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From Roch ...about some our of young arms!

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The way I see it we have Guthrie and Uehara as 1-2. Olson will be in there barring his arm falling off. That is three leaving Penn, Liz, Arrieta, Bergensen, Waters, Hendrickson, Tillman, Burress, Patton (if healthy) and Albers (if healthy) to battle it out for the last two spots.

This seems like a long list of names, but let's look at it more closely:

(1) Arietta, Tillman and Bergesen shouldn't be in the conversation yet. None of them have pitched at AAA. One of them has great promise but had some command issues at A last year; one has great promise but had some command issues at AA last year; and the third pitched well at AA but doesn't miss bats and needs to establish that he can continue to be successful at higher levels.

(2) Hendrickson, Burres and Waters are stopgaps, nothing more. You need to have them around as insurance, either in the major league bullpen or at Norfolk, but it's not like you should be keeping a rotation slot open for any of them.

(3) Patton and Albers are coming off major injuries. They may not be ready to pitch anywhere on opening day, and if they are ready it would make sense for them to pitch at Norfolk (I know Patton has options; I'm guessing Albers has at least one) until they've shaken off the rust and re-established their stuff and command. Factor in also that Patton has limited AAA experience, while Albers' track record suggests someone who might be better suited to the bullpen.

That leaves Olson, Penn and Liz. All three are unproven, to say the least. Any of them could step up and establish themselves as a quality major league pitcher in 2009, but Olson and Liz both had ERAs north of 6.50 last season in the majors, and Penn had an ERA above 4.00 in Norfolk. Liz is probably better suited for the back end of the bullpen--where he could be outstanding-than the rotation, unless he can improve his stamina and changeup consideraby.

So I just don't see that we have some plethora of young arms demanding three open rotation slots for 2009. I see three marginal guys who should get a shot in the majors in some role but who are unlikely to all perform at even a replacement level in the rotation; and behind them some stopgaps, some injury reclamation projects who might be ready in a half season, and some good prospects who won't be ready for at least another season.

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There is nothing wrong with signing another veteran starter to go along with Guthrie and Uehara.

I'm in favor of giving prospects a shot...but right now, only Olson and Penn are at the stage when they need to be given a rotation slot to sink or swim with. Liz is going to be a reliever and so they should just get on with it and stop putting him in a role that he is not suited for, just because they have no other options. Albers and Patton can't be counted on for the start of the season because of health reasons.

Hendrickson, Waters and Hennessey should strictly be backup options in case Olson or Penn gets hurt or is so bad that a replacement is needed. (By "so bad" I mean another half season that's as bad as Olson was in the 2nd half last year).

If we don't sign a third starter, then we're going to be committed to having someone like Hendrickson or Waters in the rotation on opening day, and we'll have one less plan B option when a starter breaks down...meaning we'll be one pitcher closer to the return of the Victors.

That's fine with me. But this starter can't cost a draft pick and shouldn't be signed for any more than two years. We need all the money we can get heading into the 2011 offseason. Just a sampling of some of the free agents available (excluding Berkman, Derrick Lee, Pujols, Ortiz, and Jeter as they all have team options, are over 34, or both):

Youkilis, Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez, Garrett Atkins, Michael Cuddyer, Scott Kazmir, Brad Hawpe, Jason Kubel, Alex Rios, Roy Halladay, Javier Vazquez, JJ Hardy, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, and Jhonny Peralta

I have to think we can fill our hole at SS that offseason, and if we haven't already, fill 3b and 1b as well.

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That's fine with me. But this starter can't cost a draft pick and shouldn't be signed for any more than two years. We need all the money we can get heading into the 2011 offseason. Just a sampling of some of the free agents available (excluding Berkman, Derrick Lee, Pujols, Ortiz, and Jeter as they all have team options, are over 34, or both):

Youkilis, Carlos Pena, Aramis Ramirez, Garrett Atkins, Michael Cuddyer, Scott Kazmir, Brad Hawpe, Jason Kubel, Alex Rios, Roy Halladay, Javier Vazquez, JJ Hardy, Jimmy Rollins, Jose Reyes, and Jhonny Peralta

I have to think we can fill our hole at SS that offseason, and if we haven't already, fill 3b and 1b as well.

Nice info, thanks. In the meantime it'd be nice not to be out of it before the allstar break.

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I hope this isn't what Andy MacPhail is thinking. Constructing a team so that it will lose a lot of games and give you a high draft pick is not just an insult to fans, but it's an insult to the players on the team who are trying to win games. Do you really want Matt Weiters, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis to get accumstomed to losing 100 games?

I agree that we need to find out if Penn, Olson, et al can pitch. I just think that, for this coming season, two "free" rotation slots coming out of spring will give the youngsters plenty enough opportunities. You'll have two unproven starters from day one, and more will get opportunities as the season goes along because of injuries and ineffectiveness.

I would feel differently if I thought that any of the big three prospects or even someone like David Hernandez was ready for a shot at the starting rotation. My guess is that the big 3 will be ready in late 2010, so it's important not to sign any veterans for more than 2 seasons, because you don't want to create a logjam for 2011.

The Rays did not seem to have too much of an issue last season with all of the losing in previous seasons - not sure why it would be an issue with Wieters, AJones or NM.

I have little issue with AM allowing the team to lose a lot in order to gain a high draft pick. Though there are obviously exceptions, the difference makers in the draft go mostly in the first five or so picks. I'd prefer one of those. That said, I would like to see some calculated risks with some guys of the Carlos Pena variety instead of bringing back a Kevin Millar in an attempt to gain some upside if things work out.

I expect most of the big 3 to be ready by the end of this season not 2010. Tillman, for one, has already had a full year at AA so I think that timeline is off. Arrieta may be ready soon as well and we've heard Matusz is the best and most advanced of the three. These guys could well be getting a half season or much more in the majors in 2010.

I would like to keep two rotation spots open for Olson, Liz and Penn. So, I think we need another starter now to go with the Japanese pitcher and Guts. I have little issue if we have time for spot starts or more from Patton, Berken, Bergesen or DHernandez. We have been saying for years that we have the depth to stop the 150 innings of 6+ ERA ball and I hope this year that comes true.

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The Rays did not seem to have too much of an issue last season with all of the losing in previous seasons - not sure why it would be an issue with Wieters, AJones or NM.

I have little issue with AM allowing the team to lose a lot in order to gain a high draft pick. Though there are obviously exceptions, the difference makers in the draft go mostly in the first five or so picks. I'd prefer one of those. That said, I would like to see some calculated risks with some guys of the Carlos Pena variety instead of bringing back a Kevin Millar in an attempt to gain some upside if things work out.

I expect most of the big 3 to be ready by the end of this season not 2010. Tillman, for one, has already had a full year at AA so I think that timeline is off. Arrieta may be ready soon as well and we've heard Matusz is the best and most advanced of the three. These guys could well be getting a half season or much more in the majors in 2010.

I would like to keep two rotation spots open for Olson, Liz and Penn. So, I think we need another starter now to go with the Japanese pitcher and Guts. I have little issue if we have time for spot starts or more from Patton, Berken, Bergesen or DHernandez. We have been saying for years that we have the depth to stop the 150 innings of 6+ ERA ball and I hope this year that comes true.

Tillman has averaged less than 5 2/3 innings per start at AA. IMO he should stay at AA until he learns to give his team 7+. How many innings will that amount to at the majors 4 or so???

Arrieta should have to pitch a full year at AAA. In his case with a great year at AAA in 2009 he might be ready to go in 2010.

To count on Matusz in 2010 is pure speculation. We shouldn't not let this projection stop us from adding a worth while starter for three years.

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Tillman has averaged less than 5 2/3 innings per start at AA. IMO he should stay at AA until he learns to give his team 7+. How many innings will that amount to at the majors 4 or so???

Arrieta should have to pitch a full year at AAA. In his case with a great year at AAA in 2009 he might be ready to go in 2010.

To count on Matusz in 2010 is pure speculation. We shouldn't not let this projection stop us from adding a worth while starter for three years.

That's ridiculous...you won't find any starter, major league or minor league that averages 7+ innings per start. We know he needs to work on his stamina and making his pitch counts more efficient. But you're asking for something way too extreme.

Why sign a starter for three years? Why get bogged down into a long term contract with an older, expensive starting pitcher, especially when next year and probably 2010 aren't years we will be competitive anyway? I don't have a problem with a 1-year, maybe 2-year inexpensive stop-gap. Three years is a no-go for me.

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Arrieta and Tillman et al pitched very very well at AA last year. They would have to win the job in ST, people like Penn and Liz are probably still ahead of them on the depth chart.

But if they play their way onto the team in ST then so be it. I threw those names up there because these are the people that have a decent shot of being considered for the rotation, in my opinion.

Penn, Liz, Albers, Arrieta and (to a lesser extent) Tillman, Patton, and Bergeson will be given every chance available to them to make the rotation.

Johnny, your need for AAA I think is misplaced. It seems to me that most of the best prospects are coming out of AA and AAA is a place for near major leaguers, rehab assignments, and AA players that try the majors and need more seasoning. Making the jump from AA to the majors isn't as drastic as you are assuming it is.

Edited by SilentJames

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Albers will not be ready to pitch.
The Orioles must proceed as if Matt Albers won't be ready for Opening Day, though he hasn't suffered any setbacks. As far as everyone knows, he's a full-go for spring training. But he's also attempting to pitch with a torn labrum, having bypassed the same surgery that Troy Patton underwent last year. And because of that decision, which wasn't met with universal approval from the Orioles, he's considered a risk.
Source - Roch

Once again bigbird calls it.

Edited by TonySoprano

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Source - Roch

Once again bigbird calls ir.

No, he didn't. That post doesn't say anything about Albers not actually being ready.

Its just the mentality that you really can't ever count on ever getting any production from someone after they have had a labrum injury. Its essentially a career-ender, and anything they give you in the future is pure gravy.

That is all Roch is saying. The only piece of information he gives about Albers specifically in fact contradicts Bigbird or his source (not sure whether that was BB's opinion or passing along info). All the actual information we have about his injury is that he's had no setbacks and should be ready to go. Roch is just saying that despite that, you have to consider him a major risk because of the type of injury he had, which is certainly accurate.

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No, he didn't. That post doesn't say anything about Albers not actually being ready.

Its just the mentality that you really can't ever count on ever getting any production from someone after they have had a labrum injury. Its essentially a career-ender, and anything they give you in the future is pure gravy.

That is all Roch is saying. The only piece of information he gives about Albers specifically in fact contradicts Bigbird or his source (not sure whether that was BB's opinion or passing along info). All the actual information we have about his injury is that he's had no setbacks and should be ready to go. Roch is just saying that despite that, you have to consider him a major risk because of the type of injury he had, which is certainly accurate.

The Orioles are preparing as if he's not ready, so that must be the buzz in the warehouse. Perhaps the true interpretation is yours, but you can see how the context is lost in the telephone game.

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The Orioles are preparing as if he's not ready, so that must be the buzz in the warehouse. Perhaps the true interpretation is yours, but you can see how the context is lost in the telephone game.

Kranitz said on the Hot Stove show several weeks ago that the O's would have to operate on the assumption that Albers would not recover, unless he showed otherwise. So in that sense, I don't think bigbird is "breaking" any new information.

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Source - Roch

What is the story on Hennessey? Looks like he could be a good #4/5 option at some point during the season. Per Roch:

I keep hearing good things about Brad Hennessey, the Giants' former first-round

pick who could find work in the backend of the rotation. Other club officials have told the Orioles that they got a good "snag" by signing him so early.

It's surprising that he signed a MinL contract (in Nov.)...so there has to be more to explain his availability. But the O's are a good landing place for SP candidates. A poor man's Guthrie move?

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That's ridiculous...you won't find any starter, major league or minor league that averages 7+ innings per start. We know he needs to work on his stamina and making his pitch counts more efficient. But you're asking for something way too extreme.

Why sign a starter for three years? Why get bogged down into a long term contract with an older, expensive starting pitcher, especially when next year and probably 2010 aren't years we will be competitive anyway? I don't have a problem with a 1-year, maybe 2-year inexpensive stop-gap. Three years is a no-go for me.

It is ridiculous, but Roy Halliday has done it the last 2 years.;)

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