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— A Timely Look at Transactions as They Happen

Thursday, December 29, 2005

Orioles - Signed Burnitz

Baltimore Orioles - Have reportedly signed OF Jeromy Burnitz to a 2-year contract worth $10-$12 million.

Dan Szymborski Posted: December 29, 2005 at 07:01 AM | 86 comment(s) Login to Bookmark
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   1. PhillyBooster Posted: December 29, 2005 at 07:19 AM (#1798136)
All work and no play makes Dan a dull boy.
   2. AMcK75 Posted: December 29, 2005 at 07:21 AM (#1798142)
Him or Encarnacion for that money seems like an easy choice, though juan did get the extra year if I remember correctly.
My sympathies.
   3. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: December 29, 2005 at 07:29 AM (#1798151)
I misunderstood the rumor I read. I thought it was two years for six million total, which didn't sound completely disastrous (albeit not good). At six million per, it's completely disastrous.
   4. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 29, 2005 at 08:03 AM (#1798196)
You remember in high school how there was always a skanky girl that wasn't all that pretty, but tried to be popular by always giving oral? The major league equivalent is Jeromy Burnitz. You only consider taking him out after all the better options are off the table, you pretty sure that he'll suck, and there's a slight chance that you'll get lucky. But very seldom will he be all that good. And about halfway through, you'll wish that you hadn't settled for someone so mediocre.

Of course, with that high school skank you're only out dinner and a movie. $12M over two years is a whole different ball of wax. At least the Orioles don't have to worry about waking up with sores on their junk: they made the decision to let Sosa walk.
   5. DCW3 Posted: December 29, 2005 at 08:05 AM (#1798197)
You remember in high school how there was always a skanky girl that wasn't all that pretty, but tried to be popular by always giving oral?

No....
   6. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 29, 2005 at 09:18 AM (#1798259)
Come on, Dan. Tell us how you really feel.

The fact that the Orioles' key moves this December have been to sign a 40 year old and a 37 year old is nothing to complain about.

Right?
   7. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 29, 2005 at 09:36 AM (#1798271)
The fact that the Orioles could replace Surhoff/Byrnes and Palmeiro with two guys who are likely inferior and much more expensive is a real testament to their creativity.
   8. rLr Is King Of The Romans And Above Grammar Posted: December 29, 2005 at 09:42 AM (#1798275)
Well, you guys can always cherish Ramon Hernandez.
   9. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 02:55 PM (#1798386)
I hate Peter Angelos with the white hot fire of a 1000 suns.

I'm slightly embarrassed to admit this, but I fired off a letter to Flanagan yesterday and told him that I've given up on the team and that I wouldn't watch or attend any more games until major changes are made and they have some actual direction.
   10. Repoz Posted: December 29, 2005 at 02:59 PM (#1798387)
I fired off a letter to Flanagan yesterday

I trust you didn't have Dan write it for you...:)
   11. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:06 PM (#1798390)
A handwritten letter from Dan might have a better chance of getting his attention.
   12. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:07 PM (#1798391)
I really feel like I've gone to the dark side. I can feel the hate flowing through me. I've been very patient with Flanagan and Angelos, but for some reason Burnitz is just the last straw.
   13. MM1f Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:40 PM (#1798415)
"A handwritten letter from Dan might have a better chance of getting his attention. "

Attention in the "boy, we ougta have security look at the threats this mad man is mkaing" way
   14. MM1f Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:42 PM (#1798416)
#5, did you not go to high school?

nice comparison #4
   15. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:43 PM (#1798417)
I'm willing to sacrifice Dan to call attention to the plight of long-suffering Orioles fans.
   16. j.q. higgins Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:44 PM (#1798418)
could someone explain to me why this is a terrible signing? i mean, it's kind of sad that the o's had to pay burnitz 6 million a year, but such is the state of the market and the o's standing in said market. it seems to me that he had more homers than most of the o's outfield from last year and much better ops. didn't the front office have a hard on for him last year pre-sammy?
   17. Answer Guy Posted: December 29, 2005 at 03:50 PM (#1798423)
I feel bad for my new neighbors now.
   18. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 04:16 PM (#1798446)
could someone explain to me why this is a terrible signing? i mean, it's kind of sad that the o's had to pay burnitz 6 million a year, but such is the state of the market and the o's standing in said market. it seems to me that he had more homers than most of the o's outfield from last year and much better ops. didn't the front office have a hard on for him last year pre-sammy?

(a) He's likely to be worse than other FAs the orioles probably could have acquired if they'd been a little more agressive, like Encarnacion, JOnes, or White. I mean, jesus christ -- White is likely to outhit Burnitz and was signed for only one year for almost half the amount.

(b) He'll block young players who deserve a shot -- either Majewski or Markakis.

(c) Majewski and Markakis probably wouldn't be much worse than Burnitz, and playing them instead of signing Burnitz would free up $12 million over the next two years for another player.

(d) This signing is just more evidence that Angelos only wants to spend enough to have a team with some recognizable players and that won't lose 100 games. Winning is clearly secondary to turning a huge profit.
   19. RoyalsRetro (AG#1F) Posted: December 29, 2005 at 04:18 PM (#1798451)
I think the O's said Markakis will be given a chance to win the CF job.
   20. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 04:27 PM (#1798466)
Right...but that means Majewski probably sits (unless Gibbons plays 1B, but my impression is that he's playing RF). You can argue that he should start 2006 in AAA because he's still rehabbing, but what about 2007?
   21. RP Posted: December 29, 2005 at 04:33 PM (#1798472)
I've said this before, but it's obvious to everyone except the idiots in the Orioles front office that, given the fact that they weren't willing to increase the payroll to $100 million or more and sign a bunch of top tier FAs, the team has no chance of contending in 2006. Therefore, they should go with younger players and rebuild for 2007 and beyond. Supposedly they're demanding a star in return for Tejada...absolutely idiotic. If you're going to bother trading him, get a bunch of blue chip prospects in return. (e.g., Wood and Kotchman from the Angels, or Uribe and McCarthy from the White Sox). Then trade Mora (to the Twins for Baker?), Javy, Chen, and Roberts (to the Mets for Milledge and Matsui?). With some intelligent trades, the team could be in a position to contend with young players by 2007. But the FO is apparently too stupid to see that.
   22. Answer Guy Posted: December 29, 2005 at 04:38 PM (#1798481)
Maybe if Burnitz does well enough, someone else will want him later in the season if, as expected, the Orioles find themselves way out of contention in June/July. But at that salary it's going to be tough.
   23. j.q. higgins Posted: December 29, 2005 at 04:57 PM (#1798508)
yeah, i was operating under the perhaps mistaken assumption that markakis ends up as starting cf, matos is dealt (maybe packaged w/ javy for a pitcher?), young and conine platoon at first.
   24. Cowboy Popup Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:05 PM (#1798528)
"Of course, with that high school skank you're only out dinner and a movie."

Our skank was annorexic, so we didn't even have to bother with dinner.
   25. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:17 PM (#1798553)
Our skank was annorexic, so we didn't even have to bother with dinner.

Ours was blind on top of that, so the movie was unnecessary. Chewing gum and a radio was good enough.
   26. 1k5v3L Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:24 PM (#1798569)
So, who's a better value: Burnitz for 12m/2yrs or Eric Byrnes 2.2m/1yr? Ok, I know the answer. But couldn't have the O's just kept Byrnes?

And Dan, when you come out of your medication induced hibernation, can you run a zips projection for Eric Byrnes in AZ? Please?
   27. IronChef Chris Wok Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:31 PM (#1798584)
I'm pretty sure the school skank hated me for racial reasons.
   28. Slinger Francisco Barrios (Dr. Memory) Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:36 PM (#1798598)
I'm pretty sure the school skank hated me for racial reasons.

She was Korean?
   29. Hang down your head, Tom Foley Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:44 PM (#1798611)
You remember in high school how there was always a skanky girl that wasn't all that pretty, but tried to be popular by always giving oral? The major league equivalent is Jeromy Burnitz.

Mike Piazza's agent just called the Orioles.
   30. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: December 29, 2005 at 05:47 PM (#1798619)
ZIPS has him at .309... oh, OBP... uh... wow.... let me call my Oriole friends!
   31. ckash Posted: December 29, 2005 at 06:04 PM (#1798651)
for your enjoyment, my break-up letter to the team:

I've been an Oriole fan since I was 11, rooting for the O's in the 1983 World Series. I grew up in Kentucky but followed the O's the best I could, and when I moved to Maryland in 1999 I realized a long-term dream in seeing a game at Oriole Park at Camden Yards. It was a magical experience, even though the team was struggling. I've rooted for Cal, adopted Brady's sideburns in college, and held-out hope that things would eventually turn-around. I saw signs of hope last season, but injuries did the team in. With the Red Sox being deconstructed in the post-Theo era, I saw an opportunity for the O's to at least challenge for 2nd place in the East and a Wild Card.
All we needed was a good, smart off-season. SIgning Hernandez was a good start. Latroy Hawkins should help. Bringing back Conine as a platoon partner was okay.But signing Jeromy Burnitz to a 2 year, $12 million contract? That is the epitome of throwing money away. Burnitz has been nothing more than an average corner OF for most of the 21st Century, except for his season in Colorado. He's 37, OPACY suppressed LH hitters HRs last season, and did I mention he's 37?! This was a signing to make a signing, pure and simple. Does the Orioles front office think so little of their fans that they think a signing, any signing, means the team is doing something? Take the $12 million and put it into scouting, the farm system, hold it in reserve for later deals. Don't spend it just to make it look like you're doing something.
I'm done. 22 years as an Orioles fan, a third of my life, and I'm done. I will not attend games at the park anymore, I will not buy merchandise, I will not even attend Baysox games any longer. I am divorcing myself from this organization, at least until the Angelos regime is gone. And judging by the comments of other knowledgeable O's fans, I'm not the only one taking these actions. Check out baseballprimer.org for more examples.
In closing, I feel betrayed, belittled, and insulted by these last few years. Angelos does not care about winning, and apparently the GM(s) doesn't have a clue as to how to build a winner in the modern era.
Goodbye and good luck.
   32. Answer Guy Posted: December 29, 2005 at 06:11 PM (#1798661)
Hmmm..I wonder if there's just too much tendency to overestimate the distance from darkness to dawn here.

Didn't the Milwaukee Brewers look like the biggest laughingstock of a franchise 3 years ago? I mean, I know it's the AL East and all, but nothing lasts forever.
   33. ckash Posted: December 29, 2005 at 06:17 PM (#1798678)
it's been 8 years of darkness, and with this team's resources, it's inexcusable.

The Brewers had the small market excuse...the O's have the short lawyer to blame.
   34. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: December 29, 2005 at 06:37 PM (#1798718)
Answer Boy, if it looked to me like the Orioles had half the plan that the Brewers had 3 years ago and one quarter of the talent the Brewers had in their system and one-eighth of the ability to develop talent, I might agree. But, Dan and I were telling people in 1996 that the Orioles were making organizational mistakes that would cost them for a decade or more. And as we kept pointing out those mistakes year after year after year, we would be told that they were just a player or two away.

Well, now I've even convinced trevise that there is no hope for this bunch of bumbling Baltimore bird-brained buffoons. They will never get it.
   35. OlePerfesser Posted: December 29, 2005 at 06:52 PM (#1798765)
OK, first, there's a Crisis Intervention Team on its way, so just stay away from the sharp objects for a little while longer, Dan...

And just for the record:

.262/.331/.428 was the '06 ZiPS for Eric Byrnes in OP@CY
.237/.309/.415 is Jeromy's.

So the Orioles non-tendered a better, cheaper player in order to throw millions at a guy who, by virtue of the 2-year commitment, may block their younger talent. No wonder they're only letting The Oracle use crayons right now. Unfreakingbelievable.
   36. DCW3 Posted: December 29, 2005 at 08:05 PM (#1798887)
#5, did you not go to high school?

Sure I did, but even the skanks wouldn't bother with me. And I was too far out of the loop to even know who they were.

So the Orioles non-tendered a better, cheaper player in order to throw millions at a guy who, by virtue of the 2-year commitment, may block their younger talent.

Well, even if he was a better hitter than Burnitz, Byrnes is such an awful defender that he'd probably be a lesser player overall. Though he'd still be cheaper and not blocking anybody.
   37. Kyle S Posted: December 29, 2005 at 08:13 PM (#1798903)
I liked the HS girl metaphor also, although I forget what her name was at my school. I think it was Ashley.
   38. Derrick Jensen Posted: December 29, 2005 at 09:49 PM (#1799120)
I normally really enjoy reading the posts on this site, but I have to say that post four was really offensive and misogynist.

Derrick
   39. Bring Me the Head of Alfredo Griffin (Vlad) Posted: December 29, 2005 at 09:58 PM (#1799138)
"I wonder if there's just too much tendency to overestimate the distance from darkness to dawn here."

You tell me, I'm a Pirates fan.
   40. David Wrightwing obstructionist Posted: December 29, 2005 at 10:18 PM (#1799190)
You remember in high school how there was always a skanky girl that wasn't all that pretty, but tried to be popular by always giving oral?

oh yea, I remember her well, Sara Pohmiller, but we used to call her Sara Blowmiller, I'm not kidding
   41. OlePerfesser Posted: December 30, 2005 at 02:59 AM (#1799508)
Byrnes is such an awful defender that he'd probably be a lesser player overall.

Well, I agree Byrnes regularly looks goofy with the glove and on the basepaths, Jas. And Burnitz had a nice '05 by most fielding metrics. But I wonder how fluky that might be. A few lifetime indicators:

Player, POS, lifetime RF, ZR

Byrnes, RF, 2.04, .938
Burnitz, RF, 2.06, .894

Byrnes, CF, 2.39, .867
Burnitz, CF, 2.27, .827

Byrnes, LF, 2.00, .874
Burnitz, LF, 1.82, .851

Byrnes looks like he's prevented more hits than Burnitz over the long run, and going forward I'd rather bet on a 30-year-old being rangy than a 37-year-old. So I don't know of any dimension on which this decision makes sense, unless non-thinking fans and mainstream media are so swayed by counting stats like HRs and RBIs that this gets the FO some favorable buzz in the papers and on talkradio a while.
   42. 1k5v3L Posted: December 30, 2005 at 03:47 AM (#1799561)
Bpro, fwiw, gives Byrnes a rate2 of over 100 for all three OF positions; 104 for LF, 103 for CF, 103 for RF. Granted, Byrnes has played very few games in RF; and he's played 60+% of his games in LF, with 30+% of his appearances in CF. I haven't seen other stats for him (say UZR) but I'd guess he's not as awful as he appears. Still, he probably won't (and shouldn't) be winning gold gloves in CF...
   43. 6 - 4 - 3 Posted: December 30, 2005 at 06:59 AM (#1799713)
I normally really enjoy reading the posts on this site, but I have to say that post four was really offensive and misogynist.

Cool. I offended a 13 post ninny.


Bpro, fwiw, gives Byrnes a rate2 of over 100 for all three OF positions; 104 for LF, 103 for CF, 103 for RF.

Those are some pretty good anecdotes against relying on Davenport defensive metrics as a means of assessing a player's defensive value. Byrnes is a horrible defensive outfielder; he has his uses, but is miscast as a starting centerfielder. Gonzalez-Byrnes-Green is a horrible defensive outfield that's only the second worst defensive unit in all of baseball because the Giants figure to be historically terrible. But the Dbacks aren't that much better.
   44. David C. Jones Posted: December 30, 2005 at 07:32 AM (#1799730)
I really have a hard time understanding how somebody can decide to giveup a long-time loyalty to a team just because they sign an aging outfielder to a 2-year, $12 million deal.

Two comments:

1.) It's really not that much money, when you look at where the market is right now.

2.) If Burnitz repeats his performance from last year, he will be a significant upgrade over the pile of excrement they had out in leftfield last year.

No, it's not a good signing. But let's be honest...this team isn't going to compete for a playoff spot with Jeromy Burnitz, and it wasn't going to compete for a spot without him, either. The Orioles could be spending a lot more money than they now are, so I really don't see how giving Burnitz $12 million is going to prevent them from making bigger signings next offseason, should that opportunity arise.

Is Burnitz blocking anybody? Maybe in 2007, we'll see. I don't think so for 2006.

Like I said, it's not a good signing. But so what? This is par for the course for the Orioles. Just because they are a pathologically mediocre team doesn't mean you should stop rooting for them. And yeah, Angelos is a shitty owner. So was Edward Bennett Williams. Like I said, par for the course. They'll win 75 games next year probably, and next offseason they'll sign some other 36-year-old to an excessively large contract. Life goes on. Writing angry letters and deciding to root for a different team reeks of Yankeeism. Losing is part of life. Yankee fans count the rings but it doesn't mean anything. It's just baseball, and the day after your team wins a championship you still have to go back to work and continue living your real life.

And hey, Angelos was the one who nixed the deal in July 1996 that would have sent Bobby Bonilla to the Indians for...Jeromy Burnitz. So Baltimore is just grabbing him 10 years later. See, if you wait long enough, everybody ends up playing for everybody at some point. It's just that, with the Orioles, they usually get a player two or three years too late and for $5 million too much.
   45. ckash Posted: December 30, 2005 at 04:14 PM (#1799884)
David, it's not this deal per se. It's 8 years of deals like this.
   46. greenback calls it soccer Posted: December 30, 2005 at 09:15 PM (#1800349)
Archaic 19th Century Slang? I see the heavy hand of Furtado!
   47. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 30, 2005 at 10:24 PM (#1800408)
You remember in high school how there was always a skanky girl that wasn't all that pretty, but tried to be popular by always giving oral?

Um, no. But my high school ratio was about 3 boys to 1 girl, so maybe they didn't have to do anything to be popular...
   48. MM1f Posted: December 30, 2005 at 10:28 PM (#1800414)
Geez! Whered you go?
   49. SouthSideRyan Posted: December 30, 2005 at 11:06 PM (#1800460)
I went to an all guys school, so if that person existed at my school, I wasn't in the proper circles to know about it.
   50. David C. Jones Posted: December 30, 2005 at 11:39 PM (#1800504)
David, it's not this deal per se. It's 8 years of deals like this.

I know. Like I said, it's par for the course. But I don't see why a two year deal for Jeromy Burnitz should be the straw that breaks the camel's back. Bottom line is that this was a seller's market this year. Given the options available, I would have preferred for the Orioles to stay out of the market altogether, except for maybe offering somebody like White or Sanders a 1-year deal to fill a hole. Tejada picked a bad year to rag on the Orioles for not improving. There just wasn't that much out there.
   51. ckash Posted: December 31, 2005 at 01:22 AM (#1800614)
More reasons to hate this team: 1 current Oriole player (Melvin Mora) attended the service for Elrod Hendricks. This after the family waited to hold the service to give any current and former players a chance to get through the holidays and make arrangements to attend.
   52. OlePerfesser Posted: December 31, 2005 at 01:38 AM (#1800632)
Yes indeed, that's very sad and demoralizing, ckash. This bunch is a "team" in name only.
   53. vortex of dissipation Posted: December 31, 2005 at 02:22 AM (#1800670)
Mordecai's #1 Fan is also Rocket Wheeler's #1 Fan Posted: December 30, 2005 at 04:28 PM (#1800414)
Geez! Whered you go?


I went to a private school in Seattle - the same one Bill Gates and Paul Allen attended. It used to be an all-boys' school, and only went coed when I was in 9th grade, which accounts for the skewed boy/girl ratio.

But yes, I'm serious. There were certainly girls who were sexually active, but mainly in monogamous relationships with their boyfriends. There were occasional rumors of one-night flings, but there were no girls in my high school class who had anything close to a reputation for promiscuity, real or otherwise...
   54. David C. Jones Posted: December 31, 2005 at 02:48 AM (#1800699)
Maybe Elrod said to them, "When I die, I don't want any of you chumps at my funeral."
   55. The Ghost's Tryin' to Reason with Hurricane Season Posted: December 31, 2005 at 02:49 AM (#1800700)
I'm getting more and more convinced that mediocre teams sign new players primarily so they can hype the next season - "Come seet he New and Improved (chuckle) Orioles" (or D-Backs, Mariners, Cubs, etc. Any team with little hope of contending for the playoffs has to do something to convince the fans to come back. Improving scouting works for the long term, but new names on our major league roster helps sell tickets now.
   56. 44magnum Posted: December 31, 2005 at 03:13 AM (#1800712)
I've since stopped, but my crowning achievement (light years ahead of getting shot the bird from Antonio Alfonseca) as a loud mouthed heckler came at the expense of Burnitz circa '00. It was a freezing cold night during the 1st week of the season and a whole bunch of us went to see the Reds battle Burnitz' Brewers. After beer sales stopped, my friend Andy & I were the only 2 left and headed out to RF. Knowing the coffee would be horrible, but figuring it might be lukewarm, we bought a couple & set up shop in the 1st row of blue seats just above the fence. Along with the all-powerful adrenaline rush/sensory overload of being at a ballgame, the beer buzz I had going was kicked into overdrive by the crystal meth Sport Service Concessions was passing off as coffee. I couldn't shut up and decided that Burnitz and the few thousand fans left at Riverfront would have little choice but to listen to me rant. Anyway, after blah blah blahing (and at times, wanting, but being unable to stop yapping), DT Cromer came to the plate. I watched Burnitz shade Cromer towards center & proceeded to scream, "You better hug the line you bum, he's going to burn ya" about 10000 times mantra style. Cromer went fairly deep in the count before validating my ravings with a hooking, low line drive that screamed over the 1st base bag and shot into the right field corner for a double. For some reason, I didn't give Burnitz the business as he retrieved the hit and threw the ball to the cutoff man. The whole episode was pretty silly, but the highlight for me was hearing several fans scattered about the stands yelling, "He told you so" and "Should've listened bum" as Burnitz walked, head-down to position himself for the next batter.
   57. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: December 31, 2005 at 03:25 AM (#1800716)
David, some took unreasonable hope in the fact that half of Beatagan was twice as smart, especially after they snatched Mazzone and did not go crazy after Ryan and Konerko. This false spring left some without the long johns needed for the long winter of our discontent.
   58. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: December 31, 2005 at 06:16 AM (#1800808)
1.) It's really not that much money, when you look at where the market is right now.
It's a huge amount of money, when you look at where the market is right now for players as bad as Jeromy Burnitz. 37-year old players as bad as Jeromy Burnitz. And...
2.) If Burnitz repeats his performance from last year, he will be a significant upgrade over the pile of excrement they had out in leftfield last year.
...the fact that he's an upgrade on sub-replacement-level talent is probably true, but that's an argument for a minor league signing and a non-roster invite to spring training, not $12M.

Tejada picked a bad year to rag on the Orioles for not improving. There just wasn't that much out there.
It's not just "not improving." B.J. Ryan is now in Toronto. Now, I've been a long time critic of the baseball establishment for overvaluing closers, but that doesn't mean that they're valueless. A good pitcher always has value, and Ryan is a good pitcher. Argue that they shouldn't overpay? Sure. Except that the Jeromy Burnitz signing blasts that argument to hell.

That's what makes this such a typically, awful Angelos signing. It's throwing money at a bad player after refusing to give it to a good one. And as for it being the last straw, let's not forget that this is yet another GM we're dealing with. We pushed Beattie out the door to give full control to Flanagan. And yet, we're seeing the same crap again. (And again, and again, and again...) Clearly, getting another GM won't do it; only getting rid of Angelos will.


As for comparing Angelos to EBW: there were some bad years with EBW, sure -- but this is the worst stretch in the half-century of this team's existence.
   59. AJMcCringleberry Posted: December 31, 2005 at 06:45 AM (#1800829)
Sure I did, but even the skanks wouldn't bother with me. And I was too far out of the loop to even know who they were.

Hey! What're you kicking me for? You want me to ask? All right, I'll ask! Ma'am, where do the high school girls hang out in this town?
   60. peter21 Posted: December 31, 2005 at 07:33 AM (#1800854)
I'm getting more and more convinced that mediocre teams sign new players primarily so they can hype the next season.

You're probably right. But isn't WINNING the best way to put fans in the stands? Few people will pay to see a bad team with Ken Griffey Jr. But a lot of people will pay to see a winning team with no "names".

Hence, I think, the overall disdain (to put it mildly) with the Orioles. They define their problem incorrectly, and thus seek solutions to the wrong problem. But furthermore, they don't seem to learn from their mistakes, nor do they understand why other successful teams have been successful. Until they completely redefine themselves, they will be mired in mediocrity.

Is 06 the year when Tampa Bay finishes ahead of Baltimore?
   61. DCW3 Posted: December 31, 2005 at 08:48 AM (#1800895)
Hey! What're you kicking me for? You want me to ask? All right, I'll ask! Ma'am, where do the high school girls hang out in this town?

That's funny, because one of the best compliments I ever received was from a college English professor who said that my creative writing reminded her of Trent from Swingers.
   62. Andere Richtingen Posted: December 31, 2005 at 03:18 PM (#1801008)
Like I said, it's not a good signing. But so what? This is par for the course for the Orioles. Just because they are a pathologically mediocre team doesn't mean you should stop rooting for them.

I can't think of a better reason to stop rooting for a team than that. As a Cubs fan, I empathize completely.

I know. Like I said, it's par for the course. But I don't see why a two year deal for Jeromy Burnitz should be the straw that breaks the camel's back.

Then what should be the straw?

These things are indeed cumulative. You have a nine year track record of cluelessness, and it keeps getting worse and worse and worse.

I have remained a Cubs fan, but it's not something I say with pride. It's like a woman proudly admitting that she is standing by her unemployed alcoholic husband who beats her.
   63. RP Posted: December 31, 2005 at 04:16 PM (#1801032)
I can't think of a better reason to stop rooting for a team than that. As a Cubs fan, I empathize completely.

I was born in Baltimore and am (or was until the Burnitz signing) a lifelong Orioles fan, but I grew up in Chicago, so the Cubs were always my #2 team. I think the Burnitz signing is the straw that broke the camel's back for me because it made me realize that, under Angelos, the Orioles have become the Cubs. Depressing...
   64. Rafael Bellylard: Built like a Panda. Posted: December 31, 2005 at 05:13 PM (#1801065)
I can empathize with those who have given up on the teams they've rooted for most of their lives. While I've been a Red Sox fan since the early 70's, I was born and raised in San Francisco and had been a Giants fan for as long as I can remember (my parents took me to a game at Seals Stadium, although I was way too young to remember it). My godfather was part of the ground-crew at both Seals Stadium and Candlestick Park for years. I gave up on the Giants a couple of years ago, mostly out of my dislike for Barry Bonds, but also becuase of the way former boy-genius Brian Sabean has run the team into the ground.

The only way I would go back is if they sign me to a contract. I'm 45, so I still have hope for a few years that it could happen.

I'm on the hunt for a new NL team take a serious rooting interest in. I've narrowed it down to the Milwaukee Brewers and the New York Mets. The Brewers may never improve much above .500, but they seem like they are trying to build a winner, and going about it the right way.

The Mets....well, it might be tough to root for teams from both New York and Boston. You never know what the Mets are going to do next, but it's always interesting.
   65. jingoist Posted: December 31, 2005 at 06:49 PM (#1801123)
I'm the current embodiment of a "two-time loser going for a third".
I'm a lifelong Pirate fan (50 years of unabashed rooting); an Oriole fan since 1976 or so and now fairly excited about the Nationals coming to the DC area.

Think about all the disappointment I have in store for myself in the coming years.

1960 was unforgetable; David beat Goliath.
1971 was great with Clemente finally recognized on the world stage.
1979 was a bit conflicted as I was a fan of both teams but my heart was always with the buccos.
So I've had a number of good memories.

But time is running out....

I'm 60 and based upon their performance over the past dozen or so years I'm pretty sure neither of my teams will be worth a sh*t in my remaining years on earth.

Angelos has proven to be an incompetent owner whose short-man's ego destructs any plans a GM might ever construct.
McClatchy & company care only about short-term profitabliity with never a tangible long-term plan for respectability.

As for the Nationals: who knows where they'll play; who will own them; who will play for them.

Sometimes I think its all a bad dream; that I'll wake up and Joe L. Brown and Murtagh will be back running the Bucs; Gerald Hofberger will have Weaver and Bamberger teaching the players in Baltimore "the Oriole Way".

I truly empathize RP; I may just need to find another set of teams myself.
   66. Biff, highly-regarded young guy Posted: December 31, 2005 at 07:15 PM (#1801164)
With the Red Sox being deconstructed in the post-Theo era

Eh. Not really.
   67. fables of the deconstruction Posted: January 01, 2006 at 12:54 AM (#1801466)
Well, now I've even convinced trevise that there is no hope for this bunch of bumbling Baltimore bird-brained buffoons. They will never get it.

That's what makes this such a typically, awful Angelos signing. It's throwing money at a bad player after refusing to give it to a good one. And as for it being the last straw, let's not forget that this is yet another GM we're dealing with. We pushed Beattie out the door to give full control to Flanagan FAILAGAN. And yet, we're seeing the same crap again. (And again, and again, and again...) Clearly, getting another GM won't do it; only getting rid of Angelos will.


Really, it's just the whole kettle of wax. Letting Ryan get away when 3/$15M probably would have gotten it done in spring training. Twiddling thumbs over the past 5 months while decent young pitchers were available via trade or FA. Yeah, the Orioles are in such a debilitated state that no matter what, they're going to need to overpay to bring any infusions of talent to Baltimore. but... But... BUT...

Ramon Hernandez is a decent complement to Javy Lopez but their inability to fill the catcher position through internal channels since Chris Hoiles retired has gone from somewhat troubling to downright distressing and humiliating. Speaking of which...

"The Oriole Way" was always predicated upon developing their needs within their own system then going outside for the 'one key ingredient' that made the team a coherent whole. That time is so distant as to be ancient history. Now we get 3 year plans that are visibly disasterous within 18 months yet the monitors eyes are covered with blinders.

Hawkins has proven to be an effective set-up man which in some cases is more demanding than closing out a game YET, he's signed to be a closer where he's kerosene with a blowtorch. (This was my "tipping point")

I enjoyed Jeff Conine's contributions to Orioles teams past... The encore presentation of "J.C. at 40" however will be absolutely brutal if he's to be depended upon for more than half a season of production like they appear to be expecting. We've seen this picture show before! Dad warned me to grow up to be a Senators fan andMama told me not to come.

Jeremy Burnitz... Jeremy Burnitz 2 years/$12M No wonder why "The Homecoming Queen's Got a Gun" and I'm reaching for my revolver because GtwMA is STILL holding the machete I dropped here in 2002.

Almost makes a guy want to go National except after 35 years it would be like fitting a square peg into a round hole. Besides I hate the idea of feeble swinging pitchers every ninth position through the batting order. Dan, I hope the sedation wears off soon so I won't have to be the second team.

-------
trevise
   68. Cris E Posted: January 01, 2006 at 03:41 AM (#1801589)
C'mon guys, it's not that bad. Look there, see? There's hardly any decline at all. He barely drops off at all from 06 to 07. That's gotta help a little.

Seriously, the person who has to feel worst about this signing is Reggie Sanders. He left $2m on the table and all he has to show for it is good rib joints. (I really believe KC is much more screwed than BAL, both this year and going forward. At least you guys had 1996.)
   69. David C. Jones Posted: January 01, 2006 at 04:15 AM (#1801611)
It's not just "not improving." B.J. Ryan is now in Toronto. Now, I've been a long time critic of the baseball establishment for overvaluing closers, but that doesn't mean that they're valueless. A good pitcher always has value, and Ryan is a good pitcher. Argue that they shouldn't overpay? Sure. Except that the Jeromy Burnitz signing blasts that argument to hell.

Again, I don't like the Burnitz signing, but I find it hard to fathom how spending 2 years/$12 million on a 37-year-old outfielder "blasts to hell" the argument against spending close to $50 million on a closer, especially when the organization clearly has their closer-in-the-future waiting in the wings in Chris Ray.
   70. David C. Jones Posted: January 01, 2006 at 04:18 AM (#1801612)
Just to add to that last comment, I would have regarded giving Ryan a five-year contract at $47 million as a worse move than signing Burnitz for two years at $12 million. I would have liked to have seen Ryan stay with the Orioles, but I think it would have been galactically stupid to resign him at that price.
   71. David C. Jones Posted: January 01, 2006 at 04:24 AM (#1801616)
It also occurs to me that we've had this same argument several times before: the Willie Harris for Chris Singleton trade, and later the Marty Cordova signing, (at the time it was argued that Cordova would block Larry Bigbie.)

Chris Singleton and Marty Cordova didn't do anything to help the Orioles, but I don't think that these moves are the real problem. The dumb FA signings are an effect, rather than a cause, of the Orioles chronic inability to develop a single good power-hitting outfielder in their farm system. Seriously, who was the last power hitting outfielder the Orioles developed in their own system who turned out to be anything at all at the major league level? I can't think of one. And that's the problem. The problem isn't Cordova or Burnitz, because those guys come and go and neither one prevented the Orioles from spending money elsewhere, OR from playing other guys who were more deserving. The problem is that the farm system has been absolutely terrible at developing any good outfielders.
   72. David C. Jones Posted: January 01, 2006 at 04:26 AM (#1801618)
One last comment: I think the Orioles know this is their problem, and two years ago they made their best effort to correct it by going hard after Vlad. Unfortunately, Guerrero went to Anaheim, and since then the Orioles have struggled to identify a corner outfielder who meets their needs.
   73. GotowarMissAgnes Posted: January 01, 2006 at 04:45 AM (#1801624)
I agree that letting Ryan go was the right move. The last thing this team needs to worry about is who is closing.

And while I agree that the dumb FA signings are an effect, they are an effect of a fundamental organizational weakness, not simply an effect of a single weak spot in the minors. The dumb FA signings, the inability to identify and draft good players (corner OF or otherwise), the total lack of a consistent system of teaching and developing players by identifying their strengths and weaknesses and working with them to improve, all speak to an organization that simply does not understand what is important and what is not important in the modern game of baseball. The Orioles dio not know what their problems are. They don't have the first clue. There isn't a single functioning brain cell in the entire organization.
   74. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 01, 2006 at 04:52 AM (#1801625)
Just to add to that last comment, I would have regarded giving Ryan a five-year contract at $47 million as a worse move than signing Burnitz for two years at $12 million.
I don't understand how giving a dominating 30-y.o. pitcher, albeit only a 70 inning pitcher, $50M over 5 years can be more of a mistake than giving a crappy 37-y.o. outfielder $12M over 2 years. I wouldn't advocate paying Ryan that much, but Burnitz has negative value. I can't see how one could rather pay $6M/year for negative value than $10M/year for positive value. That's the repeated Angelos error: offer far too little for the players who are really in demand, and then try to make up for it by offering far too much (but less) for the players who have no value.
   75. David C. Jones Posted: January 01, 2006 at 07:25 AM (#1801652)
I don't agree that Burnitz has negative value, and for me the big difference which you elided in your per year comparison is that one is a two-year contract and the other is a five-year contract. Let's see what you think of this statement in 2010, when Burnitz will be long gone and the Blue Jays will still be paying Ryan $10 million per year. Maybe Ryan will be great for that long, but I kind of doubt it.
   76. David C. Jones Posted: January 01, 2006 at 07:32 AM (#1801655)
Also, I don't agree that Angelos doesn't offer enough on the market. He offered enough to Tejada, certainly, and he offered close to the highest bid for Guerrero. He paid big money for Belle, before that. The problem is that most free agents don't want the Orioles' money, not that Angelos isn't offering enough.

I'm not defending the organization, but I think the analysis in this thread is missing the bigger problems that plague the franchise. Getting up in arms about the Burnitz signing, in light of everything else that is wrong with the club, would be like a passenger on the Titanic complaining about the fabric on the chairs as the ship started to go down.

I agree completely with Gotowar: the biggest problem this organization has had during the Angelos regime has been drafting and player development. By my count the team has drafted and developed one quality hitter, Brian Roberts, in the last fifteen years. So when I hear an argument that Burnitz is going to block an outfielder who probably isn't major league ready now (and, knowing the Orioles, probably never will be), I tend to shrug my shoulders. For all the huffing and puffing over the years about the Orioles failing to develop players, you can't really say that any of the young guys they've traded away or let go ever turned into anything special anywhere else.
   77. DFA Posted: January 01, 2006 at 11:44 PM (#1802188)
and two years ago they made their best effort to correct it by going hard after Vlad

I don't know if I agree with that. The Angels offered Vlad more cash per year (though one less year). If the Orioles were really serious about getting Vlad, they should've offered Vlad at least $3 to $4 Million more per season AND the extra year, plus whatever else to close the deal. The Orioles had their chance to not have one of the crappiest OFs ever a few years back, and they've been paying the likes of Sosa and Burnitz instead. It's a #@!*in joke.

Nonetheless, hopefully Markakis, Majewski, Reimold or Fio can develop. Prolly not, but I'm still going to follow the team regardless. Of course, I don't live in Baltimore so it's not as bad.
   78. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 01, 2006 at 11:50 PM (#1802199)
Albert Belle was seven years ago. That was, as far as I can tell, what scared Angelos off. The next time he made a good offer was for Tejada, and he signed him. In between, he has always been a day late and a dollar short at signing the top free agents. "Most free agents don't want the Orioles' money" because it hasn't been competitive.

As for Burnitz's value, we're talking about a 37 year old corner outfielder with an OPS+ of 96 last year.
   79. Dan Szymborski Posted: January 02, 2006 at 02:22 AM (#1802374)
The Mussina blundering was pretty notable - after Mussina made a contract proposal with a substantial hometown discount, the Orioles essentially responded that they didn't feel the hometown discount was big enough.

Jorge Fabregas Arizona contract beats all, hands-down. For those that don't remember, the Diamondbacks couldn't agree with him on a contract so they went to arbitration. The Diamondbacks won and got Fabregas for $800,000 instead of the $1.4 million he wanted in arbitration. So, naturally, Colangelo rips up the $800,000 contract and gives Fabregas a 2-year, $2.9 million contract instead.
   80. David Nieporent (now, with children) Posted: January 02, 2006 at 06:44 AM (#1802659)
I was trying to avoid even <u>thinking</u> of that pitcher's name, Dan. Thanks for nothing. Yes, that's obviously a big part of it.
   81. Nuclear Dish Posted: January 02, 2006 at 06:15 PM (#1802935)
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Burnitz deal is not done and that bothHOU and PIT are still negotiating with him. Don't give up yet, Dan. We may still salvage this mess yet.
   82. Russ Posted: January 02, 2006 at 06:22 PM (#1802940)
The Houston Chronicle is reporting that the Burnitz deal is not done and that bothHOU and PIT are still negotiating with him.

[Forget], [Forget], [Forget]!!!!!!
   83. Russ Posted: January 02, 2006 at 06:24 PM (#1802943)
For the Pirates, this would be completely asinine. That line is not even close to McLouth or Gerut and Burnitz is the worst fielder of the three. Which means that this is probably true... GODDAMIT YOU [FORGETTING] DAVID [FORGETTING]ING[FORGET]!
   84. MS Posted: January 03, 2006 at 06:33 AM (#1803932)
The Post Gazette is reporting Burnitz to the Bucs is almost a done deal. 2 years/$12 million which would be the "richest free agent signing in Pirate history."
   85. Quinton McCracken's BFF Posted: January 03, 2006 at 04:27 PM (#1804147)
Dr. Hibbert: Mr. Szymborski, it turns out you might not have cancer after all, he he he he.
   86. Cris E Posted: January 03, 2006 at 04:54 PM (#1804205)
The only way this could get worse for PIT is if Angelos sought compensation from PIT for this heinous act of tampering.

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