« Saturday with Schmucky | Main | Ravens: Good Sunday »

November 14, 2009

Orioles: Is Uggla the answer?

ugglaap.jpgOne of the first players to surface in Orioles trade speculation this offseason was Florida Marlins infielder Dan Uggla, who would certainly add some pop to the O's lineup, but probably wouldn't be joining Adam Jones on next year's list of Gold Glove winners after reluctantly switching from second to third base. Which brings us to an important philosophical question that some posters already have been trying to answer.

Which is more important at third base -- offense or defense?

It's a complicated question, because it has to be answered from a local rather than a general perspective. Obviously, you'd like to get both run production and solid corner defense from your starting third baseman, but the Orioles aren't exactly ordering from a menu here. Andy MacPhail has to decide whether it's more important to protect his young pitchers with a great glove or get some protection for his top hitters with a big bat.

I suspect that when you throw price into the equation -- and by that I mean the price in both salary and what it will take to get a decent player to replace Melvin Mora -- the Orioles will go for the glove and rationalize that's the best thing for the successful development of Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen and Jack Arrieta. Don't know that I agree.

Some posters here have rightly pointed out that the connection between pitching and winning in the DH era is not quite as strong as it was in the past, as evidenced by the fact that only four of the playoff teams this year ranked among the top 10 major league teams in ERA, while 7 of the eight ranked in the top 11 teams in runs scored. The Angels, if you want the most glaring example to illustrate this point, ranked 20th in team ERA, but first in batting average and second in runs scored (behind only the Yankees.)

Based on what I've heard from our beat guy Jeff Zrebiec, I'd have to say that Uggla would be third or fourth on the Orioles' wish list, behind Pedro Feliz, Garrett Atkins and the most expensive option, Adrian Beltre.

What do you think?

Associated Press photo

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:27 AM | | Comments (88)
Categories: Just baseball


Unfortunately, I'd be very surprised to see any of those four in an O's uniform. Sorry to be so pessimistic, but experience has destroyed my last vestige of optimism.

As for offense vs. defense at third, I'd have to go with defense -- and give the pitchers the boost. So much of the game is mental, every fielding gem at third is worth its weight in gold on the mound, as well.

Pedro Feliz would have to be considered a one year stopgap. He'll be 35 in April and really didn't have a very good offensive season, a little better than Mora maybe, but not that much. He can, however, really pick it. But he played half his games in a bandbox that plays even smaller than OPACY, so I don't see him as much help offensively.

I agree with placing a priority on defense at third, but I'd like to point out that hitting also "protects young pitchers." No matter how good your defense is, it's hard to ask pitchers to go out and pitch a one-run game every game because you're only scoring two. And sometimes a pitcher can feel pretty relaxed with a 9-4 lead, even if there were a couple of errors behind him.

What about Hank Blalock?


Despite this year, year in and year out, having a low ERA is a stronger predictor of getting into the playoffs than is offence, less so in the age of the DH, but still true.

I'm not sure that has any relevance though to a discussion about any single guy. If we could plug Brooks Robinson into third base and do a computer simulated replay of 09, the Os team ERA would only be marginally better. It certainly wouldn't go from worst in the league to one of the better ones and raise our playoff hopes.

It's a trade off. If a guy is an average hitter, then I want a good glove. I'll sacrifice defence in proportion to how much better than average a hitter is.

In the case of the Os, we have the potential to develop into a team with decent to good defence at catcher, middle infield and the outfield. If that evolution takes place, it will help our team ERA far more than anything any third baseman can do with his glove and well justify going for a bat at third.

Uggla is the answer.......if the question is; What is alggu spelled backwards?

No, no, no on Uggla. He's a career .257 hitter. Who can't field. He's going to have to hit a LOT more home runs than he has to make up for that in my book.


When I first read Jeff's column that talked about the possibility of trading for Uggla, I have to say I was intrigued. A nice right handed bat like that could add a lot to the middle of the line up. Particularly, some protection for Markakis. And, unlike a lot of the other trade prospects, I think Uggla could go for cheaper. Everyone knows that the Marlins get rid of everyone before they have to pay them big money. Uggla is up for arbitration this year. He's a few months out from a big pay day which the Marlins cannot and will not be paying. Combine that with the tension between Uggla and Hanley Ramirez this year and you realize that the Marlins have to deal this guy. This could provide some leverage and work to the advantage of a team who wants to trade for Uggla.

But then there's the question of his defense. Obviously he's a natural 2B and forcing a move to 3B presents a host of challenges that could make things ugly.

But still, I was interested in the prospect. So, as I now live in Brooklyn, NY, I decided to call in to Mike Francesca's radio show to ask about Uggla. I pretended to be a Mets fan (it made sense because the Mets could use an upgrade at 2B). I asked about whether it would be a good trade. Basically, Mike kept saying that we would be "appalled" at Uggla's defense. Appalled. And he was talking about Uggla second, not a move to third.

Personally, I don't want to be appalled at the defense we put in our infield. The combination at SS two years ago was appalling. We don't need a repeat of that. I vote pass on Uggla for someone who's more balanced as a player.

I think you need to go with the big bat. Uggla would immediately fill a need as a clean up hitter. He can always work on his defense and improve. It is virtually impossible to expect a defensive 3B to improve their hitting this far in their career. The switch from 2B to 3B may not be as tough a transition as you may think. Many middle infielders have transitioned to 3B without a problem, including Melvin Mora.

Uggla would solidify one corner of the infield and you can always move Reimold to 1B. Let Pie continue to develop and start him in LF. Montanez can be the 4th OF. I think that would make a pretty solid infield and batting lineup.

Roberts 2B
Jones CF
Markakis RF
Uggla 3B
Weiters C
Reimold 1B
Scott DH
Pie LF
Izturis SS

For the first time, in a long time, that would be a formidable lineup. It would be a tough decision where to put players in the lineup, but that should be a good thing with depth top to bottom. At some point, I think you need to replace Izturis with a better hitting SS. He is great defensively, but he is not much of a threat offensively.

If Josh Bell and/or Brandon Snyder tear it up in AAA, you can always move one of them to 1B and put Reimold back in LF or DH and trade Scott. There are plenty of options the O's have now that they haven't had in the past. If Bell and Snyder perform better than expected, you could always trade Roberts for more prospects, move Uggla to 2B, and then have Bell at 3B and Snyder at 1B.

I think most of us O's fans would agree that Figgins would be a GREAT addition to this team, but I don't like our chances of signing him. That being said, after looking at the list of free agents, I think an intriguing signing would be Joe Crede. I know he has had his injuries, but the guy has an above average glove and is a right handed power bat (15 homers in 90 games last year). He would come cheap and could probably be had with an incentive laden contract. I don't know if he would come to Baltimore (I read that the Twins would like to bring him back), but I think he would be a great stop-gap until Bell is ready, or if Bell gets traded in a package for a 1st basemen/starting Pitcher.
Another guy I like as a "place holder" for a year or two would be our old pal Jerry Hairston Jr.... Can play multiple positions and seems to be the type of guy who would fit in well with the rest of this team. Add to that the experience he gained from the Yankees playoff run and I think it would be a good fit.... or maybe I am just feeling nostalgic...

Unless you're talking about shortstop or catcher, I tend to think offense is a little more important, all other things being equal.

I would be reasonably happy with Feliz as a one-year option...he's good defensively and passable offensively, though his putrid career OBA makes me cringe. I think Beltre is very underrated...he's arguably the best 3B in the league defensively and very solid offensively, not to mention that his numbers would likely improve at Camden Yards. But he's not a short-term solution, and if you're going to pay big money for him, why trade for Josh Bell? Atkins is a poor defender and frankly looks like another Ben Grieve - a guy who looked promising early and then just started a downward spiral for whatever reason. I am skeptical of any hitter who has played only in Colorado. Uggla scares me a bit because he could be really bad defensively at 3B, and his offensive production is erratic and uneven.

So, given the circumstances, I'd probably go with Feliz for a year at a relatively cheap price, or Beltre if they're willing to spend the money.

I think Uggla would be the answer at 1B, not 3B. I think Uggla at 1B and Wigginton at 3B are more than adequate "fillers" for a year to allow Snyder and Bell a full year at AAA to develop. If Snyder and/or Bell are ahead of the curve then you can trade Uggla and/or Wigginton at the deadline to make room. Lineup with Uggla would be:

Roberts 2b
Jones cf
Markakis rf
Uggla 1b
Reimold rf
Wieters c
Scott dh
Wigginton 3b
Izturis ss

That is a pretty good lineup. Sign JJ Putz to close and make a deal for Halladay to show these kids how to pitch and then you are ready to finally win some games!

why not put uggla at DH and put scott in at 1st? seems logical to me... he'll hit a few more HR's playing in OPACY as opposed to land shark...

I agree defense is important but we need some offense for god's sake! Please lord, not another year of retreads filling this roster, please???????? I can't take this any more!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Uggla is not the answer, not if you figure Josh Bell into the equation some time this year. The Bill James Handbook 2010 projects Bell to hit .288, 11 HR, 61 RBI, in 91 games (June callup? platoon?). But Bell does not hit lefties well and neither does Uggla. What is needed, as a placeholder, is someone with reasonable fielding who does hit lefties (at least better than Bell or Uggla), and who might be persuaded to recognize that he is not a long-term solution. Guess who fits this description? Are you ready... there's this guy named Mora...

If defense is more important, why not give Mora one more year(reduced salary of course) until Bell is ready. Looking at Mora's defensive numbers, they don't look like they fell off much. Would it really have a major negative impact on the team? My personal opinion is we're going to need alot of defense, I bet the starting 3 pitchers are going to have the traditional sophmore slump. Not any fault of their own, but opposing batters always adjust. The last thing a young pitcher learns is how to adjust to hitters.

Pete's reply: I'd be very surprised if they brought Melvin back, particularly after his run-ins with Trembley late in the season.

Nobody is talking about Michael Aubrey for first base (Wiggy at third). I was impressed with him in September. He deserves a shot as Opening Day first baseman.
Also, I think Wiggy will hit better as a regular.

Pete's reply: I don't agree. Nobody deserves anything after last year. The only guy who deserves to be the Opening Day first basemen is the best player available to play the position.

Is Joe Crede in the mix at all? Seems like a high upside, low cost, short term answer.

Pete's reply: Have not heard his name but would assume he is a possibility.

Unless we are going to upgrade significantly, we should bring Mora back at a lower cost. Atkins and Feliz weren't any better than Mora last year and over the last 5 years, weren't as good. Uggla would be a nice upgrade and could easily move to DH if Bell is ready. But why do we want to go after these guys that are about the same as Mora?

Pete's reply: I would beg to differ. Feliz had 82 RBI this past season and helped his team get to the World Series.

Josh Bell is all that matters. A one-year stopgap is fine. Don't sign any of these guys for longer than that.

I agree with the last few posts, and most likely will be the situation next year.

Aubrey will get a chance at first, which he should, he played great at the end of the year. Managment is banking on Wigginton playing better when playing more regular...and he's not too bad in the field.

I wouldn't expect Mora back for the reason that he wants to play everyday and they O's can't offer that to him anymore.

I would expect a few midseason trades. The possible people: Wigginton, Aubrey, Pie, Guthrie, low minor league prospects, some bullpen arms, Scott, and Montanez.

How about signing Atkins to play first and trading for Uggla to play third?

Pete's reply: Those are possibilities, I guess. I've heard people mention Feliz and Atkins as possibilities. The Uggla rumors may be overblown.

Josh Bell doesn't have the great glove and arm of a rookie Markakis to contribute with when he slumps, which means don't rush him i.e. September callup, but Uggla, Mora or Wiggy at 3B makes me ill.

Snyder is weak in the field, has inconsistent power and needs a full year at AAA, so I want a blockbuster trade to get the 1B of the future that can bat fourth in 2010. I hope for a great spring from Snyder to increase his trade value to help the bullpen, not to convince me he is the future 1B.

Remember, most of these young guys are not really future all stars and will actually lose value once in the majors and really have maximum value before their potential is tarnished (Penn, Liz). The key is picking the right ones to trade.

Uggla's a below average second baseman, so what makes anyone think he would even be adequate at third base, where he would have less time to react as well as a longer
throw to first?

Everyone who's mentioned Uggla as a DH is on the mark.

First base would be an option if he put lifts in his cleats. I don't think I'ver ever heard of a 5'11" first baseman.


Jack Arrieta?

And while one poster does point out that Uggla is a .250 hitter, that .250 comes with a .350+ OBP (which would be one of the best on the Orioles) and 30HR 90RBI production.

The real question is, what does it take to get him and how unhappy will he be to move to 3B or the OF like the other teams shopping for him would want him to do.

If defense is what you want, 1 year stop gap of Pedro Feliz sounds like the answer, or a 1 year kick the tire deal on Joe Crede and risk him not still being the player he was before his back was injured.

Then there is Troy Glaus, also oft injured, but when healthy, is probably better than Uggla as an option at 3B, but still not great defensively, but can also give you the HR and run production you want with the experience of being a middle of the order hitter.

Other than that there is the extremely versatile and steady bat in Mark DeRosa.

Pete's reply: Did I say Jack? Oh well.

If Uggla could play 3rd base, he would have played it for the Marlins last year. They had two regular guys -- Bonifacio and Coughlan -- who are both better 2nd basemen than Uggla -- playing 3rd and left, respectively. Don't be fooled. He might make sense as a 1B or DH, but he's more a complementary player than a true star/leader.

Atkins is toast. Bat speed has gone, hits lefties not at all, never did much outside Coors anyway. Feliz can field and hit as well as Izturis. Yikes. Crede's a low-OBP, chronic-back-problem problem, sad to say. No reason to think that will change. Beltre's the class of what's currently available, but with Josh Bell putting the finishing touches on his minor league resume next year, there's no sense in signing Beltre, who will demand multi-year. It might make sense to wait until the flood of non-tenders hits the market in a month or so. Apparently, a lot of unexpected free agency is expected.

You need offense from the 3B spot in the lineup before worrying about defense. FTM, you should go with offense over defense AA the time, as long as the player is capable of making routine plays. Overrating defense is one the dumbest things managers do in baseball (along with "closer" management). If a player is going to net more total bases with his bat than he will either allow over the average with his glove through errors - you take the bat. Over time you will easily win and score more than his defense will cost. This guy Uggla doesn't seem to have overwhelming power numbers for a 3B though.

Not Brooks,

I am not saying Uggla is Pete Rose, but Rose did play 1B during parts of his career and he was 5'11''...

By way of another example, Rod Carew was barely 6'0'' even...

Yet another example, Norm Cash 6'0'' even. All of these guys were pretty good 1bmen...

Uggla would be a disaster at 3rd. Bring Mora back!

What would it take to get Adrian Gonzalez from the Padres?
35 HR, 100 RBI and 3 Gold Gloves. Its what you have to do in the AL East -
our answer to Teixeira. It will hurt, but would bring us a cornerstone of the lineup.

What about:
1. Josh Bell (2011 3B)
2. Jake Arrieta (2011 SP)
3. David Hernandez (2010 could be a great setup man and spot starter)
4. Brandon Snyder or Justin Turner or Matthew Angle
5. Troy Patton (Os top 5 prospect even with injury) or Pedro Beato

This includes 3 of the Os top 5 prospects, a younger guy with upside and a modest major league pitcher. Is it enough?

Then you give a multi-year contract to Beltre or Figgins.

Pete's reply: I don't know if that would be enough. I'm not sure how other teams value Patton at this point, but Arrieta would be a legitimate component of an offer for Gonzalez.

With Bell's promise at 3rd, and with mediocre options and limited resources, I think the O's should go for the stopgap measure there (Wigginton, or someone REALLY cheap) and focus resources on a solid SP and a package deal for a 1B. As I have said before, that 1B should be Adrian Gonzalez, and although it would take one of the prime pitching prospects to do that, as well as perhaps someone like Snyder, I think the O's should pull the trigger as long as the pitcher traded is not Matusz.

Pete's reply: I would love to see them make a real offer for Gonzalez, as long as it doesn't eradicate the youth movement, but I don't know if the guy is really available.

Remember Uggla in the AS game a couple years back, making all those throws like when you're playing catch in the parking lot afraid you're gonna hit someone's car, kinda short-arming everything...and then you hit the car b/c you're short-arming everything? I could never see him at 3B. DH?...sure...more DHs who can't hit lefties. C'mon

Uggla is worth having, despite his defense, which, as previously stated, he can continue to work on. You can't teach the power he has and that's something we NEED. My concern is what will it take for us to obtain him in a trade?? Pete, your thoughts?

Pete's reply: I would take that power either at third or DH in a minute, but it doesn't sound like it's going to happen.

To me it is a very easy decision. You sign Beltre to a three year deal. He is only 30 years old and should easily hit 15 to 20 HRs next year. He will probably be the second most expensive free agent 3B after Figgins. He is coming off of a relatively bad year offensively (fewest HRs since rookie year) which should keep the price at a reasonable level. You hope that Crowley can get him back on track offensively and then trade him at the end of the year for pitching, SS, or 1B prospects. Beltre is one of the best defensive 3B in MLB. If you start Beltre at 3B, Izturis at SS, Roberts at 2B, and Aubrey at 1B, the Orioles would have a lockdown defensive infield to go with great defensive OF and C. This will drive down the team ERA and provide invaluable help for the young pitchers.

Don't like Uggla - especially at 3b. We have no idea how he'd play there. He's not the best 2b fielding wise, he could be disastrous at 3b.

Personally, I'd bring Bell up to face righties, and let Wigginton face lefties. If we sign ayone I'd prefer a guy who could play a lot of positions like DeRosa. Uggla as DH does little for me but take bats away from guys like Scott, Reimold and Pie.

Uggla strikes out a ton, and doesn't hit well for average. Never over .250 ever. Decent OBP. I can't see the guy improving facing AL East pitching.

Markakis made the jump. I'd rather keep Erbe and Arrieta rather than losing them for a huge fielding question makr guy who swings for the fences and strikes out a lot. Reminds me a bit of Jay Gibbons.

Traditionally, teams don't get a lot of production from C and CF. The Orioles will. So they can settle for a little less offense and get strong defense from 3rd base.

Pete's reply: One way or another, they have to get one more big bat, whether it's a 3b, 1b or DH.

I say, if we can get Uggla, take him! He's a better fit for the O's system of now and old than Beltre and the others you mentioned.

We need a couple of arms, too.

I say, if we can get Uggla, take him! He's a better fit for the O's system of now and old than Beltre and the others you mentioned.

We need a couple of arms, too.

Let's make a trade for Jorge Cantu. Or sign Mark DeRosa.

@ Andy: Beltre's the best defensive third baseman in the American League and he's got a .270 average and 20+ homer pop to go along with the defensive. Looking back the the "O's system of old", Beltre reminds me of this one particular player...

@ Doug: Uggla hit .282 in his rookie year and he hit .260 last year. Are you from an alternate universe where those numbers are actually lower than .250?

And you say Uggla reminds you of Jay Gibbons. Where did that come from?

Uggla's career OBP is .344 and he's got three straight 30 homer seasons (he hit 27 in his rookie year). Plus, he's played 146+ games in each of his four years in the bigs.

Gibbon's career OBP was .319 and he never hit more than 28 homers. He played seven seasons in the majors and played more than 100 games only three times.

Oh, and Gibbons actually didn't strike out that much, only once every 6.7 at bats. That is a flaw in Uggla's game, as he strikes out once every 3.8.

So, in short, Uggla is nothing like Gibbons.

Who did we have in the lineup with Uggla's power numbers? There's always the DH slot, too. If he doesn't cost the club too much then this potential trade is a no brainer. Bring him in and stick him in the five slot.

It depends on what you want.Long term or short.None of them would be long term.You want offense and defense.None of them give us that.Short term,Beltre.He says he's 100% again.He's the best on defense and can hit with some power.Not much on average though.Will never duplicate 48 hr's 133 rbi's and .334 average.

Do they have any faith in the minor leaguers or not? If not, trade them.

If the Os had other position players who provided enough offense to win games, they could go after a gold glove 3B. Unfortunately there is no offense. This team is searching for a 4,5,6 (1B,3B,DH) hitter. The team can't score runs. Runs are priority if this team is to compete by 2012.

Not Brooks...Doug was spot on. Ugly has a .257 career BA. He is quite close to Gibbons in many stats and much worse in a few, especially if you discount Gibbons last year where he was plagued by the whole roid controversy and slumped like hell and was kept out of the lineup. Ug is an atrocious fielder. Just what we need, on the job training for a new position when he hasn't learned the last one. Mark DeRosa would be a much better choice, good bat, great glove and about the same price. Also he plays 3rd 2nd SS RF LF. As opposed to Uggla who really plays none of the above well. OK DH if he comes here, but keep him away from having a glove.

Generally I'm more concerned about defense up the middle. I think the O's are more in need of some pop in their anemic lineup so Uggla might not be too bad. Hopefully Bell will be able to step in and fill the 3b slot in another year, so let's get a decent place holder till then and look for a power hitting 1b, and DH (Scott is just too inconsistent)


Pete's reply: I think you'll have to give Feliz more than one year, but he's a real possibility. They can figure the rest out later.

You want the glove at 3rd and the bat at 1st/DH.
The O's are going to have the offense to compete, it's going to be the defense and the pitching that takes them over the top.

Why not go after Adam LaRoche for first and then Adrian Beltre at third? They would provide solid gloves at the corners and give the O's time to develop younger position players. Both have some issues with their bats, but they still turn in solid stats over the course of the year. Then, to really protect our young starters, get some bullpen help.

Pete's reply: I'm sure there will be inquiries about Beltre, but I haven't heard any LaRoche talk.

I'd think signing Beltre to a two year deal while waiting for Bell would be the smart move, simply because of his defense. Plus, he's got pop in his bat and anything you'd get from him on offense would be icing.

No need to speculate. You know and I know that McPhail will never get Dan Uggla to play in B-more. Why even have the debates and discussions.

Pete's reply: He's not a free agent, so he'd have to play here if he was traded here.

I don't like Uggla at 3B. Yeah, he'll hit 25 HR's but only bat .250 with no defense. I could live without the defense, somewhat, if he would hit .280

I wouldn't sacrifice avg AND defense for a few HR's.

Beltre is a joke. He's going to want a 4-5 year deal, and one of those seasons he may hit .280 and hit 25 HR's but the other 3-4 seasons, he could conceivably hit .220 and hit 12 HR's.

I might take a chance on Atkins, reluctantly.

What would be so bad about putting Wiggington at 3B? When he plays everyday, he can hit.

Open the vault for Figgins. Both he and Roberts at the top of the lineup followed by Jones would provide the O's with uncomparable speed for the rest of the league to deal with.

Since the O's have so little power and there is hardly any on the market, maybe speed is the way to go.

Add Markakis, Pie and Reimold and you have one of the fastest line ups in the league.

One player that no one is talking about for 1b and would come very cheap is Xavier Nady whose arm is blown but has excellent speed and could be a very potent bat in Camden Yards.

Pete's reply: Don't know if Figgins would come here, but he would add another dimension to the O's offense.

Orioles defence is not that good (see Bill JamesHandbook 2010) and they can't afford a poor fielding 3Ber, or at least not another one (Wigginton is bad enough). Young pitchers (okay, all pitchers!) need defence, something the Orioles don't really have. Bad enough that we are stuck with Roberts below-average defence (-14Runs Saved over last three years). By the way, all three Oriole outfielders were below average in runs saved; only Itzurus was above average among the Oriole regulars... You can look it up...

the orioles have tons of money to spend. they need to go and get beltre with it... enough said

Jim L -

First off, where do you come up with a .220, 12 HR line for Adrian Beltre? Tossing out last year, during which he played only 111 injury plagued games, Beltre hasn't hit fewer than 19 homers since 2001 and his career average is .270. I guess he could "conceivably" hit .220 with 12 homers (any player could "conceivably" have a terrible down year), but, barring another injury, why would such a drop off occur?

Second, where do you come up with a 4-5 year deal for Beltre? He's coming off an injury riddled season and the economy is still in the tank. I wouldn't be surprised if he signed a one-year deal somewhere, with hopes of a healthy season and scoring one more long term deal after 2010. With Josh Bell in the pipeline, a one year deal with a club option would be perfect.

Third, you say you "wouldn't sacrifice average AND defense for a few homers". Well, Beltre hits for a higher average than Uggla, and averaged only five fewer home runs from '06 to '08. So you're not sacrificing anything with Beltre (if he's healthy, and the O's shouldn't even consider making him their starting third baseman if he's not).

Then you say you're willing to take a chance on Garrett Atkins, who is a complete and total product of Coors Field and has watched his OPS drop like a rock each year since his breakout season.

In short, what are you talking about?

I see a lot of posters not wanting Uggla and his 30 HR's because of his lack of defense claiming we need a 1 year stop gap for Josh Bell and his maybe 15-20 HR's and yes his lack of defense. Oh yea that makes a lot sense.

Rick -

Perhaps you should read up on our top prospects.

Here's a quote from Baseball America:

"The good news, aside from Bell’s ability to rake as a lefthanded hitter, is that his defense has improved significantly since last season. While there were concerns about Bell’s size and ability to remain at third base coming into the year, scouts have noted that Bell appears to have slimmed down and improved his fielding.

Managers voted Bell the best defensive third baseman in the Southern League, as he has an above-average arm, decent range and did a better job of making the routine play this season."

The fact that Bell has shown significant improvement in his defense and plate discipline shows that he has tools but is also coachable and learns quickly.

Now all he has to do is figure out how to hit lefties.

Just for fun, Bill James predictions for the 2010 O's from fangraphs:

Jones: .284 avg, 22 hr, 83 rbi, 95 r

Wieters: .311 avg, 20 hr, 92 rbi, 75 r

Markakis: .300 avg, 21 hr, 103 rbi, 101 r

Roberts: .281 avg, 12 hr, 65 rbi, 103 r, 30 sb

Reimold: .292 avg, 29 hr, 84 rbi, 82 r

Guthrie: 216 ip, 4.38 era, 137 k

Tillman: 123 ip, 4.90 era, 116 k

Bergesen: 168 ip, 4.18 era, 85 k

Koji: 143 ip, 4.22 era, 123 k

More fun...

Chone Figgins: .285, 97 r, 37 sb

Adrian Beltre: .269, 17 hr, 68 rbi, 61 r

Troy Glaus: .248, 28 hr, 91 rbi, 79 r

Matt Holliday: .316, 27 hr, 109 rbi, 105 r

Jason Bay: .268, 32 hr, 103 rbi, 99 r

John Lackey: 208 ip, 3.81 era, 166 k

No idea how James figures these stats, and they're probably just guesses, so you can't put much stock in them.

Anyway, he's pretty high on Reimold, which I find exciting.

Best to have a defense that can help the young pitchers than a hoped for hitter - defense is easier to predict whereas hitting isn't as exact a sciene - and who knows - maybe the new 3rd baseman who can field will also develop some pop - Mora did ok and was good at the hot corner -

Best to have a defense that can help the young pitchers than a hoped for hitter - defense is easier to predict whereas hitting isn't as exact a sciene - and who knows - maybe the new 3rd baseman who can field will also develop some pop - Mora did ok and was good at the hot corner -

I see Dan Uggla as more of a bat in the line-up then a defensive player. He just isn't a defensive player. Wigginton is the stop-gap at 3B until Bell gets some at bats in Norfolk against some quality breaking pitches. It will also allow the farm guys to get a better idea of his defense. If you want to bring up the question of the importance of good defense behind young pitching, how about securing first base? There are 2-3 balls per game thrown in the dirt at first base that are either errors or generous basehits. Just throwing in Luke Scott or Nolan Reimold because "all they have to do is catch the ball" at first base is an oversight.

Uggla would be a bat in the middle of the line-up, but would not be an upgrade in the field. Get him if he doesn't cost much.

I am 100% biased because I see Dan Uggla play about 15 times a year in Miami because my family has season tix, but even so, he has the type of gritty character that guys like Niner and BJ had. He makes errors, but he is a team leader who has power and can make the routine plays. Can he improve his defense? Yes, if you put in the work like Melvin and Brandon Inge, anyone can get better, but you can't teach power or how to be a vocal leader which goes under the radar in Baltimore in my opinion. A Manager can preach all he wants, but you need guys on the field, to say what's right and what's wrong.

I think it's foolish to count on Bell, as a lock in 2011. He still has a way to go, but if his bat can handle big league pitching in 2011, let him DH, but you can't just say this guy is a lock so we don't really need to worry about finding a 1B/3B. So many factors go into a prospect becoming a major league player that nothing is set in stone.

I wouldn't care if we got Beltre or Feliz, but Wiggy isn't the answer. If the O's FO thought Wiggy was the answer, they wouldn't be looking for a 1B and 3B. He is a part time player and I think if the O's found a taker, he would be gone.

Joe Crede might have been one of the all time great fielding 3B of all time, but at this point, he's had numerous surgeries and the best you can hope for a guy like that is he can be a productive DH, but I don't think he is worth the risk because of all the surgeries he's had.

I would love to see the O's explore what it would take to get Billy Butler for 1B because I think it will cost the moon for Prince or Adrian and the O's can't do that at this stage of the game.

Should be yet another "sit on the edge" of our seat, kick ass off season of Oriole upgrading, right? Angelos is making his list of free agents that will work for his standard $15 an hour. I understand they're looking hard at Jim Rice for that power bat. Or maybe they can pull Boog away from the grill. Fact is.....the O's under Angelos are PERMANENT cellar dwellers. They'll do absolutely nothing. No free agents and no Uggla. Forget ain't happening.

the goal is to have a young strong unstoppable pitching why not focus on the bullpen? beltre at third,two strong relievers and the kid at first. stupid is as stupid does. you have the payroll to not only accomplish this but compensate for veteran experiance at first base ith wieters n jones. the braves were the model in the 90 s why shouldnt we use the same blueprint given the same x factors

olde toys
you probably thought 2012 was a comedy?
thanks for the upbeat attitude

I am amazed that a team with no pitching is debating about a 3rd baseman. Until we have decent pitching it doesn't matter that much who we have at 3rd. For my money you bring Mora back at a cheap price. He is still a better defensive option until the new kid is ready.

Pete, I am not sure why all the Pedro Feliz haters? Did he play a great team? Yes, but he knocked a lot of those guys in which is a problem here in Baltimore plus he did in San Fran so I don't look at him as just an OK fill in.

Pete, word on the street is that the Sox are going to go hard after Lackey, not that I thought he would come here, but if you are the boss, do you go after two vets like Garland and Wolf so that you aren't putting pressure on guys who might need more seasoning in the minors? I might be in the minority, but I think a lot of teams would take Jeremy Guthrie in a second via trade so it gives some more ammo to go along with Luke Scott in the trade market since it's been made clear that the top youth prospects aren't up for grabs.

how heathy is beltre? he was hurt much of last year

Ed -

MacPhail seems satisfied with starting 2010 with Guthrie, Matusz, Tillman and Bergesen in the rotation. Maybe Andy will add a Carl Pavano via free agency or another solid young pitcher via trade, but the team could easily go into spring training with those four guys and then let Koji, Arrieta and a couple of others duke it out for the final spot.

The pitching is still suspect, but there's plenty of in house talent. When it comes to third base, and first base as well, we've got nothing. That's why everyone is focusing on the corner infield spots.

Yeah. Any offseason in recent memory has us linked to signing/trading for some legit players and what happens in the long run........nothing. We sign just 'some' guy to fill the void while we 'hope' one of our young talent turns it out and unseats him. Tejada was the last big position splash we made and that was what....I dont know.....6-7 yrs. ago? Don't bet on anything happening this winter other then 'talk' of the O's doing something.

Yeah. Any offseason in recent memory has us linked to signing/trading for some legit players and what happens in the long run........nothing. We sign just 'some' guy to fill the void while we 'hope' one of our young talent turns it out and unseats him. Tejada was the last big position splash we made and that was what....I dont know.....6-7 yrs. ago? Don't bet on anything happening this winter other then 'talk' of the O's doing something.

Yeah. Any offseason in recent memory has us linked to signing/trading for some legit players and what happens in the long run........nothing. We sign just 'some' guy to fill the void while we 'hope' one of our young talent turns it out and unseats him. Tejada was the last big position splash we made and that was what....I dont know.....6-7 yrs. ago? Don't bet on anything happening this winter other then 'talk' of the O's doing something.

Excuse the 2 other copies of my one post. :) p.s. sorry to be so negative.

If you cannot get Beltre, then they should find a way to deal with a team to get a solid defender with some pop in his bat. Uggla is going to cost and yes he does add some pop, but if you cannot stop them you cannot beat them.

The bottom line here is that Uggla would cost prospects, while some of the other 3B options wouldn't. GM-AM is smart enough to realize that whoever plays 3B in 2010 will NOT be the guy manning 3B in 2013, so why give up decent prospects? The best solution is to go the free agent route to fill 3B until Josh Bell is ready.

I don't get it. The Marlins are rumored to want a decent pitching prospect like Erbe for Uggla. Maybe they want more in which case it makes sense not making this trade.

But Erbe isn't a top hundred prospect. He's not even close. He's a top hundred fifty guy at best and probably a top two hundred prospect.

Let's say the Orioles lose Uggla in two years. Whether he's an A or B free agent depends on his hitting numbers not his fielding numbers. Even if he's a type B, the Orioles can offer him arbitration. If he turns them down, then the Orioles get a pick at the end of the first round. A player picked in the top forty picks is probably going to be a top two hundred prospect. If he's a type A and they only got a second rounder in addition... well the O's probably win the trade just from those two picks.

Not Brooks-

you pondered how Bill James forecasts players stats for 2010? Look up PECOTA -

PECOTA - "Player Empirical Comparison and Optimization Test Algorithm", is a sabermetric system for forecasting Major League Baseball player performance.

It's much more complicated then just a guess. And PECOTA is typically pretty darn accreate too, although it has been known to "outperform" various players for a number of reasons (see Matt Wieters '09 forecast).

The basic idea behind PECOTA is really a fusion of two different things – Bill James's work on similarity scores and Gary Huckabay's work on Vlad, Baseball Prospectus's previous projection system, which tried to assign players to a number of different career paths. I think Gary used something like thirteen or fifteen separate career paths, and all that PECOTA is really doing is carrying that to the logical extreme, where there is essentially a separate career path for every player in major league history. The comparability scores are the mechanism by which it picks and chooses from among those career paths.

I dont think we have to give up talent for a 240-250 hitter. Yes he hits 30 hrs which is nice but how many at bats is a 250 hitter going to get the big hit? Id rather have wiggy over there for the 1 year or even bring back mora until bell is ready. And adam jones is not a number 2 hitter everyone keeps making lineups with him number 2. He is a 4 5 or 6 hitter you cnt have a striaght pull, power hitter at the 2 hole.

As long as we are talking about converted 2B for 3B, why not try turning Justin Turner into a 3B? He looked great at the plate last spring. We probably won't need a 2B any time soon, but he is a quality player who might be young enough to make the switch smoothly. What do you think?

Pete's reply: I really feel they need a proven major league run-producer for the middle of the order, though I have a soft spot for the Cal State Fullerton guys.

"As long as we are talking about converted 2B for 3B, why not try turning Justin Turner into a 3B? "

Because Turner can't hit.

"I dont think we have to give up talent for a 240-250 hitter. Yes he hits 30 hrs which is nice but how many at bats is a 250 hitter going to get the big hit?"

He's an .800+ OPS hitter. Guys like that don't grow on trees.

Did you mean Jake Arrieta??? Or, did he pull a "Jay" Williams?

Pete's reply: Yes, I meant Jake. Another mind cramp.

If he was the DH. No way at third.


I am amazed that you continue to read the posts at the bottom of the barrel here. Thanks.

As for Uggla, he is a good start, but not anything that would lead to a finished product for the Orioles. If you look at the last decade and what the teams who won the World Series are comprised of, with a couple of exceptions, they all had a 40 HR guy. If the Orioles have to give up several prospects, why not Gonzalez, who also happened to win a gold glove at 1B, a definite need, although a lefty. This is also assuming that Fielder would be way too expensive in terms of prospects.

The Orioles' minor league system is totally devoid of HR hitters. They have some solid guys, but nobody that will exactly give the warehouse a run for its money. Yes, they need a 3B, but they probably don't have enough prospects to get both a 1B and a 3B unless Andy gets really creative.


I am amazed that you continue to read the posts at the bottom of the barrel here. Thanks.

As for Uggla, he is a good start, but not anything that would lead to a finished product for the Orioles. If you look at the last decade and what the teams who won the World Series are comprised of, with a couple of exceptions, they all had a 40 HR guy. If the Orioles have to give up several prospects, why not Gonzalez, who also happened to win a gold glove at 1B, a definite need, although a lefty. This is also assuming that Fielder would be way too expensive in terms of prospects.

The Orioles' minor league system is totally devoid of HR hitters. They have some solid guys, but nobody that will exactly give the warehouse a run for its money. Yes, they need a 3B, but they probably don't have enough prospects to get both a 1B and a 3B unless Andy gets really creative.

Pete's reply: I think they're hoping that Josh Bell develops into the power bat of the future at third base, but they need somebody before that. I agree with some posters that Uggla would be a big gamble defensively, since he isn't exactly Joe Morgan at second base and would have to move to third if acquired by the O's.

No to Uggla. Doesn't hit lefties. Gets into massive monthlong slumps. He'll put the UGGH in Uggla.

Emphatically NO to Hank Blalock or Joe Crede. C'mon, haven't we had enough of the Glenn Davis, Albert Belle, Bob Horner chronic injury prone sluggers. Just say NO to oft-injured vets.

No to Beltre as well. Check out his career splits against the AL East. Terrible against Boston, NY, Toronto, and Tampa.

Post a comment

Please enter the letter "h" in the field below:
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.

Schmuck column archive

Upload a photo of yourself or a friend wearing the new Peter Schmuck T-shirt, which is on sale at

Most Recent Comments
Photo galleries

Search our new database for every home run hit hit by the O's and the opposition — home and away — since 1992.

Buy Sports Tickets from the Baltimore Sun Store

Sign up for FREE Orioles alerts
Get free Sun alerts sent to your mobile phone.*
Get free Baltimore Sun mobile alerts
Sign up for Orioles text alerts

Returning user? Update preferences.
Sign up for more Sun text alerts
*Standard message and data rates apply. Click here for Frequently Asked Questions.
Blog updates
Recent updates to sports blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Stay connected