Offseason In Review: Baltimore Orioles

The Orioles are next in our Offseason In Review series.

Major League/International Signings

Notable Minor League Signings

Trades and Claims

Notable Losses

Summary

A year ago, the Orioles committed over $30MM to short-term veteran acquisitions while also surrendering the 53rd overall draft pick to the Braves.  President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail took a similar approach this offseason, adding more to the payroll but keeping his draft picks.  Is the Orioles' strategy good for the long-term health of the franchise?

MacPhail's dealings mostly improved the team for 2011, though Reynolds, Gregg, and Accardo will be under control for the 2012 season.  The big question is, why is MacPhail trying so hard to improve the 2011 Orioles?  Is it an attempt to energize the fan base?  I'm not sure these players will increase attendance significantly.  Is it for the veteran leadership?  That can be acquired more affordably.  Is it because MacPhail truly views the Orioles as contenders?  The O's don't have nearly enough starting pitching to make contention seem realistic.

One school of thought is that the money spent this offseason would be better put toward the draft and Latin America, as ESPN's Keith Law suggested in a discussion with MASN's Steve Melewski.  In the team's defense, they already rank fourth in MLB in draft spending over the last three years.  They haven't been aggressive in Latin America, but a lower big league payroll might not change that. 

The signings of Gregg, Uehara, and Accardo may at least help the Orioles' young pitching staff.  Only the Gregg signing could be considered excessive.  The Blue Jays valued one draft pick more than having Gregg (or his trade value) at one year and $4.5MM or two years and $8.75MM.  The Orioles again took the plunge on a pricey reliever, even with Mike Gonzalez still on the roster as a reminder.  All multiyear free agent reliever deals are risky, but the gamble makes more sense for contending teams.  MacPhail may have felt the need to bolster the bullpen after the subtraction of David Hernandez, who was excellent in relief last year and under team control through 2015.

Vlad

The Orioles' offense is looking strong with the additions of Reynolds, Hardy, Lee, and Guerrero, assuming they stay healthy.  Of course, the bar is extremely low given last year's output of 3.78 runs per game.  The price for these four players was far from franchise-crippling, but there is concern the veterans will take at-bats from younger guys.  Nolan Reimold and Josh Bell have something to prove in Triple-A, however, and I think the Orioles will make room if they start raking. 

You'd like to see a few of the newly-added veterans flipped for interesting prospects at the trade deadline, though MacPhail wasn't able to cash in Garrett Atkins, Kevin Millwood, and Ty Wigginton last year.  He's added superior players for 2011, so I think there's a better chance this time around.

This is an improved Orioles team, but to what end?  Some need to see a tangible benefit before endorsing significant short-term veteran commitments for a rebuilding club.  The Orioles might argue, what's the downside?  If the short-term additions don't adversely affect the farm system or the development of young players, the Orioles' strategy can at least be considered neutral for the long-term health of the franchise regardless of the team's record in 2011.  I expect to hear a lot of intangibles as support for MacPhail's offseason, while the more analytically-minded will focus on whether the Orioles are able to trade veterans for prospects in July. 

Photo courtesy of Icon SMI.


109 Responses to Offseason In Review: Baltimore Orioles Leave a Reply

  1. basemonkey 4 years ago

    SHOULD MACPHAIL ADD VETS?
    Every year people have been questioning MacPhail when he adds veterans, but every year he ends up flipping the better ones having good years for prospects. WHy else would they be for other than one-year guys? If the team doesn’t end up paying the lion’s share of the added players’ contracts, aren’t they just another possible cost-effective means to add more talent later on? We shouldn’t just think of rebuilding strictly as about the draft and Internatinal signings. Unlike many other rebuilding teams, the Orioles have the added advantage of having mid-market income to create another talent stream.

    DO THE YOUNG GUYS NEED SUPPORT?
    Opinions on this seem to run the gambit, but the prevailing thought in Baltimore is that the young guys needs some support to develop, either as protection for the young hitters, or some backup for the young pitchers. If we look at the last several rebuilding clubs of the last decade that have made the jump into contention, most of them have had some veteran support. Teams like Florida, Indians, and KC have had more than their share of talent pass through their system, but have had to let their best players go, never quite bursting past that contention window, only to see those same players explode into stardom elsewhere on contending teams when they have plenty of support. Even the heralded Rays, who have made that jump, needed critical cheap veterans during their rebuilding years (e.g. McGriff, Boggs, Aubrey, Shields, etc..).

    • You know, this is an interesting POV on the offseason. I think the team has been improved greatly, and honestly, I don’t see any reason this hurts the team. I’m tired of the Reimold argument because he exceeded expectations as a rookie and came back to earth last year. Everyone seems to think his career outlook is more in line with his rookie year, while I believe his ceiling is a 4th OF.

      • djones83 4 years ago

        A guy with about an .890 minor league OPS (including a significant amount of AAA time already) came back to Earth by hitting to a mid .700s at AAA? I’m not following your logic. It seems to me that last year was the fluke, not the entirety of his career.

        • Reimold was never projected to be an impact player at the major league level. His rookie season was only predicted by one analyst that I know of. That said, do I expect him to have that low of an OPS again? No. But I don’t think he’s going to be a 20-30 HR guy at the major league level like many fans.

          • OrangeCards 4 years ago

            I don’t think you can say a 4th OF is his ceiling if he already surpassed that level as a rookie …

          • One year does not a career make

          • OrangeCards 4 years ago

            No, it doesn’t. He may never get back to that level. But if he’s already shown ability above that of a 4th OF, I don’t think you can call that his ceiling.

          • Ceiling meaning the highest level of expected output. If that was a “career year” then you can’t expect that output. Thus, his ceiling could still be that of a 4th OF even if he has played better once before.

          • OrangeCards 4 years ago

            He’s played better much of his minor league career, and most players don’t have their “career year” of production as rookies.

            If he was an above average offensive LFer as a rookie, I think his ceiling would have to be somewhere around or above that level, not as a 4th OF.

          • My argument is based on there being examples of players who hit well into their late 20s in the minors but then struggle to keep that production in MLB. I see some AAAA qualities in him. Too good for AAA, not good enough for MLB (to start that is).

          • OrangeCards 4 years ago

            But he has been good enough to start and as a rookie no less.

            He only had about 350 PAs that year and was just outside the top 10 in OPS for MLB left fielders. That’s better than a 4th OF in my book.

          • Snoochies8 4 years ago

            Gary Matthews Jr begs to differ, 1 year made his whole career, same with Aaron Rowand.

          • not_brooks 4 years ago

            Through 2009, Reimold routinely posted on OPS north of .830, and he put up a .900+ OPS in three of five minor league seasons. Then, he ripped up his achilles tendon, and the Orioles rushed him back, tossing him right into the major league fire before he was 100%.

            2010 was clearly the exception, not the rule.

            By the by…

            Reimold’s minor league career is comparable to Matt Holliday’s. I’m not saying that Reimold is going to be that kind of player, but it’s possible.

            And speaking of projections, Reimold was on Baseball America’s Top 100 list in 2006 and 2008. Holliday was never on that list.

          • It’s possible. I’m just not holding my breath because there are 100s of Joe Schmo’s who never reached that level of output and maybe 5 or 6 Matt Holliday’s. You know?

          • OrangeCards 4 years ago

            Yeah, I don’t think anyone saying he is going to reach that level, or is even likely to, but the ceiling has got to be higher than 4th OFer based on his body of work in the minors and the level at which he produced as a rookie.

  2. Rabbitov 4 years ago

    The points that most these articles miss are two fold:
    1) Talent begets talent. Even if the Os don’t compete this year, the compensatory picks they can get for a lot of these talented players leaving, or trades at the deadline would continue to greatly improve the team. A lack of compensatory picks over the years is a big reason their farm system hasn’t been as good as some other divisional teams.

    2) Their starting pitching is underrated, and its not out of the realm of possibility to compete this year. Its the first time in a long time where its at least out of the realm of impossible.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      what comp picks? you honestly thing vlad is going to be offered arb as a type a free agent?? extremely doubtful

      • bjsguess 4 years ago

        Agreed.

        It sounds good in theory but I’m struggling to to think of an example where the O’s actually did as Rabbitov suggested. When was their last FA compensation pick and how many other ML signings did they have along the way? How many guys have been flipped at the deadline for meaningful talent?

        The O’s have had chances to do that. Remember a few years back with Brian Roberts. They could have landed a serious haul but instead kept him and signed him to an extension. How has that worked out? Miguel Tejada was moved at least a year too late. The list goes on and on.

        The fact is, signing guys with the intention of offering them arb and hoping they decline is a very risky strategy. Far too often the team wants no part of that risk when the time comes. They usually just cut their ties and go their separate ways. And while some teams have shown success in the sign and trade realm very few teams can pull these off on a regular basis.

        At the end of the day the O’s plan sounds good on paper. I just happen to have deep reservations about them being able to execute.

        • It’s easy to sit there and say in hindsight, this was a mistake, that was a mistake. For Roberts, players get hurt all the time. I don’t see how that is a relevant argument. For Tejada they got a good haul, and I’m not sure moving him a year earlier would have given them much more (clearly steroid accusations didn’t scare the Astros away). I don’t think the idea of offering arb is the point here, I think it’s providing veteran leadership with the chance to ship them off at the deadline. See Sherrill, George (who I realize was not a FA signing, but same principle really).

          • basemonkey 4 years ago

            Actually just to nitpick, Tejada’s steroid news came out literally days after he was traded.

          • Touche good sir.

          • Basemonkey and Jeff,

            Literally, the Mitchell report came out the day after the trade was announced. Oh, and we still have Luke Scott and Troy Patton from that trade. We also have Wynn Pelzer when we traded Tejada a second time. What does Houston have? Nada.

          • basemonkey 4 years ago

            Thanks for picking the nit off my nitpick. Hehe. 😉

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            This isn’t in hindsight. I’ve been commenting on this site for years now. Back in the day before Roberts signed you can read my posts (if you are so inclined).

            They were lucky to get what they got in Tejada but there is no question that they held on to him for too long. But even before that, it was a terrible signing. Not because Tejada was a bum (in fact, he was very good). However, his presence did nothing to change Orioles baseball. He consumed a tremendous amount of resources while the O’s basically stayed exactly the same.

            And this isn’t to pick on the O’s. Many, many teams fall into this same trap. They improperly evaluate their teams talent level (and the competition) and spend as if they are going to win. OR they feel compelled to spend money, get “name brand” players in the hopes of appeasing the fans (like my idiotic team did with Wells this off-season). Fact is, those types of moves rarely work.

        • Rabbitov 4 years ago

          I can’t argue with your first paragraph, you are right. Your second and third miss the mark though. I wasn’t saying they were signing them to offer them arbitration, I was saying “talent begets talent.” The more talent you have on your team the more options you will have.

          Further Tejada and Roberts are terrible examples. Tejada was traded, not once, but twice for talent. You can argue a year too late, but Tejada got Luke Scott who has more than arguably been a better player than Tejada since. They also still have Troy Patton in the minors from that.

          Roberts is such a ridiculous hindsight is 50/50 type claim. No one knew he’d have injury problems, and by all indications when he plays he’s one of the best leadoff guys in the majors.

          Your last paragraph again misses the mark. Their plan is not to sign talent to get comp picks, their plan is to add talent to the organization so that trades, comp picks, and competitiveness come back into the Oriole way of baseball.

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            I guess I don’t understand your earlier post. You said:
            “Even if the Os don’t compete this year, the compensatory picks they can get for a lot of these talented players leaving, or trades at the deadline would continue to greatly improve the team. A lack of compensatory picks over the years is a big reason their farm system hasn’t been as good as some other divisional teams.”

            As far as I know, the only way you get comp picks is if your players turn into Type A’s/B’s AND you offer them arbitration AND they decline. I was commenting specifically to that strategy and pointing out that you cannot count on that. It is incredibly risky. This is doubly true when we are in an environment where mediocre players have depressed compensation options via FA. More and more are willing to accept arb, hence the huge numbers of Type A’s and B’s that were never offered arbitration.

            It goes without saying that having more talent on your roster is always better than having less talent. Talented players increase the probability of a Type A/B ranking. Talented players increase the potential for a solid trade return. Talented players also help your team. My beef is with teams that don’t bring in really talented players and instead approach their problems with a band-aid and big name. There is a reason why teams like the Astros and O’s maintained higher than average payrolls but produced mediocre at best results.

            As for Roberts I’m going to have to look through the archives and pull out a few comments I made at the time.

          • bjsguess 4 years ago

            Crud – I forgot that when Tim moved to Disquis that it dumped all of the comments that were from his old TypePad days (I miss the good ole white text on black background old school style).

            In any event – believe me or not – no big deal. I’ll just go on the record again and say that if you aren’t going to compete you should not be signing big name players or trading for them. You should be moving valuable pieces off your roster today to contenders. Then you build up from the farm. As the pieces from the farm are ready to compete you then use FA or trades to fill the gaps you may have.

            The difference in revenues for a team that wins 68 games or 75 games is virtually non-existant. Yet you can win 68 games with a miniscule payroll. Meanwhile you have other teams (like the O’s) that consistently have a payroll in the $80m range and never eclipse the 80 win mark. The money expended for 5-7 additional wins is just a horrendous waste of resources.

            It’s not just the O’s either. Plenty of teams fall pray to this fatal mistake.

          • Rabbitov 4 years ago

            The Os are about to have a full rotation of farm grown talent. Also the Astros are not a good comparison. The Astros started to do badly because they had a great core of players that simply aged. The Os have done badly because of years of bad player contract management, bad free agent signings, abysmal farm system and draft, bad choices for coaches and interference from the manager.

            “You should be moving valuable pieces off your roster today to contenders.”
            In my original post I suggested just that if the team fails.

            “The money expended for 5-7 additional wins is just a horrendous waste of resources.”
            How do you know how many wins they will have?

            “Meanwhile you have other teams (like the O’s) that consistently have a payroll in the $80m range and never eclipse the 80 win mark.”
            More like 70m range, but that was based on the factors I just described, not a blanket statement about how having a higher payroll doesn’t make sense. The Os have been bad in the past, but this year, for the fans who have been closely following the team, is noticeably different. Just go with it, and see how it works out.

            EDIT: also again it is not our “strategy” to get compensation picks. I certainly did not say or imply that, and explained that even more clearly second post. It is a positive effect of actually doing something in the free agent market.

      • disgustedcubfan 4 years ago

        More so for Derrick Lee.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          I doubt he gets offered arb either, especially if he ends up a Type A

      • Rabbitov 4 years ago

        Sorry I forgot Vlad was our only offseason move. I also forget there was a second half to the argument about trading vets at the deadline for talent.

        I further forgot that players signed to multi year deals don’t get comp picks when they leave. I must be really out of touch.

        Edit: Just to point it out so its clear. Gregg after next season, Hardy after this season are examples of guys who could potentially leave with compensation picks if they are not resigned.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          again, if they are offered arbitration

          Gregg as a Type A would not get signed again

          thanks for your school lesson, but you still havent proven the likleyhood of Hardy, Gregg or Vlad actually being offered arbitration.

    • OrangeCards 4 years ago

      I couldn’t agree more about the starting pitching being underrated. Here is what the young arms did once Showalter arrived:

      Brian Matusz: 7-1, 2.11 ERA in his last 11 starts.
      Brad Bergesen: 5-3, 2.88 ERA in his last 11 starts.
      Jake Arrieta: 3-3, 3.78 ERA in his last eight starts.
      Chris Tillman: 1-1, 4.08 ERA in his last five starts.

      Jeremy Guthrie: 7-3, 3.14 ERA in his last 11 starts.

      Keep in mind the sample sizes are different because Arrieta reached his innings limit before the season was over and Tillman was in AAA Norfolk to start Showalter’s tenure.

  3. Tim,

    One very key point that you left out was the play of this team under Buck Showalter last year (34-23 against the AL East, White Sox, Rangers, Tigers, and Angels). With the exception of Kevin Millwood, all of the starting pitchers are back. They are a year older and wiser in the case of Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta, and Chris Tillman. If one of them falters, they have Zach Britton (and quite possibly Tillman) waiting at AAA. Everyone says that the Orioles’ starting pitching is going to hold them back. If they pitch close to what they did the last 2 months of 2010, though, they are going to be in the AL wildcard race. Their offense is vastly improved, and they have a solid bullpen. I think MacPhail looked at his team, saw that no kids were going to be really hurt by adding veterans, looked at how the team finished up last year, and is trying to build on that momentum. Barring injuries, I think this team surprises everyone and is in the wild card race in September.

    • That’s an ambitious statement you made at the end there. It’s not out of the realm of possibility, but I wouldn’t set the last few months of the year as your expected output for this year.

      That said, if we ARE in the wild card race, look out for Brian Matusz. Over his career, he has pitched better the higher the pressure and stiffer the competition.

    • bjsguess 4 years ago

      I would take that bet all day long. I’d put the over/under at 14 games within the WC. They really have to have everything fall exactly into place and have a total collapse of the Red Sox/Yankees/Rays for a WC birth to be even a possibility.

      • You mean like the Rays losing their entire bullpen? Or Carl Crawford? Or Carlos Pena? Please don’t tell me that Kyle Farnsworth and Johnny Damon make up for those losses! Their starting pitching is good (especially Price), but they did lose Matt Garza, and I thank that Niemann and Shields are 3/4 starters at best. Davis is in his 2nd year, and Hellickson is basically still a rookie. Their bullpen is a huge question mark at this point, as is their offense. They’ll need the 2004 Manny vs. the 2010 version to contend this year.

        The Yankees really didn’t do anything to improve themselves this offseason, other than sign Rafael Soriano to be their 8th inning guy. I think their rotation is substandard after Sabathia, Hughes and Burnett (and I’m giving Burnett a LOT of credit here). Sabathia isn’t going to pitch any better than he did last year, either. Their offense is still good, but Rodriguez, Jeter, and Posada are all over the age of 35. Jeter and Posada have already started showing their decline.

        Also, look at Buck Showalter’s track record in his 2nd seasons with clubs. He improves from an average of 71-91 the first season to 92-70 the second season. Having seen how this team responded to him last year, and all of the positives coming out of ST thus far, I think they end up winning between 85-90 games and make it very interesting in the AL East. I will take your bet!

        • This is not intended to be a knock, but isn’t Spring great? Every team has hope and lets you imagine what could be. October is another story unfortunately…

        • OrangeCards 4 years ago

          I think ARod is starting to show signs of decline as well … His OPS has gone down each year since 2007. And the hip isn’t getting any better.

        • notsureifsrs 4 years ago

          you just biggie-sized your fail

          i don’t have the energy to help you today, but i want in on the bet too

    • Best case senario is that everyone stays healthy. They win 85 games. And still finish 10 to 15 games out of the wild card.

      To compete in the AL East, you need to win 95-100 games. It’s been 7 or 8 years since a team has won the wild card with less than 95 wins.

      This O’s team will be better than they’ve been, but can anyone imagine them winning more than 95 games?

      • Wild Card Teams
        2010 – 95 wins
        2009 – 95
        2008 – 95
        2007 – 94
        2006 – 95
        2005 – 95
        2004 – 98
        2003 – 95
        2002 – 99

        • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

          how many of those are from the al east

          • I think Detroit won in ’06 and the Angels in ’02. Every other year has been the East.

          • FrankTheFunkasaurusRex 4 years ago

            baseball is so fair

          • Yea, it stinks that the 3 best teams over the past 5 years have been in the AL east! Thats the game though until they redo the playoff system.

          • Thats the game until they implement a cap. one can dream…t

  4. j6takish 4 years ago

    I think Orioles fans are seriously overshooting their expectations for 2011. I think it’s too little too late, and considering how quickly Toronto is setting themselves up for the future, I think O’s fans may be in for another long decade.

    • basemonkey 4 years ago

      Most Os fans are thinking near-.500…maybe over. No one’s talking about contention. That’s overshooting? Remember this was a 60-win team last year. Improvement on that is all the fans are looking for.

    • TheFakeSting 4 years ago

      Toronto will be staring up at all AL East teams this year. Overrated.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        they certainly will.

        they also traded one of there better starters for a future infield prospect
        and dumped one of their better hitters/worst contract in the game.

        They have no expectations for 2011. but just based on their arms alone this team is poised to be extremely competitive extremely soon.

      • Yes. The Jays definitely aren’t built for 2011 like the O’s. But the future is bright beyond.

      • sadp 4 years ago

        “Overrated” would imply that anyone is saying the Jays have any kind of shot this year at contention, or are better than they really are. No one is saying that.

      • overrated??

        how about the most consistently underrated team in all of baseball? they have been an 80+ win team in like 5 of the past 6 seasons, have a very solid young rotation 1-3 and a powerful lineup. how is that team picked to finish last??

    • Rabbitov 4 years ago

      Setting themselves up for the future by shedding contracts, sorta how the Os have for the past 10 years? Don’t kid yourselves too much here, you haven’t done anything this offseason we haven’t in the past 10 years.

      • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

        HA another laughable post by the rabbitov

        O’s haven’t had depth in their farm system in years and still don’t

        Jays are a top 5 farm

        O’s are a ‘win now’ team that isn’t good enough to win

        good job..

        I dont get what your infatuation with the jays is? You act like its the jays who are the reason O’s have been terrible all these years… its like comparing which kid rides the shorter of the short buses to school.

        • Rabbitov 4 years ago

          Infatuation with the Jays? I am responding to posts about the Jays that you guys keep posting on the Orioles rumors. Keep up the losing, if the Pirates have a winning season soon maybe you can set the mlb record for years without a playoff appearance.

        • Jays are going to be terrible this year, last year was a fluke. Nice stadium too by the way…

  5. OrangeCards 4 years ago

    On a side note:

    The O’s have hit 5 homers in the first two innings off Andy Sonnanstine in today’s ST game.

    • basemonkey 4 years ago

      We’re seeing a foreshadow of what Markakis can do when pitchers can’t throw him 4 breaking balls out of the zone in a row and opting to take a walk than give him something to hit.

      • Do you still think Markakis has the potential for 30 HR power people talked about when he came up?

        • not_brooks 4 years ago

          In the two spot, in front of Lee and Vlad, I’m expecting Markakis to hit like he did in 2008.

          .300 avg, OPS pushing .900, 20+ homers

          Markakis belongs in the two hole, and with two professional hitters in the three and four spots, he’s going to be very, very good.

        • basemonkey 4 years ago

          I think he’s legitimately a 20-25 HR/.280-.310 kind of player, with a high OBP, who stands the chance to be extremely consistent at those skills. In a career year or two he might have a huge season that is 30+ HRs. Though I don’t think he’s the kind of player who carries the team all by himself. That said, considering the all-around package, he’s a very good player for the longterm.

      • wickedkevin 4 years ago

        Which is why I plan to draft him in every league this year. He finally has protection all around him. I’m predicting 20 hr, 80 rbi.

        • not_brooks 4 years ago

          If Roberts can stay healthy, and with Jones, Wieters and Hardy in the bottom third of the order, Markakis will drive in a lot more than 80.

          • wickedkevin 4 years ago

            I also drafted Roberts haha. Seriously, Roberts, Markakis, and Adam Jones are all sleepers.

      • SrMeowMeow 4 years ago

        Protection is a myth, and Markakis struggled most with the high fastball (always has), in my admittedly limited observations.

  6. I don’t think they have a realistic chance of contending this year, but I still think it’s a really smart offseason for the O’s. Isn’t there something inherently valuable about not having a shit-awful team for the first time in, what, 15 years? A .500 record is a real possibility, which, let’s face it, would be a huge milestone for the organization, players, and fans. The value of achieving that milestone might not be tangible but is absolutely huge.

    No team added more WAR to its roster over the off-season than the O’s. Add to that that they didn’t trade any important pieces and didn’t commit many long-term dollars, and I’d say they had a top-five off-season.

  7. The rest of the teams in the AL East should be mad because a game against the O’s isn’t an easy game anymore.

  8. not_brooks 4 years ago

    What’s the problem with a really bad team trying to improve the on-field product, even if it’s just for a year?

    It’s not like the Orioles are blocking a Mike Moustakas type prospect. Heck, they’re not even blocking a Justin Smoak-esque post-hype sleeper. Look at the O’s top ten prospects. Five of them are under 21 and haven’t played a game above A-ball. They don’t have a single guy who’s on the cusp of making a big-league impact (Edit: except for Zach Britton).

    They’re not blocking Matt Wieters, they’re not blocking Adam Jones. Heck, unless you think Duchscherer is going to survive the season, they didn’t even grab any pitching that would block their young rotation.

    We’re talking about blocking Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie. Reimold was a disaster in 2010 and Pie hasn’t been able to stay healthy. Neither of those guys could have been counted on for 2011. And if either of them start to earn some playing time, they’ll get it. Luke Scott is easily trade-able, especially if he hits like he did last year. And Vlad probably will be trade-able as well.

    Unless it stops them from spending on the 2011 draft (which it won’t), I see absolutely nothing wrong with what the O’s did this winter.

    • I agree 100% with this. As for Britton, I think he needs a full year in AAA before being called up anyway, and giving Arrieta or Tillman time in AAA won’t hurt either.

      • bomberj11 4 years ago

        Agreed. The last thing you’d wanna do is rush those young guys.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      ‘Unless it stops them from spending on the 2011 draft (which it won’t), I see absolutely nothing wrong with what the O’s did this winter.’

      most people criticize based on the fact that they think or heard that this is the case.

      • SrMeowMeow 4 years ago

        Where has anyone ever “heard” that? Nowhere.

        But if it turns out to be true, MacPhail should lose his job for it.

  9. The O’s will surprise a lot of people this year.

  10. wickedkevin 4 years ago

    It’s funny because all offseason I have been impressed with their offseason, but never actually realized that the offseason was seriously built for 2011 (and halfway 2012). For a team like the O’s, they need to take a step back and take the route more like the Rays and Royals. That being said, they will also have more money than those teams to add the needed veterans to plug in. They, as an organization will always have the potential to win. Lastly, Camden Yards is my favorite park.

    • basemonkey 4 years ago

      I don’t see why people are saying they are built for 2011. They aren’t. No one in their right mind is thinking they are vying for playoff contention. The team is built to develop and improve their young players. Adding vets to help that along shouldn’t be confused with trying to win it all.

      So many people oversimplify baseball team management as being either about: A. Trying to win now. or, B. Trying to win in the future. There’s some shades of grey here.

    • the royals? Unless they are good this year I have no idea what you mean. And the Rays? No thanks you – I would hate to win nothing then watch my entire team leave in FA. You watch – Players like Markakis and weiters will break out this year with some protection and a lighter load to carry. And I for one am by no means ruling out post season. Im not expecting it, but I sure as hell aint throwing in the towel in MARCH.

  11. I do not think the O’s are going to win 90 games. But they should win more then last year. Will the offseason spending bring in fans? Yup. People here have been waiting for them to get real players. Former MPV? Gottem. 3B that can hit 30-40 HRs? Gottem. A SS that can get on more then 1/4th the time? Gottem. A proven 1B? Gottem.

    O’s have spent too many offseasons doing nothing. They aren’t blocking anyone from the minors. Reimold didn’t hit .250 in AAA. Bell was worthless in the majors. And all the hyped up prospects like Wieters, Matusz and Arietta are in the majors now.

    BTW They don’t have the pitching? They do not have an Ace yet (Matusz) but they have a solid performer in guthrie who has only once had an ERA over 4 as an Oriole. 2 top prospects in Matusz and Arietta. And 2 guys that have pitched well in the past before injuries in The Duke and Bergy. Throw in the only remaining top prospect left in the farm system thats even close to major league ready (Britton) and the staff doesn’t look too bad.

    Its not like the rest of the AL East doesn’t have question marks. Bostons rotation was not all lights out last year. Yanks have CC. Toronto traded Marcum and TB has a lot of new pitchers.

    You can’t really project anything yet. Who’d have thought the O’s would get more wins after Buck took over then the 2 managers before him combined? O’s were the very last place team when Buck took over.

    • Not sure about those question marks for TO and TB. Yes, Toronto traded Marcum (that’s not in question), but they did so because they had the depth to do so. The rotation could possibly be an improvement on last year. By the new pitchers in TB, I am assuming you mean the bullpen, because they have a dirty starting 5.

      • Yeah because losing a Closer and set up man with sub 2 ERAs and sub 1 WHIPs is easy. They have a good #1. But Shields gave up over 5 runs a game and the other 2 had average numbers. Toronto might do the same as last year. But they did trade away a 30 HR middle of the line up hitter and Marcum was the top starter they had last year (ERA, WHIP) and they lost their closer.

        I thought they traded Marcum because they wanted to save money and he would not sign a team friendly extension.

        • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

          they traded marcum because his numbers vs the al east suggest he is not suited for that division

          also calling wells a middle of the order 30 Hr hitter is only true 25% of the time ( or once every 4 years)

  12. richmond20657 4 years ago

    I as a life long Oriole fan believe that while the team has some holes we can at least be pumped to watch some decent baseball in B-more this year.

    • ludafish 4 years ago

      it must feel good to be an Os fan now, they added some great pieces and the players looked great under Buck. I forgot the got Reynolds…he will K a world but he adds good offense…the bullpen could be good too…who knows what could happen

  13. I think all this is is, Andy MacPhail tired of seeing his team get buried in that division. He wants his team to put up a fight, and their farm system is still well intact after their expenditures this offseason, so you have to figure Angelos can afford these moves, and the team should be more fun to watch this year. Which is what it’s all about.

  14. I have no idea what this team will do this year, they are by far the most unpredictable in the AL on paper. To me this team could win 90 games, but could also lose 90 games if the veterans dont pan out and injuries hurt it like they did last year.

    Will be interesting to see how they do, the only team in the East that I feel is a lock is the red sox, but 2-5 is wide open.

  15. At some point we need to stop talking about the future. Not suggesting that the O’s are in a position to contend this year, but it is just impossible to say that they didn’t get better this offseason. Not to mention, all they really lost as far as “long-term solutions” was David Hernandez (and Mickolio if you still project him high).

    At what point do you take the approach where you break it down to the basics: get better every year. The Orioles did that this year. They also did that without losing sight of their organization’s overall vision. They filled holes that would have still been there in the next few years regardless of whether or not they were ready to contend. Gotta love the step in the right direction.

  16. bjfan 4 years ago

    Sorry O’s fans. This team is doing the same thing that the Jays did under Ricchiardi. They are buying middling players hoping to end up in the middle. There are two ways to win in the east. One is to buy the win, and the other way is the way the Rays have done it. Nothing else works as the last 20 years will attest. The Jays have taken a step back to stock up, and then make a run. Until the O’s are willing to do that, nothing will change.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      Next step sign Frank Thomas and bad mouth Adam Dunn

      • HerbertAnchovy 4 years ago

        They’ll have tohave an outfielder picked up on waivers in the middle of the season as well.

  17. The way you rebuild a team is you get a lot of young talent in your system, you fill in your holes with veterans and start to build a winning environment. Having a bunch of young guys who just lose a bunch isn’t all that helpful and if you want any hope of keeping your guys you have to rebuild your fanbase first.

    I’m a Brewer fan and this is exactly how they rebuilt the franchise. They got a bunch of talent in the minors, traded for and signed a bunch of mid level FA guys so the team could actually sit near .500, the fans started coming to the park and then when the 2nd group of young talent showed up they had a real team.

    The key thing to note is it takes 10+ years to really rebuild a franchise, even the Rays took that long, people just tend to forget that.

    • Lunchbox45 4 years ago

      your team had the best offseason IMO

      you should be really excited for this year.

  18. Smileybush 4 years ago

    I don’t get how MacFail still gets the benefit of the doubt from some people. Look at his track record with the Cubs – they were awful. The Cubs have a long and piss poor history – but they had their worst 5 year stretch ever under the “leadership” of Andy. The guy is poor at evaluating talent, he is way to conservative when it comes to making trades, and he will gladly overpay some middling veteran hoping to catch lightening in a bottle. Look at the rosters he put together in Wrigley, look the rosters he has put together in Camden. The guy just is not a good GM.

  19. I believe that some of the motivation for these moves is MacPhail’s contract situation. He needs to show marked improvement at the major league level to keep his job. Last season he attempted to pick up a handful of extra wins by adding a closer and a veteran starter. But neither panned out and it was another bad year in the win column. He needs wins at the major league level or he’ll likely get canned. This team has always been built around the young starting pitching and they are still a couple of years away from being ready. MacPhail is making reasonable moves, without tying up long term payroll, to make sure he’s here when those young pitchers finally come into their own.

    And sure, if he can flip a few of these guys for prospects at the deadline, that’s great also. But I believe he’s trying to keep his job.

  20. The Orioles fans here in Baltimore are as excited as I have ever seen them in my 7 years as a citizen, so he must be doing something right. I expect a major attendance jump, unless we tank super early and hard (like last year) If we even sniff the playoffs, our stock goes up, up, up to free agents in 2012. The Orioles need to put together a competitive season and now, so I for one love AM moves this off season.

  21. MacPhail wasn’t doing it out of desperation. He was trying to build on the last 1/3 of the 2010 season, when we were 34-23 and had the 2nd best record in the AL (playing mostly AL East teams). Let’s take a close look at his 6 main pickups:
    1. Mark Reynolds (via trade): Down year because he was injured. He’s only 27.
    2. J.J. Hardy (via trade): Is 28, and was coming off of an injury last year. Very good defensively, and is a big upgrade offensively over Cesar Izturis.
    3. Derrek Lee: His down year was 19 hr, 80 RBI. He also hurt his wrist on opening day last year, and didn’t have it operated on until October. In 2009, he hit 35 homers and drove in 110+ runs.
    4. Guerrero: Sure, he’s 35. He did hit .300 with 29 homers and 115 RBI last year. If that’s a down year, I’ll take 8 more just like him.
    5. Justin Duchscherer: 32. A gamble, but he’s a career 3.13 ERA pitcher and a 2-time all-star. I’m surprised the Yankees didn’t go after him. He’s injury-prone, but Chris Tillman and Zach Britton will be in Triple-A if he gets hurt or falters.
    6. Kevin Gregg: 32. Saved 120+ games the last 4 years, and is durable – two things the Orioles needed.

    With the exception of Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold, none of these pickups are holding back young players. In fact, the offensive guys that MacPhail added will make Nick Markakis, Brian Roberts, Adam Jones, Matt Wieters and Luke Scott that much more dangerous.

    I’d also like to say that I never said the Orioles were playoff-bound. I said that they would surprise some people that would still be in contention for a wild card spot in December. If they finished 86-76 a lot of fans would be happy with that, including me.

  22. Aging vets on down years? You must mean Derek Lee, because Guerrero hit.300 last year. Gregg is 32, but had 37 saves in the AL east last year…..Couldn’t be 27 year old Reynolds….Or 28 Year old JJ Hardy….So you are talking about one player?

    And what other team added this much talent while losing next to none? We lost Wigginton and Millwood – ON NOES!!! The Orioles are the most improved team in Baseball – but I do have to admit It might not bring a post season birth. But it could, and that hope is something us Os fans have long lost.

  23. All or nothing? They added something big in the line up. Better OB%.

    Bell/Tejada together had about a .300 OB%. Reynolds with his crap B.Ave and bad thumb still had a .320 OB%. 20 point spike plus most likely tripled thier combined HR total.

    Wigginton/Atkin together had maybe a .307 OB% at 1st. D.Lee in an injured year had a .347 OB%. A 40 point bump.

    Izturis has been an OB% hole and last year he kept it up with a .277 OB%. J Hardy also in a down year had a .320 OB%. Another nice 40+ points better.

    Since Scott stats cancel themselves out lets just compare what Pie/ Reimold/ Patterson to Vald. Since thats who he is basically replacing in the line up. I’ll be generous and say that group of 3 compiled a .310 OB%. Now compared to Vlads .345 and thats another 35 point bump.

    Total thats about 13.5 more times on base per 100 PAs. Maybe some of it goes down. Or maybe healthy some of it goes up. Maybe the young guys improve. Who knows what having Roberts will do? So lets just leave it at that and say they improved the line ups ability to get on.

    I don’t see that as all or nothing. They have people that can work the count. Sure they will strike out but its not as bad as you think.

  24. Rabbitov 4 years ago

    Alpo, although he is writing somewhat nicely now, Lunchbox has taken every single opportunity to bash the Os when given it, usually in a really unintelligent way. Gregg, Hardy, Uehara, possibly Lee if he has a good season, are all players with at least the potential to be offered arbitration if not resigned, at the end of their contracts.

    Also Lunchbox I don’t have to prove the ‘likelihood’ of any of them being signed. The original thesis is that it gives us the ability to get compensatory picks. The point is it gives the team options.

  25. Rabbitov 4 years ago

    I’m not sure I understand what you are saying? But the Os have shed: 3 horrible RP contracts, David Segui, Jay Gibbons, Albert Belle, Jay Payton, Javy Lopez etc over the past 10-12 years. Gibbons, Segui and Belle in the very early 2000s especially were crippling (when taken together) to what we wanted to do. The difference being while Wells can actually play baseball, none of the three of those could. Ditto on the 50 million we spent on those 3 relievers.

    Lol Wells cant be compared to anything the Os have done? How about trading Erik Bedard for Jones, Tillman, Mickolion, Sherril, Butler and Tejada for Scott, Patton etc. I mean come on dude.

    Lastly your “short list” argument pretty much shows you don’t know a lot about the Os minor league, which is fair because most people don’t know everything about the minors of other teams. Our top 2 are our only elite prospects right now, but there is a lot of depth in the lower levels. We have multiple prospects who Os fans are incredibly excited about including LJ Hoes, Xavier Avery, Bundy, etc. If all of those players fail then I understand your argument.

  26. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    blah blah blah

    stop being such a fan boy

    Lunchbox this Lunchbox that, I didnt realize I hurt your feelings so badly. I’ll send a box of Ninja Turtle bandaids to your attention

  27. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    it will all come down to who they draft and if they are willing to shed out for the draft picks

    if they go cheap at the draft because they gave vlad or any other vets money, then these will all be seen as bad moves

  28. I’m not judging. I’m just saying that there were many analysts that didn’t see him as a significant contributor at the MLB level until his rookie year. I’d love for him to rebound from a tough 2010 and prove me wrong. I’m just not so sure it’s going to happen.

  29. Lunchbox45 4 years ago

    guess you must be a pretty good expert then because every other professional scout and full time scouting baseball website has the orioles farm team rated no higher then 25th in the league..

  30. Rabbitov 4 years ago

    You didn’t hurt my feelings I just find it funny you bash our team so regularly when yours hasn’t been to the playoffs in almost 20 years.

  31. We spent the same in the off season this season as last season, expect we actually brought in players, not Garrett Atkins and Mike Gonzalez. The Yanks are paying A Rod what we paid all of our FA this season…We payed Machado $5 mil to sign last season…I think we can manage.

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