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Eye On The Prize - Blow It Up


hoosiers

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Several months ago, we were enjoying dealing Miggy and we were prepared to deal EBedard and BRob.

Soon, AM pulled off a strong trade of EB to Seattle for five players. Among those five, we received a strong CF prospect who is blossoming into someone with perennial near-all star/all star aspirations in Adam Jones, a top pitching prospect who is blossoming into a mid-season top 25 pitching prospect in AA, a quality major league reliever in GS and two other quality minor league parts.

Our FO reviewed numerous trade offers from ChiCubs for BRob but could not work something out. The Cubs have moved on to be strong contenders in the NL and BRob is having an outstanding season - certainly it appears he has retained most of his pre-2008 value if not increased it.

Our goal last winter? Build a strong, young and cheap core of talent to compete in 2010 or 2011 and for years after since our existing major league veteran roster looked very mediocre and their contracts would expire in 2009. We were prepared to deal with two or three lean years with the major league roster in the meantime.

What has happened since? Aubrey Huff has hit like a monster and GS has blossomed from quality reliever into a respectable closer. In fact, it's tempting to think we could entice Mark Tex to sign as a FA deal, deal for a quality SS, get Wieters to the majors and, voila, we would have a playoff-caliber offense. We could field a quality bullpen of Albers, JJ, Chris Ray, Bradford and GS. Our FO would need to work some magic on the pitching staff after Guts, but the overall talent would have some possibilities - some aspirations. It's plausible.

But I say ..... let's stick to plan we were exercising last winter. Let's deal BRob. Let's deal Sherrill. Let's not look a gift-horse in the mouth and let's deal Huff. Let's check out offers for Guthrie.

First, one lesson from the Bedard trade should be that we do not have to sacrifice too much of the present when dealing top players. This lesson has been evident with Oakland after they dealt Haren and still fielded a quality squad and with Minn after they dealt Santana. We can get quality prospects in AA and AAA for our top players and some of those prospects will be ready to contribute next year.

Second, as we also learned from dealing EB, it is better to deal a player at or near their likely max value before injury occurs or decline sets in.

Third, the core of Wieters, Jones and Markakis will still be in place. That is an unbelievably strong offensive core from which to build a contender. If the deals for our desired major leaguers net one position player of similar or near-all star caliber and two other solid position players, we would likely field a top five offense with just one quality FA acquisition by 2011 if not sooner. This offense would compliment the organization's pitching prospects which Baseball America rated third in Baseball entering this season. We would still have a young, cheap bullpen built around Chris Ray, JJ and Albers.

We bought into the re-build plan over the winter. We were prepared for several years of losing before our core prospects and young major league talent would enable us to compete. The strong play of BRob, Huff, Sherrill and, even, Guthrie has tempted us to think about competing sooner by keeping these producers and acquiring major league parts for next season. Instead, I hope our FO follows through on the re-build plan and deals the appreciated assets mentioned above. If you believed in the re-build plan over the winter, you have to believe dealing these appreciated assets now would yield an even stronger and deeper core of young talent than the one we were prepared to embrace about a couple months ago.

To the front office I say, "We bought into the re-build plan. If you stick with that plan and deal our best veteran players for prospects (as intended), we will have an even stronger and cheaper core to compete in 2010 and after. Please finish what you started."

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I think you are not Understanding the "plan".

The Plan is simply to win, now and in the Future. The reasons for the trades this offseason was not to simply get younger, it was to get better in the long run. The "new" FO thought the quickest way to get better was to make the deals they did. Huff and GS, and even Scott were pleasent Surprises.

you will allways need to have some type of mixture of young and Vet players to compete. Keep developing young players and add FA where needed.

I'm not saying to extend Huff and Millar and Scott, But not every player on a roster needs to be traded for the team to get better. Sometimes you need to just let players play, get the most out of thier career, let them playout thier contracts and then use the draft wisely. The trades this offseason was to jumpstart this process, not to set some kind of president that each yaer we will trade who ever is playing well.

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To the front office I say, "We bought into the re-build plan. If you stick with that plan and deal our best veteran players for prospects (as intended), we will have an even stronger and cheaper core to compete in 2010 and after. Please finish what you started."

Why, oh why, do you think that AM ever bought in to the extreme blow-it-up ideology?

He never said or did anything that indicated that.

Just because he traded a couple guys doesn't mean he ever bought in to what you seem to want.

When you phrase things in a way that suggests that, just last winter, he had seen the One True Light, but now he's at risk of "not sticking with it" and of not "finishing what he started", you're just making stuff up that's not true now and wasn't true then. I'll bet you anything you want that he's not gonna do what you suggest, and I'm glad he's not gonna do that. The franchise has been a train wreck for far too long, and what we need is a GM who has a realistic plan, not an overly simplistic message board plan.

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I think you are not Understanding the "plan".

The Plan is simply to win, now and in the Future. The reasons for the trades this offseason was not to simply get younger, it was to get better in the long run. The "new" FO thought the quickest way to get better was to make the deals they did. Huff and GS, and even Scott were pleasent Surprises.

you will allways need to have some type of mixture of young and Vet players to compete. Keep developing young players and add FA where needed.

I'm not saying to extend Huff and Millar and Scott, But not every player on a roster needs to be traded for the team to get better. Sometimes you need to just let players play, get the most out of thier career, let them playout thier contracts and then use the draft wisely. The trades this offseason was to jumpstart this process, not to set some kind of president that each yaer we will trade who ever is playing well.

Winning now entails a wholly different set of decisions than does winning in the future.

This seems obvious on its face, and you hint at this when you comment that in the last round of trades, the focus was to get better in the long run.

The rest of your post, though, leaves me uncertain as to whether you're prioritizing winning now, winning in the future, or some halfway point in between the two.

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This is an impassioned, well written plea, but I don't think it is entirely on point. I've got no problem with trading ANYONE on this roster if it makes us better long term, but I don't think trading anyone and everyone over a certain age or near a certain threshold (like FA) for the best available return makes uniform sense across the board. I think we can retain individual players like Roberts and/or Huff and still succeed long term by moving other players and signing certain players. It isn't an either / or situation at this point. It can be a little bit of this and a little bit of that.

I do think we should trade Payton and Millar for basically what you can get. To be honest though, whether they are actually traded or not is almost immaterial. If we can't get anything for Payton by mid-August, I've got no issue with DFA'ing him to get Reimold some time. Heck, I've got no issue with pushing Payton or Millar back on the bench to get Reimold some time right now if mgmt thinks he is ready.

I do think you try very hard to trade Ramon, but I don't think you DFA him if you can't trade him. You simply push him toward the back up role once Wieters arrives.

I think you try hard to trade Sherrill and Huff, because they are both likely at their peak value and there is a fairly sizable chance for a 10-30% regression in performance over the next couple years. However, I wouldn't trade Sherrill for what was received for Rauch and I wouldn't trade Huff for table scraps either. Both of these guys would have to bring value back or I wouldn't trade them. It is that simple.

I think you can field offers for Roberts, but I think he fits in a very different category than Bedard or Tejada. He is a very good player at a position where we have ZERO depth who is likely to continue being a very good player for the next several years. He also happens to be a huge catalyst for this offense. For this season, I would have to be bowled over by an offer to move him. I still think the Cubs offer was a lot of decent spare parts, but no sure things, and I think baseball is a game where three average players aren't better than one exceptional player in most cases so I would have rejected their offer too. If we keep him through this season, I think you have to look really hard at trying to sign him during the offseason for 4-5 more years through 2012 or 2013 (he won't go any shorter duration IMO). If he won't extend, you tell him clearly toward the very end of negotiations that you're going to have to trade him because letting him walk as a free agent for two picks isn't a smart decision.

I also agree that we should be fielding offers for Guthrie, but I'd have to be getting a ton of value in return to move him.

There are other guys that can be traded like Walker, Bradford, and Daniel Cabrera where I'd make the move for pretty much any reasonable deal.

However, if you start trading some of these guys, I think you have to be careful how many you trade. Giving the impression that the team is having a firesale is a bad for lots of very real reasons. I think you can only turn over a certain percentage of the roster in one period of time before that impression takes hold. Like pornography, I'm not sure of the exact percentage, but I know it when I see it.

This is an impassioned, well-written response, and I think it IS virtually entirely on point.

The only slight quibbles: I wouldn't field offers for Guthrie except in the Markakis-Wieters-Jones hypothetical sense of being open to an offer for ANYONE. Also, unless the return for Millar is much more than expected, I'm like to see him stay for the balance of this season (and then offer him a coaching spot next year -- not that he'd accept, but to let him know the offer is out there when he's ready for it). As for Ramon, if we can't deal him now, no reason to stop trying to unload that salary in August and beyond. I also think we can't let the Roberts negotiations go down to the final hour. Even if he says he won't consider offers during the season, I'd make every reasonably generous effort to lock him up now, and for precisely the time-frame you suggest (just as I'd be continuing to extend offers to Markakis).

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Several months ago, we were enjoying dealing Miggy and we were prepared to deal EBedard and BRob.

Soon, AM pulled off a strong trade of EB to Seattle for five players. Among those five, we received a strong CF prospect who is blossoming into someone with perennial near-all star/all star aspirations in Adam Jones, a top pitching prospect who is blossoming into a mid-season top 25 pitching prospect in AA, a quality major league reliever in GS and two other quality minor league parts.

Our FO reviewed numerous trade offers from ChiCubs for BRob but could not work something out. The Cubs have moved on to be strong contenders in the NL and BRob is having an outstanding season - certainly it appears he has retained most of his pre-2008 value if not increased it.

Our goal last winter? Build a strong, young and cheap core of talent to compete in 2010 or 2011 and for years after since our existing major league veteran roster looked very mediocre and their contracts would expire in 2009. We were prepared to deal with two or three lean years with the major league roster in the meantime.

What has happened since? Aubrey Huff has hit like a monster and GS has blossomed from quality reliever into a respectable closer. In fact, it's tempting to think we could entice Mark Tex to sign as a FA deal, deal for a quality SS, get Wieters to the majors and, voila, we would have a playoff-caliber offense. We could field a quality bullpen of Albers, JJ, Chris Ray, Bradford and GS. Our FO would need to work some magic on the pitching staff after Guts, but the overall talent would have some possibilities - some aspirations. It's plausible.

But I say ..... let's stick to plan we were exercising last winter. Let's deal BRob. Let's deal Sherrill. Let's not look a gift-horse in the mouth and let's deal Huff. Let's check out offers for Guthrie.

First, one lesson from the Bedard trade should be that we do not have to sacrifice too much of the present when dealing top players. This lesson has been evident with Oakland after they dealt Haren and still fielded a quality squad and with Minn after they dealt Santana. We can get quality prospects in AA and AAA for our top players and some of those prospects will be ready to contribute next year.

Second, as we also learned from dealing EB, it is better to deal a player at or near their likely max value before injury occurs or decline sets in.

Third, the core of Wieters, Jones and Markakis will still be in place. That is an unbelievably strong offensive core from which to build a contender. If the deals for our desired major leaguers net one position player of similar or near-all star caliber and two other solid position players, we would likely field a top five offense with just one quality FA acquisition by 2011 if not sooner. This offense would compliment the organization's pitching prospects which Baseball America rated third in Baseball entering this season. We would still have a young, cheap bullpen built around Chris Ray, JJ and Albers.

We bought into the re-build plan over the winter. We were prepared for several years of losing before our core prospects and young major league talent would enable us to compete. The strong play of BRob, Huff, Sherrill and, even, Guthrie has tempted us to think about competing sooner by keeping these producers and acquiring major league parts for next season. Instead, I hope our FO follows through on the re-build plan and deals the appreciated assets mentioned above. If you believed in the re-build plan over the winter, you have to believe dealing these appreciated assets now would yield an even stronger and deeper core of young talent than the one we were prepared to embrace about a couple months ago.

To the front office I say, "We bought into the re-build plan. If you stick with that plan and deal our best veteran players for prospects (as intended), we will have an even stronger and cheaper core to compete in 2010 and after. Please finish what you started."

Good post. I don't think MacPhail is wavering from his original plan, but maybe just tailoring it a bit, as he should always be doing. There's no absolute need to trade anyone at any particular time, but I have faith that he'll deal when the time is right.

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Well........the only difference I see between Hoosier's impassioned, well-written plea and VaTech's impassioned, well-written response, is Hoosier wants a one-day "Fire Sale" while VaTech prefers a week long "Summer Days" sale.....:scratchchinhmm:

Either way, we gotta trade to win.

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Personally I believe there is a lot of mincing, nay parcing of words. Blowing it up. Rebuilding. Mox nix...To me its all one and the same. If I was back against a wall staring at a firing squad of swarthy rebels, forced to choose, I'd go with rebuilding. The bottom line is that the team, AM, and yes, even that man named Angelos, have to change this team, its players, its talent, to first become a competititve team, then a winning team, then, maybe, just maybe, a contending team. To accomplish this though, given where we were, and I believe still are, it means some radical moves, some aggressive moves. That may mean signing free agents, but it better include some trades as well, to include a BRob! Get on with it AM, cus it has not stopped!

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I'm not in the group of fans that is willing to wait until 2011 to enjoy baseball all season. DaveArm's comments seem to imply there isn't a recipe for winning now that won't jeopardize winning in the future. I know there are many who believe that and a few, of which I am one, that aren't so sure. I cannot be a baseball(Orioles really) fan and yet write off 2009 and likely 2010 already. So for me, I want them to try and field a competitive team next season through the adding of some FA pieces that fill some of the glaring holes we have. I think this gives me what I want, the opportunity to compete in 2009, and gives the blow it up crowd mostly what they want, shedding older Vets, part with some valuable peices where the value coming back is obviously better, while allowing our youngsters time to incubate. I generally keep Brob, unless blown away. Huff and Sherrill can be moved if they bring back guys that fill holes for us now or in 2009. I'm not interested in any AA prospects that may be special one day unless they're in the top 10 of baseball and have been since their arrival to professional baseball.

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The O's are a #2 starter away from the playoffs in 2009.

I put the statement there not because I know it is true but because it is worth considering. Its something I am sure MacPhail is considering.

I am sure that if MacPhail can find a Bedard like trade he will trade any one expect Markakis, Jones, Wieters and Guthrie. And he should. But right now, at the trade deadline I hope it takes a Bedard trade to make him pull the trigger on a trade. I think he has a 'work in progress' here and I think it is too early to know what this current team can be. Blasphemy I know, but I think it has to be considered.

Since June 1st the O's have a playoff offense. You can try to deny it with small sample, old players, weak SS comments, and they are all true, but fact is that statement is true. Only the Chicago White Sox have scored more runs then the O's since June 1st. The unit of Roberts, Jones, Markakis, Huff, and Scott have been as good as any in the AL since June 1st. Mora is having a heck of a July. And if the O's have an offense like that they can afford to carry a weak hitting SS.

Now, that said it proven nothing. Why? Because it has been true for less then two month. It has to continue at that level to mean anything.

The pitching needs improvement. Some would say a wrecking ball would be better, but let's take a closer look. Right now Guthrie is a #2. However he has all the makings of a #1. Quality fastball, contol, quality second and third pitches, durability, smarts - he's got it. He is only in his second year in the majors. He has a real chance to be a #1 next year.

DCabrera is a #4. He is probably no better then that, but he is a durable innings eater that can probably put up a 4.50 ERA.

I think Johnson in the rotation is a #3. His minor league stats say he is durable and has the stamina to pitch a full season as a starter. His stuff says he can pitch in the majors. He will have to prove it, but he looks like he has the pose and command to be a better pitcher then DCab.

Olson and Burres can fight is out for being a #5. I think the potential is there.

The relievers are good but not good enough to be a playoff unit. But the sheer volume and potential for improvement is enough to think they do not need much more then experience to move up in the ranking. Sherrill, Ray, Bradford, Olson or Burres, Beird, Sarfate, FCab, Walker, Penn, Cormier, and Miller plus Liz being added from AAA in mid year next year. That is 12 guys for 7 slots without even counting on Albers, Baez or Patton. That is depth.

So what the team may need is a #2 starter acquired by trade or FA. I am not saying its true. The year has to play out to know whether the offense holds up. I am saying that I am not anxious to see MacPhail trade unless he gets a Bedard like deal. I think he has some strength to work from. Don't give up on 2009 yet.

I will be find with seeing the July trade deadline pass without a big deal. I can wait to see how the team develops.

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Why, oh why, do you think that AM ever bought in to the extreme blow-it-up ideology?

He never said or did anything that indicated that.

Just because he traded a couple guys doesn't mean he ever bought in to what you seem to want.

When you phrase things in a way that suggests that, just last winter, he had seen the One True Light, but now he's at risk of "not sticking with it" and of not "finishing what he started", you're just making stuff up that's not true now and wasn't true then. I'll bet you anything you want that he's not gonna do what you suggest, and I'm glad he's not gonna do that. The franchise has been a train wreck for far too long, and what we need is a GM who has a realistic plan, not an overly simplistic message board plan.

I know a lot of people argue with you about this topic and I am curious to know where you think the talent is going to come from if they don't make anymore trades. You think trading two of B-rob, Sherrill, Scott, and Huff is extreme? I'm sure you have espoused this, but I don't know what your theory is. Free agency and the draft?

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The O's are a #2 starter away from the playoffs in 2009.

I put the statement there not because I know it is true but because it is worth considering.

I've considered it, and reject it. We have the 2nd-worst pitching in the AL. A No. 2 starter, plus some growth from those already on hand, might move us up towards the middle of the pack, but that's the best case scenario. Maybe we'd be an 81 to 85-win team, if things broke our way.

Right now this team is 3 games under, but that is not going to hold the way this team is pitching. The offense has been running at absolute maximum efficiency since June 1 and we are still under .500 in that period. As soon as the offense dips a bit we will start losing more often.

So, in my opinion, you are talking about adding a no. 2 to a team that is going to be a 75 to 77-win team when this year is over. That doesn't make us a contender.

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Great post, VATECH, but I'm suprised you put Danny in the category of "move for any reasonable offer." For a guy who's only 26, I'd be willing to hang on to him if for no other reason that my fear of bringing up yet another unprepared pitcher prematurely.

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might move us up towards the middle of the pack, but that's the best case scenario. Maybe we'd be an 81 to 85-win team, if things broke our way.

I think your assessment is a little off. Boston has the second most productive offense when measured by runs scored. Their pitching is 6th in AL. They are a playoff contending team on a pace for 94 wins.

All I said was that given the current offense and possible things that could happen on the pitching staff I am not ready to trade away a bunch of players at the deadline for less the a Bedard like deal.

Actually what I said was:

1. Add a #2 starter.

2. Weiters will be a regular in the lineup and add to the offense.

3. Ray will be in the back end of the pen.

4. Johnson moved to the rotation.

It bears watching and in my judgement I can wait for the off season for moves to be made.

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I think your assessment is a little off. Boston has the second most productive offense when measured by runs scored. Their pitching is 6th in AL. They are a playoff contending team on a pace for 94 wins.

The Red Sox are allowing 4.09 runs per game. 3rd in the league. They're scoring 5.02 runs/game. 2nd in the league. The combination of one of the best offenses and one of the best run prevention teams in the AL is the reason they're on pace for 94 wins.

If the O's moved up to league average in runs allowed (4.64) they'd be a 81-85 win team.

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