Posted on 27 February 2012 by WNST Staff
Posted on 20 February 2012 by Glenn Clark
Stop me if you heard this one before.
If Pitchers and Catchers report to Spring Training but no one has ever heard of them before, did it actually happen?
To at least some extent, that was the case in Sarasota this weekend. Baltimore Orioles pitchers and catchers reported to Ed Smith Stadium for an opportunity to
prepare for a run towards the AL East crown introduce themselves to the men they now call teammates.
A year ago, there was a level of false hope about what a full season under manager Buck Showalter and the arrivals of veteran MLB players like Vladimir Guerrero, Derrek Lee and Mark Reynolds could do for baseball in Charm City. There is of course none of that in 2012, but you already knew that.
To be fair, I’m as surprised as you that Endy Chavez fever simply hasn’t spread throughout the Mid-Atlantic.
The start of Spring Training (most O’s pitchers had actually arrived in Sarasota in advance of this weekend’s report date) produced neither excitement nor as much as a batted eye to baseball fans in Baltimore this year. I will admit that I did not miss the insufferable “Happy New Year” updates on Facebook and Twitter from snobby baseball fans who are unaware their favorite sport is no longer our national pastime, but that’s the only good thing to be said.
It strikes me on this Monday that I honestly find myself pining for a year in which expectations (or at least hopes) for mediocrity fizzled into just another miserable summer at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. I’m not pining over memories of a World Series run or even a relevant game on Labor Day. I’m pining for a team that mattered…at least a little bit…on St. Patrick’s Day.
It’s that bad.
Some of you will likely use the comments section here to accuse me of wasting hundreds of words on taking a shot at the Orioles. I don’t know that I’ll really bother to argue much with you.
There will be plenty of storylines between now and Opening Day, it’s just that none of them will be interesting.
Someone will have to start against the Minnesota Twins on April 6. Zach Britton is the easy fan favorite, but will have to show his shoulder is 100 percent to even get into the competition. The team will reportedly have to line up four more starters behind whoever goes out for Game 1, despite the fact that you’d be hard pressed to name three quality pitchers in the group of 30 that showed up this weekend.
They also need one of those pitchers to finish games. Jim Johnson is the guy fans most want to see get the role. Fans’ second choice? Anyone not named Kevin Gregg.
Brian Roberts’ health will be the closest we come to seeing something compelling in March. A healthy Roberts would by no means guide the team towards contention, but it would be nice to see the veteran second baseman return to the field instead of being ushered into retirement. Barring injury all other starting positions on the field are set. That’s of course part of the problem, as even with talented players like JJ Hardy, Nick Markakis and Adam Jones suiting up there’s little hope of producing enough against the staffs in Boston, New York and Tampa Bay.
There will be some competition for bench jobs, but that excitement will wear off before I can finish typing the names Matt Antonelli and Jai Miller. But hey! Look over there! It’s Nick Johnson! I’ve heard of him!
We’re going to attempt to have some relevant baseball conversation over the course of the next few weeks. All of it will involve the phrase “not like it really matters, but…” at some point. If it doesn’t, the conversation will probably be started by someone asking “have you heard anything more about those rumors that Peter Angelos is thinking about selling the team?”.
We can only pray that at some point Dan Duquette makes an off-color comment about Brian Cashman’s off-field exploits to momentarily make the Birds interesting. If you’re not, rest easy knowing I certainly am. I’d settle for a rumor that Oil Can Boyd was going to get coked up and make a start at OPACY to promote his new book.
(Now that I’ve typed those words, I actually think it’s a hell of an idea. Please pass it along to someone.)
Yes, it’s baseball season again in Baltimore. Anyone wanna talk about Justin Boren’s future in purple?
Posted on 17 November 2011 by Tom Federline
It’s been six (6) long years. But finally, Nicholas William Markakis (Future Hall of Famer), received the American league Gold Glove Award for fielding excellence in right field. He only had to go the whole season without being charged with an error. That’s right a 1.000 fielding percentage, 325 chances, 14 assists, 3 double plays and you might as well throw in the 3 games at first base (without an error). Quite frankly, I do not know if a perfect fielding percentage has ever happened before with approximately that many chances by an outfielder. The young man is a baseball machine and in my book, the backbone of the Baltimore Orioles.
Finally, I’m back to blogging. Had a little down time there, way to busy and WNST in transition with the website (as you have noticed). Awful lot of bad sports news has transpired, but also some good news has been inter-twined. And for once that good news is coming from the Orioles. A new GM (hey he built the Bosox in the early 2000′s) and they are going back to the cartoon bird on the uniforms. The orthonogically correct bird did nothing for us. Came close, but no glory. O’s needed a change and it happened. Grant it, it wasn’t the major change that we are hoping for (Cal Jr. – Owner), but it was positive change.
The best news to me though was Mr. Nick and the Gold Glove. If you have some time, go to my personal blog and head “Back in Time” – (Huey Lewis and the News). Back to November 15, 2009 – “Markakis Spurned Again”, it’s a good read, I was ……..let’s say passionate. Maybe MLB is trying to bring back some credibility to the award. At least this year they awarded per outfield position as opposed to the outfield in general. At least Jeter and Ichiro did not win again (previously fixed). I still believe the voting is tainted and I do not buy the voting cast members of managers and coaches. Heck, just look at thier track record. This year it was to cut and dry. This year they got it right. This year the best right fielder in baseball won the award. He has been the best for at least the past 5 years. His numbers and his standard of play reflect that.
Along with Markakis, the O’s catcher Matt Weiters, was also awarded a Gold Glove - another correct recognition. Now where the “voters in question” blew it, was with JJ Hardy. Erick Aybar (LA Angels) won it the award at shortstop, good player but not the best fielding SS this past year. Aybar – 142 games, 13 errors, .980 fielding pct. JJ Hardy – 130 games, 6 errors, .990 fielding pct. The Orioles had 3 gold glovers. Let’s not get greedy. Just mentioning those three names and knowing they will be back next season is encouraging enough.
For people that know baseball. For people that follow the Birds. For people that have ever played the outfield. We know one of our Oriole stars finally recieved what has been long overdue. A Nick Markakis moment I’ll never forget and one my daughter will never forget. We were up in Frederick and on a whim went to a Keys game. I saw this young ball player out in right field and I said to my daughter – “Look at that #21 out there, he is going to be a star. Just by the way he carrys himself and approaches the game. He is ”Old School”. You don’t see that much anymore.” Then later during the game my daughter turned to me and said, “and he’s a good hitter”. Congrats Future Hall of Famer. Congrats Matt (on the field manager) Weiters. Thanks for the positives amongst all the negative. Go O’s!
Posted on 29 September 2011 by Tom Federline
The Baltimore Orioles are not going to the playoffs this year………….and neither are the Boston Red Sox. Hallelujah! What the Orioles did last night will go down in the annals of Oriole history as one of those “Oriole Classics”. The O’s played a part in one of the more historical nights ever in Major League Baseball. The O’s contributed positively by providing losses to the “Greatest Collapse” of a first place team in MLB history. Hallelujah! Nice choke Boston Red Sox. Thank Youuuuuuuuu – Orioles for putting the final game of the 2011 season, “…in the WIN column.” Especially in such dramatic fashion. In my book, the Boston Red Sox and their arrogant fans have surpassed the New York Yankees in rudeness and greed. Last night made the Orioles year.
Terps beating Duke, Ravens beating Steelers and as it has been for the past 5 years for me, the Orioles beating the Red Sox. Maybe it’s because they are winning and the Orioles are not. Maybe it’s because of Roger “Steroids” Clemens. Maybe it’s because they ruined a perfectly good song in “Sweet Caroline” – (Neil Diamond). Maybe it’s because all the bragging in the world about their supposed famous Clam Chowda will never come close to good ole Maryland Crab soup with Old Bay. Whatever the reason, I get more fired up when Boston is in town than the Yankees. Maybe their it’s just been a given for so long to dislike the Yankees – it’s old hat. The Orioles contributed in preventing the Red Sox to going onto Post season play. If that is not music to your ears, stop reading now and move on.
I thought the Birds were cooked at the rain delay in the 7th. Driving up 95 in the rainstorm, knew it was headed to the Yards, did not know how long it was going to last. Men on 1st and 3rd two outs, Adam “supposed Oriole MVP” Jones up to the plate – Struck out. Nice MVP move. All I kept saying to myself was, “Not at Camden Yards”, you guys can NOT let Boston in with a loss at our home park. You might as well just open up the wounds and pour the salt in. The winter just got longer. More Oriole disappointment. My orange Kool-aid was going to go bad. Woke up this morning, saw something orange in the sky, I believe they call it a sun. I had forgotten what it looked like, so I thought it was a sign that the Orioles had pulled off the improbable, low and behold it was a great day in Birdland.
Now, how about a little controversy? You know how I feel about the “Fix”. How about that Tampa Bay/Yankees game? I thought the game was over early at 7 – 0. Six runs bottom of the 8th, pinch hit home run in 9th to extend it, wait for outcome of Orioles game, 3 minutes later “Let’s Groove Tonight” – (Earth Wind & Fire) – “Here’ s one for ya Evan Longoria, you is in the playoffs!” Coincidence? There are no coincidences. You go Tampa Bay! Anybody but the Yankees or the Phillies.
One down side of the past few days, Adam Jones – the Orioles MVP as voted on by the Baltimore media. Are you kiddin’ me? Every single one of those numbnuts that voted for Jones instead of JJ Hardy, should be fired. More proof positive, in your face – lack of baseball knowledge, minor league journalism that the Baltimore area has had to put up with for many a moon. Ninety percent (90%) of the Orioles print media and broadcasts are not worth your time. My opinion of 2011 O’s MVP: JJ Hardy (unanimous), Matt Weiters, Jim Johnson, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and I am a Jonesy fan.
The Orioles contributed in preventing the Boston Red Sox from going into Post Season play. Seize the Moment – we don’t have many. The Birds did not fulfill expectations this year, below .500 and last place again. So what? They ended the year with the sweetest win of them all. It’s gonna get better.
Posted on 08 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis
BALTIMORE – The Orioles open up a four game set against the Chicago White Sox on Monday as Jeremy Guthrie takes the mound against John Danks.
The good news for the Birds, and they sure needed a bit of positive news, is that J.J. Hardy is back in the lineup batting leadoff and playing shortstop. Hardy arrived at the ballpark and declared himself good to go for Monday’s game.
“I went outside and tested it, doing all the things that hurt me in Kansas City, and it felt fine,” Hardy said.
Hardy is looking forward to rebounding from what many consider to be one of his worst stretches as an Oriole.
“It was a rough road-trip depending on how you look at it,” Hardy said. “I know I only got eight hits but they were good hits. Something I already forgot about, thanks for reminding me, but I feel like it will be good to get back in there. Glad it was only three days.”
The O’s other main injury concern, Chris Davis, was in good spirits today as he seems eager to get back on the field and show the O’s brass what he can do. While not in the lineup on Monday, it seems likely that Davis will return by Tuesday or Wednesday at the latest.
“I feel good today,” Davis said. “I feel like I could have played today. I’m going to take BP and I’m going to hit in the cage. I think they’re just being cautious, like I said yesterday. I haven’t done anything in the last couple of days so I’ll do some stuff today and see how I’m going to feel, see if I’m going to be sore. I’m going to go take some BP and try to hit some balls on Eutaw Street, so it will be fun.”
Davis was asked if he tried to coax his way into the lineup for the series opener.
“I’ve tried,” Davis said. “I literally actually put my name in the lineup before anyone else did, and when I came back it said I was pitching so I moved it back out of the lineup. I would love to pitch, but I just don’t want to subject these guys to that.”
Cesar Izturis left Sunday’s game with a groin injury. Buck Showalter said that Izturis felt worse Monday than he did on Sunday, adding that it “doesn’t sound good right now.”
From hearing Buck, I think another DL stint for Izturis is highly likely.
Jo-Jo a go
Buck Showalter confirmed Monday that Jo-Jo Reyes will start Tuesday’s game. Showalter made it a point to stress how important it was for Reyes to take advantage of this opportunity, implying that Zach Britton will be back soon which could put Reyes’ brief rotation spot in jeopardy if he fails to pitch well for the Birds.
Speaking of Zach Britton, Showalter confirmed with reporters that with his stint in the minors, his abbreviated outings against the Yankees and Red Sox, and now his DL stint, there is now no need to think about shutting Britton down early in an attempt to limit his innings. At this point, when Britton returns, he’ll be back for good, assuming good health and performance.
Here are tonight’s lineups:
Posted on 07 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis
**Join us in the Orange Crush chat today at 1:30PM. If you’re watching the O’s, surfing the Internet, or both, stop by and share your thoughts with us. It’s always fun!
BALTIMORE – The Orioles haven’t won a series since they won the rubber game against the Cincinnati Reds on June 26th. They look to snap that streak today as they take on the Blue Jays at Camden Yards behind their most impressive pitcher of late, Alfredo Simon.
In Simon’s last four starts, he has given up just 8 runs in 25.2 innings. As Buck Showalter likes to say, he has seized his opportunity and ran with it. When the O’s have desperately needed a starter to give them quality innings, Alfredo Simon has stepped up.
“He’s pitching real well as a starter and especially with some of our injuries,” said Buck Showalter. “It’s worked out well. He’s been able to defend himself against left handed hitters for the most part.”
Showalter continued discussing Simon’s recent success.
“It seemed like last year in the bullpen he got a little defensive and…always seemed to go to the breaking ball….he kind of got away from his fastball,” Showalter said. “He’s been able to set that up and pitch more aggressively with it which has been able to set some other pitches up. I think he’s gotten more confident with the fastball as a starter.”
On a day when the Orioles are feeling good about the effort they saw from Chris Tillman on Saturday night, another quality outing by Simon along with a series win would certainly represent one of the better days of late here in Birdland.
Opposing Simon will be Ricky Romero. Romero has established himself as one of the better starters in baseball, sporting a mediocre 9-9 record but more importantly pitching to an ERA under 3 runs a game.
Just 10 days ago, Romero pitched into the ninth inning against the Birds in Toronto, going 8.1 innings allowing just four hits and three walks while striking out nine Orioles. Romero has started 11 games against the O’s over his career, going 5-3 with a 3.19 ERA.
Chris Davis and JJ Hardy update
“We’re progressing,” Showalter said. “We’re excited about what we got back from the CT Scan (J.J. Hardy) and the MRI (Chris Davis). We feel like it’s pretty imminent that they’re back on the field shortly.”
On Kevin Gregg’s leadership in locker-room
Buck was asked if it was rare that a relief pitcher can be such a mentor to all pitchers, relievers and even starters, in the locker-room.
“If you look at his background and the things he’s been through in his career to establish himself, there are reasons why those things happen,” Showalter said. “Kind of like the reason why the situation found him in Boston. He gets it. Kevin gets it. He understands the ups and downs and he also will call BS. He’s the voice of reality. If your looking for someone to tell you what you want to hear he’s the wrong guy. If you want to get an answer about reality then go sit down.”
Showalter believes Gregg is a great resource for young pitchers on and off the field.
“He’s very popular, I think he is, to most people,” Showalter said. “It’s kind of revealing the people that don’t seek him out, in a way. He’s not a guy that’s always initiating, but if you ask, he’ll try to help. But he knows he’s got challenges too that he’s attacking.”
O’s fans hope Gregg will get a chance on Sunday to close down the series for the Birds in the ninth inning.
Here are today’s lineups:
SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
1B: Mark Reynolds
LF: Nolan Reimold
C: Craig Tatum
3B: Josh Bell
2B: Cesar Izturis
SP: Alfredo Simon
LF: Rajai Davis
SS: Yunel Escobar
RF: Jose Bautista
DH: Adam Lind
1B: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
C: J.P. Arencibia
2B: John McDonald
3B: Brett Lawrie
SP: Ricky Romero
Posted on 05 August 2011 by Peter Dilutis
BALTIMORE – The Orioles begin a 10 game homestand Friday night with the first three contests coming against the Toronto Blue Jays. Tommy Hunter, acquired from Texas in the Koji Uehara trade, will be making his first start as a member of the Orioles.
Prior to the game, Buck Showalter met with the media and shared many interesting tidbits.
On Cesar Izturis coming off the DL: “It’s been a long road for Izzy. I’m proud of him to get back. Happy to get him back, as much as a person as a player. He’s ready to go. We’ll move him around a little bit.”
On the J.J. Hardy injury front: “J.J.’s got an upper ankle that’s bothering him. In fact it feels pretty good today. It’s kind of strange because he’ll go through periods when he doesn’t feel it at all early on in the day, and then the game starts and it got a little worse last night as the game went on. He can’t tell any one play or anything he did where he felt it. It just got a little progressively worse. We kind of lose sight that the doctors have other patients as important as our guys. So Dr. Wilkins will be here shortly, and he’s had a full day here to look at J.J. I would imagine we’ll get an MRI done tomorrow morning.”
On Arrieta’s elbow concerns: “He has an appointment on the 10th (of August). He won’t be pitching between now and the 10th. A lot depends on what Dr. Yocum says.”
On Tillman getting an extended look in rotation. “I hope so. I hope so. I hope he pitches well enough to do that. If he could put together (a start) like the first couple innings that he had, that would be there. It’s there for him if he’ll seize the opportunity. Very much like Simon.”
On being surprised at Mark Connor’s decision to return to the Texas Rangers organization: “No. Not at all. He’s very well thought of over there, and that job description fits him very well where he is in his life. He’s very familiar with all the pitching people, and they with him. It didn’t surprise me at all. I know they had called Andy about it.”
On that note, here are tonight’s lineups:
SS: Robert Andino
RF: Nick Markakis
CF: Adam Jones
DH: Vladimir Guerrero
3B: Mark Reynolds
C: Matt Wieters
1B: Chris Davis
LF: Nolan Reimold
2B: Cesar Izturis
SP: Tommy Hunter
SS: Yunel Escobar
LF: Eric Thames
RF: Jose Bautista
1B: Adam Lind
DH: Edwin Encarnacion
CF: Colby Rasmus
2B: Aaron Hill
C: J.P. Arencibia
3B: Brett Lawrie
SP: Brad Mills
Posted on 18 July 2011 by Rex Snider
You can count me among the collection of those who were a little surprised by Saturday’s announcement of JJ Hardy’s new deal with the Orioles.
From a financial perspective, I don’t dispute the commitment from the birds. The organization’s top prospect, Manny Machado, is learning his craft at Frederick and limited middle infield options appear on the horizon during the upcoming off-season.
An expenditure of $22 million over 3 years seems quite reasonable for the Orioles.
But, in viewing the deal from JJ Hardy’s side of the fence, I am a little perplexed. In fact, I think a few peculiar questions should exist …..
Given the perceived lack of shortstop depth in the 2012 free agent class, did Hardy’s representatives feel he couldn’t garner at least $8 million, per season, over the next few years?
Has the product of 3+ months on a last place Orioles team provided Hardy with a comfortable outlook over the next 36 months?
Is this deal really about financial security for a lifetime, as Hardy approaches his 29th birthday?
I guess the preceding questions are a roundabout way of suggesting JJ Hardy and his agents huddled and ultimately said “let’s do the safe thing.” After all, the world knows the Orioles shortstop has realized a big league career littered with injuries and stints on the disabled list.
And, while he’s had a briefly respectable run in an Orioles uniform, it’s quite apparent Hardy is not the player envisioned during the summers of 2008 and 2008, in Milwaukee.
I’ve been quietly impressed with his transition to the leadoff role in Brian Roberts’ absence, and he’s flashed stellar defense with some consistent power potential through the first half of the season.
But, what possesses JJ Hardy to renew with the Orioles – for a modest raise – without testing the market? I’m not ranking him as the complimentary to Jose Reyes, but he would be a formidable consolation prize for a contender that needs a shortstop for the next few seasons.
Does he envision an Orioles team capable of doing something markedly better than what’s been achieved through 92 games? Maybe, he’s just comfortable here …..
Like I said, it’s a good deal for the Orioles. And, the shortstop obviously thinks it’s a contract fit for his immediate future. But, one question lingers for me …..
Why is JJ Hardy staying in Baltimore? I would really like to know.
Posted on 16 July 2011 by Luke Jones
BALTIMORE — With the trade deadline two weeks away and the possibility of multiple teams being after his services this offseason, shortstop J.J. Hardy decided he was having too much fun with the last-place Orioles this season.
The 28-year-old shortstop agreed to terms on a new three-year contract to remain with Baltimore through the 2014 season. Reports indicate the deal will pay him in the neighborhood of $22 million over the next three seasons and will include a limited no-trade clause. The deal is pending a physical and has not been officially signed.
“There are a lot of things I don’t have to worry about now,” Hardy said. “It’s definitely a relief, a big weight off my shoulders, and just worry about playing baseball now.”
His 13 home runs is third on the club despite missing a month of the season with a strained oblique muscle. While spending a significant portion of the season in the leadoff spot, Hardy’s .490 slugging percentage is tops among regulars in the Orioles lineup.
Hardy had represented the Orioles’ biggest trade chip, but 19-year-old prospect Manny Machado is a few years away from being ready to take over the shortstop position in Baltimore, prompting president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail to lock up one of the few bright spots of a disappointing season. Given Hardy’s injury history, he likely chose to avoid playing out the final two months of the season and risk an injury that could diminish his value.
“The biggest thing for me was the fact that I have been having fun here,” said Hardy, who admitted he and his agent had discussed possible teams seeking a shortstop this winter. “I like this clubhouse, I like this organization, and that was a big part for me.”
The fact that Hardy thought enough of his brief time with the Orioles to want to stay has to be a minor boost for an organization heading toward its 14th straight losing season. The shortstop wants to be part of a turnaround and hopes to be a major reason for it.
“Right now, it’s not going that well, but there is some potential,” Hardy said. “I feel like this team is a lot better than what we’ve been doing the last couple weeks. I like challenges as well as being competitive. I feel like it’s definitely a big challenge to turn this whole organization around. If I can help be a part of that, then great.”
Given the Orioles’ current stretch of nine straight losses and 23 defeats in their last 29 games, there’s been growing sentiment for the organization to sell off players and start the rebuilding process again. However, the Hardy signing means the club appears to be pushing forward with the current group of young players — for better or worse.
Right fielder Nick Markakis expressed his satisfaction with the Orioles locking up Hardy for the next three years. It was just over a year ago when the normally soft-spoken Markakis publicly questioned the direction of the organization before MacPhail hired Showalter to manager the Orioles in late July.
“It definitely means a lot to the club, the organization, and, most of all, the fans,” said Markakis, who applauded Hardy’s work in the leadoff spot for the injured Brian Roberts. “The fans have been been here a lot longer than I have and all the guys in this clubhouse. They deserve it more than anything.
“We’re working, we’re trying to climb that mountain. We’re on that way; it’s just a matter of time.”
Posted on 07 July 2011 by Peter Dilutis
So it’s July 7th. The Orioles are again in the midst of their June/July swoon. The wheels are quickly coming off of what once was an interesting and relevant season for the Orioles. Fans are beginning to pay less and less attention to the Birds. The talk of blowing the team up and trading the veterans before the deadline is increasing everyday.
In short, it is a typical summer in Birdland.
The Orioles’ 2011 season is quickly spiraling out of control. Everyone is pessimistic. I get that. But where do the Orioles stand with regards to their future?
How many players on the current team are key pieces as the Orioles head into the future? Which players are long-term nuggets?
Let’s start with the position players.
Nick Markakis hasn’t lived up to the hype that surrounded him after his first two seasons in the big leagues, but the guy is still an above average right fielder. He’s under contract for the next three seasons, so there is no doubt that Nick is the O’s RF of the future.
Adam Jones has two years left before he becomes a free agent, but if no deal is reached by this time next season, he may become a prime trade candidate. Jones has clearly stepped up his play in 2011 to a more productive and consistent level, and he will command a very hefty contract whenever the Orioles decide to extend him. That said, Jones seems to like being in Baltimore, and I can’t imagine why the O’s would let the main piece of the Bedard deal, and more importantly a young, talented outfielder in the prime of his career, walk away in free agency.
When I filled in for Glenn and talked some baseball with Drew a few weeks back, we disagreed on whether Mark Reynolds was a long-term guy at 3B. I felt that he was, and I argued that even if he isn’t even a solid defender, he isn’t nearly as bad defensively as he has been this year. Since then, while Reynolds has continued to accumulate some errors, his offense has picked up dramatically. He has well above-average power and he gets on base at a very good clip. Reynolds has value, and as his defense creeps back to his career norms, that value will only increase. Reynolds is under contract for 2012 and the club holds a reasonable team option for 2013. I feel that Reynolds is the long-term, or at least immediate-term, answer at 3B for the Orioles.
While Matt Wieters hasn’t lived up to his “switch-hitting Jesus” hype, which instantly leaves a bad taste in the mouths of Orioles fans who were desperately craving a franchise superstar, he is still a well above-average catcher with the potential to turn into more. Wieters is the long-term answer at catcher for the Orioles and is under contract for four more seasons after this one. That was easy.
We all know the J.J. Hardy story. MacPhail acquired him for basically peanuts. He had potential, but hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Even though he continued that trend and missed a month of 2011, Hardy has turned it on and is playing at perhaps the highest level of his career. I don’t see why Hardy would extend with the Orioles before the season ends, but many people believe he would want to lock up his multi-millions to avoid risking an injury. Even if he isn’t re-signed during the season, I have to believe MacPhail will make a key run at Hardy. Why wouldn’t he? If he isn’t going to be active in real free agency, he needs to retain the players that he acquires that are successful. If Hardy is re-signed, he would be a key piece of the Orioles’ long-term future. If not, SS once again becomes a very big hole to fill.
Brian Roberts cannot be counted on anymore. That is the harsh, sad reality for the Orioles. But if he can come back from his concussion-related issues, he is very likely to be at worst an average 2B and leadoff hitter. That still has great value to the Orioles considering their alternatives. He is still under contract for two more seasons after 2011, so Roberts’ health really is a key for the O’s moving forward.