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Adding Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins, good moves?

We are going to give you a 2-for-1 special today here at Connolly’s.

You can certainly go to my last entry – which was intended to be the one for Thursday – and tell me which remaining free agent you want the Orioles to sign.

But it looks like two of the popular names have to be scratched out. You know that quick-acting and unpredictable Andy MacPhail keeps us on our toes.

The Orioles have agreed in principle to deals with closer Mike Gonzalez and third baseman Garrett Atkins, pending physicals, the Sun has learned.

So here’s another topic for your thinking pleasure. It’s pretty simple. But I’m sure you’ll have your opinions. I want to know if you like the additions of Gonzalez and Atkins.

I’ve already written about Atkins. As for Gonzalez, I am a big proponent in having a set closer, no matter how bad a team may be. Having established roles – especially in a young bullpen – can be crucial. But I am also not a huge proponent in giving big money to a closer, since it is such an unpredictable position.

And $12 million over two years to Gonzalez isn’t without risk. But the Orioles targeted someone and went after him. And, when healthy, Gonzalez can be pretty darn effective. So I am fine with that one, too.

Daily Think Special: Adding Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins, good moves?


I grew up in Baltimore and learned to love the game of baseball watching the Orioles. I've since moved to Denver and have spent a lot of time at Coors Field over the past few years and now consider myself a fan of both teams.

I haven't heard what the Orioles offered Atkins other than that it was a one-year deal. Assuming it's not so much that it prevents them from making other upgrades, it's a good move.

Atkins was originally a first baseman, but with Todd Helton permanently installed at first he switch to third while in the Rockies minor league system. With Helton resting a lot more these days due to his back problems Atkins has gotten playing time at both corners. He's decent at both positions, but not spectacular. Ian Stewart is a definite defensive upgrade for the Rockies, but Atkins held up fine in a ground-ball pitching system for several years.

His bat is the big question. He used to be a great power hitter and won many games in key situations. The problem is that in recent years, his power has fallen off. Balls that used to leave the park are now landing in outfielders' gloves. See for a good analysis of this. The question is -- will playing in a smaller park in Baltimore (little known fact: Coors Field is huge in an attempt to contain fly balls and most of the offensive inflation in the humidor era comes from base hits to the outfield rather than home runs) and with a different hitting coach get him back to the power hitter he used to be? His plate discipline and mental side of the game are still there.

At any rate, I think it's a gamble worth taking for the O's if they didn't pay too much to take it. I wish both Garrett and the O's the best of luck in 2010!

Both signings are excellent ones.

Gonzalez, when healthy, is a great addition to any bullpen. The fact that he is a lefty is even better. I agree with you in the fact that the Orioles should go with set roles in the bullpen, and not establish a closer by committee.

Gonzalez should be the closer. Plus his signing will keep Mickolio away from having to pitch in high pressure situations, allowing him to develope at his own pace in the MLB level.

The Atkins; sigining fills the 3b need for sure. The fact that it is a one year deal is even better. He is the stop-gap that the Orioles were looking for to buy time for Bell. If he returns to his ways from 06-08 he good be a great addition to the Orioles already stellar line up. Plus he has seemingly opened some doors to negotiate with Matt Holliday.

People are going to ask why the Orioles are going after Holliday? And I just say Why not?

Nice move by the O's. Now we need a first baseman for a year or two . I wouldn't mind the Orioles switching Nolan Reimold to first and giving left field to Felix Pie. Atkins could be a surprise this year.

You know this is just more of the same BS from The Orioles front office, trying to get something for nothing. Yeah, it worked great in McPhails first two big trades (Erik Bedard, and Miggy) but as a general modus operandi, it won't work. I am tired of seeing retreads, castoffs, projects, and prospects designated as the Orioles hope for the future. I am tired of hearing the self defeating, mind games.

Every off season we hear, "well the free agent class isn't that good and the top players won't come here, besides were more than a player, or two away. When we are more prepared to compete we can go after the big names."

BS! You mean to tell me that if they signed a Roy Howell, traded for Gonzalez, and then added these two players that we wouldn't be competetive. The Orioles did not even make an attempt to go after Howell, or Lackey, and were hearing a bunch of BS about why they won't pursue Adrian Gonzalez. They don't want to trade prospects for Adrian Gonzalez, seriously? The man is a young, powerful superstar. How many "prospects" ever develop to this level. Give me a break! It's the same old BS and conjob from the Orioles, and we as fans are stuck in suckeydom for perpetuity.

I think they are good moves. Both decent players without a huge investment. At least they are not signing guys that are old and coming off serious injurys like in the past. Now lets get Delgado for 1 year and maybe one other starter. Looking like an 80 win season for 2010. Way to go Andy!!

Gonzo - great signing

Atkins- as long as he doesn't block Bell, good signing.

Ken Rosenthal reported last night that the O's have jumped into the bidding war for Matt Holliday.

Have you guys in the local media heard anything of that nature and is it factual??

Barkeep's Reply: What the report says is that the Orioles have shown some interest, but that they are longshots. Mike Gonzalez and Holliday have the same agent, Scott Boras, so I wouldn't be surprised if Holliday's name came up (Boras represents Joe Crede and Hank Blalock, too). But I honestly can't tell you the extent of those talks. Would be interesting though, huh?

decent move on both guys. gonzales a little expensive, but not outrageous. i like atkins' flexibility with his ability to play first and third. not sure of wiggy's or andino's roles now, or aubrey. i think the moves will increase competition for roster spots and competition is always a good thing. i like johnson/koji for late innings setup roles. overall good move for the franchise.

These are good moves if they acquire Capps, Bedard, Hendrickson and somehow get Steve Johnson back in the flock. Then you can put Hernandez and Berkins too long relief or put them back in AAA. It is about pitching. We cannot outhit or outspend Boston and New York. But if we can come close to pitching with them we can compete.

I like the Gonzalez move andhat the Atkins signing. He's a below average defender and coming off of a horrible offensive year.....complete waste of money.

Great moves by Andy McPhail so far this he really needs to make a push for another starter with "upside" and maybe take a flyer on an aging hitter that has and can still produce in the middle of the order.

I personally like both moves; it's nice to see the O's are making moves this offseason as opposed to sitting back. When I first saw Gonzalez, I thought they pulled off a trade for Adrian, but this is a good move.

I'm sure people are going to come on here and complain about it, but those people probably complain about everything in life.

Nice job Andy!

I think Atkins is a great move considering he's had success in the big leagues before, can play two of the positions that the O's have a void, and will allow Snyder and Bell to continue their development rather than being thrown to the wolves. I believe that you can never have too many arms but I'm worried about the amount of money the O's threw at Gonzalez. It's bringing back memories of the bullpen spending spree from a couple years ago.

A. Gonzalez-Matt Holliday*


M. Gonzalez

We need to get this Bedard thing done now and then either trade for Gonzalez or sign Holliday. I know a lot of nay sayers are saying that Peter Angelos will not go get a guy like Holliday but I truly believe he wants the O's to be a winner. He is getting old and I think before he sells the team he wants to get them back to being a winner. He gets a lot of criticism but I think it is not all his fault. The O's have made some bad deals(Scott Erickson,Albert Belle, Jay Gibbons, etc.) but they are past all of that and are starting to put together a young nucleus of players that reminds me of the Indians of the early 90's and Rays of 2008. Peter can see he is just a few chips away from playing at the big table and he has always been calculated about when to spend the money, but has come through with it when needed (Palmeiro, Belle, Tejada, etc.) The problem is we haven't been this close in 11-12 years and since we didn't get Tex last year everyone is afraid to hope for the best. If we get Holliday or AGon it may turn out to have been better to wait a year anyway. We can package Snyder, Hernandez, and another young arm (not named Matusz, Arrieta, Tillman , or Britton) to get the job done. Let's do this.

Derek, I see where you're coming from , but in my opinion we need to give McPhail more of a chance. I believe he's helped improve the team since he's been here. Hats off to Mr. McPhail.

Good Lord, Wayne do you even read what you've written?

I'm guessing when you say "Roy Howell" you mean Roy Halliday and do you what a complicated deal it was to get him from Toronto to Philly? I doubt very seriously, short of offering every good player the Orioles have, that Baltimore and Toronto could have made a two team trade involving Halliday. Four clubs were eventually involved, it took days to get it finalized and we still don't know all the players. Halliday was not coming here, period and that doesn't mean the Orioles wrong not to go after him. Toronto was not going to trade him to a division rival, for one thing and the quality of prospects made it prohibitive.

Another thing, everyone here is screaming to get the Gonzales trade done. If the Padres do trade him, many say a deadline deal might be their best option. He is due a huge raise after 2011 and he will want Teixera money. Sure, it would be great if the Orioles can get him, but it likely won't happen and for reasons that go way beyond your childish recriminations against the front office.

Looks like I picked a heck of a day not to check the sports news before going to bed last night. I'm drinking espresso this morning to take my caffeine high as far as it can go.

Great moves both of them. If we had gotten Atkins at the end of 2008 it would have been considered a steal. So he had a down year. It's worth a shot on a one year deal to see if he's not washed up at 29, which I would find hard to believe. Adding an experienced and quality lefty to the back of the bullpen is great also.

Wayne - dude, who spiked your eggnog with sour juice? Roy Howell?? Are you talking about the guy that retired in 1985? Or do you mean Mike Lowell, the 36 year old guy that the Red Sox are looking to unload because of his recent injury history that has led to significantly decreased range?

I won't even get into the A. Gonzalez question except to say that he is not the only viable option for the team to improve. If they can get the production they need without giving up a "ton" of talent, which is reported to be the asking price, then it is smart baseball business to go in those directions. This ain't about winning the Fantasy Baseball League in 2010, it's about fielding a top organization every year. Tougher to do that when you are giving away multiple pieces of the future for one guy for what may only be two years.

Note to Doug, how do you justify Guthrie or Bedard over Bergesen? And, all you Holliday lusters ignore his inability to make it in Oakland last year. The AL is just more challenging and the AL east in particular will make a commitment of close to $20M per for a guy like him disastrous. Holliday is Tejada part two and we don't need another outfielder anyway

I rate the Gonzales signing as excellent and the Atkins signing as fair.

The Orioles need to pitch well to compete. Gonzales is heads higher than some of the other names out there. I'd still like to see the FO sign another quality bullpen arm.

Atkins fills a need, but with offense trending down the last two years, and sub-par defense, doesn't fill it in solid fashion. Let's hope he bounces back at the plate, to buy the time for prospects to develop at 1st & 3rd, and possibly contribute as DH into the future.

I still like Aubrey at 1st and would be please to see him get a shot. While I'd like to see another solid, proven RBI bat added to the team, not at the expense a long term contract for somebody who doesn't play superlative defense at 1st base.

I still think the smart move is to get Holliday and pass on Gonzalez. Reason being, Gonzalez will cost too many prospects. We have to give up too much and he only has 2 years left. He will cost a fortune to resign. We can just as easily sign Holliday to a contract that would cost less and not have to give up any prospects. I say move Reimold to 1B and let Holliday play LF. Giving up prospects is not the way to go. Especially when adding Gonzalez is no guarantee of making the playoffs. We should add Holliday without the expense of depleting the farm system. Sure Gonzalez is the better player, Holliday is very solid and should put up almost as good numbers as Gonzalez.

CSB jack are you saying the Os shouldn't try to get the ONLY clear number 4 hitter out there, who by the way is 27 and has won two golden gloves? Let's get real, folks. The Os will never be able to compete in the AL East without a true cleanup hitter. I agree that Aubrey is ok but we MUST have someone like A. Gonzales to compete and unlike some who think we could get him for ONE of our pitching prospects he will be expensive in terms of prospects and money BUT the Os are deep in both commodaties. If the Os add A.Gonzales this year they will be competitive. They will!

Both are smart moves. Gonzalez is a quality reliever that helps out the bullpen, big need filled right there. Atkins may not be great but he's a short term solution until Bell is ready. I know some will have wanted Beltre but he would've cost too much, he would've blocked Bell, and he just wouldn't have been worth it.

Not happy the Orioles squandered a 2nd Round draft pick in order to sign a reliever. Looks like an inefficient use of resources to me.

First of all, it's clear "Wayne Hicks'" negativity has no ground- clearly validated by how much he knows about the game- repeatedly talking about how much our O's should have pursued Roy "HOWELL"!?

I think MacPhail's move is outstanding. He gets the stop gap solution at 3rd in Atkins- who has had some outstanding numbers prior to last year. I personally preferred Atkins over Feliz- especially now that we were able to get him for a one year deal- clearly accomplishing the goal of bringing along Josh Bell. Upside is if Atkins has comeback year, perhaps we consider him longer and Bell could be a trading chip. Bottom line is that options abound.

And Gonzalez is solid. Not the dominant closer, but he has had a solid career- AND he's a lefty. No doubt he helps the bullpen.

What will MacPhail do next??

It seems everyone is jumping on me because I named Roy Howell instead of Roy Halladay. My bad, but it happens sometimes they are both Roy's whose last name begins with H and played for Toronto. I have been a sports fan for a long time, long enough to remember when the Orioles were a well run organization that consistently won. I guess I have come to expect much better than the steady stream of *&%! that passes for an O's team and organization these days. One last thing all of you seemed to get my meaning that I intended to write Roy Halladay instead of Roy Howell, but attacking a typo is a pretty easy target.

To WisconsinRavenFan, if you are going to jump on me for a mistake like substituting Howell for Halladay make sure you spell Halladay's name correctly. Glass houses and all that.

While the Gonzalez deal looks pretty good, Atkins is just more of the same. As for those who say things like Halladay was not coming here period, does the O's FO pay you guys a salary, or are you voluntary suckers? This is a typical losers mentatlity that I have seen from other sports fans in cities where their sports teams are always bad.

A. Gonzalez will probably cost quite a bit, but his performance and age make him a target worth pursuing hard, not to mention he fills an immediate need. He is also a much better fit than Holliday.
Why in the world would we want to add another power hitting outfielder when this is the one strength on the Orioles team? You guys must be genius', because it is a point that is lost on me. You guys are just a lot smarter than me.

One last technical thing. I have problems with the "preview function." If I go to "preview" I can't post the corrected version, so I try to proofread what I have written in the little box, and post that. Forgive my typo's.

Barkeep's reply: Don't worry about it Wayne. It's a tough crowd, but it's a lovable one, BTW, I chuckled at the Roy Howell reference, but I didn't comment. I once moved the Green Monster from left field to right in a game story, so I understand it happens (the brian farts, not the moving of legendary walls).

Gonzalez is a little costly for a guy who hasn't pitched a lot over the last three years. Valverde looks a lot more consistent over 3 years. Would have preferred him. Atkins just flat out stinks.

I wonder if it might have been better to keep Sherill and just sign Beltre or Figgins.

As to Holiday - no way we'll put the dough up for him. Same for Chapman. Those rumors are jokes.

I would like to see us really get Bedard yet. We only have Millwood for a year. Bedard can hopefully replace him after that.

Who's Roy Howell?

Get that low risk, high return vet starter next. By the way Dan, with all of the good baseball reporters you have at the Sun, why is the clueless Cowherd writing about baseball?? Shouldn't he be back in the Style section, or Living, or whatever else he was doing. The man doesn't know baseball as evidenced by his column the other day, ripping the FO. He said that by now (the other day) most teams have their teams set for the coming year, which, if he ever followed baseball, he would know thats not true...what a joker!

MacPhail is doin a hell of a job to fix this team. Gonzalez brings swagger to that bullpen along with an outstanding ERA. Atkins just had a down year and he is human and that happens, but I'm sure he will want to be able to showcase his talents in the AL East and will have a solid year. Realistically, we have no shot with Holliday and Adrian Gonzalez is overrated. We don't need a stud first baseman, we need pitching. If we deal our stud pitchers for a guy who wont even be there long term thats just stupid. MacPhail is a genius and he is making us competitive again.

I think Gonzalez is a good deal. Atkins im kind of torn about. I'll keep my answer short.... I think Atkins is like taking a risk on a Melvin Mora that we assume will get along with Trembley. I dont really see how he can give us anything different than what Mora gave us.

If I recall, Roy Howell was a so-so corner infielder for the Jays and Angels in the late 70's and early 80's. May have been one of the Jays expansion draft picks.

Tom - I am not at all saying the Orioles should not try to get A. Gonzalez. But I will say that he is NOT "the ONLY clear number 4 hitter out there". In the first place, the Padres are not actively shopping him. They didn't put out feelers to see who would offer the most in return. The Red Sox took the approach that everyone's available for a price and set out to determine the price. The Orioles could do that as well.

But that doesn't mean they should tie their hands so they can't make other deals or give up too much of what is still a bit thin of an organization as if he is the last first baseman and last cleanup hitter there will ever be. Let's say that the Orioles do succeed in working a trade for Gonzalez, and it even works out well. In two years if the Red Sox don't like their options at first base they can be bidding on Fielder, looking to make other trades, or finding another option. Heck, if the Orioles can't sign him to an extension they may even be able to get Gonzalez for nothing more than a draft pick in two years. In the meantime, they would still have enough other options and overall team strength and depth to compete anyway.

And that is what the Orioles can and should do as well. It is folly to ever think that one and only one player is the only option available and that therefore you have to do "whatever it takes" (not your words) to make him part of your team. It doesn't make sense to fill one hole by making several others, and trading away depth for a team that doesn't have established starters already competing at a high level is definitely making more holes.

I really hope that both Mikey Gonzalez & Garrett Atkins are as good as Atkins' hair. Go Orioles!

2010 is a year to measure progress only. Any realistic fan understands the young guns need seasoning and being competitive is all that matters in the coming year. Forget the Lackeys, Hollidays, etal and watch as Bergesen, Tillman, Matusz establish themselves while Arrieta, Erbe, Brittan get some more seasoning. If Markakis, Jones, Reimold and Weiters grow as well we'll have a nice 2011. McPhail understands that and the itchy drawers crowd needs to sit down and take a chill pill.

With all due respect to M. Gonzales, I'd love to see another Gonzalez on our field. I've seen him play here in San Diego for a few years now and with a crappy lineup he has produced... a lot.

The only way Atkins helps the Orioles is if he and Brian Roberts can talk Matt Holliday into signing a contract with the team.

Pete from Denver - great post on Atkins.

As for Adrian Gonzalez, the only list of players for a possible trade that I've seen was Tillman, Hernandez, Snyder, Aubrey and Pie (with the Padres wanting Reimold instead of Pie). I wonder if anyone that wants the O's to make that trade has ever actually seen AG and if so do they realize the O's could be giving up all those young players for a 2 year rental? It is unlikey an extension gets done now, so if AM wants to throw out his whole plan after one year this would be his chance.

OK...gimme one of the espressos that has CSB Jack barking like Jack McCoy, D.A. of New York City.

Roy Howell? Heck, we should go after Thurston Howell, III. Wouldn't need topay him mucvh since he was loaded anyway. Or maybe Carrie Lowell, the hot sidekick on Law & Order to then ADA McCoy. She was a Bond girl too.

Seriously, the FA season ain't over yet so chill out Wayne Hicks. AM still has a few more months to set the roster. I honestly think this is going to be a competitive team this year. Maybe I've been drinking too much orange kool-aid but hey, that wouldn't be the first time.

You know I have posted many things on the Sun's sports forums, most of which was very logical, well written, and I guess boring. This time I have one brain fart and suddenly my name is all over the board. I guess this is why so many media types are more provocative than factual, or analytical.

The last thing I have to say about this is that the off season moves this year look just like the offseason moves of the Orioles in any other year during the last few years.
The Orioles should not mortgage the farm for A.Gonzalez, but they should be pursuing this type of player. Why is it that the Red Sox, Yankees and Angels sign all of the big names while we sign middle of the road journeymen, guys making an attempt to salvage their careers and unproven rookies? Why aren't the Orioles making the news by creating deals to lure players like A. Gonzales, or Prince Fielder, or any other big name player(s) that could really help the team? Be patient, chill out? Is this like the quote for if rape is inevitable, or biparitsan politics? GMAB!

By the time the Orioles are competetive... what am I saying, if they keep doing things this way they will never be competetive, never. I am just saying what I see. I have seen a lot of very good sports teams in my nearly 50 years on earth, and good organizations, even been a part of some top flight organizations in my time, and I know a dog when I see one. If you aim low you acheive low. So fans keep swallowing the BS about how we can't compete, and how we are not ready, and we will never be ready to compete. That's just the way it is.

I agree with the majority that the Gonzalez and Atkins deals are good moves. Gonzales is a proven veteran, which doesn't make him infallible, but does make him a good bet as either a closer or set-up man. With Atkins, the Os make a small investment that could reap a big payoff if he returns to his 2006-2008 form.

Forget signing Roy Howell -- sign Roy Hobbes instead, he's "a natural."

WOW...the O's are back in the hunt baby! Seriously, this provides about as much needed excitement as diaper changing hour at restful acres.
Correct me if I'm wrong...didn't we just have a lefty closer that Andy handed to the Dodgers on a silver platter? And in return for Georgie we received, A). The Cookie Monster & B).a relief pitcher already lost on waivers. So now...our poor huddled masses, yearning for just a bread crumb of Andy's magnificent wisdom are now asked to behold another magnificent deal that will almost certainly ensure we have at least 65 wins next year. Thanks Andy...I feel so good about where we are & where you have us going.
All joking aside...Andy, you freaking gave away Sherrill & now we should thank you for bringing someone in to do a job that was being done just fine? And to top the day off, you sign a Rockie castoff that hits under .250 at a corner position? Look out AL East...Andy's hot today!
As Wilbon loves to say...cut the crap knucklehead & do something meaningful. For God's sake, at least sign Adam LaRoach to play 1st. Pathetic...typical freaking Oriole Front Office pathetic!

I think the signings will improve the team. It was a good economical move because Mora and Baez are replaced by better players for the same or less money.

jack, while I don't agree AM gave up Sherill for nothing (Josh Bell is anything but nothing) I do think the idea of signing Adam LaRoche has merit. I was shocked when I saw his numbers. He has been a consistently decent hitter and while he's not the guy we need to bang with the Yanks and Sox he would be a credible number 4 hitter and help us get closer as our youngsters develop.

OK, everyone please don't insult those of us who want to trade for A. Gonzalez. The trade would NOT be made unles a contract extension was worked out first. Period. I'm saying to compete in the AL Easm we have to have a big bopper at number 4 and A. Gonzalez fills that bill. I don't have to see him play. Just look at the numbers and also notice he has two golden gloves and is 27 years old. He has proven he can and will get it done and you don't get those guys for nothing. We have stockpiled some pretty impressive minor league pitching. San Diego is wanting to trade A.Gonzales to dump future salary. This opportunity may not come again for a long while. Yes, Weiters may prove to be a similar hitter. It woould be precious indeed to have thoe two guys hitting back to back. It's time to access the stockpile and get serious about taking back the AL East.

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