Trade + Orioles = Failure

February 09, 2008 | Keith Melchior

The Oriole front office feels they are going in the right direction with the prospects they received in the Erik Bedard trade. They can feel that way if they want, but I don’t have the same warm fuzzy feelings, which I guess is why they are baseball executives and I write blogs. Today, the Sun devoted the better part of 7 pages trying to convince Oriole fans that the team is moving forward, so here’s my 2 cents worth..

The main man in the trade is Adam “I’m not Pac-man” Jones. He was Seattle’s minor league player of the year in 2005 and 2007, yet he hit .230 in 73 major league games. He also showed no patience at the plate for major league pitching, striking out a ratio of 7 times more than he walked. He also averaged 1 HR every 40+ at bats.  At best, he is the outfield version of Brian Roberts. Maybe his nickname will be “Hac-man” Jones.

George Sherrill looks like a good addition to the bullpen with Chris Ray ruled out for the season. He is the kind of strikeout relief pitcher they need, with a WHIP ratio of almost 1 to 1 last season. With no clue where the offensive run production is coming from, it will be up to the pitching staff to keep the games relatively close. I hope Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker are well rested. It could be a long year for those two guys.

The Orioles look like they are trying to build a frontcourt tandem with the other 3 pitchers though. At 6’5, 6’7 and 6’9, these guys could give the Terps a run for their money, but as baseball players, they are virtually unknowns. By getting young pitchers from another team, it leads me to believe the Oriole brass needs to look into the talent evaluating departments. Our drafted guys never seem to pan out over time. If you buy into the hype and writeups, they have great potential. We’ve heard that song and dance before. Remember Armando Benitez, J.J. Bautista, Jorge Julio, Ken Dixon, Brad Pennington, Ryan Minor, Juan Bell, Alvie Shepard, Jeff Stone, and Hayden Penn?  I think it was John Wooden who once said, “Potential means you haven’t done ANYTHING yet.”

It’s going to be the same old, same old for the Orioles in 2008. With 19 dates full of either Yankees or Red Sox fans filling Camden Yards (do you believe that place is 17 seasons old already?) that leaves 62 dates with crowds barely filling one third of the stadium. Again this year, they have NO power-hitting outfielder or 1st baseman, so where is the HR production coming from, Melvin Mora and Aubrey Huff? If you believe that, have another swig on the jug with the XXX written across the front.

Believing in a youth movement doesn’t work in this day and age, not when the Red Sox, Mets, Angels, and Yankees are spending big bucks to ensure their spots in the post-season. The Orioles will attempt to find a way to keep the interest of the few thousand fans they have left until Ravens’ training camp opens. I hope I am wrong and they are competitive enough to play meaningful games after July 4th. I just can’t see it happening though, not with this roster.

My prediction: 60-102 and firmly entrenched in last place in the AL East.

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