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January 11, 2012

Great Scott: The Orioles just got less interesting

Frankly, I have no idea how the loss of Luke Scott is going to affect the Orioles. It all depends on whether Scott would have have made a successful comeback from the shoulder injury that cost him a chunk of the 2011 season. I suspect he would have come back healthy, because nobody works harder to get in shape and stay there, but it's still hard to say whether this is going to be a significant loss.

What I do know is that the clubhouse just got less interesting. Scott was fearlessly outspoken, which ruffled a lot of feathers around here. He questioned President Barack Obama's citizenship and regularly preached the joys of both his evangelical Christianity and the Second Amendment. In the great liberal stronghold that is Maryland, he certainly alienated his share of fans, but if you got a chance to meet him it was impossible not to like him.

He'll have a new audience in South Florida, and I'm sure the local media will have some fun with his occasional opinions on the presidential race. I'll miss his unsinkable optimism, his unbelievable hot streaks and his mammoth home runs. I won't miss his unbelievable six-week hitting slumps or his footwork at first base.

The Orioles still have more than a month to add another power bat, if that's really what Dan Duquette intends to do. I'm guessing Buck Showalter will turn left field over to Nolan Reimold and give him an extended chance to re-establish himself as the player he was in 2009. The DH slot remains problematic, though Showalter has indicated that he would like to rotate some regulars through it to spell them in the field.

That's may be the plan, but one more power bat certainly wouldn't hurt.

Posted by Peter Schmuck at 2:30 PM | | Comments (24)
Categories: Just baseball


I didn't think it was possible for the Orioles to be any less interesting.

Scott was an overrated strikeout machine who would have been a pinch hitter on most MLB rosters.

Sayonara Luke. Also, who cares.

Wow!I think letting him walk was a mistake.A healthy Luke is a big asset.It may bite us in the Butt!

What I do know, is that the Orioles were a last place team without Luke Scott and they are a last place team WITH Luke Scott. His presence in the lineup does not translate into Team wins. Scott was simply another supporting cast member on a team in need of 3 stars in the #4(1B),#5(3B),#6(LF or DH) spots in the batting order.
STARS have at least 1 of the following:
star=a player who drives 100RBI
star=a player with an .390+OBP
star=a player with .300+ BA
star=a player with 35HR+/season

That will be Scott's next excuse, "President Obama get me cut from the Orioles." Nope, he just wasn't needed.

I'm all for more baseball and less talk about things not related to baseball.

after the douchesquette era we will beg back mcpfail, he was out of baseball for ten years for a reason , does he relize we have lost 13 years in a row ? how about i just looking at manny ? this is crazy why not bring back vlad he did lead us in hitting , but not a mention , i guessendy cavez is the answer a old journeyman outfielder . i cancled my season tickets with this fool running the team ,when the raven season is over thereality of big dan and the orioles will double my dose of prozac , hey dan we need more interpreters for orioles fest

Pete, Luke had a lot of fans here because of his stand and outspokeness.

Hope when you make your trip to spring training you'll take a day to visit with him

This group's commitment to win just kills me.

The Orioles should have kept Luke. Angelos and the other liberals in MD don't like him because he's conservative but he's a better choice then some has been that the Orioles will sign to replace him. Plus, like Schmuck said, he has a positive attitude.

Doesn't this essentially make for a great swap of Damon coming in as our regular DH?

Not exactly a "big power bat", but a consistent one that could spell Reimold in Left every now and then?

Pete - luv da Hawaii shirts! No big loss with Luke going to TB but we do need some help in the middle of our lineup. Where do you think the O's are on Cespedes? Any chance we try to tap into KC's farm system to trade for a big bat? They've got a guy who would love your shirts as I think he's from that great state. He was the starting first baseman last year but struggled.

Who are these Orioles you speak of? Are they some kind of minor league sports team? I know Baltimore has the mighty Ravens, but who are the Orioles?

Run that by me again. How do the Orioles get less interesting? They have a lock on boring losers.

Wait til the Nats sign Fielder. Everyone who wants to watch major league baseball will be heading south. What a huge indictment that would be for an Orioles franchise that continues to cry poor but won't open its books.

Baltimore remains a dead-end destination

By Jeff Passan, Yahoo! Sports
5 hours, 59 minutes ago
Editor’s note: Yahoo! Sports will examine the offseason of every MLB team before spring training begins in mid-February. Our series continues with the Baltimore Orioles.

2011 record: 69-93
Finish: Fifth place, AL East
2011 final payroll: $85.9 million
Estimated 2012 opening day payroll: $75 million
Yahoo! Sports’ offseason rank: 28th
Hashtags: #newGM, #badowner, #notpacman, #matuszrhymeswithgolgiapparatus, #trashstache, #concussions, #buck

Offseason action

More From Jeff Passan
It's past time for league to let A's move to San Jose Jan 11, 2012
Rescuing the Astros won't be a quick fix Jan 10, 2012

Dan Duquette wasn't Baltimore's first choice to run baseball operations.
Reputations in baseball die hard, and few these days are as entrenched as the Baltimore Orioles’. It is the place not to be. Whether it’s general manager candidates turning down the opportunity, free agents eschewing pit-beef sandwiches for (fill in delicious regional specialty) or fans abandoning lovely Camden Yards like it’s condemned, no team generates ill feelings today quite like the Orioles.

It was no surprise that Jerry Dipoto turned down the Orioles for the Los Angeles Angels GM job and a third-of-a-billion-dollar spending morning. More embarrassing for the Orioles was Toronto assistant GM Tony LaCava turning down Baltimore’s gig for … an assistant GM job in Toronto. Baltimore found its new steward in Dan Duquette, whose last high-level baseball-operations position came almost a decade ago.

Duquette does know the international market, his affinity evident in the signings of left-handed starters Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen. Wada is a soft-tossing 30-year-old from Japan whom Duquette handed $8.15 million for two years, Chen a higher-upside 26-year-old from Taiwan given a three-year, $11.3 million deal. Another $1.5 million went to outfielder Endy Chavez, and while Baltimore may poke around, its offseason spending before a designated hitter looks about done.

Which is to say the Orioles look a whole lot like last season’s underachieving outfit. Not even the turnaround king himself, manager Buck Showalter, found enough talent or fortitude to forge ahead in the AL East. Players remain ever wary of coming to Baltimore because of concerns over the demanding Showalter and a franchise whose owner, Peter Angelos, plays puppeteer from afar.

[ Fantasy: Five Pressing Questions for Baltimore Orioles ]

Baltimore still could try to persuade Prince Fielder to come east with a monster deal like the one it offered Mark Teixeira during his free agency. Of course, Teixeira was from the Baltimore suburbs. The Yankees wanted him. If anyone was going to inspire Angelos, it was Teixeira. And now Teixeira isn’t playing anything like a $20-plus million player. As for Fielder, perhaps one question can make up his mind: Does he really want a championship? The answer is yes. In which case, so much for Prince and Baltimore.

Reality check

Brian Matusz
Used to be people felt bad for TB. Now it’s Baltimore.

All the sympathy in baseball used to emanate toward the southeast, where the previous worst owner in baseball put together awful teams and couldn’t possibly compete anyway, not with the AL East and its powerhouse teams lurking. Now, it turns out, the Tampa Bay Rays are one of those top-of-the-division bullies, and the pity goes instead to Baltimore, where they’ve seen enough bad baseball to understand it’s going away no time soon.

The Orioles’ place toward the bottom of these rankings has plenty to do with geography. Were they not in Baltimore, they might not be in the AL East. And were they not in the AL East, they might not get pummeled annually by teams with twice their budget. It sucks being the not-Yankees and the not-Red Sox.

At the same time, pervasive institutional failure has doomed the Orioles to 14 consecutive seasons under .500 as well as six in a row with at least 92 losses. Teams cannot be that bad for that much time unless something goes seriously wrong. Either someone broke mirrors as a kid or the decade-and-a-half-long string of misery is more than just bad luck.

Player-development potholes have turned the Orioles’ for-the-next-decade rotation into a gaggle of questions. Zach Britton? Inconsistent as a rookie. Brian Matusz? Mysteriously lost nearly 10 mph off his pitches. Jake Arietta? Got famous more for a disastrous mustache than his arm. Among those three, Chen, Wada, top starter Jeremy Guthrie, plus Alfredo Simon and Tommy Hunter, Duquette has afforded himself enough to weather through injuries.

It’s not like they’re barren in the field, either. Matt Wieters is one of the five best catchers in the major leagues. Adam Jones plays a mean center field. Right fielder Nick Markakis, while not the superstar his salary and standing suggest, is a perfectly viable everyday player. Shortstop J.J. Hardy hit 30 home runs last year. Third baseman Mark Reynolds added 37 more. As always, there are pieces.

[ More Hot Stove Daily: Selig needs to free A’s from Oakland ]

And problems. Second baseman Brian Roberts’ post-concussion symptoms refuse to wane. The Orioles still don’t know what’s up with Matusz’s arm. Showalter could be the wrong guy for this sort of team. Their bullpen might be the worst in the major leagues. All of that while breaking in a new GM amid a stacked division.

More and more lately, Duquette has affirmed his commitment to owning the Asian baseball market. He wants the Orioles to stand for something, if not winning quite yet, and this is the most penetrable place for a team on a budget. It’s those little advantages that add up, and if this is the first of many, more power to Duquette. Every revolution has to start somewhere.


Peter Angelos
It looked like Peter Angelos finally sealed off his Dr. Evil trapdoor for GMs when he gave Andy MacPhail autonomy over baseball relations in the middle of the 2007 season. MacPhail left after last season as his recent predecessors had: chafing at Angelos’ heavy hand, among the weightiest of owners in professional sports. Since buying the Orioles in 1993, Angelos has shuffled through as many baseball-operations bosses as Liz Taylor did marriages. No, seriously. Eight men have run the Orioles in the last 18 years. It’s an embarrassing number, and Angelos is one of the few owners whose mere presences revolts a fan base. The other in baseball? Frank McCourt. It’s bad company, and unless the 82-year-old Angelos somehow can reinvigorate the magic from his early days of ownership, the Orioles are destined to mediocrity or, as has been the case for years now, even worse.

Orioles in Haiku

Gorgeous at birth, still
The perfect park. Camden Yards:
Happy 20th

i'll miss his .500 plus slugging percentage. the birther stuff wasn't a liberal/conservative issue, it was just being a dumba$$. we all have those moments .. unfortunately luke felt he needed to share his moment(s) with the media. my advice to you, Luke, the next time you want to espouse a crackpot conspiracy theory to the national media: write it down on a piece of paper and let it simmer for a couple days. then tape that piece of paper to your rifle range target and pump it full of semi-automatic bullet holes.

last place as usual.

FYI - the Tampa Bay area is not remotely South Florida.

Pete's reply: You might want to inform the University of South Florida, which is in Tampa.

I never understood why it is so necessary to ask people questions about stuff that is outside their domain. It's bad enough we have public officials making policy who are goofs.

More importantly, Luke Scott is emblematic of what lousy GM Andy MacPhail was regardless of the constraints he and everyone else has or has had working for Peter Angelos. Everyone who defended or, worse, still defends MacPhail is quick to point out a couple of trades.

One such prominent trade was the first Tejada trade. The Orioles received Scott, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate, and Mike Costanzo. I lauded the trade for being a step in the right direction at the time, and it gave many including me hope that the Orioles might make improvements in some of the areas where they had been lacking.

The thing is once one takes a step, you gotta keep walking. Maybe all the steps you take won't be in the right direction but with five players, you have a chance on two, three or maybe even four.

Unfortunately, MacPhail did very little. So, Scott is now coming off an injury and has little value to the club. He gave an under-70-win team some results, but was never traded for more value.

Simply put, Scott died on the vine. And he was the best of the bunch.

Albers pitched in 146 games for the under-70 O's over three seasons and like Scott, is now with another team with no further compensation.

Patton has pitched in 21 games (20 in 2011), and 51 games with Norfolk. Although only 26, Duquette seems as unimpressed with Patton as MacPhail as the Orioles continue to ignore Patton while looking for pitching help.

Sarfate appeared in 77 games in 2008-09 and 47 games at triple-A in 2010. He pitched in Japan in 2011.

Costanzo did little within the organization and was released. Cincinnati signed him after he made a decent showing playing independent ball.

Four players never played for an Oriole team that won 70 games and are now playing elsewhere with nothing in return for the Orioles. The fifth player could be the saving grace of the first Tejada trade but at this stage no one is projecting anything for his future.

The Orioles got Wynn Pelzer for Tejada the second time. Pelzer, like Patton, is 26 and a pitcher still with the organization. He only has eight games at Norfolk and is under .500 above A-ball. Still, it would be ironic if this turns out being the better Tejada trade.

Tampa Bay just won a world series ring just like SF after the orioles let their team MVP walk away like Huff. I still hope the orioles make a real run at Cespedes and consider trading Jones if he doesn't sign long term.. His value will never be greater. I love his play and potential but the honest truth is he may be at or near his production peak right now.. By signing Cespedes you get a ML ready player under your control for 6 years and use or lose no draft picks to do it.. Similar to signing Chen..


Pete: just one did the O's let Scott go for nothing?
Why not at least a AA pitcher with a current pulse?


Sarfate would be a good re-signing since Scott is no longer available.

Check your math again there, Grant. TB has never won a World Series.

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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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