Oriole Nick Markakis joins chorus of anti-Orioles complainants

June 18, 2010 |

On Thursday, The Sun published Orioles tirade from one of the unlikeliest of sources–soft-spoken, Nick Markakis, previously known best for hitting .300, lacking power, balancing shopping carts on his chin, and generally being very quiet. Well, even the $66 million outfielder has had enough of the Orioles and their 18-48 record. Markakis told The Sun that the Orioles season has been “mind-boggling” and that at this point, everyone within the Orioles organization has to wonder, “Where are we going?”

Harsh but true words from one of the team’s only high-performing players. Markakis went on to defend hitting coach Terry Crowley and claims that one big offseason acquisition wouldn’t do nearly enough to make the team competitive.

In case you haven’t seen it, the full article is available here.

http://www.baltimoresun.com/sports/orioles/bs-sp-orioles-markakis-0618-20100617,0,1530282.story

So, who exactly is Markakis throwing under the bus? For some perspective, let’s take a look at the team’s current averages and on base percentage. Here they are from highest to lowest:

Markakis, N. .300/.394
Tejada, M. .276/.311
Wigginton, T. .273/.358
Scott, L. .271/.343
Patterson, C. .261/.320
Jones, A. . 255/284
Moore, S. .250/.289
Wieters, M. .230/.293
Lugo, J. .227/.267
Izturis, C. .222/.277
Atkins, G. .219/.282
C. Tatum. .216/.326
Montanez, L. .143/.158

Obviously, Markakis is in the best position to comment, as he is the only Oriole hitting .300. Tejada and Wigginton are veterans, and they’re practically superstars on this team full of has beens and never weres. Scott swings for the fences at times, but his season numbers aren’t bad, and Patterson is performing relatively well for a retread taken off the streets after the season had started.

Clearly, Markakis’ outfield compatriot, Adam Jones is not performing to his expectations, though he has hit in 8 of his last 10 games, so he appears to be making adjustments. Scott Moore and Craig Tatum aren’t integral parts of the team, just organizational guys who probably shouldn’t be in the bigs. Same with Montanez. I mean, calling him out is like kicking a puppy.

So who are the real culprits here? Who are the worst of the worst, the guys who really need to be singled out for being the worst hitters on a terrible team?

Certainly, the middle infield combo of Izturis and Lugo are punchless. Garrett Atkins is so pathetic, you almost feel bad for him because he has to trot out there and be the worst major league player in the game.

And then there is Matt Wieters, the “switch-hitting Jesus” who was supposed to be a part of the young core of talent. Right now, Wieters swing is long and loopy, when he decides to swing at all. Often, Wieters is whiffing or fouling off pitches early in the count, then staring at strike three. Just caught, like a deer in headlights, looking at a fastball on the outside corner. It’s hard to know if Wieters is simply going through a rough patch, or if his college and minor league projections were just overly optimistic.

When Markakis offers a referendum to the entire organization and asks where this is all headed, he’s not talking about the light-hitting shortstop, or even the hopelessly confused first baseman. He’s talking about guys like Jones and Wieters who are supposed to be a part of the big turnaround that Andy MacPhail promised as a part of his long term “plan.” And since he’s calling out the young guys, he’s also asking, to an extent asking, MacPhail himself, with guys like Jones and Wieters, “Where are we going?”

And why are we in this handbasket?

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