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Orioles Make Minor Moves

retro Orioles logoFirst: you might have seen the “all-week open thread” post that was up briefly. I changed my mind about that. No particular reason, really, other than I just thought about it and said “eh, that’s not such a good idea.” Carry on, nothing to see here.

Although, one point remains: this week is all about World War III out there in Pittsburgh. I’ll have plenty of Ravens-related posts as we build up to the magic moment.

In the meantime, a few news items from the Hot Stove league:

The Orioles have finalized their minor league coaching staffs, and it looks like continuity is the order of the day.

Koji Uehara is officially an Oriole, and although that’s not really news it is nice to see.

Jay Gibbons has signed with the Marlins. It’s just a minor league deal, but…wow.

I’ve got an internet jazz radio station playing right now and they just rocked some Sun Ra. I feel like a changed person.

32 comments to Orioles Make Minor Moves

  • df1570

    Neal, give your headline writer a raise.

    “O’s Make Minor Moves” should be their marketing theme for ’09.

    Well done, sir. Well done.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Actually, Drew’s more right than he thinks he is. But I digress.

  • dan the man

    And in another year those “minor” moves will be in the form of Wieters, Matusz, and Arrietta.

  • df1570

    From your lips to God’s ears, dtm.

    For your sake – make that, for ALL of our sakes – we better hope those three kids turn into rock stars.

    If not…”The Malady Lingers On: – as Morrissey once sang.

  • hell yeah to SUN RA

    ***

    so many Unanswered Questions surrounding this team.

    Markakis contract? Roberts trade?

    You can call me DF, but how am I supposed to get pumped about this team, if we don’t know who they are?

    is Hendrickson a lock for the rotation? is ANYONE besides Guthrie?

    Who’s on first?

    What is Ryan Freel going to do to stay busy?

    First S.T. game is 6 weeks from tomorrow.

  • Greg

    Well, if Bowies lineup in 2008 has turned into Norfolks lineup in 2009… you’ve got to start getting excited about Baltimore’s lineup in 2010, right?

  • @Greg

    agreed. completely.

    I’m just saying – how do we get pumped about the 09 Orioles?

  • sci

    Joe, it’s going to be very, very hard. I’m hopeful for 2010 and beyond, but I can’t think of another season where I was this hopeless going in. There is a 100% chance we will finish in last, and that is undeniably rough.

    Just talking major league club here – Continued development of Jones, Markakis, Guthrie, random young pitchers? (I do really think this the season that Jones turns into a beast.) Introduction of Wieters? Those are good things. As is the fact that we can get great seats to any game that’s not Boston or NY. How about that?

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I don’t understand the self-pity. Nobody with any sense really thought this rebuild would only last a year, so it’s not like this lost season (part 2) it’s a shock. And, I should add that our outlook for the year is a bit better than it was last year. I’m looking forward to seeing if Liz, Penn, and Olson are going to improve at all – not to mention seeing what Wieters and Jones can do in 2009. I’m interested in seeing what Uehara can do, and of course what happens in Norfolk and Bowie *will* interesting and the loss column *will* know about it.

    So it’ll be a rough year, but really it shouldn’t be any worse than the previous 10, and it might be considerably better than the previous 2 in a lot of ways.

  • sci

    Again I disagree with your framing of my words, Andrew. It is what it is. Last place is rough, sorry to say. Another losing season is rough, sorry to say. And of course it’s not a shock. I am hopeless that we will be in any place but last in 2009. There it is. If that’s self-pity, so be it.

    There are certainly good things, and I like where the club is for 2010 and beyond, at least with pitching, outfield, and catcher, but this year will be ugly. I will still be riveted of course…

  • dan the man

    I say put Aubrey on 1B, move Luke to DH, and let Montanez play LF. Why the hell not? Maybe Dunn gives up his desire to play the outfield and signs on to be DH.

    Guthrie and Uehara are locks barring injury. Hendrickson could make the rotation but will probably be in the bullpen, at least according to early indications from MacPhail. Hennessey could turn some heads – former first rounder, still young, has put up good numbers in the past. I like that pickup. Let the kids battle it out, it doesn’t matter who’s a lock for the rotation at this point. We have so many pitchers and someone has to step up this year.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    @sci – Of course last place is rough. That’s why it’s last place. But the win-loss record should be better, and the team somewhat less frustrating to watch, this year than it was last year. We went into last year knowing the basement was our palace, and we generally kept our chins up because we knew that last place was part of the plan. Same deal this year, basically (I feel like I’m Drew-baiting at this point, but whatever), and we should therefore keep our chins up again, is my point.

    Sorry if we don’t see eye to eye here, sci. I’m always excited for the upcoming baseball season, right from November 1st until the night before Opening Day. I am who I am like that.

  • Greg

    Some people love baseball. Some people simply tolerate it. That’s the way it goes.

  • neal s

    sci loves baseball — there’s no doubt about that. Something’s being lost in translation between him and Andrew.

  • sci

    I can assure everyone that I do not “tolerate” baseball. I genuinely love it with all my heart. And the Orioles are my team now and forever. Damn, can’t a guy get a little pessimistic once in awhile? I’m excited for the season for a multitude of reasons, no doubt. I just get bouts of pessimism due to these last 11 years. I think that’s reasonable.

    Love,

    sci

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I don’t think sci and I are at all different. We’re just suffering from what craig’s-listers call “missed connections”.

    I can’t tell you the number of times I’ve been drunk alone after a loss, or during a “home” game against the Yankees, or sitting at home after Teixeira’s signing where it’s been a complete and utter feeling of hopelessness. You all read my posts after the Teixeira thing: I take my sports as seriously as anyone should, and I don’t apologize for it.

    I don’t give a shit if it appears like sci and I disagree, because we don’t. Actually, it’s same way with me and Drew or Joe or Dan or Neal. I think that we all absolutely agree about most of everything, and I’ve never really insulted anyone here for feeling pessimistic or bitter or hopeless. We root for the Orioles: we can knock all three of those out on the way to work.

    I’m just throwing my two cents* out there that I think we should look at this season as the next logical step in the rebuild and that it will be a better, less embarrassing season than last, and those are reason enough to keep our chins up. Okay, now the love-in is over. Back to debating.

    *The recent active commenters thing is really making me self-conscious that I post far too much over the mean, so I feel like it’s more of a 2 dollars than a 2 cents.

  • neal s

    I’m as guilty as anyone of being optimistic here, cuz that’s what I do. I just don’t understand where anyone finds value in public bitching. Besides maybe that it fills some kind of void, but that’s a discussion for another time.

    That said, I’m with sci here. We kind of have to discuss some of the ominous signs heading into this season. Yes, we both know and knew it would be rough. I think, though, that we expected a little more out of the offseason. It has been something of a disappointment.

    Going in I expected (in order):
    2-4 veteran starters
    1 shortstop
    Continued proof that the Plan is moving along, especially as it relates to the minor leagues

    As it stands now, we’ve come up short in just one area: starters. As it happens, that’s also the biggest concern.

    It wraps around to item three on the list. It seems abundantly clear that we’re going all-in on the young starters. Nobody is going to block them, and the best performers will have spots in the rotation. I dig that, but it comes with the unfortunate side effect of a lot of legitimate nervousness going in.

    I’ll say this: I’m excited to see how these battles play out. I love the idea of watching one or two of these guys step up and make a name.

  • neal s

    @Andrew in Rochester – should I turn off that recent commenters thing? I’ve thought about that and I wonder. On the one hand I think it’s a fun little nugget, but on the other hand it might be totally unnecessary.

    What do you all think?

    It’s based on the past ten days, by the way.

    Also, my last comment above was actually written before I read Andrew’s comment, which appears before it.

  • dan the man

    The problem with the “2-4 veteran SP” thing, which I was totally on board for after the yearly shitshow called September, is that it’s tough to get veteran SPs for 1 or 2 years that aren’t a complete waste of time/money and that wouldn’t really be an upgrade over Liz, Olson, etc. It’s good to have a couple of veterans, but after Guts and Uehara, if your 3 and 4 guys are Trachsel-types – 30+ year olds giving up bombs – well frankly, the fans would rather watch the kids do that.

    If there was a way to get effective veteran starting pitching on short, cheap deals, then hell yes. But it’s just not all that possible. It sure would be nice to not have to watch another bunch of kids get knocked around in August and September, though. But that’s when Bergensen, Berken, etc will get their shot – if Liz, Olson, and Penn can’t hack it.

  • dan the man

    I’ll add that I like the Orioles’ unwillingness to give out multi-year contracts to stopgaps. We don’t want another Payton on our hands. While the Aubrey signing seems to have worked out, he’s 1 for 2 as far as successful seasons go. Anyway, I like that the O’s are reluctant to give Ty Wigginton a 2-year deal. Why get locked in to a guy who, yeah, can play 1B/3B/OF and is a decent hitter, but is not part of the future. He’d be great on 1-year deals, sort of like a younger Millar. Plus if he signs somewhere for 2 years, so be it, we have Salazar, etc.

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I wish you would stop placing bets on Oscar Salazar. I’d rather have Kevin Millar than Salazar. Which is probably what’s going to happen. I’m saying it right now, there’s no way Oscar Salazar makes the team. We’ll either find a decent first baseman or it’ll be Millar Time again. I’m still holding out hope that we can pry Billy Butler out from the Royals.

  • I’m only down with another season of Millar if

    1) they force him to wear a sox cap

    and

    2) his pregame shots of jack are televised

  • sci

    Butler would sure be nice. That makes so much sense. Let’s offer Bergesen and/or Hernandez to the Royals and see what they say. Have the Royals hinted that he’s available, or is it just speculation?

  • Andrew in Rochester

    I’m speculating, but the Royals just picked up Mike Jacobs to play first and Dayton Moore seems to be inclined to get rid of Butler (I think Seattle tried to pick him up in ’07…I might be wrong about that). It seems to me (speculating again) that this is a highly doable thing.

  • random dude

    I can’t take credit for this. Someone posted this in the comments on Roch’s blog. But just check this out.
    http://www.greggzaun.com/
    Unbelievable. Make sure you don’t skip the intro.

  • Couple good O’s related points that John Manuel (baseball america) touched on today in an ESPN.com chat:

    ***

    John Manuel: My AL top 10 went a little something like this; Wieters-Price-Feliz, then Travis Snider, Brett Anderson, fellow Greek-American Mike Moustakas, Chris Tillman, Trevor Cahill, Gordon Beckham and Brian Matusz.

    ***

    Dave (Jax, FL): What are your projections for Nolan Reimold? How is he defensively compared to Luke Scott? Could he start in LF for the O’s this year? If so, can Huff play 1B and Scott be the primary DH? Thanks.

    John Manuel: He’s more well-rounded than Luke Scott, but Scott (who’s getting a lot of references in this chat) has shown an ability to hit for power in the majors already that Reimold has not. I can see Reimold becoming a regular, and he’s also a bit unconventional in his swing, which gives scouts some pause. To me, though, he is the future LF in Baltimore and a good 6-hole option; that would be the best scenario for the Orioles, who should have a solid lineup for ’09, even more than solid if Mora and Huff maintain their 2008 level (which is iffy) and if Markakis and especially Adam Jones make improvements with the experience they have gained. Plus there’s Wieters as an X-factor. If the O’s had any pitching at all, they’d be a nice sleeper pick, but that division is too tough for a rotation with Jeremy Guthrie and a lot of filler.

    http://proxy.espn.go.com/chat/chatESPN?event_id=24557

  • Greg

    BRING YOUR Z-GAME

  • Andrew in Rochester

    Interesting stuff with the Uehara signing today…I think it really points out that the biggest benefit here was getting our name out there in Japan. And more broadly, it goes a long way towards showing that MacPhail’s benefit to the Orioles isn’t necessarily only reflected in the standings the past two years. It would really seem like the quality of the organization (aside from any radio or MASN qualms I know everyone’s thinking about already, and I have absolutely no interest in sparking THAT debate again) has improved an awful lot in the last 18 months, and you really can’t ignore that.

    Also: Koji Uehara is going to be one of the first players in decades to wear “Baltimore” on a baseball uniform. How fucking great is that?

  • sci

    I’m liking this Uehara signing more and more. It just adds a unique level of excitement to this season.

    To broach another topic, here’s a good article about why a baseball salary cap could be a bad idea. Not sure I agree, but it’s a solid argument.

    http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2009/baseball/mlb/01/15/bp.salarycap/index.html

  • neal s

    I read that same article, sci, and I think it’s total crap. The only way it makes sense is if you define the health of the sport solely in terms of the answering the “is it profitable?” question. And that, to me, is the wrong outlook.

  • sci

    OK, I should have said I completely disagree with his final conclusion, but the article does deal fairly intelligently with some important issues, such as setting a salary floor. The “Is it profitable?” question is vital, b/c we’d likely see some of the small-market teams go bankrupt. (Assuming they enact a salary floor with the salary cap, which they surely would.) Right now the small-market teams are being saved by revenue sharing and by the fact that their payroll can remain small. So, overall I disagree with the article, but I definitely don’t think it’s total crap. The whole salary cap issue is so complex. It’s not as simple as just saying “Set a cap!” (as we all realize, I think) His contention that baseball’s system as it stands is the best of the major sports is farcical, of course.

  • neal s

    Right, my “total crap” statement relates mostly to the conclusions he drew. Certainly he provides some very illuminating data, and I think he shows how (as you said) complex it is.