O’s Comment Box: Toxic Asset Relief

May 27, 2009 |

By now everyone has heard that Friday will be the day that we’ve all been waiting for.  Matt Wieters is slated to make his major league debut at Oriole Park at Camden Yards against the Detroit Tigers, three days before the Orioles embark on a six game road trip, with stops in Seattle and Oakland.  With only next Sunday’s game starting at a reasonable hour on the east coast, you’d better get your fill this weekend. 


The promotion of Wieters gives the Orioles the opportunity to write off another ‘toxic asset’ in Gregg Zaun.  Unfortunately, his $1.5M salary will probably keep him, his .216 average, AND his 4 RBI’s around for the rest of the year.  Here’s hoping the ‘mentoring’ process stops at the defensive level. 


Shedding Adam Eaton and his 8 ERA seemed to give the Orioles a little shot in the arm over the weekend.  Why not use Wieters’ promotion to reduce the roster’s average age a little more? 


Speaking of toxic assets, Felix Pie has had 5 at bats in the last 10 days.  It makes you wonder how Trembley really feels about the guy.  It kind of reminds me of Pop Fisher in The Natural, refusing to play Roy Hobbs.  Maybe Dave Trembley should have been a farmer instead of playing “wet nurse to a last place, dead-to-the-neck-up ball club…”  Man that was a great movie.


Anyway, it looks like Pie will get the start today against Halladay.  Thanks, Dave.


I’m not sure if it was the surprise announcement of Wieters’ debut that Andy MacPhail made during last night’s game, the debut of Jason Berken, the three home runs, or winning four out of five, or what, but there seemed to be a different air about things during and after the game.


Gary Thorne seemed truly surprised when MacPhail gave him and Buck Martinez the news about Wieters, and I’m sure Jim Hunter could barely control himself when the news reached him and Rick Dempsey.  He had a few innings to get himself together before O’s Extra, and prepare his comments to set the stage.    


The shaving cream pie to Berken’s face during his post game, on field interview with Amber Theoharis (who I thought conducted a reasonable interview for once), was just what you wanted to see.  Better yet, it was Adam Jones who led the attack on Berken.  Jones did a brief post-game interview with Theoharis in the locker room and continued to say the right things.  He mentioned it being about the guys on the mound setting the tone.  Ya think?


The outing by Berken probably wasn’t exactly what he had hoped for in his big league debut, but then again he’s probably used to pitching in front of much bigger crowds in Norfolk. He put a lot of guys on and had to work out of a few jams.  The amount of base runners drove up the pitch count, forcing his exit after only five innings.  He actually went to the dugout after the top of the fifth trailing 2-1, but the two run shot by Jones in the bottom of the inning put him in line for the win.  I can’t help but think about how Adam Eaton would have responded after the trying first and second innings that Berken endured.  Like Jones said, it’s about setting the tone.


Koji Uehara has been placed on the 15 Day DL and Luke Scott has been activated for today’s game.  It seems that David Hernandez will be promoted to start tomorrow night’s game.  A corresponding roster move will have to be made to accommodate Hernandez’s addition.  He has been scratched as the starter for Norfolk’s game today, all but assuring he is headed to Baltimore.  It will be interesting to see who will get bumped from the rotation when Koji returns.  For now, though, it looks like Bergesen, Berken, and Hernandez will fly west with the team on Sunday night. 


After winning four of five, the Orioles have made up some ground on the Red Sox.  After getting beat by the Twins last night (Justin Morneau is a beast, BTW), the Red Sox stand seven games ahead of the Orioles, with Dice-K taking the hill tonight for Boston against the Twins at the Metrodome.  A Twins win and an O’s win  would somehow put the Orioles at a respectable (?) six games back.  Is that right?  Can’t be.


I guess that puts the pressure Rich Hill today.  I’m betting he’s up to the challenge and keeps it close.  I’d like to see the O’s hitters work some counts against Halladay and get into the Jays’ bullpen, but it’s tough to do when all he throws is strikes.  Maybe the crowd will rattle him or something…