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Possible Orioles Trade Targets (Part 2)

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Possible Orioles Trade Targets (Part 2)

Posted on 09 July 2013 by Brett Dickinson

After listing some possible trade ideas for the Orioles last week, the team went out and immediately made a deal.  The problem for me; I didn’t have Steve Clevenger or Scott Feldman on that list.  But the move was significant for several reasons.

Acquiring Feldman first off, allows for some flexibility with the entire pitching staff.  He has been a pretty good starter this season in the NL Central (which is arguably the second best division, behind the AL East).  Yet spent most of his career, while with the Rangers, as a middle-reliever; where he could end back up for the Orioles if the starting experiment doesn’t pan out at Camden Yards (it certainly didn’t Monday night).

For the rest of July, the Orioles will evaluate where Feldman is best suited, and possibly still make a move or two.  Baltimore does have holes in the pitching staff still and using Feldman to fill one of those roles, whether it be in the rotation or the bullpen, could have Dan Duquette looking in the other direction come the trade deadline.

The other reason the Feldman trade did make sense for the team; they didn’t move a single prospect.  This does leave some wiggle room for another bigger deal, if need be.  I mentioned before that the Orioles do have some coveted pieces, which they can view as expendable, due to the big league roster. Deals including, Jonathon Schoop (with Ryan Flaherty emergence and depth at 2B) or Henry Urrutia (with Orioles having arguably the best OF in baseball) could bring back a front of the line starter or big bat in return.

Here is the next installment of four possible trade targets for the Orioles:

 

Matt Lindstrom (RHP Chicago White Sox)

Matt LindstromNow this is dependent on Scott Feldman holding down a rotation spot, but the White Sox have listed anyone not named Chris Sale or Paul Konerko as available (probably adding in youngsters, Dayan Viciedo, Connor Gillaspie and Gordon Beckham). 

The Orioles obviously have a familiarity with Lindstrom, trading for him, and Jason Hammel, last season for Jeremy Guthrie.  He does have closing experience but is probably best suited in a set up role in the 7th or 8th inning.  His addition would add depth to a tired bullpen and a guy that can fill in a closer-by-committee role, if Jim Johnson continues his late inning struggles.  With a 3.06 ERA and a 27/17 SO to BB ratio, he is having a respectable season, but nothing that will command the Orioles moving any of their top prospects.

Projected Trade: Xavier Avery (OF) and Roderick Bernadina (OF) to the White Sox for Lindstrom.

 

Francisco Rodriguez (RHP Milwaukee Brewers)

Francisco RodriguezAgain any deal for a reliever depends on the major league depth come the end of July, but the player formerly known as “K-Rod,” would be a good fit for any contender, because relief pitching is so vital.  After a couple of problematic seasons in New York, Rodriguez has found his groove again in the set up role for the Brewers.  He has been virtually un-hittable (15 H in 21.2 innings), and rarely gives up any runs (1.25 ERA, 1.06 WHIP). 

When it comes to a trade, Rodriguez is the opposite of a Matt Lindstrom, as he has been dominant all season, with a great history behind him as well. The cost will definitely be pretty high; just think of the amount of quality players the Orioles received for Koji Uehara (not saying the Orioles will be giving up a future MVP though).  The Brewers will be looking for high potential guys that may have not panned out in the majors yet; similar to that of the young Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter and Pedro Strop the Orioles received in 2010.

Projected Trade: Steve Johnson (RHP), Henry Urrutia (OF) and Mike Belifore (LHP) to the Brewers for Rodriguez.   

 

Adam Dunn (1B/DH White Sox)

Adam DunnThe “Big Donkey” is playing at status quo for his career numbers; hitting .203 with 23 HRs and 57 RBI.  His power has always been ridiculous and would be a welcome addition to any American League team, which could fit him in the DH role. 

A left-handed power bat might switch up the Orioles lineup a bit; moving Jones behind Davis, to keep up the L-R-L order Buck loves.  But it might be beneficial to garner a legit threat behind the Orioles 1B in the second half, so pitchers do not have the option to pitch around him. Obviously, there will be a bidding war for Dunn but there will be a limited amount of suitors, since he is strictly a DH for most teams.

Projected Trade: Nick Delmonico (3B/1B) and Mike Wright (RHP) to the White Sox for Dunn.

 

Edinson Volquez (RHP San Diego Padres)

Edinson VolquezMoving Volquez will be highly dependent on where the Padres stand come the end of July.  Right now the NL West is the tightest race in the MLB, but things could change after the All-Star break.  If Volguez does become available, the Orioles should at least inquire about a pitcher with ace-type stuff. 

Though having a down year in spacious Petco Park is not encouraging, he was one of the better pitchers in baseball just a couple years ago (evident by who he has been traded for in the past: Josh Hamilton and Matt Latos).  He still has flashes of being dominant, evident by his .844 strikeouts per inning, but needs to mentally get back into the game.  If Volquez can drop his ERA to under 4.50 (currently at 5.33), the Padres could get a nice return for the 30 year old front-end starter.

Projected Trade: Zach Britton (LHP) and Zach Davies (RHP) to the San Diego Padres for Volquez and cash considerations. 

*All photos and stats courtesy of ESPN.com.*

 

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Please Baltimore – don’t let the NFL and Ravens turn you on the Orioles

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Please Baltimore – don’t let the NFL and Ravens turn you on the Orioles

Posted on 20 March 2013 by Drew Forrester

The longer “Opener-Gate” drags on, the more disappointed I am in the Ravens.

I expect the NFL to show their true colors and expose themselves as the greedy stuffed suits that they are, but I’m shocked that Steve Bisciotti and the Ravens have allowed the league to play them like they have this week.

My first reaction to the NFL trying to force the Orioles to move their September 5th home game vs. the White Sox is RIGHT HERE and nothing has changed since I authored that piece on Monday.  If anything, I’m even more convinced that the NFL has created this mess nearly all on their own and, even more bothersome, they’ve tried to get the Ravens to do their dirty work by having the football team put pressure on the baseball team to “do the right thing”.

I can’t afford the Napa Valley bottle of Silver Oak the way Roger Goodell can, but that doesn’t mean I’m stupid or naive to what’s really going on here.

This saga over the Ravens opening game in September is all about the NFL and NBC wanting to maximize the amount of money they make on the game.

That’s it.  Nothing else is an issue.  It has nothing to do with the Jewish community in Baltimore, it has nothing to do with the baseball team having a game here and it has nothing to do with the football fans in town “deserving” to have the season opener played in the stadium occupied by the defending Super Bowl champions.

Those are all elements of an argument conjured up by the NFL to take the spotlight off of one simple fact:  By playing the game on Wednesday night in Baltimore – or Tuesday night, even – they stand to generate less money in TV revenue from NBC.

The specifics of how the rates vs. ratings formula are discreet, naturally, but NBC goes out and sells the NFL product based on “expected ratings” and those numbers are derived from gobs and gobs of data they’ve accumulated over the years.  They then lean on the NFL to give them the best possible TV schedule (dates, opponents, etc.) so they can sit in front of the folks at Budweiser and Bridgestone and Toyota and and Wranger and say, “Here are the 20 NBC games in 2013…you’ll be paying us $7.3 million for two 30-second ads in those games and here are the ratings you can expect, starting with that THURSDAY NIGHT season opener that has turned into a rating’s bonanza.”  They’ll then explain that clients are expected to fork over $233,000 (a made-up number) for a 30-second spot in that game because “the data” shows that 18.3 million people watch a Thursday night affair as compared to 14.4 million on a Sunday evening.  In other words, NBC charges $184,000 for a Sunday night commercial but for that special season opening Thursday night contest, they can bilk the advertisers out of $233,000.

That’s good business if you can get it.

But you can’t get that “Thursday night rate” if the game is played on Wednesday night.  Why?  Because that data shows – as most recently as last season when the Giants hosted the opener on a Wednesday evening – that fewer people are tuned in on Wednesday evenings.  So, instead of $233,000 for a commercial, the Wednesday rate is more like $143,000.

And then NBC gets irritated that the NFL is circumventing the contract between the two and, obviously, hurting their ability to generate advertising revenue (which, of course, pays the bill that the NFL sends them) based on the Thursday night game they THOUGHT they were going to have which turned into a Wednesday night affair.

In summary, NBC might only generate $74.3 million in NFL-related revenue this season instead of $73.1 million.  Boy, I wonder which executives will have to take out a second mortgage because of that loss?

All because that petty baseball team in Baltimore wouldn’t just give up their Thursday night home game, right?

Well, that’s what the NFL wants you to believe.  And, I bet, it’s what the Ravens are going to continue to want you to believe as well.  That’s why Steve Bisciotti’s quote from Monday bothered me so much.  You know, the one that ended with him saying, “The Orioles could get this done if they wanted to get it done.”

Wrong, Steve.

You had the sentence right, just had the villains incorrectly portrayed.

“The NFL could get this done if they wanted to get it done.”

There, Mr. B., I fixed that for ya.

The league could just move the game to Wednesday or Tuesday, even, and that would be that.

Oh, and remember the NFL has already tried to use the Jewish holiday, Rosh Hashanah, as the “perfect excuse” for not wanting to play on Wednesday in Baltimore.  That theory was debunked in about 8 minutes by folks with the internet – and a brain – who quickly figured out the NFL has never before cared about any Jewish holiday when it comes to matters of scheduling.

No, folks, the game CAN be played on Tuesday or Wednesday in Baltimore and nothing about that would be wrong.

Same game, same hoopla, same chance for the fans to “revel with their championship team”.  If the game gets played on Tuesday or Wednesday in Baltimore, NOTHING at all changes about the celebration and/or the functional aspects of putting on a mammoth event such as the NFL season opener.

Nothing changes.

Except the NFL will hear some squawking from NBC, who won’t be able to get their desired “Thursday night rate” for a Tuesday or Wednesday broadcast.

It’s just greed, people.

That’s all it is.

And there’s also been some smarmy, smart-assness thrown in for good measure by the NFL and Roger Goodell.  I’m hearing he sent a message to the Orioles through a baseball executive that didn’t sit well with the folks at Camden Yards.  It went something like this:  ”You remind the Orioles that no matter what happens here, they’re going to be embarrassed.  If they don’t change the game and the Ravens are forced to go on the road, they stand to receive considerable backlash from the community.  And if they do play that home game on Thursday night and the Ravens play at 7pm on the road somewhere – on that Thursday night – they’ll have no one in the stands in Baltimore to watch the baseball game.”

Talk about bush-league, huh?

That’s your football Commissioner, playing hard-ball, because HE entered into a TV contract and HE promised the network they’d have a Thursday night game to open the season and HE just assumes everyone is going part the seas for him when he says, “get out of our way.”

There’s a solution to all of this and none of it involves the Orioles or White Sox, neither of whom should be forced to alter their September schedule for a football game.

Play the game in Baltimore on Tuesday or Wednesday.  Done deal.

In the meantime, I can’t finish this by reiterating how disappointing it is to see the Ravens adhere to the gang-up-on-the-Orioles mentality that the NFL kick-started on Monday.

This. Is. Not. The. Orioles. Problem.

Period, full stop.

I’m not much for predictions, mind you, but here’s one you can file away for kicks and giggles: There’s a chance the NFL will do the dumb thing and send the Ravens on the road to start the season.  The Orioles, of course, will get hammered for that by the people in town who aren’t sophisticated enough to see how this master plan has been drawn up by the NFL.  The Birds will get unfair criticism and lots of “those clowns just don’t get it” commentary from now until the football season begins.  Well – IF that happens — IF that happens — don’t be surprised if sometime in mid August the Orioles announce they have decided to move the Thursday, September 5th start date to 3:05 pm.  They’ll reach out to the White Sox and explain – like the NFL said way back in March – that “no one is going to come to the baseball game on September 5th if the Orioles are playing at the same time as the Ravens.”  They’ll slide the White Sox a $40,000 check for being nice, they’ll play the game at 3:05 pm, and then make it a point to remind their fans how “PR minded” they’re being by allowing them to watch baseball and then get home in time to watch their beloved Ravens kick off the season in (insert city here).

Wouldn’t that be a hoot?

Yes, it would.

Would it also be justified?

Yes, maybe it would.

 

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red sox o’s

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Forget the Home Field Advantage: An AL Team Will Win the World Series

Posted on 11 July 2012 by Big Chee

Wretched. Sucky. Lopsided. These are just some of the adjectives I stumbled upon on Twitter this morning that described last night’s All Star Game, an 8-0 blowout victory for the National League. Right out of the gate, Justin Verlander, arguably the best pitcher in the American League, surrendered 5 runs to give the National League a comfortable lead. From there, the American League had no answer for Cain, Gonzalez, Strasburg, Kershaw, Dickey, Hamels (you get the picture), and Melky Cabrera’s two run homer turned the game from a solid lead to a drubbing.

Speaking of Twitter, baseball fans on social media seem to be crying foul over the home field advantage the NL will earn once again in the World Series. I was not one of them, and I still believe that there is nothing wrong with adding a little competitive spirit to the Mid-Summer classic, I explained in my last blog on WNST.net.

However, in this 2012 season, let’s not spend too much time on this argument, because, quite frankly, it does not matter. This year, the American League’s individual teams are far superior to the National League, and it’s not even close. That can be evidenced by the fact that the American League went 142-110 (.563 win %) over the National League in interleague play this year, and the AL team with the best record (NY Yankees) swept the team in the NL with the best record (Washington Nationals.) Don’t get it twisted, I am well aware that the Texas Rangers have been victims of the American League losing two years in a row in the ASG, and if the Rangers had been home Game 7 last year, the results very well could have been different. However, one exhibition game in July cannot change the fact that there are five teams in the American League that are better than all in the National League,  even if it was a beat down. Here are the five teams that would beat the National League pennant winner in 2012, even if the game is held in the Nation’s Capital.

1.)       The New York Yankees

The Yankees are defying the post steroid era notion that achieving greatness is all about pitching. The 7yr/$161 Million Dollar Ace CC Sabathia has been solid, but his 3.45 ERA is far from spectacular. Ivan Nova might lead the staff with 10 wins, but his 3.92 ERA is even higher than Sabathia’s. Phil Hughes has been up and down all season, Andy Pettite is on the 60 Day DL and Hiroki Kuroda is simply an innings eater. Not to mention Michael Pineda’s season ending injury before the season even started, as well as the legend Mariano Rivera’s freak accident while shagging fly balls that put the rest of his career in jeopardy. This season could have been lost for the Yankees. However, they have the best winning percentage in baseball at the break, leading the Orioles by 7 games in the AL East.

In post steroid era ball where players in their 30s are supposed to be tailing off and fading into the sunset, the Yankee veterans only continue to shine. They lead the majors with 134 home runs as a team.  Derek Jeter at 38 years old is tied for 1st in hits in the American League with Miguel Cabrera. Nick Swisher is on pace for over 100 RBIs. Eric Chavez has shown flashes of the player he was in his prime in Oakland, his versatility and personality has been great for the clubhouse. Andruw Jones has been punishing left handed pitchers as of late. And let’s not forget that Robinson Cano and Mark Texiera’s important defensive ability. All Star Curtis Granderson continues to be worth the investment when they snatched him from Detroit before last season, he has 24 HRs at the break. This lineup is loaded 1-9 and even superb National League starters like Clayton Kershaw and Steven Strasburg cannot find relief in this lineup.

2.)       Texas Rangers

You may be wondering: How can the Texas Rangers be on this list when they have lost the World Series the past two years in a row without the home field advantage? Or you may be curious how the Rangers will fare after two integral pieces of their 2011 postseason out of the conversation this year. I’m talking their #1 last year, CJ Wilson, who left for Los Angeles and their preseason #2 starter Derek Holland who has been less than mediocre in 2012, spotting a 5.05 ERA at the break.

Production at the plate has been key for another successful season thus far in Arlington for the Texas Rangers, who sport the 2nd best record in baseball at 52-34, leading the Angels by 4 games in the West. You can make an argument that despite his recent cool-off from his historic April, Josh Hamilton had a MVP 1st half, batting .308, leading baseball in both HRs (27) and RBIs (75). Ian Kinsler leads the majors with 63 runs scored. Fellow All-Stars Elvis Andrus, Adrian Beltre and Mike Napoli are key contributors to the Rangers leading the majors in team average (.280), runs (443), hits (844) and RBIs (430).

The pitching staff inevitably will have to play a big part in this team’s success just like 2011, and there are new names that will do so. Despite a somewhat slow start by Yu Darvish, the $100 million man from Japan made the All-Star Team and continues to improve and adjust to the American game. Fellow All-Star Matt Harrison has been even better with an 11-4 record and 3.10 ERA. Roy Oswalt adds a veteran presence, even if he has been up and down. If the lineup just continues business as usual in dominating opposing pitching staffs, this should lessen the pressure of this staff to carry them to a World Series victory.

3.)       Los Angeles Angels

The Angels seem to get lost in the conversation for World Series favorites at the All-Star break, due to the fact that if the season ended today, they would face the Baltimore Orioles in a one game playoff for the wildcard draw in the postseason. They are 48-38, four games back of Texas in the AL West, probably short of the lofty expectations this team faced to start the 2012 season. The Angels made the biggest splash at MLB’s Winter Meetings, signing preseason favorite AL MVP Albert Pujols to a 10 year/$254 million dollar deal. In addition, they snatched up former Texas Ranger and Cy Young contender CJ Wilson to form a 1-2 punch with Jered Weaver that could be the best in the game.  While the Angels are getting slowly but surely getting back on track, their start to 2012 was not exactly a smooth ride. Pujols went 92 at-bats in the month of April without hitting a home run. Weaver & Wilson have been rock solid, middle of the rotation guys Dan Haren and Ervin Santana have been extremely disappointing with 4.86 and 5.75 ERAs, respectively.

I have not even mentioned Mike Trout, the best position player in the American League not named Josh Hamilton. The All-Star Game last night gave Trout national exposure. The baby faced 20 year old not only leads the American League in batting average at .341, but he gets himself in position to score more than anyone in the AL as well with 26 steals at the break. Mark Trumbo will continue his power surge and build off his 22 home runs. Torii Hunter is continuing to prove how valuable of a veteran he is on this roster in the #2 spot in the lineup as well as his defensive ability in the outfield. Manager Mike Scoscia has the experience and savvy to keep this team rolling in the 2nd half and in the playoffs. It would be shocking if the AL West does not produce two of the four teams in the Final 4 of the American League playoffs.

4.)       Detroit Tigers

Fittingly, the Tigers are mentioned right after the Angels, another team that failed to live up to expectations after they partook in an active offseason. Prince Fielder signed with Detroit for 9 years, $214 million making him the second biggest FA signing behind Pujols.  Ace Justin Verlander was the starter in the American League All Star Game. Yet this team is only 44-42 at the break and in 3rd place in the worst division in the American League, the Central.

Again, there is too much talent on this team for this to continue. Let’s start with the pitching staff. Don’t overthink Verlander’s meltdown last night in the first inning. He’s in contention for another Cy Young, as he leads the league with strikeouts at 128 and is 4th in the majors with a 2.58 ERA. Max Scherzer, 8-5, has been much improved and rookie Drew Smyly has hit the All Star break in stride, winning his last two starts and holding a 4-3 record into the break.

At the plate, Miguel Cabrera is certainly in the running along with Hamilton and Trout for AL MVP. He is hitting .324 and is tied in first with Jeter for hits with 111 , is 2nd in the AL behind Hamilton with 71 RBIs Right below the young phenom in batting average is Austin Jackson of Detroit, hitting .332. Prince Fielder has not been atop the league as far as statistics go, but his presence at the plate will be a huge factor in determining where the Tigers go in the 2nd half.

Finally, let’s not also forget their manager Jim Leyland. This guy has been in the game long enough and had plenty of success throughout his entire career to not let this slow start get his guys unraveled. His cool demeanor will allow for his players to bring it all together making a run to the World Series in 2012.

5.)       Chicago White Sox

However, the AL Central leading Chicago White Sox are my choice for the 5th team that would win the World Series against an NL team because they are better than any of the NL teams that will be in the World Series. Now hear me out on this one:

A good portion of this article has been in regards to the strength of the lineups of each of these teams. When you take a look at the White Sox, their lineup is certainly potent enough to compete at the next level. And just like the Yankees, the veterans are getting it done on the South Side. Let’s start with the resurgent Adam Dunn. Whatever it was that Dunn did in the offseason to get this mojo back after his disastrous 2011 campaign, it has turned him into a comeback player of the year candidate. He leads the American League in walks and is 2nd in HR with 25. How about Alex Rios? He is third in the AL in hits for the first place White Sox. Still think Team Captain Paul Konerko is not a Hall of Famer? He just made is 6th All Star Game and is 3rd in the AL in average at .329. Finally, if you’ve never heard of Alejando De Aza, it’s ok. But get to know him now: he’s 5th in the AL in runs scored and chipped in 15 SBs.

Speaking of guys one might not ever heard of, let’s move onto the pitching staff and ace Chris Sale. Sale has been so spectacular this season that he could have easily been selected to start last night’s All Star Game and who knows? Maybe it would have been worth watching All this 23 year old has done is spot a 2.19 ERA, .95 WHIP (both 2nd in the AL) along with 10 wins. Let’s not forget another member of the White Sox who could be mentioned as Comeback Player of the Year in Jake Peavy. He leads the team with 108 K’s, and just made his 3rd All Star appearance. Also, keep an eye on Jose Quintana in the 2nd half. In 8 starts he is 4-1 with a 2.04 ERA.

Even if you are just a casual baseball fan, you probably could have guessed the first four teams on this list.  As far as the fifth position, there are plenty of teams that can receive consideration. The Tampa Bay Rays starting rotation features All Star David Price which led the MLB last year in ERA. The Boston Red Sox started 2012 slow, but are slowly creeping into the Wild Card conversation and getting healthy. Let’s not forget about the great things that the Baltimore Orioles and Cleveland Indians have done this year! If those two teams acquire some big name pitching at the deadline, they could certainly be considered for a shot at the World Series.

So there you have it. There are the five teams that will beat the Dodgers, Nationals, Giants, Braves, Pirates or whoever the National League crowns champions and earns home field advantage in the World Series. Let the debate begin…

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