Orioles July Report card

August 06, 2009 | Keith Melchior

It is August 6th and the O’s are mired in last place, 17 games under .500.  Lots of good things have happened but the bad things just keep rolling on and on.

Brian Roberts- B  …I think he’s tired of losing and it shows sometimes—-

Adam Jones- A   …He is one of the few bright spots on this team. His All-Star at-bat was very productive. He won’t be a stranger to the All-Star game in the future -

Nick Markakis – B+  …He has been up and down but is still the best player on the team and still leads the AL in outfield assists—

Aubrey Huff – C-  .. His slump hurt his chances of being dealt to a contender, so why is this guy not hitting 6th or 7th? —

Melvin Mora – D..  A simple case of an older player thinking he is better than he really is. I didn’t realize he was second to Brooks Robinson in games played at 3rd base. Sadly, he never played a meaningful game or was part of a winning team while an Oriole, but he made a lot of money doing it —

Luke Scott – C … No clue what happened to him, but he had a terrible month of July at the plate. Still hitting a respectable .275 though —

Robert Andino - B.. Hasn’t done a thing to hurt his presence on the team—

Gregg Zaun – C..  He earned his spotty playing time by looking so bad for the first 3 months of the season. For a while I thought he was going to put up Wayne Gross numbers…10 HR and 20 RBI —

Felix Pie- C- ..  He has made the most of the playing time he got and hit close to .300 for July.  He has busted his butt working with the Crow but still looks way overmatched on occasion. He still doesn’t belong on this team. Can’t believe Trembley sent him up to pinch hit (strikeout) last Friday night

Ty Wigginton- B+ .. The team’s premier utility player, with some pop. He has been more productive with less at-bats than Mora. He should be playing every day until he stops producing —

Matt Wieters - B- .. He’s still growing up and can only get better. Hasn’t turned out to be the phenom that people believed he’d be from day 1, but he’s only been here 2 months..time will tell —

Nolan Reimold - B+.. Power numbers dropped off a bit in July but he’s still one of the top rookies this season. Why does Trembley feel the need to rest Reimold more often than Jones and Markakis and play Pie out there?  —

Cesar Izturis – B .. Came off the DL and played the way he did before the appendicitis. He’s adequate and solid at SS for what they get from him. -

Various Pitchers;

Jeremy Guthrie- C- ..  His stock is going down as the HR’s allowed pile up. Dempsey was making excuses for him after his last start. Maybe the Orioles were right in cutting his salary, maybe they should cut ties with this guy altogether  —

Koji Uehara - MIA  .. I thought they were targeting his return for late July. What’s going on? I haven’t heard a thing about him in almost a month -

Danys Baez – D .. The new home plate special…..DANYS GRAND SLAM   nuff said -

Brad Bergesen- A+  ..He has improved enough to be the Orioles ace this season. A very pleasant yet unexpected surprise —

Jason Berken - D.. He had endured butt kicking after butt kicking. I hope his psyche isn’t damaged. Hard to say what will happen to him in August and beyond. I think he deserves a chance to remain in the rotation and work things out. Don’t we have a pitching coach on this team?

Jim Johnson..  B  .. Has been a decent set-up guy. Now he is the closer with the trade of Sherrill to the Dodgers. Let’s see how he handles the job. -

Matt Albers- B .. Middle to late inning relief on the Orioles can be a good thing or a bad thing.  Albers hasn’t hurt his spot but throwing much gas on the fires. -

David Hernandez - B+.. Started 8 games and has a 3.28 ERA, best of the current starters. He earned a spot in the 2010 rotation.

Brian Bass- B … Still the most valuable long-relief guy the Orioles have. Tied for 2nd in wins with Hendrickson.

Mark Hendrickson – B .. Great move taking him out of the rotation. He’s been a pretty good reliever and has gotten out of a few tough jams.

Rich Hill-  F…  wow….talk about miserable… Look that word up in the dictionary and see Hill’s picture next to it. Now on the DL and probably shut down for the season. If he was hurt all year as he claimed he was, why didn’t anyone figure it out? Was it a slick way to remain on the team and get paid?  Of course.

Dave Trembley- D- .. Camera shots of him on the bench sometimes make him look  like he lost his best friend. After October 1, he’ll probably lose his job too. Good managers make adjustments and improvements, Trembley makes excuses. He’s got enough talent on this team to win ball games, but he isn’t getting the most from his players.

Flagship – D .. Like many people, I usually listen to Oriole games on the radio while driving to or from home.  Anyone heard the pre-game shows on the flagship station?  It’s really brutal. You get maybe 60 seconds of Tom Davis/Dave Johnson followed by 3 minutes of commercials, followed by another 60-75 second segment, then 3 more minutes of commercials. I know they have to pay the bills and try to recoup some of the money they invested in getting the broadcast rights, but OMG, it’s so hard to take sometimes.  And what’s with Joe Angel and the “Mr Jones” thing?  Fred Manfra still over-says the batter’s names.  I counted 23 times he said Luke Scott, Luke, Scott or the Oriole DH.  I have to turn it off when Manfra is doing play-by-play. Thank God for JACK and the classic rock stations.

MASN - F ..  What’s my defining moment?  Changing the channels when those stupid commercials come on. Buck Martinez and Rick Dempsey have to go.  Martinez sometimes sounds like he’s had too many adult beverages before the broadcast. And what’s with that hair?  Lately Dempsey has been very quick to make excuses. When they are on the road, the studio has those monitors in the background showing the same highlights over and over. That is pretty distracting. Are they trying to make it look like a professional news/sports broadcast studio. They are doing a terrible job for all the money they made off this network.

Team overall grade- D .. They claimed they weren’t going to win in 2009 and they are correct on that prediction.  They were 9-16 in July after starting the month 5-6 prior to the All-Star break.  They did finish the month on a 3 game “Sunday” win streak. Last month’s battle cry that had everyone buzzing was “the comeback.”  That is a distant memory.  This month it’s the 6-0 record the team has when a pitcher makes his major league debut. Next month (August) when the team is 30 games out and 20 games under .500, it’ll probably be GOOOOOO RAVENS!!!!!!

Future - The future is now as Wieters, Bergesen, Tillman, Reimold, Matusz, Hernandez, Jones, Roberts, and Markakis are all together on the field. That leaves Jake Arietta as the last remaining piece of the original McPhail rebuilding plan. With the addition of the AA 3rd baseman and pitcher coming in the trade for Sherrill, it appears the wheels are still turning to continue developing the minor leagues. The “arms” are here. Most likely they will all continue to perform under the Dave Trembley “100 pitches by the 5th inning = a quality start”  program.  Let’s see how they do.  

 This team needs to get rid of the stench from having a losing record in 12 straight and 13 of their last 15 seasons. Right now on August 6th, Dave Trembley’s 2 1/2 season managerial record is 153-208  (.423), the worst since Mike Hargrove’s .414 from 2001-2003. Hargrove finished at .425.  Sam Perlozzo’s record was .426 in a year and 2 halves. Even the much maligned Lee Mazzilli had a .479 winning percentage before the coaching staff he inherited stabbed him in the back. Ray Miller had the best managerial record in the post-Davey Johnson era with a .484 winning percentage. If ownership wasn’t pleased with Ray’s performance, then Trembley is definitely out. Then again, Ray Miller came in on the heels of the ALCS loss in 1997 and the subsequent Johnson/Angelos feud.  If they Orioles front office decides to let Trembley go, they should also fire all the coaching staff and let the new manager bring in his own coaches. Start fresh with a totally new attitude and that means no more ex-Orioles as manager or coaching staff, please!!!

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