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Buster Olney misses the point


tywright

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http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster

Nats, O's shouldn't be in hunt for Teixeira

But what in the heck are the Nationals doing in this poker game? What in the heck are the Orioles doing in this conversation?

They should not be bidding. They should call Scott Boras, the agent for Teixeira, three minutes ago and tell him -- like someone who accidentally raises their hand at an auction -- Look, sorry for the misunderstanding, but we made a mistake. We really didn't mean to make that $160 million offer.

Maybe in three years, when some of Washington's young pitching talent starts to make an impact at the major league level, it would make sense for the Nationals to bid on a player like Teixeira. Maybe in three years, it would make sense for the Orioles to consider such an enormous contract. But not now, not when both teams are miles away from contending, not when they need a whole lot more than Mark Teixeira.

Oh, sure, the argument for making a serious pitch for Teixeira might seem like it makes sense. A casual baseball fan might be able to identify perhaps one of the Nationals players, Ryan Zimmerman, and so the franchise is looking for a signature star, someone with whom the fans can identify. The same is true for the Orioles: Besides Kevin Millar, the up-and-coming Nick Markakis is probably the best-known Baltimore player.

But history tells us, over and over and over, that winning -- as in contending -- is what really draws fans to your ballpark, and not some shiny bauble. Cal Ripken single-handedly drew fans to Camden Yards at the end of his career, but with all due respect to Teixeira, he is not Ripken. He is not Barry Bonds. Few other players have that kind of box-office allure.

Buster clearly misses the issue about signing Tex. It's not about signing the best bat on the market, it's about signing the local guy to a long term deal to show the O's fan base that the O's management is serious about winning. And the end result of signing Tex means that the players will have more confidence in the Front Office in that they are serious about winning. Plus it will make the O's a more attractive option for future free agents. For some reason the national media has their blinders on to this fact and it's clearly illustrated by Buster's misconceptions.

The Orioles' payroll in 2008 was about $68 million, and presumably, if they were to sign Teixeira, that would climb to about $80 million, with the first baseman accounting for a quarter of that. And they would still be two or three top-flight starting pitchers short of contending with the Red Sox, Rays and Yankees. They would still be two or three top-flight starting pitchers short of contending with the Jays for fourth place.

A little shortsighted by Buster to not mention Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman.

And I can say this confidently, having worked in Baltimore and having some understanding of the multi-layered depth of knowledge in the Orioles' fan base: Until the team starts winning again, nobody will show up at Camden Yards. Signing Teixeira does not draw them demonstrably closer to contending, because they are so short in starting pitching. In fact, the signing of the first baseman may ultimately hurt them, because in two or three years, as the O's young pitching begins to rise to the big leagues and the team needs pieces to augment the improved rotation, Teixeira's salary will restrict the kinds of moves that the Orioles will make.

No, the table at which the Nationals and Orioles are playing right now is just pricey, and they should excuse themselves and spend their money on young pitching -- whether through the draft or through international signings -- and wait until the time is better. To do anything else is a nothing less than lunacy.

Lunacy? Only if you're Buster Olney

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I can understand what Olney is trying to say, and don't fault him for failing to name any of the SP prospects we have because they are still prospects. But Olney's time in Baltimore should tell him that the Orioles can support a payroll DOUBLE of what we have now. So we can go out and sign a few FA starters along with Tex, either this year or next.

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Also, for him to not metion that we have so many expiring contracts at the end of the year was, well lazy.

Add this to the fact that he also mentioned Kevin Millar as the most recognizable Oriole. Isn't Kevin Millar a FA, whom I don't think they have any interest in resigning?

Dipper said it well in another thread, Buster would have somewhat of a point if this was like a 2-3 year deal, but it's going to be 8-10. That is building for the future and a long term commitment. It's not a go for it this season type of move.

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[quote name=

A little shortsighted by Buster to not mention Matusz, Arrieta, and Tillman.

The guy is not that crazy for not mentioning 3 prospects who have potential. They havent done anything yet, what evidence is there to look back over the last decade that says our farm system will produce anything more than hype. I despise ESPN's lack of coverage of the O's and their obsession with the Yankess Sox rivalry but, in the end its all about results.

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Also, for him to not metion that we have so many expiring contracts at the end of the year was, well lazy.

While I get what Olney is trying to say, he misses the point that the Orioles have a HUGE hole at 1B. There is really no one in the system currently that has the outlook of being anything close to what Teixeira is. Add to that that Tex is only 28 years old. In two to three years, Arrieta/Tillman/Matusz/etc will be ready (or should be) to be major contributors to the rotation. And guess what? Teixeira will still only be 30/31.

I think that nearly everyone can agree that signing Teixeira isn't a sign that Orioles intend on being serious contenders in 2009 (if it happens, great), but rather are plugging a huge hole (1B) with, currently, the 2nd best 1B in MLB, who will be all of 30/31 when they DO plan on contending. I honestly do not see a problem with that, assuming the team payroll is adjusted to accomodate Tex's salary.

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http://insider.espn.go.com/espn/blog/index?name=olney_buster

Buster clearly misses the issue about signing Tex. It's not about signing the best bat on the market, it's about signing the local guy to a long term deal to show the O's fan base that the O's management is serious about winning. And the end result of signing Tex means that the players will have more confidence in the Front Office in that they are serious about winning. Plus it will make the O's a more attractive option for future free agents. For some reason the national media has their blinders on to this fact and it's clearly illustrated by Buster's misconceptions.

Buster does address the point.

And I can say this confidently, having worked in Baltimore and having some understanding of the multi-layered depth of knowledge in the Orioles' fan base: Until the team starts winning again, nobody will show up at Camden Yards. Signing Teixeira does not draw them demonstrably closer to contending, because they are so short in starting pitching. In fact, the signing of the first baseman may ultimately hurt them, because in two or three years, as the O's young pitching begins to rise to the big leagues and the team needs pieces to augment the improved rotation, Teixeira's salary will restrict the kinds of moves that the Orioles will make.

No, the table at which the Nationals and Orioles are playing right now is just pricey, and they should excuse themselves and spend their money on young pitching -- whether through the draft or through international signings -- and wait until the time is better. To do anything else is a nothing less than lunacy.

And he does a good job of doing so. He says that winning is the ultimate attendence booster. And I agree.

Yeah, maybe at first crowds flock to see the local kid come back to Camden Yards. But we all know that Teixeira isn't going to be enough to make us contenders, or hide the fact that we have no starting pitching. When August and September roll around, and we go on our usual collapse, Tex isn't going to help us draw more fans than usual. He isn't Cal, despite how some of us make him out to be. If we stink, we stink. The casual Johnny Pencilpusher isn't going to want to go see a game where he knows the home team will lose. It's like that in all sports.

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Maybe they don't compete right away, but it would give them a better chance of competing, and because he's local - he would draw more fans - even if he isn't the next Cal Jr. His presence doesn't make or brake anything, but making the team better is a good thing. His name and winning more games will bring in more dollars - maybe not as much as he costs, but... maybe more. It's better than the alternatives.

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I have always respected him, but anyone trying to argue that there should be two classes of baseball teams, and that somehow is GOOD for baseball, is missing the big picture. It's almost like we're "tampering" somehow to try and improve our team by signing a player that one of the big market teams covet. There is a team here, and we're trying to compete. If the owner is comfortable writing the check, and he will help us win games, that's all that matters. Bow out? Go to hell. The financial inequity and subsequent competitive imbalance is maddening for all but the select few. But to have the media pile on and tell us to go back to the hull of the ship while the first class passengers light fire to the excess life boats to stay warm.....well, that just pisses me off.

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I have always respected him, but anyone trying to argue that there should be two classes of baseball teams, and that somehow is GOOD for baseball, is missing the big picture. It's almost like we're "tampering" somehow to try and improve our team by signing a player that one of the big market teams covet. There is a team here, and we're trying to compete. If the owner is comfortable writing the check, and he will help us win games, that's all that matters. Bow out? Go to hell. The financial inequity and subsequent competitive imbalance is maddening for all but the select few. But to have the media pile on and tell us to go back to the hull of the ship while the first class passengers light fire to the excess life boats to stay warm.....well, that just pisses me off.

Very well said.

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In fact, the signing of the first baseman may ultimately hurt them, because in two or three years, as the O's young pitching begins to rise to the big leagues and the team needs pieces to augment the improved rotation, Teixeira's salary will restrict the kinds of moves that the Orioles will make.

While I agree that Olney's take wasn't as three-dimensional as I'd like, I think the above is an excellent point. It is more prudent to go in big with an all-in investment when it's more directed, and that investment will have an immediate effect on whether a team competes or not.

Right now, we're backed in a corner and going all-in (rather than going all-in to in a pro-active way, we're being reactive.) And we're doing it on the flop, with an incomplete set, rather than, say, on the River, when we have full information. And we're doing this knowing full well that the Yanks, Rays, and Sox are holding good hands.

Wow. What a clunky analogy. Apologies all around. ;)

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I can understand what Olney is trying to say, and don't fault him for failing to name any of the SP prospects we have because they are still prospects. But Olney's time in Baltimore should tell him that the Orioles can support a payroll DOUBLE of what we have now. So we can go out and sign a few FA starters along with Tex, either this year or next.

Yea, but in the future, we will have extended Markakis, Jones, Weiters, Guthrie, Roberts? That's five players plus Teixeira that we will have dump a lot of money in. It really limits how much we can spend pitching, and other positions. Sooner or later, if any of Tillman, Matusz, and Arrieta pan out, they will be seeking extensions too. The signing of Teixeria is going to affect us for the next 8-10 years. By Year 5 or 6, it could really be doing us more harm than good.

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He doesn't miss the point, he just doesn't think sentamenatality is a good enough reason for a team trying to buid up from the bottom up to spend boku bucks on a FA.

If it was just sentimentality, that would be one thing. But Tex is a premier first baseman in the league and a premier all around player. It's not like he's just some random dude that happened to grow up near Baltimore.

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If it was just sentimentality, that would be one thing. But Tex is a premier first baseman in the league and a premier all around player. It's not like he's just some random dude that happened to grow up near Baltimore.

Right, and he address that as well...we shouldn't be trying to grab any sort of premier FA right now. Agree or disagree but it's a valid opinion and it's not missing the point.

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