Tag Archive | "Felix Pie"

MacPhail hits a HOMERUN on Vlad Guerrero deal .....

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

MacPhail hits a HOMERUN on Vlad Guerrero deal …..

Posted on 05 February 2011 by Rex Snider

Is there any chance that you will look back, ten years from now, and recall exactly where you were, or what you were doing when the marriage of Vladimir Guerrero and the Baltimore Orioles spread throughout the sports world?

Probably, not.

While the addition of this sure-fire Hall Of Famer stands to benefit the Orioles in so many distinct ways, the blunt reality is Guerrero is a short-term fix and benefit for the ballclub …. and I’m okay with that.

For the past couple months, I’ve been publicly lobbying for this acquisition.  And, as the weeks toward Spring Training have dwindled, my plea has been getting louder.  It’s an ideal fit for both sides – Guerrero is a lifetime .333 hitter at Camden Yards, and the Orioles sorely needed his lethal stick.

Yeah, I’ve heard the rumblings about the slugger being “over the hill” and an “injury risk”, as well as his perceived lack of appeal to other clubs – especially as camps are set to open in just a couple weeks.

To those who bemoan this signing, I’ll simply question your knowledge of Vlad Guerrero, as well as the intimacies of baseball ….

Oh, and let’s not forget the folks who decry Guerrero’s signing as a figurative BLOCK of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.  Are you serious?  Welcome to the big leagues, bunk.  The truth is Pie and Reimold have BLOCKED THEMSELVES.

Both players have garnered opportunities, and while they haven’t necessarily squandered such chances, they haven’t seized them, either.  It can be a cruel business – produce or else.

So, let’s take a quick look at the supposed liabilities involved in bringing one of the greatest hitters of the past decade, to Baltimore …..

OVER THE HILL

Guerrero is coming off a season that yielded a .300 batting average, with 29 homers, 115 runs batted in and 83 runs scored.  And, these statistics were not an aberration – he has batted under .300 just once, since 1997.

But, perhaps, the most telling fact from last season was Guerrero’s .320 batting clip with runners in scoring position.  Ironically, this is also his career average with RISP, as well.

If he’s “over the hill”, just give me a few more geezers …..

INJURY RISK

This is undoubtedly the biggest misconception and overblown worry about Vlad Guerrero.  Yeah, he missed 60 games, in 2009.  Players get injured, but Guerrero has played in 140+ games, per season, in 7 of 8 years.  And, he has played in 140+ games in 11 of his 13 full Major League seasons.

But, since we’re talking about injury risks, let’s bring Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold back into the discussion …..

In his half dozen pro seasons, Reimold has spent time on the disabled list in 5 of them.  Got that?  He’s been on the DL in 5 of 6 seasons.  In fact, Reimold has played in 130+ games in just 3 of his 6 pro years.

As for Pie, he has been injured in 3 of his last 6 pro seasons, and he has played in 130+ games, just twice in those 6 years.  Of course, some of his missed time was simply attributed to poor performance.

That said, if we’re talking about “injury risks”, it’s a pretty safe argument to suggest Vlad Guerrero has been a much healthier option than the two players he’s likely to deprive of playing time.  And, he doesn’t ride the bench for less than stellar production.

LACK OF APPEAL AMONG OTHER CLUBS

This was absolutely the most humorous of the assertions against bring Guerrero to Camden Yards.  Indeed, I’ve heard those who’ve proclaimed “nobody else wants him …. that should say something.”  You’re right, it does.

Guerrero is pretty much limited to designated hitter duties.  Thus, every National League club is eliminated from the discussion.  To compound his narrowed opportunities, only a handful of American League teams entered this past off-season needing to fill the DH slot.

The Twins and Rays went with cheaper options, in Jim Thome and Manny Ramirez.  And, the Rangers wanted to upgrade their defense at 3rd base, which relegated Michael Young to DH, with the acquisition of Adrian Beltre.

That really left the Orioles and Mariners as likely obscure options.  Both teams had the designated hitter role filled, but they could’ve improved with some position jockeying, by adding a player of Guerrero’s caliber.

Finally, I really want to address the naysayers who’ve reasoned “DOES VLAD GUERRERO MAKE THE ORIOLES A PLAYOFF CONTENER?”  Well, that really is a great unknown, huh?  Conventional wisdom suggests that he probably doesn’t raise the team to such lofty expectations – but the games are played on the field, not the blogs.

Regardless of even a modern day version of “Murderers Row”, any team will realize success based on their pitching.  However, Guerrero’s presence in the lineup makes the team better, in both tangible and intangible ways.

He makes the Orioles lineup much more formidable – his .320 batting average, with runners in scoring position, dwarfs the .246 mark achieved by batters in the cleanup spot for the Orioles, last season.  He’s a bonafide run producing hitter.

Along with Derrek Lee, Guerrero will provide Nick Markakis with protection he’s never enjoyed.  Plus, given Brian Roberts’ and Markakis’ knack for working walks and stellar baserunning, Guerrero will most definitely have his RBI opportunities.

In mentioning, Roberts and Markakis, do you realize they’ve never played for a winning team at the big league level?  Together, these guys have played 1,980 games in an Orioles uniform and they’ve never been part of a winning season.

Vladimir Guerrero can change that …..

He might not be the piece that leads the Orioles back to the postseason, but he makes the lineup and team substantially better.  If Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis taste winning for the first time, it might translate their game to another level.

The same can be said for the younger players, such as Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta.  Having them exposed to WINNING at an early stage of their careers could prove invaluable for years to come.

So, for those who decry the Guerrero acquisition as a blocking of Reimold, Pie or anyone else, I say HOGWASH.  I don’t want to hear the foundational excuse about “being ready to win”.

If you’re not ready to win, than you’re ready to lose.

I applaud the Orioles for getting this deal wrapped up.  Perhaps, they overpaid to get their man.  We knew such a reality faced this organization, on the heels of 13 consecutive losing seasons, right?

Welcome to Baltimore, Vlad.  Most of us are happy you’re here …..

 

Comments Off on MacPhail hits a HOMERUN on Vlad Guerrero deal …..

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Is Vlad simply Sammy Sosa version 2.0 for Orioles?

Posted on 04 February 2011 by Luke Jones

It may have come seven years too late, but the Orioles finally persuaded Vlad the Impaler to bring his free-swinging talents to Baltimore.

And before you shout charges of negativity and raining on a feel-good parade — fans in this town deserve a celebration as much as any city in baseball after 13 years of hell — I’ll admit to sharing enthusiastic visions of Vladimir Guerrero raking baseballs into the left field seats at Camden Yards.

Guerrero brings an imposing presence to the heart of the lineup and should — along with veteran first baseman Derrek Lee — offer the legitimate protection that Nick Markakis, Matt Wieters, and Adam Jones painfully lacked a season ago. He should make the team better in 2011, though how much is up for debate.

My hesitation isn’t even about the $8 million price tag that so many statheads will whine about with accusations of the Orioles bidding against themselves and blocking Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie for the possible luxury of another two wins (in terms of WAR or “wins above replacement” for the sabermetrically-challenged). The reality is sabermetrics and responsible spending habits don’t exist in a vacuum when you’re playing the free-agent market and no player worth his salt wants to play for you without significant, extra dollars coming his way.

Sure, the Orioles overpaid for a veteran slugger who can no longer play the outfield, forcing Luke Scott to move from designated hitter to left field and weakening the club’s defense. But I’ll credit Andy MacPhail for upping the ante and getting his man, even if it looks like he may have been bidding against himself — we may never know for sure.

Even if the Orioles did spend to sign a hitter for four times the amount Tampa Bay gave Manny Ramirez last week, it’s not the type of decision that will hamper an organization that supposedly had the money to make multi-year offers to Mark Teixeira and Victor Martinez in recent offseasons. It’s not like that money has been shrewdly invested in other outlets, such as upgrading international scouting or spending more on amateur draft picks (two other areas the Orioles continue to neglect if they want to compete long-term in the American League East).

It’s a fair question to ask why the club wouldn’t overpay a younger and more productive option at the DH spot — 31-year-old Adam Dunn, for example — who actually would have helped the club now and when it’s hopefully ready to compete over the next few years. Instead, the Orioles made a token offer of four years, $40 million to Dunn and ultimately went the cheaper route by paying Guerrero.

Follow BaltimoreLuke on Twitter

With only days remaining until the start of spring training, this is a solid decision by the Orioles that will spark some interest and hopefully bring more fans to the ballpark for Guerrero T-shirt night and maybe even a bobblehead giveaway later in the season if Guerrero puts together a similar first half to what he did in Texas last season.

Who isn’t ready to see Vlad crush a ball at his ankles off the foul pole for a three-run shot against the Yankees?

So then, why do I keep envisioning Sammy Sosa sprinting to right field in an Orioles uniform in 2005?

Perhaps I’m jaded after seeing this charade of false hope too many times, but is this just the latest veteran signing that will create some buzz but lack the reward to really make the team that much better?

It was six years ago Friday when the Orioles introduced Sosa to the Baltimore media after sending Jerry Hairston, Mike Fontenot, and Dave Crouthers to the Cubs in a trade. The Orioles were capitalizing on a barren market for a 36-year-old slugger coming off a poor second half (hitting just .233) despite hitting 35 home runs in 2004.

They hoped for a renaissance, or at least one more productive season, from one of the generation’s finest hitters.

As pessimistic as it may be, you have to admit it sounds a bit familiar, doesn’t it?

Guerrero won’t bring the same baggage as the diva-like Sosa and has no desire for the limelight considering he doesn’t even speak English after all these years in big league baseball. He is simply a baseball player, and that’s all he’s ever wanted to be. However, it’s hard to overlook a 2010 second half in which his batting average dropped 41 points (from a .319 first half to .278) and his home run total declined from 20 in the first half to just nine over the season’s final 81 games. His 2010 postseason is even more concerning as Guerrero batted just .220 and failed to hit a single home run for the Rangers in 59 at-bats.

Anyone’s entitled to a bad few months, but when you’re 35 and already coming off a poor season in 2009, the whispers of being washed up become a little louder with every misstep. Let’s face it, if talent evaluators thought Guerrero was anywhere close to the player he used to be, he wouldn’t be unemployed and accepting an offer from the Orioles in early February.

Again, the Orioles should be applauded for spending a little more to close the deal and bring a high-profile player to the Baltimore lineup. Maybe Guerrero will find his fountain of youth and provide the protection for the team’s key young players to take a step toward stardom while the Orioles move toward respectability in 2011.

It’s the same bet the organization was making six years ago when they introduced Slammin’ Sammy as Orioles fans pictured the Sosa Hop over and over in their minds.

I’m all for it.

Let’s just hope it works out a little better this time.

Comments Off on Is Vlad simply Sammy Sosa version 2.0 for Orioles?

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Are Orioles fans seeing that “MIRAGE” again …..

Posted on 05 January 2011 by Rex Snider

With the holidays firmly planted among recent memories, we’re embarking on new beginnings for an array of differing causes. Our vacation calendars and taxable earnings totals are among slates that are wiped clean.

It’s January, which means the Baltimore Ravens are preparing for the most intense stretch of the season …. ACC basketball is becoming meaningful …. and Major League Baseball is disclosing the list of their latest immortals.

Hearing Roberto Alomar’s name mentioned as a Hall Of Famer will be a gratifying moment for many of Baltimore’s baseball fans. But, to be honest, those who love the O’s have much bigger things in mind.

Ushering in a new year means we’re just weeks away from Spring Training …. and a brand new world of renewed optimism. I understand the positive outlook and in some ways, I think the Orioles have improved the ballclub.

That said, after a few dozen phone calls in the past week, I fear Orioles fans are on the brink of falling into a conspicuous trap of recent past campaigns …..

That’s right, call it drinking kool-aid, believing in miracles or perennial hope. But, optimism always runs rampant before baseball season begins.

The truth is the Orioles are comprised of many IFS …..

If this …..

If that …..

If …. If …. If …..

Comments Off on Are Orioles fans seeing that “MIRAGE” again …..

Tags: , ,

Why is Felix Pie So Angry?

Posted on 27 November 2010 by Jay Trucker

What is your LF/CF doing this winter? Dan Connolly at The Sun has uncovered some excellent footage of Orioles outfielder Felix Pie going loco in a Dominican winter league game a few weeks back. The broadcast is in Spanish, but roughly translated the announcers are saying, “Oh my god, Felix Pie is attacking the first base umpire!”

That’s eight years of grade school Spanish classes, thank you very much.

Anyway, Pie is known as a fiery competitor, and if you watch the film, you’ll see that his momentary lapse of calm judgment is not a big deal.

 

Just for fun, let’s try to figure out why Pie got so angry.

A. He heard that the O’s are already striking out on this year’s free agent class

B. He found out that Aubrey Huff won a World Series and signed a two year $22 million deal once he was freed from The Birds

C. He found out that the first baseman is a Nolan Reimold fan

D. Someone inquired about the long-term effects of his Spring Training accident with the Cubs a few years back

E. The reality of another Spring Training began setting in

Comments Off on Why is Felix Pie So Angry?

Tags: , , , , , , ,

2010 Orioles: Failure or yet to be determined?

Posted on 30 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Going into the 2010 season, we all thought that ‘dem O’s would at the very least be better than they had been over the previous twelve years or so. Nobody was predicting that they’d be in contention for the playoffs at this juncture, or even potentially have a winning record. However I think that most people expected that they’d be above fifty wins to say the least (by now). As a fan, I predict the Orioles to win every game 1,000,000 to nothing! However analytically, I felt comfortable predicting at the beginning that this team would finish the year hovering around .500 (give or take ten games either way). Had the Orioles reached that plateau, I would have declared this season an overwhelming success in Birdland, as I think most people would have done.

However the fact is that this team isn’t going to finish anywhere remotely near .500. In fact, they’re probably going to finish with a worse record than they did in 2009. First off, mentioning the fact that the Orioles’ season was snakebitten nearly from the beginning by injuries is fair. That might come across as sounding like an excuse; maybe it is, maybe it’s not. However if it is an excuse, it’s also a fact. Had Brian Roberts, Felix Pie, Jim Johnson, Alfredo Simon, Luke Scott, Michael Gonzalez, and others not been hurt early in the year, perhaps things would have been a bit different. This isn’t to say that the team would have been churning out wins left and right, but I don’t think it would have been the disaster that it ended up being. (And I only mentioned a few of the injuries that caused guys to spend time on the DL; there were other players such as Miguel Tejada that missed several games in a row due to bumps and bruises.) I would submitt that the loss of Brian Roberts hurt this team moreso than did anything else, as the entire offense is streamlined down from him, as of course are those all-important double plays. As a result, guys batted out of turn for most of the season, and the O’s had a different lineup for each day of the week, which never allowed for continuity day-in and day-out.

So given the fact that the O’s were so uncompetitive for the entire season to date, is 2010 a grand failure? If you’re the type of person that chooses to live in ignorance and refuses to look past the tip of your nose, then yes I suppose it is. However I maintain that there’s always more than meets the eye, especially with regard to the fine line between success and failure. As I said, I would have been willing to say that the year was a success had they hovered around .500. However I don’t think that the season unfolding the way it has equates with failure. And I don’t say that because the Orioles are part of who I am and because I love them so much. I say that because we have to keep in mind that returning a franchise to glory in any sport is a “process.” The mistake that Andy MacPhail made was declaring phase one of the rebuilding plan over and done with. At the end of last season, he said that Dave Trembley would be judged more on wins and losses than in the past. Ultimately that’s exactly what happened.

Brian Roberts’ injury on April 9th set in motion a series of events that culminated with Buck Showalter taking the reigns. In my opinion, the writing was on the wall for Trembley as soon as Roberts hit the DL. However all of the other injuries probably accelerated that process. So when the season went south early, Trembley was relieved of his duties on June 4th, and replaced with Juan Samuel on an interim basis. The team continued plodding along throughout the summer with a few good things and many bad happening, until Buck Showalter came into town on his white horse to save the day. The team immediately began performing better, and thus we stand at that point today. I would submit that if in two-to-four years the team is competitive and perhaps in the playoff race, 2010 could be judged a success. I suppose it’s symbolic of life in a way in that when we come to an ends, we often have to look back at the just completed journey with a fond smile. That journey can sometimes be harsh while it’s going on, however when it’s completed and it’s solution brought to fruition we appreciate it even more.

Let’s be frank; this team has a long way to go. However if they manage their cards right and continue along this path with a solid coaching staff and quality players, this team might well contend down the road. Odds are that the Tampa Rays won’t have the financial assets to keep their team together after this season, and certainly the Red Sox have shown signs of breaking down the stretch as well this year. (The difference is that all Boston has to do is sign a check to maintain their status as one of the sport’s best teams.) So given those things, maybe this team will be competitive in a couple of years. And if that’s the case, I submitt that 2010 would be judged a success. Perhaps not in the vain which we expected, however in the grand scheme of things it would be a successful year. Having said this, the ultimate success of any season at this point would be Buck Showalter leading a victory parade down Pratt Steet, as the thundering roar from 34 came raining down on Oriole opponents.

Comments Off on 2010 Orioles: Failure or yet to be determined?

Tags: , , , ,

O’s can’t win ’em all

Posted on 27 August 2010 by Domenic Vadala

Does last night’s 8-0 loss to the Chicago White Sox do anything to dim your view of the Orioles’ future? I hope not; out of 162 games per year, there’ll be some duds. Unfortunately 2010 has brought a lot of duds for the O’s, however keep in mind that there’s more than meet’s the eye in every situation. Jake Arrieta struggled in his four innings of work last night: four runs over seven hits, three walks and two strikeouts. However as I’ve said before, Rick Kranitz says that on average a pitcher will get thirty starts per season (barring injury); ten will be stellar, ten not so stellar, and ten in-between. This is generally the case across the board, be you a Cy Young candidate or a youngster.

Games such as last night will go down as learning experiences for a pitcher like Arrieta, who made only his fifteenth start in the majors. The thing that did him in was his 35-pitch first inning. When you throw that many pitches (seeing seven different batters) in an inning, you’re going to struggle. However one positive sign for Arrieta was that he worked out of trouble in that inning. Arrieta gave up a few hits and three walks in that first inning, the walks probably harming him moreso than the hits. That was the skinny on Arrieta when he first came up; he needed to keep his walks down. However he pitched out of a bases loaded situation and gave up only one run that inning. Pitchers will get themselves into trouble in games; it’s the nature of the position. The good ones will find ways out of that trouble.

We need to recognize that games like this might be painful to watch while they’re going on, however the fact remains that they’re necessary in the maturation process of young pitchers, as well as young teams. Speaking for myself, the zero on the board in the Orioles’ column (and only four hits) is more worrisome than the eight on Chicago’s side. This offense at times has been non-existant, and that was certainly the case last night. However we should also keep in mind that Adam Jones sat out his second straight game after being hit on Tuesday night, so they weren’t exactly firing with all of their guns last night.

I did find some irony in the fact that the White Sox felt that Felix Pie was stealing signs in Wednesday’s 4-2 win over the White Sox. If a player on a team with 45 wins at this stage is stealing signs, he’s not doing a very good job! However I liked what WGN’s Steve Stone told MASN’s Amber Theoharis prior to last night’s game with regard to Pie potentially stealing signs. His comment was that Felix Pie has an uppercut swing; when you pitch up to a hitter with an uppercut swing, you’re going to get hit hard. If anyone would know that, it would be a former pitcher. I’m not saying that sign-stealing doesn’t go on, because we’d all be lying if we thought that wasn’t the case. However as I said, if a guy on a team with 45 wins is stealing signs, he’s either not doing his job properly or he’s not cheating-I mean-trying hard enough.

Comments Off on O’s can’t win ’em all

Tags: , , , , , ,

Buck Looks Good, But How About Andy ???

Posted on 09 August 2010 by Rex Snider

Well, we’re six games into the Buck Showalter era and this Orioles team looks like a cast of players we haven’t witnessed in a very long time.

Adam Jones is hustling.

Felix Pie suddenly has a clue.

Matt Wieters is working the count.

It’s amazing what you can accomplish when a LEADER is in charge, huh?

I’m certainly not suggesting the Orioles will maintain a winning record over the final two months of the season. As much as we love this recent streak of intensity and success, better talent eventually wins out.

The Yankees, Red Sox, Rays and Blue Jays are better teams. End of story.

But, the Orioles are playing better baseball and they’re showing signs of the up and coming team many insiders and fans forecasted, back in February.

Perhaps, the missing link was the manager. Maybe, this team simply lacked the presence of a true leader in the dugout. After all, this nightmare has existed since Davey Johnson was shown the door, right?

Believe me, I’m not laying 13 years of losing baseball at the feet on anyone, specifically. It’s been a collaborative effort of dysfunction and disappointing production, on and off the field. Many hands have been part of making this storied mess – and it includes all facets of the organization.

Ownership certainly absorbs most of the criticism from fans and media sources. And, rightfully so. From meddlesome efforts by a primary owner who must’ve thought winning with a baseball team is akin to winning cases in the courtroom, to hiring “YES” men instead of the “RIGHT” men, Peter Angelos holds the origin of the Orioles downfall in his hands.

From hiring the Syd Thrift’s and Jim Beattie’s of the baseball world, to ignoring international scouting, overruling draft selections and slashing payroll for players, Mr. Angelos shoulders the significant culpability in the embarrassing fall of this organization.

He knows it. It’s the reason he avoids press conferences and environments where questions can be rightfully asked of him.

But, as I’ve said, Mr. Angelos doesn’t own the entire debacle.

In fact, his current custodian deserves some tangible blame, too. Of course, I’m referring to the President of Baseball Operations, Andy MacPhail.

To his credit, MacPhail strengthened the foundation of the organization with a couple trades during his first off-season. He has been applauded and recognized for those moves.

However, he has also procrastinated and taken a conservative approach to decisions that impacted the team with IMMEDIATE ramifications. To say he has been less than aggressive or proactive in pursuit of crucial fixes is just a sugarcoating of the truth.

I’ll be blunt about it …. Andy MacPhail is primarily liable for this DISASTER OF 2010. Heck, we can say he is also responsible for 2008 and 2009, too.

His hiring of Buck Showalter looks like a bonafide win. However, in being justifiably cautious, we’re just a week into this marriage. Buck hasn’t even slipped on his grey uniform, yet. And, his first off-season with the club awaits him in just a couple months.

We’ll know more about the legitimacy of the Showalter era, in April, 2011.

But, one reality is evident …..

This Orioles team, constructed as a youthful project, sorely needed credentialed, veteran leadership. This cast of inexperienced, immature and impressionable players needed guidance from a strong-willed personality, who demands respect through his reputation and qualifications, alone.

And, they needed a guy who would kick ’em in the ass if the situation called for it.

Andy MacPhail missed the entire picture when he initially tried to pin the tail on this donkey.

He hired Dave Trembley, and retained him for nearly three years. He entrusted the youth of the Orioles to a manager who couldn’t WIN the loyalty of his own players, let alone any games.

It’s not Trembley’s fault. He probably managed to the best of his abilities. And, he likely has no regrets.

That said, this team was entrusted to a manager who wasn’t capable of leading a diverse, young group of players, at the Major League level. And, the result was a 187-283 record; a .398 winning percentage.

The translation or spirit of this message is THIS SHOULD’VE NEVER HAPPENED. The Orioles were staked to the guidance of a manager who would ultimately fail. Dave Trembley was not going to succeed. What track record or past achievements led Andy MacPhail to reasonably assume his choice of Dave Trembley was the best fit for the organization?

I would love to know his answer.

As much as we would like to blame the past three seasons on incapable or illegitimate players, it’s just not true. Well, it’s not primarily true. While this roster is not built to contend in the AL East, they were certainly capable of playing better and winning more games. Buck Showlater has proven this reality in just a week’s time.

Can Buck truly engineer change and a winning philosophy? We shall see. He’ll need support from above and better player options to do it.

But, one thing is certain …..

The last three seasons are Andy MacPhail’s fault …. period.

Comments Off on Buck Looks Good, But How About Andy ???

Tags: , , , ,

Brian Roberts Hoping to Return in August, But Why?

Posted on 08 July 2010 by Jay Trucker

In the most anticipated return since the announced making of Austin Powers 4*, Baltimore Orioles number one second baseman Brian Roberts stated yesterday that he plans to return to the beleaguered ball club by August 1.

Roberts is hopeful that he won’t have any more setbacks, but the 32 year-old righty has had nothing but setbacks in a 2010 season during which he’s made only 16 plate appearances. Saying Roberts won’t have any more setbacks is like saying Baltimore won’t have any more power outages this summer…or murders.

A close reading of Roberts’ statements to Pravda* Radio reveals that Roberts himself is well aware of his own overly optimistic assessment for a return date.

Said Roberts: “I’m hoping to play in some games down here pretty shortly. And, then maybe get on a minor league rehab assignment….And hopefully join back up with the team and get maybe two full months in.”

Got that? That’s four qualifiers, two maybes and two hopefullys, in three sentences. Do you think Lebron James’ staged announcement will be similarly qualified?

“I am hoping to return to Cleveland, where I may be ready to lead this team to a championship. Hopefully the team will improve so that maybe we can make the Finals and hopefully knock off Kobe. Buy Nike.*”

Roberts’ “announcement” was not much of an announcement. More of a guy trying to make something true by saying it aloud and hoping really hard.* And If Roberts is 100% healthy, then I, too, hope he returns. But back injuries are no hoping matter, and Roberts has spent the first half of the season doing nearly zero baseball-related rehab. If he is going to return to the Orioles at all in 2010, he’s going to have to do a lot more than hope.

Is it even worth it for the team to bring Roberts back to finish out the year?*

The club is 25-59. They may finish the year with fifty wins. Roberts is a sparkplug atop the lineup, but the O’s just got Felix Pie back and Corey Patterson has been surprisingly solid for The Birds. If Roberts returns in August, he could help the team win a few more games. But no single player, let alone a leadoff hitter and second baseman, can single-handedly return the team to respectability. Is it worth risking a herniated disk in order to help the flailing Birds win, at best, three more games?*

As Roberts knows better than anyone else, the O’s recent history in September typically begins with the fall off a cliff. It’s impossible for the team to sink any further than it already has. It’s also impossibly optimistic to think Roberts can come back, play at a high level, and help the team turn the 2010 debacle into something resembling a respectable baseball team. By the time of Roberts’ “hopeful” return, a few trade chips may be gone. Never the fiery leader, Roberts will come back to a team that is bruised, battered, and outmatched nearly every single night. Would the club send him out there just to keep fans interested? Would B Rob downplay his back injury just to try to make good on a portion of the $10 million the club invested in him this year?

I hope not.

Footnotes

*Did you see Austin Powers 3? Nothing funny or good can come from Austin Powers 4.
*Pravda was the ironically named state run newspaper of the Communist Party. It printed whatever the Soviet party line was on any given day. That’s the joke. Like the USSR, Pravda folded in 1991.
*If you live more than 100 miles from where Lebron James decides to play basketball next season, and you still like the pampered, ego-driven shill of human excrement he is after tonight’s horrifying prime time special, then you are dead inside.
*Which is basically the same as praying, only louder.
*No
*See the footnote immediately preceding this one

Comments Off on Brian Roberts Hoping to Return in August, But Why?

Tags: , , , , , ,

Orioles place Millwood on DL, activate Pie

Posted on 06 July 2010 by Luke Jones

As speculated after his miserable outing on Monday, starting pitcher Kevin Millwood has been placed on the 15-day disabled list with a strained right forearm (flexor mass).

Millwood is 2-8 with a 5.77 ERA (107.2 IP, 69 ER) in a team-high 18 starts for the Orioles.

The move will surely cloud his future as the Orioles were expecting to shop Millwood at the July 31st trading deadline

To fill Millwood’s spot on the roster, the Orioles have activated outfielder Felix Pie, who has been on the disabled list since April 16 with a strained upper back muscle.

Pie was batting .400 (8-20) with two doubles, a home run and one RBI for the Orioles at the time of his injury. By activating Pie from the 60-day disabled list, the Orioles’ 40-man roster is at capacity.

The left-handed outfielder is scheduled to play left field and bat seventh in the lineup against Detroit on Tuesday night.

With Millwood going to the DL, third baseman Josh Bell and reliever Frank Mata appear safe for now, though the Orioles will need a starting pitcher for Saturday night.

If you’re on the WNST Text Service, you received the Kevin Millwood news first! Be sure to join the service to receive breaking news before everyone else. We Never Stop Texting Baltimore Sports!

Comments Off on Orioles place Millwood on DL, activate Pie

Tags: , , , , , , , ,

Live from Camden Yards: Jake Fox to O’s, Tillman optioned to Norfolk

Posted on 22 June 2010 by Luke Jones

BALTIMORE — As reported earlier today, the Orioles have acquired infielder/outfielder Jake Fox from the Oakland Athletics in exchange for minor league pitcher Ross Wolf and cash considerations. It’s a move that’s sure to excite few but isn’t a bad gamble if you take a look at Fox’s career minor league numbers. And, oh yeah, he’s a former Cub, which Andy MacPhail seems to like for some reason.

Interim manager Juan Samuel intends to use the 27-year-old Fox in a utility role off the bench and as a third catcher to help spell Matt Wieters—who could then be the designated hitter on occasion—and backup Craig Tatum. That’s fine for now, but Fox needs to receive regular opportunities at some point. Regardless of whose playing time suffers as a result, there’s no such thing as “stepping on anyone’s toes” when the club is 19-50.

“He’s an added bat,” Samuel said. “We’re going to do everything we can to get him in there and get some offense. That’s just an extra guy to help us off the bench, to pinch hit if we need to throw him in against a left-hander. … I’m going to try to play as many guys as I can here.”

Fox will wear No. 47.

To make room on the 25-man roster for Fox, the Orioles have optioned struggling pitcher Chris Tillman to Triple-A Norfolk and have designated Cla Meredith for assignment. With Tillman now with the Tides and ineligible to return for 10 days (except in the case of an injury), we can safely assume Brad Bergesen will be recalled to make Saturday’s start against the Washington Nationals.

Meredith was 0-2 with a 5.40 ERA (15 innings pitched) in 21 games for the Orioles this season and 1-0 with a 13.50 ERA in five games for Norfolk.

In other news, Felix Pie was the designated hitter for the Gulf Coast League Orioles today and experienced no problems, going 1-for-4 with two strikeouts. Mike Gonzalez threw 19 pitches for the Gulf Coast team and struck out three while displaying consistent velocity at 90 to 91 miles per hour.

Koji Uehara threw a side session of 30 pitches in Sarasota with no setbacks.

When asked about Garrett Atkins’ lack of playing time, Samuel said he called the first baseman into his office during the San Diego series to chat with him. Atkins is a strong candidate to be released on Saturday when the Orioles will need to clear room for a starting pitcher, presumably Bergesen.

“I told him I haven’t forgotten about him,” Samuel said.

At least someone hasn’t.

Here are tonight’s lineups:

Florida
LF Chris Coghlan
1B Gaby Sanchez
SS Hanley Ramirez
DH Jorge Cantu
2B Dan Uggla
CF Cody Ross
RF Mike Stanton
3B Wes Helms
C Ronny Paulino

SP Anibal Sanchez (6-4, 3.22 ERA)

Baltimore
LF Corey Patterson
3B Miguel Tejada
RF Nick Markakis
1B Ty Wigginton
DH Luke Scott
CF Adam Jones
C Matt Wieters
2B Scott Moore
SS Cesar Izturis

SP Jeremy Guthrie (3-8, 3.97 ERA)

Don’t forget to join us in the Orange Crush chat this evening at 7:30 p.m., as WNST personalities will discuss the action from Camden Yards. As always, remember to follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and quips about today’s game.

Check back right here for updates (time-stamped below) leading right up to first pitch at 7:05 p.m.
————————————————-

5:55 p.m. — Head to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault to hear Jake Fox’s comments about his new home and what he hopes to bring to the Orioles.

Comments Off on Live from Camden Yards: Jake Fox to O’s, Tillman optioned to Norfolk