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December 13, 2009

Zrebiec: Winter Meetings leftovers (Part Deux)

It’s becoming quite apparent that the Orioles are more than willing to wait out the closer market, feeling that the supply far exceeds the demand.

By my calculations, the Orioles, Blue Jays, Tigers, Marlins, Nationals, Astros and Pirates are the only teams with uncertainty at closer, and pretty much all of those teams have internal options.

The Astros recently acquired Matt Lindstrom, who GM Ed Wade said will at least share the closer role. The team that traded Lindstrom, the Marlins, appear more than content to go with Leo Nunez, who closed for much of last season. The Blue Jays have three relievers – Jason Frasor, Scott Downs and Jeremy Accardo – that have served as closers before.

The Tigers want a veteran with closer experience, but they can opt to use youngsters Ryan Perry or Daniel Schlereth in that role. And the Nationals have prospect Drew Storen on the way.

Meanwhile, Mike Gonzalez, Fernando Rodney, Jose Valverde, Kevin Gregg, Mike MacDougal and Matt Capps are all free agents, and Kerry Wood, Bobby Jenks and Francisco Cordero are all reportedly available in trades.

Of the free agents, Fernando Rodney probably makes the most sense for the Orioles because they wouldn’t have to give up their second round pick to sign him. And the Orioles did meet with Rodney’s agents at the winter meetings.

Gregg, whose agent also met with the Orioles earlier this week, would probably be an unpopular choice with the Orioles fans as he’s blown 16 saves the previous two seasons and lost his closer job last year with the Chicago Cubs to Carlos Marmol.

Still, Gregg’s got a big supporter in Orioles pitching coach Rick Kranitz, who worked with the right-hander in 2006 when Gregg converted 32 of 36 save opportunities for the Florida Marlins. Kranitz loved Gregg’s confidence and toughness. Still, some Oriole officials see Gregg more as a setup man.

Jeff Zrebiec

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 8:00 AM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Just baseball


Chien-Ming Wang is a free agent. I can't see the Orioles picking him up, but it would be interesting. He is a two-time 19 game winner and only 29 years old. Of course it's hard to say what's wrong with him, so there's a lot of risk--he actually makes Bedard seem low-risk--but the Yankees seem interested in resigning him, so maybe other teams should give him a look too.

With the decision of the Orioles to non-tender Brian Bass, we loyal Orioles fans can breath a little bit easier, knowing, with confidence, that DT cannot possibly screw up the game by bringing Bass in. Thank you Andy, good luck Brian. I have nothing personal against you. I just dont like your pitching.

My posting name is hereby changed to :trmahoney01.

That is, until the next bullpen pitcher starts sucking.

(Matt Albers maybe?)

What about Kiki Calero, or Matt Capps who has been non-tendered?

Rodney's Ok, but looks like a tired atm with control problems.

Obviously, Jenks or Valverde are more solid, and if took Luke Scott to get Jenks it may be worth it.

We have a closer on the roster. Let Koji be the guy. It is apparent he is too injury prone as a starter. As a closer, he should prove to be effective and reliable as he was in Japan prior to making a comeback as a starter. Spend the money on a big bat. Even if Koji does not pan out, you can give Mickolio a chance.

Loving the Orioles hot stove possibilities. Could be a telling week, though it'll probably be a long winter of anticipation. I'm interested in a few questions:

I'd love to pry Butler from the Royals. Could we possibly land him by offering Pie and Scott? Perfect world, we snag him and also grab Atkins for 3b and late game defensive replacement at 1b, so Butler could move to DH. Would that make the O's righty heavy though...?

I hear Bedard suggested as a post injury possibility but is Wang also in play?

Who's the next Sherrill for the O's? Someone who can be added to a trade package who doesn't carry the closer overpriced tag but could fill in nicely. I'd rather go that route if possible (easier said than done) than overpay for a Rodney or Valverde.

Is Jose Lopez from Seattle in any discussions? Seems like it'd be an interesting trade fit. He could fit in at first for us probably.

Capps and McDougal were apparently non-tendered.:

Pete's reply: That's right. Jeff gave me an early analysis of the closer situaition and I failed to update it. Totally my bad. It has been fixed.

I think signing Wang may prove a good risk for a team like the O's. Depending on the price he is asking. And a player with Wang's Histories may sign a cheap one year contract to prove he can high perform. I still think getting Dan uggla would be good.

Fernando Rodney is a rich man's Jorge Julio. Same type of volatile pitcher who is always liable to implode. Plus, apparently he wants three years and $30 million. He most likely won't get that, but if he does, it better not be from the Orioles (particularly when Valverde, who is one of the two closers they should be targeting, is also seeking a $10M/year contract). I still think Mike Gonzalez is the best bet. I understand AM wants to hang on to his draft picks, but one of Valverde or Gonzalex would have a much bigger positive cascading effect on the bullpen than Millwood will have on the rotation (not that I didn't like the Millwood trade).

Capps would be a good fit. He's 26 years old and a fireballer. Albers is a bust and should not be on the opening day roster (.303 BAA, and over a 5.00 ERA), horrible numbers. I feel that there are enough relievers in FA that we can sign at least two quality relievers with out breaking the bank completely. Trading Pie would be a mistake i think, yes he has potential to start, but his speed, even if off the bench is a quallity in itself. The biggest weakness, after a solid closer, in the bullpen is the lack of a shutdown lefty and theres not many dominant lefties on the market (gonzalez, eyre being the closest) i don't know how to solve that one, what do you think?

We can find our own closer within the organization. We have enough "potential" closers. Pitching is no longer our shortcoming. It's just a matter of using the right people in the right spots.

What we need is that big bat in the middle. I say we go after the best bat available regardless of his position... be it LF, CF or the infield.....then, we can then make the needed adjustments. That is the one thing we do not have withing the system; a proven basher!

Lets hope that McPhail doesn't put signing a closer ahead of signing another SP, a 3B, a 1B, & a DH. Koji Uehara will do a great job serving as the closer.

I'm totally on board for letting Koji close. However, there are enough other closers on the market that MacPhail could snag one to compete for the job or fill the setup role. If Koji gets hurt, you would at least have another option before letting Johnson close again.

Wang is interesting to me because he induces a ton of ground balls. There probably isn't room for him in the rotation and the potential upside might not be high enough to justify acquiring him for the pen. Still, it's anyone's guess what kind of money he can will get, so the O's might as well keep their eye on him.

Release Bass,

I hate to inform you, but the Orioles re-signed Matt Albers who was BY FAR worse than Bass, who posted respectable numbers in long relief.

well andy machhail wants to sit on his hands in acquiring a closer and corner players. the old adage you snooze you lose. other teams are not sitting around waiting and watching what the next guy has up his sleeve. these players that he has talked about wanting,go after him and get it done.


True, you snooze you lose. But if you jump at the first offer, you're also going to be making the market. So you need a balance and it's difficult to achieve.

For the record, there are still 266 free agents out there, so it does seem a lot of teams are sitting around waiting.

If Wang wants a major league only contract, then the only one the Orioles should offer is a one-year deal with incentives and a mutual option for 2011.

If the Orioles pick up Atkins, that would be the worst free agent signing in the last three years. Worse than signing Adam Eaton, even, because at least we were only paying him the major league minimum while the Phillies were paying the rest.

Matt Capps... what the heck happened? He was great for three seasons, then last year he was terrible, giving up an opponents OPS of .907, compared to his previous career opponents OPS of .660. A friend of mine is a Pirates fan (god love him, someone has to be), I'll ask him if he knows what went wrong. He pitched all year long so it doesn't look like he was hurt, but wow was he ineffective in 2009. If he can recapture his 2006-2008 form, he's definitely worth whatever arbitration award he would have gotten.

Scot, thats true, but it seems like Bass always came up short in the clutch. Albers? seems like he just sucked when everyone sucked. he pitched very well for example in the last game of the season, an extra inning thriller. but yes, it will soon be release Albers ;)

Release Bass,
I don’t think you get it man… Dave Trembley can turn any RP into a bad pitcher. Bass isn’t a great player by any means but the way Trembley manages the bullpen all the RPs are dead by September or earlier! Our starters only pitch around 5 innings and Trembley will use the pen hardcore to get 1st place the first month of the season then the slow yearly freefall happens until September when everyone quits.

I have to agree with Todd, as Bass isn't great by any stretch of the imagination, but DT isn't the best at handling the pen. I still hope that the O's will look for another vet to put in the starting rotation because I think Berken and Hernandez might be able to solve some of the BP woes and gain experience against major league hitters so not too many guys left to call up to start if there is an injury which of course will lead to another BP meltdown.

The thing that upsets me about Albers is that he was so good his first year here in that he could pitch so many roles out of the pen, but his stubbornness to go under the knife is going to cost him a solid major league career. I never heard of a hole in the arm that magically cures itself. I don't think he will be right till he has surgery.

How is Bobby Jenks available? The guy has been a stud since they won the World Series. I would love to see him closing games for the Birds, but he wont come cheap. I am still shocked that no team seems to be making much of play for Jose Valverde because he has been spectacular. It would be nice to get a legit closer and put JJ in his setup role instead of putting guys in spots where they aren't comfortable or simply can't perform at that level.

I guess McPhail thinks in time the FA closer price will come down. There are minor league closer options, such as Fernando Cabrera, available as well. The Orioles said they want to re-sign Hendrickson. Both Jim Miller and Josh Perrault have been successful relievers in the minors. And they can always re-sign Baez when the price comes down.

maybe my post name should be release the bullpen... hahah

BL Todd -

Valverde made $8M last season and he's a Type A free agent.

No one wants to give up a first round pick and pay $10M per for a closer.

My guess is that it's going to take a while for the Type A, arb offered closers (Valverde and Mike Gonzalez) to sign. They'll probably have to wait and see with Kevin Gregg (Type A, not offered arb) and Fernando Rodney (Type B) get. And those two probably won't sign for a while either.

Regardless, Houston is already the biggest loser in the RP market, as they gave Brandon Lyon three years and $15M to be nowhere near as good as Valverde while putting up league average numbers and striking out 10 guys per year.

The funny/odd thing about Trembley is that he used to be a BP coach and his biggest weakness is managing the BP. Alright ill say he was given putrid starting pitchers last season but we had a decent bullpen and guys like Albers and Bass were playing okay until they got really over worked thanks to that miserable pitching staff. Still though even with that the guy made some baffling decisions last season regardless if the team sucked. I think Trembley has no business managing baseball at the major league level and this season will be continued proof he doesn’t know what the ____ he’s doing out there. The Orioles just need to get serious about baseball.

O.K., Jeff. As you put it, McTurtle will "wait out the closer market". What, until the more expensive closers are taken and then McT will hire a middle-of-the-road closer, telling Baltimore's fan that that was all that was left to choose from. Here's a thought. IF you need a closer, why not sign the very best one available from the beginning?
McT did say the purse strings were open, didn't he. Just goes against his nature to buy the very best if he can get a pitcher for a lesser salary. Bet hos wife loves his Christmass presents, from Sears, BJ's and Ollies.
Looking elsewhere, McDougall has a pretty good resume as does Capps. Gomes has power (20 hr in 98 games) and made only $600k last year, just the kind of bargain McT likes. He could DH if Scott was included in a multi-player trade. Pie looks to be the all-around reliever in the OF but if one of the three regulars is out for an extended time Gomes becomes the reliever. He'll fill that role better than Scott. What's the word on Moore @ 3B. If Bell doesn't prove to be ready this year (here's hoping they don't rush him up as they did with Weiters last year. Weiters could have made the transition better if he had been able to play just 50% of the time. Maybe the O's learned their lesson and won't rush Bell into the 3B job without a strong backup. Does the name Mora ring a bell?). As far as 1B Nick Johnson certainly doesn't fill the role of a power-hitting 1B. Garko might (48 hr in 2.5yrs w/ Cleve). Atkins avg'd 20 hr & 105 RBI's from 05 thru 08. Don't know what happened to him in '09. What's your view?

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

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