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Transaction Oracle
— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Sunday, April 11, 2004

Baltimore Orioles

Designated DH Jack Cust for assignment; lost P John Stephens on waivers to the Boston Red Sox.

The Orioles were short on roster room.  After all, with young slugger B.J. Surhoff desperately needed to get the Orioles to the Series, the need for Luis Lopez to be on the 40-man roster, and the eventual comebacks of Babe Cordova and Lefty Daal, there just wasn’t room for these goofs.  The Red Sox pick up Stephens, a slopballer with an annoying ability to get minor league hitters out when healthy and some other team will get Cust, the man who can’t slide.

Dan Szymborski Posted: April 11, 2004 at 07:26 PM | 31 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. Rich Rifkin I Posted: July 13, 2001 at 02:31 AM (#551536)
Chuck seems to have ridden that outstanding start he had against the A's last year. Was it a complete game shut out?
   2. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: July 16, 2001 at 03:45 PM (#551538)
Dan, you sound bitter. Let it go, man. Let it go.
   3. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: September 01, 2001 at 03:40 PM (#551704)
For the record, once you go to the website and return to the Oracle, the image works.

Too bad the O's didn't wait a bit longer. The Braves could have sent you Julio Franco.
   4. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 04, 2001 at 04:59 AM (#551796)
On further reflection, I'm a bit happier with this move than I was before. It's not like the Orioles would do anything smart given the opportunity and I have earlier this year expressed that I would like to see Tim Raines play live again before he retires.
   5. Robert Dudek Posted: October 04, 2001 at 11:49 AM (#551797)
I don't see how giving Senior a few pinch hit appearances is going to curtail someones development.

He MIGHT be a boon to the Orioles. Tim Raines Jr. is not very far from being the Orioles' best outfielder RIGHT NOW.

Who on earth would you get to tutor a young speedy outfielder that would be a better choice than Tim Raines Sr - the greatest percentage basestealer ever.
   6. Zeke Posted: October 04, 2001 at 02:43 PM (#551798)

Unfortunately for you Orioles fans, Sr. is only yours for a couple of days. He is a free-agent at the end of the season, and has expressed publicly that he wants to play again next year in Montr?al and for the Expos. Nyah! Nyah!

Play ball!
   7. The Interdimensional Council of Rickey!'s Posted: October 04, 2001 at 04:02 PM (#551799)
Dan, good to see you change your mind on this. Saves me the verbal abuse rendering. Tim Raines gets to play with his kid and for this the O's lose 5-10 at bats in the career progression of Larry Bigbie. Not the highest of costs in the world, really. Hell, maybe Rock will take playing time away from Brady Anderson. That could only help.
   8. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 04, 2001 at 05:17 PM (#551800)
Yeah, the initial post was my knee-jerk reaction the second I saw the news. As an Oriole fan, acquisitions of 40 year-old players is something to cause a lot of anxiety. After all, what's to stop the Orioles from offering Raines a 3 year, 15 million dollar deal?
   9. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 04, 2001 at 05:45 PM (#551801)
Now that I think of it, if the Orioles really want to be nice to Tim Raines Jr., how about not signing some washed-up bum in the offseason in order to prevent him from having a career?
   10. Eugene Posted: October 04, 2001 at 08:24 PM (#551802)
The O's have three OF ready for next year, provided their all healthy- Gibbons, Mora, and Richard. Brady, unless he blesses us with his retirement, is the 4th OF. Kinkade, Matos, and Kingsale are not prospects, one being older than the team average (almost), and two not being able to hit. Raines and McDonald, provided he is still a prospect, should play together in AA and make the jump, if possible late next season, or, if not ready, play AAA in 2003. Raines, Sr. would be the best 4th OF they could find for very little money and he's a HOFer whether or not the media notices it.
   11. Dan Szymborski Posted: October 17, 2001 at 11:56 AM (#551805)
Yeah, reading that lineup makes me happy to be an Orio...err...shoot.
   12. David Jones Posted: December 05, 2001 at 03:30 AM (#551942)
I don't think that the Orioles have handed anything to Luis Matos. I don't think they know WHO their centerfielder is going to be next season.

At $3 million a season, this is not a terrible move. The Orioles desperately need some offensive production from their outfield, and I do not think it would be right to make ticketholders watch Larry Bigbie play for six months. Bigbie might be a decent prospect, but he was brought up to the majors way before his time had come, and he needs another year of seasoning in AAA, in my opinion.

As for Cordova, I don't think anyone really knows what his "true level" is going to be...but judging by the overall arc of his stats, his true level is definitely NOT 2000. Not when you consider the better seasons he put up in 2001, 1999, 1996, 1995, and maybe some other seasons as well.

Anyway, at this point I think that just about every decision Angelos and Thrift make is going to be roundly ridiculed, because everyone has already determined that both of them are idiots. The only point I would make is that for a team like the Orioles, with their fan base, revenue stream, and gem of a stadium, $3 million is a drop in the bucket. I can't see that Cordova's presence is going to block the path of any legitimate prospect who is major-league ready in 2002, so I guess I just don't see much wrong with this move. It's not a great move, it's not a bad move. It's just a move. Marty Cordova is going to wear a Baltimore uniform next year. End of story.
   13. Marc Posted: December 05, 2001 at 04:43 AM (#551943)
The Oriles are like a giant money monster without a head. Who's making these decisions? "Stopgap measure" is being kind. I don't see how Cordova can, in any way, help resurect the Baltimore franchise. This is exactly the sort of move that is emblematic of why the Orioles are (and will for the forseeable future remain) a cushy roll of toilet paper, with which the Yankees may wipe their collective...
   14. Marc Posted: December 05, 2001 at 05:13 AM (#551944)
   15. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 05, 2001 at 09:25 AM (#551945)
Marty Cordova would be a decent player off the bench for a contending team. Since the Orioles want to make him their cleanup hitter, and they're not contenders, it's an awful signing.

The Orioles do desperately need offensive production from their OF; it's just that Cordova isn't it. An .800 career OPS, from a LF/DH. Hey, don't the Orioles have 7 or 8 of those guys? Might as well have kept Brady.

As for his price, this is a guy who had to take a minor league deal this past winter; the Orioles handed him a 3 year contract at age 32. Does the money matter? Is $3M trivial? Well, ask me that again when we're in the middle of yet another work stoppage.

BTW, the Orioles think Kenny Lofton will be their CF next year.
   16. David Jones Posted: December 05, 2001 at 03:09 PM (#551946)
The only reason that I could see that this signing would be a bad one would be if the Orioles had someone else to play right field next year. They don't, and they don't have anyone to play center either (which is why I wouldn't mind a Lofton signing if it was just a 2 year contract.)

You have to stop operating under the assumption that all moves are meaningless unless they lead to a playoff berth. That assumption is false. Some moves you make because it is better to lose 95 games than to lose 102 games.

Again, the only reason to condemn the Cordova signing would be to label it a "stop gap measure"--but stop gap measures are only bad in that they prevent prospects from developing. I don't see ANY legitimate major league prospect who should be playing right field in the major leagues in 2002, currently in the Orioles system. Anyone who says Larry Bigbie obviously did not spend much time watching the Orioles this season, because Larry Bigbie was helpless, and he needs a year in AAA.

Is a Cordova signing going to mean fans have to pay more for tickets next year? Doubt it. So what's the big deal? If he A. doesn't hurt the team, B. doesn't prevent a major league ready prospect from playing and C. doesn't command a huge contract, I can't see any reason to care one way or the other about this deal. All the negative comments on this forum strike me as gratuitious, picking on a franchise for past mistakes. The Orioles are in no position to compete for a championship anytime soon, with or without Cordova.
   17. Marc Posted: December 05, 2001 at 06:26 PM (#551947)
Why is it better to lose 95 games than 102?
   18. David Jones Posted: December 05, 2001 at 07:09 PM (#551948)
Why is it better to lose 65 games than 95? Why is it better to lose than win? Why play baseball? Who cares about the World Series? Why care about life?
   19. David Jones Posted: December 05, 2001 at 07:10 PM (#551949)
Er...that should be "why is it better to win than lose"
   20. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 06, 2001 at 12:06 AM (#551952)
There's a big difference between 65 and 95. One's bad, and the other's a good and exciting contending team that gives pleasure all year because you know they might win. What's the difference between 67 and 60? Nothing. Indeed, I'd rather win 60 than 67, if I thought it served the long term goal of actually contending.

As a fan, I want to see a team which is either (a) a contender, or (b) trying to become a contender. If (b), I want some evidence that the team knows how to accomplish that goal. Marty Cordova fulfills none of this.

If the Orioles were going to use a veteran instead of either playing a young guy or taking a shot on Roberto Petagine, then they might as well have kept Brady Anderson. At least he's a fan favorite and we have someone to root for. Who in hell wants to see Marty Cordova other than Mrs. Cordova?
   21. David Jones Posted: December 06, 2001 at 02:56 AM (#551954)
David N.,

Poor Marty Cordova. The guy could hit 35 home runs, bat .315, and play solid defense all season for Baltimore and you'd still thumb your nose at him, right? He could do it while getting paid approximately 1/10th of what the league's top players make, and do it in front of thousands of fans who pay tickets to watch baseball, most of whom want to see the home team win. He could help the home team win, but because he doesn't fit into a long-term plan that brings a pennant to Baltimore he might as well bat .210 with 4 home runs and strike out 236 times while making 437 errors in the field. Who cares, right?
   22. David Jones Posted: December 06, 2001 at 02:58 AM (#551956)
I've heard so many good things about Billy McMillon that I think I'm going to hire him to clean my house. The guy needs work, right?
   23. Marc Posted: December 06, 2001 at 07:00 AM (#551957)
I won't resort to ad hominem attacks (even thinly veiled ones).
   24. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 06, 2001 at 06:53 PM (#551958)
David Jones, let me just put it this way:
   25. David Jones Posted: December 06, 2001 at 07:29 PM (#551960)
David N,

I am now mounting a furious campaign to have all Maryland laws regarding public exposure in baseball stadiums revoked, in the event that Cordova meets the .315/35/solid defense (by range factor) criteria. Are you going to run through Camden Yards naked in the winter?
   26. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 07, 2001 at 06:56 AM (#551961)
Whatever turns you on, David J.
   27. David Jones Posted: December 07, 2001 at 08:32 PM (#551962)
David N.

Oh no, I'm not going to be there. But I've found some guys from the nearby state prison who are interesting in going.
   28. Repoz Posted: January 29, 2002 at 08:22 PM (#553533)
From the ChiSox point of view this clearly opens the door for Crash Rowand to take over in center(can't see Simmons being much of a challenge)....unless Rowand ends up in a heap,by which time switch hitting Mighty Joe Borchard might be unvailed.
   29. Buddha Posted: January 29, 2002 at 08:22 PM (#553534)
Are we sure this is the right Willie Harris? Maybe the Orioles have a 34 year old back-up bullpen catcher in Double-A named Willie Harris.
   30. Shredder Posted: January 29, 2002 at 08:30 PM (#553535)
Guess this puts an end to the Erstad speculation.
   31. Cris E Posted: January 29, 2002 at 08:37 PM (#553536)
Or maybe it's Ken Williams' way of setting up the next round of Erstad negotiations...

Does anyone know if the kids (Rowand, Simmons or Borchard) are ready to step up this season? Are any of them particularly good? Is there a backup plan in case things go badly?
   32. Bull Pain Posted: January 29, 2002 at 08:42 PM (#553537)
The White Sox back-up plan is hoping the Indians, Twins, Tigers, and Musers all suck enough to allow them to slip into the playoffs. Their farm system is so weak when it comes to infield players that this trade isn't all that bad.
   33. Dan 'The Boy' Werr Posted: January 29, 2002 at 08:45 PM (#553538)
From here, that White Sox backup plan looks pretty solid.
   34. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:12 PM (#553539)
I don't understand the Oracle when he says this could be a plot to keep Joe Crede from getting a job.

On the way to work I heard a live interview with Ken Williams. When asked if the Sox were set in the outfield, he professionally avoided answering the question directly; now I know why. He was also asked about Joe Borchard and he directly stated that he would like him to have one more full season in the minors because he thinks one professional season may not be enough for him. Regardless of whether you think this is sensible or not, Borchard will not be on the opening day roster unless he makes heads spin in spring training.

What this means is that Rowand and Simmons are the CF's, which means they are 1 outfielder shy. In my opinion, Simmons is the 5th outfielder, which means the 3rd/4th outfielders are Rowand and Valentin. With Valentin taking on the Tony Phillips role, Crede will get at least 200 at bats with the White Sox this year if he's not traded. When asked about Joe Crede this morning, Williams said he would have liked to see Joe get 200 AB's in winter ball, but Joe didn't want to go. That probably means he won't be on the opening day roster unless he beats out Jeff Liefer.
   35. Buddha Posted: January 29, 2002 at 09:20 PM (#553540)
I think that Cris E. is right, this opens up future White Sox/Angels negotiations for Erstad. Maybe the Angels will reconsider or maybe Williams will pony up even MORE young talent to get two bad knees from the Halos.
   36. VegasRobb Posted: January 29, 2002 at 10:23 PM (#553543)
I think this is a great trade by the White Sox. Harris isn't going to scare Graffanino but now they have some room to play some players with better potential in the outfield slots.
   37. Big Ed Posted: January 29, 2002 at 10:46 PM (#553545)
Jeff Leifer is going to play some left field for the Sox. Their outfielders will be Lee, Ordonez, Liefer, Rowand and Simmons. Borchard will probably play center in 2003.

But another utility infielder was all they could get for him? I thought that was why they re-signed least the Orioles weren't astute enough to ask Williams to throw in a pitching prospect.
   38. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: January 29, 2002 at 11:03 PM (#553547)
   39. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: January 29, 2002 at 11:26 PM (#553549)
I do have to say it looks like Kenny Williams has learned from last year's mistakes. I hated every one of his moves last year, but so far I like what he's done this off-season. (Thankfully that Erstad deal didn't go through).
   40. Matthew Rich Posted: January 29, 2002 at 11:41 PM (#553551)
Rad --

Does that mean you approved of swapping K. Wells and Parque for Ritchie?

I am a pretty rare bird -- a supporter of both the Indians and the White Sox. This offseason has been horrendous for the Indians, and I really am starting to think that the Mark Shapiro era in Cleveland will bring a return to the dark ages. But when I look at what Kenny Williams is doing to the Sox, it looks to me like a race to the bottom. This deal, obviously, bucks that trend from the Sox's side, but it's the first intelligent thing WIlliams has done, IMO, and I'll bet the whole thing was Thrift's idea.
   41. Voros McCracken Posted: January 30, 2002 at 01:58 AM (#553553)
This deal is the good news bad news set up for my fantasy team.

Good news: Chris Singleton leaves Chicago leaving playing time open for Aaron Rowand.

Bad News: Chris Singleton gets to Baltimore most likely somehow taking playing time from Jay Gibbons.

As a White Sox fan, it's always surprising to see Kenny Williams make a decent move.

Here's my park neutral projections for the two:

Singleton: .272/.316/.421
   42. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 03:58 AM (#553555)
I see Singleton as a 1 or 2 year stopgap. The Orioles do have some potential depth in their farm system at center field: Tim Raines, Jr. Keith Reed, and the eternal prospect, Luis Matos. So for what it's worth Harris was among their more expendable prospects.

It is by and large a pointless move by the O's, but I do think it improves their outfield defense a great deal, as playing Richard and Mora in center last year was a nightmare.

I don't think age is much of a factor. Singleton has still got a lot of baseball left in him. 29 is nothing.

And Voros, I can't see how Singleton will take time away from Gibbons. Singleton will play in center field, Mora will go back to a utility role. You've still got Cordova and Gibbons to take the corner OF spots. Richard is not supposed to be ready until the All-Star break, by which time the club could reassess and deal Conine or Segui to a contender to make room for Richard and Gibbons to both play every day, should they prove deserving.

I also don't expect we'll be hearing much from Harris in the future, though you never know.
   43. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 30, 2002 at 07:18 AM (#553556)
Logically, Singleton would have to have some baseball in him before he had "baseball left in him," no?

Singleton may take time from Gibbons because he adds another outfielder to the team. That can't help. And what contender would want Conine or Segui?

As for "depth" in center, I suppose that's true -- in the metaphorical sense in which a black hole is deep. Reed, Singleton, Harris, Matos -- they all have one thing in common: they can't hit. Add Bigbie, also. Raines maybe, but that's all potential.

And Mora's ZR in center was higher than Singleton's last year, FWIW.

Bottom line: the Orioles converted a nonprospect into a nonplayer.
   44. RJ in TO Posted: January 30, 2002 at 08:13 AM (#553557)
David Jones,
   45. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 10:43 AM (#553558)
Camden was an extreme pitcher's park last year, so the Orioles hitters are better than their raw numbers lasy year. Segui is still a pretty good player (good defensive skills) but obviously earns way too much money.
   46. Big Ed Posted: January 30, 2002 at 02:33 PM (#553559)
Singleton as a salary dump won't help much; he is getting $1.4 MM this year, though it all helps.

I agree with Voros; Rowand will be fine defensively in center, and Simmons can be a defensive replacement for Lee, who is a DH in left field (Canseco may be a better defensive outfielder than Lee).

The more I think about this trade, the more I like it. Singleton had as much trade value as he was ever going to have, and since they've been talking about trading Singleton all winter, presumably they'd shopped him all over and this was the best they were going to get. Harris will probably go to AAA, and is young enough where he might make the majors. Always good to have someone else to push Hummel along in the Durham-replacement race.
   47. I am Ted F'ing Williams Posted: January 30, 2002 at 05:21 PM (#553563)
Yes, I am in favor of the Ritchie deal from a White Sox perspective. (It was Wells and Lowe, not Parque.) They may have given up a little too much by throwing Fogg in, but it is a starting pitching improvement nonetheless. In Voros' latest DIPS data, Ritchie ranked 30th in ERAR, which makes him a borderline #1, solid #2 starter.

The Sox are too close to the top of their division to put too many questionable starters in their rotation. Wells may wind up being a better pitcher than Ritchie when all is said and done, but they need to live for today, too. And right now, Ritchie is a better pitcher than either Wells or Lowe.
   48. Robert Dudek Posted: January 30, 2002 at 05:25 PM (#553564)

I'm in complete agreement. Add to that the fact that he is reputed to be an excellent defensive 1B, and it is clear that he is one of the Orioles' best players at the moment.

By rights he should be with a playoff contender.
   49. David Jones Posted: January 30, 2002 at 05:32 PM (#553565)
The oddest sentence from the Baltimore Sun article on this trade:

"Harris was named the Orioles' minor-league Player of the Year after batting .305 with 54 stolen bases at Double-A Bowie, but pro- jects more as a utility player because of his ability to move from second base to center field."

So, let me get this straight. Because he has the ability to play more than position, that makes him only a utility player?
   50. RP Posted: January 30, 2002 at 07:23 PM (#553568)
I still can't fathom why the Orioles and Braves haven't worked of a trade of a couple of low level minor leaguers for either Segui or Conine. That deal makes perfect sense for both teams IMHO. The Orioles have absolutely no reason to hang on to those players, and either would be an upgrade for the Braves at 1b. In fact, why not trade them both to the braves? Conine would probably be at least as effective at 3B as Castilla.

Just thinking about the Orioles "brain trust" is enough to send me reaching for the advil...
   51. RP Posted: January 30, 2002 at 09:29 PM (#553570)
"Segui or Conine are the perfect way for the Braves to get rid of BJ Sureout"

That's true, and a far more realistic possibility given who's running the Os. My suggestion was based on a logical, non-thriftian approach, but is obviously unlikely to happen in the real world.
   52. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 08:46 AM (#553571)
   53. RP Posted: January 31, 2002 at 02:26 PM (#553572)
David -- exactly. That's why I mentioned that my approach was "non-thriftian." These are dark, dark days for Os fans.
   54. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: January 31, 2002 at 06:55 PM (#553573)
Not to rain on everybody's Sid-trashing parade or anything, but Mora's out for at least six weeks with a broken thumb. It doesn't seem really egregious to me that the Orioles picked up a backup plan in case Mora has problems healing (especially since hand injuries linger). Somebody has to stand around in center field, after all.

The question then becomes: Was Singleton the best available option, and if not, which CF should they have gone after instead?
   55. Kurt Posted: February 25, 2002 at 10:02 PM (#555015)
So I'm still unclear. Do you like the signing, or not?
   56. Greg Franklin Posted: February 25, 2002 at 10:34 PM (#555017)
I think Syd saw _Logan's Run_ while drunk and got entirely the wrong lesson from it.
   57. Walt Davis Posted: February 25, 2002 at 11:02 PM (#555020)
hey now, Buddy's only 36 -- or is he from the Dominican?

His real first name? Wedsel. So think of that $6.25 million as cosmic compensation for psychological damage inflicted by his parents.
   58. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 25, 2002 at 11:09 PM (#555021)
Paul Bako's real first name is Tabor, IIRC.

Greg Franklin will now have a place as one my sig files with that comment as I almost choked to death on the fettucine alfredo I was eating for dinner.
   59. Josh Posted: February 26, 2002 at 12:46 AM (#555022)
Chris Kahrl wishes he could make comments like that.
   60. RJ in TO Posted: February 26, 2002 at 05:09 AM (#555026)
Wasn't Connie Mack also a legitimate example of an owner who didn't actually have the money needed to run a franchise, and who had to consider a real budget? And even under his economic constraints, he was able to develop a pretty good list of talent and teams (5 WS, 9 Pennants). Even in his senillity he put winning teams on the field 3 of his last 4 years.

In contrast, Thrift and Angelos seem to have a (relative to the rest of the league) large budget and no idea of how to spend it.
   61. fables of the deconstruction Posted: February 26, 2002 at 06:09 AM (#555027)
Let's hope the Dodgers don't release Jesse O. this season. Syd might decide to sign him to a Five Year Deal...! O's fans only hope for this season is that they will be so bad, that "Mr. Belt and Suspenders" will flog "Sydley Wimplash" fifty times before putting him out to pasture. Don't wager on it though, it's a suckers bet.

   62. jwb Posted: February 26, 2002 at 07:02 AM (#555028)
Ryan Jones,

You are correct. Connie Mack built two minor dynasties. The first in the early teens, built around the $100,000 infield and an excellent group of pitchers. The $100,000 infield included the brother of a great uncle of mine. He sold that team off because a) they became too expensive, or b) he believed they took a dive in their World Series loss to the 1914 Miracle Braves.

The in the late twenties and early thirties he built another great team around Al Simmons, Mickey Cochrane, and Lefty Grove. He had to sell that one off because he couldn't afford to pay them.

After that, he just couldn't afford to pay even a middle of the pack team.

Angelos seems like Turner in the mid '80s: a team with one stud throwing money around like mad to no good end. Angelos' stud hasn't been a stud for a few years now and is retired.
   63. Greg Franklin Posted: February 26, 2002 at 08:00 AM (#555029)
Dan, looking forward to the sig file. It was your fault for floating a Superman movie as the topic, otherwise I would have nothing to add. I weighed responding with something from the Terminator or Rocky IV, but couldn't make the Oriole connection work.

So basically it was either Logan's Run or yet another Neil Young thread - "I seen the Wedsel and the damage done...."
   64. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 26, 2002 at 04:14 PM (#555031)
Connie Mack built two minor dynasties. The first in the early teens, built around the $100,000 infield and an excellent group of pitchers. The $100,000 infield included the brother of a great uncle of mine. He sold that team off because a) they became too expensive, or b) he believed they took a dive in their World Series loss to the 1914 Miracle Braves.

There's some discussion of this in response to Don's latest article on his Weblog at the BBB Web site.

Mack had a decent amount of relatively young talent waiting to step into the wings in 1914. He had five decent young pitchers ready to replace Plank/Bender/Coombs, and three full-time position players under the age of 25. Unfortunately, what happened was that the two players for whom he didn't have replacements handy - Eddie Collins and Home Run Baker - were also the two highest-paid players, and both wanted more moola. Collins, the 1914 MVP, was traded to the White Sox, and Baker held out all season. That gutted the heart of the team, but even so, they still had six of their eight position players back from a year earlier plus a young starting rotation. But the new A's stumbled out of the gate, going 13-26 in April and May as attendance fell off without the two marquee attractions. It was then that Mack, needing money, started to sell off the rest of the team. Mack had always been successful using his private network of college coaches to scout talent, and figured he could do so again - but by 1915, most of the quality talent was coming through the minor league draft, and because Mack didn't actively participate in that process until the 1920s the A's were severly handicapped in their ability to rebuild the team.

-- MWE
   65. David Jones Posted: February 26, 2002 at 05:18 PM (#555032)
How come everybody is looking at this deal from the usual perspective? Let's look at this from Buddy Groom's perspective:

He is going to get a lot of money for playing baseball for the next two years.

Whatever this deal is for the Orioles, it's an excellent deal for Buddy Groom.
   66. RP Posted: February 26, 2002 at 07:47 PM (#555036)
If any Os fans reading this thread would like to get even more depressed about this deal, go to the message board on the Orioles official site. A bunch of the posters have argued that this is a good deal and that we should applaud the team for rewarding Groom's loyalty. His "loyalty?" He's been on the team for *2* years. You don't give 36 year old, mediocre relievers with 2 years of tenure $6 million out of loyalty!!! Arrrgggghhhhh...this signing has really pushed me over the edge.
   67. Cris E Posted: February 26, 2002 at 08:51 PM (#555037)
I guess the world is stuck with Syd Thrift for another 5 billion years.

I guess this explains his facination with the elderly. I have this weird idea that Syd has a copy of Coccoon on all the time in his office and home, just looping away, playing forever...

Seriously, if it were for less that $3m per this wouldn't be a bad deal. Wedsel hasn't been bad in a while, he shows up and takes the ball 70 times a year, and stable average performance has value when you are trying to sort through the crap and find some new arms.

Now when the time comes to find playing time for some of these new pitchers that the Os need to produce there might be some difficulty in getting rid of a 37 YO lefty, but that's why the $3m is a problem.
   68. RP Posted: February 26, 2002 at 09:21 PM (#555039)
DOF -- I suppose you're right. Maybe my tolerance for idiocy is higher or something.

What's scary is that Groom is now making as much as J. Nelson. whatever...
   69. jwb Posted: February 27, 2002 at 02:42 AM (#555040)

Thanks for the history lesson. I didn't realize that Mack was, or at least thought he was, in such a strong position in 1915.

SS Jack Barry was also gone in 1915.


Well both Cal Ripken's and Dale Murphy's skills were certainly retarded. Cal retired, Murph was cast out and retired a few years later. I'll refrain from attempts to be clever and cryptic after midnight.
   70. Mike Emeigh Posted: February 27, 2002 at 03:13 AM (#555041)

Jack Barry started the season with the A's in 1915; he left in the June purge, along with Pennock and Shawkey.

-- MWE
   71. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:32 AM (#555042)
   72. Dan Szymborski Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:46 AM (#555043)
David, didn't you predict most of those signings long before they came to reality? I remember praying after the 1998 season that you'd refrain from predicting the offseason acquisitions of the O's.
   73. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 27, 2002 at 06:11 AM (#555044)
Actually, yes, I did. I also predicted that the Orioles would trade Charles Johnson for a veteran catcher. Thinking like Syd Thrift was not one of my finest moments.
   74. David Jones Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:26 PM (#555046)
David N.,

If Syd Thrift knocked on your front door at 3 a.m., his face bleeding and his clothes smelly and dissheveled, and he asked you for a sandwich and a glass of milk, would you give it to him?
   75. David Jones Posted: February 27, 2002 at 05:31 PM (#555047)
And if, after eating the sandwich and drinking the milk, if Syd pleaded with you to give him "five dollar" so he could add it to the money he made begging on the street, and that money would help him buy a bus ticket to Florida so he could get back to work bringing "proven veteran leadership" to "my ballclub," would you give it to him?
   76. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: February 28, 2002 at 06:54 AM (#555051)
Well, Steve, I can think like your wife, too. The difference is, your wife isn't dumber than kelp, the way Syd is.
   77. RP Posted: March 02, 2002 at 03:09 PM (#555052)
Recently posted on the Orioles site:

"I'm with you, man. Someone give me the name of another reliever (l or r) that is as durable and reliable as Buddy Groom. I don't want to hear about Mariano Rivera cause he doesn't pitch in 70 plus games a year. It's a good move and 3 mil a year isn't much at all for a guy like that."
   78. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 22, 2002 at 09:28 PM (#555535)
Yes, the Orioles are more talented than the '62 Mets and the Pilots.
   79. Antigonos Posted: March 22, 2002 at 09:50 PM (#555537)
Do you think anyone who runs this team is able to read? I mean, all they would have to do is pick up a newspaper, or heck even watch ESPN, (i wouldn't dare suggest they have the ability to operate a computer, much less search the internet)to realize how much their moves are maligned and ridiculed...The fact that they haven't caught on is beyond sad.
   80. ephus Posted: March 22, 2002 at 10:00 PM (#555538)
As a Yankee fan, when I lived near Camden Yards in 1995-96, it was always fun to watch the Yanks come into town and whip up on the locals. I got the chance to see Cal pass Gehrig and a memorable 1996 pennant race. In the last four years, the Orioles have become a horrible joke of a team. I look back at the moment that Albert Belle said, "Yankees no, Orioles si," with a huge sigh of relief.

One question: Will Harold Baines be a part of the Orioles "youth movement"?
   81. McCoy Posted: March 22, 2002 at 10:01 PM (#555539)
What about the 1980 Cubs, my god they stunk it up? Besides Sutter I don't think that team had a hoper or prayer of ever getting better. In fact I would go as far as saying that if it hadn't been for the Tribune Company buying the Cubs and installing Dallas Green as GM the Cubs would probably would have been one of the worst if not the worst team that decade. I see a lot of similarities between the early 80's Cubs and the present day Orioles.
   82. Dan Szymborski Posted: March 22, 2002 at 10:20 PM (#555541)
The Cubs also had a young Lee Smith and Willie Hernandez. Both Mel Hall and Jody Davis were better prospects than pretty much anyone the Orioles have.
   83. McCoy Posted: March 23, 2002 at 06:03 AM (#555546)
   84. fables of the deconstruction Posted: March 23, 2002 at 08:00 AM (#555549)
STOP! You all are really depressing me.

At least with being in south AZ, I won't be forced to watch the O's season play out in technicolor. That might send me into spiraling despondency leading to a stress crash or even an early death. All could be redeemed if the New York American League Baseball Club's reconstruction turns to folly. Early indications have me hoping so but fearing not... Bummer!

   85. fables of the deconstruction Posted: March 23, 2002 at 05:20 PM (#555551)
Well, let me cheer people up and stem the tide of all this negativity by letting you know what we plan to do...

Aaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaaa........! [gargle, gargle, gag]
   86. Sharkbyte Posted: March 23, 2002 at 07:29 PM (#555552)
The big question is this: how long before one of those '79 Mariner pitchers turns up on the Orioles' staff? My guess is that Thrift gets sick of the inexperienced Buddy Groom and signs Rick Honeycutt by June...
   87. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: March 24, 2002 at 12:54 AM (#555553)
Personally I think the worst team I have ever personally seen was the 1991 Indians. Funny thing is that they had some pretty decent players. Joey Belle (wasn't called Albert until the following year), Carlos Baerga, Joel Skinner, Mark Whitten, Sandy Alomar, and Jim Thome all played on that team. Some pitchers were Charles Nagy, Greg Swindell, Jeff Shaw, Tom Candiotti, Doug Jones and Steve Olin.
   88. David Geiser Posted: March 25, 2002 at 06:57 PM (#555555)
As a Cubs fan, I was all ready to come up with a great counterpoint to Dan's statement that the Orioles are perhaps the worst organization top to bottom in the last 30 years, but looking over it, I can't think of any team in worse shape. As others pointed out, the early 80s Cub organization had some good prospects and some good stars at their peaks. Even the 1988-1998 Cubs organization, which had perhaps the worst run in terms of player development ever, had some decent stars on the major league roster

The question I have is this: How long will it take for someone to start referring to the Orioles as a small-market team that can't compete? The organization seems to have pretty much given up on signing big-ticket free agents, has dropped from the top third in team payroll, and nowadays seems to be focussing on wasting money on the low-end. I predict the phrase will be applied in the media to the Orioles at some point in the year 2003.
   89. John Posted: March 31, 2002 at 03:49 PM (#555557)
Well, since we're sharing our favorite "worst" teams, look at the '88 Phillies. And then look at the salaries.
   90. Walt Davis Posted: April 04, 2002 at 04:41 PM (#555739)
Now this is just plain dumb. The most Matthews gives you is a weak-hitting good defensive centerfielder. The O's already have Singleton and Mora, plus a number of (so far) weak-hitting OF's in the minors.

Maybe Syd is jealous that Detroit has cornered the market on multi-position guys and wants to corner the market on no-hit fleet-footed center fielders.

Or maybe he thought he was signing Sarge, Sr for some clubhouse presence.
   91. David Jones Posted: April 04, 2002 at 05:27 PM (#555742)
I don't think this trade requires any analysis. I don't think it accomplishes anything for anybody. The Orioles have 36 pitchers in their farm system just like John Bale. As the above poster noted, this guy is not a true prospect. He's about to turn 28. Hasn't everyone on this board already nailed the Orioles to the wall 1,000 times for daring to call their 28-year-olds "kids" and "prospects?" So let's call Bale what he is: "Career Minor Leaguer." Let's call Matthews what he is "Bad Outfielder" (though he's got to be younger than Bale, right?)
   92. Dylan Posted: April 04, 2002 at 05:30 PM (#555743)
   93. David Jones Posted: April 04, 2002 at 05:53 PM (#555745)
According to the Baltimore Sun, the trade means that Larry Bigbie goes to Rochester and Matthews takes his spot on the big club. The club wanted Bigbie to start the season at AAA all along, but Cordova's injury kept him up in the bigs for a couple days.

The Werth deal was horrendous, but this is now a separate issue.
   94. Walt Davis Posted: April 04, 2002 at 08:02 PM (#555749)
now, don't make me go dig up the Singleton thread... but I recall Voros having a list of about 5 Singleton types in the O's minor league. OK, I'm exaggerating, I think it was 3. Whether Bale's any good or not doesn't matter, what matters is that they have traded for what they already have plenty of. And of course this was after letting Latham get through waivers or they could have signed Glen Barker.

Of course the move doesn't matter at all, it just doesn't make any sense either.
   95. David Jones Posted: April 04, 2002 at 08:09 PM (#555750)
From the Baltimore Sun article:

"Bale came to the Orioles during the 2000 winter meetings for catcher Jayson Werth, a former No. 1 draft pick who's now rated among the Toronto Blue Jays' top prospects. Bale was recalled twice by the Orioles last season, going 1-0 with a 3.04 ERA in 14 games. He allowed three earned runs and eight hits in six innings this spring and frustrated club officials with his inability to stay healthy.

Bale complained again of stiffness in his left elbow, though a magnetic resonance imaging test and arthrogram didn't reveal any problems. He had surgery during the winter to remove a band of tissue."

So this trade doesn't make sense because they dealt one guy that they have 15 carbon copies of for another guy they have 4 carbon copies of?
   96. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 05, 2002 at 12:53 AM (#555753)
Matthews is a nice bench outfielder. He has some pop and some patience, plays a mean center field, has no major injuries in his past, and is in his prime. I'd call him Ruben Rivera lite, without the poor impulse control.

I remain unconvinced that he's of any use to Baltimore, but it's not like he's completely worthless, either.
   97. Robert Dudek Posted: April 05, 2002 at 11:33 AM (#555755)
Bale was never considered a top pitching prospect in the Toronto system.

He wasn't even in the "good second tier prospect" class (Clayton Andrews was, for example).

If Werth was one of the top 100 prospects in baseball at the time of the trade, Bale wasn't in the top 250.
   98. Dan Szymborski Posted: April 05, 2002 at 01:30 PM (#555756)
I wrote it rather poorly.

The Orioles turned one of their top prospects (Jayson Werth) into one of the Blue Jays' top prospects (Jayson Werth).

Not, the Orioles turned one of their top prospects (Jayson Werth) into one of the Blue Jays' top prospects (John Bale).

Mr. Dan sometimes is in sore need of an editor.
   99. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: April 05, 2002 at 04:08 PM (#555758)
This is what is so perplexing. The O's had the first shot at Latham, well before the Mets. They declined to take it, then that very same week decided that they needed a fifth outfielder after all!?

And instead of waiting for something else to come tripping down the waiver wire (I dunno, maybe someone like McKay Christensen?), they decided to cut loose a lefty reliever who sould have given them another year or two of bullpen time as the second lefty (or even third).

The only explanation is that the O's see something in Matthews that everyone else has missed. This "baseball guy" obsession with wanting to be a miracle worker, to be smarter than the next guy, is just killing teams like Baltimore.
   100. Voros McCracken Posted: April 06, 2002 at 12:41 AM (#555760)
Bale actually looks like a guy who could get people out as long as his control doesn't desert him and his arm doesn't completely go. His strikeout rates have been excellent recently, andthe Orioles aren't exactly loaded in the pitching department. I might as well trot out my projections for the two of them:

Bale K/BB=2.03, HR/9IP=0.92, ERA=4.18
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