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November 6, 2010

Orioles: Let the free agent fun begin

The free agent market opens at midnight tonight and it should be an interesting time to be an Orioles fan. Andy MacPhail is expected to make a run at a middle-of-the-order hitter and a starting pitcher, but he is not likely to be the first guy in line to make an offer on Adrian Beltre or Cliff Lee or whoever.

I'm already on record saying the Orioles should be aggressive enough to turn up the heat for their division competitors. They may not be able to outbid the Yankees for Lee, but they no longer can afford to just concede the point and stay out of play. If nothing else, they ought to make it hard for their divisional competitors at every turn, which might make it easier to sign a top-flight player a year from now.

Whether you want to believe it or not, everybody has a budget, so making the Yankees spend more on Lee or Derek Jeter actually could impact their ability to run up the price on somebody else down the road.

Shameless plug: If you want to voice your opinion on the Orioles' and their possible offseason machinations, tune in to WBAL (1090AM) or at noon for Sportsline. We'll talk baseball, preview tomorrow's game between the Ravens and Miami Dolphins and break down the news of the day.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 11:07 AM | | Comments (77)
Categories: Just baseball


I agree with you Peter. Andy MacPhail has said he doesn't want to be a "bargaining chip" for players to earn more money by using this team as leverage. But why not offer some really big contracts to players who probably won't accept them anyway just to drive up their asking prices? I say the Orioles should offer Jeter 3 years @ $21 million. We need a shortstop, right? Now Jeter isn't going to accept that, but if the Yankees sign him to a budget deal, should MLB step in and investigate that? Isn't part of the reason why A-rod is in NY and not BOS is because the Red Sox wanted to pay A-Rod less money than his contract called for, even though A-Rod approved of the lower salary? Force NY to pay through the nose for their captain.

Before fans say that the Yankees could turn around and do it to us, well they sort of already do it to every other team in baseball. They can afford to pay big talent whatever they want and make it so that no other team even has a chance. CC, Tex, A-Rod, Burnett, etc.

Pete, why not go hard at Werth, and bring him back to the team that drafted him, players always have a soft spot, no matter how small for that team that drafted them.....and then unload the money we have been saving the last 10 yrs, waiting for the "right guy" and sign Lee...the best pitcher in baseball, and can mentor the talented young arms that we are counting on in the future...Matusz, Tillman, Arieta...all watching every pitch Lee makes...his preperation, and work habits, that kind of thing you can't put a price on.

Andy is buying his snacks and diet soda and getting one of those neck pillows for his easy chair so he can watch ESPN and see who the REAL PLAYERS in free agency sign and snatch up as fast as possible....then after he wakes up from his naps and has to pee and all... in a month or so will check and see what the "leftovers" Berkman and some others no one else really wanted and he will then sign them. Gotta "Let the market set itself" and all..ya know!! SIGGHH!! That is the life of a bottom feeder as we have become.

No excuses this offseason.

The free agents are there. Others are available via trade.

The organization has money. There's no denying that.

We've got a real manager in place for the first time in years.

The team played .596 ball over the final two months.

Of course...

Andy MacPhail is still our general manager, and he's the king of excuses, so they'll probably begin tomorrow.

I'm giving him one more shot though...

Prove me wrong, Andy! If you don't, you're fired!

If a player has zero interest in playing for the Orioles and another club knows that the player has zero interest, how does that change the price of the free agent?


I'm with you, hell I was talking this line 3-4 years ago. However, we still have AM, and with the likes of Derrick Lee and Bergman, both washed up and well past their primes, coming on the market, they are they kind of bargains AM continues to pursue. Even Huff was cheaper and better than Gerritt Atkins, so his decision making has come into question.

Lets hope Buck gets his say and PA found his checkbook!

The truth will set you free!

OK ANDY time for a change. I know you prefer to be deliberate enjoying the stalk as much as the shot but lets shock them this year Prepare a couple of top preemptive strikes with a couple top end offers to Beltre, Konerko, AND Dunn. IT probably wouldn't matter but why not try it.. Then maybe we could package Tillman, Hernandez, and snyder in a deal for Reynolds 3B Az. or D. Wright from the mets. IF a true ace isn't out there we should check out the medical reports on Webb or Bedard. their high side might top anyone else we might pick up..I hope we resign uhara and Izturis or Uribe and we are almost ready for spring training.. GO ANDY, GO BUCK!!!

You want to turn up the heat on the division, offer Derek Jeter a 3yr/27mil contract at 12:01. Is he worth that now, no way. But he is still far superior to any SS in the O's organization, and since the Yanks simply can't let him leave, it will pressure them in their negotiations with him to better the offer. Win/win.

"If a player has zero interest in playing for the Orioles and another club knows that the player has zero interest, how does that change the price of the free agent?"

Because if you offer a huge contract and the team that actually signs him offers him about half of that or something that doesn't even come close, MLB will investigate that, and the MLBPA won't stand for it as well. It is called destabilizing the market. Though technically there is nothing wrong with it, it could have an effect on the total market where lots of great players decide to play for less money just to all play on the same team and be winners. MLB and the MLBPA won't stand for that.

So if the Orioles were to offer Jeter 3 years at about $20 million per year and Jeter doesn't take that offer, then the Yankees turn around and sign him for 3 years at $10 million per year, there is something obviously wrong there. If instead the Yankees went about 3 years at 17-18million per, then that would be a "reasonable home town discount."

If this free agentcy class is really as dreadful as most people - including myself - think it is, why put pressure on Andy to pick someone up who will bust the team for the next few years and make everyone miserable? Why not wait until next year and maybe spend the money on someone who actually deserves it?

Sometimes outsmarting is better than outspending. Let's not forget that Huff wanted to come back last uear but we chose to spend that money on Atkins. We all know how that one turned out. I don't want to echo everyone else in hammering Mac for making a mistake, but I also don't want to see it happen again..

With that brilliant analysis having brilliantly analyzed our situation, I have a question about Brandon Webb, one of the greats of the past decade: Is he just hurt hurt, or is he Erik-Bedard-style-his-arm-will-never-see-the-light-of-a-mound-again hurt?

Seriously Pete? This is actually a subject on your Blog?

Care to go back in the archives and see what you said last year?

Unless Buck has full say, it'll be the same middle of the road 'fillers', with many of your posters saying things like 'i think this was a savvy move on Andy's part'.

Of course ALL those posters will be wrong, not brooks will continued to always be proven wrong, and Fang will say (year after year) how AM should wait until next years crop.

Ground Hog days returns......

Why do the Orioles keep losing to the Detroit Tigers by the same score day after day after about groundhog day...
Seriously, I keep looking at the boxscore every day and we can't even beat the Tigers. So much for the Buck Showalter era......We've now lost 32 games in a row...

Weak free agent class after Lee...
Gonna hafta be through trades this year...

I'm not foolish enough to believe Andy Mac will pony up the $$$$$$$$$ to throw at Cliff Lee, but as far as pitching, I think Jon Garland should be given serious consideration. He's about a year younger than Guthrie and he's put up some pretty decent groundball numbers. He's coming off a year where his line drive rate was low for his career, but his ERA shouldn't balloon that much this coming year. Plus, you could probably get 3 years of him for 1 of Lee.

As far as trades... Unless KC wants to take some Luke Scott and Pie + Prospect (notice the use of the singular... and not Britton, more like Berry) action for Grienke, I'd shy away from that and make a run at A-Gone with Jones, Tillman, Bell + a lower pitching prospect (Pelzer? ...kidding). Also, Arizona is reportedly in the market for some relief and Mark Reynolds may be available. If that's true, Berken, Albers + Waring might do it since Reynolds is coming off a down year average wise. Of course, if you end up signing Pena and trading for Reynolds, you essentially have the same guy at either corner of the infield batting from opposite sides of the plate.


I agree that they must fix the cleanup hitter situation. Having more offensive in the games should help bring back more fans. At this point, the free agents are asking 5 - 8 million more a year than what one realistically can expect. I think McPhail will go the trade route to upgrade the cleanup spot in the batting order. I don't think he will even pursue a major free agent until mid December.

Seriously CIH,

Why in the F would KC even think of making such a trade? Even KC's fanbase would laugh that one out of town.

As for A-Gone.... Jone's (decent young player). Tillman? Can you check his stats please (oh, that's right, he pitched no-no in the minors. Bell? (that was a joke, right?). And a lower pitching prospect (that should seal the deal).

People....... If you post trade idea's, please be real and stop doing what this organization has done for years by overvaluating the players on this horrid team.

Can that happen just one off season? Just one?


Once again, Dan Connolly -- best known for insulting Oriole fans and not posting contrarian points of view -- has written something that is so skewed it can't be viewed as anything but just plain wrong. Pull his string, and he repeats what Andy MacPhail says. And doesn't question it.

Certainly, the San Francisco Giants should be complimented for winning their first World Series since 1954 when they were still in New York and Baltimore rejoined the majors for the first time in 53 years (unless one wants to count the Federalist League). They should also be hailed for having most of their pitchers as being home grown.

The main exception was Barry Zito who did not have a good year but did still pitch nearly 200 innings.

But the real main exception is the Giants themselves. Since 2000, only the 2003 Marlins and the 2008 Phillies had no one in their top starting five and their save leader as coming from free agency. They did have some of their six main pitchers come from trades.

In fact, most top six pitchers from the winning teams 2000-10 came from trades or free agency. (I didn't check prior to 2000 but, hey, I did 11 more years than Connolly.)

And that is just the World Series champions.

Take Roger Clemens for instance. Clemens did not make the list because he was traded by Toronto to New York. However, the Blue Jays signed him as a free agent and all he did was win two Cy Young awards before being the bait that fetched more players. That doesn't make the list but it is hardly an example where going after free agent pitchers is a wrong thing to do.

Also, it is worth taking a closer look at the Giants with their home grown four starters and closer. They were drafted eight, seven, six, four and three years ago. Do you know who the Orioles drafted those years out from 2011?

Adam Loewen. Wade Townsend. Garrett Olson. Pedro Beato. Those are the four first or second round pitchers from 2003-07. Two aren't even with the Orioles anymore. One pitched in 16 games for Bowie last year.

Now if the battle retort is going to be they weren't MacPhail's picks, then I guess the natural conclusion one is then supposed to make is Andy has five more years to grow the arms and buy the bats.

Then again, we can look at history as it really happened. I'll just list free agent pitchers. The trade acquired pitchers would be even longer as a list.

2000 Yankees - Orlando Herenadez (a.k.a. El Duque) and David Cone

2001 D-backs - Randy Johnson and Byung-Hyun Kim

2002 Angels - Ramon Ortiz and Aaron Sele

2004 Red Sox - Tim Wakefield and closer Keith Foulke (none of the other four starters were home grown either)

2005 White Sox - El Duque (again) and closer Dustin Hermanson

2006 Cardinals - Jeff Suppan and closer Jason Isringhausen

2007 Red Sox - Daisuke Matsuzake, Tim Wakefield and Julian Tavarez

2009 Yankees - CC Sabathia, AJ Burnett and Andy Pettitte

And the Orioles are going to claim being gun-shy because of the "disastrous three-year, $22.5M deal with Sidney Ponson?" Really? That was 2004. And he was home grown. Does that mean if Brian Matusz becomes bonafide good the Orioles will just grow another arm?

The biggest chuckle-worthy comment coming from Connolly was, "Recent history shows that expensive free-agent pitching contracts rarely pan out."

Based on what? Certainly not based on the list above. Based on 29 teams each year fail to win it all? Well, it took the Giants 56 years. The Orioles are 27 years and counting.

There is no doubt there are risks associated with signing a big name free agent. Perhaps the lesson learned with the Giants' own Barry Zito is not to offer a long contract like seven years. Perhaps you offer more money over fewer years.

If we were to pretend the Orioles would actually have an interest in signing Cliff Lee, maybe the way to go is offer $75M over three years. Perhaps he would rather take the $80M over four years he is bound to be offered elsewhere but maybe he would see that being a free agent again when he is 34 years old might be better than when he is 35. In other words, the $75M/3 might be more money in the long run. Heck, he would have to be a real dog not to get a one-year deal worth $5M at the end of a three-year deal.

All I know is while the Orioles need power at the corners and other well-known deficiencies addressed, they need a stud in the rotation, too. Whatever Guthrie, Matusz, et al, give the 2011 Orioles will be much better if they are starters #2 through #5 than if they are starters #1 through #4 and some home grown plug-in being #5. And that is part of what you are also buying if you throw money at Cliff Lee.

And that is what the real history without blinders has shown us.

Posted by: wayne | November 6, 2010 11:11 PM

What's YOUR trade suggestion, Superfan?

Oh...that's right. You never make a contribution to the discussion. You just sh!t on PAAM and non-PAAM shit-uponers every chance you get.


Simply put....there are risks to running an MLB franchise, the main one being that you have to spend a lot of money to put a competitive team on the field. Sometimes you don't get the value for your dollar that you hoped, but you have to keep spending or you'll never by competitive.

Side note: Cliff Lee has bounced around the majors for two years now and has been fantastic at every stop. Seems to me that he's one of the safest free agent pitcher bets the club could make.


Same thing goes for you. You're over-valuing other players and under-valuing O's players/prospects. The point of the Grienke proposal was that it wouldn't be likely, so they should stay out of it (it's ok though, because like everything else, it flew over your head).

And it may have taken more for A-Gone a year ago, but at this point, you're only getting one year of service. When outside reports say Red Sox giving up Ellisbury, Lars Anderson and a lower level prospect (I saw this on MLBTV), what about that deal doesn't compare with what I offered? Come up with something better, or shut your face.

You don't run this blog.

Can somebody please explain the wisdom behind Andy MacPhail's being so hung up on not wanting to potentially drive up the price for signing a free agent? I've been working under the premise that the Yankees and Red Sox are competitors. Andy appears to view them more as partners in the same enterprise. This view isn't shared by other teams. The Red Sox make it a point of getting involved in situations where they believe the Yankees have interest---even in Boston doesn't, just to drive the price up. [For the latest example, check out MLBTR this morning under NEW YORK NOTES and read where Jerry Crasnick is reporting Boston's interest in Cliff Lee.]

In business, a lot of one's strategy is aimed specifically at making it more difficult for your competitors to succeed.
[Does anyone think Target doesn't consider how their moves might make it more difficult for Walmart, and vice versa?] Yet, the Orioles are concerned that the Yankees may have to pay more to sign Lee. One has to wonder if that's why the team didn't offer Teixeira a more market relevant deal a few years back.

The Orioles need to demonstrate that they have changed the culture of the organization. They are on the right path by bringing in a winning manager and basically turning over the coaching staff. This is the time to be bold so players and agents can believe the are relevant again.

After reading posts from Chris and not wayne, I realized that Andy MacPhail and wayne are very similar in one way: After three and a half years, we're all still trying to get both of them to change, and neither of them are likely to do so.

not brooks,

Now that was actually pretty funny.

Nice job!

Waspman, I can't believe you insulted Connolly. To be honest, you should have posted what you said on his blog. I always believe taking a direct approach is the best way to go. I accused him of drinking way too much AM Kool Aid a few weeks ago. My post was the only one he responded.

Don't dance around, the direct approach is the way to go. =)

Also, Jeff Z called me a contrarian the following week. I don't disagree with that statement in fact I wholeheartedly agree.

Lastly, you're right Samuel and Lopes statistically are similar players. In fact Samuel might've had more talent then Lopes as a player. But as far as coaching goes I would take Lopes over Samuel any day of the week and twice on Sunday. I just don't understand why in the world the Orioles hired Kirby so quickly and rumored to want to bring back Samuel when there are clearly more qualified and more experienced coaches out there. It boggles the mind.

Not Brooks,
Firing Andy Mac eh. I would never fire Andy Mac, not even in a 1000 years. You know why? Because I never ever would have hired him in the 1st Place!

Mr Knee to knee Range Peralta has resigned with the Tigers, thank goodness!

Hazing Prevention Week, which occurred from Monday, Sept. 20, through Friday, Sept. 24, on campus, encouraged students to be mindful of the University of Dayton's steps to prevent hazing.


Adrian Gonzalez for Nick Markakis, Manny Machado, Felix Pie, Jim Johnson, David Hernandez and BOOM!!!!!!!!!! You got yourself a trade!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Or, we could offer Adam Jones, Brad Bergesen, Branden Snyder, Pedro Beato, and Brandan Waring. The other crackheads seem to think that'll work....

How come the Rangers are ready to do some wheeling and dealing?

If the Rangers fail to re-sign Cliff Lee, one option open is to sign Rafael Soriano or another free-agent closer and give Neftali Feliz a crack at the rotation. Another is to use Derek Holland, 17-year-old shortstop prodigy Jurickson Profar and their stable of power pitching prospects to get Zack Greinke from the Royals.

As for the Orioles it looks like "Ground Hog Day" all OVER again! To Paraphrase Yogi Berra. I love how some folks around here are stealing my lines and yet insult me for my "squirrel brains" hehehehe lol.

Seriously though, why do the Orioles hold worthless meetings that probable won't add up to anything? And despite their penchant for "let's talk about it routine ". When did it occur to the Orioles and their outstanding cache of team physicians that Brandon Erbe might have a problem? Why did it take so long to figure out that there was indeed a problem? I will also be curious to see how it works out for the Tigers now that they signed Peralta. Now the Orioles should sign Izzy for the same amount and compare who did better at the end of the two year contract. I can say this with a fair amount of confidence having strong defense up the middle or whatever you want to call it hasn't exactly translated into many 70 plus win seasons for the O's as of late. Lastly, when is anyone from the Sun going to start aking tough question or Orioles Management, that is the four million dollar question/ I say four million bucks, because that is what one lucky winner won with one two dollar ticket on "Breeders Cup Saturday" with the pick 6. I would love to know how they did it?

Squirrel, my comments there are no different than here ... in general. Here, they actually get posted. There, they are not always "approved." The two that weren't approved over there contained no vulgarities and were not disrespectful in any way. They took issue with what he had said, and that was it.

Personally, I find Connolly to be an empty read most of the time. I still read him if I have the time and I have exhausted other possibilities. But it is much easier to ignore him or respond elsewhere if a similar subject comes up than pretend I might have a voice over there.

My posts are for my fun anyway. I hope others enjoy them. If I'm given so little respect I don't even know what I am typing will ever make an appearance, it's not fun. That makes it not worth it.

Posted by: The Brain Trust | November 6, 2010 11:11 PM

Give away Manny Machado in a deal for a possible one year rental of Gonzo? As a baseball move that would rate as a "crackhead" move for sure. But if I was running things I'd be watching Gonzo and Fielder's situations closely, things will likely heat up on those guys closer to the winter meetings.

Question is about a power bat, do you look for a trade for what could be a possible one year rental? Or, give up a second rounder for a guy like Dunn? Or, wait it out and hope LaRoche doesn't get offered arbitation? The power bat for the 4 hole may take a while to see how the market pans out.

Barry Zitto's name keeps getting thrown around as a complete failure for a FA pitching contract, but I saw him pitch a couple of times last year and he pitched pretty well. You got to think the Giants have got to try and move him after winning a World's Series with him in- active.

If the Giants are willing to eat a portion of that big deal, he's a guy that the would be probably worth looking into if he's being given away. I'd say he's a better top of the order guy then Millwood. Coming back to the AL could be the career jolt he needs.

I still say the O's should make a hard run at Crawford, that would provide insurance at the top of the order if Roberts gets hurt. If Roberts is healthy then it would assure moving Markakis back to third in the order which would make the O's tough 1-3.

That's a move that wouldn't have to wait for the market to sort it's self out. Go out and set the market for that guy. It wounds three of the division rivals at once since he'd leave TB, and wouldn't land in NY, or Beantown, and it would give any potential cleanup hitter three guys to drive in.

If I'm Adam Dunn, AG or Fielder, I'd have to like the looks of watching Roberts, Crawford, and Markakis work a pitcher over while I loosen up.

I'd strongly recommend bringing back Izturis, and I think Wiggy could move to 3b and play well there if he's there as a regular. Batting behind a strong #4 hitter Scott would make a strong 5 and Wiggy, Jones,Wieters, and Izturis could round out the lineup.

I'd bring back Koji in the pen to provide some veteran stability as some of these kids grow into their roles, call it a winter and head to spring training.

You can't trade Machado until after the upcoming season.

mark reynolds' strikeout total was greater than his avg

Hey Waspman,

Not sure why your posts aren't posting over at the Insider. They have posted everything I have sent. Of course I realize if you dish it out, your going to have to hear from the other side as well. I don't have a problem with that. I do try to have to facts on my side. My problem sometimes I realize I have typo issues, sometimes after the fact which is a bit vexing. I should catch them beforehand and once in awhile I don't.

I think you have been spending too much time in the rarefied air! Trading Machado is insane! Also, you have a groundhog day thing going with resigning everyone! Change is good sometimes Mountai, change is good!

Chris, I think you're just jesting LOL
Or at least I hope you are =P

Hey Waspman,

Not sure why your posts aren't posting over at the Insider. They have posted everything I have sent. Of course I realize if you dish it out, your going to have to hear from the other side as well. I don't have a problem with that. I do try to have to facts on my side. My problem sometimes I realize I have typo issues, sometimes after the fact which is a bit vexing. I should catch them beforehand and once in awhile I don't.

I think you have been spending too much time in the rarefied air! Trading Machado is insane! Also, you have a groundhog day thing going with resigning everyone! Change is good sometimes Mountai, change is good!

Chris, I think you're just jesting LOL
Or at least I hope you are =P


I was just pointing out a fact. You can't trade a player who was just drafted until he's been with your organization for at least a year.

And I agree that trading Machado would be insane.

I was being sarcastic about trading Machado, sorry.

The truth is, if AM wants to trade for a power bat, then it will be based on the wants or needs of the other team. Most likely, that player in question will probably be a pitcher, if anything, because pitching always scarce. I care how good the team is, there is never enough good pitchers.

And think about it. How many position players can the Orioles REALLY afford to give up?

As much as some of you would hate to admit it, the only thing the Orioles could afford to trade now would be a young, talented pitcher. That is the only commedity they have in abundance. Or Guthrie. It would have to be centered around Matusz, Tillman, Britton, or maybe Arrieta.

The question is, would the trading a young pitcher/top pitching prospect for a power bat be worth it? If so, AM would HAVE TO go after the likes of Cliff Lee, because again, as much as some of would hate to admit, those four do have a lot of talent and are currently the future of the rotation.

If feel that any major trade would be contraversial for this team. Being that the ML club has so little to begin with, you'd better carefull what you wish for and hope AM doesn't trade 3 pitchers for a Glen Davis.

Nice to see all the regulars here are holding form.
As for AM well talk is talk which means more of the same from him I imagine unless he pulls a surprise and actually signs or trades for someone of quality, then I will be pleasantly surprised...

I am in a depressed mood.

There seems to be a report circulating the Orioles are talking to ... drum roll please (or is it a rimshot?) ... Johnny Damon.

I'm not kidding. The Orioles are actually taking the risk of driving his price up.

Apparently, he has hit nearly .340 at Camden Yards and one should overlook his batting average last year was 16 points lower than his lifetime average and he is 37-years old. I wonder if it can be arranged to have some ex-Oriole pitchers signed as opponents.

Seventy wins, here we come! Oh, yeah, I feel much better now.


Here's the article

This is why we need Peter S to come out of hibernation! He needs to start questioning this kind of thing!

Also, where would Damon play????
I would rather have Corey Patterson then Johnny D. Not that I am thrilled with Patterson. But if I were looking at a 4th Outfielder and I had two choices, I would take Patterson everyday and twice on Sunday over 'The Original Captain Caveman"! Jason Werth is the "New Captain Caveman". Why the O's haven't been kicking the tires with him is beyond me

There seems to be a current out there that wants to spread Propaganda and not the truth these days. This might be just a case of blowing smoke.

Look at the source fellas. "WNST: The Birthplace of Propoganda".


If this is true, I can't say it's unexpected. It certainly makes sense that, while other teams are focusing on Carl Crawford and Jayson Werth, Andy would be wasting his time on a guy who shouldn't even be a consideration until late January at the earliest.

Let's assume everything you hear on WNST is truth...

While I'll agree that it seems premature to be talking to Damon (and his stats certainly aren't anything to ogle over), I'll say this... He's scrappy. (no, not crappy with an s) But he's a guy who always seemed to outplay his abilities, which is something the O's club has lacked for a while. The team has been full of guys with laid back attitudes and potential, but offensively, there's not been much fight or grit to them.

As a 4th OF/DH, I'd rather have Damon over Luke or Patterson (yes, that means I'm still in favor of trading Luke). As a starter, he wouldn't hold water, but as a small piece of a winning team, he would be valuable.

Also, let's remember that if the O's go after someone, that probably means Buck thinks he's a nugget.

Chris -

I'm 100% with you. I'd take Damon over Patterson as a role player any day. I just don't think now is the right time to put much effort into signing role players.


The fact that Damon's got two rings and has played for winners for the past 10 years would be enough for me to offer him a couple of million to come in and teach these kids a little something about winning baseball.

I'm with you on trading Scott as well. The guy's value couldn't be higher if we can find a contender looking for a DH who can play a bit of outfield (Texas? Anaheim? Detroit? Oakland? Maybe even some NL teams would bite.) And I'd much rather trade him now in a package for a big league ready starting rotation piece than watch him return to his normal streaky self in 2011.

The upcoming Moneyball movie features Royce Clayton as Miguel Tejada. Weird.

Also, Scott Hatteberg is being played by Chris Pratt, who you may know as Andy from Parks & Recreations. That seems like perfect casting to me.

The weirdest part of the Moneyball movie is that after Demetri Martin bailed, Jonah Hill, a short, fat, non-athletic guy, was cast to Paul DePodesta, a tall, skinny guy who played baseball and football in college.

Of course, DePo wasn't comfortable with his likeness being portrayed on screen, so Hill's character's name has been changed to Peter Brand.

Demitri bailed when Soderbergh left, right?

Jonah Hill was weird casting for DePodesta and I can't imagine they couldn't have expected anything other than a necessary name change. But with so many comedic actors out there, it's a wonder they didn't try to get someone like Adam Scott, who would have been perfect.

I am with CIH and NB on Damon. The guy is a winner and this team needs guys like him. If Damon was the only big name FA on the O's radar, I would be pissed because they have to do something about 3B and 1B.

The O's could get creative with two guys on their team in Luke and Adam. KC traded their best OFer and have been looking for a guy to lead the OF so why not look at Jones for Butler? Move Pie in CF and get a guy who hits for avg., power and doubles at 1B. Keep Corey as the backup or keep Pie in LF, but go after Rowand since the Giants seems more than willing to trade him.

The O's should trade Luke in my opinion. It does seem like the Angels and Tigers love this guy. Luke had a nice year, but if the O's could get someone of value, I would trade him. The O's could sign Jim Thome and stick him in the DH role and he would put up great #s.

I am in the minority on this, but I would love to see Jorge Cantu in an O's uniform. He has a great relationship with our new hitting coach. I don't think you can judge him on this past season since he was traded to be a part time player for Texas. He's better in the field and at the plate than Wiggy.

Lastly, I would love to see the O's go after Jon Garland. He's a very solid SP and I do think he and Guthrie would be solid 1-2 punch. Everything depends on the young pitchers, but I still think Jeremy is better being slotted in the #2 role.

Birdland Todd,

I didn't know Thome was a free agent until now. Yes, I would definitely take a look at him. I am not sure how much fielding ability he has left. But he still can crush a baseball. Also, he would be a good guy to have!

To the rest of the crew posting here.
As for Luke Scott, I knew the Tigers liked him, didnt know about the Angels though. I thought Scott for Peralta would have made sense to me, but alas there are a lot of folks who were not exactly fans of Jhonny. And besides the Tigers just signed him to a three year deal or something. The bottom line is I don't think the Tigers have anything we need.

Lastly, I don't think Johnny Damon has anything left in the tank. I do however think that the new "Captain Caveman" Jason Werth does! I would love the Orioles to get him. If the O's did decide to do this, this might create a "Mega Trade" opportunity with the Royals. Where we trade quality for quality. I don't want to see any 5 for 1 specials ever again! I dig parity, not special sales.

Have to agree with both Pete and The Mythical One at the start of this discussion that it is time for a pre-emptive strike on the Yankees.

The Yanks have been known to push aging stars out the door when they had a better option in the wings (Joe DiMaggio for Mickey Mantle being the famous example) but they are in no position to replace Jeter and would be rolling the dice if they had to replace Rivera.

If the Orioles were to give formal offers to Jeter of 4 years/80 million and Rivera 3 years/60 million dollars the Yankees would have to deal with these two first rather than give the bulk of their free-agent budget to Cliff Lee and then ask Jeter and Rivera to take "reasonable" salaries to keep them under luxury tax obligations.

If the Orioles "lose" they have committed the Yankees to sign the duo to contracts that impair their bid to Lee. If the Orioles "win" although they are likely overpaying by two-fold for the production they will get for players at the end of their careers they upgrade two positions, SS and closer, while damaging the Yankees and leave them scrambling for solutions they don't have at the minor-league level.

Some might argue that just the name and marketing power of two future Hall of Famers would boost attendance at Camden Yards dramatically and might pay for a substantial part of the contracts. And while I am not a big-fan of FA contracts for older players because they tend to drive up the cost of your own younger players (who may likely out-perform the costlier ones) a GM could easily say that a player who has not put up a HOF resume has no business putting up their production to Jeter and Rivera.

Not saying there is not a downside risk to this gambit but Hal Steinbrenner seems like a poor poker-player and it may be the time to see if he has the guts to fold his hand and let his 2 marquee players walk out the door to a division rival.

Orioles Offseason Plan: Time To ‘Buy the Bats’

I want to preface this post by saying that I realize that offseason proposals like this can come off as pipe dreams or unrealistic, but I think this is closer to the truth than most people would think.

The Orioles were a brand new team when Buck Showalter took over and while they might not have the talent and depth of their AL East brethren, now is not the time to bury your head in the sand. The Orioles might not match their division rivals pound for pound, but they do have their fair share of potential. Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis are well established major leaguers, who could play on any team in this league. Supplementing them in the lineup is a solid collection of young talent, and guys with potential. Guys like Adam Jones, Felix Pie, Nolan Reimold, Matt Wieters, and Josh Bell have a ton of promise. While they might not all reach their ceilings, they give Baltimore a chance to compete in this division.

To read the rest of my friend Steve's blog about what the Orioles should do check out: (and join!)

Cameron -

That has to be the worst idea I've ever heard.

I understand attempting to hurt the Yankees, but if this team is going to spend $140M over four years on two players, wouldn't it make more sense to bring in say...

Adam Dunn, four years, $56M


Adrian Beltre, four years, $60M?

Then you've still got $24M of your "washed up Yankee" budget to spend on a reliever or two.

Like I said, I understand what you're getting at, but the Yankees are going to be overpaying Jeter and Mo anyway, and it's not like they can't afford it. Instead of doing something stupid to attempt to hurt a division rival, let's do something smart to help ourselves (and by doing so, hurt a division rival).

Jermaine Dye is now on the MLB FA market. Why not give him a 2 year incentive laden contract with a team buyout for the second year? I don't think he is a TYPE A and signing him wouldn't cost us the number 4 pick in next year's draft.

I can't imagine Beltre coming here. We all know Dunn loves the area plus 1B has been a complete bust for the O's so he would be my main target. Adam can flat out hit HR's and the O's can live with his K's.

I don't think Victor Martinez is that special at 1B. I am not talking about his bat which is great so again I am not sure why people are so high on him, but sour on Dunn at 1B?

Dan Uggla loves our hitting coach so if (BIG IF) he agreed to move to 3rd, the O's should look to make a trade. Four straight 30 HR seasons and he just turned 30 so he's not ready to go out to pasture. He makes errors at 2B, but he is a gritty SOB and he is team 1st guy. He was the first one to stand up to Hanley and to back his manger when he was fired. The O's can not live with Wiggy at 3B. He played hard for the O's, but he did nothing after the 1st two months of the season.

Anyone know if Bartlett will be let go by the Rays? He would be the perfect guy to play SS for the O's.


I'm with you on Dunn and I think your 4 years at $56 million would indeed get it done.

I'm not so much for Beltre though, mostly because the chance that he just had a year like the one before he signed his Mariners contract and will follow suit once he gets a deal seems pretty high. That said, if we signed him and Dunn, I'd be quite happy.

And I'm also on board with Todd in taking a shot on Uggla. The question there would be about his D at 3B. Would having him and Dunn man the corners be a disaster? I think if you go with Uggla at 3B, you almost have to go for a higher defensive player with lesser offense at 1B... someone like Pena or LaRoche... unless you believe Showalter and his as of yet unknown infield coach can make Dunn into a better fielder (which is not impossible... once Showalter took over last year, the team did seem to play more soundly in the field).

Let's stick to the Uggla question though. What does it take to get him? MLBtraderumors is suggesting they're looking for relief pitching in return. So it seems like the same situation as Mark Reynolds. You're only getting 1 guaranteed year of Uggla, but it seems like a higher chance of offensive success. Meanwhile, you get more years of Reynolds, but with more questions. If it's relief pitching they mainly want, a deal of Berken or Hernandez (both of whom are extremely cheap... Marlins and D-Backs we're talking about here..., major league ready and have upside as potential starters) would seem to be a fit as a main component of a deal. Add in Albers and a prospect like Pelzer or Mickolio (possibly Bell in Arizona's case) and you could possibly have a deal for either. It would at least be a good starting point in discussions.

Well, there goes the relievers for Uggla plan. They just got 2 good ones from San Diego for Cameron Maybin. Anyone know anything else they may be interested in?

Rough times for Maybin.

A few years ago, he was the centerpiece of the Miguel Cabrera trade and now he's been traded for a couple of relievers.

Jeremy Guthrie for Uggla, then sign Carlos Peña or trade for Daric Barton to catch all of those Uggly throws from third base.

not brooks,

are you crazy...????? Why would you want Pena now? we coulda had him 4 years ago. but no.... the O's didn't want him for whatever reason?

If we get Werth! We can do a trade.....much better idea!

Everyone is "Jonesing" because you can blog in a timely manner over at that the Insider....

The alternative to spending huge dollars in the FA market is to continue to build Tampa Bay style through the stockpiling of draft picks and deployment of resources towards better player scouting and development. For example, when the O's took a flyer on Rhyne Hughes by trading Gregg Zaun most of us thought it was a no-risk move since Zaun had no future here and Tampa would pay the final 2 months of his salary. Turns out by offering Zaun arbitration but not a starting job the Rays were given a supplemental pick that turned into what Baseball America currently rates as their No. 9 prospect.

This points out the importance of not throwing away picks on mediocre FAs and conversely generating picks by offering arbitration to players not likely to accept it. Koji Uehara and Kevin Millwood fit the latter condition and Andy McPhail should certainly offer them both arbitration. It would be a mistake if in the effort to save a couple of million dollars he threw away the opportunity to steal a couple of high picks in what is being called the deepest draft in years with some scouts saying legit 1st round talent will be available in later rounds.

First of all, picks for Uehara and Millwood (round 1A - also called the supplemental round) would be better than the picks the O's would surrender by signing two Type A FAs (2nd and 3rd round picks). This loophole has been exploited by forward-looking teams like the Rays and Red-Sox for at least a couple of years and is likely to disappear in the next collective bargaining agreement.

Kevin Millwood is consistently portrayed as a player whom nobody should offer arbitration because of his high 2010 salary but while a team may likely drive a harder bargain with a FA contract the Orioles are NOT restricted to offering 80% of his prior contract because he is a FA and not under team control. And since his agent, Scott Boras, has a warped concept of fair-market value the Orioles could easily win an arbitration case where they offered $6 million a year and Boras countered with $9+ million. Likely outcome: Millwood signs with a NL team to re-establish his numbers in the easier league for $5-7 million.

Uehara is likely to generate even more interest as a set-up man on a top team or a closer candidate on a lower-tier team. He certainly won't merit an arbitration raise since he is no longer a starter and has a small sample size as a closer. If the Orioles win a case they probably pay him 2-3 million and if they lose 3-4 million. Not a big difference and not worth losing a pick over. Likely outcome: Uehara takes guaranteed money $3-5 million elsewhere with an opportunity to close.

And while I could see both players playing useful roles on the 2011 Orioles, the best-case scenario has them leaving with the Orioles signing two impact free-agents and still coming out ahead with 3 draft picks in the Top 50 selections.


OK, its a 2nd and 3rd draft pick for a MLB type A FA. My mistake I forgot that we are before the midway point in the draft round. But I still don't see any of this year's type A being worth 12+ million for 4 or 5 years plus the two drafts picks.

I liked to see Millwod and Uehara stay with Baltimore but at a reduce salary. Millwood had one of his worst seasons and Uehara has not pitched a full season in the majors yet. Why not give them both a 2 year incentive laden contract with a team buyout for the second year?


The Orioles need a clean-up hitter to transform the lineup. You can get one on the cheap, say $5 million for Vlad Guerrero or Jim Thome (strict DH types) or you can get one of the 5 legit mlb 40+ HR hitters in Dunn for a reduced price (4 years / $50 million) because he is a perceived defensive liability. But in reality he is very similar in fielding metrics to Ryan Howard and Cecil Fielder who would command twice as much in the FA market. The domino effect that a Dunn can create is potentially worth 100+ runs to the Orioles.

Is this the 2009 or 2010 offseason?


No moves have been made and no moves for legitimate players will be made.

Oh sure, AM will fill the roster with has beens and players with supposed upside, but if you think (for a second) that this team will seriously go after a significant player, then you're on crack.

IT WON'T HAPPEN.... and you know what?

You guys already know it won't happen.

So get your typical 2009/20010 SPIN ready. You might as well begin your wrap now about how this or that DUD was a great pick up by AM. You'll just need to fill in the name of the loser when it happens.

YOU KNOW it will happen. You know WHY? Because the head of baseball operations for the Baltimore Orioles has the WORST free agent track record of ANY executive in the game of baseball for the last two decades..... something that has only been MAGNIFIED since he's been in ole Charm City.

And you ALL know that EVERYTHING I just said is 110% true......

And so it goes.....


Can you do us all (including AM) a favor and list your potential duds here, so we know who has absolutely no value?

This is just so I'm not confused. I felt like I was reading a copy and paste job from last year, but I'm sure that wasn't the case...

Cheer up, man. Buck is in the office too. And he can do no wrong in your eyes. Right...?


No need to go to such measures...... AM will show us the has beens and supposed players with upsides in due time.

At that point, you'll have PLENTY of time to cheer every one of his moves..... just like you cheered getting Millwood. You remember him? The starting pitcher who was one of the 3 worst all around statistical starters in all of baseball in 2010. And I won't even mention the other players you backed that ended up being a complete embarrassment.

And yes, Buck helps... but only if he has FINAL control of player personnel. Otherwise, this team is doomed by AM's continued failed player evaluation.

We can hope.....

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I know Koji hasn't been healthy for a full season in his two years here, but I think the O's have the money to give him a 2 year deal. I like How Buck uses the pen, but I don't see a true closer on our roster without Koji. He thrived in the role and seemed to get pumped up during a save chance.

The word is Uggla wants 15 mil a season and a 4-5 year deal. If he is willing to play 3B, the O's are nuts to not go after him. The guy hits HRs and knocks in runs. We need that. I agree with CIH that Beltre seems to put up these amazing #s in a walk year. I would take him in a second because of his glove, but I love the idea of Uggla at 3B.

All of us have gone nuts when Luke hits one of his crazy month or two dry spells so why would we want Pena? Great glove, power and a great clubhouse guy, but he is a guy who could knock in 30 runs in the 1st month and then go 8 weeks of batting.150-.200. The O's need dependability at 1B. I thought the O's should have gone after Dunn before he signed with the Nats and I still think he is the best option at 1B, warts and all. LaRoache and Konerko are the other guys who are going to put up the kind of #s that could help the O's. I think Pena is too big of a risk for the O's.


I expected that response from you. You have no actual opinion other than "AM bad, wayne good," so you choose to be completely ambiguous until AM makes a move and then you bash it.

I would still do that trade for Millwood, because you got a starter coming off a sub-4.00 ERA season for a relief pitcher still making his way back from surgery who put up a 7.00+ ERA the year before. Not to mention that Millwood actually had a smaller ERA vs. the AL East in 2009 than his overall ERA. What is it about getting a player who performs well against your main competition that you see as a bad move? You couldn't predict that he'd have a 5.00+ ERA in 2010. So I still think that was a good deal.

Atkins was a horrible pick up. There's no one who would dispute that.

The Gonzo move made sense at the time too. The idea was to improve the back end of a bull-pen that struggled the year before. So you pick up a guy who had good K number and a nice ERA the year before. The 2009 blown save stat was a little misleading for him because many of those came in the 8th inning of 1 run ballgames. However, they should have done a more thorough medical exam. I think when you saw Gonzo in the second half, the completely healthy Gonzo, that's the guy the O's thought they were getting when they signed him. And that guy was pretty solid.

It's easy to say everything is horrible when it happens and then portray yourself as a great forseer and point to all the negatives after. But when you do that, you don't sound all that knowledgeable, you just sound like the guy on the corner with the "The End is Nigh" sign.

Go over to the Oriole insider today and ask them If Pedro Viola was related to Dominic Viola. I know he's not related to Frank Viola

I am just not up to it today to do it myself LOL. I figured since this blog is a lost cause till december I figured I could bring it up

Orioles Director of Amateur Scouting Joe Jordan’s staff continues to undergo some changes. Dominic Viola, who scouted for the Orioles in the Carolinas, has left the organization to take a job in the professional scouting department of the Cincinnati Reds.


'It's easy to say everything is horrible when it happens'...

Chris, that is the smartest thing I've ever heard you say. Seriously......

YES, it is in fact EASY. WHY?

Because AM makes these deals. What part of that don't you understand?

In SO MANY WAYS, your post proved my point(s) better than I ever could have.

Thank You...

wayne -

As usual, you missed the point. You might want to go back and take some night courses a the local community college. I'm sure they offer something in the way of upgrading your reading comprehension since it's quite low at the moment.

"Because AM makes these deals. What part of that don't you understand?"

Let me copy and paste what I wrote above. Maybe you'll get it this time...

"You have no actual opinion other than 'AM bad, wayne good.'"

If you ever came up with some interesting analysis, maybe people would respect your opinion more.

Golly CIH,

You keep repeating yourself, and you keep making my points.

Analysis? Really?

What type of analysis does one need to come up with when grading AM's history of offseason moves?

So perhaps I should make suggestions, followed up by 'prove me wrong andy', the way not brooks has been doing for a couple years?

Why.... just so AM can prove me wrong year after year? Seriously?

Here you go CIH.... 'AM should bring in (fill in significant proven/consistent player here)'. How's that? I mean I just get goose bumps thinking about the players AM won't be bring in.

Now you and others can go in another direction, like.....

'I like that Andy brought in (fill in has been, non productive/inconsistent filler with supposed upside here), especially since the free agent crop wasn't that strong to begin with'.

Have at it my man.....

Have at what, wayne?

You still said absolutely nothing.

The formula is simple... until you put your money where your mouth is and make a tangible suggestion, shut your mouth.

If you really want to play soft-toss, wayne, here you go...

What do you think about attempting to acquire Dan Uggla for 3B? Who do you think they would give up to get him? What other moves might be necessary if Uggla were acquired? Where would you slot him in the lineup?

If you really want to be a part of the discussion, as opposed to the resident jackass, have at it.

Ok, never mind about Dan Uggla. That ship sailed right before I hit "post."

But you get the idea.

Same questions, but Gordon Beckham.

The Orioles should get Dunn, and Werth, so they finally have a legit corner OF with power and legit clean up hitter

.... too bad they wont

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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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