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December 2, 2009

Orioles: No Nats on spring schedule?

The Orioles just released their schedule for their first spring training in Sarasota since the early 1990s, and it's making me all nostalgic for my early days as the beat writer covering the team. You can check it out right here.

If you haven't counted yet, the Orioles will play the Yankees four times and the Boston Red Sox five times during the exhibition season. They also play the Phillies three times and go across the state to play their old exhibition rivals -- the Cardinals and Marlins -- once each in Jupiter.

The most surprising thing about the just-released schedule: Despite the MASN partnership, the O's have scheduled no exhibition games for the upcoming spring against the Washington Nationals.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 3:15 PM | | Comments (34)
Categories: Just baseball


Ahhh, that stinks they won't be playing another game in Norfolk =(

Money paying Fans don't deserve to have to sit through a game between two teams that horrible (Nats & Os). Thanks for not punishing us.

Cuz you know that would've been the game that the radio announcers left in the 5th inning. better to avoid that fiasco this time around....

Never lose sight of the financial motives. I'm sure it was done so they have two games to broadcast daily on MASN. Then again, because they both stink, the ad $ may not cover the production costs. So who knows?

Trade for Uggla, Sign Sheets and bring back Bedard and we are not to far off, what you think my man Pete? And I was the one Pedro Pedro all last off season and just think what 5 million would have got us having him help bring th elittle nirds along all last season, would have been worth its wait in Gold. So hopefully Andy pulls the trigger on a few of these and lets the fans have a little fun this off season looking forward to opening day.

Seeing the names "Ed Smith Stadium" & "Sarasota" means that it's now a reality. The Orioles' major & minor leaguers will finally spend all of spring training together in the same town, and we won't have Fort Lauderdale Stadium to kick around anymore. They'll finally prepare for the regular season against real teams and not losers like the Washington Stiffs.

Pete's reply: It's going to be very different, that's for sure.

Maybe that means to compensate we can play the Gnats for our full inter-league schedule during the regular season and get a few games closer to that ever elusive 13 year dream of 81-81.

There goes that early battle of the basement...I mean beltway.

It's been a long time since the Orioles and Yankees have played each other in spring training. Is it all in the geographic move to Sarasota? Or has something else changed behind the scenes in the front office relationship between the two organizations?

It's all just a matter of geography. The Orioles don't want to bus all the way across the state and up to Viera, which is near Cocoa Beach. Looking forward to the game against the Jays in Dunedin. Quaint little minor league stadium situated right in the middle of a neighborhood.

I am disappointed they are not playing a game in Norfolk. They have played there twice in the last three seasons and the Norfolk area fans have supported the game very well.

Why not play a game there? The Norfolk Tides are the Orioles AAA team. Just play someone other than Washington.

Hey Schmuckerlla,

Have you taken a gander at this ? I

It seems heading into a near 100 loss season, the O's were the 5th most profitable team in MLB. Is that the reason that they didnt bother to sign any elite players ? Whats the point? the Os are making $$$ hand over fist losing, why bother being competitive? IT COSTS TOO MUCH, besides the fans and media are so braniswashed into thinking and defending the O's and their "inability to spend" that the myth has become a reality, that is why I losthe the apogists so much, they are accomplices in the desecration of this once-model franchise.

Pete's reply: MLB always claims the Forbes list is not accurate, but that's irrelevant. I haven't said recently that the Orioles can't spend the money. I think they have plenty. What I've said is that spending a bunch of money unwisely only puts you further in a hole. If they were to acquire MIguel Cabrera and Matt Holliday, I'm pretty sure they would be just fine financially -- and that would be great -- but spending $50 million on a Gary Matthews like the Angels once did is just stupid. If you're looking for them to spend just to show you they care, you're still going to be disappointed at the end.

Jason - Who are we going to spend all this money on? Have you looked at the list of free agents? I think the best case scenario would be maybe bringing Bedard back and getting Beltre or another decent corner infielder to hold us over until some younger players are ready. The Orioles aren't going to be in the market for any blockbuster acquisitions because they aren't there to be made. Even if someone like Lackey would sign here, is it worth breaking the bank for a guy who went 11-8 with an era in the high 3's? I'm more excited about watching our young players continue to get better and making the right move when it comes around. Spending money on every big money free agent who came along is part of what brought the franchise down.

"besides the fans and media are so braniswashed into thinking and defending the O's and their 'inability to spend' that the myth has become a reality"

There's a huge difference between thinking that the O's have an "inability to spend" and thinking that the O's should be wise with their money.

You'd have to be a fool to believe that Peter Angelos doesn't have money to spend on this team, especially since past GMs spent that money on band aids and Andy MacPhail has spent it on extensions for Roberts and Markakis.

A bit of news: reports that the Phillies are close to signing Placido Polanco to play third base.

That takes care of one team that's in the market for a third baseman with Adrian Beltre still on the market. The Mariners made an arbitration offer to Beltre, but he's only a Type B free agent, so the Orioles won't lose a draft pick if they sign him.

Get it done, Andy!

WHy does everyone make the same inane argument about "wanting them to spend it wisely" Of course I want them to "spend it wisely"

WHat do u think ? I want them to put 100 million dollars in a pile in CF and set it on fire ?

Of course not, if you got it spend it. DO u think that the Orioles didnt know this yr was a weak FA class ? By not spending this psat season (when there was plenty of elite talent) they bought themselves 2 more yrs of not spending (or being competitive) and the apologist not only bought it, they defended. The apologists have helped perpetrate this travesty and it sickens me

Why do ppl who clal themselves fans prefer a profitable team over a competitive one ?!?!?!

Im sure the teams in the mid 90's werent as profitable, but it sure was much more fun being a fan of a team that HAD A CHANCE to win. This losing is f'ing miserable and Im bored out of my mind with this team and I didnt think that could ever happen. When I cut myself shaving, theres black and orange blood in the sink, but Im so over this crap and the only thing worse than the losing is the defense of it

Pete's reply: Actually the teams in the 1990s were way more profitable, because the stands were full every night and salaries were lower overall. The problem with your interpretation of the Forbes study is that you didn't mention that the Orioles ranked fifth in net income ($27 million) in 2008 (not 2009), but also ranked in the bottom six in the majors in gross revenue. Which means that the only thing that study says is that they have a low payroll, which we already knew and was part of the rebuilding plan. I wish they had signed Teixeira, too, last year, but he wasn't coming here.

Jason -

"Of course not, if you got it spend it. DO u think that the Orioles didnt know this yr was a weak FA class ? By not spending this psat season (when there was plenty of elite talent) they bought themselves 2 more yrs of not spending"

You make it sound like they didn't even try last winter.

The O's offered Mark Teixeira seven years and $140-150M. That's $20-21.5M per season. The Yankees won out by offering $22.5 per over eight years. And I'm sure that, regardless of money, the draw to New York was a bit stronger than the draw to Baltimore for Teixeira.

The Yanks also blew everyone out of the water with their offer to CC Sabathia, as well as throwing an insane amount of money at A.J. "I'm Always Injured and I'm Rarely As Good As I Should Be" Burnett.

Past those three, who did you want the O's to sign last winter?

Orlando Hudson? Sorry, second base is taken in Baltimore.

Rafael Furcal? Maybe, but did you really want the O's to outbid the Dodgers three year, $39M deal for a light hitting 31-year-old coming off back surgery? I think Izturis was a pretty solid Plan B there.

How about the outfield? Well, two spots were already taken by Nick Markakis and Adam Jones. Did you really want to see a multi-year deal at $20M+ for Manny Ramirez? Past Manny, you had:
- Adam Dunn, who can't play the field, but would have been a solid DH
- Bobby Abreu, who also would have been a nice addition, especially on a one year deal
- Raul Ibanez, who was 37 and got 3 years and $30M from the Phillies. He had a solid season, but he did get hurt, as old players do. No thanks on outbidding Philly.

Moving on to starting pitchers, past CC and Burnett, who really would have made much of a difference?

I'd love to see your response, as I've been asking for one from the "they should have done something last winter!" guys for some time. Your thoughts?

I would've loved to have Dunn to play 1b. Everyone knocks his defense, yet we had no problem trotting Strip CLub Huff out there who isnt exactly Gsrvey with the glove

YOU CANNOT BE SERIOUS CITING TEX AS AN EXAMPLE OF THE ORIOLES BEING SERIOUS ABOUT SPENDING MONEY THE ORIOLES OFFERED TEX LESS THAN WHAT HE TURNED DOWN FROM TEXAS 3 YEARS AGO!!! and 40 million less than he got from the Stankees If u actually think thats proof that the O's are "willing to spend" then you are blinded by your orange colored glasses and drunk from the Orange Kool Aid, LMWAO

Jason -

Don't be a jackass.

The Orioles offered Teixeira $20+ per season.

According to Cot's Baseball Contracts, only six players make north of $20M per: Manny Ramirez, Johan Santana, Carlos Beltran, Alex Rodriguez, Derek Jeter and Mark Teixeira. As you can see, those six players are divided between three teams, each of which play in the two biggest sports markets in the world: New York and Los Angeles.

If you don't think offering $20M+ over seven years is an example of a mid-market team being serious about spending money, you're blinded by your crap colored glasses and drunk from the Eternal Pessimist Kool Aid.

And I'm not sure why you think $140-150M (the O's offer to Tex) is less than $140 (the Rangers offer to Tex).

Oh, and you've yet to tell me what you think the Orioles should have done last winter when there was "plenty of elite talent" on the market.

Do you have a street address for the ORIOLES spring training in Sarasota? I live about an hour north and would like an address to put in my GPS to get there.

There are two complaints I keep hearing that have some validity. (1) Top free agents don't want to come to Baltimore, and (2) there is no marquis player on the FA market. Ok, that's fair, but when you consider them together, it's not the pessimistic situation it's made out to be. This is a great yr for the Orioles to sign some mid-level talent that will, along with homegrown prospects, bring improvement in the W/L dept. Sure, it's agonizing to lose for 12 straight yrs, but a team's reputation can change with one solid season. Lots of players want to play for an up-and-coming team. That's what the Orioles want to be this season, and the big talent is coming--just in time--next year.

On the other hand, the complaint that I can't stand is "Ugh, we're going to lose 98 games again" or "Let's just do such-and-such because we're not going to compete anyway." That's ignorant and irresponsible with the amount of talent in this organization for once.

also, the forbes list penalizes depreciation purchases (large items like scoreboard, new stadium, new training facilities, etc) in removing from net calculation. So let's say you had a franchise that depreciated several larger items, that expenditure would not show in the Forbes calc, but would hit your bottom line AND could not have yet increased the valuation or affected the debt (depending on burn-off of depreciation).

adam in annapolis - The Orioles had no such large depreciation purchases. The ideo board and upgrades were paid by the Stadium Authority and as far as the Spring Training site, Sarasota is funding it up to $31.2 million. The Orioles also get naming rights of the stadium and all revenue generated at their events, including concessions and ticket sales.

adam in annapolis - The Orioles had no such depreciation purchases. The video board and new control room were paid for by the Stadium Authority. As far as spring training goes, Sarasota will contribute funding totaling no more than $31.2 million and will provide the Orioles with use and occupancy of the sites. Also the Orioles get naming rights of the stadium and all revenue generated at their events, including concessions and ticket sales.

Everyone can blame the economy, the Yankees, Bush, Obama, Selig, etc., but a majority of the Orioles issues are self induced.

Not brooks aka impervious to reason,

You're the only Jackass, the Orioles FAILED miserably (as per usual) in their so-called "pursuit" of Tex. They offer him an amount that he ALREADY TURNED DOWN after protracted negotiations from Texas several yrs back and 40 million less than he actually got. Therefore, it was either a token offer to fool the casual fan and/or appease the apologists like you who will defend any failure, no matter how egregious, or even worse, they are just completely oblivious to the economics of baseball and waht it costs to acrue premium talent (other than raking in huge profits despite piss poor performance).

Tex was the ideal FA, right age, complete player, good defense, no injury history, even has local ties --which plays well in provincial Baltimore and we didnt even come close. The Orioles even managed to get dopes like you to defend their inept, comical joke of an "offer" to the guy Greedy Petey had supposedly been saving his money to obtain for years. The warehouse even managed to ressurrect a familar refrain heard b4 after they had stumbled through another failed attempt to add elite talent to the roster, lol--they slyly managed to make the apologists bring back an old favorite. the Ol "HE JUST WOULDNT COME HERE" -- It worked before, after all

This team was given a spectacular stadium, a free regional sports network, and even gets a welfare check from teams who actually care enough and try to put a competitive team on the field. yet despite all of these advantages, this ineffectual franchise cant even come close to respectability.

Curiously enough, ppl who claim to be fans of this team, not only defend and excuse this deplorable behavior, they actaully condone it and will criticize those who dare question it. Emasculating !?!?!

To paraphrase Rick Pitino during his Celtic days "Mark Teixeira isn't walking through that door." Time to forget Tex.

I love how the so called experts like the guys on the Hot Stove on MLB or SI, had DeRosa going to Philly which isn't happening. DeRosa would be great because of his versatility so if one of the prospects turns out to be major league ready sooner, move him from 3B to another position plus he has pop and I think more important, he is a club house leader. All winning teams have that and until Nick and Brain step up, we don't have it.

I don't agree with the O's throwing money around on has beens, but even good to great teams will take a shot on guys that may be a little older or coming off injuries. The O's have a nice young nucleus, but anyone who's seen more than 20 games, knows this team needs some vets. I don't care if it's Thome or Delgado, but there are guys that can help out now and not block the youth movement.

The O's have the money so if teams start to do salary dumping, the Birds can actually get a lot better if one of those guys is a power DH, 1B or 3B plus guys like Randy Wolf and Jon Garland would be excellent additions to the staff and with the Braves signing two BP guys, there two backend guys are available so there are options to get better and I do expect that Andy is going to improve this team this winter. How much they improve is another story.

The O's play the Nats during the regular season so its not really a big deal. i heard the O's are trying to get Kevin Millwood from Texas? That would be awesome! I just hope they don't give up too much to get him. I am glad that the O's moved to Sarasota since my grandmother has a condo there. Ed smith stadium in actually a dump though. Thank goodness they will be building a new one soon!!


Don't forget that unlike "regular" teams, in the past MASN has only shown 4 or 5 spring games from the O's and Nats. Many teams get full coverage, even in HD!

Jason -

My point is that the O's made a competitive offer to Teixeira. And there's really no reason to compare it to the contract that Texas offered because the 2008-2009 FA market was vastly different from the FA market in any previous winter.

In the end, you're right. The O's offered $30-40M less than the Yankees. But was it really worth it for the O's to try to outbid the Yanks? And even if they did outbid the Yanks by offering $200M+, as the Nationals did, do you really think Teixeira would have come to Baltimore when he didn't accept $200M from DC?

And did you really want the Os to offer $200M+ over eight or nine years? Honestly? That's $22-25M on ONE player for a ridiculously long time in a winter where the team had several needs. First, the team would have been using 30% of payroll on one player. Not a good thing for a mid-market team. Second, eight or nine years is a LONG time. Tex would be 36 in the last year of an eight year deal, 37 in the last year of a nine year. Sure, the Yankees have the funds to pay a guy $20M if he misses an entire season or two, but do the Orioles? Third, and probably most importantly, Tex wanted the chance to "win now". If he was all about money, he would have went to the Nats. If he was all about playing at home, he would have come to the O's. But he wanted to win, so he went to the Yankees.

And I'm not an "apologist who will defend any failure".

I'm a realist who understands that Mark Teixeira wanted to win and, therefore, it was a huge long shot that he was going to come to Baltimore, regardless of how much money was offered.

I'm a realist who understands that, while it would have been great to have Teixeira, it would have been foolish to offer him 30% of the payroll with a contact that would take him past his mid-30's, especially when the team had/has so many other needs.

I'm a realist who understands that, after years of mismanagement, bad contracts and horrible scouting, drafting and player development, this team finally has direction to go along with seven or eight legitimate MLB players who are all under 26.

So the O's missed out on Mark Teixeira. Sure, it was a bummer, as we all would have loved to see him manning first base for seven years. But I think it's time to get over it, my friend. Heck, after this season, if no big extensions go down, Carlos Pena and Adam Dunn will be free agents. After 2011, Albert Pujols and Adrian Gonzalez will be free agents. And Gonzalez, Prince Fielder and probably some other first basemen will be available on trade market come July of 2010.

So give up the anger. The O's missed out on Tex, but the sun is still going to come up every day. And this organization is in fantastic shape considering how bad things were just two years ago.

Why are we still arguing about Teixeira?

It no longer matters if he and/or Burnett would have come here or not if given a proper offer, ot if either or both should have been given a proper offer. They're not here. And they certainly aren't coming here.

I would like to see the Orioles target a few players on other teams who may be ripe for a salary dump. Those teams might accept little in return just to see a better bottom line.

It might mean the Orioles would have to trade one of their "prospects." Surely, there is one or two that could be expendable -- especially given how few develop through the ranks during the Angelos Administration.

I'm not researching who might fit that category because, quite frankly, I'm not holding my breath. The Orioles seem insistent on holding onto everybody while they are cheap. The Orioles aren't interested in going after someone who could be a difference maker either.

So, while discussing if Moeller's minor league signing is a good thing or not (it is) or discussing whether Erik Bedard should come back or not (he shouldn't) isn't very glamorous, it beats discussing a player under contract to the Yankees for the next -- what is it -- six or seven years.

By then, the Orioles will be on Rebuilding Plan XIV. (Or not. Maybe the Orioles have stockpiled the golden future. Waiter, check please.)

Is it just me or does anyone else get the feeling that the only signings MacPhail is going to make this off-season are for yet more Twins and Cubs castoffs?

Gil Meche had a down season, but he's a pretty SP in terms of innings, quality starts, etc., He's not flashy, but he's reliable which is a big thing when all of us are counting on the young kids to pitch quality games throughout the season. I bring his name up because the Royals want his 2 years and 24 mil off the books and are looking for low level prospects AKA a salary dump. I think he would be an interesting option for the O's.

I like the idea of the Birds gambling on someone like Bedard or Sheets if the price is right, but I don't want them to add a huge question market and no one else so that's why guys like Meche and Garland are quality guys to have because of the innings they give and the pressure it takes off of the rest of the SPs and the BP since the pen gets burnt in July around here.


I think the Teixeira issue is about MacPhail's competency and Angelos' desire to win. Yes, Teixeira is gone, but last yrs negotiations have become Exhibit A for those voicing no confidence in the current leadership. I agree with 'not brooks' . . . woulda been nice to have Teixeira but the Orioles went far enough and I'm glad they didn't cross the line.

"A fool and his money are soon parted." I believe MacPhail is entirely willing to move prospects when the deal and the timing is right. However his style has always been slow (might as well get used to it), and usually effective. The last thing you want to do is announce
that a bunch of prospects are up for grabs. Their perceived value is greater when you are reluctant to trade them, and when you do trade them, you tend to give up less. You also don't want to give the impression that you are desperate to acquire a certain player, because they'll cost a lot more that way. Of course all of that is pointless if you can't pull the trigger when you need to. But consider the Bedard trade and the Tejada trade. That took guts. Neither player was exactly Cal Ripken Jr, but to reject such good offers and hold out for more, eventually getting it--that's awesome. That's a big reason why we have prospects to debate trading.

Todd -

Not sure I like the idea of trading for Meche. I'm sure he'd be cheap, as you're right about KC dying to get him off the payroll, but I don't want to see this team pay a guy $12M per for two years to put up a 4.00ish ERA when they could get Garland to do that for less money. Not to mention the fact that they wouldn't give up any prospects or draft picks to get Garland (He's a Type B FA and wasn't offered arbitration).

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

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