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June 1, 2011

Orioles: Simply incredible

Listen, I know the Orioles are a so-so team with all sorts of flaws, but I cannot explain how they find a different way to lose ignominiously just about every week. I've been around a long time, and the kind of loss they suffered on Tuesday night at Safeco Field happens to every team about once or twice every year. Trouble is, that's the fourth or fifth already this year (I'd be more specific, but I just can't bear to go back and check) that the O's have suffered such a discouraging late-inning setback.

I think if you go back to this time last year, you'll find an almost identical post. I vaguely remember saying the same thing as the O's were immolating during the first half of the 2010 season. And here we go again. The Orioles lost that game to the Red Sox a couple of weeks ago after leading by six runs heading into the late innings. Most teams will not do that once this year. But they already had lost a game in which they held a 5-0 lead over the Yankees.

Maybe it isn't fair to throw in the 15-inning game against the Yankees in which they simply choked on several extra-inning scoring opportunities, but I'm going to anyway. Now, Jeremy Guthrie -- the victim of the famous Mother's Day Meltdown of a few years ago, melted down all by himself.

He committed the error that kept the eighth inning alive, then allowed a single and a game-winning three-run home run. Can't remember seeing that particular combination of events in my three decades or so of baseball coverage, but I'm sure something like that has happened once or twice. The fact that it is happening once or twice a week really does test the limits of credulity.

Seriously, that kind of thing is hard to do, but it seems to be the one thing the Orioles are really good at.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 2:20 AM | | Comments (80)
Categories: Just baseball
        

Comments

If I remember correctly the Mothers Day massacre(named by redsox fans as the mothers day miracle) and who really does Guffrie did not give up those runs he was taken out of the game after the catcher drop a pop fly.

106 pitches?? Where was the bullpen after the first runner reached?? I hang this on Buck a bit. Sorry

In what I would have thought was a road trip that the team would be able to win at least 2 games but possibly go 4-2 on would now have to be considered a setback that will push the limit of whether this team even finishes at 500.

Even with Matuzs pitching it is highly doubtful he will pitch more then 5-6 innings. Another loss. That makes this road trip disastrous and detrimental to the team. And Buck has not convinced me that he is much of a manager to this point in the season. There have been too many questionable decisions to this point. The team from my accounts would have 3-4 more wins minus some of Buck's decisions. Trembley had a difficult road with what he had to be dealt and did the best he could with it. And basically Buck is managing in the same format. What is the difference? I recall a game people here got up in arms when Trembley left the starter in an inning too long and they lost (I forget the details but the game was pretty much the same). Point is that buck is not managing differently. But he is making poor decisions. You pinch run Vlad in the eighth inning (a couple of ballgames ago) and buck did not do it. You have a bullpen warmed up for Guthrie in the eighth inning and did not. Have runners moving with 0 outs and 1st and 2nd covered.

However what is coming out is that this team is becoming eerily similar to the past years that just cannot win. It is very saddening. So there is no need to think this year will be any different then the past 13. Lets make it 14 losing years.

Trade Markakis, Vlad, Dlee, Gregg, Gonzo, Reynolds, Scott, Guthrie, and Roberts and truely start a rebuilding of this team. Management should pony up to this fact that it is rebuild or naught. One way or the other.

I tend to think that Peter nailed it yesterday, streaky indeed. I prefer the winning streaks.

this team had first and third, no outs, and the 3-4-5 coming up. Never made it to 5, as 3 hits into a double play. Bases loaded, 1 out, top of the order. Get 0 runs.
Against Chris Ray and his 7.42 ERA.

Just have to resign ourselves to the fact this team flat out cannot hit a lick, and just allow the manager and the players to prattle on about how they can or will, all evidence to the contrary.

This is MacPhail's worst nightmare-injured players, terrible offense, and nowhere to turn but to the young pitchers. Sound familiar? This is the team Buck saw from his perch at ESPN, and now he's running it. Buck knows he needs real productive baseball players in here, it's just that they don't exist in the Os organization.
DanF, glad to see you're on board.
The issue is the same one I had when Flanny was running the show-do you trust the GM that in 4 years has the same major league and high-minors mess as 4 years ago, to go fix it?

You cannot blame the manager for this one. All Guthrie has to do is catch the ball, and he's out of the 8th.

Showalter did pinch run for Guerrero in the late innings the other night, and last night, it's not like the bullpen has been invincible this year.

Showalter is in the first year of a three year contract. My feeling is, he's observing, evaluating, and making notes, which you really can't do in the span of 57 games,
and those that are still doing stupid things will be gone. He's giving all of them a year to get with the program, he's trying to instill a winning attitude and culture around here, and some guys just aren't buying it. They will be gone, and that might include some big names. This team, on paper at least, is much better than any we have seen since 1997, and many players are just not playing to potential. Yes, the manager does need to take some blame for that, but he's not the one pitching, hitting, or fielding. He can only do so much.

Showalter is here to win, there is no other reason to hire a guy like him, but he's also not a guy to air dirty laundry in public. I suspect there are already players on notice to shape up or they will be shipped out. Who is anyone's guess, but we have a pretty good idea.

Pete, Thorne and Palmer were talking last night that it's the right time to move Fox, he just doesn't fit here. Do you see any trade, for him or anyone else, any time soon?

methinks that this is a crucial month coming up. June has not been kind to the O's for the last ...years but as we get players back, i believe we could leave June at .500 (incurable optimist? I rmember Earl used to say..get me to 50-50 after 100 games and I'll do the rest..maybe Buck can follow that script? How come Presley gets no heat for the lack of offense? Also maybe Luke should just go into politics..he scrws up enuff in thiswgame.

I'm not sure how much longer I can hold out: I have been so tempted to research the Orioles win % immediately following win streaks of 5 games or more over the last 10 years. I'm 100% sure that every win streak of 5 wins or more is followed by a losing streak that is equal or greater than the preceding win streak.

methinks that this is a crucial month coming up. June has not been kind to the O's for the last ...years but as we get players back, i believe we could leave June at .500 (incurable optimist? I rmember Earl used to say..get me to 50-50 after 100 games and I'll do the rest..maybe Buck can follow that script? How come Presley gets no heat for the lack of offense? Also maybe Luke should just go into politics..he scrws up enuff in thiswgame.

sorry for the repeated posts but i got no confirmation that it was done. Slow computer?

Can someone explain why Luke Scott is on this team other than to strike out with the bases loaded?

Personal note to:
Mark Reynolds.....keep both hands on the bat and stop swinging with one hand

Nick Markakis.....whatever stances you are trying this year, give up on it and figure out what stance you used in the past because the new ones aren't working

Vlad Guerrero......just because you can hit just about every pitch doesn't mean that you have to swing at every pitch

Very frustrating watching this team right now (I know, what else is new) and even if our pitching gets more consistent, we still have to be able to score runs. Maybe the best thing other teams can do is let us get the bases loaded, because we have a very bad habit of leaving them there.

Sorry but, this team just stinks! Andy McPhail has had 4 years to improve this team and he has not done so. Peter Angelos spends money on over the hill garbage. Poor Buck, you don't deserve this. The players are pathetic and need to be run right out of town.
LOSERS!!! LOSERS!!! LOSERS!!!

Pete you are well aware of the fact that i have been on Nick M's case for a very long time now. It's really no reason to once again repeat all the facts that have been posted around on this blogs for weeks now , because we all know what there are. I have been asked by many posters why bob do you go out of your way to continue on this bashing of nick and the answer that has bothered me the most for a very long time was on the front of the sports page this morning.

Jeff z Went out of his way to tell everybody how bad luke scott is performing, giving you all the necessary stats to let you all know just how bad he is playing. Listen we all know that luke is struggling , we all know luke is probably the streakest hitter in all of baseball but what we have here is a media member in this town going out of his way to bash the wrong guy. See luke scott had a career year last year and yet because he his stinking up the place right now the sports writers can take there liberties with him.I am not a big fan of luke scott but what we have here people is what has been going on in this town for a long time.See this front page story should be about the Golden boy Nick M because he is the one that is totally underperforming and show no sign of changing, he is the one on a big contract extension, he is the one that doesn't have a extra base hit in over 60 ab's right now . But because he is the golden boy along with brian roberts media members are reluctent to paint his picture and horrible stats across the front page and call him out. And that my friends is why i won't stop anytime soon in my quest to point out that nick isn't even a good player anymore and should be considered average at best.

You can't blame this loss on Buck. 106 pitches is nothing much for a guy that is in as good a shape as Guthrie. I'd take my chances with him facing Smoak as opposed to any lefty reliever anyway.
Besides, if we had any semblance of a consistent offense that could put up 5 or 6 runs a game, then the 3 run HR wouldn't have mattered.
Like Peter said, the O's seem to find more and more ways to lose, which of course, is a sign of a BAD TEAM.
I agree with jim66 in that Buck is probably going to pack it in before his 3 year 'sentence'. I'm sure he didn't realize the mess he got himself into and must be thinking that any broadcast booth looks pretty good about now!

How many ways can Luke Scott lose a ballgame for us? I child could get a better read on the Reimold single. Then he can't make a 40 foot throw. There's the game. You knew as soon as Scott's throw was wide that we would find a way to lose. That hanging changeup was Githrie's only bad pitch all night.

And who knows what would've happened if we make the routine play.

What, no mention of Scott being thrown out at 3rd with the play right in front of him?

The Orioles had way too many scoring chances to hang this one on Guthrie. The pressure he must feel to pitch to perfection every night must be enormous. I will not fault him making a mistake from time-to-time because he gets absolutely no support. This one is on the team and the offense.

And for the life of me, why can't someone in management simply tell Scott that he's going on the DL? He can't throw and his swing is being affected by the shoulder.

Um, the O's lost because they only scored two runs. Guthrie pitched his but off and despite the error sometimes stuff just happens in low scoring ballgames. You can't really fault Guthrie, Showalter, or the team for a 3-2 loss on the road. It was hardly a meltdown. All in all it was a well pitched and fairly well played game that they lost by one run.

I think Scott is going to the DL when Lee gets back. With Vlad DHing, Lee playing 1B and Pie/Reimold in LF, where do you play him? If he was hitting, that's one thing, but he's not.
I know they want to get Scott straightened out so they can showcase him for a possible trade, but what can they hope to get for him when he can barely hit the ball out of the infield? Time to sit, Mr. Luke.

If they demote Reimold when Lee comes back, if I'm Nolan, I tell them to stuff it. He's 180 from last year, and Pie still brings a lot to the table. I think it's time to see what those two youngins' can do on a semi-regular basis, so Luke, because of his injury, has to be the odd man out.

BTW, anyone catch Palmer's line last night about Fox? Palmer has a way of cutting to the chase, and he said that if you're a RH hitting bench player, it would behoove you to hit lefties. Gotta love James Alvin.

Our team era is round 4 1/2 runs a game. The offense has to know that in order for us to win, they must score 5-6 runs a nite. If they don't perform to those levels, we loose. Guth only gave up 3 runs. Yeah, they came late. Not any different if he had given them up in the first. That is still 1 1/2 runs below normal. The blame for this one goes strictly on those guys parading around in major league uniforms with bats in their hands. They simply are not doing the job. They are supposed to be big league hitters...they are not.

Last week, when the Orioles scored three in the ninth against KC, I'm sure a Kansas City columnist wrote essentially the same column as you've written today. Every come-from-behind win is accompanied by a "they-blew-the-lead response". The error didn't lose the game, the three-run homer did. When the Orioles win in this manner (okay, okay, they don't do it often enough) we heap praise on them. Today, we look around and find someone to heap scorn upon.

Peter,
I think Guthrie did more than his share to win this game. Baseball is a TEAM SPORT with the efforts of individuals with different strengths to reach a mutual goal (winning). Until the Orioles can put an experienced, effective offense on the field with a CONSISTENT winning record this is the way it will be. The first 50 games the offense scored 3 runs or LESS, 21 times. That's almost 50%! We only got blown out (9 runs or more) 5 times. Pitching they say wins games, this is true but timely hitting needs to be there as well. Lay off the pitchers and start focusing on the even bigger problem with this team, and that's inconsistent and untimely hitting. By the way, enjoy your column.

So sad that this team is starting to look like the same team as the last decade and a half.

We have to have a manager but the 'Spring' under Buck last year we had seen before under others. Bring in an interim manager late in the season and the team played better under them then the next year they play to the same lousy record. Pitchers pitch Hitters don't hit/Hitters hit Pitchers don't pitch. Same as always

What we are witnessing with regards to this so-called "team" is really quite simple.

Water seeks its own level. So does this "team!"

What we are witnessing with regard to this so-called "team" is really quite simple.

Water seeks its own level. So does this "team!"

Scott is gone to DL the moment Lee returns. Buck put Guthrie's error squarely on Scott's shoulders last night, regardless of who got the official error.

Plus add in the base running blunder, not hitting and the injury and I believe Scott to the DL will happen.

No way is Reimold going back to AAA when he has turned the corner.

The way Guthrie was pitching, Buck made the right call to stick with him. What he had on the mound was better than anything he had in the bullpen. The Director of Professional Scouting took care of that for him. Har Har.

After all, Buck is playing one man short in the bullpen becuase he won't use Gonzalez unless he had a 10 run lead, and Andy won't move Gonzalez because it would only highlight another in a long series of pitiful decisions he has made picking up players off the scrap heap. Garrett Atkins, Dutch{Duke}, Reynolds, Lee., Gregg, Gonzalez. And those are some of the latest collection of garbage picked up by Andy's nephew with his Uncle's beaming approval.

Andy's four year record of collecting another team's refuse is enough to make you stick your finger down your throat.

Grow the arms. Buy the bums. I can't take credit for whoever posted it, but it aptly describes "The Plan."

I am beginnig to realize how devastating the damage was that was done to this team by Peter Angelos and Syd Thrift. You can actually pinpoint the date it began -- when Frank Wren was fired for leaving the Sacred Cal behind at the airport in 1999. After that time, Angelos and Thrift did irreparable damage to the brand. Steinbrenner and Theo Epstein combined couldn't do to the Orioles what those two did. I'm afraid it will decades to
re-establish sustianable competence. I plan to Rip Van Winkle my way to that point, somebody please wake me when we get there.

It bugged me a bit a few days back when Buck sort of threw Tillman and Bergy under the bus with the quip 'we're looking for players that can compete in the division'. Two guys battling for the last spot in the rotation are a small part of the problem. Buck and MacPhail ought to look at the rest of the roster with it's aging free agents, bad bullpen, and no stand outs anywhere else. There is a lack of talent, but I still believe these guys struggle mentally to stay engaged. We saw that in the Oakland series. This organization still needs an overall revamp. It's depressing for the fans.

How can this team win with players like Reynolds -- enough already, the rare HR is not enough -- and Luke Scott, a very average major league player at best, and a finished Vlad, and a Markakis who is impersonating the guy we had before ... it has all become a big wast of time to watch .. team is not even fun to watch and they were last year when Buck took over --- now he is starting to sound as feeble as the manager he replaced..

I love that you worked in "ignominiously" and "immolating" . I had to look up both.
Anyway, to blame this loss on Buck as at least one of the commentors did, is just silly. If Scott doesn't become temporarily brain dead on the base paths, we score at least one run there because it would've been 1st and 3rd with one out and the next ball went deep enough to score a run from 3rd which is where Scott should've been. The error in the eighth should've been given to Scott IMO for a bad throw. Guthrie was sprinting to the bag and Scott led him too far. Scott is killing us in many ways right now and I'm a fan of his. Last night's loss is on him and the inept offense that Guthrie gets every time he pitches. Soooooo frustrating. But, I'll be watching tonight. Go O's!!

I was traveling late last night and listened to the game on XM. I heard the game broadcast by Seattle broadcasters. They focused on the culture of winning. I was saddened by the fact that we have a culture of losing. PA has no plan to invest in a winning franchise. He hired a GM who is the losingest active GM in baseball. This GM has a plan to sign terrible or past their prime players and hope they can change for the better. He surrounds the few good players with scrubs. That is why we are constantly addressing the problem of runners left in scoring position. This GM has no eye for talent.

We all approach this blog from different perspectives. Mine is business and I've said before that the O's are in the entertainment business and they aren't very entertaining. If the O's were a publicly traded company we would be hearing on CNBC that the board dismissed AM and will be looking for the BEST GM to turn the ship around. Shareholders would demand this. Instead we have King Peter treating this team like a casual diversion from his busy life. The O's are apparently not very important to him. If they were he would put every effort to have a winning team(see George Steinbrenner). If PA approached his law practice like he does the O's he would be a ham and egg lawyer in a strip mall office on Bel Air Rd.
McPhail has got to go and the best scouts from the Marlins and Rays need to be hired to scout for us. These guys find great kids and develope them.
I'm afraid the culture of losing will continue and the only shareholder voting we can do is to not give PA any of our $. What's a fan to do? GO O's

This was a rough loss to wake up to. But, after 106 pitches and the way Guthrie was pitching, why would you take him out? Guthrie is a pro and veteran and was pitching great. The home run was a major blow, but maybe Luke shouldn't have thrown it 100 MPH to him for an easy out (even though Ichiro is fast). Also, whoever said you need to trade Markakis doesn't know what they are talking about. He is young, and slumping, and will break out of it. However, his defense in right field is gold glove worthy. And you can't trade Gonzo because no one wants hims and is worthless. You can't trade B-Rob because he is aging and injured.

And the comparisons between Buck and Trembley are completely irrelevant. I'd pick Buck in that dugout over Trembley EVERY time. I trust Buck, and the reason we are losing is NOT because of him, but because of stupid errors, lack of hitting, and stupid baserunning.

Peter Schmuck, good post nonetheless.

Get rid of Scott, Fox, and try to find a team to trade Reynolds too. Bring up young athletic players who want to prove themselves. This year is done already even though they are just a handful of games back, it will grow to double-digits very soon. They are losing to the weak west. They stayed close for a couple months anyway. And why do they O's always have so many injuries..........? Who's to blame for that? anybody?

BTW, the Seattle hitters said Guthrie was all but UNHITTABLE last night. They said he had one pitch that just dissappeared. He only threw one bad pitch.

I'm not sure how I feel about tonight. I think it was absolutely the right move to leave Guthrie in. That being said, once two guys got on, Guthrie has to know that against the Mariners, a team with ZERO offense, the one guy you can not let hurt you in that situation is Smoak.

I'm always railing against walks, but in that situation, when you've already got the go-ahead run at the plate, I'd rather see a pitch-around and walk with Cust on deck. Cust has pop, but he also strikes out a ton.

It's just frustrating that this team is so competitive but always manages to do just enough to snatch defeat from the jaws of victory, especially on the west coast. I'd rather see a 10-2 loss than heartbreakers like this all the time. They definitely kill the morale.

Unless this team can play the Royals and Nationals for 162 games, they will never be a winning team.

Pete, how tiring is it to write for these bums? Do you have a series of article templates to use by now, where you just replace names like Dubose, Ainsworth, Gibbons, and Atkins with Bergesson, Tillman, Scott and Lee?

It is very easy to second guess pitching decisions . He obviously has little confidence in his bullpen and Ican readily see why. The problem is the offense. The pitching and defensive and base runnning blunders are magnified by an offense that relies on sac flies and ground outs for runs. If the O;s offense produced, these errors could be overcome. I heard Buck say often at the start ; the offense will hit . Anytime now please start. we are 50 games into the season.

This is what happens when you have no position players coming up through the system. Instead of bringing young guys with plenty of upside to the major league team, we "rent" these over-the-hill position players that are at the end of their careers. The starters have actually been pretty decent this year, and would be a lot better if they weren't having to worry about making 1 or 2 runs scored by our offense stand up night after night. We finish below .500 this year, and sadly, I don't see how we're any better next year or the year after, unless we go out and get top-tier position players for 2B, 1B and 3B.

One advantage to watching the McPhail Millionaires. You see things in the major leagues which only might occur in a little league game. Are you kidding me? Runner gets thrown out at third when running from second on a single.

OK folks ... here goes. The national media is noticing and their exposing MacPhail for who is is.

According to USA Today, Mark Reynold's is part of history in the making.

"Orioles third baseman Mark Reynolds, who hit .198 last season for the Arizona Diamondbacks, could make Mendoza-like history. He is batting .196 and threatening to join John Gochnauer of the 1902-03 Cleveland Indians as the only players in major league history to hit below .200 in back-to-back years in which they had at least 300 at-bats."

All I've got to say is WOW. Keep that in mind old man, when you think about signing that extension check. Think ... about ... that!

It's just like you said, Peter, they just don't have a killer instinct.

I didn't watch most of the game, but I place the loss on Scott's shoulders with a throwing error and a baserunning blunder. The need to force him on the DL when Lee comes back.

In terms of a fire sale, in general, they don't seem to get much in return. So, I'm not sure if I would trade anyone.

For those expecting to trade Luke Scott forget it. There is not one team out there that would trade for a guy hitting like Scott is that is expected to go through surgery in the off season. It ain't happening.

Get ready fans! Buck's not going to accept poor performance for very much longer. All you have to do is to listen closely to what he is saying. Everyone needs to make the most of the opportunities they get...and if they don't perform, Buck will look for someone else who will perform. It is a case of "What have you done for me lately?"
One only has so much patience and I believe the waiting period is about over.

Bad teams find great ways to lose. The Browns do it. The Bungles do it. Wait a second....I'm beginning to see the similarities. We all wear orange, AND we all draft poorly. It's waaaaaaaaay past time to fix one of those (and personally, I look damn good in orange).

The Giants wear orange, too, but I have more to say in a moment ...

After every loss the posters on here trash the player that they think was responsible.Why don't you start looking long term about what's happening to this team.Why don't you start looking at the 2 players that were given those huge contract extensions, one can't stay on the field because of injuries and the other needs to sit on the bench. Pete you are well aware of the fact that i have been on Nick M's case for a very long time now. It's really no reason to once again repeat all the facts that have been posted around on this blogs for weeks now , because we all know what there are. I have been asked by many posters why bob do you go out of your way to continue on this bashing of nick and the answer that has bothered me the most for a very long time was on the front of the sports page this morning.

Jeff z Went out of his way to tell everybody how bad luke scott is performing, giving you all the necessary stats to let you all know just how bad he is playing. Listen we all know that luke is struggling , we all know luke is probably the streakest hitter in all of baseball but what we have here is a media member in this town going out of his way to bash the wrong guy. See luke scott had a career year last year and yet because he his stinking up the place right now the sports writers can take there liberties with him.I am not a big fan of luke scott but what we have here people is what has been going on in this town for a long time.See this front page story should be about the Golden boy Nick M because he is the one that is totally underperforming and shows no sign of changing, he is the one on a big contract extension, and he is the one that doesn't have a extra base hit in over 60 ab's right now . But because he is the golden boy along with brian roberts media members are reluctent to paint his picture and horrible stats across the front page and call him out. And that my friends is why i won't stop anytime soon in my quest to point out that nick isn't even a good player anymore and should be considered average at best.

As far as the Mark Reynolds debacle is concerned, I'm not sure help is on the way via Josh Bell at Norfolk. Bell is hitting .290, but has 53 strikeouts and has committed 9 errors. I'm sure Bell is going to get his chance at some point, but I'm not sure that he will be an upgrade over Reynolds at the major league level.

So, Baseball Prospectus says that the Orioles have four amateur players in the top ten of the worst first round draft choices in the last decade. Does that surprise anyone on this board?

I think this is the way it is going to be when the o's get home everybody will start hitting and they will score 8,9 or 10 runs and everyone will be high fiving and giving thumbs up but that doesn't excite me because I know in probably at least a dozen games if just one player would have stepped up and got a timely hit they would have had another win and probably a dozen more wins! I blame scott for his base running error but what the devil is the job of the third base coach. use your mouth holler whoop or do something! he couldn't manage so I don't guess he can coach either! This coaching staff in my opinion just doesn't have it! the pitching coach sits on his can until the pitcher gets 3 runs behind then he comes out and the hitting coach doesn't exist just too many .200 hitters! if a was a fan that attends the games i WOULDN'T go to a game until they started to perform like a major league team! Lee, Reynols, Vlad and Hardy what a flop! Use to be's and never wases!!!!

First, what do I know, been a while since I developed a major leaguer.
One thing I'll say in Bell's defense- he played pretty good defense when he was up last year. He showed a strong arm and some good hands. He needed to work on his footwork.
And he does have 53 strikeouts, but has really cut down in the last couple of weeks.At one point I thought he had 43Ks and 3 walks. He'll get another chance because frankly they have no other choice, and perhaps he continues his improved play at AAA and deserves a call up.

While I believe blancione's assessment of Markakis is overly harsh in the overall scheme of things, I do agree with the concept that the Orioles do not look long term into the future even when they make a long term commitment. I don't know if I posted this anywhere or not -- so you have to take my word for it -- when Robarts and Markakis were signed to long term extensions, it was with the hope it would make their value as trade pieces greater.

Now, don't get me wrong. I have enjoyed watching Roberts play over the years when there was little to enjoy. And I don't know what to make of the Markakis nosedive so I certainly didn't think it was inevitable. He should be entering his prime, not some unexplainable fog.

Regardless, the Orioles needed to make bold moves. Yeah. I know. They still do.

That means they can not afford to regard any of their players as untouchable, or the cornerstones of their future, or any other tag that mires a team in an endless rut. In order to get players of value, you have to draft and develop them (the Orioles are poor and poorer in those departments), you have to be willing to sign them as free agents (no comment but what's there to comment on), and you must be willing to trade value.

If winning every year, contending every year, and being champion some day is the goal, it must be recognized that goal is a moving target. You have to take shots to get closer to that target. You have to know that some of your shots may miss. And you have to keep shooting.

It is much like the supply-demand cartoon everyone (politicians especially) who thinks they know economics will point to. "There," they say, "is the point of equilibrium." Yeah. How nice. Too bad those cartoon lines represent hundreds if not thousands of lines and they are always moving. So does the point of equilibrium.

Roberts and Markakis were both players who once had trade value. At this stage, the Orioles might have been better off not giving Roberts an extension and letting him be a free agent. Markakis is moving closer to that category, too.

Why?

Because at the time they would have become free agents, their preceived value would have been great enough to grab a few extra draft picks. Here's the dirty little secret.

The Red Sox and Yankees are known for signing free agents. From 2002 through 2010 the Yankees and Red Sox each have given up five first round picks due to their signings. However, they have lost players via free agency, too.

The Yankees have gained eight compensatory first round picks in that same time frame. The Red Sox have gained 15. That gives New York a plus-3 in first rounders and the Red Sox a plus-10.

The Orioles? They have had two first round compensatory picks since 2002, and one was for not signing an earlier first rounder. The Orioles, the team with no winning seasons in that time span, have a plus-1.

Now this is pre-MacPhail so this extra tidbit is rough but is not on his doorstep. In 2007, the Orioles drafted Matt Wieters fifth overall. Because of all of the compensatory picks, the Orioles next pick wasn't going to be until the 69th overall pick in the second round. That pick actually went to the Braves because of the signing of Danys Baez. The next pick would have been the 99th overall pick except that went to the Mets for Chad Bradford. The next pick after Wieters was an alarming 124 players later.

But, hey, M-Gon (is that what we're really calling him) was a MacPhail signing and he, too, cost the Orioles a draft pick.

It is okay to sign free agents -- even one-year rentals. But they must have value. If they get to be to rich to keep, trade them or just let them go.

In that same 2002-10 span, the Angels were plus-7, the Giants plus-6, the Braves plus-5, the Dodgers plus-6, and they all were signing free agents at the time, too. Meanwhile the A's were plus-13, the Rangers plus-9, and the Twins plus-8. All first-rounders, too.

The Rays (nee Devil Rays) were a plus-2 and that doesn't include the bounty they should get from this past off-season. Their picks were higher for many of those years as their finish was lower. But, there's the story of Scott Kazmir.

Kazmir came up and became the ace of the Tampa Bay staff. In 2008, he started on the DL. He finished '08 12-8 in 27 starts. That made him 45-35 for a team that never finished above .435 prior to '08.

The Rays noticed something that is now well-documented. Kazmir had 4.28 pitches per plate appearance. That was the highest in the majors. (That is also similar to the complaint by Showalter that sent Tillman and Bergesen back to Norfolk.) In 2009, Kazmir started the year on the DL again.

Kazmir managed to get back and still start 26 games. The Rays were not winning as much as in '08 but the wild card was definitely in sight.

Yet instead of a trade to bolster a strong finish or stay status quo (like when Angelos vetoed Gillick and to this day thinks he did the right thing), the Rays traded the 25 year old Kazmir.

In return the Rays have their regular second baseman in Sean Rodriguez. Although he is only batting .247, it is 44 points higher than he was batting for the Angels, and he is young enough that he won't be a free agent until 2016 -- a year after Zack Britton.

The Rays also got two other players who are currently 23. Matt Sweeney has a minor league batting average of .257. Alexander Torres has a 3.71 ERA at Durham (AAA) and is averaging 5 1/3 innings per start there. He is 13 games over .500 overall.

Even if these two players never make the mother club, this is yet another brilliant example of how to build you farm system.

Meanwhile, Kazmir was 11-17 with an ERA north of five for the Angels. He is now pitching for Salt Lake (AAA) in an extended rehab. The results so far is an astonishing 0-2 record and a 36.00 ERA.

The Orioles need to start targeting and developing quality players. It is necessary for the parent club, its young players and its fans.

It is also necessary for the farm system. It's easier to grow the arms (and some bats would be nice, too) if there are more of them.

As far as gutting the team and starting over, I'd say that might be necessary at The Warehouse level.

Well, jim66, you do have something in common with the Orioles organization.
They haven't developed many home grown major league position players in the last decade either. With the Orioles, the phrase "amateur scouting" refers to the adjective, not the department.

I'm blog-hopping to chase down blancione. Again, what's your point about Nick (and BRob)? Repeatedly stating the obvious clearly makes you feel better, but how will that help this team win? What do you hope to accomplish with your big exposee? What would you do with the 2 of them now? Trade 'em? Bench Nick? What's your plan? It's so easy to complain so much without saying anything really relevant, isn't it. I don't really care if the press boys DO treat Nick/BRob as the golden boys. It's easy to see what they're not doing this year without a paid professional putting it in print.

You want guys trashed, great. Good for you. I live in Philly now (lucky me). Up here, they've also got an injured 2nd baseman and an underachieving outfielder. Both with big contracts. Not to mention a savage press and the worst fans on the planet. Yet, somehow, the Phils ain't half bad right now. That's what happens when you have a team chock full of talent, homegrown and imported. Utley and Ibanez have been crucified at times up here. I don't see any more Ws because of it (heck, it's hard to win more than they already have). If you need Pete or JZ to call someone out on the carpet for underachieving to make you feel better about the O's (this or any year), you just don't get it. I don't feel good about the O's right now, and that won't make me feel better. To me, that's just throwing salt in a wound.

As a side note for Pete and JZ: Yeoman's work, gentlemen. Yeoman's work. Keep at it.

The official Orioles website has Markakis at first base and Pie in right field today. that's got to be an error, right?

Please, please, please just get a couple of guys that can hit. The pitching isn't that bad, in general... but we have no offense, at all.

I'm trying to be optimistic, but if the O's fail to at least get a winning season, they lose my fan support forever. I pin this all on McFailure for not bringing in the good players and working the farm system. Wanna know why Boston is surging? Because they bought Adrian Gonzalez and Carl Crawford in their prime years. Who did the Orioles get? Mark Reynolds the strikeout king (I wish he was a pitcher with that moniker), over-the-hill Derrek Lee and Vlad. It's the same broken record since Albert Belle and Sammy Sosa, and it's NEVER going to get better, until the ownership takes a polar opposite turn.

That's why they're losing fan. In fact, I don't even give the front office my hard-earned money. I buy game tickets through stubhub, I refuse to buy concessions and merchandise inside Camden Yards, in fact, I just canceled my MASN subscription. If the O's front office can't spend the money I put in their pockets the way I want them to spend it, then they don't get a single penny.

Win and get my support back. Because I'm tired of having my hometown team be a joke. I'm tired of celebrating World Series wins vicariously through my friends who are from San Francisco, Philly, Boston, New York, and Chicago.

well, when worse comes to worse, steal is what i say...might as well pull a joe maddon and do something off the wall,like start markakis at first.
Like I've been saying...who cares fellas, nothing to lose.let it rip

i could live with the mediocrity or worse if i get the feeling that the thing is moving forward, and the guy moving it forward right now is the guy who is obviously pretty aggravated at both the team and some individual performances. I'm thinking that a few shots have been fired over the bow. The next ones are gonna hurt.

The orioles are running out of scape goats, pretty soon they will eventually have to pin some of this horrible play on the person that deserves it the most NICK M. They have sheltered him for way to long now, and the move to 1st base probably means he has a sore arm something that i have been saying all along.This organization just flat out stinks with everything they attempt to do.I guess i got fooled last year with buck's arrival just like everybody else did, but when it's all said and done it's still a complete joke. They need to tear this whole thing down and build it up again from scratch.

The fact that Michael Gonzalez is still on our 25 man roster sums up the issues the Orioles face.
How would you feel if you worked for a team with 24 others. Your team works in an industry on which intense scrutiny is focused on your team and its competition. This scrutiny and pressure increases dramatically when your team fails.
One member of your team was signed to a large contract - some in the industry might have said excessive.
Although he serves no useful purpose on your team, he continues to take up a spot that could be filled with someone who may improve the team's chances of success - apparently because the management team that won't cut him signed him to an awful contract, and no other reason.
Is this the Oriole Way? Is this how to begin a "culture of winning".
To me it looks like the polar opposite.
We don't try to be competetive in the ONLY area where we could seze an advantage - the draft. We lowball our scouting department, ensuring sub par talent. He hire a failure who happens to be related to our top executive as our scouting chief. Other losers, who have exhibited their lack of skill over a stunning 15+ year time period, appear to have lifetime jobs as our top scouts.

We are a AAAA team.
MLB should never have guaranteed Angelos a minimum sales price for this franchise. Doing that cursed all of the fans in Baltimore to long years of losing. He won't sell until the team produces a negative cash flow, and I think we're a long way off from that.
MLB is my favorite sport. by far, too bad my home team is not interested in winning or growing its fan base.
Just the bottom line, with a big fat pot of gold at the end.

Thanks Gill'
Your comment "With the Orioles, the phrase "amateur scouting" refers to the adjective and not the deptartment" made my day. Well said.

Hey guys!

Why don't we talk about something new? The Nick Markakis discussion hasn't been touched on at all. Why don't we talk about that 'til the end of the season?

Meso,you can try and make light of this situation all you want but you are looking at a ball player slowing failing more everyday.I have never seen anything like it before a young 27 year player that has completely lost his way. I just am trying to find out why and you would think the orioles would be trying as well .

Gil, who were the top 4 for the Orioles?

That is incredible. Does any other team even have 2?

I have never seen anything like it before a young 27 year player that has completely lost his way.

Apparently, you haven't been watching the Orioles for the past 14 years or much MLB. Or maybe you're being melodramatic.
(wait for bob to give me a mature "kiss my a**" response).

Anyway, for those who like to draw parallels to past Oriole teams of the 2000's everytime they approach .500, the last time the Orioles were above .500 in mid-season was July 8, 2008 with a 45-44 record under Dave Trembley.

Let's see if these "improved" 2011 misfits can surpass that mark under Buck Showalter.

Or we can raise the bar to surpassing July 28, 2005 when the O's were 51-50 under Lee Mazzilli

Blancione,

With all due respect ( I mean it). I understand your concerns. You make valid points, but you also overreact sometimes. I don't think your wishes with regards to the truth will be realized anytime soon. It is an anomaly. It is a problem. If I were the GM, I would not speak in public about it. That is what MacPhail is doing. You can be certain the Warehouse is aware of the problem, whatever it may be, and they are hiding it from fans and the media. The media is also co-operating by not doing their due diligence. If you don't know it by now that the media doesn't serve the interest of fans, then I do not know when you will learn. All we can do is wait for things to unfold. Until then, our complaints on the situation are just that.

no love for adam, much hate on nicky

the worst thing about this year to date is that with an even mediocre offense, this team would be over 500, and in the middle of things in a division where not one team is playing lights out baseball, where there are usually 2 or 3 teams all over it by now.

The back end of the Red Sox and Yankee rotations...the Os offense should be able to get after those 2 or 3.
Everyone has trouble against a 1 and 2 of any team, but you gotta be able to score some runs off the 3-4-5 pitchers.

Mike in Columbia,

Matt Vensel covered this today in the "SUN." Kevin Goldtsein of Baseball Prospectus composed the top ten worst list. On the list, the Orioles had the following:

Pitcher Chris Smith, 7th overall 2001

Pitcher Wade Townsend, 8th overall 2004

3b Billy Rowell, 9th overall 2006

Pitcher Matt Hobgood, 5th overall 2009.

Now, I don't subscribe to the insider, so I don't know who the other 6 were, nor do I have the energy to go back and look at who we passed over to draft these busts, I just came in from managing an an American Legion game in the heat. Maybe I'll look tomorrow, or someone on here can help me.

I meant I don't subscribe to Baseball Prospectus

I'm not ready to write of Nicky but, for god sakes why is he still hitting in the 3 hole??

I think we should trade Guthrie to a contender. we could get some nice players for him and i would love to see him playing for a real ball club.

blancy. i'll tell you what i told someone else..
if you really want to affect some changes,and get the word out about you-know-who, take your one man crusade to facebook or twitter.i mean, a few despots have been chucked out this year all owing their success to the new social media. How long can it take to eliminate a right fielder?

The side benefit- you can stop posting here and everyone in the world will know about your creepy obsession with you-know-who...

I consider you one twisted individual.
Seek help. A lot of it. And quickly.
because anyone so wrapped up in the failures of someone else, of which you know nothing, has a serious problem.

How soon before the orioles are once again one of the three worst teams in baseball?

3 weeks?
5 weeks?
7 weeks?

@ jim66

you are correct..
with just average years from the following we are probably a few games over .500 and right in the thick of things.
Roberts
Markakis
Lee

nothing much from your 1,2,3 hitters in this division spells last place

but, hey we just got back our ace. Lee I think will come back strong, Markakis should put up a typical year (I'll settle for 30 doubles at this point). Jones and Weiters and Hardy are reliable. The lineup is still light years ahead of what we threw out there the last decade. And the pitching is still the best in the division top to bottom. We should hang around.
I don't think we can count on Roberts. That is a problem. But we are not buried by any stretch. The next couple of weeks should tell us where we are headed this year

No jim66 so far this year the media and the fans have blamed a different person every other day for the failures of this team. Nick has underachieved long enough now for him to escape his share. This will all be coming to a head in a very short time. They can't and won't keep the lid on this to much longer.How can buck continue to tell people he has a track record with the passing of each game tells a different story. He is completley lost right now and there hasn't been one word of him taking a couple of days off to clear his mind.

yes blancy, yes.
who cares who blames who? you do.
what will be coming to a head?
why does the performance of that guy make you nuts? why have you appointed yourself some sort of one-man gang to beat the crap out of nick markakis and the baltimore sportswriters on a blog 20 people read and contribute?

anyone who follows the Os knows what the guy has been up to, we don't need daily reminders from the town crier.

Seek professional care. Talk to a clergy member about Nick. Light a candle for the guy. make a donation to a local charity in his name. Buy a kid a Nick jersey. pet your Nick bobble-head doll on the head for luck. get a cat from the local rescue and name it Nicky M. Vote nicky onto the all star team. if all else fails, talk nice about the guy. you never know, he may get a couple of hits..

Gus -

Do you have an alternate ego?

I believe there is a real solution to some of the Orioles' offensive problems. I just don't know if it can happen.

And not to beat a dead horse but it involves Markakis. And it involves our need for a leadoff man and a true 3 or 4 hole hitter.

Markakis may need a new address to rejuvenate. Remember the Blue Jays were not afraid to get rid of a bad contract with Alex Rios. The O's need a 3rd baseman and a lead off hitter.

This would be the proposal to the Mets;

Markakis, tillman or bergeson and one other player (maybe Pie?) for David Wright and Jose Reyes. Reyes is in a walk year. Maybe the Mets would listen. IT may be worth an offer. That would also make Reynolds expendable.

With these two bats added to the lineup you would be able to give the team a chance to see if Snyder can play in baltimore (I am not sure why he was not able to get a better opportunity while he was here). He was never afforded that chance (and he is 24 so when does that come?). Ryan Adams has not been given a chance either.

jim66,

Aren't you being a little hard on bob?I have been saying for over a month that I think something is physically wrong with Nick, and eventually it will come out. The guy just has no pop in his bat anymore, and how does that suddenly happen to a 27 year old kid? It's probably the large cyst on his wrist, confirmed by Jeff Z. that has caused some weakness in his grip.

I know you are being sarcastic when you keep telling bob to get professional help. Give him a break, he was really the first one on the blog last year to pint out that Nick's power was gone, and it's not coming back.

Well, the Jake Fox era has come to an end with his release. While his numbers were not good by any means, did he really get a decent chance?
I would rather have him on the roster ahead of guys like Gonzalez and Rapada . If Fox does go elsewhere and produces, it wouldn't be the first time the O's were wrong-look at how well Corey Patterson is doing playing full-time with the Jays.
I always thought Patterson was a late-bloomer and certainly a better player than the perpetual work-in-progress Pie.
Hopefully, Lee can come back and produce because obviously we need a bona-fide MLB player at 1st. Putting Markakis there was a one-time thing(I hope!) because we don't need a punch and judy hitter especially one that hasn;t played the position in years.

Oh good to have you back "Gus". Went with a new carrier huh?
My under/over for you to control yourself and behave is about 3 weeks.
I haven't changed my tune at all beaner. I still root for the O's to win every game. How bout you? No need to answer. I already know.
Gus? Thats good. Maybe Steve Elierston will come back now and agree with you.

I realize we all want to see wins this year, but let's take a close look at the season so far. The team is currently 4 games under .500, an enormous improvement over last year. In Guthrie, Britton, Matusz and Arietta the team has four starters who will give them a chance to win most nights when they pitch. I also don't love the FA/trades from this winter (Lee, Reynolds) but have been very pleased with Vlad and JJ. Wieters and Jones are All-Stars and Johnson, Koji and Gregg (usually) have mostly been solid and Rapada, as long as he isn't facing a righty, has been solid as the specialist. Compared to the steaming pile of last year(s) the club is heading the right way. Chin up friends, there is some light at the end of the tunnel.

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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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