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What’s That About the Cold Stove?

Quick update to the last post that deserves a post of its own: the Orioles have now also added Garrett Atkins.

I love the coincidence that the day after we discuss whether or not they’re moving too slowly they go out and fill two needs.

As for the Atkins signing, I like it. I’m not even sure I care about the money, which is as yet undisclosed. He’s here to put up credible performance while we wait for Josh Bell and his track record suggests he can do that. Assuming we don’t give too much weight to his 2009 numbers.

As of now, we’ve got a better team on paper than we had entering the 2009 season. And I’m guessing there’s one or two more moves on the horizon. Good times.

33 comments to What’s That About the Cold Stove?

  • dan the man

    I’m ok with this move because the upside is pretty big on Atkins. 99 or more RBI in the years prior to ’09 is nothing to sneeze at. That’s Markakis-like production, but of course you take it with a Colorado grain of salt. I could see Atkins becoming a tired story pretty quick in Baltimore if he doesn’t at least produce with Wigginton-like numbers, but if it pays off then it might end up being a great move. Either way, I can’t find a whole lot to complain about with this move. It’s a one-year deal, most likely will be relatively cheap, good upside, good versatility, not sure about the glove but it’s gotta be better than Wiggi. Mostly, I like the 1-2 punch of roster moves tonight from Andy.

    I was telling Joe the Guy today that Andy MacPhail loves Wednesdays, and sure enough…

  • dan the man

    On Gonzalez, it’s amazing how one signing like that can stabilize your whole bullpen. Now suddenly it’s like:

    Koji
    Johnson
    Gonzalez

    You have Albers back for middle, hopefully in better shape this time around. You’ve probably got Hendrickson for solid long relief. That’s 5 solid guys out of your pen right there and you have some talented guys that would hopefully fill the other spots out of Hernandez, Sarfate, Mickolio, etc.

  • Andrew

    I actually like this move. Atkins will probably be a nobody, but the options out there weren’t great (Kouzmanoff was better, but who knows about his price tag, and it isn’t like the O’s ought to be out there trading for much) but he has at least a chance to be okay, and I assume we didn’t wildly overpay for him like certain other acquisitions today.

  • dan the man

    Interesting blurb from MLBTR…

    “As if the Mike Gonzalez and Garrett Atkins signings weren’t enough, the Orioles also “made a pretty good run” at trading for Adrian Gonzalez at the winter meetings, tweets ESPNBoston.com’s Gordon Edes.”

    Who knows if that’s legit, but it just goes to show you that we never really have a good gauge on Andy.

  • neal s

    @dan the man – It’s funny stuff. I’ve been lucky enough over the past year or two to have some limited contact with people who are actually “in the know” when it comes to how the O’s operate. Most of what I’ve heard has been off the record, but I can say that it has opened my eyes. Even with the great — seriously, great — work that guys like Roch and Zrebiec do, we only ever get snippets of what really goes on.

    It wouldn’t surprise me at all if the O’s were in for a guy like Adrian Gonzalez before deciding the right deal wasn’t there.

    If I can claim to know anything — and that judgement is up to all of you — I will say that Andy MacPhail knows what the hell he’s doing. This isn’t the Jim Beattie-Mike Flanagan era anymore.

  • Andrew

    We can argue for a while tomorrow if y’all want, but I just want to make my opening case, I guess.

    The Orioles, as we all discussed, are a 76-77 win team before today. Adding a closer to the team isn’t the worst idea in the world, but even the best options available to us would probably only bump the win total by one game. So why on earth are we throwing away a draft pick and taking on a big contract so we can field a 77 or 78 win team? Last I checked, those kinds of teams are still depressingly bad.

    Have we learned nothing from the complete failure of the previous regime when it came to purchasing bullpen arms? We could have just sent JJ out there, spent no money, saved the draft pick, and been more or less the same exact team. At the very best, this is simply overpaying relative to Gonzalez’s value (and I do believe he will be a fine pitcher, indeed) and overpaying is something that a team in the situation the Orioles find themselves in absolutely cannot do. That money, which is for all intents and purposes wasted, could have gone to any number of potentially more rewarding places: overslot draft bonus, Aroldis Chapman, Adam Jones extension, etc. etc.

    Just because the Orioles have money to spend does not make it okay for them to burn it on high-priced relievers. And that is why I hate this deal. Now the Orioles can field a 50 million dollar 77 win team instead of a 44 million dollar 76 win team. Woop-de-fricking-doo.

    Anyway, I respect that you all seem to love everything that the Orioles have done. But I am off to bed for now. We’ll argue tomorrow.

  • dan the man

    He makes some good points. I think where I’m coming from is..

    1) I was bored as hell this week waiting for something to happens so now I’m pumped, and

    2) This move looks a lot better if Andy isn’t done yet, which I doubt.

    Also 3) The O’s probably have way more money than we think they do and I still think stuff like a Jones extension isn’t hurt by this deal.

  • dan the man

    Oh man, are you kidding, we are going to LOVE this guy. Check out the swagger!

    http://mlb.mlb.com/media/video.jsp?content_id=4346455

  • neal s

    @Andrew – I don’t think you can look at anything I’ve written here and say it equates to me loving everything the Orioles have done. My comments on the Gonzalez signing have been very measured. I don’t “love” the move, I just think it’s an upgrade. I don’t see any scenario where it hurts the team, but I do see how it can help. Pretty simple.

  • neal s

    @dan the man – Nice pull, man. I like it.

  • neal s

    Also: I agree with DtM that there’s no reason to believe that signing Gonzalez takes money away from more worthwhile endeavors like locking in Adam Jones or signing draft picks. That just doesn’t make sense. If we were talking Jason Bay for 5 years, $100 million then, yeah, that’s going to alter the path. Mike Gonzalez for $14-$16 million? I can’t see how that kind of money makes a huge difference one way or the other.

  • dan the man

    Also, there’s just a part of my brain that’s telling me that Andy MacPhail of all people knows that giving reliever a shitload of guaranteed money is never the best idea. He knows that, but I think he knows he can (and will have to) selectively overpay free agents. Flanaquette just said the hell with it and tried to fix and entire bullpen with 3 free agents and two 3-year deals. It was sexy but ultimately dumb. Not even because of the money and years and risk of relief pitchers, but because you don’t NEED to sign 3 guys to fix a bullpen. You can make trades, find serviceable guys in your farm system, etc. And we’ve all heard MacPhail acknowledge that “relief pitching is the most volatile aspect of the roster” or some variation of that. So I have to imagine that he himself isn’t ecstatic with the signing, but that he feels it’s a move whose positive effect outweighs the negative.

  • dan the man

    Excuse my many typos tonight. It’s 1AM and I’ve got the FEVER.

    So what next?

    Bedard?
    Delgado?
    Glaus?
    Johnson?
    Trade?
    Chapman?

    I’m calling Bedard and Delgado. There’s really no other hitter available on the free agent market that if Andy signs, he can say, “We’ve addressed our hole at cleanup hitter.” I would think Delgado or Glaus are those only two guys, unless I’m forgetting someone. And I think Andy really wants to say that he was able to give DT a cleanup-type hitter for at least a year.

  • dan the man

    I did forget about one… this guy.

    http://msn.foxsports.com/mlb/story/121609-rosenthal-morosi-on-orioles-holliday

    Is Andy trying to go for it this year?

  • Andrew

    I’m sorry if that last bit came out snarky. All I mean is I do understand why you guys like the deal (and the Millwood thing). I do. But nothing you guys have said here disputes that a) Gonzalez doesn’t significantly help the club, b) we’re paying him as if he does, and c) losing a draft pick over a reliever is just plain stupid.

    Anyway, yes, I didn’t like the Millwood trade, and I hate the Gonzalez signing, but I like the Atkins signing. I’m not grading Andy (or, I’m not trying to) until February 1 because we’re frankly in the middle of the movie right now, so we’ll see.

    But, Dan, if Andy is trying to go for it this year he will fail. Adding Holliday and Gonzalez both would give the Orioles probably around an 85 or 86 win team. The pitching and a lot of the hitters just aren’t developed enough to make a run this year feasible. But I promise that if the Orioles sign Matt Holliday, I’ll forgive Andy for everything I haven’t liked so far. It would – if nothing else – be incredibly energizing (although there’s nothing like adding to the outfield logjam).

  • sci

    Wow, I seriously doubt Holliday will happen, but with him you can move Reimold to first and the lineup is suddenly looking pretty strong. Cards are talking an 8-year deal with him now though, and it’s a pretty sure thing he goes back there in my opinion.

    I give the Gonzalez move a B. It is a hefty price, particularly the draft pick, but he is definitely good, and it helps stabilize the back of the bullpen for sure.

    Atkins move is a B as well. He was awful last year, so he has a ton to prove on a one-year contract, which is a good thing. Not much to lose here. If he sucks, Bell is waiting in the wings.

  • dan the man

    I know you’re not much for stuff like this Andrew, but one could argue that while Mike Gonzalez doesn’t add to the Orioles win totals all that much, he could be valuable in helping along our young pitchers. If I’m Brad Bergesen, I’d hate pitching into the 7th inning start after start and watching my leads vanish again and again at the hand of Jim Johnson or whoever. There was a very noticeable nose-dive once Sherrill was gone, so it makes sense to at least tell your young pitchers that if they put you in a position to win, you have a shutdown guy (hopefully) ready to back you up.

  • Larry

    I like the moves. I agree with Andrew that a decent closer is not the most important thing for a last-place team, but on the other hand, you need SOMEBODY who can hold a lead in the late innings. It was a rough season, but it got depressingly worse after Flat-brim departed, and no lead was safe. Also, we’re talking one overpaid reliever, not the three that Flannaquette signed in one off-season — and it’s just a two-year deal. It seems to me that a last-place team that hasn’t had a winning record since 1997 has no choice but to overpay free agents.

  • Andrew

    Jim Johnson was fine last year. The problem, once Sherrill was gone, was that there wasn’t anybody else except Jim Johnson. We were left with Chris Ray, Matt Albers, Mark Hendrickson (who had to go back into the rotation), Cla Meredith, and Brian Bass. That’s why the bullpen sucked. Not Jim Johnson.

    Dan, I won’t go there because I’m not in that stuff at all. I would just hope that starting pitchers are smart enough to know that what the bullpen does doesn’t change how good they are (or aren’t).

  • Andrew

    If anything, I suspect that the Orioles touched bases with Holliday and the Padres and are now being used via the media to stonewall the Cardinals and Red Sox, respectively. I don’t believe either of those stories are more than kicking the tires.

    I also suspect that Atkins – whose problem was that he wasn’t hitting the ball hard enough last year, according to fangraphs – won’t experience a revival facing the hardest group of pitchers ever in the big boy league/division. But he does have the opportunity to bounce back some and be a reasonable stopgap who won’t be completely superfluous once Bell is ready (nor will he block Bell). So, unless the deal is for something ridiculous like 6 million or more, I like it.

    The Orioles, however, are still going to be bad next year. Their success will continue to ride on Wieters, Jones, Reimold, 3E1N, Matusz, Arrieta, Bell, and Tillman.

  • dan the man

    $4 million for ’09, with a club option on ’10 worth $8.5, and a $500K buyout.

    So $4.5, basically.

  • Andrew

    @dan the man – Works for me. But I don’t think yesterday did much to improve where I think the team finishes in the win-loss column in 2010 (though of course that’s sort of not all that important I suppose).

    Anyway, my last bit on this whole thing (and then I’m calling it a wraps on this Gonzalez beat-down, because frankly he’s an Oriole now and I want him to out-earn his price-tag, so I’m gonna stop badmouthing him and anything associated with him) comes from Keith Law’s write-up:

    “Jordan’s track record is good enough that I’d hesitate to ever take a top 100 pick away from him while the team remains in building mode”

    Word.

  • Tomás

    LOL, I love MLBTradeRumors’ comments. Right now the most popular trade on the Atkins post is “Adam Jones straight up for Derek Lowe” and NOT trading Luke Scott.

    Oh man…gotta love young fans of other teams.

  • ryan97ou

    hmm…seems they’re thinking about putting a robinson statue in the median area where a lot of the food vendors set up before games.

    while i am all for said statue…i would hate to see the vendors be forced to head elsewhere, as that’s always an essential part of my gameday experience.

    i know…petty quibble compared to the moves made today…but i find it important. *shocker*

  • Andrew -

    a) Gonzalez doesn’t significantly help the club

    What???

    Explain yourself.

    Gonna have to do better than “Jim Johnson was fine last year”

  • Andrew

    @Joe the Guy – Gonzalez helps, but he nets us like a win or whatever to replace probably Dennis Sarfate. We could have found any number of other options – many of them basically free – to replace Sarfate in an effective way, and used Johnson as the closer, and been in the exact same position we are in right now.

  • Greg

    Atkins was signed as a temporary 3B option while Bell is in AAA. Atkins will likely slide to 1B until Snyder comes on board. It’s a fascinating idea to think that Atkins may have also been signed to lure Holliday here. I have no idea if than plan has any merit or weight, but signing Holliday would be an A+ move, considering that we could easily move Luke Scott for another relief pitcher.

  • dan the man

    @Greg – It’s hard to believe that any baseball players decides to go anywhere because their buddies are there. “Hey, honey, we’re moving to Baltimore… why? I really wanna play with B-Rob and Garrett!” I mean… it’s a nice thought, but I’m not holding my breath on that theory.

    I’m not yet willing to say, however, that any interest in Holliday is definitively “kicking the tires” only, or that’s it’s a “token” effort for the fans. No one seems to have a gauge on Andy. Roch’s post today discounting the rumors is probably right on, but he’s going on what Andy or anyone else with connections in the Warehouse gives him, which is basically nothing. So while yeah, it’s unlikely, I don’t think we can say, “oh well, a source in the Warehouse believes Holliday isn’t even on the radar, so we can forget that idea.” I don’t necessarily buy that, but I’m also not trying to say I believe the rumors either. I’m just saying nobody really knows.

    And I don’t buy anyone who says we shouldn’t go after Holliday because of Reimold/Pie/Scott. I mean, come on, we’d figure something out, believe me. It didn’t make a whole lot of sense getting Pie, but we made that work out.

  • dan the man

    Meanwhile… shit are the Colts really losing right now???

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    originally posted bydan the manMeanwhile… shit are the Colts really losing right now???

    ravens need the colts to come through big time. don’t screw us again indy.

  • Big Ben's Motorcycle

    ravens now sixth seed. now let’s do it boyz.

  • Andrew

    Hey gang, off-topic question: What were your favorite movies this year? I haven’t seen The Princess and the Frog or Sherlock Holmes yet (and I plan to), nor Avatar (which I don’t plan to see), but here’s where I stand I guess.

    1) Fantastic Mr. Fox
    2) Moon
    3) District 9
    4) Up
    5) Inglourious Basterds

    It was a really good year at the movies for me. Just curious what the rest of you are/were into

  • neal s

    @Andrew – I’m way lax on my movie watching lately but I’ll say that both Funny People and Brothers are excellent. Two Lovers was likewise quite good, but not quite in league with the other two.