Tag Archive | "George Sherrill"


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Tuesday Morning’s Crabs and Beer

Posted on 08 June 2010 by Glenn Clark

Happy Tuesday!

It’s a Happy Tuesday for me because I really find Aziz Ansari from “Parks and Recreation” to be quite funny. Not enough to spend hours watching the MTV Movie Awards, but certainly enough to head over to YouTube and giggle at this clip of him and Zach Galifianakis…

Let’s see what everyone has to say…

1. WNST.net’s Luke Jones says Orioles picked Miami Brito HS SS Manny Machado with 3rd overall pick in MLB Entry Draft

It isn’t that I’m not excited about Manny Machado, it’s just that I’m not really excited about any 17 year old anywhere.

(Edit from GMC: Please spare me your “Jailbait” comments. I’ve already thought of all of them.)

I hope that at some point Machado becomes a Baltimore Oriole, and if he does I hope he turns out to be a really good player. I also hope that Machado isn’t sitting in Frederick in 4 years the way Billy Rowell currently is.

I guess I’m just trying to keep things in perspective. Believe me, even I think it’s crazy that I’M trying to offer perspective-but getting excited about a kid who isn’t even old enough to VOTE might be okay for NBA fans, but not for baseball fans.

Hopefully we’re ALL excited about him in a few years though. It burns the HELL out of me that fans in Washington have something to be excited about tonight.

2. Miami Herald’s Manny Navarro says Machado has been compared to A-Rod, will now try to be next Cal Ripken

I pray to God that Manny Machado is a THIRD of the player either one of these guys has been.

The Orioles will continue making picks in the MLB Entry Draft today, starting with the 85th overall pick-the 3rd pick in the 3rd round. Luke Jones will check in with profiles on the players the team selects throughout the day.

I would do it myself…but…umm…I’d rather sit and watch clothes circle around my washing machine??? Hell, I’d rather watch the Orioles play.

If you need a distraction, consider Lorraine Van Wyk-who Busted Coverage let me know existed yesterday…


3. STATS’ Kate Hedlin previews O’s-Yankees series starting tonight at Oriole Park at Camden Yards

First pitch tonight is at 7:05pm at OPACY, Phil Hughes faces Kevin Millwood-if you’d like to avoid the 20,000 New York fans who will be in attendance you can check the game out on MASN. Luke Jones will be hosting our “Orange Crush” chat tonight at WNST.net.

I’d say I was picking the Orioles to win tonight…If I thought the Orioles were capable of winning tonight.

If you missed YES Network Yanks analyst Ken Singleton this morning with Drew Forrester on “The Morning Reaction” on AM1570 WNST, make sure you head over to the BuyAToyota.com Audio Vault and check it out. Other guests this morning included Baseball Prospectus Draft analyst Kevin Goldstein and Hall of Fame trainer Bill Mott, who won his first Belmont Stakes (or Triple Crown race at all) with Drosselmeyer Saturday.

4. The Sun’s Dean Jones Jr. says Troy Patton, Rhyne Hughes had big night for Birds on farm

And before we move on from the Orioles, a couple of things:

-Brian Roberts’ return has been delayed…again…and I get the feeling I’m not the only one who’s wondering if Brian Roberts will EVER be the same. In his Sun blog, Peter Schmuck pointed out that surgery is commonly an option with those dealing with herniated discs. If surgery is an option for B-Rob at this point, I have NO IDEA why the organization wouldn’t just have him go ahead and get it done.

-Congratulations to our “Apologist of the Morning”, from the Weaver’s Tantrum Blog…”Dave Mc”, as selected by “The Great Arbitrator”. Dave wrote something comparing Will Ohman this year to George Sherrill last year in terms of trade value. Here’s what he said in closing…

“I think we will find that Sherrill gets a healthier return than Ohman, but there are still plenty of teams that will put together a quality package for Ohman this year.”

And if by “quality package” he meant “player to be named later”, I think I’d agree with him.

5. WNST.net’s Drew Forrester says Ravens lose a week of OTA practices due to ‘inadvertant’ whistle-blower

Well…this is weird.

There was rampant speculation yesterday about who in the locker room out in Owings Mills may have been the one to blow the whistle on John Harbaugh and staff; with guesses ranging from Jared Gaither to Willis McGahee to even Rex Ryan. The word is that NONE of them were the guilty party, and that’s why I was a bit uncomfortable with speculating to begin with.

I’m really unmoved by this. A number of teams have been accused of running practices too long, or being too tough in practice, or something along those lines. In fact, a number of Cleveland Browns players were unhappy with Eric Mangini for something along those lines.

The only real issue here is whether or not John Harbaugh has run the risk of losing the locker room by being particularly tough in practice. It doesn’t appear as though that’s the case, so this shouldn’t REALLY end up being much of a big deal.

Credit where credit’s due: there’s a fake Juan Samuel on Twitter (@NotJuanSamuel) who Tweeted us last night (follow us @WNST) to say “Do not think too much “intensity” in practice will be a problem for my team. Or games for that matter.

Well done.

6. National Football Post’s Aaron Wilson says Jared Gaither signed one year restricted tender

Which means Gaither should get a week of practice in now after injuring his foot, and before the team heads over to McDaniel College to get back to work at Training Camp in late July.

Apparently Gaither’s deal is worth $2.396 million. If I had $2.396 million, I feel like I could impress Catrinel Menghia. Maybe??? (Thanks Guyism!)


7. BaltimoreRavens.com’s John Eisenberg says Lardarius Webb looking at injury as ‘blessing in disguise’

There’s always a right way to say everything.

Before we move on from the Ravens, a reminder that we’ll be out there today at 1 Winning Drive for Passing Camp; and you will be able to hear all of the thoughts from John Harbaugh, as well as the players who are gathered out there today. Make sure you’re tuned in with Rex Snider and Ray Bachman throughout the day. Despite it now being the final week of OTA practices, I’m not expecting to see the likes of Ray Lewis and company present today.

8. D1scourse’s Patrick Stevens says Cornell’s Jeff Tambroni off Maryland lacrosse candidate list

Which will be a sign to some that maybe the Maryland job wasn’t quite the “anyone would want this job” gig some in College Park thought it might be.

In fact, in talking with Patrick and others who cover lacrosse, I’ve heard a few times that folks really believe the Big Red job is a BETTER job than the one that Dave Cottle just left.

It might be tough to stomach, but considering the fact that Cornell has reached the last two Final Fours and has clearly shown they are capable of winning a NCAA Championship; I think I might believe it.

9. The Sun’s Mike Preston says Stevenson coach Paul Cantabene has not been contacted regarding Terrapins job

Most in the lacrosse circles believe Cantabene, Albany coach Scott Marr and Syracuse assistant Lelan Rogers to be the three top candidates now that Tambroni and Mike Pressler have passed. I would assume that Maryland will get ONE of those three guys, but I’m guess Cantabene is probably third on the list.

My guess? Scott Marr gets the gig.

10. Testudo Times’ Ben Goldstein says former Terps forward Tahj Holden taking assistant job at Monmouth (via Adam Zagoria)

With Holden being a New Jersey guy, everything about this makes sense. Tahj is VERY bright, and should do a good job transitioning into the coaching profession.

A better fit than Tahj Holden taking a gig in the Garden State? How about the bikini Hayden Panettiere wore to the beach? (Thanks again, Guyism!)


And finally, I leave you with this.

Deadspin posted some sort of video of Mexican Wrestling today. I don’t understand it, but I love it…

Flexing my mic muscles since 1983…


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A Guy Who Embodies The “Current” Orioles Way? Josh Bell ….

Posted on 28 May 2010 by Rex Snider

I’m on the doorstep of completing my fourth month as host of the REX & RAY SHOW – and during this time, a few consistencies have proven dependable …..

Fans have never been warm to the idea of Garrett Atkins regaining his once promising stroke, in an Orioles uniform …..

Ravens faithful still want Matt Stover kicking for their team …..

And, Miguel Tejada is just a “stopgap” for uber-prospect JOSH BELL …..

That’s right, if we talk Orioles, Bell’s name is usually mentioned by those who are looking forward to 2011 and beyond. And, he’s always regarded as part of the FUTURE by devoted Orioles fans.


What accomplishment or achievement has caused so many people to invest an arbitrary plea of confidence in Josh Bell?

I don’t see it. In fact, I’ve never seen it. When Bell was served up as the barter for George Sherrill (who was valued as a setup man) I reasoned the Dodgers didn’t really covet the young infielder. And, they tossed in Steve Johnson, to boot.

When he arrived at Bowie, Bell owned a career .289 batting average in 1400 at-bats. He averaged a homerun in nearly every 30 trips to the plate. He displayed very little speed on the bases and his walk/strikeout rate was less than impressive.

As a Dodgers prospect, Bell sported a fielding percentage below .900 and an overwhelming amount of his errors were with the glove, as opposed to his arm. If you saw his glovework during Orioles Spring Training, you might think he’s a DH.

Umm …. go back two paragraphs. He’s not a DH, either.

This year, Josh Bell is getting his first taste of Triple-A pitching. At best, it’s fair to suggest he’s undisciplined. At worst, it’s equally fair to say he’s often overmatched.

He is averaging a strikeout in every 3.5 at-bats. And, his walk/strikeout totals are horrendous. He’s gone down on strikes 49 times, and walked just 8 times, in 178 at-bats.

Do notable Major League hitters strikeout so often? Yes – but they’re commonly hitting dozens of homeruns, per season. They’re also facing much better pitching.

You want examples? Sure …..

Jim Thome – strikes out once in every 3.3 at-bats. But, he also owns 569 homeruns.

Adam Dunn – strikes out once in every 3 at-bats. But, he homers in every 13 times at the plate.

Pat Burrell – strikes out once in every 3.5 at-bats. But, he also hit 267 homeruns in just over 10 seasons. He’s also 33 years old and looking for a job.

If you really want to see a mirrored image of Josh Bell’s minor league offensive statistics – but on the major league level, look no further than Jose Hernandez. He enjoyed 15 seasons in the big leagues.

However, Hernandez’s long tenure was much credited to stellar defense. And, he played a variety of positions. Unlike Hernandez, Bell is challenged defensively. In fact, he’s a poor fielder – period.

In a perfect world, Josh Bell would be deemed a major success if he turned out to have a career resembling Pat Burrell. The problem is he hasn’t displayed such credential throughout 5 years of lesser competitive baseball.

Worse yet, his defense cannot be tolerated at the Major League level. A fielding percentage south of .900 will absolutely LOSE BALLGAMES for a team.

Yet, the phone calls keep coming …..

Josh Bell is part of the Orioles future. Indeed, he probably is ….. and that’s a huge part of the organization’s problem.

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George Sherrill vs. Mike Gonzalez

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George Sherrill vs. Mike Gonzalez

Posted on 12 April 2010 by Rex Snider

It’s hard to believe just a short week ago, many of us were collectively beaming with optimism as the Orioles 2010 season was beginning.

Here we stand, just 7 days later and many of the same “optimists” are packing it in. Come on …..

What did you expect? A playoff run …. A 90 win campaign …. 1989 – Part II ….

This Orioles team is a work in progress. They’re likely to finish in last place, again – as I predicted with Allen McCallum, last Tuesday. But, I said they’ll be markedly better than recent Orioles teams and I’ll stand by that forecast. They’re not gonna lose at a pace of 5 out of every 6 games. Heck, they’ll win 5 out of 6 during the stretch of the season.

They’re playing without their sparkplug, the CLOSER has imploded and they’re not hitting with runners in scoring position. There’s your “three factor analysis” into the abortion known as the Orioles first week.

But, they are getting decent pitching efforts. And, what has baseball’s history taught us? That’s right, good pitching wins ballgames. The sticks will come to life and mild reshuffling of the batting order is probably in the near future plans.

As for the pitching, I’ve heard glowing things about Kevin Millwood and disturbing things about Mike Gonzalez. Damn, what a difference a week makes. Millwood has looked solid and Gonzalez has resembled the initial Ricky Vaughn, from Major League fame.

Damn it, that’s it. What were we thinking of …..

Mike Gonzalez might need GLASSES !!!!

Hey, he’s the guy who’s popped up in nearly 100% of Orioles-related conversations over the past week, right?

And, I’ve heard Gonzalez mentioned in nearly every context. Some references are fit for WNST.net and some are not. Yet, one particular reference is running far ahead of others.

I’ve been steadily force-fed the comparisons (and differences) of George Sherrill and Mike Gonzalez, over the last few days. That’s the typical fan reaction; compare the current guy to the former guy ….. or ANY guy that promotes the fan’s argument.

It’s also an argument I’ll never win.

Who’s better, George Sherrill or Mike Gonzalez? Last week, it was Sherrill. This week, who knows? And, if you say anything contrary (which some will), it’s nothing more than speculation.

Throughout my life, as a Baltimore sports fan, I’ve always got a good chuckle from fans who display the propensity to dredge up the names of players who once played in Baltimore – especially if they have success elsewhere, or if their replacement is doing poorly.
Some of the ONES WHO GOT AWAY are pretty memorable …..



But, there is a boatload of players who left and never really made an impact anywhere else …..

For the record, nearly EVERYONE who loved the Orioles wanted to run Dennis Martinez out of town. We succeeded. And, so did he.

Yet, for every Dennis Martinez, there are a handful of Jerry Hairston’s, Danny Clyburn’s and Derek Anderson’s to choose. I can remember all those Derek Anderson calls flooding the ‘NST phone lines. Where are those same voices now?

You wanna compare Sherrill and Gonzalez after one week – a week of poor performance for Gonzalez. That’s awfully convenient. Better yet, lets go back to 2009 and look at the end of the first month …..

On May 2nd, George Sherrill blew his 2nd save opportunity in a little more than a week, and he proudly owned a 5.06 ERA !!!! As a result, he was put on double secret probation. He responded well and everything worked out.

He’s now pitching for a contender and the Orioles received a couple notable prospects in return. Yet, these early-2010 complaints point at the Sherrill who finished out an impressive 2009 season. The upside-potential rests with Josh Bell developing in the Orioles minor league system, rather than Sherrill closing out games in an Orioles uniform, at 32 years old.

George Sherrill is a Dodger …..

God bless him. He’s a good guy and he pitched very well, overall, during his time with the Orioles. I honestly hope he gets a ring.

But, will he have a better season than Mike Gonzalez? Will he pitch more innings and have a lower ERA, than Gonzalez? You don’t know – don’t say that you do.

Go back to May 2, 2009 …..

George Sherrill had a 5.06 ERA at the end of the first month. At the time, would you imagine Sherrill would finish with more innings pitched and a lower ERA (my favorite stat) than Mariano Rivera, Jon Papelbon and Joe Nathan?

He did – as “Dan in Fallston” pointed out.

So, take a step back and let the Mike Gonzalez situation play out. It’s way too early to tell what 2010 will end up bringing. It’s just one week …..

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Gonzalez quickly sculpting unnerving image in Baltimore

Posted on 09 April 2010 by Luke Jones

If we can take anything from the opening series of the 2010 season, we know it’s going to be interesting in the final inning.



Hold on for dear life.

New closer Mike Gonzalez atoned for his Opening Night debacle by preserving the first win of the season Thursday night, but the performance was anything but routine in the Orioles’ 5-4 victory over Tampa Bay.

After striking out the first two batters of the ninth and appearing poised to retire the side in order, Gonzalez loaded the bases before finally enticing Ben Zobrist to fly out to right, thankfully ending a 26-pitch, 12-strike inning as Orioles fans finally breathed a sigh of relief and somewhere Earl Weaver burned through an entire pack of cigarettes. At least that’s the rumor.

Gonzalez made it very clear he was anxious to return to the mound following his blown save on Tuesday night, and to his credit, he got the job done, but it couldn’t have been any shakier. It’s quickly becoming pretty apparent why few teams were beating down Gonzalez’s door last December to sign him up as their fireman.

With just 54 career saves, Gonzalez had rarely been used as a primary closer in his first seven seasons in the big leagues. The 31-year-old lefty went 10-for-17 in save opportunities for the Braves last season and had saved no more than 24 (2006 with Pittsburgh) in any season.

But it was enough for Andy MacPhail to ink Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million contract, designating him the replacement for George Sherrill and ending the short-lived Jim Johnson experiment at closer.

Gonzalez battled tightness in his back and hesitated to go all out in his spring outings, insisting he would be in top form for the regular season. You have to wonder how much that’s impacted his shaky start. For better or worse, Gonzalez is Dave Trembley’s closer. There is no other viable option in the bullpen.

The Orioles will live and die in the ninth inning as violently as Gonzalez delivers his fastball.

Few players have made such an impression—good or bad—in their first two appearances as an Oriole. It’s scary to think what the crowd’s reaction might have been at Camden Yards on Friday had he blown a second straight save and the 0-3 Orioles limped home to Baltimore for the home opener.

I’m guessing Aubrey Huff probably would have placed a call from San Francisco to offer moral support—hopefully without sharing his thoughts on the city.

But Gonzalez nailed down the victory, protecting Brian Matusz’ first victory of the season and allowing the Orioles to return home feeling better about themselves after the disappointment of dropping two winnable games against the Rays.

There’s no doubting his talent—chaotic mechanics and all—and a 2.63 career ERA shows he’s had plenty of success at the big-league level. Even Sherrill came to the Orioles as a little-known setup man with four career saves before becoming an All-Star closer.

In fact, when you look at the franchise’s history of closers, Gonzalez’s early tightrope act fits right in with a plethora of characters.

Don Stanhouse didn’t earn the nickname Fullpack for 1-2-3 innings but still managed to make the 1979 All-Star team.

Randy Myers may have set a club record for saves in 1997, but anyone following his career knows it wasn’t a Myers outing unless at least one man reached base in the process.

And Sherrill’s two seasons were anything but routine as he racked up 51 saves in two years for the Orioles before being dealt to the Dodgers last summer.

However, Armando Benitez, Mike Timlin, and Jorge Julio sit on the opposite side of the spectrum.

Need I say more?

It’s too soon to determine into which camp Gonzalez will ultimately settle, but the early return suggests fans might want to stock up on the Rolaids and Pepto-Bismol—or maybe something stronger—this summer.

At the very least, he should keep things entertaining.

***Don’t forget WNST.net is your source for Opening Day coverage as I’ll be at Camden Yards for all Opening Day festivities. Follow us on Twitter (@WNST) for the quickest updates and join us every game for our Orange Crush live chat to talk Baltimore baseball.***

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Orange Chatter: 10 Questions for 2010 (Part 2 of 2)

Posted on 03 April 2010 by Luke Jones

In Part 1 of my 10 Questions for 2010, we pondered the health of Brian Roberts, the status of Jeremy Guthrie and Chris Tillman, and the platoon of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.

Here are my second five of 10 questions entering the 2010 season:

6. Is the bullpen up to par?

Following the trade of George Sherrill last summer, it was clear the Orioles struggled in the late innings with Jim Johnson better suited in his previous role as a setup man. Andy MacPhail responded by signing free agent closer Mike Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million contract, the club’s largest signing of the offseason.

Gonzalez has 54 career saves in a seven-year career, including 10 last season in Atlanta. While the lefty seems capable of closing games–keep in mind Sherrill was never a closer before the trade to Baltimore–Gonzalez battled a stiff back and appeared hesitant to cut it loose in Sarasota until recently. He closed out the spring with a perfect outing against the Mets on Saturday, striking out two and lowering his spring ERA to 5.14.

Gonzalez is joined in the bullpen by two mainstays in Johnson and lefty Mark Hendrickson, who thrived in the bullpen (3.44 ERA) after being moved out of the starting rotation (5.40 as a starter) last season.

However, after these three, the bullpen becomes a bit murkier, especially with Koji Uehara on the disabled list (hamstring) to begin the season. Cla Meredith had a tremendous spring (0.84 ERA) and pitched well in Baltimore after being acquired from the Padres last season but is certainly not a household name with a track record. Newcomer Will Ohman figures to provide plenty of laughs, but Trembley would like to see him evolve into an effective left-handed situational arm (a career 4.25 ERA in seven seasons).

And with three pitchers 25 or younger in the starting rotation, the club will go with two long men in Matt Albers and Jason Berken. Albers was very effective in 2008 (3.49 ERA), but a shoulder injury (torn labrum) and questions surrounding his conditioning led to an abysmal 2009 season in which he pitched to a 5.51 ERA and was demoted to Triple-A Norfolk on three different occasions.

Berken shifts to a long-relief role after starting 24 games last season (6.54 ERA). While the 26-year-old lacks the stuff of an effective starting pitcher, Trembley will look for him to eat innings should a starter be knocked out early. Of course, Berken could find himself back in the starting rotation should there be an injury or two over the course of the seaosn.

A player to keep an eye on at Norfolk is Kam Mickolio, a hard-throwing righty (part of the Erik Bedard trade with Seattle) who appeared to have a good chance of making the 25-man roster before a groin injury limited his opportunities in the spring. He projects as a late-inning man with closer potential.

As is the case with any bullpen on any team, the starting pitching will ultimately decide its fate. If starters are unable to reach the sixth or seventh inning on a consistent basis, this bullpen will inevitably wear down as we’ve seen just about every summer over the last 12 years. Improved starting pitching will hide the weaknesses in the bullpen and allow more opportunities to finish games.

7. Will Miguel Tejada and Garrett Atkins prove to be capable stopgaps?

The corner infield positions were two of MacPhail’s biggest priorities to address in the offseason, and he responded by adding two veterans accustomed to playing different positions than they will in 2010.

Tejada’s return to Baltimore was a controversial decision, but his ability to adjust to third base will be critical to the infield defense and pitching. Most seem to think Tejada will become a capable third baseman, but it’s hard to forget the initial struggles of both Cal Ripken and Melvin Mora when they shifted to the hot corner. One would expect Tejada to struggle in the first month or two of the season before settling in to be an average third baseman.

Tejada will also be asked to handle the cleanup spot in the order, at least until Matt Wieters is ready to grab the reins. While no longer capable of hitting 25 home runs per season—he hit just 27 in two combined seasons in Houston—Tejada led the National League with 47 doubles in 2009.

Across the diamond, Atkins shifts to first base after primarily manning the hot corner in his seven seasons in Colorado. Atkins has played 105 career games at first, so the transition should not be as drastic as Tejada’s.

The acquisition of Atkins was a curious one with the 30-year-old coming off the worst season of his career (.226, 9 home runs, 48 RBI) and safer options such as Adam LaRoche available. The club hopes Atkins can regain his pre-2009 form when he averaged 25 home runs and 110 RBI over three seasons.

Neither player figures to be in the fold when the Orioles aim to contend in the next few years—both signed one-year deals—but with prospects Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder likely a year away from the big leagues, Tejada and Atkins will be depended on for offense and steady defense on the corners. At the very least, neither contract will come back to haunt the club should either player prove ineffective.

8. How good will Brian Matusz be?

Though the hype hasn’t rivaled the insane expectations for Wieters, Matusz appears set to contend for the 2010 American League Rookie of the Year after starting eight games down the stretch, going 5-2 with a 4.63 ERA.

His 2009 minor league numbers look like something out of a video game, as he went a combined 11-2 with a 1.91 ERA at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie. In fact, Matusz was even better after being promoted to Bowie, going a perfect 7-0 record with a 1.55 ERA in eight starts.

Matusz was fantastic in the spring, finishing with a 2.59 ERA while striking out 21 and walking just three in 24.1 innings.

There’s a reason why he’s on every top-10 prospect list you’ll find this spring. Though Matusz would be hard-pressed to match Mike Mussina’s numbers in his first full year in 1992, don’t be shocked if he’s the Orioles’ best pitcher by mid-season. He might be already.

A scout was recently asked about Matusz in Baseball Prospectus: “He might have been the best pitcher I saw all spring, and I’m not just talking about prospects.”

Need we say more?

9. Is Dave Trembley managing his last season in Baltimore?

While many wondered about Trembley’s job security as the Orioles collapsed down the stretch last season, which included a 13-game losing streak that nearly pushed the club past the 100-loss mark, MacPhail retained Trembley while also declaring the 2010 season would be judged more critically on wins and losses.

It’s clear Trembley has had a near-impossible task trying to win with inferior talent in the AL East, but the skipper cannot expect a free ride either. Baserunning gaffes, poor fundamentals, and questionable bullpen management were major issues in 2009, regardless of who was on the field. It’s no secret the Orioles lack the talent of the Yankees, Red Sox, and Rays, so playing fundamentally-sound baseball is an absolute necessity if the club wants to improve in 2010.

Trembley’s supporters continue to claim he hasn’t had a chance to compete in his three seasons as manager, but the lack of talent cannot excuse some of the problems witnessed in 2009. Having bad players doesn’t mean you’re a bad manager, but it doesn’t mean you’re a capable manager either.

It’s imperative for the club to make significant improvement in 2010, or Trembley will be shown the door at the end of the season—if not sooner.

10. Will the Orioles make it an unlucky number 13?

Twelve years.

Twelve painful, long years.

The Orioles begin the new decade after closing out the first 10 years of the century without a winning season, their last winning campaign coming in 1997.

But unlike most of the last 12 years, it really looks as though the team will improve from where it was a year ago, though it’s difficult to go any direction but up after a 98-loss season. The problem is even a 15-game improvement–a tremendous accomplishment—would only create a 79-83 mark and a 13th straight losing season.

If the Orioles have any hope of a .500 season, they not only have to thrive against the AL Central and West but must find a way to avoid the utter embarrassment experienced last year against the Yankees and Red Sox.

The Orioles were 5-13 against the Bronx Bombers, and the results were even worse with the Red Sox, as Baltimore was an egregious 2-16 against Boston. Another 7-29 mark—far and away their worst record against the two AL East powers over the last 12 seasons—is unacceptable, if not unfathomable.

Forget about money, competitive imbalance, or recent history. A .194 winning percentage over 36 games against the Yankees and Red Sox should never happen.

When it all adds up, the Orioles can make significant improvement in 2010, but it looks like a 13th consecutive losing season is almost inevitable.

A record in the neighborhood of 77-85 will not rejuvenate the fan base immediately, but it would be a sizable step in the right direction.

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Welcome Home Miggy

Posted on 30 January 2010 by Erich Hawbaker

Miguel Tejada is an Oriole once more. I have to admit I was surprised by this news, and my first question was what number he’ll be wearing this time, because I doubt Adam Jones will give him back #10.

I really wasn’t sorry to see him go two years ago, although I did sympathize with his plight. He arrived here believing that he would be the cornerstone of a team that was going to be built to win, and by the time he left he was so disgusted with the futile efforts of our front office that he probably felt that he’d just wasted the last four years of his life. This time around, although the results have yet to be seen, the team at least appears to be moving in the right direction.

Our biggest hole (not counting the rotation) was at third base, and filling it with Tejada for 1 year and $6 million was a Hell of a bargain. I don’t know how many of us really kept track of him when he left here, but he’s remained very consistent even as he’s aged. At 35, he’s not the power hitter he once was, but his average has stayed above .300, he made the All Star team both years he was an Astro, he hardly ever misses a game, and he even led the NL in doubles last year with 46. I really have to wonder how he stayed a free agent as long as he did.

We also know that this is only a short term solution. All indications are that Josh Bell, the young third baseman we got from the Dodgers for George Sherrill, is going to be another one of Andy’s windfalls who should be coming into his own in the next couple years. Much like Matt Wieters did, he put up big numbers at the plate in Double-A last year, batting .295 with 20 homeruns and 75 RBIs. Pretty good for 23 years old.

But I digress. By going out and getting Tejada, the front office demonstrated a very big deviation from their modus operandi up to this point. Instead of asking the few loyal fans who remain to wait a little bit longer, they actually spent some money and took a step to produce something now. Garrett Atkins may work out and he may not. But with Tejada (and Millwood), we know what we’re getting. Will this finally be the year we don’t finish last, or dare I even think it, finish above .500? I know some of us would be satisfied with just that, but you have to remember the ultimate goal of the regular season is not to break .500; it is to go to the playoffs and win the World Series. Even if things are improving, we must not be placated by it if all that ever happens is that we become the team who is perpetually in 3rd place instead of 5th.

When it comes to the Orioles and their woeful history under Peter Angelos, there’s no bigger cynic than I. But I have to admit I feel a lot better about 2010 going in than I have in a long, long time. We absolutely need one more reliable starting pitcher (please God don’t let them bring Erik “glassjaw” Bedard back too), but the pieces are finally falling into place. I only hope I live to see the day when the hope translates into results.

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Orioles Bring Back Tejada - Which Means Andy MacPhail Finally Deviates From "The Plan" .....

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Orioles Bring Back Tejada – Which Means Andy MacPhail Finally Deviates From “The Plan” …..

Posted on 23 January 2010 by Rex Snider

When Andy MacPhail departs from his stewardship of the Baltimore Orioles, he’ll be remembered for an array of different decisions impacting a team he inherited as a doormat, in the AL-East.

MacPhail’s tenure has not been marred by irresponsible decision making. Such inferences would be unfair and quite honestly, uninformed. In fact, he’ll be regarded for pulling the trigger on perhaps, one of the most instrumental trades in Orioles history …..

Along with Chris Tillman, George Sherrill, Tony Butler and Kam Mickolio, Andy MacPhail swindled Adam Jones from the coveted clench of the Seattle Mariners. The bait? Erik Bedard. We rivaled in the O’s snookery – they finally ended up on the good side of a deal.

As we know, Bedard flopped, primarily because he’s not a WINNER and his makeup is fragile, from both a physical and emotional standpoint. He’s not tough – unless he’s chastising reporters and media-types.

The deal was quite lopsided and it certainly stood as a primary pin in whomever held Bill Bavasi’s voo-doo doll. Seattle’s General Manager was fired following the very public revelation that Adam Jones, Sherrill and Tillman for Bedard amounted to a late night stickup at your local 7-11 store.

For those who really KNOW and LOVE baseball, this guy was being hailed as a possible savior, as soon as the ink dried on the deal’s documents …..

And, remember, just a couple months prior to the Bedard deal, Andy MacPhail pulled off another trade ….. sending Miguel Tejada to the Houston Astros for Troy Pattan, Luke Scott and Matt Albers.
On Wednesday, December 12th, 2007, the Orioles and Astros made the deal official.

Less than 24 HOURS LATER, Miguel Tejada’s career and life changed forever …..

In interviews regarding the trade, MacPhail adamantly advised that Tejada’s prominence in an unflattering and divulging drug investigation had nothing to do with the deal.

Uhh, okay.

From a perspective of analyzing the fairness of the trade, I don’t think supporters, media or fans on either side of the transaction found it lopsided or ill-advised.

Tejada, while still a presence in the Orioles lineup, was coming off a season with “Un-Tejada-like” offensive production. And, he was beginning to exhibit a lesser SCULPTED look, in comparison to prior seasons …..


Personally, I welcomed the deal. Miguel Tejada was fast becoming a predictably sullen player. He would commonly enter spring training full of enthusiasm and readying for another fresh beginning, in Birdland. And, that enthusiasm would leak from Tejada’s ego in the same way helium escapes a falling balloon.

By August, Tejada would crash. Optimism became indifference, and the eventual bad attitude surfaced for everyone to see.

I’ve never bought Andy MacPhail’s explanation of the deal – more than two years ago. He reasoned, “(it)was a function of trying to add as many talented young players as I could get for a very talented player.”

Really? I guess it’s just coincidental that Tejada was beginning to regress from a power perspective. His 18 homers, in 2007, was the lowest mark of his career, since his first full Major League season – more than a decade ago.

Ahh, but don’t despair …..

Miguel Tejada’s power suffered further outage, at Minute Maid Park, in Houston. That’s right, he hit 13 and 14 homeruns, successively, in his two seasons playing for the Astros – in one of baseball’s featured HOMERUN DERBY HAVENS.

And, there is also this little problem with LYING to Congress. Yeah, you remember that, right? In 2005, while he was a member of the Baltimore Orioles, Miguel Tejada was untruthful with Congress, regarding performance enhancing drugs.

He was UNTRUTHFUL about his involvement with illegal drugs – when he was playing baseball in this city.

Heck, I’ll be honest about my blunt feelings …..

When the perjury revelation broke, last year, I was singing the praises of Andy MacPhail, yet, again. “No wonder he dumped the guy.” “Good for Andy – Good for the Orioles – Good for Baltimore.” That’s what I was thinking and saying.

In my mind I was processing MacPhails strategies to truly rebuilding the Orioles franchise and name. I sensed he wanted rid of “bad character” guys and the types of people who cheapen and tarnish an organization.

Don’t get me wrong, the problems and problem makers extend beyond Miguel Tejada …..

The Baltimore Orioles have enough attachment to the recent history of Major League Baseball’s drug problems. Some would say the Orioles are prominently represented among the seedier franchises.

What’s the penalty for betraying a town and its fans’ beloved colors of orange and black ??? Miguel Tejada did things the wrong way when he was here. And, evidence exists to suggest he influenced other teammates.

That’s fantastic to hear, huh? On top of the eroding skills at the plate and the substantially diminished fielding range – which I haven’t even addressed – indeed, the potential for a far more substantial risk of bringing Miguel Tejada back to Baltimore is staring squarely at every Orioles loyalist.

He’s gonna be in the same clubhouse with this guy …..

And, this guy – remember him ???

Oh yeah, and THESE GUYS …..

Does anyone see the real risk associated with affiliating Miguel Tejada and this Orioles team as ONE ??? He lied to LAWMAKERS and he’s done very little to offer up any contrition with the people of Baltimore, and the team it represents. Or has he?

Maybe Andy MacPhail and Miguel Tejada have reached some accord or peaceful ground. Of course, they have. But, where does that leave us?

A couple years ago, Andy MacPhail pulled a couple slick heists. And, the Orioles were better for it. THE PLAN looked promising. But, now, we stand here two years down the road and the team’s growth seems kinda thwarted.

No more slick trades – or eventual tangible signings. Oh, they’ve made some lackluster deals …..

But, the players who came here really had one other option …. NOWHERE.

Get a good look at the ball Mark Hendrickson is holding in the above photo. That’s probably the same view opposing hitters see. Throw in Adam Eaton, Chad Moeller, Rich Hill, Ty Wiggington and a few others and you’ll get a good idea of the quality of players Andy MacPhail signs.

I’m finding it very hard to continue buying THE PLAN, when we keep getting served SCRAPS.

Maybe, I was wrong. Maybe, the Orioles will still be DOORMATS when Andy calls it a day. And, Miguel Tejada just puts him one step closer to making it a reality.

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Growing the Arms, Pie in the Sky, and Goodbye to an Un-American Eyesore

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Growing the Arms, Pie in the Sky, and Goodbye to an Un-American Eyesore

Posted on 30 August 2009 by Sam Angell


The past ten games have shown us something about these 2009 Orioles. This year’s record may not show it, but this is not the same team that has put up losing campaigns the last 12 seasons. This year’s team has fight – and isn’t done putting up some positively exciting results. That may not have been more evident than Sunday afternoon, when rookie Brian Matusz set new career highs with eight strikeouts and seven innings pitched. After five starts in which he showed flashes of brilliance but couldn’t put everything together, Matusz knew he was going to have a better day on Sunday, and told teammates and reports to expect it.

He was right.

Matusz seems to be showing an incredible sense of self-awareness. His ability to identify and correct his mechanical flaws with the help of pitching coach Rick Kranitz will prove invaluable over the course of his career, and could help him avoid prolonged stretches of poor outings. There will undoubtedly be more missteps along the way for Matusz, and the team he dominated on Sunday was not exactly one of the Major League’s most potent offenses. But the Indians – especially Andy Marte, who went 0-3 against Matusz – had shown a knack for delivering some painful knockout blows during the four-game series at Camden Yards this weekend. Even when the Birds could retire the Indians, it seemed like they had to put a little extra work in, as center fielder Adam Jones twice robbed Indians of home runs on Saturday night. Matusz shut the Tribe down. It will take time to know for sure, but he certainly looks like he could turn into the top-of-the-rotation ace that the Orioles hoped he would be when they selected him in the first round last year.

Matusz hasn’t been the only Oriole looking good lately. Chris Tillman has continued to impress over his first few Major League outings, and although David Hernandez has suffered a few setbacks recently, he bounced back with a solid effort on Thursday night in a no-decision. Jeremy Guthrie, the anointed ace of the staff coming into the year, has looked like the Guthrie of old in his last two outings. Even Jason Berken, who wallowed through much of the campaign and seemed like a strong candidate for demotion before the injury to Brad “R.O.Y.” Bergesen, has won his last two starts and three of his last five, giving up no more than three earned runs in each outing.

For the most part, these guys are keeping the team in the game. There have been a few hiccups from the bullpen, but they are also showing signs of an emerging confidence and dependability. George Sherrill put up a tremendous year-and-a-half for the Birds, and could have rightfully added an All-Star appearance this year to go along with what should have been an All-Star Game M.V.P. outing last season. But Kam Mickolio has shown a calm under pressure and an ability to throw strikes – something that sounds simple but may end up making him one of the most valuable pieces the Orioles got for Erik Bedard two offseasons ago. Thursday night’s blown save notwithstanding, Jim Johnson has looked like a more than capable replacement for Sherrill in the closer role, with a sinking fastball that can reach the upper-nineties and keep batters from making solid contact. Even Chris Ray, who appeared to some as a lost cause at least twice this season, may have finally gotten his mechanical issues figured out on his last trip down to Norfolk.

“Grow the arms and buy the bats.” That has been the philosophy of Andy MacPhail all along. Maybe he’s been on to something.


Speaking of the Orioles’ bats, who saw this coming from Felix Pie? The baserunning mistakes are still there, painful even for tee ball-playing little leaguers to watch. But he has been lethal at the plate lately. More and more often, Pie has sent rockets out of the Yard, allowing him the freedom to circle the basepaths at his leisure. Sunday’s opposite field blast to open up a 3-0 lead on the Indians was impressive, but perhaps his most jaw-dropping bomb of the year came last week in Minnesota, when he teed off on a Twinkie pitch and sent it soaring beyond the deep center field wall at the Metrodome. Cal Ripken got his 3,000th hit at the Metrodome, and the Orioles have always played well there. But that might have been the most impressive shot I have ever seen at that place. This guy can hit, folks. He’s clearly got a lot of work to do, but maybe he was worth keeping around after all. Hopefully he comes back in the spring with a little more understanding of the subtleties of the game.


Since we’re on the subject of the Metrodome, the Orioles’ win on Wednesday night marked the end of their time in that abomination of a ballpark. Although the Birds generally fared well there and it was, as I mentioned, the site of Cal Ripken’s 3,000th hit, it was a lousy place for a ballgame. Oriole Park has the Warehouse. Wrigley has the Ivy. Fenway has the Green Monster. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome had sandwich bags that had been left in Kirby Puckett’s locker hanging from the rafters in right field. The roof wreaked havoc on fly balls, and ground balls hit on the ultra-fast, ultra-hard artificial surface weren’t much more fun. The Mall of America stands where the Twins’ former home, Metropolitan Stadium, once existed. With its sterile, fluorescent environment and deteriorating amenities (on a recent visit, my parents were shocked to find that the place didn’t even bother to sell Twins hats!), there aren’t many more Un-American ballparks in the Major Leagues. Even Toronto’s SkyDome, with its Hard Rock Cafe, McDonalds, and swanky hotel, is more American than that place. And that’s without even bringing up the swastika that perpetually hovers over the cool, clear Minneapolis sky.



That’s all for me today. Happy belated Birthday, Michael.

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The Sherrill trade: Wish we were buyers instead of sellers

Posted on 30 July 2009 by Drew Forrester

George Sherrill probably can’t contain himself tonight as he ponders a new beginning in Los Angeles with a winning organization and a club in serious contention for a post-season berth this season. 

Sherrill’s thrilled to be out of Baltimore.

I’m not sure I feel the same excitement about today’s deal.

I’ve never really been a huge Sherrill-as-the-closer fan because he puts too many men on base for my liking.  That said, he was a gritty performer who succeeded more often than not.  Jorge Julio, he wasn’t.

The deal today, though is an on-going symbol of the O’s current state of mind and that’s what I’m having a hard time coming to grips with, I suppose.

Look around at the trading deadline and answer me this question: How many good teams are trading away their good players? And how many bad teams are trading away their good players?

You know the answer.

The “sellers” at the deadline are the franchises who are – generally speaking – going backwards.  The “buyers” are the teams trying to win or at least moving in the general direction of winning.

Once again, the O’s are deadline SELLERS, not buyers.

That bothers me.

They’ll survive without Sherrill, obviously.  I wonder, though, did the O’s inquire about Cliff Lee before the Indians dealt him to the Phillies for a couple of decent prospects and some towels?  Was there ever a consideration to approach the A’s about Matt Holliday and use him as a DH and 4th outfielder?  He has more ability in his hair gel than Felix Pie has in his body.  I’m not saying those deals could have been made, because I don’t know all the parameters and contract situations.  I’m just asking if there was ever a thought from Andy MacPhail and the club to be buyers at the deadline — instead of sellers?

We won’t know that answer because Andy’s not allowed to talk to the media unless he’s under the protective custody of the team’s PR staff.  

Selling off good players is what the Pirates do.  And we all know they stink.

The Indians have moved two of the best left-handed pitchers in the game over the last 15 months and received little value in return.  Don’t look now, but the Tribe stinks too.

Who knows what lies ahead in the next day?  Maybe someone will take Danys Baez in a pinch and maybe, just maybe, Aubrey Huff is in the last 24 hours of his O’s career.  I’d be OK with either of those guys packing their bags tomorrow.

For some reason, I’m just not high on the Sherrill deal.

And like I said, I’m not really that much of a Sherrill lover.

But on the whole, he has a lot more quality and value than Huff and/or Baez. 

I was hoping we dump one of those guys — or, perhaps, maybe we find a team silly enough (besides us) to take Pie or even the struggling Luke Scott. 

I wanted to be a seller by jettisoning the scrubs, not the good players.

Good teams acquire good players at the deadline.

Bad teams trade good players at the deadline.

There’s no doubt which profile our O’s fit.

Oh well, one MAJOR deal was struck today in Baltimore.  Michael Oher signed with the Ravens last night and was in Westminster this afternoon.  

And that reminds me:  it’s officially football season around here.

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Another Orioles Season Is Six Days Away From Biting The Dust ….

Posted on 22 July 2009 by Rex Snider

Well, another Baltimore baseball season is coming to an end – the Orioles wrap-up 2009, next Tuesday evening, against the Kansas City Royals, at Camden Yards …..

Of course, I’m being a smart alec, or am I ???

Alas, this is a BASEBALL blog – which means Glenn Clark doesn’t care and nobody else will, either, in six more days …..

That’s right, if I wanna cover a point regarding America’s pastime, it’s best to do it this week. After next Tuesday, all eyes, ears, minds and hearts will be in Westminster and fixated on anything and everything regarding the Baltimore Ravens.

But, it’s still July and the Major League Baseball season is far from over. Or, is it ….

While the Orioles still have 70 games remaining on this season’s schedule, it’s becoming obvious that interest is waning and only the unconditional optimists or diehard fans of the game are really pining to see where Aubrey Huff or George Sherrill land, next week, right?

We’re accustomed to this upcoming s-t-r-e-t-c-h of the season, where people really don’t care, and the ballpark is sparsely occupied by the following …..

1) Tourists with Camden Yards on their baseball “bucket list”

2) Red Sox fans (* ballpark is packed)

3) A local family on someone else’s dime

4) Yankees fans (* ballpark is packed)

5) The most frugal of suckers who purchased mini-season plans

I guess you can count me among those who really do care about the upcoming trade deadline, as well as the postseason drive. While I’ll be in Westminster, and absorbing everything purple, I still love baseball.

So, with “All Star Week” officially in the rear view mirror, it’s time to take a look toward the finish line and the accomplishments, as well as disappointments of the 2009 season. And, no, I’m not thinking with my heart.

Here ya go …..

AL Divisional Winners/Wildcard – East/Red Sox, Central/White Sox, West/Rangers, Wildcard/Rays

The Yankees and Rays will battle for the final spot and I’ve just got a feeling the Rays’ youth is better served late in the season.

NL Divisional Winners/Wildcard – East/Phillies, Central/Cubs, West/Dodgers, Wildcard/Cardinals

World Series – Red Sox vs. Dodgers (Dodgers 4-3)

AL MVP – Jason Bay, Red Sox

AL CY – CC Sabathia, Yankees (and future Jenny Craig Spokesman)

AL ROY – Brett Anderson, A’s

NL MVP – Albert Pujols, Cardinals

NL CY – Tim Lincecum, Giants

NL ROY – Tommy Hanson, Braves

AL Goat – David Ortiz, Red Sox

NL Goat – Jimmy Rollins, Phillies

AL Comeback Player – Victor Martinez, Indians

NL Comeback Player – Todd Helton, Rockies

Roy Halladay’s Team on October 1st – Blue Jays

Orioles Biggest Off-Season Addition – Joe Girardi

Uh-oh ….. FRANCHISE is pissed-off now !!!!

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