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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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   101. jwb Posted: April 09, 2002 at 08:16 PM (#555764)
What's worse is they don't give any indication they understand that they have problems or are taking any steps to solve them. Detroit, a team full of backup catchers and utility infielders, has at least started putting plan B into effect. Baltimore, a team full of fifth outfielders and utility infielders, has done nothing. Bummer.
   102. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: April 18, 2002 at 12:25 PM (#555929)
Lunar's interesting, in that he has made it all the way to the majors without even once having a respectable season at bat. He had a .760 OPS in 80 at-bats at AA Bowie in 2000, and that's as close as it gets. Other than that blip, he's never even broken .700. And yet, despite all of this, he's never spent a day in AAA. How many guys spend five years below AA and _then_ skip a level?

Lunar's OPS

Career ML: .531 (237 AB)
   103. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 19, 2002 at 05:02 PM (#555931)
What's particularly amazing about this, from the Boy-Syd-Thrift-Gets-More-Senile-Every-Day perspective, is that the Orioles blamed a significant portion of last season's early struggles on the fact that they carried too many catchers. (They opened the season with Fordyce, Lunar, Greg Myers, and uber-utility player Mike Kinkade.) Finally, after a month, they realized that since Syd Thrift was the only GM dumb enough to trade for a backup catcher, nobody was going to give them anything for one of these guys, and they cut Myers.

So what do they do this year? Carry too many catchers. Give Lunar 0 ABs. Then cut him. By the way, their other two catchers? Hitting 143/192/224..
   104. Voros McCracken Posted: April 20, 2002 at 07:03 AM (#555932)
How bad is Lunar? He hit .246/.287/.287 last year and I personally think he was hitting over his head.
   105. Big Ed Posted: April 22, 2002 at 09:52 PM (#555933)
He cleared waivers and was outrighted to AAA.
   106. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: April 26, 2002 at 04:07 PM (#556052)
The Sally Field one was a lot better than that awful "First Monday."
   107. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: April 26, 2002 at 04:19 PM (#556053)
El Guapo is going to get pretty upset if the Sox trade their box of Krispy Kremes for Bordick.
   108. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: June 17, 2002 at 03:55 AM (#557167)
Drat. There goes the pennant.
   109. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: June 17, 2002 at 07:13 PM (#557168)
Semi-serious question: Do you think Conine's still untouchable in trade discussions?
   110. Dan Szymborski Posted: June 17, 2002 at 07:20 PM (#557169)
Yes. I wish it were no, but it's yes.
   111. Greg Franklin Posted: July 16, 2002 at 07:47 PM (#557761)
Good karma, Dan. He started at DH, led off (his profile doesn't look like a speedster), and went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

And the O's sweep the mighty Mariners!
   112. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2002 at 12:37 AM (#557765)

They're more likely to deal Ponson, sadly.

Exactly -- and that's why the plaudits over on Clutch Hits about Syd Thrift are inappropriate. Can anything sum up the Orioles' woes over the Thrift era better than the fact that they can't decide whether they should trade Ponson or Erickson?

I think you're a little unfair on your Matthews comments; with Conine and Segui out, there's a lot of playing time out there.
   113. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: July 18, 2002 at 12:38 AM (#557766)
BTW, Dan -- when you run MLEs, are you translating them to a neutral major league park?
   114. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: July 19, 2002 at 03:17 PM (#557768)
If I ran the zoo, Ponson would be out of there tomorrow. He's got enough talent that his trade value is pretty high, but he's too much of an injury risk (history AND workload concerns) to be someone I'd be comfortable building around. It's eminently possible that his trade value has maxed out, and I'd rather sell a year too soon than a year too late.
   115. Eugene Freedman Posted: August 08, 2002 at 03:05 PM (#558337)
The Orioles have bought themselves a serious overstock of interchangable mediocre veteran corner OF/1B players. As an Oriole fan myself I was sickened by the Marty Cordova signing because I see him as Jeff Conine. Sure if they hadn't resigned Conine it might have been only 3/4 bad, rather than 100%, but they did resign Conine. Only by luck did Segui get injured and Conine on top of that. Add in losing Richard for half the year and viola, the Cordova deal looks almost good.

Gibbons should play everday that his wrist isn't bothering him. He's brutal at 1B and adequate in RF. I'd play him everday in LF. He can make fewer mistakes in LF at Camden Yards since it's not a tricky corner and it's relatively shallow with a standard height wall. RF is much tougher to play with multiple wall heights and compositions, along with a tough corner and longer throw.

Richard should play everday that his shoulder allows. Perhaps that means DH, but he's the best RF the team has. Play him there unless he can't physically.

Conine at 1B unless Segui is back. Segui is better defensively so he wins there. But, Segui is made of glass, so he's not around.

That leaves Cordova at DH unless Segui is back, the Conine at DH.

If an overpowering LHP is on the mound pull Gibbons and Richard and let all of the old men play.

More interesting, I guess is Gary Matthews Jr. taking the spot from Chris Singleton and Willie Harris playing almost everday in Chicago, while the Birds have no secondbaseman. Oh, to be Syd. I only wish I live that long.
   116. RP Posted: August 09, 2002 at 09:31 PM (#558344)
"I was also at that game, unfortunately as a Twins fan. My friend and I couldn't stop laughing at the flashing Conine sign on the centerfield scoreboard each time he hit. It truly was bizarre."

It might have been bizarre, even pathetic, but the Orioles still swept the 1st place Twins.
   117. Bernal Diaz has an angel on his shoulder Posted: August 12, 2002 at 05:32 PM (#558391)
Hey Sidney, call Jaret Wright and ask him how Hargove's therapy worked on his torn labrum.
   118. Walt Davis Posted: August 26, 2002 at 07:50 PM (#558542)
OK, I think I've seen a few references to what DIPS suggests about a minor-leaguer over the last few weeks. Do we know that the DIPS discovery (i.e. hits per ball in play are defense and luck) holds at AAA or lower in the minors? I could well imagine that it doesn't and that this is perhaps part of what distinguishes the prospects that make it from the ones that don't.

That is, maybe it's not DIPS, maybe it is that he's easier to hit and he will have his head handed to him in the majors ... and be sent back down soon enough not to mess with Voros' discovery. :-)
   119. Mike Emeigh Posted: August 27, 2002 at 12:23 AM (#558544)
No, he couldn't. The Pirates *had* him and released him.

-- MWE
   120. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: August 27, 2002 at 03:46 AM (#558545)
Slight quibble: The Pirates didn't release him. Rather, they sold him to the Mets for $500,000. The Mets then released him, and he wound up with the Orioles.
   121. MattB Posted: September 04, 2002 at 01:54 PM (#558640)
"Ed Rogers has been compared to A-Rod by the Orioles. Aurelio, that is."

I don't think anyone has made that comparison, though, since he put on three years in the space of an afternoon. At one point, he was the "youngest" guy in the Eastern League, which makes for honesttogod prospect points. Now, he's just the general oxymoron -- Orioles prospect.
   122. ckash Posted: September 04, 2002 at 05:03 PM (#558641)
No Howie Clark? He was the most popular player in town the 2 weeks he was up. He's a much better player than Leon.
   123. Bull Pain Posted: October 17, 2002 at 03:36 PM (#559064)
Yeah, I bet they can't wait to get all of the exciting players that led Rochester to a 55-89 record.
   124. Cris E Posted: October 17, 2002 at 04:09 PM (#559065)
It'll be especially refreshing after seeing those stiffs Restovich, Sears, LeCroy, Cuddyer et al finally leave town.
   125. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 17, 2002 at 04:10 PM (#559066)
Unless I'm mistaken, the new affiliate is in Calgary.
   126. Alan Posted: October 17, 2002 at 04:25 PM (#559067)
Ottawa is the new AAA affiliate. Some one even less desirably than the O's, the Expo's, got Edmonton.
   127. Alan Posted: October 17, 2002 at 10:58 PM (#559078)
Are we referring to the Ottawa resident who attends the games or the Ottawa residents who don't bother to do so?
   128. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: October 18, 2002 at 06:13 PM (#559081)
Hmm. Who got Calgary, then?
   129. Alan Posted: October 19, 2002 at 12:19 AM (#559082)
Calgary moved. I believe it's now in the new Canadian League commished by Fergie Jenkins. Ya know, that league having trouble keeping the white lines down on the field. (Unfair, but couldn't help it. I'm still suffering after Sugar Hill Records studio burnt down.)
   130. Alan Posted: October 19, 2002 at 12:29 AM (#559083)
The Baltimore Sun and the local Rochester paper (and come to think of it, Orioles Outside Pitch) were critical of the O's farm system in recent articles. Apparently the Red Wings didn't always take batting or fielding practice because of the condition of the field after lacrosse games/practices. This will not be an issue in Ottawa, but neither will it be an issue in Rochester next season after the Twins move in. No more lacrosse.

There is no consistency is the way O's farm teams teach their players, if they teach anything at all. It's a long way from the days of the Oriole Way. Fortunately, Syd Thrift, Peter Angelos, and the Angelos boys are all mortal. Perhaps my grandchildren will live to see another flag besides the American fly over Baltimore.
   131. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: October 24, 2002 at 01:36 AM (#553574)
Ken Rosenthal's column in TSN:

Rival executives are snickering at the Orioles' quest to trade CF Chris
   132. Brian Posted: October 30, 2002 at 11:42 PM (#559116)
Since next year is 2003, does that mean the option is for 2004?
   133. User unknown in local recipient table (Craig B) Posted: November 01, 2002 at 01:04 AM (#559122)
Well, Hentgen hasn't even turned 34 yet (how that's "pushing 40" is beyond me). He was a league-average starter for the three years in a row before he got hurt, and he was even better before that.

I don't think Hentgen would be available as an NRI - someone else would have offered him a guaranteed deal, because if it works out and he becomes a league-average starter again, that's probably worth $5 million. If it's a $1 million deal, and Hentgen has even a 20% chance of being the pitcher he was, it works for me. I think he might have that good a chance once he is fully recovered (there were indications that he was not fully recovered when he came back in September.

If it's for a half-million, I'd do it in a heartbeat, even with the knowledge that he was horrible this year.

The Orioles know better than anyone how Hentgen is actually doing, aside from those four September starts.
   134. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 06, 2002 at 04:09 AM (#559126)
Personally, I think this is a good move on the part of Thrifty Syd and the Angelos Committee. If Hentgen shows he can be a league average pitcher for 2003, it's easier on the O's to make Scott Erickson go away. Then the O's start really sorting through the pitchers in their minor league system, find exotic destinations for Johnson and Ponson and allow Hentgen to be a good influence. They may not have any real #1 and #2 starters, but at least they won't be paying #1 or #2 starter money to 4 #3 starters. A staff made from the group of Hentgen, Lopez, Stephens, Douglas, Riley Bedard and Bechler certainly has more potential for 2004 than Erickson, Ponson, Johnson, Maduro and [fill in the blank.]

   135. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: November 07, 2002 at 06:08 AM (#559128)
Trevise, what makes you think that Scott Erickson is going away? The Sun reported, when Hentgen was signed, that

The Orioles expect Hentgen to be part of a starting rotation that also could feature Rodrigo Lopez, Sidney Ponson, Jason Johnson and Scott Erickson. Other candidates include John Stephens, Sean Douglass, Rick Bauer and Travis Driskill.

Of course, lots can change between then and April, but always assume the Orioles are doing the dumbest thing possible.

And what's up with bashing Sidney Ponson? I just don't understand the disrespect he gets from the Oriole organization. It's like his failure to be Mike Mussina means he's useless. Meanwhile, crappy Jason Johnson has a good game once every few months and he's an up-and-coming star.
   136. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 07, 2002 at 07:07 PM (#559129)
Ponson is a good pitcher, but he's also an arm injury waiting to happen, and cashing out on him might be the smartest thing the team could do. Johnson, on the other hand, is an extreme flyball pitcher, and I'd put money on him ending up in Detroit within the next three years if I had any to bet with.
   137. ColonelTom Posted: November 07, 2002 at 07:54 PM (#559130)
I'm not convinced this is a horrible move, if only for the reason that the Orioles haven't been able to get any good free agents to take their money in years. I believe their payroll's pretty low (can someone confirm this?), and the $1.5 million or so they're committing to him wasn't going to get them anything much better.

So, it's not a good move, but it certainly isn't costing them the opportunity to sign anyone else meaningful.
   138. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 08, 2002 at 05:26 AM (#559133)
Of course, lots can change between then and April, but always assume the Orioles are doing the dumbest thing possible.


This goes without saying. (or should.) I wasn't trying to say that the Orioles would do that, merely that I thought they should. The point I clearly did not get across is that none of those 4 are going to be confused as a #1 or #2 starter on a decent team. Nor are the Orioles going to be much better for 2003 with any permutation of the four of them than if they just let the minor league pitchers fill out the rotation. At this point Erickson, as a league average pitcher probably has more value to a contending team than he does to the O's. This being the last year of his contract, I think it's time for the Orioles to see what they can get for him. Ponson in five seasons has shown himself to be slightly below average. If he's healthy, maybe a change of scenery does him good. If his shoulder is badly injured, then he probably won't be pitching for anyone for a while. Jason Johnson over the past few years has proven he's not much of a starter and because of his diabetes he needs to be on a regular schedule, he can't relieve either. So the O's should just cut him loose if no one else is willing to take him off their hands. Pat Hentgen is a year younger and much cheaper than Erickson, and if healthy, he's a better pitcher than Ponson or Johnson.

The Orioles finished 2002 right where I expected at the begining of the season. A .500 record on August 23rd was pleasantly surprising. A 4-32 finish was utterly depressing. I realize they have more problems than their weak minor league system could ever hope to fix. Yet they have pitchers that if they're ever going to be ready to pitch in the majors, now is the time to find out. I'm just proposing that they do so.

   139. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 09, 2002 at 04:43 AM (#559237)
Just roster depth for Rochester and unlikely to play in the majors.

Umm... Dan, toto's not in Rochester any more. Try Ottawa!

   140. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 09, 2002 at 06:22 AM (#559239)
It just seems so weird. Rochester's been an Orioles affiliate since before I was born.

Yeah, it is. But it fits in with their historic m.o. for this past season:

? Become only the 9th team since 1901 to go through a 4-32 streak.
   141. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 09, 2002 at 03:00 PM (#559240)
I'm banking on Melvin Mora playing all 9 positions, trevise, but I could be convinced by better suggestions.
   142. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 09, 2002 at 09:30 PM (#559241)

IIRC, you're not an Oriole fan so it probably wouldn't matter. While watching them during the 2003 season, keep this thought firmly in mind; For them to get better, first they have to get worse. [No doubt they will. The question is: will it be in the right way or the wrong way?] With Angelos in micro-command, who knows?

   143. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: November 10, 2002 at 06:43 PM (#559242)
You're right; I'm not an O's fan, though I am a member of the UB-FTTS (Universal Brotherhood - Fans of Teams That Suck). I feel your pain, and can only offer the hope that things get better at some point, since you really deserve a better team.
   144. fables of the deconstruction Posted: November 12, 2002 at 02:39 AM (#559243)

...though I am a member of the UB-FTTS (Universal Brotherhood - Fans of Teams That Suck).
   145. jeff angus Posted: December 07, 2002 at 05:02 PM (#560284)
I've interviewed both, though back when they were players.

Beattie's a smart guy, though I never observed anything about him that showed off skills a GM needs. BUT he has done the job once, so he at least knows the mechanics, and most smart people who have done a job before learn some to-dos and not-to-dos.

Flanagan is an intelligent guy, too. Steeped in The Oriole Way from the tradition that Paul Richards built, so it's a connection to the (successful) past. At the same time, he's younger, more contemporary. As a fan of those old Os teams, I can see an optimistic possibility where Beattie is the mechanic who knows when to send out contracts and do the right paperwork, do the finances, and Flanagan is "the vision guy", embracing the best of the old Oriole model with an openness to new technologies and analysis.

OTOH, it's always a challenge when two smart guys split a job, because the politics, especially in the pressure-cooker a fellow like Angelos intentionally creates as part of his approach, can turn them into a bad imitation of the last two people on "Survivor".

Hmmm, perhaps Angelos is going to sell the rights to a new unreality show...
   146. fables of the deconstruction Posted: December 12, 2002 at 04:00 AM (#560287)

You might want to check again. Beattie (Born July 4, 1954) is younger than Flanagan (Born December 16, 1951).


Where you so upset that you had to post this twice? ;-) ...

   147. fables of the deconstruction Posted: December 12, 2002 at 04:18 AM (#560289)
they lost 50 of their last 52 games this year didn't they??


No...! They were 63-63 on August 23rd, when they did the "satellite burning up on reentry" thing, losing 32 of their last 36 games... That was bad enough thank you. Personally, I might not mind 100+ loses this season if it means they'll do something creative. Jayson Stark is saying Hank Blalock may be "available" from the Rangers in the right deal. If Beat-Agan can package one or more of Ponson, Erickson and Johnson to get him, I think they should. Then they can shuffle through the young pitchers on the Ottawa-Baltimore shuttle.

   148. fables of the deconstruction Posted: December 12, 2002 at 04:30 AM (#560290)
was Beattie the Expos' GM when Syd Thrift fleeced him of Jorge Julio (in exchange for Ryan Minor)?


The Minor - Julio deal was done on 12/22/00. Beattie left the Expos after the 2001 season. Technically, yes he was the GM when that went down but you have to consider how much control did he have with Loria and Samson being the conductors on the "crazy train."

   149. Greg Franklin Posted: December 16, 2002 at 06:10 AM (#560801)
I'm wondering if the Oracle paid for an option to see the next film in the Star Trek franchise after "Nemesis." Perhaps that's why he's so cranky.
   150. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 16, 2002 at 08:30 AM (#560802)
It doesn't really beat trading warm bodies for Ordonez. Sadly. At least Ordonez can field. What does Cruz bring to the table?

Given St. Rey's skill set and salary, he wasn't going to cost anything in talent -- they were talking about Scott Erickson, after all. So he would have been a better option. Now they're stuck with Erickson and a shortstop worse than Rey.
   151. Snowboy Posted: December 16, 2002 at 04:53 PM (#560808)
"try out Ed Rogers"
   152. Geoff Young Posted: December 16, 2002 at 07:07 PM (#560814)
and catches what he can get to

You're gonna love watching him "move" to his right.
   153. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 16, 2002 at 07:41 PM (#560816)
Me bashing the Orioles has nothing to do with the BaseballPrimer party line.

The Orioles are my rooting interest and play where I see baseball games 80% of the time. Deivi Cruz inspires me not at all to increase that % and, in fact, helps to decrease it.

Just sticking Mora in as the shortstop would have given me at least a shred of hope that Beatagan was going to help out the franchise. It show me that at least that the team understood that there was nobody on the market worth pursuing and that the team wanted to improve the wretched offense, which Mora at shortstop would certainly help do.

But they didn't. They signed the first shortstop hanging around, a player who has no business being a major leaguer if he's making more than major league minimum.

They try nothing creative: no moving Mora to short, no moving Batista or Hairston to short, no minor league FA signings that could stop the gap like Jason Maxwell or Mendy Lopez. They couldn't even wait 5 days to see if someone interesting was non-tendered.

They went out and got basically the worst option available and have not made a single move this winter to try to fix a franchise that is, from top-to-bottom, the least talented organization I have ever seen. If MLB suddenly went to a 10-man roster over the winter, it still wouldn't be difficult to whittle down the team.

Frankly, if I were the owner of the Orioles, this would be enough for me to fire Flanagan and Beattie right now. He gave them jobs managing an asset worth hundreds of millions and dollars and, when finally stepping in, their first act is to flush over a million dollars down the toilet.
   154. fables of the deconstruction Posted: December 17, 2002 at 01:55 AM (#560820)
As bad as having a Deivi Cruz "sighting" in Baltimore is, it's not the worst thing I've seen about the Orioles and Beatagan this weekend past:

   155. Dan Szymborski Posted: December 17, 2002 at 04:00 AM (#560822)
If you hire an accountant and he messes up your taxes his first year, do you go back to him next year?

Fool me once, shame on you, fool me twice, shame on me.

Everyone makes decisions that turn out to be poor in the long run. That's not the problem here. The problem is that what Beatagan has done is to be just plain dumb. There's no cure for dumb and I have no use for dumb.
   156. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 17, 2002 at 04:34 AM (#560823)

Compared to the options of paying Bordick twice that much for one year or putting Melvin Mora there on an everyday basis, I think this is making the best out of a bad situation.

Mora is a better option, by far, offensively and defensively.

Better options:
   157. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 03, 2003 at 05:40 AM (#562199)
I have to agree with Dan here. The Orioles aren't going to see the sunnyside of .500 for the next 3 to 5 years anyway. Delaying the inevitable and not sorting through the "arms" on the Ottawa - Baltimore shuttle just doesn't make any sense. True, Bedard being the most promising of the lot won't be around till 2004, why not start the sort now so you'll know who could be there with him. With little in the cupboard, Beatagan's focus should be on 2005 when all the deadwood will be cleared out. Hentgen has value as a mentor to "young arms" that Erickson can't touch. Having both is redundant. Johnson is a 4 2/3 innings starter that would have better value as a reliever. (Unfortunately, because of his diabetes, he has them convinced that he has to be a starter on a regular schedule.) Both would have more value to the Orioles if they were in someone else's rotation. Ponson is the O's best chip in trade for potential franchise player. (Gonna bang that same drum again!) Ponson for Blalock would be beneficial for both the O's and Rangers, yet very few seem able to make the connection. (Flanagan... Beattie... open your eyes, clean out your ears, use some sense.) The O's have used thirdbasemen as a "building block" before. In an era where good ones are hard to come by, it's time to start there again. Until they do, no "young" "talented" free agent in their right mind is going to sign with them. This is why the O's end up with virtual "zero's" like Marty Cordova, Deivi Cruz and Omar Daal.

T-file the broom, break out the machete.

   158. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 03, 2003 at 10:26 AM (#562202)
As I'm sure most could have predicted, I'm with Dan on this. The Orioles just added a 31 year old mediocrity to this team. Why? What good does it do? Tim, maybe their pitchers are suspects, and maybe Hentgen and Erickson won't pitch much. But how are the Orioles to find out about their pitching prospects without letting them pitch? And Hentgen and Erickson _are_ there now, which means that, unless we get lucky, the season will open with 3 veterans in the rotation.

And Jeremy, you're way out of date. The Orioles' payroll has been dropping rapidly in recent years. The Orioles were at 74 million in 2001 and were at 60 million in 2002 -- and those figures include Albert Belle's full salary, despite the fact that he's not on the team and insurance pays most of it.
   159. John Posted: January 03, 2003 at 10:32 AM (#562203)
The O's are pretty much screwed. It looks like the Expos will be moved to N. Va. and the O's can't even salary dump because the high price guys they have, nobody wants at those prices. David Segui and Jeff Conine will both make substantially more money in 2003 than Jeff Kent who plays a harder position and can outhit them put together. I don't see any way out from their dilema especially since they seem bent on adding more Daals and such rather than picking guys up on waivers who have some upside.
   160. Eugene Freedman Posted: January 03, 2003 at 12:30 PM (#562204)
What I find most disturbing about this move is that Kent Mercker is Daal's #1 comparable player. The O's signed Mercker to pitch most of a year at a 63 ERA+ a few years ago, then picked up his contract just to get rid of him to the Indians. I can see the same happening with Daal.
   161. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2003 at 01:25 PM (#562205)
Do the Orioles ever move anyone at the deadline and get anything worthwhile in return?
   162. Alan Posted: January 03, 2003 at 02:50 PM (#562207)
I thought that they got some good players in those annual deadline deals back in the 1950's.
   163. True Blue n/k/a "DeJesusFreak" Posted: January 03, 2003 at 04:09 PM (#562209)
Don't hold back, Dan -- tell us how you really feel! :-)
   164. Eli Hungerford: Cityboy Crypto-Elitist for hire Posted: January 03, 2003 at 04:17 PM (#562210)
Well, they did do a purge in 2000. I remember the Cards gave them Chris Richard for Will Clark, and someone else for Timlin. Anyone remember? They were dump-tastic that season!
   165. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 03, 2003 at 05:01 PM (#562213)
It's one thing to have a player or two in the rotation to eat innings, but I hardly see how taking someone's job offers much in the way of protection.

It's akin to deciding that since insurance can't cover the intangible value your home has to you, it's best not to have a home at all.

The chances of Stephens, Douglass, Bauer, or any of the lower-level pitching prospects getting a real shot requires them go the Rodrigo Lopez route; hope that they're the lucky warm body when one of the Orioles' preferred mediocre-to-crappy veteran option flames out.

What year are the Orioles going to really give some of these players a chance? Hentgen, Erickson and Daal are just the current cast of deadwood in the rotation. 3 years from now, they'll just be known by different names. Maybe a washed-up Jon Leiter and Rick Reed. Or Al Leiter clinging to the remaining scraps of his career. Or Brian Anderson.

The names change, but the Orioles have remained the same and show no hope of bringing anything different to the table. The panhandlers outside the park are more likely to use money spent on gameday wisely than the panhandlers inside the park.
   166. Dag Nabbit at Posted: January 03, 2003 at 05:38 PM (#562215)
Next year will be his eleventh year in the league, & it'll be with his sixth team. Yuck.

Still, I don't think this move is as bad as most here do. Hentgen & Erickson remind me of this year's Bears quarterbacks Jim Miller & Chris Chandler - two injury prone, past-their-primer guys who are both such large injury risks that the odds of both of them ending up injured & out for the year is much better than the odds neither will. Also, last year Lopez's H% was .256 (not including SH) for a franchise w/ a team H% of .286. So he gave up 18 fewer hits than one would expect. I don't see him repeating that any time soon.

The Orioles have to be the worst franchise in baseball by far now. . . Even the Devil Rays will surpass the O's. Honestly, the O's could lose 110 games this year.

Naw, the D-Rays are still worse. Last year they had the worst ERA in AL at 5.29. From that pitching staff, they've had Alvarez retire, cut Rupe & Kent, and let Wilson, Sturtze, & Yan go. Not only did those guys accounted for 49% of Tampa's innings, but they actually outpitched the guys left behind. Gone ERA: 5.10, Remaining ERA 5.46. I have no problem with a team gutting a lousy pitching staff, but they actually made the staff a little worse. Some franchises may be able to cheaply fill a 700 IP whole with league average talent, but I don't see Tampa being one of them. Added bonus - Jorge Sosa last year had a H% of .229 & a hit deviation of -21 (& he still stank). No way he'll repeat that. It's Joe Kennedy & pray for typhoon.
   167. David Jones Posted: January 03, 2003 at 06:06 PM (#562217)
The problem with all the sentiments expressed in this thread is that they presuppose that it is somehow a good or desirable thing for the Baltimore Orioles to try to win enough games to make the playoffs and eventually win a championship. From a larger perspective, I cannot begin to imagine why the relative success of the Baltimore Orioles should be of any concern. Even if they did improve themselves to the point that they won a championship, what would that really mean? Would it cause the grass to grow? So why do we care?
   168. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 03, 2003 at 06:26 PM (#562218)
1) Silas, there may be "value in having an inning eater," but who on earth would call Omar Daal an innings eater?

2) The local papers stressed something we've only touched on briefly: he's a LHP. As if it matters. But this was either (a) very important to the Orioles or (b) the only good thing that could really be said about Daal.

3) Mike Flanagan said, "But four of the last five years, he's been outstanding." Not particularly encouraging if he really believes this.
   169. Eugene Freedman Posted: January 03, 2003 at 06:52 PM (#562219)
Mike Flanagan was a LHP. The Orioles have no LHP in the potential rotation. He knows the intangible value of adding a southpaw to a rotation of Righthanders. Come on. With this signing one can only expect John Halama to follow. That would add another average pitcher to the fold. Provided this leads to the release of Scott Erickson I will consider it a positive.
   170. Bill Posted: January 03, 2003 at 08:38 PM (#562223)
Two points:

1. While it may not be of any comfort to a long-suffering fan (read: Dan), there has to be revenue value in winning 75 games games rather than 65. Hanging around .500 until the all-star break has to help TV revenues and sell some tickets in August in September. Winning 75 rather than 65, must make it easier to sell hope and season tickets for the following year.

2. I would agree that whatever revenue boost you might get from being mediocre rather than awful would not be justified if you were really impeding development potential. But between the injury potential of Hengten and Erickson and the perennial trade potential of Ponson there ought to be plenty of innings to tro out the younger guys, none of whom appears to be a budding Curt Schilling anyway.
   171. Bill Posted: January 03, 2003 at 08:40 PM (#562224)
Two points:

1. While it may not be of any comfort to a long-suffering fan (read: Dan), there has to be revenue value in winning 75 games games rather than 70 or below. Hanging around .500 until the all-star break has to help TV revenues and sell some tickets in August and September. Winning 75 rather than 65, must make it easier to sell hope and season tickets for the following year.

2. I would agree that whatever revenue boost you might get from being mediocre rather than awful would not be justified if you were really impeding development potential. But between the injury potential of Hengten and Erickson and the perennial trade potential of Ponson there ought to be plenty of innings to trot out the younger guys, none of whom appears to be a budding Curt Schilling anyway.
   172. Bill Posted: January 03, 2003 at 09:13 PM (#562226)
Apologies for the earlier double post. That does seem like more money than necessary JDH, but on the other hand imagine what they might have paid for him last year while Aaron Sele was getting 24 for 3 and John Burkett 12 for 2.
   173. Bill Posted: January 03, 2003 at 10:20 PM (#562233)
Wasn't it enough that every soft-toss lefty in his 20's was being referred to as the "next Tom Glavine"? Now, we're going to start calling every soft-toss lefty in his 30's the "next Jamie Moyer"?
   174. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 03, 2003 at 10:25 PM (#562234)
Silas, Earl Weaver said that the best place for a rookie reliever was long relief. But when he said it, he used a 4 1/2 man rotation and had a 9 person pitching staff. There isn't any "long relief" anymore. The role doesn't exist -- which makes sense, because I'd like to see you try to find enough work for a long reliever when you have a 7 man bullpen. Now, I think teams are mistaken in going to a 12 man pitching staff, but as long as they do, you can't do this with a young pitcher.

Now, you can use him in middle relief -- but I don't see that 50 outings of 1 1/3 innings each is particularly useful for developing a pitcher into a starter.
   175. Bill Posted: January 03, 2003 at 10:30 PM (#562235)
Good point David. Another thing that I think has changed is that, somewhat counterintuitively considering the expanded bullpens, managers seem less inclined to take a struggling starter out of a game in the first couple of innings. The prevailing theory seems to be that you let him get in his 90-100 pitches anyway and hope for the best. If your starter is always going to go four innings, you aren't going to get many true long-relief opportunities.
   176. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 04, 2003 at 03:04 AM (#562238)
True, more likely than not, John Stephens won't develop into anything special.

But at this point, Omar Daal and Scott Erickson and Pat Hentgen are certainly not.

I'd rather put my money into a random stock selected by throwing a dart over the next 5 years than put the same money into a slot machine.
   177. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 05:04 AM (#562239)
(If you are morally opposed to gambling, you might do well to skip this post. I assure all of you unlike some degenerates about whom much bandwidth is wasted around here, I am not employed by any MLB team, if that helps...)

Speaking of how many games the O's will lose next year--some sportsbooks offshore and in Vegas have offer over/under bets for total wins for the season. (It seems like something some people here might enjoy trying their hand at, even if not with real money. In fact, it might make a cool contest this spring, to go over or under for all 30 teams....) Anyhow, the O's were at 67 1/2, which to my mind made them prime under candidates. I accordingly placed my little all on them. Fast forward to Aug. 23, when they are 63-63, and there is much despair and nashing of teeth. The rest, of course, is history. A miraculous 4-32 finish, with a dramatic 12 game losing streak to seal the deal. I really wish I could have watched that final game. For some reason, it wasn't televised. (To all Orioles fans who read this, you have my deepest sympathies.

The Daal signing sucks, of course, but it might help them make their over this year.
   178. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 04, 2003 at 05:16 AM (#562240)
Dan has pretty healthy (?) libertarian leanings and thus, any talk of gambling, drug use, or using capitalism to keep down the proliteriat by controlling the means of production is allowed on his weblog.
   179. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 04, 2003 at 06:17 AM (#562241)
Let me try a different tact. The Orioles were 63-63 at game end on August 23, 2002. From that point, they ended the season on a 4-32 run. Since 1901, 4-32 (or worse) has been done by seven different franchise, in 9 different (team) seasons a total of 51 times. The two "best" models out of the previous 8 teams to accomplish this dubious feat, started by ridding themselves of of all the "old guys" that were going to have no value to them in three to five years. They played the young players they had already and continued to accumulate more. They played them until they decided whether they would help in that timeframe or not. (Although they're not one of these teams, this is essentially what the early 90's Cleveland Indians did.)

The Orioles of the Oughts don't have the advantage of a strong, well stocked minor league system like the Indians did. Any position players worth mentioning are either in the low minors or not even in the system yet. The only players even near ready are the handful of pitchers on the previously mentioned Ottawa - Baltimore shuttle. With the window of opportunity not even opening until 2006, it makes just as much sense to try to develop the abilities of these pitchers in Baltimore than it does to do so in Ottawa. Continue playing the younger players on the roster while continuing to look for talent from all available sources until the minor league system is capable of supplying some of the demand. Consider 2003 a development year, 2004 an improvement year and then expect 2005 to be a production year.

The reason I don't like the Cruz and Daal signings (on top of the Segui, Conine, Cordova signings of previous years) is because it looks to be hideously close to the model followed by the last team to have a 4 - 32 streak. And we all know how that's turned out by now. You don't give average players multi millions over 4 years and you sign free agents when you have one or two needs at most, not when you have a half a roster full of needs.

   180. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 04, 2003 at 06:41 AM (#562242)

You might want to take the Orioles on the "over" for 2003. FWIW, the eight teams that accompished 4 - 32 streaks, (as mentioned in my previous post) all improved their record the following year. It's my reckoning that the line will be set lower this year, but it wouldn't surprise me in the least if the Orioles became the first team out of the nine not to improved their record. The usual disclaimers apply: small sample size; past performance does not guarantee future results; your mileage may vary... ;-) ...

   181. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 08:21 AM (#562243)
Trevise, good context--thanks. I now think I clearly overestimated the extent to which the over was a good bet. On the one hand, they have the most ridiculous approach to roster construction in the majors--grossly overpaying for mediocrity at every turn. I think what I forgot to consider was that most of the position players they had were, in fact, mediocrities and not disasters as players (while they were, of course, disasters as signings). I doubt the line will be set much lower, though-- you don't see too many set as low as the mid-60's.

Some of the other o/u's I identified as gems last year, IIRC

Tigers under 73 (hindsight is 20/20 and all, but I should have been able to see that this was the best on the board)

Mets under 89 (second best)

Dodgers under 84 (D'oh!)

A's over something in the low 90's.

I also, for some strange reason, decided that the Devil Rays over 70 was a good bet, as well as the (ahem) Angels under 82 1/2. So I needed the Orioles just to break even.
   182. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 04, 2003 at 08:52 AM (#562244)

Joe Dimino ran a contest last March on Clutch Hits. I do believe I was the only one (or one of very few) to get all three of the Contraction Triplets right. Based on the numbers there, your surmise appears to be correct. They run from high 60's to low 90's. The squishfishies were low at 66. My guess is that the O's will occupy that spot this year. To be contrary and take the "over" is very appealing based on my investigations. However if the "kids in the ro" scenario I favor plays out (for whatever reason) "under" would be the way to go. The usual disclaimers: blah, blah, blah... ;-) ...

   183. Bill Posted: January 04, 2003 at 03:52 PM (#562245)
The Rays still have to be "under" the O's. The "addition" of Ordonez and the subtraction of three quasi-major league pitchers and Winn make them a threat to get into the 50's even if they get some help from their young outfielders.

Gee Dan, if I had known you tolerated gambling I would have offered Vlad an over/under bet on Rey Sanchez's batting average.
   184. Jimbo Jones Posted: January 04, 2003 at 07:21 PM (#562246)
OTOH, I would guess the Brewers look like the team that should have the lowest o/u number. 56 last year, and they are losing their second and third best hitters (Hernandez and Stairs). Sheets will probably improve a little, but still...

I'm not convinced the Ray should be under the O's. They certainly have not helped themselves with roster changes, but many of their players are young and should get better. As a long-time Pinella watcher here in Seattle, I am still not convinced that Pinella is a genius. But I hold out hope that he'll start Huff on a daily basis.

I'd have to do a much more comprehensive analysis to figure out whether my hunch about the Rays projecting a little better than the O's holds up. I'll wait until rosters are a little more solid before I invest much time in such an enterprise.
   185. Mr. Crowley Posted: January 05, 2003 at 01:52 AM (#562250)
   186. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 05, 2003 at 04:48 AM (#562251)
Flanagan Fan -- I don't quite understand your argument. I was critical of the announcement to keep DeMacio also. But if you think the talent level in the organization is decent, and that the problem is instruction -- I strongly disagree -- then why are you criticising DeMacio?
   187. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 05, 2003 at 10:47 AM (#562254)
F.F.: No, I didn't mean to imply that I thought instruction wasn't a problem. I have no firsthand knowledge of this, but I've read it in several places, and if people say it's a problem, fine. What I strongly disagreed with was the idea that the talent wasn't a problem. I think it is. I think the "doom and gloom" is entirely accurate. That the high level picks were flops justifies the doom and gloom. You don't win by having a lot of minor leaguers that are prospective major league bench players; you win by having some minor leaguers that are prospective stars. The Orioles have none. I don't see any talent in the organization. Go look at Baseball America's organizational report for the Orioles: it's as bad as, if not worse than, _every_ organization.

Of course we shouldn't write off Beatagan just because they've botched their jobs so far; it's early. But we shouldn't deceive ourselves that they haven't made bad moves, either. And we shouldn't make excuses; that they got "late starts" is not one. They knew they wanted the GM job. They -- particularly Flanagan, who has been around the organization for years -- should have been prepared before they interviewed, let alone before they were hired.

And as for "major league moves made this year," not only did they sign Cruz and Daal, but they simply ignored the Rule 5 draft. They should have made several picks in the major league portion -- what do they have to lose? -- and instead they made none.
   188. Andrew Edwards Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:04 PM (#563559)
Good word. I think 'Epsteining' gets introduced into the lingo.
   189. Bill Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:08 PM (#563560)
The O's blew their cover on this one. I assume that most casual fans were under the impression that some baseball by-law prohibited the O's from signing any above-average player. Now that this myth has been dispelled, people will want to know why they haven't tried it before.
   190. J. Michael Neal Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:12 PM (#563561)
Yeah, I'd have liked to see Ligtenberg pitching in the Dome again. The Gophs could use another arm.
   191. Walt Davis Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:23 PM (#563564)
So how much did the Cubs sign Guthrie for? (Alfonseca? Name doesn't ring a bell)
   192. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:39 PM (#563566)
The consensus on the Orioles' mailing list is... "Yawn." Good pitcher, but who cares? The Orioles needed a RHRP like they needed a year's subscription to Field and Stream.

Frankly, I'm suspicious. Why would he sign with the Orioles if he were healthy? Isn't there one team planning to be within 30 games of first place that wanted him?
   193. Andrew Edwards Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:54 PM (#563569)
I'm also surprised at J.P.

Not only here, but the Jays really could have used Valdes too. Halliday / Valdes / Lidle isn't a bad top 3. Put together a bullpen of Ligtenberg along with Escobar and Politte and Creek as a LOOGY, and suddenly the Jays have a pitching staff.

I know JP's being budget-sensitive, but shouldn't he also be value-sensitive?
   194. Mr. Crowley Posted: January 16, 2003 at 09:58 PM (#563570)
It's a trap!
   195. MM1f Posted: January 17, 2003 at 02:08 AM (#563583)

D[ur]n AOL-Time Warner
   196. David Jones Posted: January 17, 2003 at 02:17 PM (#563592)
Here's a thought:

Might the Orioles be thinking about trading Jorge Julio? If so, and if they could get a young promising hitter in return, I would be all for it.

Of course, the Orioles, as a general principle, need to keep their young players. But the last kind of good young player they need is a closer. If they could capitalize off Julio's promising rookie season, by packaging him in a deal for a good prospect at a more crucial position, Flanagan and Beattie will have finally signaled that the organization has put the ineptitude and lack of vision of the Thrif era behind it.
   197. David Jones Posted: January 17, 2003 at 04:58 PM (#563594)
Or how about the Royals? Package Julio and Ponson and throw in Chris Richard and see if they'll let go of Beltran.
   198. Curtis Posted: January 17, 2003 at 08:43 PM (#563595)
I'm a republican, but the media did have a bias towards Dubya. I heard this in a speech of Jim Talent [a US republican senator], and I'll relay the information for the guy who posted as the media.

The media always travels in the back of the planes or buses with the candidates. Al Gore would never talk to any of the media, and the media types had no reason to be nice to him. Bush would go back and just talk with the media guys, and they liked that he took the time to chat with them [non-interview, just off the record BS, like talking about baseball], and they wrote more favorable things about him because they saw him in a more positive light. This certainly didn't help Gore's pathetic campaign [how in the world the VP of the controlling party with a great economy and no signs of war lost that election is a historical nightmare. Say what you want about the supreme court, Bush never should have been anywhere near Gore if he even ran a decent campaign.]
   199. Curtis Posted: January 17, 2003 at 10:21 PM (#563597)
The problem is the dems don't seem to have a strong candidate right now. Dick Gephardt is not a popular guy, even in his home state [and his district starts about 10 mins from my house, so I actually have some right to speak]. I don't think Bush is that popular, but I don't really see who the dems have to run against him right now.

As for Clinton's cash grab: Those lawyer fees were expensive. He's making a quarter mill per speech, which helps to pay his 12 million dollar lawyer debt and the expensive house, and he gets to sit around and relax for the rest of his life. I'd be envious of him right now, I can't think of a much better life after having the most stressful job on the planet for 8 years. He's earned what he got right now [and that includes the bad things, like being married to Hillary.]
   200. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 18, 2003 at 12:09 AM (#563599)
The 3 brightest presidents of the last century were, IMO, Wilson, Hoover, and Carter.

I think I'd rather have an idiot.
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