Blame the guys with the gloves, sure…but Showalter and Duquette employ them

July 16, 2012 | Drew Forrester

It’s easy to blame the players themselves for the embarrassing defense the Orioles display nearly game in and game out.

And I’m not here to defend Mark Reynolds or Wilson Betemit or Ryan Flaherty — or anyone else on the club who looks overwhelmed when a grounder comes bounding in their direction.

After all, they didn’t sign themselves.

But enough is enough with this Charlie Brown defense the club is putting up.

It’s costing them valuable wins or, at the very least, it’s putting them behind the eight-ball so often that they’re bound to lose more than they win when the errors start piling up.

So who gets the blame?

Well…who signed them?  Who put them in those positions?  Who continues to put their name on the lineup card?

Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter, that’s who.

As a matter of fairness, it’s worth nothing Duquette has made some good moves in his first year as the top dog of the front office.  But those moves don’t mean a hill of beans when a grounder goes between the legs of Betemit or Reynolds fails to come up with a routine grounder at first that opens the floodgates for a 7-run first inning — like what happened on Monday night in Minnesota.

Duquette was so worried about his team’s defense earlier this month that he went out and picked up Jim Thome.  The only problem?  Thome doesn’t actually play any defense.  He’s a left-handed version of Mark Reynolds, except Thome figured out a few years ago that he’s better off leaving his glove in the trunk of his car.

It’s easy to be over-enthused with the Orioles first half, given their 45-40 record and legitimate hopes for a September game that matters for the first time since 1997.  Some of the players Duquette and Buck brought in helped the club play 5-games over .500 heading into the All-Star break.  Unfortunately, some of the players they brought in stink in the field.  And it’s costing the team games.

This, of course, is no secret.  I’m a dummy from Glen Burnie and I said in the winter that not improving the team’s defense was going to be a problem come spring and summer.  Turns out, shock of all shocks, I was spot on.  The Orioles defense isn’t “sub-standard”, “hit or miss” or even “OK”.  It’s not even close to any of those.  The Orioles defense is horrible.  Strong?  Yeah, probably, since you never expect a team of major league players to ever do anything, collectively, “horribly”.  But the truth is this:  the Orioles are a horrible defensive team.  There are four players on the team that will catch the ball nearly every time it comes their way.  That’s it…four.  Adam Jones, Matt Wieters, Nick Markakis and J.J. Hardy…there they are.  Everyone else?  It’s a bad movie.

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6 Comments For This Post

  1. Calvin @ JHH Says:

    Totally agree, Drew. This team’s defense is just laughable. Sadly, I am seeing a losing second half and the O’s being sellers by the deadline

    When is Raven’s training camp…sheesh

  2. Steve from Sandpoint Says:

    Todays players, the Prima-Donnas that they are do not take pride in their defence at all. Brooks, Belanger, Johnson, Powell they all took extra ground balls to improve their defensive skills because they took pride in their defence. The 4 you mentioned do, but the rest no Gold Glovers there.

  3. Steve Says:

    I say fire Buck Showalter if O’s dont make the playoffs. Look at teams who had Buck Showalter first the Yankees, Then the D Backs and now the O’s. Yanks and the D Backs both went to the World Series after Buck Showalter was fired. I say next year Orioles hire former sox manager Terry Francona and then hire pitching coach John Gibbons. O’s need displine in pitching and fielding.I remember when Yanks played a terrable game back in 1986 and you know what Mr Piniella did? He made them go back out the field and make them pratice fielding fundamentals 2 extra hours and boy they didnt mess up again. O’s do need an tough disaplined manager. Look when you screw up in the Marines what does that drill sergent do? He will be on your back screaming and yelling at you plus he will disapline you not to mess up again.So Fire Buck lets bring back the real winning tradition back to Baltimore.

  4. The "Armchair QB" Says:

    Well, they fooled us again! Nobody believed at the beginning of this season that this team was going to be competitive, let alone above the .500 mark following the allstar break. But, using “smoke and mirrors” in lieu of quality ball players, they did just that! Now the “bloom is off the rose” and we are once, again, reminded that, “You can’t make chicken salad out of chicken……crap”!

  5. Tom Says:


    I totally agree. However, I just saw the lineups and guess what? The human sieves – Betemit and Reynolds are right back in their respective holes. I have lost respect for Buck. These bums have given away more runs than they have batted in. Why not assemble a lineup built with your best defensive players and pray someone will produce a clutch hit. Some of your best players can’t even do it! Betemit and Reynolds should never have gloves on. Thank God neither one will be here next year.

  6. Bill Says:

    Reynolds just won the game with a diving catch on a bunt. Steve you’re a moron. Buck has had a horrible hitting fielding and pitching team in the wildcard spot all yea.

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