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November 18, 2009

Orioles: Going to market

The opening of the free agent market on Friday won't generate nearly the same level of anticipation around here as last year, when fans could fantasize about big-ticket players Mark Teixeira and A.J. Burnett before the Yankees had time to snap them up. The Orioles have the same basic needs this time around -- a big-swinging corner infielder and a frontline starting pitcher -- but the dynamics of the market are considerably different.

Here's the latest list of free agent corner infielders that Andy MacPhail has to choose from if he doesn't want to give up any of his core pitching prospects to make a trade:

First base

Hank Blalock TEX
Russell Branyan SEA
Carlos Delgado NYM (B)
Nomar Garciaparra OAK
Jason Giambi COL
Ross Gload FLA
Aubrey Huff DET
Nick Johnson WAS (B)
Adam LaRoche ATL (B)
Kevin Millar TOR
Robb Quinlan LAA
Matt Stairs PHI
Mike Sweeney SEA
Jim Thome LAD
Chad Tracy ARZ

Third base

Adrian Beltre SEA (B)
Geoff Blum HOU
Craig Counsell MIL
Joe Crede MIN
Mark DeRosa STL (B)
Pedro Feliz PHI
Chone Figgins LAA (A)
Troy Glaus STL (A)
Jerry Hairston NYY
Mike Lamb MIL
Melvin Mora BAL (B)
Juan Uribe SF

If you recall, the name that was buzzing around late this last season was Nick Johnson, but I'm trying to figure out how to cast a guy who has a total of 13 homers over the past two years and has never driven in 80 runs in a season as an upgrade.

Personally, I'd like to see the Orioles make a real play for third baseman Adrian Beltre. The guy is coming off an injury-diminished 2009, but hit at least 25 home runs the previous three seasons. He'll be in some demand, but might consider the Orioles because of his close relationship with shortstop Cesar Izturis.

Our beat guy, Jeff Zrebiec, thinks that Pedro Feliz is the most likely third base possibility. The best player available at third is Chone Figgins, who would be an interesting choice if there was any chance he would consider Baltimore.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:01 AM | | Comments (95)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Hank Blalock and Joe Crede, get it done Phaily. Discussion over.

Pete, neither Feliz or Figgins are "big bats" for corner infielders. Figgins fits at leadoff or #2 in the lineup and Feliz falls closer to #7 or #8. Neither excites me. If you're going to consider these guys, you might as well go with Snyder and Bell at 1st and 3rd.

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Pete's reply: I'm not willing to lose 100 games with guys at first and third who aren't ready to play in the major leagues. My choice would be Beltre.

Blalock, maybe (but he .234 last season). Feliz? He'll be 35 and has a career batting average of .254. Why not just re-sign Mora?

I'd much prefer going with Snyder and Bell as Kevin M suggests.

Sign Beltre to play third and stick with Mike Aubrey to play first. Then, go after the best free agent starting pitcher that can be had.

I agree with trying to sign Beltre. He's a good fielder, which our youn pitchers need, and he can hit for power.

If not Beltre, what about taking a chance on Glaus? Again, good fielder with power.

Lastly, I also agree with getting the best starting pitcher who will come to the Orioles.....Bedard?

The thing to remember is, the Orioles might just have the answers to first and third in the minors.

We all know they are not going to contend next season, it might be until 2011 that we see true improvement. The young talent here now and on the way needs time to further develop and form into a team.

I would be very comfortable going into next season with Micheal Aubrey at first and Wigginton/Mora or an incoming UT type manning third. Aubrey is a gap hitting doubles machine( seven in 90 ABs last year). He has what is called a slump proof swing, smooth and quick to the ball. He won't hit for power, but is in the mold of Mark Grace(who only once in his career had a SLG of 500 or better; Aubrey's SLG was exactly .500 last year). And Aubrey is an outstanding defender. He can certainly hold down first until Snyder or Waring is ready.

Third is more problematic. No one was impressed by Wiggy last year, and while Mora played his usual stellar defense, we all know his power stroke got lost.
I vote against Beltre. Yeah, Pete, he hit 25 HRs for three seasons before last year, but his OBP was woefully inadequate and even with the HRs, his best SLG during that stretch was 482. Face it, he'll never revert back to the 48 HR guy with the Dodgers in '04. He does play great defense, but why sign him when Melvin is a possibility? If you're looking at him, I'd say look at Blalock also,, who hit 25 last year, but hit 234.

The problem is, by the time Bell/Snyder/Waring is ready, Roberts will be in the next to last year of the contract and Izturis likely will be gone or resigned. That means middle infield is a pressing issue and much harder to fill than the corners. Is the organization comfortable with Turner and Davis as the top middle IF prospects? I wouldn't be, I don't think they are, either. There is some talent at the lower reaches, but it might be three or four years before those guys are close.

I say, save the money unless we can get Bay, Holliday or Lackey. I wouldn't mind a lesser FA at the right price, say Blalock, Adam LaRouche(who would thrive at OPACY) Crede or DeRosa and one of the second tier pitchers(I think both Rich Harden and Mark Prior would be worthy gambles).

Put the money into getting/developing the middle IF, we're gonna need to address that soon enough.

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Pete's reply: I would not be comfortable with Wigginton and Aubrey at the corners, unless everybody takes a vote and agrees not to complain when the O's lose another 98 games waiting for the minor league cavalry to arrive and a better free agent class next year.

Adam LaRoach at first , Adrian Beltre at 3rd. & Bedard back in the rotation. Now if we can only find a way to erase McPhail's folly by giving away Sherrill.

Re Nick Johnson: I agree with you that he's injury prone and not worth signing. But to say you don't want him because, playing for the Washington Nationals, he hasn't driven in enough runs? You mean we need a proven run producer like David Segui?

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Pete's reply: I just don't see him as a big upgrade.

Tell me how Beltre is an upgrade over Wiggington? Beltres career stats are: .270 ba, .325 obp, .453 slug. Wiggingtons stats are: .271 ba, .328 obp, .452 slug. He will be much more expensive then Wiggington and is basically the same player.

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Pete's reply: I think one of them is an everyday player who has two Gold Gloves and averaged 28 homers and 94 RBI in the five years preceding last year's injury-plagued season. The other guy is a good part-time player with some pop. Apples and oranges. Even though Beltre's run-production numbers are inflated by his one super season, he has much more upside than Wigginton.

Please God (or Andy), just give me someone who gets on base. I live in Philly and have been watching Feliz for two years -- he is the opposite of what we need.

Same with Blalock. Blalock has sucked for years in one of the best hitting parks in baseball. He is not a solution.

Take whoever is oldest and most decrepit, then offer them 6 years at big bucks.

Take whoever is oldest and most decrepit, then offer them 6 years at big bucks.

Figgins would be a great fit, even though he's not the type of player they indicated they want. He's a great defender and Figgins and Roberts would give people headaches at the top of the lineup. Roberts is a great player, but like most guys, he has hot streaks and cold, and we struggle to score when he's not getting on base. Having a second top rate table setter would make the offense much more dynamic.

Beltre would be my second choice. I have no desire to see Pedro Feliz.

It's going to make me sad when, after weeks, perhaps months of denials, the Yankees emerge from the void and snap away Lackey from the jaws of the Red Sox, then pluck Holliday from the Red Sox and Angels, and once again nab the best fruits from an otherwise barren free agent market tree. It's going to make me sad when the Orioles sign another version of Kevin Millar, of Ty Wiggington, (Nick Johnson, Adrian Beltre, welcome to B-More!) to hold down the fort, to "save their money," even though they've been saving money for the past decade. I wonder what they're going to buy with all that saved money? Buy Cadillacs for all the fans that have endured their brutal, saving ways? That would be nice, but I'd gladly trade in my Cadillac for an ace pitcher. It's going to make me sad to hear the rumors that the O's were in hot pursuit of Adrian Gonzales, of Prince Fielder, guys that would make a credible impact not just with the O's, but in the division, but only to hear it all "clarified" by Andy McPhail that, in the end, they weren't close to "consummating" a deal, and their youth is just too, too, too valuable to trade away. It's going to make me sad to begin the 2010 baseball season with the knowledge that the Orioles have morphed into a small market team that's year after year reduced payroll in an age, in a division, when the other teams take the opposite approach, and add and add to their payroll, and to realize that the Orioles have zero chance of competing with the big spenders. I could be wrong on all accounts. After all, if Peter Angelos suddenly wants to play in Cuba, perhaps he'll suddenly want to produce a winning team and realize that they've got to spend some money, not save it all, and trade away from youth to get some impact players. But I'd be less surprised if I walked out front and found a new black and orange Cadillac.

Here's my question Pete; Why are we looking to sign a FA for 1B and 3B when we have 2 players on the roster that can play those positions (Wiggy/Aubrey) and more importantly 2 or 3 top prospects waiting for their shot? It makes no sense when pitching is the biggest problem on the team. If we sign say Beltre for 3B he is not going to come here for one year he will want a 3 or 4 year deal, so that means Bell will have to wait 3 years at least to get a legit shot. Same goes for Synder at 1B. These guys are nearly ready, probably half season in AAA for Snyder and year and half for Bell. So why get involved in long term contracts (and end up with a Mora situation in 3 years ie untradable and disgruntled) with guys that aren't gonna be part of the future, when this team desperalty needs a functional pitching staff? We all know we are gonna stink again next year so why not let more young guys get experience.Let me know your thoughts Pete.

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Pete's reply: It just depends on how long you're willing to wait for a better team. If you start the season with Wiggy and Aubrey at the corners, you're announcing that it's going to be another 95-plus loss year. They can fix a corner and get some pitching. It doesn't have to be one or the other.

I think a couple of posters have it right. Beltre is a good bet in the field and MAY provide some needed pop. He can field rings aroung Wiggington. LaRoche WOULD be a nice pickup but I feel certain he's staying here in Atlanta. Also, IF LaRoche signs elsewhere, he will want more than a 1 or 2 yr contract..so WHAT do you do with Snyder? I can see Beltre at 3rd, MAX 2 yrs, Aubrey at 1st and Wiggington playing both in a sub role. Then WHEN either Bell or Snyder force their way onto the ML roster then they rotate Beltre, Wiggington and Snyder/Bell in the DH role.

I was reading a trade rumor:

Jeremy Guthrie for Brandon Wood. Considering Woods prospect staus and Guthrie turning 31 next year, it would be a good trade. And it would be a pretty even trade.

At least I'm not suggesting Jake Arrieta, Brandon Snyder and Troy Patton for Adrian Gonzalez like the other crack smokers. I don't think Bill Bavasi is running the Padres...

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Pete's reply: I could live with moving Guthrie if the O's are going to sign or acquire a frontline veteran starter to take his place.

With the free agent crop at 1B & 3B there is little to no chance that the O's will get the power hitting, high slugging guy that they need this year in free agency. So if there is a chance to get a Gonzales or Fielder in a trade I say pull the trigger Andy. Got something for the young pitching talent while they still have value. Before they end up like the rest of the young arms in the past, pitching in front of poor defense with not enough run support. With Fielder in the line-up, u could put Feliz or whoever wants to hit 8th and can play solid defense at 3B, resign Bedard and at least compete

Most of the above list of free agents aren't going to have much of a long-term impact. Signing any of these guys is just a sign that we haven't changed our patch-work approach that hasn't worked in the past.
Many of these guys are injury-prone/old/declining or all of the above.
Beltre is one player that may have some upside but he's gooing to want more than a 1-2 year contract and I'm sure he'll want anywhere from 6-10 mill/yr to boot. Let's say we overpay to lure him here by coughing up a 3 yr/20 mill contract. He could be the next Huff production-wise just as easily as he could put up decent numbers and more importantly, he blocks Bell, who presumably is going to be ready in a year.
So I say let's pass on this whole bunch and try to get by with Aubrey and shudder-Wiggy at the corners. Maybe someone steps it up in the spring...

Hey Peter, whaddya think about going after Miquel Tejada and moving him to third?


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Pete's reply: I think it's an interesting idea, but won't happen because of the history.

As many have pointed out, we have the corners covered in the farm system. But unfortunately, none of them are a guarantee. You can't assume they are going to meet expectations. They will have to play their way to get to the major league level. Neither Snyder, Bell, or Waring have forced themselves to be considered for a promotion. If anything, Snyder has been a disappointment in AAA. We still don't know about Bell since he has only played at AA. Waring has only produced at A so far. These prospects have a longer way to go then some people may think.

With that said, I think you still have to make an effort to be a competitive ball club. The O's are still in desperate need of a pure cleanup hitter. I still think Uggla is the best option for 3B if it doesn't cost giving up prospects. If he is unavailable, I would go for Troy Glaus. He has had some injuries of late, but given the right opportunity, and if he can stay healthy, he is more than capable of putting up some big numbers.

For 1B, I would go for Delgado. He was also injured last year. He has proven he can hit in the AL East. He knows the division. He is a pure power hitter. For him being a lefty, he should be able to put up HUGE numbers and hit a ton of HR's over the short fence. He is also a guy you can even leave in at DH if health becomes an issue.

Signing Glaus and Delgado would be an immediate upgrade that fills a team need for not only run production, but the corner infield positions. These two positions have been the O's weakest link for a long time. Millar and Mora compared to Glaus and Delgado? I don't think either should be overly expensive. They are both veterans at the end of their careers. I am sure it wouldn't be too difficult to sign them short term. And besides, if they produce, you could always trade them down the road if the younger guys are ready to step in.

Mark DeRosa would be the 3B I would want. Listen, I know he won't have the power numbers some of the other guys have but he would bring work ethic and a positive attitude. We need veterans and leadership to balance the youth on our club. At first base, I would be willing to take a flyer on Carlos Delgado. Lots of power. Intimidating. Veteran Latin presence on the club. All positives. Keep Wiggington as DH and try to flip Luke Scott for pitching.

swankdawg,

Wiggy/Aubrey??? Are you nuts? Why don't you ask the pitchers about that option. I would say an automatic minimum 1 run increase to their ERA's while watching all the balls fly by.

Orioles should look at Figgins as a shortstop! Sign him to play third this year and when Josh Bell becomes ready next year, then move Figgins to short. Izturis' contract runs out after this year. Figgins has played short before and has a lot of attributes including quickness, sure handedness, speed, and a strong arm, and there is no reason he can't play an above-average shortstop. Orioles need to think a little out-of-the-box to combat the menace of the Yankees and the Red Sox. If the O's find out that Figgins can't play short, then, he can be traded for couple of prospects. If O's think that Figgins can't play short then Beltre should be their next option.

A few comments/responses:
Nick:Defense is as valuable as offense. And as someone here said, Beltre could field laps around Wiggy. And a good defense helps a young pitching staff. He also was in a major pitchers park. Now I'm not too thrilled over his 325 obp, but I think he could possibly get it back around 340-350 as it was in his Dodger days. That coupled with defense makes him a steal. And he doesn't "block" Bell, until Bell is ready to come up. At that point Beltre could sub and/or DH.

Jack: Speaking of Bell, the Sherrill trade for him was a no brainer. Relievers and closers are almost a dime a dozen. Not that they aren't important, but its hard to predict sustained success (see Baez, Danny). So to flip him for a positional player w/ upside, thats almost criminal.

That said I'd love to have LaRoche and/or Beltre. Either could slide into the DH role when Snyder or Bell are ready. And also another thing that i haven't read here yet. There's a possiblity that Snyder's bat won't profile well at first base. He doesn't look to be a 30HR bopper, and his defense didn't look great either.. Another thing to consider.

I'm with those who would like to go with Bell and Snyder. Pair Snyder with Aubrey at first and get a right handed bat with a good glove to help out Bell at third. That frees up Wiggy and Scott for trades.

I like Frank's suggestions and reasoning. We must get some pop in the lineup, and since nobody is a perfect fit and we do have strong possibilities in the pipeline, lets get some power hitting placeholders.
Glaus and Delgado would fill those roles fine.
However, I also agree that what I really want to see is a solid starter to anchor the staff. Worry about that first and use the money that's left to fill the corners.

Roch, If by "big-swinging" is meant a 25+ HR (preferably 30+ HR) guy, then Feliz doesn't remotely qualify. He's never hit more than 22 HRs in a season and in the past two years has hit a combined 26 HRs (12 in 2009, when he had more ABs) in 1005 ABs. Also, he turns 35 in April, so his numbers can't be expected to change much for the better.

Signing Figgins wouldn't address the power needs of the Orioles, though along with Roberts, would provide great base stealing potential at the top of the lineup. Unless the team finds a big bat somewhere else, his acquisition would signal a desire to play NL-style baseball. Figgins turns 32 in January.

Now, Beltre is somewhat intriguing. He had that monster year for Dodgers in 204, when he 48 HR, but that was something of an anomaly, as he's never hit more than 26 in any of other 11 big league seasons. In fact, of the seven years he's hit 20+ HRs, three times he hit less than 25. He turns 31 on the second day of the season, so it's not out of the question that he could have a couple of 30 HR seasons.

Playing at Camden Yards hasn't been a particularly good fit for Beltre: In his career he's played 22 game at OPACY, but only had 3 HRs in 84 ABs. Not too encouraging, though not a huge sample, either. And just as importantly he's had very spotty power numbers in AL East parks: 6 HRs at Yankee Stadium and 5 at the Rogers Centre, but only one at Tropicana Field. He's never homered at Fenway Park.

He's won two Gold Gloves, so he'd provide good defense, but at the plate his numbers in 2008 and 2009 weren't as good as those of Melvin Mora (who could be brought back for a lot less than it would cost to sign Beltre).

Beltre
2008 -- .266, 25, 77
2009 -- .265, 8, 44

Mora
2008 -- .285, 23, 104
2009 -- .260, 8, 48

Not that the O's will resign Mora. I'm just saying...

I think Tejada should be considered, if he's willing to play third, because he's going to hit closer to .300 than Beltre, and while Adrian has the better chance of putting up higher homer numbers than Miggy (though he didn't in '09), Tejada led the NL in doubles with 46, while Beltre only had 27. I think Tejada could be a very good third baseman, too, because he has good reflexes--not much range, true, but then range isn't nearly so important at third than at short. Third is all about reflexes.

Also Tejada, a six-time All Star, is a better all-around player than Beltre, who's never been named to an All-Star team. Beltre does have him by five years in the age department, however either one is mainly a stop gap for Bell anyway, so that's not a major consideration.

Neither strikes out much, which is good if the idea is to have one of their bats in the lineup behind Markakis, but realistically, neither provides the ideal right handed power bat for cleanup. (I still like Guerrero as DH for that role, though the odds of him signing with the O's aren't very good.)

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Pete's reply: Who's this Roch fellow you're talking to?

Agreed...Roy you hit the nail on the head. i would be much more excited if we got at least one second tier starter that can help out the young guns. If Delgot-it is still out there after we get some quality arms then go for him. I am fine with pulling a Longoria with Bell and waiting a month to bring him up. I will forever be an Oriole fan, Go O's!

I think the Rolling Stones best sum up this off season - " You can't always get what you want."

Why are all you people making FA scenerios when none of the FA will even consider coming here.. this team has lost for 12 + years.. if it was you would you come to a loser? hahahah i think not.. especially if you have only a couple of years chance at a ring... you want to go to a winner.. KAK NY.. which i'm sure will buy most of the FA anyways! they do every year..
so why even worry about it.. this team wil stink for years.. so look for more losing and losing.. let's say 20+ years.. hahahahaha

ATTENTION PETER!
PLEASE GIVE US YOUR OFFSEASON PREDICTIONS! PUT YOUR REP. ON THE LINE, YOUR MONEY WHERE YOUR MOUTH IS! LETS HERE IT..........


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Pete's reply: I don't have any money in my mouth right now. What are you looking for? Free agent predictions? I might as well buy a Powerball ticket. I want the O's to sign Beltre, but I think they'll sign Pedro Feliz. I really doubt they'll get a frontline starter because nobody is trading them and there is only one real safe bet in the market (Lackey) and he's not coming anywhere close to here. I'll go out on a limb and say the Orioles make a real play to get Bedard back.

Sorry for the misspelling. Let's hear it.......


more retreads for sale,
bunch of used tires......

unless you pay top dollar
for the elite free agents
like a-rod, sabathia etc. you
are just filling patches....

the orioles need a quality
3b, 1b and one good power lf.

their pitching should get
better with their young prospects, but buyer beware
in the free agent market....

There is no need for a power hitting LF. We have Reimold and he will be just as good if not better than Holiday in a year. Plus he wont drop easy flyballs that are hit right at him to seal a game victory in the playoffs. Bell will be good, no need to block him.

I think, if they could do it, Beltre and Blalock would make the most sense. They would be 31 and 29 when the season started. It would give them nice balance adding right and left handed power. Beltre's average season is 25 HR's, and Blalock should tear up Camden's short porch in right field. Your lineup would be 1. Roberts, 2. Reimold, 3. Jones, 4. Markakis, 5. Beltre, 6. Weiters, 7. Blalock, 8. Scott, 9. Izturis. That lineup would be competitive with any offense.

I don't think that we can do Blalock and Beltre, as both could possibly be low OBP guys. And we don't need batters that can't get on base. I am intrigued by Delgado, and worse case scenario he can DH.

Pitching wise, I'd love to make a run at Ben Sheets. He had a year off to recover, so he should be fresh, and Andy Pettite came back from a similar injury. Pedro came back from injury at an advanced age and pitched well.
I'd actually take Ben Sheets over Rich Harden, b/c Harden has yet to pitch 180 innings in a season I believe.
Its a gamble, but A good oen I think.
Sheets, Matusz, Tillman, Guthrie and whoever.. not 1st place in the AL east, but more competitive

It's worth pointing out that Bell and especially Snyder are not sure things. If they can get a legit corner guy they should do it and worry later if their prospects are blocked. It's a terrible idea to avoid addressing their needs this year on account of two guys who haven't had success above AA yet. More than likely, at least one of them isn't going to make it. Even if they do, it's better to have too many good players instead of not enough.

Raymond, what do you mean whoever. Bergesson was by far our best pitcher last year. I do agree with the Sheets move as well. I loved that guy in milwakee. He is a gamer. That would be a good rotation. just imagine if tillman and matusz grow up a little. guthrie would be where he belongs as the number 5 and i think he will do very well there.

Bonzi, you make some real good points. But look at the free agents this year the only one that could help us out would be figgins. There is no point in spending a ton of money whent he talent just isnt there. The only reasons to spend a ton on fa's would be to make the fans happy but we would still have a losing team. Lets go and spend money on pitching a closer and a starter...Sheets would be great. Then spend a little on Delgot-it and keep wiggy there until Bell is ready.

Brooks, I agree on not spending money just for the sake of spending money. But if the right talent is available at the right price you take it and worry about who you are blocking later.

The problem like you said is that this is a terrible free agent market for what the Orioles need (closer excepted). There's not a legit middle of the order hitter to be had and aside from Lackey (who they won't get) there's not a reliable front end starter either. Gambling on Sheets, Harden or Bedard is probably their best option, but what they really need is a 200+ IP guy to be an anchor and take strain of the kids and the bullpen.

Sadly it's not a matter of going down to "Clean Up Hitter Farms" and "Ace Pitcher Orchards" to pick their needs off a tree. People need to remember that sometimes.

no way do you want wiggy at 3rd. beltre is the preferred choice or for a one year player i like feliz. he can drive in runs and is very good in the field. i would give aubrey at shot at first in spring training. in the limited time he played with the o's last year his fielding was very good and he showed power at the plate. what more would you want in a first baseman? may the schmuck be with you!

Brooks,
I went back and forth on including Bergesen. He WAS our best pitcher last year until getting hurt. I hope he suceeds, but he has a low K rate, he doesn't miss bats, so its possible that it could have been a mirage.. I guess just didn't want to get my hopes up.

Pedro Feliz? I'd rather have Melvin Mora back. Who bats cleanup, Luke Scott?

I don't know why the O's have given up on Uggla. Put him at 3B until Bell is ready. Then put him at 1B until Snyder is ready. Then have him fight it out with Scott for DH while playing him some at 1B/3B. Keep him for two years, offer him arbitration, and get a sandwich pick and maybe something else in return.

Pete why would we not offer a couple young pitchers to fill our needs Lets see we have Birkins, Hernandez, Tillman, Arietta, patton, bergesen, just to metion a few. They all can't pitch in the rotation. Sign a Bedard keep three of them trade for a big RH bat Guthrie good #-3 or 4 guy Berg earned his spot Birk Hern. don't know do they have value. We have some depth with a few trades we could compete this year. Still get a good draft this to. Some other talent is only 1-3 years away Turner bell snydor etc. what ever happened to Scott mOORE

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Pete's reply: The problem is, you're not going to get anything for Berken or Hernandez. If you want an Adrian Gonzalez, you're going to have to trade Tillman, Arrieta and maybe Snyder, which I don't think you want to do.

Why sign any 30+ free agents if the consensus is 2010 is another throwaway year?


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Pete's reply: True, but I don't think they can afford to completely throw away 2010.

Personally I think the O's should make a play for Ruben Gotay the risk is minimal and while he probably isn't any better than Josh Bell it will create some competition at 3B and he can play Second too.

It'd also be nice to get Beltre if possible but he can't hit so the combination of the too would give us a hitter and a defender then Josh Bell in the waiting.

We can always trade off Beltre at the end of the year when Cezar leaves.

If we are talking fielding skills alone, uggla is not exactly a gold glover. I dont mind if we get him but I dont want to give up arrieta or erbe or patton to get him. As much as I look at the orioles web page, espn, and baltimoresun.com to find out what we did this offseason I realize enough that I want to win but not just for a year or two I want to be a possible playoff team for a decade. Lets just see what AM does this offseason and not judge him until its all over. I have been blessed with the namesake Brooks and I want to return to those days. We need pitching in the worst way though.

I remember a couple of years ago when MacPhail traded Bedard and Tejada, he said that he was just trying to accumulate talent, and let positions sort themselves out later.

I think that is a very good philosophy for this off-season. I think that the Orioles are still too far away to be too position specific in their talent search.

I personally think that they only have 2 untouchables (Weiters and Matusz), though they have several others that are good to enough to be part of a core for a contending club (Jones, Roberts, Markakis, etc).

If I were the GM, assuming that they have some master plan for the type of lineup and rotation that they wish to field when they are ready to contend, and assuming that they are probably currently missing several pieces, is to focus on adding at least 2 more pieces to the contending core.

I would sign to long term contracts the best 2 free agents who meet the qualifications of the master plan and who are young enough to still be part of a contending core in 5 years, regardless of their position, except for catcher.

If you then have excess in a particular postion, look for trades in positions of need, using the same qualifications of trying to add players good enough and young enough to be part of a contending core in 5 years.

I would even consider signing to 1 or 2 years key veterans, if it enables us to make trades that add to the future contending core.

The Orioles goal must be to build toward a 98 win team. They must keep adding the type of talent that gets you to 98 wins. It won't happen in one off-season, but if your goal isn't to be good enough to get to the 98 win plateau and maintain it, then you have no real hope in the AL East,

Add quality talent, regardless of position.

You want crazy ideas. I got crazy ideas for our offseason and we can spend some money while we are doing it.

First, sign Figgins to 3 year deal. Not sure what it will take but probably 8-9 million a year.

Second, get Uggla from Florida. Rumor has it they want a minor league Starter. If it can't be Patton, then maybe Britton.

Third, this is when it gets tricky, go for a big trade. To Chicago, Luke Scott, Brian Roberts and Guthrie for Derek Lee and Carlos Zambrano. Cubs want to dump Zambrano, need an out-fielder and would save a lot of money to go buy a first baseman. This would solve their lead-off problem.

Fourth, sign Bedard.

This is all fantasy but you have the corner infield positions taken care of and really not blocking Bell and Snyder. If either one is ready early next year they can become DH. If both, a year from now move Uggla or let him leave as free agent after 2011 and both can have positions (DH, First, Third between Lee, Bell and Snyder). You still have plenty of pitching depth Hernandez, Berken, Arrieta to fill in when Bedard gets hurt.

This does spend a lot of money, but we should have it. This team could compete now and not mess up later by getting rid of our star young pitchers. Figgins can lead off and we would definitely have plenty of right handed power. I know this is not realistic, but we are talking about an Orioles blog and we have the right to dream once every 10 years or so, don't we?

LaRoche at 1st and Feliz at 3rd. This is a pretty simple solution IMO. If we go with the young guys, we lose 100 games and the free agents next year will avoid us like the plague. LaRoche would love Eutaw Street, Feliz would offer the same stellar defense Mora offered and come relatively cheap. Throw in Bedard, and we have a team that can win 15-20 more games. That is the improvement necessary in assuring Baltimore is a legitimate landing spot for big name FA's in NEXT year's winter meetings.

In reply to:"I think one of them is an everyday player who has two Gold Gloves and averaged 28 homers and 94 RBI in the five years preceding last year's injury-plagued season. The other guy is a good part-time player with some pop. Apples and oranges. Even though Beltre's run-production numbers are inflated by his one super season, he has much more upside than Wigginton."

I thought that too until I started comparing their stats... Their Slugging percentage is identical. Their HR/AB is identical. Their BA is identical. In fact if you compared their stats one by one by the time you were done you wouldnt be able to tell one from the other. Also, I would buy the upside argument in Beltre were 25, but he is 30. Players dont typically get better at 30.


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Pete's reply: But my point is, you can't compare ratios between full-time and part-time players. Wigginton played a lot this year, but he's really not a full-time player and I don't think those ratios would hold up over 600 plate appearances.

Earth to Smuckblog - Andy should focus on the MAJOR weakness of the team, which is clearly the BULLPEN. I don't know about everyone else, but I grew really tired really quick of watching all of those late inning wasted opportunities. Sure 1B/3B are weaknesses, but this FA class doesn't boast desirable long-term options, and addressing 1B/3B doesn't address the team's MAJOR weakness. Priorities need to be in order.

Let’s face it, unless the O’s develop talent with pop, not too many young guys with 25+ homer potential are going to come to Camden Yards via FA (as we recently found out with Tex). The O’s should learn from their recent past, and gear the team towards good defense, good pitching, and an offense that relies on run-producing via OBP, steals, and doubles.

The plan is simple (top priority first): 1) significantly upgrade the pen (via FA or trade); 2) add a veteran starter (via FA or by trading Luke and pitching prospect not named Tillman or Matutz); 3) upgrade 1B/3B.

I haven’t done the research on who is a good fit for the pen, but we shouldn’t have a hard time finding 2-3 decent arms who can throw strikes (and not walk every other batter!) and keep the ball in the yard. Bedard and Sheets are good options for starters who may consider playing for the O’s on a short-term basis (i.e. 2 yrs). We can stick with the players that we have now at 1B/3B (Aubrey/Snyder and Wigs/Bell). However, if the O’s dip into the FA market for a 1B/3B, they should go for Figgins (3 yrs 30m). While he is not as young as is desired, he plays solid D, can bunt, can get on base, can steal, and provides a spark that the O’s desperately need (and don’t get from the likes of Roberts/Izturis). The team played better ball last year when guys like Reimold and Pie hustled it out and actually played like they wanted to be there - Figgie is that kind of guy.

While the plan won't get us to .500 ball, it should probably put 8-10 more games in the win column, which is all we can realistically expect from the team next year anyway. This gives the young arms another year to develop behind a solid D and takes the pressure off of them so that they don’t have to worry about pitching a complete game because they are worried that the pen will cough it up as it routinely did last year. A little confidence will go a long way amigos.

Hey Pete. thanks for the updates on our O's. I am 19, so I cant really remember the '97 team. I am trying to stay positive. Its really hard to believe in the Orioles competing when I haven't seen it in my life time. My dad tells me to stay positive but he has also seen 6 WS appearances and 3 titles. I will never switch to another team but nevertheless my team being a punchline is getting old. My freshman year of college, people asked me what my baseball team was. I responded the Orioles and the common response was, "Oh, I'm sorry." When I hear of things like the ousting of Pat Gillick even John Miller from the announcing booth, I must say it irks me. I like how Mcphail stockpiling the young talent. That being said, baseball is the biggest crapshoot in terms of talent materializing. When are we going to make a move? In this game of attrition, most of these guys wont make it. Doesn't it make sense to trade some of them for more sure things? Build a roster through player development. However, there has to be some sort of balance. The Marlins are the only team I can think of in recent memory that got it done with virtually all home grown talent. We have Markakis, Jones, Wieters, and some of the young pitchers look promising. You say we have to compete before we sign legitimate guys. While that may well be true; isn't the opposite also true? Its really hard to time it just right with just homegrown guys. The odds that all of them make it and reach their potential in the same relative time frame is slim to none. I will cheer on the O's to till the end, but enough of this "next year" stuff. I've thought it would take years all along and I am glad the organization is starting to build a legit farm system. To be this bad for this long and to ignore it up until recently is beyond me. I would rather them be brutally honest and say, "listen, it is going to be a few years before we can compete. We are not going to sugar coat it. We are along way away but we are building the kind of franchise that you all will be proud of." Next year? Come on thats if Matusz, Tillman, Bergeson, Arrieta, and every other young player breaks through. Sorry for this ridiculously long comment. Heres to remaining positive if only for a few more years of disappointment. What do you all think?

Uggla (at a resonable price) and Glaus (if he can stay helathy) would be the best way to improve the offensive while Beltre adds some defense and might hit. Felix is a Mora clone, good glove and light hitting, which the O's were happy to release. So why the interest in him? Short of Figgins, who isn't a good fit sinceh he doesn't hit for power, the rest of the FAs are not worth the effort.

sign beltre to a 4 year deal, bedard to a 2 year deal, and trade bell, arrieta, snyder, and britton to san diego for gonzalez.

rotation: guthrie, bedard, bergesen, matusz, and tillman

lineup: roberts, markakis, wieters, gonzalez, jones, riemold, beltre, whoever dh's, and izturis.

sounds good to me. make it happen andy.

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Pete's reply: Sounds okay to me, but you might want to check with the Padres and see if that would be enough.

Pete. What's the market/contract numbers for a guy like Beltre? I was thinking in the 5-8 mill per year and he's probably looking for at least 3 years..
thoughts?

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Pete's reply: I would guess four years at $9 million per, but that's just a guess. He's coming off an injury-marred season, but if you consider that Melvin got eight mil a year and he's got way more upside, you have to figure he'll cost at least that much per season.

Nick and to others that think Wigginton is the same as Beltre:

You're wrong. First and foremost, Wigginton is horrible defensively. Secondly, while the stat lines might be the same in avg, obp, slg, ops, and such you have to remember one thing, Beltre has been doing that as a starter; a MUCH larger sample size, while Wigginton has done this as a role player.

All these people that think Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder/Micheal Aubrey are the answer: The organization does not agree with you. I think they know the team better than all of you do. They know what they currently have and they are looking for upgrades. Enough said.

For all of you who want Hank Blalock thinking he could play 3B; he can't. Numerous shoulder injuries have eroded his ability to field and has messed up whatever swing he had. Stay far away from this guy. I think he played 1 game at 3B last season, a few at 1B, and then the most at DH. If you sign Blalock he is a DH.

I honestly don't think Beltre will bounce back offensively, but you're going to have to pay him like he will.

My choices:

1B: Adam LaRoche; if he doesn't make sense, I sign Marcus Thames as a platoon RH power bat.

3B: Troy Glaus; I take that injury risk with him because he's the best power bat on the market at his position, after that I go with defense like Feliz as a stop gap only and release/trade him as soon as Bell is ready. I like Mark DeRosa too because he is versatile, but there are about a dozen teams in the hunt for him.

SP: Bedard is injured and won't be pitching at the start of the season the last I heard about his progress from yet another surgery. Pete, you say Lackey is the only "safe" bet on the market, I say there is one more in Jon Garland. At first glance you might not agree, but do a bit of number crunching on baseballreference.com and you'll see his numbers are not far from Lackey's. He gives you 200 innings a year, goes deep into games, and he's consistent. Bottom line, he gives you a chance to win almost every time out there and that is what the Orioles desperately need.

The Orioles have tons of money at their disposal. They can afford LaRoche, Glaus, and Garland.

Closer: Koji Uehara, no need to spend big bucks on the FA market for this position. There are bigger needs elsewhere.

Help the Tigers with their payroll dilemma and trade for Cabrera and Inge. Shouldn't require giving up any of the core prospects.

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Pete's reply: I would gladly accept those two players, but somebody else has to babysit Cabrera all year.

Definitely hoping we acquire some of those guys you suggested, Pete. Beltre or LaRoche would be great. But I also agree with Rodrigo (4:41PM) that the bullpen is often overlooked in the off-season and it needs to be addressed in a major way this yr. Wondering if we can snatch a Billy Wagner or a Brandon Lyon while other teams are still looking at the bigger names. Competent relief is at least as instrumental to pitchers’ success as sound defense. Also would like to see Andy pursue Ben Sheets, but I’d settle for Bedard, Beltre, and a deep bullpen.

This offseason should be about looking for high-upside talent. The surefire FA's are coming next year.

Daydreamer is right on the money, A healthy Glaus and Uggla make a big impact on the offense. Either Glaus or Uggla would hit #4 in the current O's lineup and provide some emotional intensity which is sorely lacking from the current team "leaders".

On the pitching side I would offer both Sheets and Bedard huge incentive laden contracts that give them the potential to earn 8+ million if they deliver 15+ wins or 200 innings.

Signing Beltre or Feliz are small upgrades from Ty Wigginton and a multi-year deal would only serve to block Josh Bell who we traded our CLOSER for. Bell is likely mlb ready from the left-side of the plate and a better fallback plan would be a Bell/Wigginton platoon come the 2nd-half of the year.


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Pete's reply: I'm with you right up to the last paragraph. Bell isn't ready for prime time.

Pete,

How can you say that a guy with a lifetime .402 OBP and a .849 OPS isn't an upgrade? I know he's an injury risk, but we have Snyder in AAA as an insurance policy, not to mention Wiggington, Aubrey and Scott.

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Pete's reply: If you're refering to Nick Johnson, because he isn't. The numbers you cite prove he's a good on-base guy with modest power, which is borne out by his modest home run and RBI numbers. That would be fine if the Orioles needed a No. 2 hitter, but they need a legit bat to put in the four or five hole. He isn't it.

"Beltre has been doing that as a starter; a MUCH larger sample size, while Wigginton has done this as a role player. "

Can you place stats to back it up? Sure Beltre has more career at bats, but Wigginton has 3100 career at bats. Thats a large enough "sample size" if you know anything about statistics. Last year he plated 410 at bats, while Beltre had 477. The year before Wigginton had 378 while Beltre had 612. The 150 at bat difference is not going to sway his core stats much. The bottom line is Beltre has had 1 good offensive season 5 years ago, the rest are average.

I will give you that Beltre will play a much better defensive game, but my point is that I dont really want the Orioles to spend 7-8 million a year to sign another Ty Wigginton. Ad to it that Beltre is (at least) 30 years old, he isnt getting any better.

News to fans:

The bullpen was miserable last year and for the last few years because:

The starting pitching could barely get you past the 5th inning. The Orioles bullpen ranked either near or at the top of innings pitched in all of baseball. They got overworked and overexposed so it is no wonder that they looked pretty bad.

You want to improve the bullpen? Improve the starting rotation, get a guy that is a proven horse that can get you deep into games and pitch around 200 innings. Guthrie can at least get you the innings, though the quality of those innings is questionable now. Get Jon Garland in here and you have a 1-2 punch of solid 200 innings. Hopefully the young arms step up and can get you some innings as well. This is not the time you sign injury plagued guys and hope they stay healthy. You'll end up replacing them within 2 months of the season and then your depth gets exposed again.

Closer is not a huge need for this team in 2010. Koji can handle it for the one year left on his contract, meanwhile you are grooming Mickolio for the job or you see what Jim Johnson can do, or if Chris Ray can bounce back and be the guy in 2011.

This is rather amusing:

Can I place stats to back it up? Yes.

Beltre: 6,285 career atbats
Wigginton: 3,125 career atbats

Are those two sample sizes the same? No, they aren't. In fact, Beltre has almost twice the amount of atbats as Wigginton

Wigginton: 3 years of 500+ABs
Beltre: 10 years of 500+ABs

What does this prove? That Beltre is an every day player while Wigginton is not.

The age argument is silly too, true Beltre might be 30, but Wigginton is 31, is he "getting any better?"

Look, I am not saying Beltre is the best fit for the Orioles, but to say, "Hey, I don't want Beltre because we have Wigginton who is just as good," well, that is just silly talk.

I'd prefer Johnson to Delgado. Delgado, much older and declining fast. I'm not fond of him like I'd have been five years ago.

You left out Johnson's OBP which is one of the highest in the league. His power numbers leave something to be desired, but this guy will not strike out in crucial situations and will get on base almost better than anyone we've got.

As for Beltre, well I'd have been on board with that if Bell wasn't almost ready for prime time. Frankly, I could see Bell on the opening roster facing righties, and Wiggington lefties.

I know we'd like a big HR guy, but I think that may have to wait a year. I'd prefer an ace and some strength in the bullpen. Figgins will cost to much with Bell coming up. DeRosa is fine, but too many suitors.

Here's my FA picks:

Nick Johnson - cheap, great OBP. Will help at DH once Snyder us up and has a chance.

Billy Wagner - Has said he's interested in O's and we need a closer. Uehara, Johnson, and Wagner could make a nice bullpen with guys like Hernandez, and Hendrickson.

Bedard- I think he could be a bust or a bargain but he's going to be much cheaper than he would have been a year ago. I think Harden will cost more and have more suitors. Lackey won't come here. Pineiro? Eh, I stil lworry about NL pitchers.

If we sign Beltre then trade Bell for a great young pitching prospect.

I think Bedard would be a HUGE pickup for cheap. Hes worth about 2-3.5 mil / year for 3-4 years. Thats cheap for a good arm and a no doubt number 1 pitcher.

Blalock would be a great pickup, but I would be wary and not pay anything close to what Nick or B-Rob got. Hes gatta come under 15 mil overall or hes a bust and a waste of money. Dont know if McPhail will take on a big contract in such a mediocre market.

Mythical One:

I agree that ineffective starting pitching contributes to bullpen overuse (just as much as DT's bad decision-making does). However, it is hard to imagine that our horrible pen ERA and BB/K ratios will improve even if pen pitches less innings.

Just look at the stats of some of our main guns from 09 (and try not to vomit):

Albers: 5.51 ERA, 67 IP, 36 BB, 49 K
Bass: 4.90 ERA, 86.1 IP, 44 BB, 54 K
Ray: 7.27 ERA, 43.1 IP, 23 BB, 39 K
Sarfate: 5.09 ERA, 23 IP, 14 BB, 20 K

As a reliever, there's no excuse for walking so many people. Ineffective starting is one reason the pen might get tired, but another (equally plausible reason) is that the relievers don't know how to get ahead of hitters and put them away (like Mariano does).

Interestingly enough, according to the NY Post, the RedSux, with their quality pitching (starting and in the pen), have contacted Atlanta about medical records for Soriano and Mike Gonzalez, seeking to improve their pen, which is much better than the O's.

If we want to someday have a championship team, maybe we should learn from the other championship teams, even if they are in our division.

Nick Johnson also would be a huge pickup. Hes great and can bring some grit to the team. Only one problem....hes injured like 90% of the time. so we can pray for good health, but in reality hes gonna be on and off again and the orioles need consistency through and through.

Look, in case you all can't read this is a lousy crop. The last thing the team needs is to bring in aging players that will cost too much and handcuff the team. Blalock would be a decent fill-in until the team can see if Bell or the multiple first basemen in our system can do the job. The 2011 free agents are much better and that would be the group worth plunking money down for if the young guys don't work out. Go get some relief help this year because that's all that's out there.

And as for the comment about not trading Guthrie unless we have a front-line starter, what does it matter? Guthrie has proven himself to be a .500 pitcher at best. Get what you can, let the young players get another year to develop and 2011 should be the target year.

This team needs to figure out for real what it has this season, make the big deals we need to make and then attack the next year. I hate to say it but the O's are a year away.

Pete; You look like you could play either corner.How's your swing these days?


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Pete's reply: A few more bags of Tostitos and I could probably play both corners at the same time.

To think, the O's could have Thome and Delgago at DH, Garciaparra at SS, Giambi at 1B, Glaus at 3rd

It is 2000, right? HA!

how funny would it be to bring Tejada and Bedard back? hahaha!

I like Beltre on 3b and Aubrey on 1st.

Pete... how bout a list of bullpen FA's?

I have a question for those that think trading Sherrill was such a great idea. Suppose the O's sign a Glaus or Beltre & Bell then gets to hone his defense & spend his meal money one more year in the minors...do you think for one minute that if MePhail went back to the Dodgers & said, "I know we pulled the wool over your eyes on this one but, just to show you I'm a good guy I'll give you Bell back for Georgie & no harm done". Any chance LA would take ol' Andy up on this? Didn't think so! Regardless of the Andy PR machine out there...the O's blew this one...big time. No pun intended.

Hey Pete,

What about a John Smoltz rumor I've been hearing? Is it even legit at all?

I'll save my breath on Beltre being less likely to make a significant difference in this team that O'Douls has to get someone drunk.

Beltre + 2009 Orioles=2011 being the earliest we sniff .500 and there being more O's employees than fans at the games next September.

I'm just wondering how all of these prospects are so untouchable? You don't have to lose them all to get a real power bat in here and none of them are going to want to make the big boys of free agency come here in 2011 after another "things just didn't work out" season if that's when we're really supposed to load up. The Mariners got a #1 starter for basically 2 guys plus filler. We've got at least two guys and currently a ton of unprotected filler to spare.

We think we're set with some guys, but Reimold and Beregesen may never be the same again. So 2010 could expose more holes than it fills if we're not proactive at least a little.

Anyway, retreads do nothing for me. Been there, done that.

Is Ben Sheet's career over? If he's got something left in the tank, we can pair him with Bedard and have one full season with a top of rotation pitcher. I too would love to have a right handed hitting corner infielder with some pop, but we need to fill the starting rotation with guys that are not overmatched going against true #1 and #2 starters.

Pete,

Get prepared to lose 100 games! Very little will get done with this free agent class! As the Red Sox and Yankees add to their dominance, we'll play on the fringes for this years Adam Eatons and Mark Hendricksons!

Lest history repeats itself yet again, I double dog dare the O's to prove me wrong, as a holiday wish!

Miguel Tejada?????????? He's like 40 at least! I believe we've been there and got the T-shirt and it really wasn't all that enjoyable! Focus is my advise to Andy, FOCUS front line starter, 3B and 1B! Maybe we don't get them all, but don't be cheap! Either get someone that will significantly improve over Mora and Huff or just bring the kids up! Wiggy is NOT the answer to either question, he and Luke Scott are role players at best!

I am sure as hell not going to be happy if Wiggy is a starter. He is a part time player and I can't stand him at that. He has no plate discipline and I honestly don't remember him, moving a runner over last year. This might not be a great class, but the O's need a 3B and 1B. They don't have to lock those guys up forever unless Chone Figgins wants to play here, but they need help.

The guy I am scared they will get is Branyan. The O's in the past have a thing for guys coming off career years. Blalock and Crede, are all but done after numerous surgeries, but I am not sure why people are so against adding Thome or Dye as a DH? This is the one position where age means zip. The O's need to protect Markakis and Jones plus they need a HR threat.

Mark DeRosa is the guy I go after to play 3B. He is tough, gritty, can play any position and he is a vocal leader which is something that Nick and Brian aren't. The O's have a nice young core group of guys, but they need some vets to help them out and that includes calling a players only meeting when the team is slumping. Guys like Thome and DeRosa are perfect for that.

I know Lackey wont come here, but wouldn't Wolf, Garland or Harden, all be upgrades to the staff? They aren't going to win the Cy Young, but they sure will help stabilize a young and inexperienced rotation in my mind plus these guys aren't exactly in the same class as Trax and Eaton.

Pete, do you get the sense or have you heard from Jeff, that Luke Scott will be traded? I have this feeling that the O's will move him this year. I don't think he can be counted on because he's too damn streaky, but teams that already have power, might want to take a crack at a guy that when hot, can carry a team.

If this team is smart it won't chase injury-prone Adrian Beltre. Now that players have stopped using steroids, check how their numbers dropped. He was great in his contract year before going to Seattle and has been nothing but a disappointment since.

I hope McPhail wouldn't be crazy enough to chase Blalock or Beltre. Two injury-prone players who were only good during the steroid era.
1B - Branyan (#1 priority)
1B - LaRoche (backup plan)
3B - Juan Uribe (good & getting better)
3B - Troy Glaus ( backup plan if 100% healed)

Pete,
Resigning Mora to a two year contract at 5 miilion with a $500,00 buyout looks to be the best option at third.

Blalock is poor choice. The team would regret that signing.
NO FREE AGENTS are coming to Baltimore anyway. At least not good ones! So what are we talking about?

Pete,
Are the O's seriously considering Uehara as a closer? A definite upgrade to the pen if he stays healthy, but a closer? If they don't sign a possbile closer (Myers, Putz?), it might get ugly in the 9th.

Also, any idea why the O's kept the likes of Bass, Castillo and Waters while exposing Johnson, Perrault, Beato, etal? Mediocre level, and expendable, pitchers vs.pitchers with definite potential long term.

Wait it out and don't commit big money to guys who are only stop-gap solutions and won't pan out in the long term. (i.e. Beltre, Glaus, Branyan, Blalock)
This free agent year is flooded with potential busts who have either managed to scrap by, are coming off career years or are winding down to the end of their careers.
I like one poster's idea about signing Figgins with the intent off moving him to shortstop after next year. B-Rob is getting a little older and I wouldn't be surprised to see his power go up (ala Steve Finley) and his speed diminish a little. I think he could make a great #2 hitter with 20 homers and all those doubles, with Figgins (AL leading run producer, on a good team, in not quite a full season) at #1. I don't see why Figgins wouldn't make a solid shortstop.
Figgins and maybe some cash to sure up the bullpen. I think that's the best investment we could make for the long term this offseason.
Snyder, Bell and Waring are enough for me to hold out hope for eventually fixing the corner infield through our own system, without spending big money in free agency. In fact, I'm a little surprised to see you saying so confidently Pete, that one of them won't make an impact next year. I'll hold you to that.
2010:
1. Figgins 3B
2. Roberts 2B
3. Markakis RF
4. Jones CF
5. Wieters C
6. Scott DH
7. Reimold LF
8. Aubrey/Snyder 1B
9. Izturis SS
I could live with that. Even if it meant another 90+ losses.

Add the possibility off power with Bell and/or Waring in 2011, and maybe a veteran pitcher in a better pool next offseason and that should be enough to satisfy anyone going forward. We have to be rational and realistic here.

"Beltre: 6,285 career atbats
Wigginton: 3,125 career atbats"

My point is that 3100 career atbats is plenty of a sample size to know that Wiggintons stats are what they are. He has had seasons with over 400 at bats, so I dont buy that he only performs the way he does because he is a part time player. 400 at bats is plenty long enough to have a scouting report on someone. In fact the seasons where Wigginton has played the entire year he has matched Beltres stats. What are you getting? Beltre just isnt that good. I am not saying the Wigginton is good either. I am saying that Beltre is way more expensive then Wigginton and isnt that much of an upgrade.

what is wrong with you guys?! No way Snyder and Aubrey. We need to be competitive. Laroache/Blalock/Beltre all would be good signings for a fan base that is in desperate need of a 75-80 win season.

Can anyone tell me the latest on Brandon Snyder? "Expected to debut in 2010" sounds good, but what are his long-term projections? If he's potentially The Guy at 1b, I'd love to see Huff, Millar, or a few others share the base with Snyder for a year.

Rodrigo:

Many people don't realize this, but DT's decisions for bullpen use was handicapped greatly by the fact that he had Dennis Sarfate, Matt Albers, Chris Ray, Jim Johnson, and Danys Baez all coming back from injuires. Earlier in the season he couldn't use some of these guys on back to back days or for more than an inning of work at a time. Some of those head scratching moves weren't really his fault.

As hard to imagine as it may be, the one sure way to make your bullpen become terrible is to make them pitch tons of innings. Face it, your relievers are not as good as your starters, or they would be starting. Let's take a look at the numbers:

Baez: 71.2IP
Johnson: 70.0IP
Hendrickson: 55.0IP (relief)
Bass: 86.1IP
Albers: 67.0IP
Ray: 43.1IP

And here are the excuses for the walks: Sarfate and Albers were never known for having good control to begin with, they were both coming back from injury, so was Ray. Brian Bass has no business pitching 90 innings out of the pen. You over work an arm, it gets tired, you lose velocity and command. Pretty simple concept really. And really, how many Mariano Rivera's are there?

And yes, why wouldn't the RedSox want to boost their bullpen in an effort to keep pace with the Yankees?

And you want to learn from the winners like the RedSox? Guess what they had in the rotation? Lester and Beckett going over 200IP a piece for them. What did the Yankees have? CC 230, AJ 207, Pettitte 194, Chamberlain 157. Rivera was the leading reliever with 66IP.

So it looks like I am preaching what those teams are doing. Get some starters that can go 200 innings, take the pressure off of the bullpen and stop over exposing them.


Nick, good grief man. If you can't understand how numbers compiled over 6,000+atbats are more valuable than those compiled over 3000+ atbats, there is nothing left to discuss.

"Beltre: 6,285 career atbats
Wigginton: 3,125 career atbats"

"My point is that 3100 career atbats is plenty of a sample size to know that Wiggintons stats are what they are."

Exactly. He has gotten 3100 atbats over 8 seasons, in 5 of those he has managed 400AB or more. Part time player.

Beltre has twice the atbats in 12 years of service and has never been under 400AB in a season since his rookie year of 1998. Full time, every day player.

"He has had seasons with over 400 at bats, so I dont buy that he only performs the way he does because he is a part time player. 400 at bats is plenty long enough to have a scouting report on someone"

You don't have to buy it, but the truth is what it is. Yeap, the scouting report is in on Wigginton, he's not an every day player.

"In fact the seasons where Wigginton has played the entire year he has matched Beltres stats."

Let's take a look at that then. I will pull out all the seasons that Wigginton has gone over 400AB and then we'll match them up against any other year from Beltre besides his huge 40HR one.

Wigginton:

03: 573AB .255 .318 .396
04: 494AB .261 .324 .433
06: 444AB .275 .330 .498
07: 547AB .278 .333 .459
09: 410AB .273 .314 .400

Beltre:

99: 538AB .275 .352 .428
00: 520AB .290 .360 .475
06: 620AB .268 .328 .465
07: 595AB .276 .319 .482
08: 556AB .266 .327 .457

Is this fair? I am including one of the best seasons Wigginton ever had and not even using Beltre's beast year.

If you bring up the defensive side of the ball, there is no comparison. Beltre is easily one of the best defensive 3B in the game right now.

The 40 man roster is filled. Wouldn't a free agent signing necessitate moving someone off. How does this work?

I like the Russell Bryanon idea, but I have no idea about his defense.


It was clear to me last year, and is more clear now, that the Teixera thing should have been pursued with MUCH more vigor. Where the O's are at now was TOTALLY foreseeable.

oh well, spilt milk now.

Jack,

It works like what they did today. Claim (or sign or trade) for a guy, designate others for assignment from the 40 man.

Claimed Craig Tatum, designated Chris Waters.

I'm glad no one on here is the GM.

TEJADA BEDARD DELGADO

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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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