Tag Archive | "Dan Duquette"

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Orioles promote Anderson to vice president of baseball operations

Posted on 19 February 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Tuesday the following promotions to their baseball operations staff:

Brady Anderson, previously the team’s Special Assistant to the Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, is now the club’s Vice President of Baseball Operations.

Ned Rice, previously Assistant Director of Major League Operations, is now Director of Major League Administration.

Mike Snyder, formerly Assistant Director of Scouting and Player Development, is now Assistant Director of Player Personnel.

Bill Wilkes, formerly Coordinator of Baseball Operations, is now Manager of Baseball Operations.

“These promotions reflect the significant contributions and commitments Brady, Ned, Mike and Bill have already made to the Orioles organization,” said Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette. “They are valuable members of the baseball operations department, and I feel confident they will continue to excel in their new and expanded roles.”

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Key word for the Orioles in 2013?  Same one as 2012…”luck”

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Key word for the Orioles in 2013? Same one as 2012…”luck”

Posted on 13 February 2013 by Drew Forrester

My first baseball blog of 2013.

And it’s February 13.

Then again, there’s not really been any legitimate reason to write about the Orioles since January 1.  First, the football team kept us all in constant contact with Purple Fever, which made writing and opining about anything BUT the Ravens a waste of time.  And, obviously, the Orioles haven’t done anything worth commenting on…unless you count the signing of a broken-down Jair Jurrjens as a move deserving of evaluation.  I didn’t.

But, with pitchers and catchers reporting on Tuesday and the rest of the players showing up by Friday, it’s clearly time to start discussing our orange-feathered-friends with an eye towards the 2013 campaign.

As our very own Luke Jones assessed RIGHT HERE on Tuesday at WNST.net, it’s been a listless off-season for the Birds.  They commenced the hot stove period with question marks and issues worth considering at first base, second base, left field and starting pitching.

The team convenes in Sarasota with none of those problems either completely addressed or improved upon, truth be told.  Rather than go out and get a real first baseman, they simply promoted a formerly-failed glove with a decent bat in Chris Davis.  Not knowing whether or not Brian Roberts will ever return to form, the club elected to add a half-player in Alexi Casilla rather than create a sea change by sending Roberts on his way and giving the job to an everyday major-leaguer.  Left field was rescued in large part by Nate McLouth in 2012, but anyone willing to bet that he will duplicate his form of a year ago is just hoping for the sake of hope.  Oh, right, the team still believes Nolan Reimold can stay healthy and be a threat at the plate and share the left field position with McLouth.  The team likely believes in the Tooth Fairy, too.

In fairness, if the Orioles can get the same yield from guys like Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez, the 2013 starting rotation might not be all that bad.  Would it have been good to see the Orioles make a play for Zack Greinke or Dan Haren or, like Toronto, make a trade to bring in the likes of Josh Johnson and/or Mark Buerhle?  Sure.  But those players all cost money.

While the Birds clearly didn’t do anything in the off-season to improve their team, it’s accurate to note that the Blue Jays wound up being the only A.L. East club to appear as if winning was going to be important to them in ’13.  Boston’s going to stink again, the Yankees appear to be hard-pressed to be an 85-win team and Tampa Bay traded away some of their good young arms to Kansas City for high-level prospect types.  Sadly, had the Orioles actually added a handful of quality players over the last four months, they might legitimately be the favorite in the division.

My guess on 2013?  Pretty simple.  As The Killers showed with their first album, it’s awfully hard to catch lightning in a bottle two times in a row.  I’m going to assume the luck that guided the Orioles through 2012 ran its course a year ago and that same good fortunate bestowed upon the Birds by the baseball gods will instead go to the Royals or Mariners or Brewers or (insert team here) in the upcoming season.

2012 was a fluke season for the Orioles.

I said before the first game a year ago they’d go 79-83 and everyone in town thought I was nuts.  Obviously, I had no idea how lucky things would turn out for them.

I think they’re an 85-win team in ’13, but that won’t be nearly enough to get them into post-season play.  After 14 years of horrible baseball, I suppose we should be happy with back-to-back seasons of plus .500 play, but the Birds turned 95 wins into 85 wins in the off-season by dumpster diving for guys that no other team in the big leagues cared to take.  That philosophy worked a year ago but I can’t see lightning striking twice in the same place twelve months apart.

I’m hoping for the best, because I enjoyed the hell out of 2012, but you can’t count on luck to take you places.  At some point, you have to try to win.  And you do that by adding quality, not gambling on also-rans who swallowed the pill-of-good-fortune and put together a few good months of baseball.

I’d love to be wrong about this group.

I hope like hell they get as lucky this year as they did last season.

But I’m not counting on it.

 

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Orioles’ listless offseason leaves sour taste instead of excitement

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Orioles’ listless offseason leaves sour taste instead of excitement

Posted on 12 February 2013 by Luke Jones

This was supposed to be the most exciting start to spring training of the last 15 years as Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Sarasota on Tuesday.

To be fair, it still is as the Orioles come off their first playoff appearance since 1997, but that wasn’t exactly a daunting standard to top after a string of 14 consecutive losing seasons was snapped last year. However, that positive feeling isn’t nearly as overwhelming as it should be as we hear the predictable reports this week of players being in the best shape of their lives and others eyeing career seasons after making adjustments over the winter.

Even with the memory of the Ravens winning the Super Bowl fresh in our minds, the city should be abuzz over the Orioles after one of the most exciting seasons in the 59-year history of the franchise in which a club expected to finish fifth in the American League East won 93 games and prevailed in the inaugural AL Wild Card game to advance to the AL Division Series. But instead of using the success of 2012 to springboard the Orioles to new heights and capitalizing on their karma with a productive offseason, the Orioles and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette largely stood pat.

The Orioles appeared dormant to put it mildly while harsher critics believe Duquette and the front office rested on the laurels of the unlikeliest of seasons instead of striking while the iron was hot to add talent to a roster that overcame countless flaws last season. No matter how you want to describe or justify it, the Orioles didn’t do enough to make improvements to a club that deserved better after one of the most remarkable seasons in team history. They didn’t spend money or even pull the trigger on a notable trade like they did last year when they sent veteran starting pitcher Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado for pitchers Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom, a move that worked beautifully for the Orioles.

This winter, Baltimore parted ways with first baseman Mark Reynolds and pitcher Joe Saunders, re-signed left fielder Nate McLouth, traded second baseman Robert Andino, and acquired infielders Alexi Casilla, Danny Valencia, and Travis Ishikawa. That essentially brings you up to speed if you were hibernating all winter and aren’t concerned with a few other waiver-wire additions and minor-league signings, which — in fairness to Duquette — could bring this year’s version of Miguel Gonzalez or McLouth to light at some point.

The idea of parting ways with Reynolds would have been acceptable had the Orioles found an upgrade such as signing veteran first baseman Adam LaRoche or trading for Kansas City’s Billy Butler, but they elected to solve the problem from within by sliding Chris Davis to the position. In turn, that’s created a question mark at designated hitter as a platoon of Wilson Betemit and a right-handed bat to be named later will be counted on to hold down that spot in the order.

Instead of looking to the free-agent market to find an established bat such as veteran Torii Hunter — who signed a two-year, $26 million deal with Detroit — to man left field, the Orioles will pray for the health of Nolan Reimold and hope McLouth can build on two strong months of play last season that resurrected his big-league career from life support.

Few expected the Orioles to be players for the top commodities on the market — outfielder Josh Hamilton and starting pitcher Zack Greinke — but “kicking the tires” was as far as the organization was willing to go on any free agent of even modest note. Avoiding a $150 million contract is understandable and even prudent, but avoiding the open market like the bubonic plague is disappointing.

Duquette vowed that the Orioles would look to acquire a middle-of-the-order bat and another veteran starting pitcher but has done neither to this point. While it’s true the free-agent market was lukewarm in terms of talent, take a look at the number of trades that went down around the big leagues this winter and you’ll find plenty that didn’t involve an organization parting with its top prospect, dispelling the notion that the Orioles would have needed to part with top pitching prospect Dylan Bundy to fetch anything of value.

Their payroll did climb as the Orioles dealt with a number of arbitration-eligible players in line for raises, but that’s simply the price of doing business and not a real reflection of trying to improve your club. The payroll increased from an estimated $84 million in 2012 to closer to the $90 million range at the start of spring training.

All those excuses sound too familiar for an organization that appeared to turn the corner last season. Instead of building on their success, the Orioles didn’t spend money or make a single addition — and, no, re-signing McLouth wasn’t an addition since he was already in Baltimore — that appears primed to help move the meter in the AL East.

It’s disappointing after such an enjoyable year.

In truth, there are still plenty of reasons for optimism as All-Star players Adam Jones and Matt Wieters are in their respective primes, talented 20-year-old third baseman Manny Machado will play his first full season in the majors, and Bundy and 2012 first-round pick Kevin Gausman could make an impact before the season is over.

A rotation including Hammel, Gonzalez, Wei-Yin Chen, and Chris Tillman appears promising, but all four are also coming off career seasons that will need to be built upon. The names vying for the fifth spot in the rotation haven’t changed as Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, and Steve Johnson are all in the mix.

One of the best bullpens in baseball from last season remains intact, but relievers are also as unpredictable as the stock market from year to year.

Maybe the Orioles will be poised to finish 29-9 in one-run games and win 16 straight extra-inning games as they did last season, but both figures were historically remarkable and more anomalies than standards you could possibly expect to repeat, even with a shrewd manager such as Showalter.

Instead of a offseason that included a couple impact acquisitions to augment the progress made last year, we’re once again left with too many ifs and maybes, a familiar story for a organization with a group of players that deserved much better after the work they put in last season.

To truly feel confident in the Orioles’ ability to build upon the magic of last season — or even maintain it — Duquette, the front office, and ownership needed to take advantage of that fortune and simply didn’t. Finally poised with an opportunity to sell Baltimore as one of the most desirable destinations in all of baseball and Showalter as a manager players would love to play for, the Orioles instead stood pat with the hope that lightning would strike twice this season.

The Orioles may still compete this season, but a listless offseason did nothing to build confidence that they will do it again.

We’ll still look forward to spring training more than we have in a long time, but it could have been that much more exciting.

And I suppose the Orioles will once again need to prove us all wrong.

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Reaction to the passing of Orioles manager Earl Weaver

Posted on 19 January 2013 by WNST Staff

“Earl Weaver stands alone as the greatest manager in the history of the Orioles organization and one of the greatest in the history of baseball. This is a sad day for everyone who knew him and for all Orioles fans.

Earl made his passion for the Orioles known both on and off the field. On behalf of the Orioles, I extend my condolences to his wife, Marianna, and to his family.”-Orioles owner Peter Angelos, via a team release.

“Every time I look at an Oriole, it’s going to be missing a feather now without Earl.“-Orioles manager Buck Showalter 

“Earl was such a big part of Orioles baseball and personally he was a very important part of my life and career…and a great friend to our family. His passion for the game and the fire with which he managed will always be remembered by baseball fans everywhere and certainly by all of us who had the great opportunity to play for him. Earl will be missed but he can’t and won’t be forgotten.”-Cal Ripken Jr. 

“I would say that Earl Weaver had the greatest impact on me as a baseball player-more than anyone else. He was tough to get along with and only cared about winning, but he is the reason why Oriole baseball is what is today. Earl was a genius and a Hall of Fame manager, and the closest that’s ever got to that is the man we have right now in Buck Showalter.”-Former Orioles catcher and MASN broadcaster Rick Dempsey.

“It’s a sad day for Orioles fans and all of baseball. Earl certainly was one of the greatest managers. To me, his greatest strength was his ability to get his players to focus on playing the game on a daily basis. The results were many wins, and a Hall of Fame career.”-Former Orioles OF Ken Singleton, who played for Earl Weaver from 1975-1982.

“O’s and MLB family lost a great leader yesterday. Earl Weaver wasn’t blessed with height but if u measured his HEART he was a 7 footer.

The man lived a great life. I think it should be a celebration. 82 years is a remarkable feat.”-Orioles OF Adam Jones

“[Earl] was a strange, intense but unforgettable man…a big part of my youth.”-Broadcaster and longtime Oriole fan Roy Firestone.

“It’s a sad day, obviously. Earl was a terrific manager and I have to be grateful that Earl was with us for the Legends Series and we got a chance to spend time with him for every single statue ceremony unveiling. He is terrific. His simplicity and clarity of his leadership and his passion for baseball are unmatched. He’s a treasure for the Orioles and we are so grateful we had the opportunity to work with him this year.” -Orioles Executive VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette

“Really sad to hear about that today.  He meant a lot to this city and to this organization.  You wouldn’t want to be anywhere else for today to spend all day with Oriole players and thousands of Orioles fans just to remember everything about him.” -Steve Johnson, Orioles Pitcher

“It was the perfect relationship. We won, he was tough, we got our World Series checks. It worked…you don’t ever forget an Earl Weaver. And not just if you were an umpire. Fans, players, everyone…Earl was about winning and that was what he did.

It’s a sad day for any of us that knew Earl but it’s also a sad day, I think, for anybody that has been involved with Orioles baseball. We were lucky to have him here because he did end up in the Hall of Fame. He managed some marvelous teams. But I think now we all share the pain of him being gone.

Earl never wanted to be your friend because I think he thought it would detract from his ability to be a manager.  But the one thing he did want to do — he let you know that he was loyal to you by putting your name in the lineup. You can’t really ask for much more than that.

One of the great stories is Mike Flanagan came up to me and said ‘One year you had pitched 5 innings. It was your second or third time out at spring training and you were running foul line to foul line. He (Earl Weaver) called me over to the bench and said you see that guy out there? And Mike said you mean Jim Palmer? He said yes, just do what he does and you will be fine here in the big leagues’. Mike would always tell me that and I almost wanted to call Flanny to tell him that Earl had passed away. But he (Earl Weaver) said if you do what he does things are going to take care of themselves. Couple of years ago up at the Hall of Fame, the night before the induction I told him that story and said one of the biggest compliments you ever paid me, not directly to me, was what you told Mike Flanagan.  He looked at me and said I just didn’t tell Flanagan, I told everybody…” -Former Orioles Pitcher Jim Palmer

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Orioles extend Showalter, Duquette through 2018 season

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Orioles extend Showalter, Duquette through 2018 season

Posted on 16 January 2013 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Wednesday contract extensions through the 2018 season for Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette and Manager Buck Showalter.

A veteran of over two decades in baseball operations at the Major League level, including 11 of those seasons in a general manager role with the Montreal Expos, Boston Red Sox and Orioles, Duquette, 54, has utilized strong scouting and player development to construct contending franchises. In 2012 the Orioles made a 24-game improvement from the previous year to finish 93-69 and win the American League Wild Card. Players acquired by Duquette, including Jason Hammel, Wei-Yin Chen, and Nate McLouth, played key roles in the club’s successful season.

Duquette’s eight seasons as Executive Vice President and General Manager of the Red Sox from 1994 through 2001 included three playoff teams (1995, 1998 and 1999), and his acquisitions helped lay the groundwork for the club’s World Series championship in 2004. The club made the playoffs in back-to-back years in 1998 and 1999, the first time in 80 seasons the franchise had accomplished the feat.

Prior to joining the Red Sox, Duquette spent six seasons with the Montreal Expos, including a two-year stint as Vice President and General Manager from 1992-1993. Duquette was instrumental in assembling Expos teams that compiled a 255-183 record, best in baseball, from 1992-94 despite one of the lowest payrolls in the game.

Showalter, 56, became the 17th full-time manager of the Orioles on August 2, 2010 and has led the club to a 196-185 record in 381 regular season games. He piloted the Orioles to a trip to the American League Division Series in 2012, the franchise’s most wins and first playoff appearance since 1997.

On May 1, 2012, Showalter became the 58th manager in major league history to win 1,000 games when the Orioles defeated the Yankees. He enters the 2013 season ranked 49th all-time with 1,078 wins and is sixth among active managers.

In each of his managerial posts, Showalter has overseen a double-digit win improvement in his second full season with a club. He led a 24-win improvement in 2012 with the Orioles, an 18-game improvement in 2004 with Texas, a 35-game improvement in 1999 with Arizona and a 12-game improvement in 1993 with the Yankees.

A two-time Manager of the Year award winner (2004 with Texas and 1994 with the Yankees), Showalter was honored with The Sporting News version of the award in 2012, and finished 2nd to Oakland’s Bob Melvin for the official BBWAA award.

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Orioles pick up McFarland from Indians in Rule 5 draft

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Orioles pick up McFarland from Indians in Rule 5 draft

Posted on 06 December 2012 by WNST Staff

The Orioles had some success last season with their Rule 5 pick in INF Ryan Flaherty, and in Nashville, Baltimore Executive Vice President Dan Duquette felt like there were players that could make the team better in 2013.

With the 23rd selection in the Rule 5 draft, the Orioles selected 23-year old left-hander T.J. McFarland from the Cleveland Indians organization.

McFarland, a sinkerball pitcher and fourth-round pick in 2007, went 16-8 with a 4.03 ERA in starts between Double-A and Triple-A Columbus.

At the Triple-A level, he was 8-6 with a 4.82 ERA.

McFarland will be given a chance to compete for a starting spot in the Orioles rotation, and like Flaherty, he must be kept on Buck Showalter’s 25-man roster for the entire length of the season or be offered back to the Indians.

Follow WNST on Twitter for your Orioles and Ravens news! WNST-We Never Stop Talking Baltimore Sports!

 

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Something’s not adding up in the Mark Reynolds saga

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Something’s not adding up in the Mark Reynolds saga

Posted on 01 December 2012 by Drew Forrester

I always have to say this when the conversation comes around to Mark Reynolds.

I wouldn’t have him on MY team.  Even at first base, where he was acceptable with the glove, the holes in his offensive game were so gaping and costly that he wouldn’t be employed by me.

But I don’t run the Orioles.

And for the last two years, they’ve employed Reynolds.

For the last seven weeks or so, Dan Duquette could have negotiated a new deal with him.  He could have offered him arbitration.  Or he could have picked up an $11.5 million option for 2013 just to see what one more season would yield from Reynolds.

Instead, Duquette and the Orioles simply said, “we’ll pass”.

That makes Reynolds a free agent this morning.

And, despite the fact I wouldn’t have him on MY team, the Orioles are now in the market for a “real” first baseman after deciding to let their guy leave and test the market.

Here’s why it’s all wrong:  The Orioles have let Mark Reynolds go because of a few million dollars.  They could have given him $11.5 million and he’d be on their team, albeit perhaps at $4 million more than the team thinks he’s worth.  They could have signed him to a 2-year deal for roughly $20 million, but they probably only thought he was worth $16 million for two years.

Dan Duquette keeps talking about the Orioles “valuing” Reynolds, but they won’t sign him because they can’t fit him in their budget.

Or they simply don’t want him back and they’re lying about it.

Either way, Dan Duquette has publicly declared that Reynolds doesn’t “fit in our budget” for 2013.  What budget in baseball is so restricted in December that a GM can’t weasel a few more million bucks out of the owner to keep a player who has been a fixture in the team’s lineup for the last two years?

It’s one thing if Duquette says, “We wish Mark all the best but we’re going to go in a different direction at first base.”

Instead, he has constantly said, “We like the player, but not at that price.”

And yesterday, on the eve of letting Reynolds walk, Duquette again referenced the team’s budget and talked about “financial challenges”.

Something’s not adding up here.

(Please see next page)

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Deadline looming to offer contract to Reynolds

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Deadline looming to offer contract to Reynolds

Posted on 27 November 2012 by Luke Jones

Having until Friday to tender contracts to arbitration-eligible players, the Orioles are appearing more and more unlikely to do so with first base Mark Reynolds, meaning he could hit the open market by the end of the week.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette already declined an $11 million club option last month — for which Reynolds was paid a $500,000 buyout — and the Orioles appear to be lukewarm to the idea of taking the 29-year-old to arbitration where he could command somewhere in the neighborhood of $9 million. Reynolds made $7.5 million in 2012 and would likely receive a raise in arbitration despite hitting only 23 home runs — his lowest total since his rookie season — and posting a career-low .429 slugging percentage this year.

According to a MASN report, the Orioles are attempting to sign Reynolds to a new deal prior to Friday’s deadline, which would pay him a lower salary than the projected figure he’d be awarded in arbitration but would likely offer the first baseman more security with an extra year or two on a deal while coming off arguably the worst season of his career. Reynolds batted .221 with 23 home runs, 69 runs batted in, and a .335 on-base percentage in 538 plate appearances.

After committing six errors in 15 games at third base early last season, Reynolds moved to first base where he showed improved defense, even if fielding metrics suggest many have overrated his work at the new position. Despite the defensive concerns being alleviated last season, Reynolds drop in power was a major concern after he slugged 37 home runs in his first season with the Orioles.

Few would dispute the premise of the Orioles trying to upgrade at first base, but the limited options on the free-agent market make it difficult to swallow the idea of simply allowing Reynolds to hit the open market, where he would be viewed as one of the better options at first base. Aside from veteran Adam LaRoche, who will command much more money than Reynolds’ arbitration projection, other options at first base include Mike Napoli, Lance Berkman, James Loney, and Carlos Pena.

Of course, the Orioles could elect to move Chris Davis to first base if they’re unable to work out an agreement with Reynolds, but they would then have to address the designated hitter spot in addition to left field, where they are still hoping to re-sign Nate McLouth to an affordable contract.

Despite his flaws, Reynolds still might be the best of the realistic options available as he likely would be motivated to prove his down year was an aberration if he were playing on a one-year deal. It’s also important to remember the former third baseman shed 20 pounds in order to improve his agility at the hot corner last offseason, which might be a factor in explaining his decreased power numbers in 2012. Knowing he’s now viewed as a first baseman, Reynolds could elect to add extra bulk to his frame to help revitalize his power numbers.

Looking beyond the low batting average and high strikeout numbers that give traditional fans fits, Reynolds holds more value than most realize if his power numbers were to return to the 2011 level in which he finished fourth in home runs in the American League. In 2012, he led the club in walks (73) and had the second-best on-base percentage on the club behind Nick Markakis despite playing in only 135 games.

Even at a projected $9 million price tag in arbitration, a third season of Reynolds with no commitment beyond 2013 would appear to make sense with a final chance to evaluate whether he’s part of the long-term plans at first base, but it’s looking like the Orioles appear content to let him hit the open market where it will be more difficult to retain his services. It’s a bold move considering the few options out there and the limited commodities in the farm system to offer in a trade, so it will be interesting to see if the club ultimately allows Reynolds to walk if contract talks are unsuccessful and Duquette is forced into making a decision on Friday.

The Orioles have a total of 14 arbitration-eligible players this offseason, which include:

INF Alexi Casilla
DH/OF Chris Davis
P Jason Hammel
P Tommy Hunter
P Jim Johnson
P Brian Matusz
P Darren O’Day
P Troy Patton
OF Steve Pearce
INF Omar Quintanilla
OF Nolan Reimold
1B Mark Reynolds
C Taylor Teagarden
C Matt Wieters

Third-base coach options

With former third-base coach DeMarlo Hale officially leaving the Orioles to become the new bench coach for the Toronto Blue Jays, the club is now looking at several candidates to replace him on manager Buck Showalter’s staff.

Various outlets are reporting former Rockies third base coach and former Orioles second baseman Rich Dauer and former Indians and Rangers third base coach Steve Smith as the primary outside candidates to take Hale’s place. Dauer would be the sentimental favorite and has extensive coaching experience in the big leagues while Smith has familiarity with Showalter, serving as his third base coach in Texas.

Former Seattle Mariners manager Don Wakamatsu would also be an intriguing candidate after he nearly became the Orioles bench coach a couple seasons ago. He served as Showalter’s bench coach in Texas but also has experience as a third-base coach.

As for internal candidates, coordinator of minor league instruction Brian Graham and minor league infield coordinator Bobby Dickerson are reportedly on the short list.

Local product moves on

CONTINUE ON NEXT PAGE >>>

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Just Say No to Josh Hamilton

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Just Say No to Josh Hamilton

Posted on 08 November 2012 by Thyrl Nelson

It’s a bad pun, I know, and despite reports to the contrary there’s not an ounce of me that believes that the legendarily tight-fisted Orioles have any real intentions of bringing in Josh Hamilton through free agency, but it’s the first week in November, still months away from pitchers and catchers reporting and the suddenly “frustrating” Ravens are preparing for an anti-climactic match up against the Oakland Raiders. So just for a second let’s pretend that the Orioles rumored interest in Josh Hamilton is real.

If there’s any part of this “news” that Orioles fans can view as a positive, it’s that maybe the Orioles are (or will be at some point) genuinely interested in spending some money to bring in some veteran talent. The down side is that there’s little to be excited about at the top end of this year’s free agent class, and that those leading the talent parade, Josh Hamilton and Zach Greinke, both have enough question marks to make “Buyer Beware” the understatement of the off-season.

 

On the surface, this seems like little more than an Orioles effort to do what they’ve become really good at in recent off-seasons. It seems like another Orioles attempt to insult their fans’ intelligence by feigning just enough interest in a free agent superstar to grab a headline or two, but not enough interest (or money) to actually catch said superstar’s attention. There’s no better time than now to do that, as the market hasn’t begun to be set on Hamilton yet, so whatever the Orioles are wiling to offer today is better that any of the numbers we’ve heard so far. That’s because so far we haven’t heard any real numbers, from the Orioles or anyone.

 

This is the same Dan Duquette who claimed last off-season to be waiting for the sharks to finish feeding before venturing out to feed off of what was left. Why on Earth would we now believe that the Orioles have after one moderately successful season changed courses completely?

 

If they have, the timing couldn’t be worse. In this (what we hope is) the post steroid era of Major League Baseball, we’re quickly learning that players can no longer be expected to live up to the lofty contracts that take them well into their mid and late thirties. If the Orioles were compelled to pass on a 27-year old Prince Fielder with a bit of a weight problem last season, there’s no logical reason to consider a long-term alignment with a 31-year old Josh Hamilton with an array of baggage in tow.

 

The improbability of last year’s success was amusing to the fans that watched writers and analysts struggle to explain it, but as the team itself prepares for next year and beyond, the source of their amusement has left them in an awkward position. At every position other than second base (and a starting pitcher or two) there’s a guy from last year’s team who either projects well for next season or who at least merits another look in 2013. There have been plenty of years in which free agent bonanzas would have been both welcome and necessary, and in all of them the Orioles failed to pony up. Now, with legitimate and justifiable reasons to stand pat, the Orioles would like us to believe they’re ready to spend? And on Josh Hamilton no less?

 

I’m certainly not averse to the Orioles opening the purse strings if they feel inclined to do so, but there are plenty of reasons to be apprehensive if that spending begins with Josh Hamilton. Not only is Hamilton on the wrong side of 30 in the post steroid era and not only is he an all or nothing type of proposition; Hamilton is also a guy who’s sat out too many games for health related reasons when he was on the right side of 30; and how his indiscretions have lent themselves to the aging process is the subject of much speculation and debate.

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Duquette hoping lightning can strike same place twice

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Duquette hoping lightning can strike same place twice

Posted on 03 November 2012 by Glenn Clark

You are aware it isn’t true, right?

There is a well known idiom that says “lightning never strikes the same place twice.” The origins of the idiom are not fully known, although it has been attributed to writers like P.H. Myers and Mary Roberts Rinehart over the years.

Lightning can not only strike the same place twice, but could strike the same location an infinite number of times. There are no geographical laws for where lightning can strike, although we can certainly accept the notion that a lightning strike is more likely to hit a tall building than a sidewalk.

If for some reason you’re still REALLY interested in understanding this, here’s a little tutorial Accuweather put together to explain the phenomenon…

I went with this lede because I had to admit it was close to my initial response upon hearing the Baltimore Orioles believed the acquisition of 2B Alexi Casilla had solved their problems at second base.

In fact, I believe my quote was something like “does Dan Duquette really think lightning can strike the same place twice?”

If the Birds’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations had been in the room, he could have looked back at me calmly and said “well…it can.”

After claiming Casilla off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, Duquette declared second base to be addressed. He told team-owned entity MASN, ”I think we have enough people on our roster to man the position.”

The O’s second year man Ryan Flaherty at the position with Brian Roberts also perhaps a candidate to retain to the field after hip surgery. Veteran Robert Andino is also an option if the Orioles choose to tender him an offer. Omar Quintanilla is unlikely to return to the team after seeing very little time down the stretch and being left off the postseason roster. Touted prospect Jonathan Schoop may or may not be ready to come to Baltimore at some point in 2012.

Casilla comes to Charm City off a year in Minnesota where he hit .241 and got on base at a .282 clip over 106 games. He added 17 doubles and a home run, but his 21 stolen bases and .980 fielding position have been the saving grace for those applauding the acquisition.

I won’t mix words here. I don’t think much of the addition of Alexi Casilla. I would have preferred the Orioles acquire an actual legitimate major league second baseman this offseason, not another player to add into the mix with some hope it might actually work out. I’m aware the free agent market isn’t particularly deep at second base (Marco Scutaro, Kelly Johnson and Jeff Keppinger stand out), but I’d prefer someone from that group to a “by committee” scenario.

It’s further concerning because it reinforces the idea that the O’s aren’t going to suddenly become the “sleeping giants” of the offseason the way some (including ESPN’s Buster Olney) have suggested.

I instead believe it further reinforces what Dan Duquette said back in May during the press conference to announce OF Adam Jones’ six year contract extension. When our own Luke Jones asked if the $85.5 million deal was a sign that the team was more willing to spend money in free agency, Duquette declared “I don’t think the way to build a team is through free agency.”

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