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March 2004 Archives

March 19, 2004

New Bird on the Block

Greetings, everyone. David has graciously given me permission to post here on a temp-to-hire kind of basis. Expect me to contribute O's news, links, and commentary to this blog. I should warn you, however, that my tastes tend toward statistics and analysis, so expect a heavy dose of both. I may also contribute some back-end work to other parts of this site, but that part of my role is yet to be determined.

I look forward to helping make the Warehouse the best source of Orioles-related information and analysis on the Net.

Continue reading "New Bird on the Block" »

Another year, another bus trip

From the "this guy is still around? Really?" file:

The Phillies sent down non-roster spring training invitee Mark Smith yesterday.

Smith was the Orioles' wasted first round pick in 1991, managed just a couple of hundred ABs with the Orioles over six years, and has bounced around ever since, from Pittsburgh to Florida to Montreal to Milwaukee, with a stop in Japan in between, never managing more than 200 ABs in a season at the major league level, but somehow lasting almost a decade even so. On the other hand, he does have a claim to fame that few more talented players will ever match: saving a person's life. I'd like to see Derek Jeter do that.

March 21, 2004

Patience is a virtue

I've heard of impatience, but this is ridiculous. Laura Vecsey -- who, in a town graced with bad sportswriters over the years, has to represent rock bottom -- is already clamoring for the Orioles to make a trade. The season hasn't even begun, and she has already decided not merely that the Orioles aren't going to win -- a position I would agree with -- but that the team needs to make a trade for a pitcher because none of our prospects can produce.

As is typical for Vecsey, unfortunately, she starts a column with a brief thought -- that the Orioles should make a trade (a common theme of hers) -- and provides a complete lack of follow-through. She thinks the team needs a starting pitcher and a designated hitter. (Her explanation for why the team needs a designated hitter is limited to the claim that David Segui, Jack Cust and B.J. Surhoff present "issues." The only "issue" I see there is, "Can the Orioles tell a good player from washed up ones"? ) But she can't manage to make a proposal as to who the Orioles should trade -- not surprisingly, since the Orioles don't have any trade bait -- or who they should trade for.

Well, that's not quite true. She does manage this confusing set of statements:

Ponson, Ainsworth and DuBose? Oh, no. The Orioles' good young arms of tomorrow are just that. Tomorrow. Talk to Adam Loewen now about how he feels about demanding a major league contract. There's a reason they call this the big leagues. Time to find a No. 2 or 3 starter to bolster this rotation. Kris Benson, Odalis Perez, Danny Haren, Jarrod Washburn.
Huh? Vecsey never seems to be particularly familiar with baseball, but these particular comments are more ignorant than usual. Benson hasn't had a good year since Bill Clinton was president. Perez has had one good year in his entire career. But it's Danny Haren that really takes the cake. Danny Haren? He's a 23 year old who has 72 bad major league innings to his credit. How exactly are any of these three guys less questionable than Rodrigo Lopez, Matt Riley, Josh Stephens, or Omar Daal?

The Orioles have gone out and spent a lot of money this offseason -- it's true. But this is not a team built for short term success, and one more pitcher isn't going to change that. Particularly not the sort of pitcher the Orioles are going to be able to pick up. Why not see what the guys the team has can do, before rushing out to make a trade?

Oh, and doesn't Vecsey have a fact checker?

Snag Vazquez from the Expos, who smartly took Nick Johnson and Miguel Cairo from the Andy Pettitte-less, Roger Clemens-less and David Wells-less Yankees.
Miguel Cairo? The 30 year old utility infielder? No. Juan Rivera. The 26 year old outfield prospect. Guess all those Latin players look the same to her. They are both from Venezuela. Close enough.

Out at second

Sometimes you really have to wonder about curses. For years, the Orioles had absolutely no depth anywhere. Now they finally have depth at second base, are in a position to trade away talent to pick up other talent, and everything goes wrong. First Jerry Hairston gets hurt. Now backup Mark McLemore does, tearing his knee and requiring arthroscopic surgery, putting him out six to eight weeks. Now they're pretty much stuck with Brian Roberts playing second.

Not that there's anything inherently wrong with Roberts playing second; that could have been their plan all along, if they chose. But whichever of Hairston or Roberts was chosen, the other one should have been trade bait. Now it's likely neither one will be. After the season starts, it's going to be too late to trade them for anything of value -- and before someone comes back, they don't have the depth to make a trade.

Oh, well, we still have four or five DHs.

March 25, 2004

Cust on the cusp?

Jack Cust, the power-hitting prospect obtained in the Chris Richard trade last spring, has yet to break through in the major leagues, and he is out of minor-league options. An article by Joe Christensen in today's Baltimore Sun gives a positive assessment of Cust's chances of making the Orioles' roster:

Though Cust's numbers are down this spring and he is viewed as a one-dimensional player -- all bat, no glove, and ... please ... no base-running -- team officials privately say he's a lock to make the roster.

Continue reading "Cust on the cusp?" »

March 27, 2004

Roster trimming

It's that time of year, when scouring the transactions wire reveals the names of washed up veterans being cut as teams try to get their rosters down to 25 players a week before Opening Day.

On Friday the Chicago Cubs demoted Fernando Lunar and Trenidad Hubbard, who were in their camp as non-roster players, to the minors. Lunar and Hubbard, incidentally, were two of the three players that Syd Thrift got from the Atlanta Braves for B.J. Surhoff (and Gabe Molina) in the Great Roster Cleansing of 2000. (The third, who was supposed to be the prize of the whole set of trades, was Luis Rivera; unfortunately Thrift forgot to check his medical records before trading for him, and Rivera pitched a total of just 2/3 of an inning in the majors in the three+ years since the trade.)

March 29, 2004

On Tejada: Money Matters

First in a series of articles about the Orioles' most prominent newcomer, Miguel Tejada

Shortly after Miguel Tejada signed with the Orioles last December for six years and $72 million, ESPN.com columnist Rob Neyer wrote in a column that the Orioles may have landed a bargain. Neyer contended that Tejada, of late, has been about as good as fellow shortstops Derek Jeter and Nomar Garciaparra, and considering what Jeter and Garciaparra will make in upcoming years, Tejada might actually be underpaid. Neyer is probably the most widely read columnist in sabermetric circles, so his opinion carries considerable weight. But he made this comparison with a broad brush, using only Win Shares and salary estimates to illustrate his point. This article will take a closer look at that trio. Is Tejada really as good as Garciaparra and Jeter? How much bang are the Orioles and their fans getting for their 72 million bucks?

Continue reading "On Tejada: Money Matters" »

Setting the roster

With less than a week left before the regular season starts, the Orioles have most of their roster in place. By my count, 19 players are locks to make the Opening Day squad, which leaves six slots open to competition. (Three injured players—four, if Mark McLemore is added to the roster—will start the season on the disabled list.)

The starting lineup has been determined, and four-fifths of the pitching rotation is set. The fifth starter will be either Rodrigo López or Erik Bedard, according to today's Washington Post. Five relievers are assured places in the bullpen. Depending on how many position players Mazzilli wants on his bench, he may choose to keep eleven or twelve pitchers, leaving room for one or two relievers from among Bedard, López, and Rick Bauer.

That leaves four or five spots on the bench for position players. As reported last week, Jack Cust is likely to make the roster as a backup outfielder/DH. Another spot will be given to the backup catcher, who will be either Gerónimo Gil or Keith Osik. McLemore's injury allows either Clay Bellinger or Luis López to fill the backup infielder role for at least the initial part of the season, although Jim Beattie was quoted in the Post as having interest in Damian Jackson, recently released by the Rockies.

The final decision on the bench will likely be whether to keep untested Rule 5 draftee José Bautista or aging local favorite B.J. Surhoff. If the team goes with an eleven-man pitching staff, it may be able to keep both Bautista and Surhoff for the early part of the season. Carlos Méndez is a longshot to squeak onto the roster as an emergency catcher and pinch-hitter.

The latest camp depth chart appears below along with some of the likely starters at Triple-A Ottawa.

Continue reading "Setting the roster" »

March 30, 2004

Can it last?

I just wanted to point out that, if only for one day, the Yankees are in last place.


We couldn't have kept this old guy?

Via BaseballPrimer.com, this interview with 41-year old Jamie Moyer, who last year became the fifth 40-year old ever to get 20 wins in a season.

"And, of course, I had the great fortune to play with Cal Ripken when he broke Lou Gehrig's record."
Of course, he was a spry young 32 then, and hadn't shown much of anything to suggest he'd still be pitching in two years, let alone ten.

About March 2004

This page contains all entries posted to The Orioles Warehouse in March 2004. They are listed from oldest to newest.

January 2004 is the previous archive.

April 2004 is the next archive.

Many more can be found on the main index page or by looking through the archives.

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