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March 30, 2010

Orioles: Losing Moeller

It appears that the Orioles have made their decision on the reserve catcher. Though nothing has been announced, everything is pointing toward Craig Tatum sticking with the club and veteran Chad Moeller being asked to accept a minor league assignment -- which isn't likely to happen.

Here's the rationale: Tatum is a catch-and-throw guy. Moeller has reached the point where he isn't very effective throwing out baserunners, but he has been a mentor for starter Matt Wieters and some of the young pitchers. The Orioles had to decide which is more important at this point and they apparently have decided to put the premium on the on-field defensive value over the off-the-field intangibles.

My take: I think we'll end up looking back on the decision as a mistake, but Dave Trembley and Andy MacPhail obviously think that Wieters is mature enough to take care of himself and Kevin Millwood can provide leadership for the young pitchers. I think what Moeller brings to the table is worth more over the long run than the runner or two that Tatum will throw out this year playing once a week. And, considering how Trembley plans his lineups so far in advance, he should be able to steer Moeller around the top running teams in the league.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 9:50 AM | | Comments (55)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

With Moeller back there, every team was a "top running team".

Great decision by the front office. By definition, a back-up catcher's main responsibility is to be strong defensively.

Keeping Steven Hauschka over Matt Stover was a mistake.

The Ravens, coming off an AFC Championship game, parted ways with a very well known quantity for the opportunity to get a little more distance out of their kicker's leg at the expense of pinpoint accuracy, albeit from shorter range. As the season unfolded, that was revealed to be a mistake.

Here, the decision over who to deem the backup backstop is a non-issue. This team is finishing in 4th place if they're lucky and there's nothing that Chad Moeller or Craig Tatum can do to improve that.

It's about money, even if it's just a 100 grand. The O's will save at every turn. Always!

bACKUPCATCHER IS NOT A COACH IS HE..IS NOT THAT WHAT A COACH IS FOR AND WE HAVE A PITCHING COACH,BULLPEN COACH ,BENCH COACH ETC, SOME OF THEM SHOULD BE ABLE TO HELP WIETERS..MY PREDICTION -TREMBLY IS GOINE BY ALL STAR BREAK IF NOT BEFORE..

wayne -

In this case, does it make a difference? It's between 2 things:

1) A veteran who can't hit, doesn't throw out baserunners too good and is declining defensively, but he's a good clubhouse guy. whatever.

2) A player who can't hit, but is better defensively and has a better arm. His presence on the team is cut and dry.

If Moeller is such a "clubhouse guy" maybe the should offer him a position somewhere as a coach. Because I don't see what he has to offer as a player anymore. We're talking about a guy who is a career backup and at the end of his road.

Because it's trembley's fault, right?

It's his fault this team has no corners, no clean-up hitter, one of the worst starting rotations in the AL and an inexperienced closer with a dead arm, right?

Would you know what a 'scapegoat' is? Seriously.... you know what one is?

Well look no further than the O's (doesn't stand a chance) manager......

I'll admit I have only been able to see a few games on TV because the Evil Emperor is squeezing every penny out of the franchise, but......Garrett Atkins looks completley overmatched at the plate. I know it's early, blah blah blah, but I think this is going to turn out to be one of the worst signings in Oriole history, along with Earl "Big Money" Williams. I think he's done, just as Williams was, and his declining statistics support that he is washed up. He is cheating with a wide open stance to try to get his hips out of way and is still getting jammed and hitting infield bleeders.

Atkins doesn't even deserve the description as "stopgap."

While neither back up catcher will change the O's position in the standings this year, Tatum had trouble "connecting" with both Tillman and Matusz in their last starts. That seems important to most of us, if not DT and AM.

Given the youth of the pitchers, you'd think that they'd keep Moelller to tutor everyone, including Wieters. For the long haul, he seems to fit "the plan" better than Tatum.

I agree that we need to find a way to keep Moehler. He's played a longtime in the majors. That translates into having a knowledge of how to gameplan vs. specific and types of hitters. "This guy is a big swing RBI guy so he tries to cover the outside corner so inside fastballs can get him" or "This guy stands off the plate to cover the inside corner but it makes him susceptible to curveballs"

It's not that I don't think Wieters can figure that stuff by himself, but it might take an extra year or two to do so than otherwise. And any time invested in focussing on refining his position is time away from developing the bat. You could say that he might be able to do both, but historically, it usually takes catchers longer to bring it all together. Even with Mauer the power didn't come until last year.

I agree that we need to find a way to keep Moehler. He's played a longtime in the majors. That translates into having a knowledge of how to gameplan vs. specific and types of hitters. "This guy is a big swing RBI guy so he tries to cover the outside corner so inside fastballs can get him" or "This guy stands off the plate to cover the inside corner but it makes him susceptible to curveballs"

It's not that I don't think Wieters can figure that stuff by himself, but it might take an extra year or two to do so than otherwise. And any time invested in focussing on refining his position is time away from developing the bat. You could say that he might be able to do both, but historically, it usually takes catchers longer to bring it all together. Even with Mauer the power didn't come until last year.

I think the Os should start the season with Moehller and send down Tatum to Norfolk. It will keep the option for them of bringing Tatum up around.

I couldn't agree more Gil.

Now I know people feel that all I want to do is say 'i told you so', but you're wrong. I would love for this guy to be a a huge surprise.

Problem is, if you look at every breakdown, there was never a reason to believe he'd be anything other than what we're seeing now.

This guy knows this is his second chance. And you don't think he remembers losing his job last season? You can bet the house that he wanted to impress in ST. Problem is, he can't. And I bet the O's already know it.

Ladies and Gentleman - Welcome our new first baseman.

Ugh....

What must Boog be thinking (in between eating those fine pit beefers)?

Gil-

I think you are exactly right. I noticed that last night. I didn't see him hit last year (nor did I see his good years) but he is a front foot hitter right now. But, I will say this: if he has a chance to be fixed, he's in the right place. Terry Crowley is excellent at finding and fixing flaws. He needs time with Crow - and Terry is not going to just overwhelm him with a lot of mechanics right away - he usually works with what the hitters - especially those with some history - have done well in the past. I'm not sure we have the luxury of wating too long though.

We're still losing at least 90 games no matter what back-up catcher we keep. Good grief!

Maybe the O's could hang on to Moeller as a bullpen coach. But as another commenter said, Peter will be counting his pennies at a costly decision like this. Why anyone would sign with the O's is way beyond me. They exude a negative mentality from the very top and it almost reaches acceptance as it filters down. Just a bunch of has-been executives happy to get a paycheck from a sad little man with way more money than he ever deserved.

Greg A. Great idea and the same thing that I was thinking.

Guys,

Honestly, Wieters is going to be just fine, and probably does not need some guy mentoring him while batting .150 with 1 HR and 4 RBIs at the All Star Break. Wieters can handle being a starter. He tore it up towards the end of last year offensively, and has a cannon arm.

With regards to the Atkins talk, I was hoping the front office would give Snyder a chance, because the free agent options honestly were not sexy. If we passed on Atkins, do you think Branyan would have fared better? I honestly feel Branyan had a fluke year (hitting >30 HR) last year. Garko may have an edge offensively but he can not run and his defense is pis* poor.

I tend to side with Wayne, Gil, and the rest of the Orioles faithful who remain skeptical and infuriated over the front office's lack of ponying up twice as much as the Yankees to bring a difference maker to Baltimore (because as Pete, and everyone suggest - no one wants to play for this laughing stock of an AL squad). Do you all remember the fans last year (or the year before) who just got up during the middle of a game, and protested, and subsequently walked out, in hopes of making a point and having their voices heard? Well I am literally at that point with this team, and while I do not expect them to land a major FA each year (ala Boston, the Yanks, the Mets, the Angels, Dodgers, Phils, Mariners, and every other team aside from Pitt, Cincy, CLE, and KC), it would be nice to try offering a large sum of cash and if we still get rejected, well then so freakin be it. The fact is we do not offer more than our competitors, and for a franchise in need of a major facelift, to rely on prospects as means of filling out an entire 25 man roster is ludicrous. I mean, we are getting close sure, because we have developed / acquired players such as Markakis, Roberts (3 yrs left at most), Jones, Reimold, Pie, Wieters, and a decent staff consisting of Matusz, Bergs, Hernandez, Tillman. Let us not forget Arrieta and a few others destined to join the O's in the next 1-2 years

With all this being said, I am going to remain skeptical, but pray that the front office realizes there are a few options out there worth the risk. I say go out and trade a couple of your prospects for Fielder. I say even consider a major deal to acquire Pujols or Howard (assuming their teams really are open to trading either of them). I say consider breaking the bank to bring in a guy like Carl Crawford after the season, assuming we realize either Pie or Reimold just can not cut it in the big leagues.

The fans are getting tired of losing, and I am sure Pete and the rest of the media in Baltimore has sensed it over the years. We need an owner ala Moreno, or even a Marc Cuban-esque owner willing to do everything possible to try and bring us back to respectability.

Until then, Atkins and Tatum to the rescue.

Wasn't the new bench coach hired because he was a former catcher and can provide these same intangibles for Weiters? That would seem to render Moeller useless.

Peter-

This is the 3rd HUGE mistake this week if its the case.

One consulation now when they lose is the fact that I'll be counting the days until Trembley gets canned.

I don't and never have liked the guy, and I anxiuosly await his termination.

Peter-

This is the 3rd HUGE mistake this week if its the case.

One consulation now when they lose is the fact that I'll be counting the days until Trembley gets canned.

I don't and never have liked the guy, and I anxiuosly await his termination.

Peter-

This is the 3rd HUGE mistake this week if its the case.

One consulation now when they lose is the fact that I'll be counting the days until Trembley gets canned.

I don't and never have liked the guy, and I anxiuosly await his termination.

one of the worst starting rotations in the AL

Umm, what? Really? Are you paying attention at all?

I'll give you Guthrie, unfortunately. He'll be gone by mid-season. But we've got Millwood as a solid (though not premiere) #1. Matusz is an absolute stud, who'll be #1 by next year. Bergeson is just flat-out good, and will probably end up as a #2. And if his canniness is not a flash-in-the-pan, he may challenge for #1 eventually; if not here, then he'll be great trade material. Hernandez is proving he's got the makings of a #4 or 5.

The only question is what happens when we jettison Guthrie. The obvious answer is Tillman. He's opened some eyes this Spring. Palmer was on 105.7 ... yesterday? And he was singing Tillman's praises. Tillman's gotten stronger. He has better command. He's working on a cutter. I think he'll be in the rotation by mid-Summer, and proving himself.

Yes, there's work to be done. Yes, most of the staff still needs to demonstrate their worth. But to claim outright that they're "one of the worst starting rotations in the AL" is just lame. It shows a completely unsophisticated and sophomoric understanding of baseball.

Maybe it's just me, but if going with Tatum over Moeller is going to end up that much of a mistake, either this team is in much better shape than we think or much worse shape than we think.

This decision looks a lot like the one last year that favored Robert Andino over Chris Gomez. Choosing the younger asset with the potential for more years of service is the AM way. However, after Moeller got a dominant start out of Adam Eaton he made me a believer. That had to be baseball equivalent of spinning gold out of straw.

Seriously, some people on here are so dumb I'm ashamed to be an O's fan.

Atkins could be worst signing in Orioles history? I know comment sections aren't breeding grounds for intelligence but wow, just wow.

There is plenty more stupidity in these comments but I felt compelled to repeat that statement.

yes, as of today (right now), they are one of the worst in the league. Easily!

Matusz will hopefully be what everyone believes, but this year? Look at past rooks. See King Felix.... See Greinke... See em all.

Bergy - We have no idea if he was a short flash in the pan or not. He's pitched 120 innings, and you're making him a mlb #2?

Hernandez - Really... a # 4?

Guthrie - We agree

Millwood - See his disastrous 07 and 08, then look deeper into his breakdowns last year. You think Texas would give up a good starter?

Yes, (collectively) one of the, if not the worst in the AL

It's official

Tillman is sent down to Norfolk. I think that's one move most of us can agree on. He'll be up when it's time to replaces Guthrie or Hernandez. 1 of the 2.

Wayne and Gil,
I can't really argue with you guys, but I do hope you are wrong. there is nothing proven about these guys and what is proven does not add up to a winning ball club, but thats the fun of it. If we had a team like the yankees that was just supposed to win everytime, that would bore the blank out of me.
I say the O's pitching staff is finally in a place where they either prove it or they don't, last year there was nothing to prove.
Garret Atkins is in a similar boat where this is about his last chance, so either he does it, or Scott plays first with Reimold and Pie switching of DH/LF, which I admit sounds bad, but with some upside. There are bright spots, Tejada and Roberts lead the leagues in doubles respectively. We have potentially the best OF in the majors, offensively and defensively.
Give them a chance, or pick a team that has bought a winning season.

I have always said that i think the orioles are one of the worst when it comes to who comes and goes out of spring training..they always pick the wrong people.I mean i know you can't get everyone right all the time and every team picks bad players..but the orioles...are just the worst at it.They think if you have a great spring training then your best player ever...picking hernendez over tillman...mistake!

I have always said that i think the orioles are one of the worst when it comes to who comes and goes out of spring training..they always pick the wrong people.I mean i know you can't get everyone right all the time and every team picks bad players..but the orioles...are just the worst at it.They think if you have a great spring training then your best player ever...picking hernendez over tillman...mistake!

Gil,

i'm not gonna come in here and say that Atkins is gonna have a great season. for the point of this argument, i'm willing to concede that he'll play poorly.

but, even if he does absolutely nothing for the O's this year....nothing....i still don't see how that could possibly qualify as one of the worst signings in history. isn't that being a bit dramatic?

we gave up nothing for him. no prospects, no draft picks. and we are paying him very little money. worst comes to worst, we could literally cut him and be practically no worse for the wear.

again, i'm not saying he'll do anything for us. but even if he doesn't. who really care?

Peter,
Your take on this is not surprising. You second guess pretty much every "contraversial" decision O's management makes. But I guess it keeps the e-mails flowing.

"The Orioles had to decide which is more important at this point and they apparently have decided to put the premium on the on-field defensive value over the off-the-field intangibles."

The fact that this can be construed as a bad thing is positively mind blowing. Well done, my brain just melted in self defense.

I feel sorry for you now, Wayne and Gil. Your posts here have nothing to do with the topic being presented. Garrett Atkins? Is he catching too? You two must have had a rough childhood.

My God, over 30 comments about the pros and cons of who should be the backup catcher? Are you guys kidding? Walk up the basement stairs, ask your mom if she needs anything, and go outside and do something, anything.

Hi Enzo,

When a team has a serious need to fill, like the Orioles did at first base, and they fill it with what appears to be a veteran player on the wrong side of his career, I say it is a bad signing. Do you remember the Earl Williams signing years ago? It turned out to be one of the worst in history the Orioles ever made, and even Earl Weaver admitted it. The Atkins signing is in the same category. I say he is washed up and will have a season like he did last year in Colorado or worse. Am I 100% sure of that? I'm not even 100% sure I'll get safely home to Harrisburg after a 60 mile drive from Timonium tonight. But I feel pretty good about my chances, and I feel pretty confident that Atkins is washed up. It's hard to argue otherwise if you consider 3 declining year of production.

We got Atkins because he was cheap. My beef is not with the young talent on this team, which is considerable. My beef is with Andy Macphail. The Orioles could have been a lot better this year and it would not have broken the bank. Another effective veteran starter, a big right handed bat, and a power hittting first baseman with a recent track record of success is what we needed. Were we going to win the pennant if Macphail had done that? Probably not, but I believe we could have upped this year's win total by 10 to 15 games. What we got is more physchobble from Macphail, about "the Plan."

If some people have a problem with my hyperbole, it is what it is. But as far as Atkins is concerned, I am convinced that I am right.


We shall see. I hope I am wrong. I would rather see Atkins hit 25 home runs and drive in 90 runs this year. I just don't see that as a logical progression in his career at this point.

The Orioles are the poorest run organization in baseball, but it's Chad freakin' Moelller. Get a grip.

All this talk about which catcher we should keep. That's not going to make or break us nearly the way Jeremy Guthrie is going to. He is pitching this year just like he did last year. He gets 2 strikes and then gives up a hit or, he can't seem to get anybody out consistently. I think Mark Hendrickson showed he could potentially be a better starter than Guthrie. Maybe they should switch places!

Three mistakes -

1. Fans are giving up in Guthrie far too early.

.2. Not the end of the world, but keeping Chad Moeller should have been a no-brainer.

3. Assuming no help from the minors or in trade talks, we should have signed Aubrey Huff over Garett Atkins.

This team is a train wreak waiting to happen.

Might be an opening for a Manager in Visalia next Year

What you don't want to do here is block Tatum's progress . If he were to be an actual prospect why not develop that and maybe move Weiters to First latter on. I'm Just sayin

Hey Gil,

In case you or anyone else is still reading this thread:

I hear what you're saying. I'm not necessarily saying that Atkins was a good signing. I'm not even saying that it wasn't a bad signing.

I just look at it like its pretty much a no lose scenario. There will be more free agent first basemen to choose from next season. We have basically nothing invested in this guy.

On the other hand, the Blue Jays signing Vernon Wells to that monstrosity of a contract. That's the kind of signing that can sink a franchise and deserves the distinction of "worst singing in history."

That's all i'm saying.

Pete,

The problem with the Baltimore Orioles is that they are living under the curse of whoelse Jeffery Maier....They will never be good til Maier is no more. I guarantee ya.....Everyone blames Peter Angelos....They need to look where it began....A 12 year old kid....Blame him! Angelos didnt catch the ball, Nor Tarasco, Maier DID!! Ever since, the Orioles have been, and will be the laughingstock in all of baseball.....Thats my take.

Pete,

The problem with the Baltimore Orioles is that they are living under the curse of whoelse Jeffery Maier....They will never be good til Maier is no more. I guarantee ya.....Everyone blames Peter Angelos....They need to look where it began....A 12 year old kid....Blame him! Angelos didnt catch the ball, Nor Tarasco, Maier DID!! Ever since, the Orioles have been, and will be the laughingstock in all of baseball.....Thats my take.

Pete,
I think its more than a question of which of the two is the best backup for Wieters. What happens if Wieters gets hurt(in the 13th game of this season) and has to go the 60 day DL or is out for the season? Then who would you rather have catching everyday? Who can help you win more games - Moeller or Tatum? In that case, I would pick Moeller's experience.

Also, Wieters hasn't been a major league catcher a year yet and he is bound to have slumps. Moeller has the better bat thus far. I think the team would win more this year with Moeller than Tatum.

Stevie- do you have Orioles posters on your wall? Grow up.

I think it's about time they made a decision that will clearly translate into more wins, rather than who gets his feelings hurt.

Everyone likes Chad, including me.
But I also like to see opposing runners get cut down when they get the idea that extra base is easy pickin's.

Everyone realizes how good for a young pitcher's confidence having a shortstop like Izturis and a 2Bman like Roberts and a CFer like Jones and a catcher like Weiters is going to be.

Well, on the days Weiters needs a break, Tatum will provide that same strength up the middle.

I think that's more important to the formative stages of our young pitchers than having Mr. Congeniality as a backup.

Some of you are straight up donkeys.

Chad Moeller was a filler player who was prety much garbage. Who cares who our backup catcher is. Does anyone know who the Twins backup Catcher is? Angels backup? Yankees Backup? No, No and No and who cares.

And for all the whining about us not getting more free agent talent....shut up. Really if we endure another losing season or almost .500, are any of us going to leave and not be fans anymore? No. so Shut Up. No Garrett Atkins is not the best free agent out there, but he was cheap. No Tejada doesnt have the power that Beltre has, but he was cheaper than Beltre, signed a short term contract, and will move on after this year when Bell comes up, who is even cheaper. Then, when you have trimmed your salary size down, you can free up some room and go out and get a Fielder or Ramirez or whomever and lock down some of the talent you already have to longer contracts.

McPhail did not come into this with the intention of winning a WS in 2 years, not in the pathetic position the Orioles have been in the past decade. In fact, I'm surprised we won as many games as we did for as long as we did with our piss poor organization. The next 10 years will be a good time to be an Oriole fan and this is the beginning of some real good ball. For those of you who dont appreciate that, you can spend the next 10 years playing fantasy baseball on you computers while getting denied any play from any women. Good luck with that.

Gil,

you're not allowed to post anymore. You cant spend three paragraphs making an argument and then, at the end of it, say I hope I'm wrong. How long have you been an Oriole Fan? Since when was two years of rebuilding something you all-of-a-sudden couldn't endure? By the way, if you beef isn't with the talent, but with McPhail, then you have no idea what your talking about. That is an impossibility. You cant have beef with McPhail and not the talent when HE IS THE REASON WE HAVE THE TALENT. Where do you think Tillman, Matuz, Jones, Pie, Weiters, Bell and everyone else that we are all so hopeful about came from?

For more questions about how baseballl organizations are run, please refer to "Money Ball" written by Michael Lewis. Baltimore is referenced in there more than once and it's not because of our excellent track record.

Patrick (alias.... oh nevermind),

You define a fan in denial.

You say 'are any of us going to leave and not be fans anymore?'

Hey Patrick, fans are leaving so fast, the team is having trouble selling out opening day. Attendance has been consistently going south, yank and sox fans have completely taken over the Yard when their teams arrive, and ratings for masn and 1057thefan are a nightmare.

You think you're helping the Orioles, but you're part of the problem. By being a kiss up and by having your head in the sand, you fail to notice that this team once again will be one of the worse in all of baseball in 2010.

So stick to your guns.... be part of the blind faithful, but perhaps you may want to be a little more discreet about it. Because you see, you just end of looking totally ridiculous............... something I'm trying to spare you of.

No one can say the team is heading in the right direction if the results never improve. And I don't mean improve 10 games over a disastrous 2009 season.

Hey wayne, don't you still have season tickets? Who's head's in the sand again? Who's part of the blind faithful? Who looks totally ridiculous?

What happen did SUN management get a call from PA saying to pull the reporters complains about Moeller. Trembley saying that Diaz can coach Weiters on catching is a joke. Diaz had 10 AB's in the major that's less than Tatum. He was never good enough to stick for one season in the majors and now they are going to have him coach Weiters on how to catch?
As a fan of the O's for 50+ years I am about to give up on them. Trembley will ruin some good young players before a change is made!

Hey, quite a bit of discussion about who our back-up catcher should be...For a team that lost almost 100 games last year, we obviously have more pressing needs!! Still, good to see some fire here.
I am more concerned about how bad Atkins has apparently been. I know it's only spring training but if he doesn't cut it, we have another hole to fill.
on the other hand, he may surprise everyone and hit decently enough. Let's give the poor guy a chance before running him out of town before he's played his first regular season game.

So now shamrock is going by patrick???

How does he keep up with all of his names ?

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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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