Monday, November 29, 2010

The Reality of the Situation

Over the weekend, I was in Baltimore and was with some friends tailgating right before the Buccaneers/Ravens game. Naturally, with all of us being hardcore baseball fans and as well season ticket holders who sit in the same group, the conversation turned to the Orioles.

We’d not seen each other pretty much since the season ended. Rather than talk about football, we all went back and forth about who the Orioles should get, who should be signed, etc.

We all understand the reality of the situation --- however, a few us of in the group were a little dismayed with the results so far in the off-season.

So far, no one in our group of seven has been all that impressed as to what Andy MacPhail has done so far in terms of the free agent market. Then again, there’s still plenty of time for moves to be made – although it was a tad disconcerting to see Victor Martinez end up with the Tigers.

When all was said and done, although the Orioles did team did finish strong last year, no one thinks that the Orioles will bust out next year and become the San Francisco Giants of 2010. I hate to say it, but from what I see out on the free agent market right now and on the trade front, the Orioles need to keep with their plan.

They need to grow the arms, stock up the minor leagues and keep harvesting talent. Trading for an Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder would be great; however, who do you deal? Chris Tillman? David Hernandez? Zach Britton?

>>> Read More

Saturday, November 27, 2010

Who's on First?

The Orioles need a first baseman. No doubt about that. I don't think any fan will be happy with another year of Ty Wigginton at the 3-spot. There are not a lot of top-flight first base candidates out there, especially if you are looking for that whole "future" type player but there are some viable options in free agency that need to be pursued.

Paul Konerko

The Orioles courted Konerko in 2006 but he elected to stay in Chicago after winning the World Series there in 2005 but his contract is up and he is once again a free agent. Konerko will turn 35 in 2011 and while he had a great year last year, posting a .977 OPS, it was a rebound year after a couple years of steady decline since the 06 contract. Granted, even his bad year in 2008 (injury year) his .783 OPS would have been a significant improvement from the 2010 Orioles.

The problem with Konerko is his age/ contract. You will most likely have to give Konerko a four year deal so that raises the question: What will he look like in the last two year of that deal? Granted, 38/39 is not 40/41 and Konerko has not shown any real signs of slowing down it is still going to be a concern.

Also there is the money it would take to lure him away from Chicago. Konerko has spent his entire career, as a starter, in Chicago; he all ready turned down more money from the Orioles in 2006 to stay in Chicago and Konerko doesn't strike me as the type of player to chase the money. Getting him out of Chicago is going to take a pretty solid offer - but one the Orioles should make.

>>> Read More

Friday, November 26, 2010

Musings on a Friday

There’s not a whole lot going on with the Orioles after the Thanksgiving holiday; however, during the last week, they did get their entire coaching staff in place.

The final hire, Willie Randolph said all the right things when he spoke to the media, noting that he’s “an Oriole” now. Although his Mets’ managerial stint of sort crashed and burned, he should be a good voice to Showalter as his bench coach.
It seems that the Orioles will have one of the most experienced coaching staffs in baseball. Hopefully, that will play a small role in turning tide with the organization.

The only thing I’m lamenting that there isn’t a former Oriole on the staff; however, after watching 13 years of losing baseball, hiring an experienced staff – and the best out there – was the thing to do.

Other than that, it looks like some are dismayed that the Orioles didn’t sign Victor Martinez and they seemingly missed by a few million. Who knows why Martinez signed with the Tigers – maybe he just wanted to join a team with a chance to win, or just simply catch.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

Uehara not offered arbitration

As Anthony just reported below, the Orioles have decided not to offer Koji Uehara arbitration meaning the pitcher is free to go off to free agency. This is a monumentally weird move. If the Orioles had offered and Koji still chose to go to Free Agency then the Birds would have been given a compensation pick in this year's draft, now if the Orioles do not re-sign the Japanese closer the Orioles receive nothing.

Yes, there was always a chance that Koji could have accepted the arbitration but all indications are that he wanted to test the market. The Orioles could have still negotiated with him if he rejected the initial arbitration offer.Not offering Koji arbitration is a real-head scratcher bordering on dumb move. It was such a low-risk move and considering that the Orioles have not had a compensation pick in five years I can't understand why Koji was allowed to enter free agency free-and-clear.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, November 23, 2010

Victor Martinez Joins the Tigers

Victor Martinez became a member of the Detroit Tigers this afternoon. The deal is for four years, $50 million.

With Martinez off the market, the Orioles are out another first base option and will probably go after Carlos Pena. Martinez prefers to catch; however, with Wieters in the fold, Martinez would have been a DH, or played first and caught only on occasion.

From the looks of it, the Orioles were right there in the bidding with a 4-year, $48 million dolllar offer. We're not privy to the discussions or the facts of the missed deal with the hitter, but could it have simply come down to a guy wanting to play a particular position? Could the man simply have wanted to go to a winning organization? Or a just a competitive one?

Who knows.

Sadly, Martinez has one hell of a bat and the Orioles missed it. Victor doesn't mash homers like Adam Dunn, but he's consistent. You know that Martinez, year after year, will put up quality numbers and be a professional.

Life goes on and let's hope the Orioles get one of the other free agents out there. My gut says that the Orioles get Carlos Pena on an affordable, one-year pact, and hope he can reproduce his more successful years in Tampa Bay.

I think Baltimore misses out on Dunn because he wants to play first base and does not think of himself as a glorified designated hitter. As for Paul Kornerko, I think he stays with the White Sox.

Some fans will be upset. I'm a little frustrated too. However, Victor Martinez is not like missing out on a Mark Teixiera or an Albert Pujols.

>>> Read More Here...

Victor Martinez ... off the Market?

Well, it looks like one of the names that the Orioles were rumored to go after may probably be off the free agent market sooner rather than later. Both Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports and the Boston Globe's Extra Bases blog is reporting that Victor Martinez is about to sign a long-term deal with the Detroit Tigers.

The Tigers have plenty of money to burn thanks to numerous contracts that have come off their books.

From Ken Rosenthal:

The first major free agent is about to fall.

Catcher Victor Martinez is close to signing with the Tigers, a source confirms.

Ignacio Serrano, a reporter for Venezuela’s El Nacional, reported that Martinez will receive a four-year, $50 million contract.

The Tigers outbid the Red Sox, White Sox and Orioles, Serrano said.

>>> Read More

Belanger-Grich Double Play Combo to be Featured on MLB Network Tonight...

If you'll be at home tonight and are feeling nostalgic about the good ol' days of Orioles baseball...

Former Baltimore Orioles Mark Belanger & Bobby Grich will be featured in a new episode of MLB Network’s Prime 9: Double Play Combinations tomorrow at 8:00 p.m. ET. The Belanger-Grich duo will be ranked alongside other combinations, including the Indians’ Omar Vizquel and Roberto Alomar, the Reds’ Joe Morgan and Dave Concepcion, and the Pirates’ Bill Mazeroski and Gene Alley. New episodes of Prime 9 will air every Tuesday in November beginning at 8:00 p.m. ET

Is Willie Randolph Joining the Orioles?; Other Stuff and Joey Votto Wins NL MVP

It looks like the spots on the coaching staff will finally be resolved within the week for the Baltimore Orioles.

The Baltimore Sun and are reporting that the former manager of the New York Mets, Willie Randolph may be the newest coach. It’s not clear what position he’d take, but it would be more likely be a choice between coaching third or serving as the bench coach.

The two sides are still working on a deal.

The Orioles are negotiating with Randolph, who spent last season as the Milwaukee Brewers' bench coach, for the final spot on Showalter's staff, according to team sources. As the Juan Samuel situation proved this month, it's not a given that the two sides will reach an agreement.

If a deal is finalized, Randolph would work with the Orioles' infielders and either coach third or serve as Showalter's bench coach. Randolph was Showalter's third base coach with the New York Yankees in 1994 and 1995.

Former Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell would fill whichever role Randolph doesn't between third base and bench coach.

Well, Buck and Willie have a relationship from their days with the Yankees in the mid-90’s – so that’s a good thing. In addition, Randolph is a former MLB manager and his knowledge may served the organization very well, assuming he takes the job.

It’s pretty apparent now that Buck has a fairly solid brain trust and is confident with it. While that may not make the Orioles instant contenders, at least they’ll have one of the most experienced and robust coaching staffs in the game.

>>> Read More

Monday, November 22, 2010

Fandom, Rebuilding and Derek Jeter

I have a friend who’s an eye doctor (a guy with a few years on me) we talk time to time talk about baseball.

He describes himself as an Orioles fan who feels that since Peter Angelos has “ruined the Orioles”, he won’t give him a money nor attend games at Camden Yards. I’ve tried to get him to attend a game with me – even with a free ticket.

His answer has always been a very polite, ‘no’.

His reasoning is that Angelos has ruined the product in Baltimore, there are no marquee names, and frankly the team has not been good for a long time. The guy wants to see someone like Paul Konerko at first, Adrian Beltre at third, a Cliff Lee on the mound, or even John Garland. Or Victor Martinez or and Adam Dunn at the DH spot.

However, he follows the games on MASN and pretty much reads all the papers, blogs and listens to sports talk radio to get the news. Plus, he really likes Buck Showalter (almost to the point of a ‘man crush’).

Whether he’s a real fan or not, I’ll let you all determine that.

I see the man once a month and the latest conversation – amongst other things – about the Orioles came down to Andy MacPhail.

>>> Read More

Friday, November 19, 2010

Trade Bait and a Shortstop

Well, we all know the Orioles might need a shortstop considering Cesar Izturis is a free agent, and there’s no guarantee that he’ll return. Honestly, as good as Cesar was with the glove, I’m sure most fans would prefer to have someone with a tad bit more offense with the bat.

That being said, with things on free agent market as it is, the Orioles might be looking to get a shortstop via a trade.

The Orioles haven't ruled out bringing back Cesar Izturis, but they are currently looking at other shortstop options, according to club sources.

They've had trade discussions with the Tampa Bay Rays about Jason Bartlett, and the Minnesota Twins about J.J. Hardy.

The talks with the Rays included discussion of a potential swap of Orioles reliever David Hernandez for Bartlett, who hit .254 with four homers and 47 RBIs in 2010, but is a career .281 hitter. However, that deal appears unlikely at this point as the Orioles consider other options.

While I like some of the intangibles that Jason Bartlett brings to table despite a down year in 2010, and Hardy has some pop, I’d pass on both if the swap includes Hernandez. With the Tampa Bay Rays looking to get cheaper and restock, who knows what will happen to Bartlett?

Both Bartlett and Hardy will be free agents at the end of the 2011 season.

Although Hernandez clearly struggled in a starting role – much like pitcher Jason Berken – he’s shown his worth in the Oriole bullpen and should be an arm to keep.

Finally, here are your free agent shortstops. Really, do any of them look all that appealing? Let’s not include Derek Jeter, as he’ll wind up with the Yankees again. The only one on the list who looks somewhat desirable is Juan Uribe (who should get a ton of attention). Everyone else pretty much are just rather just fillers or past their prime.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Uggla and Beltre

It looks like Dan Uggla - a name that has intrigued some to be had in a trade for the Orioles - has been claimed by the Atlanta Braves. He spurned a contract extension from the Marlins earlier this week and was promptly traded to the Altanta Braves for Omar Infante and relief pitcher Mike Dunn (LHP) earlier this evening.

That being said, it looks like the Orioles may be going after third-baseman Adrian Beltre.

From MLB Trade Rumors: The market for free agent third baseman Adrian Beltre is hot, tweets SI's Jon Heyman, and the Orioles "seem very interested." Heyman tweets that a dozen teams are interested in the Scott Boras client. Last week Boras told MLB Network Radio hosts Casey Stern and Jim Bowden regarding Beltre, "I would have to say in my years of doing this I’ve never had so much interest in one player." Heyman believes Beltre could be the first star to go off the board, but I'd still be surprised to see him sign before December.

In addition to the contract, the Orioles would have to surrender their second-round pick to sign Beltre. There is recent precedent for that; they gave their second-round pick (#53 overall) to the Braves a year ago to sign Mike Gonzalez.

Beltre, ranked third on our Top 50 Free Agents list, is far and away the best available third baseman this winter. In addition to the Orioles, the Red Sox, Angels, Blue Jays, Indians, Athletics, and Giants could be looking for help at the hot corner. Even the Pirates were said a week ago by Heyman to have interest in Beltre, but not all the clubs named here will be willing to go four or five years at $15MM or more per season.

With Josh Bell not looking like he's ready for prime time based on his stint last season, the Orioles need a strong, defensively-minded corner infielder and Beltre fits the bill.

>>> Read More

Buck Showalter, AL Manager of the Year? No.

Today, the MLB awards season continues as the Manager of Year honors are doled out to the respective leagues.

I do expect the Rangers' Ron Washington to win it for the American League; meanwhile, Bud Black should win the honor in the National League for what he did for the San Diego Padres. It's amazing the job he did getting his team to stay in the playoff hunt before they started to wilt in September.

Despite Bruce Bochy's Giants' winning the World Series, he doesn't get it - in my opinion. The same for Charlie Manuel of the Phillies, and the legendary Bobby Cox of the Braves (who got the most of his team than anyone in 2010 ever expected).

As for the Orioles' Buck Showalter, do I seriously expect him to get some consideration? Maybe?

To win it at all -- no. Who knows is his magic touch will continue in 2011 and beyond. It can't be understated that once Showalter took over as the manager of the team, it was almost like the players got the message and shaped up.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, November 16, 2010

The Winter Meetings, John Russell, Willie Randolph and More...

The Winter Meetings kick off today in Orlando this morning and who knows what will result from it. Some deals may be made and there will be a whole lot of rumors; however, the next few days should add more intrigue to the off-season.

Right now, the biggest news out of Birdland is that the Baltimore Sun reported manager Buck Showalter offered former Pittsburgh Pirates manager John Russell either the bench or third base coaching position. I would figure Russell would choose the bench position, as he was a former manager.

Really, I think the details and financials of the contract just have to be worked out. Who knows, maybe Willie Randolph – who was with Showalter on the Yankees – might join the black and orange.

>>> Read More

The 1971 Baltimore Orioles Rotation to be Featured on the MLB Network Tonight..

In case you're feeling nostalgic about when the Baltimore Orioles were the kings of baseball, the MLB Network will be featuring the 1971 starting rotation tonight on "Prime 9". The program airs at 8:30 ET tonight and other teams featured will be the 1906 Cubs, 1927 Yankees, 1997 Braves and 1986 Mets.

Of course, the 1971 Baltimore Orioles squad featured four pitchers who won 20 games each -- Jim Palmer, Pat Dobson, Dave McNally and Mike Cuellar.

Monday, November 15, 2010

2010 MLB Free Agency: Phillies Close to Re-signing Jose Contreras

Free agent Jose Contreras and the Philadelphia Phillies could be close to completing a two-year contract, according to The report also said that Contreras's contract will be for $ 5 million with a third year option, based on the performance of the 38-year-old player.

Online betting fans should take into consideration that Contreras was the Phillies third most important arm in the bullpen in the 2010 season, with a 3.34 earned run average in 67 appearances as a first-year Phillie. Also, last season, the right-hander had a 6-4 record, four saves, struck out 57 batters, and allowed only 16 walks in 56 2/3 innings.

Not to mention that in his eight-year MLB career, Contreras is 77-67 and 4.55 ERA with the New York Yankees, Chicago White Sox, Colorado Rockies and the Phillies.
For his part, Phillies general manager Ruben Amaro Jr. hasn't confirmed the team’s interest in keeping free agent Contreras, but has said that left-handed reliever is a priority for them, taking into account that the bullpen could lose three veterans to free agency - right-handers Contreras and Chad Durbin, and left-hander J.C. Romero.

On the other hand, the Phillies have signed three veteran relievers for the 2011 season: Brad Lidge, Ryan Madson and Danys Baez, and they seem to be very close of adding a fourth name to the list, so let’s wait and see what happens.

The Bench Coach, Crowley & Free Agency

Not much has been happening in Birdland on the free agent front; however, the Orioles are still trying to fill some coaching vacancies. This weekend, they interviewed former Pirates manager John Russell for the bench coach position.

That being said, I’ve always wondered what the bench coach does and this weekend in an article, the Sun’s Dan Connolly answered that for us. I always thought the bench coach was more or less an assistant to the manager, did the dirty work for him and acted as a buffer/soundboard to the players.

For the most part, my assumption was right; then again, it looks like a bench coach does a lot more for a team than I ever realized. That’s good to know. Meanwhile, Terry Crowley is on the ‘same page’ with the Orioles and their plans (along with his for moving forward).

Obviously, we are not privy as to what goes on behind closed doors, but Crowley said it he was his choice to move on.

Other than that, the Rookies of the Year for the American and National League are being decided on today as the awards season throughout Major League Baseball continue. Well, I think Buster Posey should win the National League; meanwhile, I think Neftali Feliz has it hands down in the American League.

>>> Read More

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Juan Samuel Leaving Organization and More...

The biggest news out of Birdland today is that former interim manager and third base coach, Juan Samuel, will not be returning to the Orioles.

Today, he took a job as third base coach of the Philadelphia Phillies. From various reports, it looked to be that Samuel was set to come back to Baltimore; however, both sides could not agree on compensation and a contract. Thus, Samuel moved on.

As most of us know, Samuel has a long history with the team, serving as a player during the 80’s.

He seemed to be highly regarded with the team and throughout baseball. I’m sure he’ll help a Philadelphia team already stacked with a ton of talent.

It seems that there will be more changes and additions with the Orioles' staff, so we’ll wait and see what happens.

>>> Read More

Trembley & Renovations/Modernizing Camden Yards

If you all have not read this, former Oriole manager Dave Trembley is back in Major League Baseball. According to the Baltimore Sun, Trembley will be the minor league field coordinator for the Atlanta Braves, working throughout their organization with young players and prospects. He will also work with coaches and key personnel as well.

Good for him.

The man was stuck between a rock and a hard place with the Baltimore Orioles. Seriously, after each and every loss, he looked very grim. Obviously, Trembley didn't have the talent to compete in the American League East; however, a poor start in 2010, struggling players, injuries and just very bad luck did him in.

In addition, Trembley just didn't get the best of his squad that he could have and over time that probably got him fired more than anything. I did feel bad for him when he was let go by the team and declined another position; however, the right decision was made considering the impact of Buck Showalter.

He was probably done a favor by being fired when it happened. I don't think much has been heard from Trembley once he left the team. So far, I don't think he's even given an lengthy interview about his time in Baltimore, much less said anything negative.

The one thing I will remember about him is that he was very much a nice, humble person, plus always said hello to people and interacted with fans before the game. Literally, Trembley would walk down the first base line, wave at fans, sign some autographs and chat (it's a stark contrast to what I see from Showalter before games).

Trembley could get serious at times, but overall, I think he was sincerely glad to have the job as manager of the Baltimore Orioles.

We all should wish him well. The man presided over some horrible teams, but there's was only so he could do.

>>> Read More

Wednesday, November 10, 2010

Changes coming to Camden Yards

Fans sitting in the upper deck will get a bit more room to stretch their legs as the Maryland Stadium Authority has announced that there will be some changes made to Camden Yards. Larger seats in the upper deck is just one of the few minor changes announced for the ballpark as it enters its 20th year in service. Railings that currently obstruct the view of the field in the upper deck will be redesigned to be less conspicuous and out of the way.

The left field "all you can eat porch" will have its bistro-style seating expanded and further minor improvements. All-in-all the end result will be a reduction in the stadium's overall capacity from just under 49 thousand seats to just under 46 thousand seats.

So any rumors about a restaurant or expanded bar or picnic area - this should put them all to rest. For now at least.

In other Orioles news; in a recent tweet Sports Illustrated Jon Heyman stated that the Orioles were being "aggressive" at the early onset of Free Agency. What exactly does that mean? I have no idea. The cynic in me immediately goes: "...when I see it.." and there is next to nothing we can actually sink our teeth into here but its nice to think that the Orioles are being proactive for a change.

>>> Read More

Tuesday, November 9, 2010

The Rawlings Gold Glove Awards for the American League

The Rawlings' Gold Glove winners for the American League were announced today and this time around there were no Orioles on the list. I really have no qualms about who earned the award this year (except for the up-the-middle-combo, ahem, mainly Derek Jeter), but I do figure if Nick Markakis played for a winning team, the conversation as to who is selected might be different.

As for Adam Jones - who won the award as one of three outfielders selected in 2010, he was not worthy this season. Jones was inconsistent at times in the field, made quite a few gaffes, and just didn't have the form he had in the year prior. Adam's a great athlete and if he can play the position a tad deeper in the field, he'll be better off.

>>> Read More

Monday, November 8, 2010

Random Thoughts on the Orioles

The free agency period for Major League Baseball starts in a few hours (Sunday at 12am) and thought among most Oriole fan is this question – who will the team get?

As it is right now, no one expects the Baltimore Orioles to be a contender, but stranger things have happened in sports. The team did finish strong last year, but that still didn’t stop Buck Showalter from making wholesale changes with his staff.

It’s obvious that the Orioles need a power bat in their lineup, a strong corner infielder, perhaps another starting pitcher or two (an ace would be beautiful – but, I see Andy MacPhail getting a middle-of-road, innings eating arm).

Lest we forget, the Orioles do potentially a shortstop along with some bullpen help. Again, the team has some serious needs and at this point, finishing up with a respectable record would be nice to see.

With a plethora of young talent on the team and up-and-comers, will the Orioles make a splash in Spring Training? These days, unless you’re one of big financial powerhouses of the sport, the mantra for most teams have been building from within (especially arms) and retaining young/cheap talent.

This offseason, I sincerely hope the Orioles do go after an established bat such as Adam Dunn – who played down the road in Washington, or a Paul Konerko, Carlos Pena (the low BA in ’10 was a concern).

>>> Read More

Tuesday, November 2, 2010

The Mobbies - Vote!

This year, the Oriole Post blog has had the distinction for being nominated for "The Mobbies", the awards given out by the Baltimore Sun for outstanding blogs in the state of Maryland.

As you have probably figured, we are in the "Best Oriole Blog" category.

We're up against some of the most renowned professionals in the business, such as Roch Kubatko and Steve Melewski. In addition, excellent larger fansites and blogs such as Orioles Hangout and Camden Chat are also included.

It's a nice honor the be part of this group; thus, if you feel so inclined, show us a little love and vote.

You have to register and can only vote once every 24 hours.

Feel free to click on the icon to vote!

Proud Partner: Ticket Network

We have top views at Orioles, games, plus a loaded NFL, schedule. Check these tix to Dallas Cowboys, Pittsburgh Steelers, Atlanta Falcons, New England Patriots and Denver Broncos.

Proud Partner - Crisp Ads

CrispAds Blog Ads