right that pitching in the WBC is well above Double-A competition, but those are just a few games a year for him. I was thinking more along the lines of professional teams in Cuba, where he saw most of his action. Definitely, a lot of good players there, but not at the level of the WBC and for sure not the level of the AL East.

Just because Chapman pitched well in the WBC doesn't make it automatic that he's ready for prime time. Last year Tampa Bay brought up David Price (first overall in the draft) at the the end of the season to work out of the bullpen, where he was pretty impressive. This year, however, he regressed as a starter and was part of the reason the Rays didn't make the postseason.

Don't get me wrong, if the Orioles can land Chapman, I wouldn't complain too much. I just know there would be more questions about him going into next year about him than there would for a seasoned veteran like Lackey or Bedard. Maybe he'd answer them in a spectacular way, but more likely he'd need to get his feet underneath him first in the minors.

Gil, I gotta ask you something. You jump on me and tell me you won't respond to me because I made a reference to you idiot proofing your posts so I might not get the wrong idea that you might be some agitated double-talking flip-flopping fool with an axe to grind who likes to hear himself talk.
Yet here you have no problems beating on Pete and his professionalism.
Hey, what's good for the goose is good for the gander.

And Wayne, when someone asks you a question, answer it. That's another one of your endearing habits. Beat the same drum and when questioned, never respond. It's a one-way conversation with you.

Pete,

I too am tired of everyone calling for McPhail's head when he's hardly had time to have a real effect, and those who are calling you a stooge for the front office. I DO understand they doubts people have.We have been asked to ignore the emperiors new clothes too many times. But here is my question to you. HOW LONG do we give McPhail to show some real improvement before we doubt his direction and two, from your point, is he given pretty much a free reign as opposed to the previous group of GM's under Peter the not0so-great? It looks like he is running things without much interfearence from Angelos. Thanks!

Peter: Re your snarky dismissal of my previous comment: Actually, Bill James was not available. He works for a Major League team, you might have heard of them -- the Boston Red Sox.

Speaking of which, compare interviews with Brad Mills, their former bench coach who was just hired as a major league manager, and the guy the Orioles just hired.

Or, go ahead and mock. You're good at both.

There are teams that have the money to sign Chapman, but won't. Does that make them cheap? Are the Orioles going to be blasted every single time for not showing interest or signing someone who may or may not help them? And why would anyone in the group clamoring for the O's to dump the current program, and empty the bank and the farm system because they 'have to win now, we don't know what the future holds, they need proven players' ever campaign for spending 40 million on an unproven 21 year old?

Oh -- forgot to add: Before the Red Sox hired Bill James, they hadn't won a World Series since 1918. Since, they've won two.

But surely their success is just based on "looking at players," right?

No Pete,

My point was that the O's won't be 'in the ballpark' for this dude, even if he was very promising.

My point is that they chase average or beyond their prime players (global or domestic) that may pacify many of the O's faithful, while contending teams (not just the yanks and sox) go after real, legitimate talent.

The irony this year is..... there's no great talent to go after (a point you've already made), thus the O's will get away with having another pitiful team while everyone chants 'In andy we trust'.


section 34 -

Too much is made of the Red Sox so called misery from 1918 to 2004. Sure, they didn't win a World Series, but they were consistently one of the better teams in the game. They just didn't get it done when it mattered.

And Bill James is great and all, but I'm going to go ahead and say that money is equal or greater than James' influence on the team.

Think about this: The A's have been using the James model for longer than the Red Sox, and since they don't have any money, they can't keep their players around long enough to win.

Yes Pete they have an iron clad stadium deal, but how about a 50% tax on earnings over 20 million. They break even at a payroll around 120 million, their payroll will be about 50 million next yeaar for earnings of 70 million. If Angelos is not going to invest it in the club lets take half. After all the implicit assumption on the stadium deal is that he's going to put the profits into creating a winning team. If he won't lets take it for more needy causes.

Wayne and Gil -

Since you're so dissatisfied, I really want to hear your plans for fixing this team.

What would you do?

The O's are more interested in their profit than developing a competitive team. They would not spend $40M for any player much less an unproven player. What happened to "develop the arms and buy the bats"? The arms are developing and now we'll hear there are no bats available.

After 10 years, it's all just nonsense. We won't have a competitive team until Angelos sells.

The O's are more interested in their profit than developing a competitive team. They would not spend $40M for any player much less an unproven player. What happened to "develop the arms and buy the bats"? The arms are developing and now we'll hear there are no bats available.

After 10 years, it's all just nonsense. We won't have a competitive team until Angelos sells.

The O's are more interested in their profit than developing a competitive team. They would not spend $40M for any player much less an unproven player. What happened to "develop the arms and buy the bats"? The arms are developing and now we'll hear there are no bats available.

After 10 years, it's all just nonsense. We won't have a competitive team until Angelos sells.

Pete,

I agree that numbers get floated all the time, but the final contracts often bear little resemblance. Scott Boras "floated" $50 MM for Steven Strasburg after he was drafted....then held him out right up until the deadline, before agreeing to the Nationals' offer of $15 MM spread over a four year deal. Sano's people floated $ 5-7 MM before he signed for a little over $ 3 MM. Personally, I don't see anyone paying Chapman anywhere close to $ 40 MM even if it was spread over a long contract. I think the Strasburg deal (both in money and years) will be the model for negotiations, but Chapman may get a little more due to his increased leverage owing to his not being subjected to the draft.

Regarding Ken's comment that a seasoned veteran like Lackey or Bedard would pose fewer questions next year if either were signed by the Orioles, at first blush I agree with him. However, both come with risks. Lackey has been injured at the start of each of the past two years. He finished only 3 games over .500 for a team that finished 32 games over .500 while pitching in a much more friendly and forgiving ballpark than Camden Yards.
How would his numbers translate to a last place team that competes against the Yankees and Red Sox almost 40 times per season? Regarding Bedard, even when healthy, he appears to be ready to exit most games after 5 innings or so. How does this help ease the strain on the bull pen over the course of a season? Even more importantly, is he the proper role model for the young guys on the staff?

As if the umpires don't have enough problems: the behind the plate camera shot in the top of the second when Nick Swisher was at bat revealed that home plate umpire Brian Gorman has a split in the seat of his pants.

Call me a close observer of the game.

Harvey -

Good thoughts on Lackey. The injuries are a bit disconcerting, especially since they've both been elbow issues. If the Angels don't make every effort to keep him, that's a reason to step back a bit.

Not sure how important his winning percentage is though. Especially when you're only looking at one (injury shortened) season.

I'm more inclined to look towards ERA, WHIP, K/BB and BABIP. Over the past four years, Lackey's got a 3.50 ERA, a 1.24 WHIP and a 3.02 K/BB ratio.

His BABIP has hovered between .291 and .304, so he hasn't had any crazy outlier years there.

In short, if Lackey's got a clean bill of health, I'm tossing all my chips in for him.

Barry -

Good eye.

Swisher's a guy I'd love to see in Baltimore.

He's got an incredible joy for the game, along with power stroke from both sides of the plate that would suit the short porches at Camden Yards to a T, though he's got a bit more power as a lefty, would would be perfect for Eutaw Street.

Oh, and he also plays plus defense at first base.

Wait a second. I think I just talked the Yankees out of trading him...

The blue crew got that one right.

The ball hit that camera just above the fence.

Good job by Hamels of settling down and getting the next two guys quickly.

Pete is only telling you what Andy MacPhail has said himself. Andy basically said they were interested in him, but if the big fish get into the bidding, the Orioles are out.

People wanted to see trades get done and Andy turns Tejada and Bedard into 10 players, then trades one of those pieces away for two others.

People have been complaining about the Orioles not being a player in the Japanese market. Within the first 2 years of Andy MacPhail, we set up a scouting department there and have our first two players from there (Koji was one, the lesser known one is Ryohei Tanaka who is pitching in the AFL and pitched at Bowie last season). To say that Koji wasn't one of the top talents on the Japan market last season is just silly.

It was him, Kenshin Kawakami, and there was a lot of hype around Junichi Tazawa who ended up going to the Red Sox. Kawakami's numbers are okay, but he had arm issues, and Tazawa was pretty unremarkable. Personally, I think an ERA a touch over 4 in the AL East is a bit better than a 3.86 mark in the NL East.

Koji can pitch. If you didn't watch him at all, you probably wouldn't be able to tell. He has excellent control, goes right after hitters, and learned a circle change in about a week and starting throwing it for strikes.

His fastball isn't what it used to be, that 92-93MPH fastball probably kept guys honest more than his 88-89MPH heat does now, but if he isn't in the rotation now I think he'd be a very good closer. I think he could throw a bit harder and with that control and command, he won't be another Randy Myers or George Sherrill walk-fest.

Anyway, this year's Japanese market isn't exactly thumping with talent, and a good portion of what was there decided to remain in Japan.

Not Brooks,

Good Post....

Instead of boring everyone with a long email, like many I see on these blogs, I'll leave it to this......

Angelo's sons must get out of the business of baseball. They (one in particular, who has the most say within the family) need to find another silver toy to play with.

If you knew how little they cared if this team wins or not, you'd never watch another game (until they were gone).

This ONE fix will cure things more than someone like AM ever could dream.

Not Brooks,

Good Post....

Instead of boring everyone with a long email, like many I see on these blogs, I'll leave it to this......

Angelo's sons must get out of the business of baseball. They (one in particular, who has the most say within the family) need to find another silver toy to play with.

If you knew how little they cared if this team wins or not, you'd never watch another game (until they were gone).

This ONE fix will cure things more than someone like AM ever could dream.

Is that a hat or a salt-encrusted thimble that Joba Chamberlain has on top of his head?

MONEY: the O's have it, and should use it "wisely".

Figgins: no. (wow, he looked great in a Contract year...but I'm not that gullible)

Lackey: no. He's not a top 15 pitchers, so why give him that type of money (which will likely be the case)

Chapman: better than the others, but NO.

Neither one of the players helps the O's squad more than the natural progression of the young talent getting more familiar with the Bigs.

this years free Agent class is poor. I think AM should do as he did last off-season....wait for the prices to drop and pick up "parts" until the "parts" in the minors.

BUT...

Joe Mauer is a free agent in 2011. YES YES YES.
--"but the Yankees and Sox will offer him money and he'd NEVER play for the O's."
--Offer the most money and even the O's can get guys. the Players Association will even help push the guy to take the biggest money.

Mauer is the BEST bat available in the next 2 years by a LOOOONNNNGGGG shot. (and if you think there's going to be championships in the O's future if Mauer goes to the Yanks, than my Kool-Aid needs a little more "kick")

Get the BEST player. Not a good player..the BEST. Don't take no for an answer. Don't let the competition acquire the talent. O's win, Yankees loose. Save the money. Wait for the ALL IN moment, than be aggressive and assertive to get the BEST PLAYER.

My hard earned money that I give for the club deserves to get the "best" player...not someone that's simply "good". Those types get acquired AFTER the BEST player is signed.

blah blah blah, but Wieters! I know, I'm a HUGE fan...but this is about getting the BEST, and with DH and 1B and Catcher, there's plenty of places for either one of them. Get the BEST for the BEST results.

Pay the Most.
Get the Best.
Simple.


(btw: I think the market for Bedard is going to be soft, and there might be a "deal" on him. And Andy LOVES deals. The rotation needs a Power Lefty. He's an AL pitcher (yes, that matters) and is 2 years removed from 2nd place in CY Young balloting...I'm ALL about Bedard...if the price is right. Cause, who's gonna give that guy (injuries and head case) big big money....)

how close is howard to the strikeout record in a 5 game series?

Since Connolly's Corner Bar is closed for Halloween, I'll put down a coaster here and say the Ravens will beat the Broncos 27-23. Ray Rice, inspired by Rutgers' wild win over Connecticut on Saturday, scores two touchdowns and Jarret Johnson jars Kyle Orton for a fumble that ices the game.

"blah blah blah, but Wieters! I know, I'm a HUGE fan...but this is about getting the BEST, and with DH and 1B and Catcher, there's plenty of places for either one of them. Get the BEST for the BEST results."

paulie -

Catchers can't just magically play first base. Remember Javy Lopez? And what would be the point of DHing Mauer or Wieters? They're both fantastic defensive catchers.

If you're wating until 2011 to spend money, spend it on Roy Halladay, Josh Beckett, Adam Dunn, and Carlos Pena. What's the point of blowing a HUGE amount of money on Mauer when you could grab Pena to play first and Dunn to DH for probably less than Mauer will make by himself? (Of course, all of this hinges on how Wieters develops.)

Pete,

Always a pleasure enjoying your writhing. Like I said before, the day you leave the Sun is the day I stop my subscription to it… and yes Mike Preston can leave anytime he wants. He has way too much of an agenda and personal axe to grind.
I think the Brooks backlash is overblown, but it is symptomatic of the Oriole way, in that why put the teams fan base in a position to even think that way. In the same way while current players, or O's management do not have to attend such an event, (they may have who really knows), but why weren’t they, at least that we know?
Because the Orioles are still a cold, calculating, soulless organization and it starts at the top, though their list of promotions and price reduction on certain seating appears healthy and the TV and radio team are very good as well, and have been here awhile, but it takes time to build up tradition and it starts with TRUST.
Baltimore people do not need sports. If you do not want us we are off to something else. Mr. Angelos could have 44,000 folks in attendance each night if people thought HE invested himself into a public trust called the Baltimore Orioles of which the fan base is more than a paying customer, but family.
Because when it is all said and done, I believe baseball like football is family. Winning is not everything and no one want to pay anyone who does not want to come here. Tradition has to be earned and it starts with trust.
However that is accomplished is up to the leader of any organization.

maybe mauer likes minnesota and will stay with the twins

if he leaves, can you imagine the dollars a well-heeled team could and would throw his way?
i mean the guy is a gold-glove catcher who has won the batting title 3 times , and he's 26 years old.

You could probably start around 25 and go from there.

Pete,

I said in my post that the Orioles needed someone with credibility like yourself to unload on this inept organization. What is wrong with me hoping that someone in your position can make the organization a little uncomfortable? Maybe it would prod them to go out and sign a Chapman. Or a Beckett. Or a Lackey. Or{GASP!} all three!

If you read between the lines I was inferring that someone like Nestor Aparicio has no credibility. He is largely ignored by the Orioles as a result of his ridiculous rhetoric. They can't ignore somone with a column a blog and 50,000 watts nightly.

Your opinions are important. Would I prefer that you get tougher on the Orioles? Of course. Right now the fans are being sold the rebuild hoax that will never work unless the team goes out and spends a bundle of money on proven talent.

I think you overanalized the Chapman situation before it has even developed. This IS a big deal. The Orioles desperately need pitching talent and should overpay for Chapman or anybody else who can throw the ball over the plate without hitting a bat.

You know I like you Pete, and if you think I questioned your integrity I aplogize.

I am just sick and tired of watching this organization play mind games with the fans. I see it for what it is and until the Orioles do something drastic to alter the paradigm the losing will continue.

I guess I am just a bitter old guy without too many years left who would like to see a Championship flag fly over Camden Yards before I take a dirt nap. And the latter appears far more likely than the former.

This seems to be a combination of Angelos, but also a bigger problem with baseball in general. There needs to be some version of a salary cap implemented. Even if the Yankees don't win the World Series every year, it still makes fans in other cities fell hopeless that the Yankees sign every big name free agent, then the Red Soxs and maybe one or two other teams. The structure is broken and must be changed, or baseball will not be much more than hockey in a few years.

Jim66,

I never call people names in my posts. Sometimes they get worked up over my ideas. This is a blog where ideas are exchanged. I don't claim to be right. We have a group of great and knowledgeable fan contributors on this site including yourself. Sometimes though a few of them they take it far to personally.

Dave-
~Yes Pete they have an iron clad stadium deal, but how about a 50% tax on earnings over 20 million. They break even at a payroll around 120 million, their payroll will be about 50 million next yeaar for earnings of 70 million. If Angelos is not going to invest it in the club lets take half. After all the implicit assumption on the stadium deal is that he's going to put the profits into creating a winning team. If he won't lets take it for more needy causes.~~

Hey Barack, stick to tearing up the bankers legal employment contracts. Where the eff do you get off wanting to steal Mr. Angelos' money? Stay in Washington where they dont make you wear a mask and use a gun. What happened the communist state of Maryland and city of Baltimore conspired to steal a franchise owner's personal property? He took it to Indy. He is probably already giving more to charitable causes for the good of the community that all but a couple individuals and now you want to steal more from him because you dont like how he runs his baseball team? Shouldnt you be writing to Pravda instead of the Baltimore Sun? They would approve of you dictating how much a man can earn.

Gil;

If you aren't a politician, you should be. What a mealy mouthed apology you gave to Pete. "if you think I questioned your integrity I apologize",

Sorry but Pete isn't suffering any delusions. You're pointedly questioning his integrity, and when you keep doing it after he's repeatedly told you otherwise, you're questioning his sincerity and calling him a liar.

Man up. Drop the "if you think" and give him a proper apology.

Sorry Bob,

I don't see what I said as a qualified apology and I don't grovel. Far worse things have been said to Pete on this blog than what I said. Posters have actually called him derisive names, which I never have. I never have used the term "lackey" that he brought up. It was my OPINION that in his post he was pre apologizing and rationalizing for the fact that the Orioles would not sign Chapman. Do I think he is in the Organization's pocket? No. He came closest to my true feelings when he said that he won't write what I want him to write. He has the column, the blog and the 50,000 watts, not me. I am just a lowly peasant

He ripped me for it and that's OK. Time to move on.

Pete,

I appreciate your sensitivity to suggestions that you should 'unload on this inept organization" (Orioles). But perhaps you could help clarify for fans where the real reluctance to invest in player salaries arises?

Many of your blog posters rightly point out that Angelos is a billionaire and presumably could afford to invest more in better talent. But it is possible that the resistance to doing so arises from the minority owners, who may be more dependent on Oriole's profit for their income than Angelos is.

I do recall that Tom Clancy, the second largest owner by share, stated when the Angelos syndicate bought the O's that he was excited because he thought it would be a good investment. He expected to make money. He could not have been as disappointed as the fans have been by the way the deal turned out for the last 13 years.

A key to understanding what Angelos could do to ramp up spending for talent is the operating agreement between the owners. What happens if Angelos spends more than can be covered by annual revenues? Are the other partners obliged to contribute their pro-rata share of the losses? And if they don't is their ownership share diluted? Do they have veto power over "major expenditures?" If so, the public impatience with Angelos may be partially misdirected.

Perhaps we should be more upset with Tom Clancy? He may be more responsible for the business model of fielding mediocre teams than even Angelos.

A report on those issues would not really constitute "unloading on the organizaiton," but rather explaining the implications of the hidden arrangements between the partners for the way the O's work.

I, for one, would appreciate that type of reporting.

Harvey, You make some good points regarding Lackey and Bedard. Note that I didn't say there'd be no questions after signing one of them, butonly fewer questions than with Chapman, because he has no track record in the majors.

Concerning your points, it's true that Lackey's missed some games the past two years, but those came after five consecutive seasons of 32 to 33 starts, so overall he seems pretty dependable in that regard.

As for his stats, you've got to look at the big picture. Just because he won only three more games than he lost is not necessarily an indictment on his performance--and in fact, it isn't one at all. He had a very solid 3.83 ERA (second-best after Jared Weaver on the Angels,12th-best among AL starters and his fifth consecutive year under 4.00); he was keeping his team in games, so we need to look for other answers for his unspectacular record and there are three: 1) no decisions in eight of 27 starts, 2) lack of run support, and 3) a bullpen that didn't hold leads for him.

As for Bedard, the injuries are a question mark, but the Orioles certainly aren't going to rush in blindly to sign the guy without first making him take thorough physicals, have his medical post-op records scanned with a fine-tooth comb and watching him pitch.

The innings pitched issue (which I believe is somewhat overblown) has more to do with his injuries over the past two seasons than anything else. In them he only averaged just a little over 80 IP, but in his last two years with the O's he went nearly 190 IP per season.

I'd like to see Bedard go more innings, but it's important to keep in mind that a Bedard-pitched 5.2 innings is not the same as, say, a Berken-pitched 5.2 (sorry, Jason), because with Bedard more likely than not he's kept his team in the game.

All one needs to do is look at Bedard's ERA over the past four seasons (all sub-4.00, two sub-3.50 and one sub-3.00) to know that he's going to provide quality innings when he takes the mound.

So, really, the innings pitched issue is pretty much a red herring, if you ask me. Just as with Lackey, if the Orioles sign Bedard, he instantly becomes the ace of the staff.

Gil, great post! I guess it's just you and I that think were getting an unbiased pic ture from the media. And our lead blogger asks why we continue to write on his blog if were so disatisfied. Its quite simple, If you have a sibling with some sort of problem, do you ignore or abandon them or try to get them help. However to make one excuse after another and defend their every move isn't doing the team or the fan base any good, your an enabler and allowing the same behavior to happen over and over. Yeah were talking to the Cuban, and we talked to AJ and Texiera too. And now, when were REALLY ready to buy some free agents, I guess the plan only goes year to year, because there are no 3b or 1b of any merit to buy! Good plan we got there! Year 14 of the downward spiral, only this year the Nats have a better record than the O's! But hey the profits are way up!

Jimm66,

Wow, I'm impressed, your self righteous attempt to become the blog defender is so moving. Now if you only contributed something of substance we would all be happy. If we wanted the blog Gestapo I believe we would have set that up in the beginning and since I don't recall an election, why not just dit down and color!

Peter Schmuck,

I was SO happy to see you take a hard stand with the "critics" and give it back. Disagreeing is one thing. Bashing someone personally is another...and out of line.

Keep it up!

Pete,
Thanks for all you do. For those of us in the Hinterlands (and at the beach!) you are a Godsend. Don't let the Keith's and Gil's get you down. My second favorite team is the Marlins with one of the lowest payrolls in baseball and candidly if I read one more post about trading the young arms for "big talent" my head will explode. The Marlins have 2 world Championships in the last 12 years and have re-invented themselves repeatedly. The Phillies have the 8th highest payroll and the Marlins came in 2nd with a payroll almost less than A-Rod. They do it by tremendous scouting and squeezing Abe Lincolns head til he screams. A lot of us believe the O's are finally doing the scouting and have a lot of talent in the minors. We need to realize with the Yankees and Sox we aren't going to have a dynasty...that's just a fact of baseball economics. But, I'll take 2 World Championships every 12 years.
ps...I remember the Bullets/Wizards Rex Chapman disaster...NO Chapmans!

NOT BROOKS--fair point in that not everyone can play 1B. But as I see it, Mauer is so far-and-away the Best talent to hit the Free Agent market, there is little reason to try and figure out who-plays-what. Mauer is sooooo much better than everyone else it's kinda silly.

Yes the money will be astronomical, but the O's have it.

Spreed the money around on many players? Do 3 B+ guys = 1 A++? not for me. In 2012 spend money on the "other" parts like Lackey's and such.

The key (IMHO) to a great team is Great players. Not good players, Great players. Cubs have Lee, Sox have Popi, Yanks A-Rod, Tigers got Miguel Cabrera, Rays Langoria, Rangers Kinsler and Hamilton. The O's must have one of those A++ players to be competitive year-in year-out. They are hard to acquire, need lots of money, and are critical to sustained success.

and again...he can't join one of the other teams in the AL East.

I'd be happy if he stayed in Minnesota, he is a local and all, but honestly, Money Money Money talks.

paulie -

Sure, three B+ guys don't equal one A+, but look at the Cardinals. They have the best player in the game, and probably the best since Ted Williams in Albert Pujols, and that wasn't enough.

If you're going to win, you need to spread your money around on several good players. Look at the Rangers. They did exactly what you're saying the O's should do when they signed A-Rod, and what did it get them? A mediocre team with one mega-star and years of payroll issues because of spending too much on one guy.

I've got a suggestion. I'm guessing Brad Lidge could come pretty cheap about now. His performance this year combined with his salary make him the perfect Oriole pick up. Despite many contenders, no one has really filled the void left by the departure of Bruce "Batting Practice" Chen and Lidge has all the credentials one associates with the Orioles in the Angelos era.

No post on this yet, but I've got to comment about tonight's game:

1. Why on EARTH do you bring in Brad Lidge in a tie game with the top of the order coming up!?!?1? He's by FAR your worst reliever and the series is on the line. What in world was Charlie Manuel thinking?

2. What was the deal with pulling the shift on Teixeira? Since when is Tex is dead pull hitter a la Jason Giambi?

3. Lidge should be fined, punched in the face, released and blacklisted for not covering third when Damon stole second. What a joke of a baseball player.

PS - Can't wait to read what Charlie Manuel has to say about Lidge blowing the game.

If he says anything about how Lidge has "been there before" or how 2009's worst reliever in the game "knows how to win" I think I'm going to throw up.

Keith Rowe;

This line from your 7:05 post, "And our lead blogger asks why we continue to write on his blog if were so disatisfied. Its quite simple, If you have a sibling with some sort of problem, do you ignore or abandon them or try to get them help." has to be one of the most perplexing things anyone on here has written in a while.

For a start, looking at the Os as a sibling is bizarre, and while one would indeed want to help a sibling, unleashing an unending torrent of negativity is hardly the way any rational person would go about it.

Lastly, Pete seems to be a solid, well grounded guy, not one to suffer delusions of grandeur that lead him to think that he has some kind of power to affect the way in which PA runs the team. If you honestly think he does, you need to get a grip on yourself, or get some help if you can't manage it on your own.

The simple truth is that for whatever reason you are a bitter guy who has some need to constantly vent your spleen. You need a hobby, something that can make you smile every now and then. Constant negativity just isn't healthy.

not brooks: I guess it depends on your perspective of the O's as constructed now. The Cards didn't have great on-base guys like Roberts and Markakis. Nor did he have protection behind him really, like Adam Jones or Matt Wieters or Nolan Riemold. The Cards were all Arms this year with MVP of the Decade Albert.

I just think that the O's need the possible next best Albert Pujols available.

Looking at Mauer's stats, it's hard to imagine him not being talked about as a Pujols type. He's gonna be 27 by the time he's a FA. a lifetime .327 hitter. I think Wieters is gonna be like Joe Mauer one day...and that's a life long 3-4 hitting combo that can slug through the AL-East for yeeeaarrrss.

By then, 2011, the O's will see exactly where they're talent is taking them, and yes a SP will be need to be added probably, maybe 2 even, but if Josh Beckett were 27 and a FA I'd be all about that. Or King Felix.

the impulse to buy now, when it's a thin pool of talent, unlike next year when maybe the O's could go crazy and get Holliaday and Mauer. save the Millions for then. sign the "boys" up though, Like Adam Jones when the price is cheaper and he's under controll, ala Evan Langoria.

Do we know anything about Chapman outside the WBC?

Sano slipped under my radar. This is the first time I ever heard of him.

Koji may not have been the starter the Orioles wanted -- he certainly wasn't healthy very long -- but I haven't given up on him. Maybe, he's more suited for the 6th-8th innings or as a spot fifth starter.

Big picture: The international idea shouldn't be foresaken. It's hard to have an opinion on a specific player when that player si an unknown.

Pete, hang in there. I'm not sure what some posters are expecting.
1. Just because the Orioles can afford a significanlty higher payroll, doesn't mean they should just go out and throw the money around. It was bad contracts that contributed to this mess.
2. When AM came here, he had a team full of bad contracts that he needed to unload. It takes 2 to tango in most cases and just because he may have wanted to deep-six player X, doesn't mean he had a dancing partner.
3. When AM came here, what minor league talent the Orioles had was in the lower minors. It wasn't at AAA/AA. The system needed rebuilt and with all of the 2009 promotions, is thinned out again and in need of restocking.
4. Re the Sherrill/Bell trade: In 2008 an awful lot of people wanted Sherrill traded mid-season because we "needed to sell high", he "wasn't part of the future", etc. Now Sherrill is gone and everyone is moaning about not having a closer and how that contributed to the 2nd half swoon this year. What do these people want?!?!?
5. I wish the Orioles had made a better pitch for Teixiera last year, BUT he's in New York and there is nothing that can be done about it now. Move on!

This is the year that AM needs to start showing some progress. The bad contracts are gone, and the rookies have at least some experience now. There isn't much to fill the 1B/3B holes in FA or realistically in trade, so until Snyder and Bell show up, 2010 is going to require more patience.

I understand that Seattle is hoping to sign Chapman so they have an ace to replace Felix Hernandez, who they're looking to deal due to perceived contract demands.

This guy is a true, proven big-time ace. Anyone short of Wieters and Matusz should be made available.

Just some thoughts from a longtime fan.

"They probably will never be able to out-spend them, so they're going to have to out-scout them, both here and abroad."

I agree that we can't outspend the Yankees or Red Sox's on an annual basis, but I think we can spend enough to challenge for a few players. We just need to get the right guys.

Interesting question by Kas. What do people want? We want a winner, that is the simple answer. I am not going to praise or defend MacPhail. This off season is important and hope to see some light at the end of the tunnel. Sooner rather than later, some real proven players need to be brought to Baltimore. If you look at the history of the last 25 years, it has been mismanaged by a number of people, so this is not a new problem. But posting angry messaages does not help. Demanding better does not mean you have to act like a person begging to get out of a mental institution, nor does it give you a right to personal attacks on others. With that being said....

On Chapman- The Orioles should still put something on the table.
To Andy MacPhail, who cares about numbers being thrown around, make an offer even if it is 10% of what the suggested price to land him, if you land him great, if you do not come close so what. Throw him a bone, see how it goes. You are an expert at this, come up with what you are willing to pay, if that is anything at all.

Do you really want to pay 40 million out for a guy that has not shown success, that only shows some promise? Like paying 50k for a Ford Tuarus, might be a good car, but you can do better with that money.

I am willing to bet that he gets no where near the suggested price.

The O's need a $40 million arm as much as the Redskins need a $120 million defensive tackle.

kas in co, Hal W and Matt P--agree with each of you.

--can't spend aimlessly, and contracts were prohibitive when AM stepped in.

--if Felix is available, by all means seek a deal. better he than Lackey...by a long shot.

--and the O's can't out spend Yankees and Sox, but there is enough to beat/match plenty of top notch talent. If deployed wisely. Not on the less-than-great talent that's available this year.

--and yeah, should have made a much more aggressive move towards Tex. Hopefully with Mauer, the O's learn from the Tex mistake, and pony up the most money to get the Best player.

--sadly, yes, 2010 season looks to be highlighted by the continued development of the players. not gonna be contending for anything but 1st overall pick.

Posted by: oriole1952 | October 31, 2009 8:40 PM
HOW LONG do we give MacPhail to show some real improvement before we doubt his direction and two, from your point, is he given pretty much a free reign as opposed to the previous group of GM's under Peter the not-so-great? It looks like he is running things without much interference from Angelos. Thanks!

For what it's worth, I suggest that, we consider separating our losing streak into two separate runs:
March 31, 1998 to June 19, 2007, The Era of Confused and Diffused Leadership
and
June 20, 2007,* The Day the Meddling Died, to the present.

By doing so, it is much easier to accept, at face value -- that "baseball decisions" are now in the hands of the professionals -- than it is to continuously allow our bowels to get in an uproar.

And, in fairness to fans and their hopes, the Competitive Clock should begin to run on Andy MacPhail.

Let's consider creating a timeline with two Dates of Truth (DOTs). Our timeline could begin on the day after the final game of the World Series -- about November 5th -- unless the Yankees close it out tonight.

PROPOSED TIMELINE TO JUDGE O’s ARRIVAL AT COMPETIVENESS:

11.5.2009 ------------------------------ 7.16.2010 ------------------------------ OD 2011

The first “Date of Truth” (DOT) should be the date by which the Warehouse can be fairly judged on how well the 2010 Orioles have been constructed to play solid, "interesting" baseball with a .500 record within reach until September 15th (arbitrary cut off). I propose the first game after the All-Star Game break -- July 16th -- which will allow time for call ups to fortify the roster.

My choice for the second, and final, DOT on the timeline is the date -- Opening Day 2011 -- when the most skeptical fans – Wayne, Battling Bob Lancione -- will be forced to admit that the Orioles Are Back!

Or, fans like me -- full of hope, not Kool-Aid laced with mind-control drugs -- go over to the dark side.

I’m not even as much as hinting that fans should not criticize; just hoping that we “keep our powder dry” and hold our fire -- the big guns -- until we pass the point on the timeline when you think Andy MacPhail has had adequate time to finish the task at hand – return the Orioles to competitiveness; not one-year wonders, but a team at the top of an organization that, with prudent, unfettered leadership, will maintain our competitiveness for the foreseeable future.

*Date when Andrew MacPhail joined the Orioles with -- and only because he received -- a "Non-Interference Pledge" by Peter Angelos.

jackdunn'sbaby -

I like your time timeline. Three and a half years seems like a reasonable amount of time to rebuild this franchise.

jackdunn'sbaby;

Couldn't agree with you more. Personally, I think 3 to 5 years is a reasonable time frame to take a decrepit team, which the Os surely were when AM came on board, and turn them into a decent or better ball club. 2010 is on the optimistic end of that range, and unless AM pulls a few rabbits out of a hat in terms of trades or FA signings this offseason, likely won't be a winning year.

But if Weiters, Jones and Reimold continue to progress and put up full seasons of the kind of numbers we think they're capable of, and if Matusz, Bergesen and one of either Tillman or Arrieta can nail down spots, then Baltimore will become a place that good free agents will want to sign.

Yeah, the Yanks and Bosox will always have more money than we do, and will likely always be where most free agents want to go, but they can't sign all of them. As an example, why wouldn't a Prince Fielder, seeing the Yanks and Bosox committed to Teixeira and Youkilis, want to come and play for the Os if he saw them as a well run franchise with a solid base of young talent and a committment to winning.

Being in the AL east is not the complete negative that so many seem to think it is. While it is indeed tough to go head to head against the Yanks and Bosox, the kind of players that would bring us success would welcome that challenge.
We just have to have the core of a good team in place when it comes time for them to make that decision.

The O's need to stick to Scouting. Scouting and a little more scouting. Stop being the last in developing country and start being the first. (china anyone?)
pick up players that no one else sees getting ready to have a breakout year instead of a broken year. They don't have the money to throw away so invest it in the long term gain. There isn't enough money to not only fix what's wrong but beat the yanks and the bosox for free agents.


{{clapping}}

well said WILL A. and

(truly, all formats of player acquisition will have to be utilized...things "as reported" seem too indicate there is a long term, big-picture type of approach with managment lately)

At some point the Orioles have to start spending money. We are talking about a 21 year old left hander who throws 100 mph!

At some point the Orioles have to start spending money. We are talking about a 21 year old left hander who throws 100 mph!

"At some point the Orioles have to start spending money. We are talking about a 21 year old left hander who throws 100 mph!" - Brad

You last name isn't Pennington, is it?

Brad;

Correct me if I am wrong but didn't Daniel Cabrera nudge 100 mph on the gun when he first came up. Didn't turn out to mean much, did it.

I've never understood the fascination with 100 mph heat.

Most of the guys who have had it have also had major control issues that couldn't be fixed until they dialed the heat down to 95 anyway.

Look at Ubaldo Jimenez. He's got the fastest average heater in the game at 95.7 mph and in 218 innings in '09 he wasn't even close to the MLB K/9 leader. Jimenez notched an 8.2 mark (and also walked 3.5 per nine) while Tim Lincecum put up a 10.4 mark (with only 2.7 BB/9).

brad, i agree with you. with the expiring contracts of people like mora, baez, etc, why not actually spend the money instead of pocketing it? and don't spend it on some stop gap players, lets spend it on a lefty who throws 100 and could potentially be a dominating pitcher

not brooks, i'm not sure if you're trying to say jimenez isn't very good, but i'd take him over a lot of pitchers in baseball. and sure there have been pitchers throw 100, but how many lefties can you name who have done it? seems pretty intriguing to me. lets get this guy!

Dave in Buffalo;

Every year in either the minor leagues or college there are guys who can throw close to 100mph. That precious few of them ever have successful MLB careers is telling. Shelling out millions for such a guy is demonstrably a high risk bet. Let's use the money on someone who has proven they can get guys out, regardless of how hard or soft they throw the ball.

bob c, i know what you mean, and i would love to have a good proven pitcher too, but the reality is that lackey is the only really good one out their and i don't think he would ever come to baltimore unless they overpaid, which would just be way too much. i think chapman is probably the second best option for FA pitchers this offseason, behind lackey. lefties with 100 mph gas and a good hard slider don't come around often, so i feel like the o's should jump at this opportunity. and yes, i know that 100 mph doesn't = success, but he has the makeup of a dominant pitcher.

one way or another, i would love to see the o's get a stud player, whether they're a hitter (adrian gonzalez) or a pitcher.

so, bob c, i understand that you are skeptical to get chapman, but i really don't see many better, affordable options. with a little seasoning, chapman could be dominant. i think it's worth the risk.

Dave in Buffalo;

What do you mean by Chapman having "the makeup of a dominant pitcher." My understanding of "makeup" is a guy who gets it, a guy who knows how to pitch. That is distinctly different than saying a pitcher has great "stuff". Have you seen this guy pitch or read scouting reports about his makeup in the sense of the way I'm using the word.

Why don't we see what our young guys can do. If the way Guthrie finished the season portends a return to a reasonable facsimile of how he pitched in 07 and 08, if Bergesen shows that his great 09 performance was no fluke, if Matusz steps up the way I believe he will, and Tillman or Arrieta can solidly nail down a spot, then we may not need to sign anyone, other than help for the bullpen.

I realize that those are a lot of ifs, but since we aren't going to be a playoff team next year, why not let the young guys show what they've got. At worst, they will clarify what it is we need.

I'd rather put out 15 million a season for a pitcher when we are to the point of being seriously in contention. I also don't think that guys like Lackey are going to want to sign with Baltimore until we get to that point.

I don't know what you think of that idea, but I'd be willing to bet that is where we're at next spring. To my mind, free agents aren't going to sign with us until the young guys we have put down some numbers, not just show some potential.

It looks like the debate's heating back up. I missed it. I even had to drop an O's comment in Z's blog the other day. Of course he edited where I got a lil snippy with someone (force of habit that I wonder where I picked up).

Great post though Pete. Dead on and very objective despite what some are saying. You said it's most likely a sham. I'm not sure how that's being a lackey. If you were a Lackey though, could you put in a good word for Baltimore at Thanksgiving dinner?

Anyway, we don't need him anyway. Unless he hits more HR's than Guthrie gives up and plays a corner position as well. We need low risk/high reward guys. I just think it's a waste of breath to get worked up over him.

If it is just a chirade and you know you won't be in the running, that practice needs to stop. It's embarrassing to be the team that tries and tries and no one ever picks them. Make an offer or don't. Make it strong or don't make it at all. It can't help us when it counts that we build the perception of wasting people's time.

bob c, you are right. i guess the word i should have used is "tools" instead of makeup. my mistake.

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About Peter Schmuck
Peter Schmuck wants you to know that, contrary to popular belief, he is more than just a bon vivant, raconteur and collector of blousy flowered shirts. He is a semi-respected journalist who has covered virtually every sport -- except luge, of course – and tackled issues that transcend the mere games people play. If that isn’t enough to qualify him to provide witty, wide-ranging commentary on the sports world ... and the rest of the world, for that matter ... he is an avid reader of history, biography and the classics, as well as a charming blowhard who pops off on both sports and politics on WBAL Radio. That means you can expect a little of everything in The Schmuck Stops Here, but the major focus will be keeping you up to the minute on Baltimore’s major sports teams and themes, whether it’s throwing up the Orioles lineup the minute it’s announced or updating you on the latest sprained ankle in Owings Mills. Oh, and by the way, that’s Mr. Schmuck to you.

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