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Should the Orioles keep spending pace with their AL East rivals this offseason?

We’re switching back to baseball today. Write what you know.

Or at least what I think I know.

As this offseason has progressed, the New York Yankees have traded for Curtis Granderson and the Boston Red Sox reportedly have added John Lackey as well as Mike Cameron and Marco Scutaro.

The Tampa Bay Rays solidified their bullpen with closer Rafael Soriano and the Toronto Blue Jays, God bless them, apparently are dealing away ace Roy Halladay.

The Orioles, meanwhile, added innings-eater Kevin Millwood to the top of the rotation. That’s not a bad move, but it certainly isn’t the same as grabbing Lackey.

Now this is where you, as fans, can help me out. Intellectually, I understand that the Orioles cannot compete with the Yankees and Red Sox this offseason. Partially it’s a money thing, but primarily it’s a reality thing. The Orioles haven’t competed with that duo for more than a decade on the field, so they aren’t going to be able to do it off the field. Certainly not now, and perhaps not ever.

So it doesn’t bother me that the Orioles haven’t answered the Granderson or Lackey moves. It’s a chicken or the egg concept. The Orioles can’t improve unless they get better players. And they can’t buy better players until they show they can be more competitive on the field. And in the 2009 standings, the Orioles actually went backward.

What needs to happen is the Orioles’ young nucleus must take another step forward, and serve notice it can be counted on. Then it will be easier – and more justified – to add big names for big money (or expendable prospects).

This is what President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail said recently when I brought up the subject of the player movement within the AL East.

“We watch it, of course, like everyone does,” MacPhail said. “But it really doesn’t dictate what we do. We make decisions that we think make sense for us. We have been pretty upfront about what it is we are trying to do. And those things stay the same despite what swirls around us.”

Again, I understand that intellectually, especially since this free-agent market is utterly underwhelming. But as a fan, are you buying this? Because I know it’s what has been sold here for 10-plus years.

Daily Think Special: Should the Orioles try to keep spending pace with their AL East rivals this offseason?

Comments

No. Getting caught up on what other teams are doing deviates from long term goals. If you attempt to make a splash in the market just to make a splash and appear to keep pace with your rivals, your efforts are generally going to backfire more than if you stay on track. This team needs to get stable before it can start doing cannonballs off the high dive in the FA market. Like you said, that's only going to happen if our young players step up. Dynasties aren't built by signing over-priced FA pitchers. How many of Atlanta's top pitchers from the 90's were FA signings?

The moves I'd like to see?
A low risk signing like Bedard would be a good move. Signing Matt Capps to a 2 year deal and having him compete w/ Koji for the closer role in Spring Training would be a good move. Getting some prospects for Luke Scott would be a good move assuming you can sign an aging veteran like Delgado to take the DH role. Trying to get a solid defensive 3B like Kouzmanoff would be a good move if you don't have to over pay.

We don't need to make a splash this off-season, we just need to stay within ourselves.

They don't need to spend foolishly but they also need to make positive moves to bring a competitive team back to Baltimore that the City and fans can be proud of.
They don't need to over think EVERYTHING they do.

The Orioles can compete with the Red Sox financially. The Orioles out-drew the Red Sox until 2003!!! And don't use the smaller stadium angle as the Red Sox sell-out streak didn't begin until May, 2003. Now you can say that the Red Sox drew because they are winning now. Well, after the honeymoon of Oriole Park, the Orioles continued to win and they drew 3.5M.

The Red Sox have NESN and the Orioles have MASN. Granted MASN is in it's infancy, but it is certainly not run as well as NESN.

With the deal that MLB gave the Orioles with guaranteed revenues, the new network, Sarasota paying for teh new spring training complex (which the Oriloes get all the revenue from events there), the team can compete. Not with the Yankees, but ceratinly with outher markets.

The Orioles have created this situation for itself byit's poor management (winning equals revenue) and the penchant for it's owner to not reinvest in the team (please don't use the Tejeda and Belle arguement, old news).

Should the O's keep pace with the Yanks and Sox?

Hell no. There aren't players worth the expenditure. It's a futile task.

Can the O's keep pace with the Yanks and Sox in spending?

Yes. Maybe not a 200 Million payroll, but 150 million is doable. The issue is who to spend it on--Nobody this year.

I like AM's plan: find the complementary pieces to the Club as is. Wait for the moment when prospect talent meets expectations, and THEN make the major moves.

In time, it'll (hopefully) be necessary to meet/match moves with the Division leaders. Obviously, it's not that time.

Even if the O's had gone after all the best Free Agents this year, they would still not be the Division leader. Fruitless endeavor.

Personally, I like watching the 2 other clubs make moves to see which one makes the bigger mistake. Still waiting on AJ Burnett to go all Carl Pavano for the Yankees.

give the fans something to get excited about. sign somebody or trade for someone who can hit 30 or 40 homers. stop giving us the same garbage that the orioles can't compete with that beautiful stadium. dont believe them then or now.I wish Angelos would sell this team and end the fans misery. I have not gone to an Oriole game in 10 years and my strike continues...

Actually, it will likely turn out to be the same ol' song we've heard for the past 10 years. "Small market", "build from within", etc. I agree that the farm system is in much better shape than in recent memory, but each year it's more of the same "just wait a couple more years". I sincerely hope Millwood has a good year, but if the Yanks or Sox signed him it would barely make the news. Angelos and McPhail can't reasonably expect fans to shell out good money to come to the Yard until they put a winning, contending, quality product on the field. "Exciting, hustling baseball by the young players" is all well and good, but in the end, winning and making it to the post season is the only thing that really matters.

I think we should spend like our Al East counterparts for a few reasons. One, we have the cash to do it. Two, the O's need to send a strong message to the fans by telling them they want to win ASAP which will in turn bring more fans to the ballpark. Most importanly though, spending more now will work out better for us in the long run. If we can get to .500 this year with some bigger names, they can pave the way for our prospects to come up and retake the division together in 2011. I bet we have better prospects than the rest of the division (except maybe the Rays). This can allow the prospects to feel at ease and it tells them they're not alone and don't have to do it all.

No way. Waiting one year to spend alot would be a much better plan.

No, I know other fans will complain about their spending habits but it doesn't bother me. Honestly, what are the chances John Lackey would come here now? Not very likely and fans need to understand that, he was a bit overpaid if you ask me. The Orioles are going to attract top ML talent only by trade, at least for this year. If you think otherwise then I feel sorry for you. The Orioles young talent needs to step up in 2010 and show that it is worth playing in Baltimore again.

I'm not saying they shouldn't do more, I'd like them to trade some players and prospects (Scott, Hernandez, Snyder, and Arrieta) for Miguel Cabrera but I'll trust Macphail for now. I'm happy with the Millwood trade but I do want to see more. I'd like to see one corner infielder come here in FA and wouldn't mind Wiggington playing 3B till Bell is ready.

The notion that you can continue to win in this division with developing "prospects" no matter how good some of them become, is shortsided at best. You MUST sign premier veterens to add into the mix to ensure long term success and the continued development of "prospects".

I know that the Yankees and Red Sox print money, but to be outspent by the Rays and Mariners seems to be a bit much.

The last time the O's went to the playoffs they had Alomar, Palmeiro, Surhoff, Bonilla, Murray redux and Hoilles to name a few.

SHOW ME THE MONEY!

Dan, I think that there's not too much the Orioles are going to be able to do to attract the major free agents until they start winning again, at least making it back to .500 or so.

While they can't compete with Boston or New York for those players, I don't agree at all with the perception that many people have (including you apparently) that the reason is Peter Angelos' inability to spend with the BoSox and Yankees.

Simply put, he's a billionaire and one of the richest owners in baseball. I have no idea how the myth started that he doesn't have money or the other popular myth that he's a miser who has it, but just won't spend it, as if he's content to put an inferior team on the field year after year after year after year....

This isn't "primarily a reality thing," as you put it, it's entirely a reality thing in the sense players realize the O's are mired in the loser's mode and don't want to wait for the club to get its act together when they could be playing for contenders.

I want to take the rest of this post in....

Debunking the "Peter Angelos can't/won't spend with the big boys" Myth

Go back to the mid-1990s before the Orioles started going south in the standings. Angelos routinely went toe-to-toe with Steinbrenner when it came to signing the big free agents. If you doubt this, let give you some for instances. Here are a few of the significant free agents the O's signed, along with the years and the contract amounts (keep in mind that those amounts would be considerably more in today's economy many years later--for example, the first salary given, $5.4M paid to Rafael Palmeiro for the '94 season equates to an $11M contract in 2008 U.S. dollars * ):

1993 Angelos Signings

* Rafael Palmeiro (1B) -- $5.4M for '94,
$4.9M for '95, $5.4M for '96, $5.3M for
'97 and $6.5M for '98

* Harold Baines (OF) -- $2M for '94 (He also signed a second one-year after the season for the same amount to play for the O's again and would later in the decade sign two more one-year deals: $1.3M for '98 and $1.7M for '99)

1994 Angelos Signings

* Kevin Brown (SP) -- $4.3M for '95 (He was actually signed in 1995, but all of the yearly headings here denote offseason.)

* Doug Jones (CL) -- $1.3M for '95 (Like Brown, he actually was another late signing in April '05, but for our purposes here is filed under '94 signings.)

1995 Angelos Signings

* Roberto Alomar (2B) -- $4.3M for '96, $6.4M in '97 and $6.3M for '98

*Randy Myers (CL) -- $2.6M for '96 & $3.95M for '07

1996 Angelos Signings

* Mike Bordick (SS) -- $3.6M for '97 & $3M for '98

* Jimmy Key (SP) -- $2.3M for '97 & $5.4M for '98

* Eric Davis (OF) -- $2.2M for '97 & $2.5M for '98.

* Scott Kamieniecki (SP) -- $6.2M for three years (He actually signed in January '07.)

1997 Angelos Signings

* Joe Carter (OF) -- $3.1M for '98

* Doug Drabek (SP) -- $1.7M for '98

1998 Angelos Signings

* Albert Belle (OF-DH) -- $62M for '99-'03; This monster deal would average out to around $87M for five years in today's economy. As it turned out Belle would only play two seasons with the Birds before degenerative osteoarthritis in his hip prematurely ended the volatile slugger's great career. This is the deal--along with the failure to resign Mike Mussina two years later--that more than anything broke the back of the franchise and tied Angelos' hands for three years, as from 2001 through 2003 the team was paying Belle around $12.5M to do nothing but take up a spot on the 40-man roster for insurance reasons. This allowed New York and Boston to jump out far ahead of the O's for the rest of the decade, and by the time Angelos was out from under the Belle contract to where he could start signing the bigger free agents again, the team's losing had made it an undesirable place to play.)

* Jeff Conine (OF) - $15.2M for five years ('99-'03)

* Will Clark (1B-DH) -- $4.9 for '99 & $6M for '00

* Delino DeShields (2B-OF) -- $3.7M for '99, $4.2M for '01 & $4.3 for '02

* Mike Timlin (CL) -- $2.2M for '99 &
$4.2M for '00

Angelos took a break after this, not signing anyone of note in the next off-season. Although Belle was the biggest bust, the others, by and large, were disappointments and only Conine made a significant mark as an Orioles.

Prior to the 2001 season, Angelos seeing that the O's would be without Belle for an extended period, signed 1B-DH David Segui to a four-year, $27.8M deal that would also prove to be ill-fated as Segui had health issues.

And if this weren't enough, Angelos was snake-bitten again when he signed former Cy Young winner Pat Hentgen to a three-year, $10M contract, only to have the right-hander's elbow blow out, requiring Tommy John surgery.

This would prove to be the last significant free agent splash for Angelos until prior to the 2004 season, when he would sign Javy Lopez, Miguel Tejada and Rafael Palmeiro for a second go-round with the Birds.

Please note the following two important facts and let them sink into your gray matter for a while to dispel the myth once and for all

FACT #1 When Albert Belle signed his five-year deal with the Orioles he became for the second time in his career the highest-paid player in baseball. The "cheapskate" or "too poor to hang with Steinbrenner" owner of the Orioles, Peter Angelos had outbid everyone for the services of one of the game's finest players of his era (or any era for that matter).

Source: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Albert_Belle#Major_League_career(Readers interested in getting an alternative to the almost universally negative views of Belle's personality are advised to scroll to the bottom of the Wikipedia page to the "External Links" section.)

FACT #2 A year before that signing, Angelos shelled out a $70.4M for payroll in 1998. Now that might not sound like very much these days, but he became the first owner in history to spend that much in players' salaries and also has the distinction of being the last owner to outspend Steinbrenner.

Source: http://roarfrom34.blogspot.com/2009/12/hot-stove-wasnt-also-so-tepid-for-birds.html (Individual player salary figures here sometimes vary a bit with Baseball-Reference, which is the source I've used.)

The point to this overlong post is to give Oriole fans some reason for encouragement. No, there's no hope that the team will sign any major stars (or even relatively major stars), unless they're ones like Carlos Delgado or Erik Bedard, who are older and/or coming off of injuries and who may be less desirable to contending teams for such reasons. The really big names aren't going to show up until they believe the O's are on the verge of contending.

However, with Roy Halladay is out of the way in Toronto, the Orioles have a decent chance to climb out of the AL East cellar, should some of the youngsters continue to make progress. And leaping over the Blue Jays is an important first step.

If the Orioles show marked improvement next season, then this time next year it may be that once again superstars will be more receptive to the idea of playing in Baltimore. And when that happens, rest assured that Peter Angelos will be ready and delighted to write some really big checks again in the anticipation of another World Champions pennant flying proudly at Camden Yards! I doubt that any of us Oriole fans want that any more than he does

* To calculate this, I went to www.measuringworth.com and entered the year and amount and today's year and of six different indicators available used relative share of GDP which the site said would be most appropriate for comparing dollar amounts of this sort. 2008 is the most recent year they have for computing these figures. All salary information comes courtesy of www.baseball-reference.com .


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Barkep's Reply: Ken, you get post of the week and it is only Wednesday. I have been saying this for years. The Orioles' problem has not been spending money; it's been spending it wisely.

The O's need to get into the game. They simply have enough prospects at pitching to make a couple of tremendous trades.

The Padres are dangling 27 year-old Gonzalez and we should go get him NOW.

I remember when the O's pulled the trigger on a 30 year-old guy named Robinson while giving up 27 year-old Pappas, who was coming off an all star start and so-so year with a .591 winning % and 2.60 era with 9 complete games.

Sometimes you have to break a few eggs to make a good omelette.

The Orioles don't want to spend money until they improve, yet they keep trotting out the excuse that they need better players in order to compete. They need to spend the money period. The young guys are fine, but they need to add some established veteran stars to the mix. Not one, or two, they need to spend at least close to the Yankees and Sox in order to compete with them. They may have to operate at a loss for a couple of years to do it, but other businesses do it all the time. If Angelos's pockets aren't deep enough, or if he is unwilling to spend the money to field a compettive team, then he shouldn't own a team in the American League East.

The answer is simple: If they want to win, yes. If they want to finish last as usual, no. That's the way the game is played these days and unless Angelos wants to play by today's rules he should sell the team to someone who does.

Attention to the Warehouse: 12 years and counting.

If you love something Peter Angelos, let it go.

Only if they want anyone to watch their games.
What a dumb question.
No. Even though I'm a fan, I would rather P.Angelos retains bigger profits than field a competative team.

Sooner or later, perhaps now or 2011, the Oriole's need to ink a marquee free agent to a 100m+ deal. They made a half hearted attempt for Tex in 2008 FA period, knowing that Tex was whipped and would go wherever his wife wanted.

That being said, your point about the young nucleus taking a step forward is pivotal toward luring a top tier free agent to Baltimore. Millwood is nice but he's an appetizer. Wiggington was nice but he's a cocktail. We need prime rib, ding-dangit. I went to 1 game last year but I plan on going to more this year. If they can take a significant step forward this season (.500?), they need to take the plunge in 2011, go all in and try and go for it.

You don't necessarily have to keep up...no one expects the O's to spend 200 million or 150 million...but before arbitration, the O's payroll looks to come in around 40 million. To me that is absurd. To attract free agents, money is going to be the only way to get the big guns in here, and we have it to spend. In the short term we need to spend more, get the big bat or the front line pitcher, and then it will be easier later on to get the guys you want.

From 2000 to 2009 25 teams raised their patroll an average of 94%, 3 lowered it a little, and two lowered payroll a lot , San Deigo at 20% and the Orioles at 19%.
The Orioles revenue is a lot less than the Yankees but its only half the equation. Orioles costs are far far less. Whats really important is earnings which equal revenue-cost. From 2002 through 2008, the Orioles have the third highest earnings in all baseball, 146 million higher than the Red Sox and 302 million higher than the Yankees. Numbers are from Forbes and include rights fees from YES, NESN, and MASN. The Orioles are a team run to make money, the Yankees and Red Sox are run to win. In 2010 Orioles payroll will be about 60 million, breakeven is about 120 million. This will give earnings of 60 millionm breaking the record of 43.7 for the last 20 years. Our gate receipts are 47 million. We could let everyone in for free in 2010 an still earn 13 million, which would rank us about 20th. Last year was a golden opportunity in free agency. This year is not as good but there are still excellent targets like Joel Pineiro, Jose Valverde, and Chapman. We need to spend. If Angelos won't I suggest a 75% tax on earnings over 20 million.

The issue is if the O's spend big and make a mistake (like an albert belle) it will cripple them for years. If the yanks or red sox make a mistake they can just write it off and buy their way out of it.

Spend and trade wisely.

My thought is a trade for Miguel Cabera. He is young, under contract until 2014, and may be available. I would propose this package or a similar one that MacPhail could develop: Brandon Snyder (won't need him if we have Cabera, but Detroit gets a top level 1st base prospect); Felix Pie (Detroit gets a CF ready replacement for Granderson, we have a center fielder); David Hernandez (we have to give up a top level pitching prospect, but he is not likely for our rotation); Caleb Joseph (a solid catching prospect, we got Wieters); and one other lesser pitching prospect.

Then, we need to sign one other pitcher and do the best we can at 3rd base until Josh Beall rises to that positon. Let Guthrie, Uehara, and Mikolio duke it out for the closer role. We still are high in the draft for next year. Bold moves like this could put us a head of Toronto and who knows from there. It's Christmas time -- time for hope.

David from Roanoke

I think alot or posterd here has it wrong. The O's do want to spend..the problem is this Free agency is one of the worst in recent history. Lackey, Bay and Holiday are the best out there this offseason. Bay and HOliday play OF..which we have plenty of. Lackey got a ridiculous contract (Millwood outperformed him last year by the way Kevin Cowhered). Lackey will be making 15 mil a year when he is 37 and still under contract (no thanks). If there was elite playes like Tex out there they Orioles would be bidding on them. That is why we have lost for the last 12 years. We spent money on the wrong guys! MacPhail will pay the cash ONLY for the players who skill levels and age call for it. No way I would trade 4 to 5 guys to rent Gonzalez for 2 years, too much risk. If we were close to making a push like the sox or spanks I would go for it but realistlically we are not. Yes, we took a step backward in the win loss department but I would say 2009 was alot better year than 2008 when you consider all the young talent that stepped in and did a good job (Reimold, Wieters, Pie, Bergy). We are still several pieces away from doing any damage, that is why they call it REBUILDING. Nobody likes to do it but it needed done here bad. It normally takes 5 years to turn a team around from the depths which we had sunk. We could have gotten Lackey and Gonzales and still finish 4th, we are further away than 2 players. You want to trade prospecst because they are unproven? What if they traded the young pitchers that ended up making it. Wouldn't it be nice to say for example Britton and Tillman went to San Diego and lit it up for them? Meanwhile Gonzalez has left Baltimore for free agency and we are screwed as we kept the wrong prospects? That is why MacPhail hoards as much pitching as he does. He know they are not all going to make it. The problem is finding out which are going to make and which won't. I think sping training 2011 we will have at least a wild card shot if we stay the MacPhail course.

What, did Ken have spasm? Seems like something's been stuck in his crawl. However, all the empty seats in Oriole Park last year doesn't bode well for a free agent spending spree.

To the actual question asked, no the Orioles should not try to keep spending pace with their division rivals. What they should do is aggressively target guys who will help the team that are interested in playing in Baltimore. It's about value and performance, not payroll size. The high dollar free agents on the market this year aren't coming to Baltimore now and aren't as good as the ones that went to New York last year.

Dennis - in 1965 the Orioles didn't have to worry about F. Robinson becoming a free agent after the 1967 season. I'm all in favor of making a deal for Gonzalez, but only if the team can do like the Phillies did with Halladay and sign him to an extension.

I really don't think the team is all that far from being able to compete right now. One more veteran starter, one reliable run producing hitter, one solid back of the bullpen arm, and the normal development of the guys that came up last year should work wonders.

Look at it this way...Way back in '88 we were the worst team in baseball. The fans complained and it took the front office 8 years to compete, barring the '89 "Why Not?" season. Fast forward to '96...The core group was bought and paid for (Alomar, Bonilla, etc..) we also had home grown talent (Ripken, Mussina, etc...). '96 & '97 our last good years. The Yankees and the Red Sox were embarassed so they started spending and we have what we've had for the last 13 years.

On a good note it took us 13 years to make the playoffs the last time so maybe now is the orioles time...13 years later.

The O's need to spend a little and maybe sacrifice a few prospects to contend. we're not asking for the front office to give up everything, but we are asking for them to give back to us fans for all that we've invested over the limetime of the club. we deserve to have what the rest of the AL East has had the last 13 years.

Correct me if I'm wrong, but wasn't the deal that there was a rebuilding plan in place for 2011? Last I looked, next season is 2010. It makes perfect sense to fill in the holes in our lineup, but no sense at all to waste money and talent to placate the fairweather blowhards.

If we spend all of our money and trade great prospects this year, what happens next year when there really is a decent market and we've traded away all of our chips and spent all of our money? Do we toss away all of this patient rebuilding for one slightly less mediocre season or do we stick to the original plan and blow open the gates next season? I for one am enjoying watching the rebuilding effort and watching these guys grow and learn. How cool will it be to watch them actually win? And how much will it suck to watch them win on other teams because we wanted some minor satisfaction in 2010?

The Orioles should not spend to keep pace with the rest of the AL east. We should spend to improve our team for now but at the same time not mortgage the future. We need the next year to really know what we have before we make any big moves. I think that Adam Jones, Matt Wietters, Nolan Reimold and Pie may supply the production some want us to mortgage the future for. Lets see also how Matusz, Tillman, and Bergessen fare with a full year and hopefully healthy year in the majors. If they fare as well as I think they will, and if Guthrie gets on track we would be at the point where we could consider a blockbuster trade if needed to fill the remaining gaps. We have stayed on plan this long it would be a mistake not to ride it out further. It has always been about 2011 and we need patience. I know how impatient I am after the recent dreadful past but I want us to get to the top and I see it coming soon. Give Andy a chance. His patience has paid off in the past. We could have traded Bedard a month or 2 earlier for 3 players from Seattle, but he waited and we got the great deal. Why should Andy telegraph our moves anyway? Let him get value and lets judge him in spring training for what he did or didn't do. Are you who keep looking at the AL east seeing how much money they are spending just to unload some mistakes?

To those democrat posters, I mean those posters who want to spend the Orioles money, what would you have said if Andy McPhail announced the signing of Mike Cameron at 2 years for $15.5 Mil??? Folks he may have some power but his average was .242, .243, .250 over the last 3 years. Thank you Andy for not keeping up with this deal!!!!

Hello Dan,
Thanks for the perspective. I agree fully that we aren't in any position to compete with the big spenders this offseason. Maybe in the next year or two when the young players are even more seasoned. And your chicken and egg analysis up there pretty much sums up the Birds' situation.

However I do not agree with the comment "...it’s what has been sold here for 10-plus years." I know many fans are very impatient and irrational on this subject, but they discount or ignore the fact that 10 of those 10-plus years were due to completely incompetent front office leaders and/or an over-zealous owner who wouldn't stop pulling strings.

Ken made an excellent post up there as you pointed out. They spent money like crazy through the mid-late 90s on all sorts of free agents, good, bad, and marginal. All that did was completely bury the team in a mound of foul smelling contracts and mediocre to terrible performance.

Even throughout the 00s they kept making smelly decisions, which put the franchise on a one step forward, several steps back progression.

Not until MacPhail was hired was there any kind of direction, and when he signed on the O's were pretty much the equivalent to an expansion franchise. His plan for rebuilding was outlined to Angelos, and if I remember correctly it was a 4-5 year projection. Angelos agreed to this... did he really have any choice, considering everything else he tried over the past decade had only sent them backwards? At some point near the end of this past season, I believe I heard MacPhail mention that he thought the losing the past couple years was going to be even worse than it actually turned out to be.

The team is definitely turning a corner this year, or at least they need to be. We will hopefully get to see the improvement that MacPhail mentioned over the winter meetings. This fan is definitely excited to be able to see how this season plays out. It's very enjoyable to watch these young players go out and give their all every inning of every game.

Anyone who got this far, thanks for reading. Go O's!

Bill in Salisbury,

There's no need to bring politics into this. I was the first one here saying don't spend and I'm so far left I'm a borderline Socialist.

The Orioles have ton of money and could compete but for whatever reason they do not want to spend money until they feel their "young nucleus" has "arrived." I'm really tired of this nonsense after 12 years of consistent losing. Millwood is a solid #3 on most top notch staffs and we already have 2 or 3 of those types. Now we have a chance to make a serious run at AGon and solve a long standing 1B problem and what do we do?? Sit back and watch the rich get richer. It makes me want to puke. This organization does not want to take a competitive step forward. It just sits in a holding pattern and waits for prospects who may or may not ever pan out. Meanwhile we continue to fall further behind the competitive balance in the AL East. It's a very sad commentary on what once was a great franchise

Please do not keep up with the Jones'. I prefer to win like the Twins and Marlins do. Grow you talent so the fans can grow with the team like it use to be before every team had rent-a-players. Maybe winning won't come as often that way but I know for sure it will feel better when it does happen.

Seriously, how big of a deal was it really that the Yankees won the WS this year. THEY SHOULD HAVE WON - THEY HAD THE HIGHEST PAYROLL - YEAR IN AND YEAR OUT. It's like when the Dream Team won the Olympics in 1992 - Yippee we won the Olympics - so what? - we were suppose to win easily.

But when I watch the Twins or the D-Rays of years past - that's exciting - and their winning is more meaningful because they aren't suppose to win.

Stick with the plan Andy. By the way, Lackey has averaged 14 wins/year in the last 3 years (on a perrineal playoff team) and Millwood has averaged 11 wins/year. Not sure if 3 wins/year is worth all that extra money.

Depends on whether you want them to keep pace with the other AL teams in the W column. Angelos and McFail have voted no on that one. What about the fans? Unless the O's do spend they are permanent cellar dwellers.


the orioles should not spend
with ny or boston. i like
the way they have drafted,
and i think the young pitchers
will be the future of our team.

a good 1b and 3b is a must,
they seem set at catcher and
the outfield is looking alot
better....

alot of free agents just don't
want to sign with the orioles
so let's be patient...

I wish the team tried to win. Im glad someone pointed out that Angelos outspenT the SKanks at one point ---and did so repeatedly

It always sickens me that its accepted as fact that the Os CANT spend with the Skanks and Sux when in fact, they just CHOOSE not to

The Os were the 3rd most profitable team in baseball 2002-2007 and 5th most profitable in 2008. It sure would be nice if they were in the top 5 in wins and/or payroll. They've been saving about 30 million per yr on payroll for the last several yrs, + they ahve the MASN money< + they have a sweet stadium deal, + they get a handout from teams that actually try to compete and put a respectable product on the field


The amended slogan should be Grow the arms buy the (bargain bin) bats

Dandy Andy has 8 winning and 16 losing seasons as GM and only 2 of those losing seasons were in the ALEast. Last place here we come-- WOO HOO!!

We don't need to spend at their pace, but we do need to spend some revenue. 30M would suffice and cover the corner spots nicely and solidify the backend of the bullpen.

Actually, Millwood WAS better than Lackey last year. He pitched in the same division on a worse team with a very young starting rotation. They were in the wildcard hunt, don't discount what he may bring to the team.

Anchor. One year. We needed that.

The Orioles need an identity no matter what they do. I think they might finally have one that works now, but more long seasons are ahead of us because of it but at least there seems to be a plan.

I think the Millwood rte is the rte the Os should be looking to go. Find guys on teams that have hefty payrolls and would like to move and see if they are willing to eat a considerable portion of it and obtain players that way.

I personally would like to see them pursue Derek Lowe or Barry Zito. Im sure the Braves or Giants would eat half of those big salaries just to get them out of there. I also think that the Cubs would move Soriano and eat a considerable amount of his salary. The Os dont need another outfielder or second baseman but they could most certainly use a DH with some power which is where Soriano fits in.

Os have to get creative. They cant go toe to toe with Boston or New York on the open market. The damage this team can do however is via trade. Thats where they need to be looking for their deals.

Further to Ken's excellent post, there is a subtext to the story of how Angelos' failed to compete while spending heavily. Namely, that it precipitated a change in the O's business model. When Belle and Hentgen proved to be expensive busts, it underscored the challenge of succeeding in Major League Baseball by trying to win.

I would also suggest that when Angelos ordered the "fire sale" of the O's expensive vets, and let Mussina go, a decision had been made to operate by "going through the motions." Yes, they picked up Tejada and Javy Lopez, but they did not really try to assemble a winning team.

Even when the O's made an unexpected run under Lee Mazilii, Angelos did nothing to supplement the obvious holes on the roster to keep them in the hunt. I think that he had concluded that it was just as easy, indeed, easier, to make money by faking it than it is to assemble a winning team.

The irony is that if Forbes is to be believed, the O's became more profitable by becoming less competitive. Apparently, the O's made hundreds of millions more in this century than the Yankees, precisely because Angelos was not "wasting money" on more talented players.

Every franchise gets an equal share of now quite considerable revenue from multiple MLB TV contracts, MLB merchandizing, MLB.com, etc. And the teams that make a lesser effort on payroll expenditures get fat transfer payments from teams that do spend on talent.

Add to that the revenues that come in the back door through MASN, mostly fees from cable connections, and the Orioles should be rolling in cash -- even before a single fan passes through the turnstiles at OPACY.

So the answer is "Yes." The Orioles should pay up for the best talent they can acquire, rather than merely going through the motions of fielding a competitive teams. Stop playing charades with the fans and try to win.

If the fans have to continue to pay major league prices to go to games, the Orioles should put a major league team on the field. I get the whole master plan deal but whats the harm at over paying to get a solid #1 SP and 1B that they young guys can learn from? At least that would make it a bit more bearable for fans who are forking over far too much money to attend games the past 10+ years.

No way should the O's try to keep up with the spending antics of the Yankees and BlowSox. That said, there is someone who will outspend all of the AL East teams this season. Tiger Woods in his divorce settlement to Elin. Merry Christmas Tiger, you dumb stupid imbecile FOOL. Speaking of CHRISTMAS, what's the difference between Santa and Tiger Woods? Santa stops at three ho's.

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