I figure all the blogs next week are going to focus on the Ravens, so I’ll do my Orioles report card for the 2008 season now.
I rated the team a C at the midway point because they were competitive and showed some promise of improvement. But oh, how the mighty have fallen, and fallen hard and fast right to the cellar.
I’ll start from the top:
Dave Trembley…. D He is frustrated and has lost the team. You simply can’t finish the last 6 weeks of the season 8-28. He did a lousy job handling the pitching staff early in the season and saw 7 of them end up on the DL or miss multiple starts because of injuries. Remember a few years ago it seemed like every prospect had arm troubles? He has to win next year of face being canned. 41-40 at the midway point was a start, but too many losing streaks, 15 on Sundays, 9 straight as I write this, and 4 other losing streaks of 5 or more games will cause lots of gray hair and disgruntled fans.
Jeremy Guthrie, Aubrey Huff, Nick Markakis…A All performed better than expected. Guthrie pitched his ass off and got little or no support. Huff had a career year and was cheered more than he was booed…what did he call Baltimore?….Markakis has been solid all year…100 walks, 100 runs.. Sign this guy to a long term contract.
Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora, Adam Jones, Luke Scott….B They had their ups and downs. Roberts remains the catalyst, Jones is showing promise , Scott is a decent role player, Mora got hot and carried the team on his back, but still has mental lapses in the field, and now he is starting to get hurt more often.
Jay Payton, Kevin Millar, George Sherril…C Payton played well in Jones’ absence, Millar is what he is and is steady in the field, Sherril went on DL but only had about 4 or 5 saves since July 1.. Can’t give him less than a C since he was an All-Star. That was the last game he looked like a real closer.
Daniel Cabrera, Brian Burres, Garrett Olson, Radhames Liz, and the rest of the bullpen…….D When you can’t throw strikes and end up allowing baserunners, you can’t win baseball games. PERIOD
Cintron, Fahey, Castro, Leo Hernandez, plus anyone else who played SS, Jamie Walker, Ramon Hernandez…. F Can you say SUCK, boys and girls?
Jim Johnson, Matt Albers……Incomplete. Both performed well until they got hurt. Lets wait until they play a full season before we really assess a true grade
Team… C-, playing .500 ball at the midway point was acceptable and entirely unexpected. In fact, many people were getting their hopes up. Playing .333 ball for the 2nd half is not acceptable and it showed in the attendance figures. They hit but couldn’t pitch, then they pitch but couldn’t hit, then they couldn’t pitch or hit. Contrary to what anyone may believe, they have not improved on the field of play but they have gained valuable experience. How far that experience will take them remains to be seen. Unless the owner pays a lot of money to improve morale, the beatings will continue.
Summary; I realize the Orioles weren’t supposed to win this season, but few people expected a last place finish and 16 games out of 4th place. This team has shown for the last 11 seasons they can’t win unless they spend money for some top-notch free agent players. They have needed a power hitting 1B and LF for years. SS is a major concern as is the C position. Experts say Matt Weiters will most likely start 2009 in Norfolk to gain more experience facing better pitching. Time to part ways with Cabrera, Walker, and Millar. Sign Markakis to a bonafide deal, get a decent defensive SS, power hitting 1B, and pitchers who can throw strikes and not have a 2 or 3 to 1 WHIP ratio.
So here we go with another season of NOT watching the Orioles play baseball in October for the 11th straight time. No wonder baseball isn’t important to many people after July. There’s nothing to talk about except negativity as far as the Orioles are concerned. Many people choose to ignore the Orioles after the Ravens begin playing instead of repeating all of the negative comments and complaints over and over and over and over and over and over and over and over…….(is that 11 times?)
Wait til next year!!!