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How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #1 by ofahn » December 29th, 2012, 10:32 pm

There’s a little more than six weeks until pitchers and catchers report to the Orioles’ spring training complex in Sarasota. At this point their major winter transactions have been to cut ties with Mark Reynolds, trade Robert Andino, and allow Joe Saunders and Jim Thome to become free agents. They picked up the option on Luis Ayala, resigned Nate McLouth and traded for Trayvon Robinson, Yamaico Navarro, and Danny Valencia. They also selected Alexi Casilla off of waivers, chose LH T.J. McFarland in the Rule 5 Draft, and they have also made some quality minor league signings that have provided some important depth at AAA. There’s a reasonable chance that they will resign Joe Saunders.

The team has yet to make any big ticket free agent signings or impact player trades despite pressure to do so from its fan base and condemnation from the national sports press. So, taking all of that into consideration, how would you rate their off season so far?

Believe it or not I would give them a solid B+ and consider them one of the off season WINNERS. I base this in large part on the fact that we haven’t been foolish enough to obligate the team to long term contracts for overrated players on the downside of their careers, nor have we undervalued our pitching prospects and overpaid in a trade. IMO Dan Duquette and the Orioles’ brain trust have objectively evaluated the roster and recognize that adding one or two big (and expensive) pieces will not guarantee that all of the question marks on the roster will turn out to be positives.

The starting pitching should be solid, but it’s not like we’re bringing back the ‘71’ rotation. The same goes for the bullpen, but it will be easier to have confidence in that bunch if they had back to back seasons of solid performance instead of just one.

The defense, which was HORRIBLE through the first half of last season, should be average or better this year and could be above average to plus if Chris Davis brings his A game to 1B and there’s no reason for Wilson Betemit to play more than about 100 innings in the field.

Run production is certainly a big question, but good pitching will cover a lot of that and there really isn’t any one position that could be upgraded from outside the organization without grossly over paying or weakening another position in a trade. I have advocated signing Adam LaRoche but the FO wants to give Chris Davis the opportunity to show he’s the 1B of the future and IMO no one will work harder to prove them right.

Realistically, the Orioles’ run production will improve through maturity. In part that will be Adam Jones and Chris Davis accepting their limitations and playing within them, Manny Machado’s continuing development, and Markakis and Wieters ignoring the pressure they seem to put on themselves to carry the team and simply accept that they just need to play the game to the best of their abilities and nothing more. Without overdosing on orange Kool Aid I can see a valid case for each spot in the batting order improving from last year, and all of that without emptying the farm system or wrecking the payroll budget.

OK, let’s address the “free” agent issue. The Orioles didn’t sign any of the so called difference makers. THANK YOU, GOD! Here is my take on some of the players that fans on this (and other) sites have clamored for.

Zack Greinke SP Dodgers 6 $147.000MM the Dodgers just brought a pitcher that has had issues with pressure into what may be the biggest expectations in baseball in 2013. What could go wrong? If LA gets even three good years out of this deal they should feel lucky.

Anibal Sanchez SP Tigers 5 $80.000MM the Tigers are all in for 2013 so they over paid by about 3M a year and about two contract years.

Edwin Jackson SP Cubs 4 $52.000MM a "can't miss" prospect that has played for EIGHT ML teams by the time he's 28. No RED FLAGS there.

Josh Hamilton LF / CF Angels 5 $125.000MM let's see - substance abuse problems with recent relapses. A body that's starting to breakdown and some legitimate questions about his desire to perform at a plus level anymore. OF COURSE the Angels had good reason to not require a behavior or injury clause.

Mike Napoli 1B / C Red Sox 3 $39.000MM if this contract is finally completed as it was agreed to it you'll probably be able to time with a stop watch when it will become a bad contract.

Cody Ross OF Diamondbacks 3 $26.000MM he's been so inconsistent over his career that at least one of these contract years will be bad.

Nick Swisher 1B / RF Indians 4 $56.000MM a good player but Cleveland was so desperate to land one that they were probably bidding against themselves and went about two bad contract years too far.

viewtopic.php?f=32&t=1809&view=unread#unread


As far as finding the ace SP we would all like, I just don’t see one of those in the bunch. You have a pressure adverse SP with an ERA of almost 4.00 (Greinke), a solid but career #3 (Sanchez), and a pitcher that EIGHT teams have given up on by the age of 28 (Jackson).

I also don’t see a difference making position player there also. Would Hamilton in LF or Swisher at DH have improved this team? Absolutely, and I would signed BOTH of them on one year deals. Maybe even two years for Hamilton, but anything beyond that is a big risk for either of them and 2013 is not the season to make that risk. Let’s hope that 2014 is different.

I would like to remind those of you that disagree with me how the 2011 offseason went. We didn’t sign any “free” agents from this bunch

Prince Fielder 1B Tigers 9 $214.000MM there's nothing wrong with this contract unless you have a problem with paying Fat Albert to waddle up to the plate as your DH for about the last three or four years of the deal.

Albert Pujols 1B Angels 10 $246.842MM the Angels decided to bring Albert to Los Angeles because they were concerned Hollywood wouldn't have enough broken down, overpaid has beens in about five years.

Jose Reyes
SS Marlins 6 $106.000MM a history of injuries and a realistic lost of speed won't make the last few years of this contract bad, will it?

C.J. Wilson
SP Angels 5 $77.500MM apparently, the Angels never heard of John Lackey or A J Burnett.

Mark Buehrle
SP Marlins 4 $58.000MM this one will probably be like the Derek Lowe 4/60M Atlanta deal. One bad contract year too long.


nor did we make any big trades and IMO the season turned out OK. We needed starting pitching and Duquette found us some (Chen) in Japan at a reasonable price and traded for Hammel and a reliever, Lindstrom. We needed to build a bullpen and he recognized that most of the pieces were already there and then added O’Day and Ayala at a reasonable price. Can anyone honestly say they looked at those acquisitions and said “AHA! We’re going to have a ninety three win season on the way to the playoffs?” Me neither. In fact, I thought we made a mistake not trading Guthrie for ML ready prospects.

So, Dan Duquette decided to see what he had in Chris Davis instead of wrecking the future payroll with Fielder or Pujols. THANK YOU, VERY MUCH. Davis has the potential to be an above average fielder at 1B and an impact bat, and his contract is affordable. Reyes might have made a nice addition for two or three years, but not signing him allowed Machado to be promoted and I expect Machado will be the better player by 2014. Wilson is a #2 and Buerhle is a #3 SP, and can you honestly say you would choose them TODAY over Chen and Miguel Gonzalez? IMO the pitchers Duquette chose to go with are on the upside of their career curve and Wilson and Buerhle are on the downside. Beyond all of that, do you really believe the Baltimore Orioles would have had a better result for the 2012 season if we would have had Wilson and Buerhle in our rotation instead of Chen and Gonzalez?

Most of us would have given the Orioles a failing grade for the last offseason and we would have been wrong. How is that any different than this offseason?
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #2 by osforlife » December 29th, 2012, 10:52 pm

I knew going into this off-season DD wasn't going to turn over our roster much. Basically, we needed another starter, a left fielder, and depth. I thought there was a REMOTE chance we'd deal Hardy and prospects for a third basemen, but that quickly faded. We've learned DD will not overpay, won't make a move just to make a move, and if other teams don't place the same value on our younger pitchers than he does, he won't deal them. I would have liked a Melky Cabrera signing, but McLouth will do. I'am confident DD will add another starter. I'am excited to see how Daniel Schlereth, Conor Jackson, and TJ Mcfarland do. I'd give the off-season a solid B.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #3 by dan72 » December 29th, 2012, 10:55 pm

Honestly I'm not at all surprised by the lack of moves. I do think that Saunders will get done, other than that I doubt very seriously that anything big goes down....... maybe some small signings or a trade to add depth.
I would love to see the Orioles take a chance on a legit front line pitcher either in free agency or trade. The ideal candidate would be a Shields type or Gio type guy. I doubt the Orioles would spend the money.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #4 by ofahn » December 29th, 2012, 11:00 pm

dan72 wrote:I would love to see the Orioles take a chance on a legit front line pitcher either in free agency or trade. The ideal candidate would be a Shields type or Gio type guy. I doubt the Orioles would spend the money.


Why should they? We'd be signing a player on the downside of their career. There's an active thread about Brain Roberts on this forum strongly debating how bad his contract is BECAUSE WE SIGNED HIM LONG TERM ON THE DOWNSIDE OF HIS CAREER. Kind of makes you think, doesn't it?

I would be interested in what grade you would give this off season.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #5 by dan72 » December 29th, 2012, 11:19 pm

Grade B plus. I think that I have seen a lot of mid 30s players get over paid this off season and I'm glad the Orioles are not part of that trend. The reason I brought up Shields and Gio specifically is based on their age. Giorgio is 27 and shields is 31. Both of them should have several good years left in their tank. When the Orioles are throwing a number 2 or 3 level starter every 5 days against other teams aces I feel it puts them at a distinct disadvantage. This was evident in the Yankees series when Sabathia out dualed us.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #6 by ofahn » December 29th, 2012, 11:24 pm

dan72 wrote:This was evident in the Yankees series when Sabathia out dualed us.


One key hit in either of his games and we would have won.

I'd love to have Sabathia, but not at THAT contract.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #7 by Matt P » December 30th, 2012, 1:44 am

It's been fine. No head scratching moves for the 2nd year in a row which is a plus (signings like Gregg, Atkins, Payton, etc.), some nice minor league free agent signings, some nice depth moves, and Buck will likely be extended.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #8 by birdwatcher55 » December 30th, 2012, 9:36 am

I'm a bit disappointed that we haven't added that much-discussed MOO bat. But I guess in retrospect, I would rather see our pitching stay intact rather than find us in a scenario where we have given up a Tillman, for example, for that MOO bat, and now have to fill with a veteran pitcher 8-)
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #9 by ofahn » December 30th, 2012, 9:45 am

birdwatcher55 wrote:I'm a bit disappointed that we haven't added that much-discussed MOO bat.


Which team do you see trading which player to us for what return?
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #10 by LA Detective » December 30th, 2012, 12:43 pm

I will agree with a B+..It is not about the moves you make, its about preparing to put the best team out there for 2013 with also thoughts to be competitive for years to come. I think they have done that by not getting into bad contracts and/or trading our prospects or players that haven't reached their value yet (Matusz,Arrieta,Britton....).

I think DD/Buck realized the reasons we had the best record in baseball from Aug. 1 on and were probably a Nick M broken thumb from having a chance for the WS. They realized that we cant beat the big market teams by going straight up with them and getting the big name players. It appears DD/Buck believe they can win by putting a better defensive club than most out there that does the rights things every day, having pitching depth and developing players.

We are a little incomplete at 2b and 1b on that but we have a great foundation and strong possibilities there.

I feel our club is very solid right now in the areas of Defense, Starting Pitching (because of our depth and potential), The Pen (which is even deeper than last year), and a pretty balanced line-up.

Yes we miss that star power which has made the Yankees so strong for so long but we can beat them in other ways.

As for a middle of the order bat? Maybe Markakis finally bats in the 3rd spot like he does at 1 or 2, Maybe AJ took his playoff failure so personal that he vows to become a RBI machine, Maybe CDavis takes a step forward towards .290/40HRs, Maybe Reimold is healthy and is the full time DH to help him stay healthy and picks up where he left off last year, Maybe Manny takes a Trout type step, its going to happen its just how soon, Maybe we stay in the race and then get that bat in July. I believe at least two of these things will happen. I bet Buck/DD do too.

Bottom line is that our biggest need isnt hopeless. We brought back the backbone of a team that almost went to the WS last year with every reason to believe we will be better and we didnt screw up our future. Yes a B+
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #11 by Seafordeagles » December 30th, 2012, 1:40 pm

To me the question is are we better right now than when the season ended. I'm all about improving and I realize there's still plenty of time left in the off season, but..............................

There has not been a lot of improvements made. Remember we had McLouth when the season ended. The main pick up was Casilla (who may or may not be needed if Roberts can play). To this point I would rate the off season a D grade. The other minor deals I really have no confidence in any of them making an impact, although I once thought Valencia would be a very good player, and he still could.

My final thought is there is still time to add to the Orioles and I hope Duquette does makes something happen.
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #12 by ofahn » December 30th, 2012, 1:44 pm

Seafordeagles wrote:To me the question is are we better right now than when the season ended. I'm all about improving and I realize there's still plenty of time left in the off season, but..............................

There has not been a lot of improvements made. Remember we had McLouth when the season ended. The main pick up was Casilla (who may or may not be needed if Roberts can play). To this point I would rate the off season a D grade. The other minor deals I really have no confidence in any of them making an impact, although I once thought Valencia would be a very good player, and he still could.

My final thought is there is still time to add to the Orioles and I hope Duquette does makes something happen.


Perhaps you missed this part of my post.

Most of us would have given the Orioles a failing grade for the last offseason and we would have been wrong. How is that any different than this offseason?
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #13 by Seafordeagles » December 30th, 2012, 2:17 pm

ofahn wrote:
Perhaps you missed this part of my post.



Perhaps I wasn't "quoting" you. These were my thoughts and my thoughts only. I also posted this:

"I realize there's still plenty of time left in the off season"
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #14 by ofahn » December 30th, 2012, 2:26 pm

Seafordeagles wrote:
Perhaps I wasn't "quoting" you. These were my thoughts and my thoughts only. I also posted this:

"I realize there's still plenty of time left in the off season"


To do WHAT? Commit the ill advised acts they have avoided so far?
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Re: How Would You Rate The Orioles’ Off Season So Far?

PostPost #15 by Seafordeagles » December 30th, 2012, 2:49 pm

ofahn wrote:
To do WHAT? Commit the ill advised acts they have avoided so far?


What are you talking about??? I never gave my opinion on any ACT whatsoever.

It's time to move on man. You pick apart just about every one of my posts. I try to come here for some pleasure but you have made it very unpleasant for me.

After last night I thought I wouldn't quote you anymore and I tried that but damn if you don't always find something wrong with what I post even when I give my random thoughts. It's almost like you want to make it personal.
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