A House of Cards

April 15, 2010 |

There is plenty of blame to go around for the wosrt start the Orioles have had since the 0-21 1988 season that saw manager Cal Ripken Sr. get fired after just 6 games (I think it was 6 if my memory is wrong please forgvie me).  This team is built upon a flawed foundation and like a house built on a bad foundation as you fix one problem other problems crop up.  Until the Orioles re-evaluate the way they conduct business this team isn’t going anywhere.  in the Midst of our 13th losing season this team picked right up where it left off at the end of last season and the season before, and most seasons before that since we started losing. 

We were led to believe and many of us started believing in this team based on the things Andy Macphail has said and done.  Like Rex has said on numerous occasions before this season people were putting too much stock in how good the team was going to be this year.  We needed to be more realistic but that being said I don’t think anyone envisioned 1-8 and it is only going to get worse with the west coast road trip and the yankees and red sox coming.  The Orioles very will could be 4-26 at the end of the first 30 games and if that is the case Dave Trembley will be fired. 

The Orioles foundation is built upon a house of cards.  On the surface at times they appear to be trying.  They have a regional network that is “supposed” to infuse money into the team.  We have a farm system that has gotten significantly better with all of this “young talent.”  We have gotten rid of the “bad apples” that were poisoning the team.  We have a new improved spring training facility that allegedly allowed the Orioles extra time to work on some of those lacking “fundamentals” (ie baserunning, bunting, etc.)  We have a back end of the rotation that is young but was expected to be the strength of the team in a lot of ways.  Matusz looks to be the real deal but Bergesen might never recapture the glimmer of success he had before his injury.  The front of the rotation is another matter all together.  We have a
“can’t miss” player in Wieters comparable to say Evan Longoria.  But the truth of the matter is we are myopic due to the 12 plus years of losing.

We have come to trick ourselves into believing that the Orioles are close to turning the corner in the next few years but we aren’t close we just appear to be close.  And we appear to be close because the Orioles are built upon a house of cards that to the general fan until this disastrous start looked solid.  This start has just exposed many of the problems that still exist.  MASN brings in money but the team still refuses to spend the money necessary to lure the pieces that they need to solidify this team.  Rex discussed in his five part blog yesterday how Macphail started off failing by not getting his man Joe Girardi.  In a lot of ways this illutstrates the Orioles flawed philosophy.  They wanted Girardi, he was available, and the right guy for the job.  Macphail had links to him and he traveled to Chicago to court him.  He did not however offer him a serious contract.  3 Million dollars for 3 years is not a serious offer to a guy that was considered one of the top managers in the game and available.  The Orioles routinely over this period of losing have also bought “affordable” players that were once productive but have seen better days.  We have some serious holes that the Orioles cannot fill with their farm system.  We do not have corner infielders, our second baseman is falling apart and aging, and our shortstop can field but that is about it.  We do have a catcher though.  Evidence of these holes are the Orioles always trying to fit square pegs in round holes.  We are a team of DHs, and guys without natural positions.  I mean we got Atkins for third base and he played that position half a season but he will “work” right?  We continue to put Ty Wigginton in the middle infield even though he cannot field, Mike Gonzales closed for maybe one season and has never really been a solid closer but he should work shouldn’t he? Every one that can hit is a potential first baseman for the Orioles right?  Where is the guy in our lineup who can hit 40 homeruns?  Were is the guy to fear?  Nowhere because we don’t have him. 

Its funny we are so blind that when a guy is average we get excited.  Markakis is a good player but he is not this all star some in Baltimore believe him to be.  Adam Jones he is an all star but every team has to have one right and he was ours…LOL.  Sure he won a gold glove but at this point he looks far from a gold glove centerfielder.  Wieters may be what experts expected him to be but he has a ways to go and by the time he is good the Orioles probably wont offer him a competitive contract and retain him.  The only player right now that I think the Orioles really have that I believe will be good is Matusz.  He looks to be a real pitcher.

So what can be done about this?  Well first I think the Orioles need to go out and get a manager that these cats will play for.  The aint playing for Dave Trembley and are regressing.  Lets face it how can they respect Trembley when the team doesn’t?  If the team thought Trembley was the guy then he wouldn’t have fallen into the job when Girardi didn’t take it and the certainly would have given him more than the one year contract they gave him at teh end of last season.  They don’t think he is the guy and he knows it.  Dave Trembley is a terrible manager.  He is not strategically a good manager.  I know from coaching baseball when a manager makes decisions that cost games or are perplexing the players begin to lose confidence.  Our players lost confidence the day Mike Gonzales blew his first save and the lost even more on the home opener.  The loss the other night that Matusz went into the 8th with a 4-1 lead was probably just another kick in the balls.  These players are dejected an deflated and Trembley needs to go and go now.  And don’t tell me you can’t fire a manager this early because you can.  Remember when the Rockies and Marlins fired managers in mid season?  Remember the results?  They were good if memory serves correct.  While you are firing Trembley fire the coaching staff as well.  Kranitz and Crowley are terrible.  Let the new guy pick his staff.  After you fire Trembley take some of that MASN money and go buy a good manager.  I don’t care what it takes but hire a guy like Ozzie Guillen that these guys will play for.  We need a no nonsense taskmaster that will buts skulls when he needs to.  After that go pay for some of the infielders we need or make trades.  9000 people at your home game the other night tells you we don’t care and you are running out of our money.  I think each passing loss opens the eyes of another apologist.  You wanna make money Angelos than spend some money you cheap bastard.  This is a foundation that has cracks all in it.  It is time to razz this building and rebuild a new one the right way.  Until then we will continue to suck.  We might even be worse then last year’s nationals the way things are going.