baltimoresun.com

« Ravens: How will you welcome Stover back? | Main | Orioles: Free agent letdown »

November 19, 2009

Orioles: What, me worry?

Actually, I am a little worried about the direction the Orioles may take this offseason, because Andy MacPhail has painted himself into a corner with his stated desire not to trade any of the top prospects for offensive help. That wouldn't bother me if the free agent market -- which opens for business tomorrow -- was heavy with run-producing corner infielders that could be had for reasonable years and salary, but the choices are fairly limited and none of them is a slam-dunk fit for this team going forward.

I believe the Orioles have to go out and get at least one decent middle-of-the-order bat, and I'm starting to wonder if they're willing to spend even the medium money it would take to do that. I'm afraid there might be a disconnect between the front office, which may be dispassionately looking at the team and figuring that there's no point in spending much if there is little chance of competing for a wild card berth next year, and a disintegrating fan following that wants to see the team take a tangible step forward in 2010. In which case, we may see another half effort to upgrade the batting order.

There may be some nuts and bolts logic there, but you can't remove the fans from the equation. They need to be reassured that the club is really moving forward, and you're not going send that message by conceding another 90-plus loss season. That doesn't mean you have to throw the plan out the window, but you can't steer around every opportunity to improve because a player might block one of your unproven prospects.

The Orioles need to upgrade offensively at first and third base and they have prospects who have a chance to pop over the next two years at those positions. That is an argument against giving out big multi-year deals to fill both holes, but in the DH league, you still have the flexibility to sign or acquire one quality corner infield guy without really blocking anyone.

If we wake up in February with Michael Aubrey projected at first base and Ty Wigginton at third, it's going to be very hard to convince the paying customers that the team will ever be willing to do what it takes to really compete in the American League East.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:12 AM | | Comments (67)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

Peter. Excellent points made..I guess the key to the obvious shortfalls at 1st and 3rd is when will Snyder and Bell be ready to produce on a consistent basis at the MLB level. The consensus is that they won't even be ready to play in the bigs until '11 and then of course, there will likely be a period of adjustment until they can put up decent numbers. The worst case scenario is that one or both are not what they are cracked up to be, in which case we are back to square one or worse at the corners.
I agree that the free agent market is slim at these positions and we should avoid filling 1/3/b that way. Trading is always an option but you have to give something good in return. I'd love to see Adrian Gonzalez in the black and orange and I am fine with giving up a Tillman or a blue chip starter(along with others less heralded) if that what it takes. I don't see MacPhail going that route because he keeps stressing pitching. I am guessing that he's either go with a patch job like Delgado/Nick Johnson/Crede etc or go with your combo of Wiggy?Aubrey..Either option is less than exciting but the reality is I don't think the O's really planned on being so bad at those spots and are now going to scramble.
As far as your noted concern about the rapidly dwindling fan base, I think the O's stopped being concerned a few years ago. Most die-hard fans will follow regardless of the train wreck and others on the fence aren't likely going to be swayed just because shop-worn guys like Delgado/Nick Johnson or even Beltre are brought in. I mean we signed Aubrey Huff a few years ago, who is about on par with this current bunch and fans weren't rushing to the ticket offices.
In summary, I see 2010 as another bad year all around and maybe even worse than 2009. We can only hope that Bell/Synder produce eventually, all the projected starters pan out, our core players-Weiters/NickM/Roberts/Jones continue their solid play and somehow we assemble a half-decent 'pen.
Wow, that's a lot!!!!

Pete,

I keep having this recurring dream where the O's make all the right moves this offseason and emerge as a legitimate team in 2010. I know. I'm crazy But what if...

We could trade for Adrien Gonzalez. Then seeing that we were serious, Chone Figgens decided he could sign with us. Then we resigned Eric Bedard to finish a coup du grace that ranks among the best (or worst depending on your perspective) trades in baseball history. And then we signed a solid closer.

Four moves. Four moves that could set the O's up to contend for years. And, it might not even be that expensive given all the money coming off the payroll this year.

I know it's not likely, but do you think it's possible?

And, lastly, do you think we could trade for Gonzalez by trading:
1. Troy Patton
2. Steve Johnson
3. Josh Bell
4. Brandon Snyder
5. a fifth player of your choice not named Jake Arrieta or Brandon Erbe

That's a ton of talent in that group yet it doesn't sacrifice any of our top pitching prospects.

Or am I just dreaming?

The Orioles need pitching help most of all. Any rational mind would have given fat albers, 2 pitch sarfate, and kiss bass their pink slip instead of taking up space on the 40 man roster. They never outbid other serious bidders for good talent so I hope they can find some good old retreads that will come cheap. Let Bell and Snyder start with the O's rather than some pretender that can hit 25 home runs and probably strike out 100 times too. Why can't they extend Jones, Wieters, or Matusz like the Rays did Longoria rather than spend on this years washed up free agents?

Orioles will have to be creative to land a big hitter. And I'm thinking that they should try something like this to get Adrian Gonzalez without losing their entire bank of prospects: Trade Luke Scott for two prospects to a team like Detroit. Send these two prospects, Arrieta, Pie and Snyder - both of whom have improved their trade value - to San Diego for Gonzalez. Throw-in Steve Johnson for good measure in a six-for-one-deal. Pie/Snyder/Arrieta for Billy Butler can also be looked at.

Pete:

I don't see how AM has "painted himself into a corner with his stated desire not to trade any of the top prospects for offensive help." AM will change his mind on that the instant someone makes him an offer he can't refuse and he thinks it prudent to do so.

Peter: What happens if the O's don't sign anyone? Fans get upset, say they're not following this team anymore? How is that different from the last five years?

The O's spent a decade signing Omar Daals and Marty Cordovas, and how many fans has it won them?

I'd love to see them add a big bat at 1B, or a good veteran SP, or a good SS, on the free agent market. The problem is, with the exception of John Lackey, for whom there will be a bidding war, I don't see anyone available who meets those descriptions.

Maybe somebody interesting will be non-tendered. But you can't buy what isn't available. The O's have little choice now but to stay the course for 2010. Fans will grumble, but they have been grumbling. When the team starts winning again (2011?), all will be forgiven. What's the difference between 12 years of losing and 13?

Seriously guys...these trade packages for A.Gonzalez are ridiculous. Why would the Padres trade a 27 year old superstar under control for a few more years at a reasonable price for our mid level prospects? Everything I have read (excluding fans postings on blogs) say that we would have to start with either Matusz or Tillman plus Arrieta and at least 2 more legit prospects. Enough with these pie in the sky trade offers that would never be accepted.

There was lively debate the other day about whether Dan Uggla is someone we should covet to fill that "decent middle-of-the-order bat" requirement. I was not necessarily enthusiastic about him, but the take of Keith Law (of ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc.) has made me reconsider. Interesting, certainly:

"Now is actually a great time to try to trade for Uggla as he's coming off a slightly down year in batting average that is masking a significant spike in walk rate. He's always had power, and his approach at the plate has improved for several years. If he maintains those secondary skills and posts a BABIP over .300 -- something he did twice in three years before 2009 -- oddly, he's a potential MVP candidate."

Hi Pete,

On behalf of the Unwashed Hordes, I would like to say that you have eloquently framed our concerns about our inabilty to ascertain the true level of urgency contemplated by the organization in order to field a team that can compete in the AL East sooner rather than later.

We want to be positive about the Orioles but do not want the organization to take the fans for granted by perpetrating a long, deliberate and uncertain rebuilding process without adding bonafide talent from the outside.

Prospects are just that and anyone penciling in a Snyder or a Bell to be future All Stars are being way to premature. Let's see if they even make it this far before touting their Hall of Fame credentials.

The Orioles need players NOW Pete, thank you for saying so.
You and the Horde have agreed for months that the Orioles needed to upgrade at First and Third offensively, and get a bat and a pitcher during the offseason. They have the money.

After all, this is baseball and what real baseball fan wants to wake up on opening day knowing that their team has no chance to compete for at least another year? In this case, patience is not a virtue, it is a curse.

I said all along that Macphail was doing all the right things early on, but it's not early on anymore, especially after 12 losing years in a row.


There was lively debate the other day about whether Dan Uggla is someone we should covet to fill that "decent middle-of-the-order bat" requirement. I was not necessarily enthusiastic about him, but the take of Keith Law (of ESPN.com/Scouts, Inc.) has made me reconsider. Interesting, certainly:

"Now is actually a great time to try to trade for Uggla as he's coming off a slightly down year in batting average that is masking a significant spike in walk rate. He's always had power, and his approach at the plate has improved for several years. If he maintains those secondary skills and posts a BABIP over .300 -- something he did twice in three years before 2009 -- oddly, he's a potential MVP candidate."

Pete,
The problem as you mentioned is the lack of good free agent options at our positions of interest. You seem to contradict yourself when you say you're worried that he's not going to do what it takes to get someone, but also admit that "the choices are fairly limited and none of them is a slam-dunk fit for this team".

The two biggest names out there, Fielder and Gonzales, are not even on the trade market according to their respective GMs. So it would take an outrageously overwhelming deal to get one of them, and it would probably end up being the Bedard trade in reverse. I highly doubt either would sign a long-term deal without going out to test the market. Especially after seeing the contract that Tex got last year. I agree with MacPhail about not giving up our young potential long-term talent for a 1- or 2- year rental.

Who would you like to see us go for at 1B and/or 3B? And what do you think it would take to land them?

I think we would be well served trying to sign someone like Glaus, Crede, LaRoche, or DeRosa. I know some people are high on Delgado, but I personally don't like that idea. With the improvement that we should see from our young players, our lineup could be very potent next year.

-Jeff

Disintegrating fan base? The fan base disintegrated years ago.

You have to figure, as you said, MacPhail realizes that 2010 is another building year. I'm expecting moves that reflect this fact. Fans will likely accept a a team that rises above "atrocious" and bump attendance a bit (assuming the economy rebounds somewhat). If the team can stay healthy, they have a shot at not being horrible yet again. I still believe that the true number one goal of the O's is to stop the n-teenth year of losing, not make the playoffs. At least for now, the FO knows fans will get excited by the mere fact that the team flirts with .500 ball. At that point, they'll assess whether they want to pay for some players who might take them a level higher.

I think there are enough pieces to make a big trade work and still have a hearty core of pitching left. A trade package can include an Aubrey/Snyder/Waring/Bell if it means we get someone who's more than a band-aid.

I'm worried too Pete and we were some of the only ones still holding the bandwagon together this year as it was. 2010 is the Alamo for McPhail. What kind of leash is McPhail on if 2010's loss column has a 9 in front of it?

Isn't feeling some urgency to field a team right now that can compete in the AL East what got us into this situation in the first place? Add a slugger into the middle of our lineup doesn't make us ready to compete. We're not ready. Our young pitchers are still young and still learning to pitch in the majors. Even Markakis and Jones are still developing into the players they will be. It's still going to take some time.

So I hope Andy hears one fan say this loud and clear: I don't expect the O's to compete for the playoffs next year. I want to see young players improve and produce, and I want to see us play .500 ball next year. I want to turn on the T.V. or go to Camden Yards knowing there will be a 50/50 chance that we will win the game, and a 100% chance that we'll be competitive in the game.

Once we achieve that, a free agent signing or two will put us over the top and I'll want to see us fighting for the playoffs. But we are there yet, and there's no one out there this year that is going to put us there in 2010.

Chill, people.

Isn't feeling some urgency to field a team right now that can compete in the AL East what got us into this situation in the first place? Add a slugger into the middle of our lineup doesn't make us ready to compete. We're not ready. Our young pitchers are still young and still learning to pitch in the majors. Even Markakis and Jones are still developing into the players they will be. It's still going to take some time.

So I hope Andy hears one fan say this loud and clear: I don't expect the O's to compete for the playoffs next year. I want to see young players improve and produce, and I want to see us play .500 ball next year. I want to turn on the T.V. or go to Camden Yards knowing there will be a 50/50 chance that we will win the game, and a 100% chance that we'll be competitive in the game.

Once we achieve that, a free agent signing or two will put us over the top and I'll want to see us fighting for the playoffs. But we are there yet, and there's no one out there this year that is going to put us there in 2010.

Chill, people.

Isn't feeling some urgency to field a team right now that can compete in the AL East what got us into this situation in the first place? Add a slugger into the middle of our lineup doesn't make us ready to compete. We're not ready. Our young pitchers are still young and still learning to pitch in the majors. Even Markakis and Jones are still developing into the players they will be. It's still going to take some time.

So I hope Andy hears one fan say this loud and clear: I don't expect the O's to compete for the playoffs next year. I want to see young players improve and produce, and I want to see us play .500 ball next year. I want to turn on the T.V. or go to Camden Yards knowing there will be a 50/50 chance that we will win the game, and a 100% chance that we'll be competitive in the game.

Once we achieve that, a free agent signing or two will put us over the top and I'll want to see us fighting for the playoffs. But we are there yet, and there's no one out there this year that is going to put us there in 2010.

Chill, people.

Good post, Pete. Adding Bedard would cost nothing in propects and would be a good move if he's healthy. The O's must have a bat in the middle of the lineup and I don't think Uggla fills that need.

Certainly, a Fielder or Gonzalez would fill the need and cost several (at least 3, probably 4) top of the line prospects and that price would be worth paying only if a significant contract extension (3-4 years) could be agreed upon before the trade was concluded. Because Gonzales has more time than Fielder left in servitude to his team I would think Fielder would be the target.

As for third, I agree that if the O's signed Bedard and traded for Fielder than Figgons would likely come to Baltimore. A top of 5 in the lineup of Figgons, Roberts, Markakis, Fielder and Weiters would be very formidable.

I think Uehahra would fill the closer role very well next year but the O's need to bring on at least one more top of the line reliever.

The cost for Fielder would likely be the likes of Tillman, Arrieta, Snyder or Aubrey and one more good pitching prospect. Heavy price for sure but when one considers the O's would get a .300/ 40 plus/100 plus guy to play forst and bat in the middle of the lineup , well those guys are very hard to find so it's worth it.

A rotation of Bedard, Bergesen, Matuez, Guthrie and maybe Patton if he's still around would be formidible. But even if it was, the O's will never compete in the AL East without a big bat in the middle of the lineup.

Seriously, Pete, when are you going to stop with these uncritical, Kool-Aid induced, spouting-the-front-office-party-line blog entries? It's embarrassing.

Pete, Dan Uggla's a DH waiting to happen. He of the .250 BA, 30 HRs, and iron glove. With no pressure on him from the defensive side, you might see the guy hit more long balls than he has already....Adrian Gonzalez? Why don't we just ask the Padres to disband while they're at it? No way that's going to happen...I can see the O's trading for/ acquiring a pitcher or two, Wigginton playing third, Ryne Hughes/Mike Aubrey at first (see my previous post re: Hughes' power numbers), and Dan Uggla DHing. Gotta wait a couple of more years for the good times it seems.

To say you're not trading anyone currently on this roster is saying:

(1) You don't care what the other team is offering because you have THESE players locked up and that trumps any OTHER considerations (like improving or winning),

(2) You aren't smart enough or confident enough to figure out who will pan out and who will be a highly athletic bust, and/or

(3) Someone else is talking and moving my mouth.

.............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I don't think anybody said they wouldn't trade anybody on the roster. I think it was more that they wouldn't trade anybody anybody would really want.

Pete, I may be off base here, but I have to believe Aubrey would contribute just as much as a regular than any of the over 35yo. FA's out there. Glove means something, especially with the young pitchers. I do think either Bell or Snyder will be ready to make the jump by the middle of July, maybe both. Just don't expect any solid production from them in 2010 at the ML level. Could Bell be more of a 1st base possibility than at 3rd? Murray and Garvey had stints at 3rd not to mention Harmon Killibrew. I just think he looks more like a 1sy baseman and Snyder has played some 3rd. Could an across the diamond switch be a possibility?? I say IF we can get Beltre for NO MORE than 2 yrs go for it, the Blalocks and Delgado don't strike me as any better than what we already have on staff. Adrian Gonzalez? Hey guys..ain't gonna happen so you might as well get outta Dreamland.....

Frederick Larry,

So you are suggesting that the team can improve 36 games in the win column by standing pat?

What Oriole fan wouldn't settle for .500 baseball next year? Hell, I would do handstands at Calvert and Lexington if they won 81 games.

That would be competitive as far as any Oriole fan is concerned. But how likely is that unless the team adds proven talent from the outside over the winter?

As as James C. put it{and he is the voice of reason on this blog} we may have have more of a propensity to produce another number 9 leading off the loss column in 2010.

Want a first baseman with pop who can hit in the middle of the order?

Trade for Nick Swisher. Immediately.

http://twitter.com/BNightengale/status/5863286864

Frederick Larry,

Sorry my math is off. The Orioles need to improve 17 games in the win column to get to .500 next year.

But .500 would be great progress.

Trade for Adrian Gonzalez long term, package whatever you have to without destroying the primary future pitching core. Then pay whatever you have to for Adrian Beltre for 1-2 years until Bell is ready. I would buy season tickets to see that lineup!!

Remember MacPhail's "develop the arms and buy the bats" strategy. It's time to "buy the bats". If the O's sit on their hands this offseason, MacPhail's tenure as GM is just another smokescreen for Angelos to avoid spending the money to be competitive. With 10 straight losing seasons, the O's are going to have to overspend to attract any quality hitter and let's see if they do it.

Lou

Amen Peter!

Great post- I agree 100%

When McPhail first came in and touted his plan, following it up with some high-profile trades and other lower-profile but equally-important steps toward restoring this franchise, he earned the credibility that had been lacking in the Orioles front office for a decade. A lot of fans were willing to stick through the rebuilding because the plan made sense and they could see the "green shoots" of progress in our player development system.

I now believe the organization risks losing that credibility, and any fan goodwill that is left, by failing to make any big moves in the offseason. McPhail is already letting his timeline quietly slip another year, he kept a manager that for many fans became a symbol of the Orioles past failures and obstacle to the team turning the corner, and while the Orioles needs are still plenty he has failed to make any truly transformational moves since the Tejada/Bedard trade.

If he really thinks that competing in 2011 is a possibility- why wouldn't the team consider bringing in a cornerstone free agent under a long-term deal? We have the money, and even though the deal wouldn't pay off in the W/L column this year it would yield other important benefits. It would establish leadership within the clubhouse that seems to be lacking. It would signal to fans and other upcoming free agents that we are planning to contend, and are not satisfied merely to bide our time in the hopes that every one of our young prospects grows into an all-star. And it represent one less important hole that we would need to fill in future years- as you mentioned with the DH we have flexibility, and I could think of worse things than potentially having two stars at one position (they still allow trades, after all!).

I think it would be an extremely risky move by the organization to once again bring in a busload of third-tier free agents and resign ourselves to another 70-90 season. Fans have seen this movie before, and it doesn't end well. This time we might just turn the channel.

I think people need to wake up! We need to understand, we need power at first, third and some relief help and a starting pitcher. Now, our relief help we can find a few free agents but I think some of our pitching surplus could be served there.
For first and third nothing should be for longer than 2 years, and then if our kids are coming along ready to play, you trade the dead weight (wiggy, rhyne hughes, aubrey, etc). I think a play for Delgado would be a good start. Great power, can hit and should get better pitches for Markakis, Weiters, Jones. Nobody is going to just lay a belt-high fast ball with him. The game changes when a threat is at the plate. Holding runners, intentional walks, etc. That coupled with moving Hernandez to relief, Uehera to bullpen with maturing players, we should be fine. I dont have pipe dreams, winning the division will be hard, but solid baseball should be expected. Plus, with Bergenson, Tillman, Matusz who was on fire towards the end, 1 starter, plus Guthrie, we are good. And you stil have Erbe, Arrieta, Britton knocking down the door. Be patient, no more people holding back our kids and trying to just get by. This free-agent pool is thin, dont be naive. It is not like Adrian G, is a free agent this year. The best is Lackey and he is hurt typically. Holliday looked like a chump in the AL and Bay is at a position we are deep at. This isnt fantasy baseball. It needs to make sense.

the old adadge you have to spend money to make money. with the orioles if they want the type of players they are talking about. they will just about have to part with some top prospects to get the players they want.

Pete,

I'm sorry, but any baseball fan worthy of the name will not mind Aubrey/Wigginton at the corners, because, for once, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Only the most narrow minded would say that the Orioles are not in their best position in the past several years.

I'm not a huge fan of Baltimore fans, but I will say this, the buzz I have heard around town and on these many blogs tells me that there are people who care about the Orioles and are chomping at the bit to come back. And the Orioles are on the verge of getting them back.

This team is not going to sign two RH DH look alikes( Millar, Conine) to go along with the one they already have(Lopez) like they did three or four years ago. They are not signing four guys with their arms hanging off(tho I do think Baez is and was a good signing and a good guy to keep around.)

Aubrey is a gap hitter in the mold of Mark Grace and Wigginton cannot be as bad as he was last year. And even if we get thru half a year with those two, Bell and Snyder should be making their push for the majors, with Waring also making his presence known. There's a good chance we start the season with Aubrey and Wiggy and finish it with Bell/Waring/Snyder. Those guys might not have the gravitas of a Matt Weiters, but they are legitimate prospects.

The OF looks set and the staff will round into shape. I don't care what anyone says, Sarfate and Albers, both of whom throw in the mid 90s, both have a ton of movement and both are coming back from injury, it would be stupid to get rid of pitchers like that. Both showed they can be lock down relievers and with the starters hopefully more consistent than what we had last year, the 'pen can get into regular roles and work.

People, the future has never been brighter and all we can do is trust MacPhail. What choice do we have? Keep the faith and enjoy the winter. It should be fun.

I will call you Peter PANIC! My goodness ..alow the rebuilding take shape..this is not the NFL, one year you are 7-9 and the next 14-2.

McPhail is postioning the team for the long haul, whihc equals many years of winning and not just a stop gap to please the .500 crowd.

I do not want this team to just play .500 ball..I want us to compete with the Stinkee Yankees and Redsox Mad and Depress Nation.

For the first time since Cal Jr and Eddie Murray, we have multiple years within a short time span of real talent on the way. Since that time, only Brian Roberts and Nick Markatis has produced.

The '09 season gave us many rookies worth routing for.

BE HAPPY PETE AND DON'T WORRY....

Is Troy Glaus dead? Is the word around baseball that his latest surgery likely ended his career or something?

For the life of me I can't understand why the Orioles wouldn't look at him as a possibility for 3B other than the word around baseball must be that his last injury did him in.

He is okay at 3B defensively, and if healthy, has more power than any other 3B on the market (including Beltre who has been in the mid 20's or lower since his one big year), has experience batting clean up, can drive in runs, has a decent OBP despite a .250-.260 average, and if you get him for 2 years, you can swing him over to 1B when or if Bell is ready to take over.

I mean heck, if you're willing to kick the tires on Delgado or Blalock whom both I think are DH's only, then why not Glaus?

Just a note here: The Brewers are not trading Fielder, and the Padres aren't trading Gonzalez, at least not before the 2010 season.

Just a question Pete if we signed Beltre. He is not going to sign less than a 3 year deal in my opinion. What would you do with Bell and possibly Waring?

Second, we have no real 1B in the upper system other than potentially Snyder? If we sign a long term 1B bat what would you do with Snyder?

My own preference is for Nick Johnson, and platooning Bell at 3B on OD to face righties while Wiggington gaces lefties.

Beltre's going to be the highest paid FA 3B. I'd prefer not to spend a lot and see if Bell is the real deal. If we're going to spend I'd rather get an ace like Lackey or at least Bedard.

"Hell, I would do handstands at Calvert and Lexington if they won 81 games."

Gil - if they do indeed win 81 games, we may hold you to that promise. And take video evidence showing the pigs flying by above your feet.

I'm delighted by the intelligence and wisdom shown by the majority of the fans commenting on this post.

Usually Peter is the patient grownup in the room, but not in this room.

I'm very happy with the direction MacPhail has taken the team, and I'm willing to be patient for the young arms and bats.
I think the biggest offseason need is a pitcher who can throw 200 innings to take pressure off the bullpen. Bedard is not that pitcher. Otherwise, frankly, this team is not going anywhere this year. I am looking for real improvement in 2011 and 2012. If it's the end of 2012 and we are looking back at 15 losing seasons in a row, I think I'm done with baseball.

I stopped believing in the Easter Bunny long ago. It took me a little longer to wise up about Angeloser.

Why do people need to reinforce their over inflated egos by using the words "koolaid" among others to cut down anyone who has a little bit of optimism for this team.....learn some new words!

Were fans..nothing else...we dont make decisions regarding this team!

s

In high school (Dundalk 1954) I asked a beautiful girl to go out. I never thought she would even consider it but I thought the worst she could say was "no". She said yes. Lets ask the Padres out, the worst they can say is no. A blog I read said they wanted a young center fielder, and we have one in Pie. If you add Arietta, Erbe, and Waring, she (excuse me) they may say yes. We should at least give them the chance. If it means making or breaking the deal, I would include Tillman but remove one of the others. If they go for it we have a long term solution at first and one problem we won't have to deal with next year. Lets give romance a chance.

Posted by: Hoot Gibson | November

In high school (Dundalk 1954) I asked a beautiful girl to go out. I never thought she would even consider it but I thought the worst she could say was "no". She said yes. Lets ask the Padres out, the worst they can say is no. A blog I read said they wanted a young center fielder, and we have one in Pie. If you add Arietta, Erbe, and Waring, she (excuse me) they may say yes. We should at least give them the chance. If it means making or breaking the deal, I would include Tillman but remove one of the others. If they go for it we have a long term solution at first and one problem we won't have to deal with next year. Lets give romance a chance.

Posted by: Hoot Gibson | November

I always get confused when GMs say they won't give up a hot prospect for an established major league. Why not take the guarantee over the potential?

Andy McPhail recently said the O's are unlikely to give up any top prospects for big name players, like Adrian Gonzalez.

"I think we'll be judicious about giving up any of those guys we think are part of our core future," MacPhail said.

Gonzalez is 27...he could easily be that core future. When does a player become "too old" to give up for a prospect?

Seems to me a guy like Gonzalez is a steal for some top prospects and fills a big need the O's have. It's baffling...that should be a no-brainer. O's have the money and for once, the organizational depth to trade from.

A guy like Gonzalez is not a stop-gap. He's a long-term answer and the sign that the rebuilding plan is coming to fruition. At some point, you have to move from Phase 1 - cleansing the system and stocking prospects, to Phase 2 - putting together a winning ballclub.

Adrian Gonzalez is not a long term solution if he wants to test free agency in 2 years. He saw what kind of contract Teixeira got, and will probably want at least that if not more. There's no guarantee that just because we trade for him and he plays here for 2 years that he would want to stay.

Even if we offered him over $20 million a year, what if the Yanks or the Sox offered him $25 million a year? There is no guarantee he would be anything more than a 2-year rental.

Bell and Snyder are nice, but there's no guarantee they'll ever perform at the major league level. Sign who you need to appropriate contract lengths and cost and if Bell and Snyder do blossom, you have a nice problem. I'd to see a corner combo of a left handed and right handed hitter that could drive in runs and/or move Adam Jones down in the lineup. I like Beltre's glove, i don't know if it makes up for his crappy obp. You look at the teams that make the playoffs, their obp are generally the highest in the game. You hit .260 with RISP that'll work if you always have RISP. Weren't the Os like 4th last year, but they didn't have runners on at the pace of the yanks/sux/angels. Here's to spending money a little more liberally than may be necessary, but not all nutty!

When is projecting out two years going to stop. If the Orioles are terrible next year are they going to say stay the course in '11 and '12 we will be better? I remember 2 years ago '10 was supposed to be the year we compete, now it's the year after. We always heard about the "dead money" that we owed to old players. That was the excuse why we couldn't spend more of free agents. Now all that is gone, but we still won't spend the money. All we do is make excuses for the team and let the FA off the hook.

"Seems to me a guy like Gonzalez is a steal for some top prospects and fills a big need the O's have. It's baffling...that should be a no-brainer. O's have the money and for once, the organizational depth to trade from."

Amen to that Christopher

"Adrian Gonzalez is not a long term solution if he wants to test free agency in 2 years. He saw what kind of contract Teixeira got, and will probably want at least that if not more. There's no guarantee that just because we trade for him and he plays here for 2 years that he would want to stay.

Even if we offered him over $20 million a year, what if the Yanks or the Sox offered him $25 million a year? There is no guarantee he would be anything more than a 2-year rental."

JeffChill, the Yankees aren't going to go after a first basemen, they have one.

If the O's traded for Gonzalez, the Red Sox aren't going to wait a year or two to get one, unlike the Oriole organization, they make the moves they need to make, without haste.

There is no reason why the O's can't at least inquire about Gonzalez. As someone previously wrote, the only thing the Padres can say is no.

I liked watching Michael Aubrey at 1st.

Timothy Morris:

I'm with you on Aubrey. He looked good in the limited time he played last year. He's got a rep as a good defensive player and his minor league numbers were good. He hit about 40 doubles and close to 20 HRs every 650 plate appearances in the minors. Despite all that, he doesn't get much credit around here.

Im fine with aubrey at first... maybe a little Darrin Erstad out of him: .300 15hr 80 rbi and a good glove.

I'll take Beltre's solid glove and 20 hr and 80 rbi, as long as he doesn't cost 30 100 money.

They need to load up in the BP. i think Ray will fare better next year and they need one of the closers out there.

Next year the goal should be to start being a thorn in the side of the big teams. Play 'em tough, steal a few wins, start to scare 'em, get to .500.

We keep talking about a middle of the order bat? I am doubling down on Weiters for a big year next year. Mauer with Power, baby!

If the O's can pull of one of those dopey AGonzo trades, that is what I will do cartwheels for.

"no Homer... you have the... uhh... royal sampler!"

"I'm sorry, but any baseball fan worthy of the name will not mind Aubrey/Wigginton at the corners, because, for once, there is a light at the end of the tunnel. Only the most narrow minded would say that the Orioles are not in their best position in the past several years."

If the Orioles have Aubrey and Wiggy plus an inexperienced rotation, then they can expect another year below .500.

There are short-term solutions that can be found that won't cripple the future. The Marlins sound like they're really not asking for that much for Uggla. He'd make our lineup so much stronger.

Pete: nice post. I too am worried for the same reasons. A Bit of Money + Fan base issues = bad FA moves (sometimes).

Interesting off-season for Andy.

I understand "discontent" and current "mood", but O's right now are like having a man on first with no outs in the Third.

w/ O's money, I rather have a go at Joe Mauer and Han Ram.

It's refreshing/great to see many posts from like-minded fans: leery of FA market, advocates for prospects chances & playing time, possible trade for young position player (terms of deal VERY important).

On prospect Starting time: pitching came up last year. arms take longer. bats less. Time it for 2011.

Delgado: C-/B-
Uggla: C/A- (it's soo crazy, it just might...)
Feliez: D/C- (yuck)
Bedard: C/A+ (need a lefty other than Matusz + I love him {blush})
Adrian Gonzales: A/A++ (deal seems to be prohibitively expensive--although Felix Pie + Tillman (FB rate an issue in AL East) + Snyder + A & C level pitching prospect would be about right).
Rich Hill: C/B- curve ball IS that nasty!
Billy Wagner: C/B+ good for young bull pen guys?

SHAMROCK:

I'd like to see us get Beltre too, and I don't really care if they have to way overpay to get him as long as it is not a long term contract. Another year or two in the minors isn't going to hurt Bell.

With Beltre, Aubrey, Izturis and Roberts, some progress by Weiters and our young outfielders, we just might turn out to be a pretty good defensive club. Not a bad thing to be with all the young pitchers we have.

paulie;

I like Bedard too, but didn't he go down with a shoulder problem. That's not good and makes me a little nervous.

I believe the litnus test for the Orioles moving forward lies primarily with the players that are already here.

Most of the pieces are in place or will be very shortly. To blow things up now and go chasing so-so free agents, or god forbid more 3rd/4th tier players like Wigginton and Freel that only block the advancement of actual prospects,would be rediculous. I know patience is growing thin but at this point can you honestly tell me the difference between 12 or 13 straight losing seasons?

I think that a couple bullpen additions and a signing like Chone Figgins would definitley sufice for this offseason.

I say we live or die with the young talent that's here now. The 2010 season will have plenty enough story lines to keep my interest, without overpaying a Beltre, Crede, Blalock or Delgado.

-Will Bergesen be the same reliable starter he was last year, or (gasp!) even better?

-Is Matusz the stud #1 he's already showed flashes of?

-Can Guthrie get it back together mentally, seeing how his stuff is still there?

-Is it time for Tillman and Arrietta to realize their potential?

-Can Uehara become the dependable closer we seek?

-Would a move to the bullpen make David Hernandez the consistant strikeout machine he was in the minors the last two years?

-Will Adam Jones show the discipline (and subsequent numbers he had) in the first half of last year for an entire season?

-Is Wieter's primed for a breakout season?

-Will Riemold assume the role of the dependable 20+HR leftfielder with good plate discipline and fantastic hustle we saw last year?

-Is Nick Markakis ready to become a superstar?

-How much will we see of Bell, Snyder, Waring, Aubrey and Hughes? Are any of them ready to prove themselves at the big league level?

If more than half of these questions can be answered with a yes at the end of next year, we will be right were we need to be. At or above that magical .500 mark that everyone loves to talk about. Then we go make the trades or sign the free agents, and take the risk that goes with it, because only then could we honestly say that we are ready to compete.

When I was in high school (Dundalk 54) I asked a beautiful girl named Myrtle to go out. She was far above me and I was sure she would say no, but I figured the worst she could say was "no". To my great surprise and joy she said yes. Lets ask the Padres to go out, the worst they can say is no. I read that one thing they want this off season is a centerfielder and we have one in Pie. If we add Arrieta, Erbe and Waring they might say yes. If it took Tillman to swing the deal I would include him. If we did that deal we would have a solution at firstbase for the foreseeable future. It would be one thing less to contend with next off season. Lets give romance a chance.

McPhail isn't going to do anything dramatic to improve the O's,that's not who he is. He's a tip toer and a work around the fringes guy.He's always looking fror a bargain even when he has money to spend.The best thing he could do is improve the bullpen.We can find 5 guys to pitch into the 6th inning next year the prolem is middle relief giving games away.The idea of Koji or Johnson as the closer is also insane.Koji can reak down anytime he picks a ball up. He's a primma donna who isn't going to pitch unless he feels 100% perfect. He's going to milk another $5 million out of the O's next year.I don't know why they didn't try Cla Meridith as the cloase last year,he has a differnt look at least.

The Agon thing is about as likely as Tex coming here last year. Not going to happen.Why not give Tejada a two year deal to play third and let Bell and Snyder fight it out for 1st base the next couple years? You can always move Tejada back to short.Tejada can make the rountine play at SS,that's all you need.

The front office doesn't have to spend any money if they don't think now is the right time. This process is still about the future, not the now. This team could lose 100 games, but if they're in the race in 2011 they're in the playoff hunt people are going to fill Camden Yards. As soon as the O's start winning people will show up to watch. Tampa was terrible for their entire existance, but when they began to win people came out to fill the stadium. Everyone wants to be a part of a winner, no matter what happened in the past.

...............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I disagree that the fans' patience is unlimited. If they are terrible this year and good next year, they'll draw poorly next year. It takes time to win fan confidence back. Just ask the Rays.

I have been an ardent supporter of Andy Macphail and I am curious to see what he does this off-season, but if he takes me, you, or any other o's fan into account when making baseball decisions he's out of his mind. Luckily that doesn't seem to be the case. And some advice for those concerns about AM's comments on his prospects, pay attention to what a gm does not what he says and you'll worry a lot less.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: I disagree to a point. He shouldn't make decisions based on the strategic opinion of the public, but you must consider the public reaction to your machinations, or they may end up not making any difference.

I like Aubrey at 1st, great glove, and I think he will hit 40 doubles, 20+ hrs, and hit .280ish. Get a short term 3rd sacker, sign Bedard, and one closer type..and lets play ball!

I find it pretty stupid that people here want to include Josh Bell in a trade. The O's have zero prospects at 3b and this guy is a legit one WITH POWER and they want to trade him away already. I'd go for a Troy Glaus for a year with an option until Bell is ready, and I would do a three year deal with Adam LaRoche at 1B. Try for Wagner as closer, and Bedard but only with a heavily incentive laced contract. If not Bedard, maybe Harden as starter and Jackson in the pen. I know to get quality you have to give up quality but no way in hell do I trade Josh Bell, Brian Matusz or Chris Tillman. This club has a nice little nucleus of talent. Matusz, Tillman, Bergesen, Wieters, Reimold, Pie, Jones and I'd hate to see it broken up already. You expect .500 in 2010 and to be a playoff contender in 2011. If the club can add Bedard, LaRoche, Glaus, Wagner and Jackson, without having to give up anyone, I'd be happy.

My previous post should have read Gonzalez for the pen...Edwin Jackson would be a nice addition for the rotation though.

Bob C: agree w/ u on Bedard. Shoulder surgery on a pitcher is extremely worrisome. However, w/ the right contract & price, it's a good move.

I also like the Harden idea. 2/3 year deal w/ same incentives as Bedard.

3rd base options on FA market are not that appealing, to me. I'd be fine w/ Wiggy/Bell.

1B: Aubrey sure did have a nice glove last year and a return this year would be fine.

The sad thing is the only thing we can do as fans to show our disgust with the team is to not go to the games. I don't go anymore with the exception of opening day. The seats the last 2 years at opening day are even starting to look empty.

..............................................................................................
Pete's reply: That's the Catch-22. If they aren't any good, fans aren't going to show up. If fans don't show up, they may never be any good.

Let us hope that this year my O's won't be equated with cheap. Cheap doesn't work. Stopgaps at 1st and 3rd won't do because no one is saying that Snyder and Bell are surefire to start and produce in 2011. Two legitimate "longknockers" are a necessity to be able to compete in the AL east.

Chad, they may ASK for Matusz, Tillman, Wieters, etc....

But you know what? The Indians asked for Drabek....and still dealt Cliff Lee for much less than that....

Ricciardi was stubborn and demanded Drabek in a deal for Halliday....you see how far that got him: it cost him his job.

Tillman,Reimold, and Erbe should be more than enough for Gonzalez.

If not, let 'em suffer with AGon and borderline ballplayers.....

There was a time when Lee May played first while Eddie Murray spent his rookie year as the primary DH. Lee later was the DH and Eddie went on to win a gold glove on his way to a Hall of Fame career.

So, getting a good glove at 3rd for two years would allow Bell to take a year in AAA then a year at DH if necessary.

Dont worry, be happy (O's)!

I don't see how blocking any of the prospects is a problem. As long as they aren't foolish enough to include a no-trade clause. They should go spend the bucks and that big bat, none of our prospects are sure things. And if the prospects pan out, that's also a good thing. I would like to see this organization with too much talent on it's hands. That's a good thing, remember?

Post a comment

Please enter the letter "b" 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 gotschmuck.com
-- ADVERTISEMENT --

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 baltimoresun.com sports blogs
 Subscribe to this feed
Stay connected