Random Orioles thoughts and questions

May 11, 2009 |

As I was at the Oriole game yesterday, I started engaging in conversation with the one Orioles fan in my section and we talked about a myriad of things about this team.

There are a couple issues that I touched about that I figured I would share with everyone, and here they are:

Melvin Mora, Danys Baez and Aubrey Huff:

All these of these players are aging and both Mora and Baez’s contracts are up at season’s end while Aubrey Huff is seeking an extension past next season.

At the beginning of the season, I did not think any of these three would or should be in the Orioles future plans, but now I am not so sure.

Once Mora went on the DL, I garnered a much bigger appreciation for how great and well rounded of a player he is.

Mora had a career high 104 RBI last season and he seems to make at least one sparkling play in the field per game.

The main problem is that Mora is 37 and he will probably demand a lot of money. The Orioles are not deep at the 3rd base in the farm system and I do not think Ty Wigginton is the long term answer either.

I hope the Orioles can find a way to bring back Mora, but I wouldn’t be surprised to see him in another uniform next season.

At the beginning of the season, Danys Baez was referred to by many Orioles fans as the worst free pick up in the history of the team. A month later, Baez has been the Orioles best pitcher and could possibly be the closer by season’s end.

Regardless of how well he pitches, this will likely be Baez’s last season in Baltimore and I am fine with that.

The Orioles have a lot of young arms that will be coming up to bolster the rotation thus forcing Mark Hendrickson to the bullpen. This will then set into motion another chain of events that should ultimately lead to waving bye- bye to Baez.

He is only 31 but I do not think he should be in the Orioles future plans, there are just way too many young arms that are ready to come up.

Aubrey Huff had more RBI’s last season then Alex Rodriguez did, and he believes he is worthy of a long term extension. The Orioles have some depth at first base in the farm system and tried out Luke Scott at first, which makes me wonder if they want to extend Huff’s contract.

I do not think that Huff can duplicate last season’s numbers but he is a top 10 first baseman when it comes to offensive production. Huff provides a big time left handed bat and the Orioles should try to bring him back.

Koji, this year’s Jeremy Guthrie:

The award the most hard luck pitcher goes to Koji Uehara.

In his last 5 starts, Koji has only yielded 11 earned runs, but has lost 3 of the 5 starts. His ERA has fallen from 5.29 to 4.01 in his last 5 starts, an earned run average that is more then adequate in the American League.

Opponents are only hitting .247 and he is striking out almost seven batters per nine innings. No matter how you break down the stats, Koji has the Orioles best starter.

If the Orioles continue their offensive ineptitude in his starts, Koji could be this year’s Jeremy Guthrie.

Closer by committee:

I have never been a fan of the “closer by committee” adage, but it might be the only option for the Orioles right now.

George Sherrill, Chris Ray, Danys Baez and Jim Johnson all think that they should be the closer, but they have failed to pitch well when the job seemed to be theirs. Jim Johnson, who I thought should be the closer, pitched yesterday in the 8th inning and blew a one run lead for this team.

Sherrill has proven to not be the answer and Dave Trembley has seemed to sour on using Sherrill has the full time closer. Switching to a set up role might be in the best interest of Sherrill and will be where he is the most effective.

For now it looks like the Orioles will go with a “closer by committee” but I think it would be best to just give to Jim Johnson. Bob McCrory should get some opportunities to close and he could be the Orioles closer of the future.

As usual there are many questions surrounding the Orioles. I think finally we have the right man in place and hopefully me makes the right decisions.