Jump to content

A lot of little moves = a significantly better team?


Frobby

Recommended Posts

There is no move the Orioles have made this offseason that is dramatic. But in a slow and steady way, MacPhail has improved the team for 2009.

Izturis > Hernandez, Bynum, Cintron, Fahey, Castro as starting SS

Gomez > that same group as utility infielder

Wieters > Hernandez as starting C

Zaun > Quiroz as backup C

Freel > Payton as 4th OF

Uehara > DCab as starting P

Hendrickson > Burres as swing man

Now, I don't mean to suggest that those moves accomplish anything much for the long term, or that they vault the Orioles into contention for 2009. I don't even mean to suggest that it's likely this is now a .500 team. All I mean to suggest is that for 2009, this is a perceptibly better team than in 2008. Much better at SS, the bench, and behind the plate.

If I have reservations about this, it's mainly that MacPhail still hasn't done enough to solidify the rotation. And 1B (or DH) is still in question (though I'm willing to ride with Salazar). But even so, I think the 2009 team has fewer glaring holes than in 2008.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

  • Replies 143
  • Created
  • Last Reply

As with almost every Orioles offseason for the last 3-5 years coming into spring training there has been something to feel good about. When analyzing the team there's always a lot of "IF's" and "maybe's" used to describe the possibility of a success MLB season. This year isn't any different. Hopefully we'll get a little good luck for a change and have more days/nights of cheers than jeers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There's some incremental progress there. The O's might be a high-70s win team now. They're might be in the 10-15 range in a MLB power ranking kind of thing, where they were a 15-20 team last year.

They're still certainly a 5th place team, with almost no hope of catching the Rays, Yanks, and Sox. But it's sort of plausible they could compete with the Jays.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no move the Orioles have made this offseason that is dramatic. But in a slow and steady way, MacPhail has improved the team for 2009.

Izturis > Hernandez, Bynum, Cintron, Fahey, Castro as starting SS

Gomez > that same group as utility infielder

Wieters > Hernandez as starting C

Zaun > Quiroz as backup C

Freel > Payton as 4th OF

Uehara > DCab as starting P

Hendrickson > Burres as swing man

Now, I don't mean to suggest that those moves accomplish anything much for the long term, or that they vault the Orioles into contention for 2009. I don't even mean to suggest that it's likely this is now a .500 team. All I mean to suggest is that for 2009, this is a perceptibly better team than in 2008. Much better at SS, the bench, and behind the plate.

If I have reservations about this, it's mainly that MacPhail still hasn't done enough to solidify the rotation. And 1B (or DH) is still in question (though I'm willing to ride with Salazar). But even so, I think the 2009 team has fewer glaring holes than in 2008.

Glass is half full eh Frobby. :)

The flip side to this, of course, is that a losing team, even if better than the year before, is STILL a losing team. :(

I keep telling myself, patience; much like my investments in the current dreadful stock market, I am in this with the Orioles for the long term (since the late 60's as a matter of fact)!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I see exactly what you're talking about and I agree completely. However, we are realistically two STUD hitters and three very reliable starters away from real competition. Acquiring Tex would have been a HUGE step towards that, because I have to believe that Markakis, Jones, and Wieters have an excellent chance of stepping up and becoming a legit superstar player to compliment Tex. But that didn't happen, and I could care less, because there's a good chance that all three of them will develop into stars.

I'm not expecting much this year, but this team does have a serious chance to gel and be pretty dangerous. If the three aforementioned hitters hit the big time next year (2010) and become our 2-3-4 hitters and Matusz, Tillman, and Arrieta pan out (SIDE NOTE: I want to be the first to post a "THEY ARE WHO WE THOUGHT THEY WERE" thread when those guys become studs for us in the near future), then we can say that we're in contention.

Bottom line is that while he hasn't made the big FA splash, AM has done a fantastic job laying the groundwork for actual contention in the not-so-distant future.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last year at this time I wrote that what excited me about the 2008 Orioles was that we finally had a crop of young pitchers at Norfolk ready to step into the big leagues. After the Bedard deal last year we were looking at a rotation of Guthrie, Cabrera, Loewen, and 2 of {Patton, Albers, Burres}. So I figured we'd have one of those last 3 at Norfolk, plus prospects at Norfolk like Liz, Olson, Penn, etc. It seemed to me that the entire Norfolk rotation would be made up of prospects instead of Chris Waters types.

I felt that FINALLY, when pitcher injuries came, we'd be able to bring up genuine prospects instead of having to get Victor Zambrano types. No September collapse in 2008, nosirreee.

That's how it seemed to me at the time.

Now I start feeling the same way....I start thinking of having Bergeson/Hernandez/Tillman in Norfolk ready to come up at mid-season, with Arrietta not too far behind, or of Matusz doing a David Price -like dash through A-AA-AAA to the majors by September. So now when our starters falter or get hurt we will bring up guys I can get excited about to replace them.

But I have to temper that excitement again. Because I learned the lesson last year. You NEVER have enough pitching. Last year we had 119 games started by guys with ERAs over 5; 74 of our games were started by guys who finished with ERAs over 6.00!

I refuse to let myself get fooled again.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Last year at this time I wrote that what excited me about the 2008 Orioles was that we finally had a crop of young pitchers at Norfolk ready to step into the big leagues. After the Bedard deal last year we were looking at a rotation of Guthrie, Cabrera, Loewen, and 2 of {Patton, Albers, Burres}. So I figured we'd have one of those last 3 at Norfolk, plus prospects at Norfolk like Liz, Olson, Penn, etc. It seemed to me that the entire Norfolk rotation would be made up of prospects instead of Chris Waters types.

I felt that FINALLY, when pitcher injuries came, we'd be able to bring up genuine prospects instead of having to get Victor Zambrano types. No September collapse in 2008, nosirreee.

That's how it seemed to me at the time.

Now I start feeling the same way....I start thinking of having Bergeson/Hernandez/Tillman in Norfolk ready to come up at mid-season, with Arrietta not too far behind, or of Matusz doing a David Price -like dash through A-AA-AAA to the majors by September. So now when our starters falter or get hurt we will bring up guys I can get excited about to replace them.

But I have to temper that excitement again. Because I learned the lesson last year. You NEVER have enough pitching. Last year we had 119 games started by guys with ERAs over 5; 74 of our games were started by guys who finished with ERAs over 6.00!

I refuse to let myself get fooled again.

I have to agree with this post. It's all going to boil down to the pitching. That is why I said I didn't think MacPhail had done enough to deal with the rotation. If we are left with what we have now, we will have to hope for better luck with the younger guys or we'll eventually be running on fumes once again. I still say we're significantly improved, but not enough to avoid this weakness.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That pitching gap is deeper and more ominous. Last year we began with Guthrie, Loewen, a temporarily effective Cabrera, a very effective Burres(in April) and early on a solid Steve Trachsel...now were talking about giving Danys Baez a shot to start! We have a Japanese pitcher who has never faced big league hitters as our apparent number two man. If Guthrie goes down at all, this could be the worst staff in all of baseball. All the Ryan Freel's in the world wont make us even slightly better then.I still think and hope AM has something up his sleeve.Sheets? Even a one year deal? Garland?Hayden Penn?

Someone who can throw strikes? I hope they dont throw J.J. out there..or Albers. Let then log innings in the pen.

Yet another Dunn reference, though I know it falls on deaf ears.

With another big booming bat, our offense cold make up alot of ground for our horrible pitching...Please consider Adam Dunn.Even a three year deal wouldnt spoil any "rebuilding"plans.

The comparison of the thread though is to last year's team and we know that the starting pitching turned out horrible -- it doesn't matter what expectations were -- it turned out ugly. So we don't have to be THAT good to be better. We don't even have to be mediocre. (ugh). Don't forget that this year we have a lot of young arms that are near ready when the opening cast falls apart -- which they will - but who hopefully will provide more stability short and long term.

If Sheets settles for a 1 year deal it will not be hear. It will be with a contender -- probably the Brewers.

For what it's worth (not much) I think we have a decent chance to be better than the Jays who have Halliday and pray for rain with a lineup that looks pretty weak.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no move the Orioles have made this offseason that is dramatic. But in a slow and steady way, MacPhail has improved the team for 2009.

Izturis > Hernandez, Bynum, Cintron, Fahey, Castro as starting SS

Gomez > that same group as utility infielder

Wieters > Hernandez as starting C

Zaun > Quiroz as backup C

Freel > Payton as 4th OF

Uehara > DCab as starting P

Hendrickson > Burres as swing man

Now, I don't mean to suggest that those moves accomplish anything much for the long term, or that they vault the Orioles into contention for 2009. I don't even mean to suggest that it's likely this is now a .500 team. All I mean to suggest is that for 2009, this is a perceptibly better team than in 2008. Much better at SS, the bench, and behind the plate.

If I have reservations about this, it's mainly that MacPhail still hasn't done enough to solidify the rotation. And 1B (or DH) is still in question (though I'm willing to ride with Salazar). But even so, I think the 2009 team has fewer glaring holes than in 2008.

I certainly agree with this. This off season has represented progress for the organization. MacPhail was never going to make the big splash this winter. Teixeira actually served as more of a distraction from the plan more than anything.

What I like about what he has done is he has maintained his flexability. He has left enough room in the rotation for young players to step up and grab the opporyunity. Most of his signings have been short term which will enable him to move quickly next year. No we are not going to contend this year but I think we'll provide better competition then last year.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I actually started a post exactly like this one and deleted it because I didn't think anyone would respond due to my lack of posts here...

However, since you brought it up... I believe this team is better at every position in 2009. (And if you can't compete in free agency, the thing to do is improve defense, the bullpen, and scouting... Which we are doing.)

Another sign for optimism? The farm system had it's first combined winning record in 11 years. So, the kids can play... especially last year's pitchers from Bowie. Can they pitch in the majors? We'll see.

I do know this... in the next two years we'll need five of these guys (listed in order of likelihood) to step up:

Guthrie

Uehara

Matusz

Arrietta

Tillman

Olson

Bergesen

Hernandez

And if five of those guys don't... We have the Burress/Waters/Hendrickson (i.e. not very good) type of guys. I guess. And the Patton/Albers/Penn (i.e. talented and injury-prone) type of guys.

I know we say this every year... but at some point we've got to have five guys who step up, right? Three pitching prospects in the top 36 overall of baseball has to count for something, right? Pull 'em together Kranitz!

Link to comment
Share on other sites

The Orioles are definitely improved over the 08 team. Slightly better on paper but they could be significantly better behind the plate and at SS. We should be at least 10 games better with improved defense at these positions. I still think Zaun will work a lot better with our pitchers regardless of who is pitching. Can he make any of last years starters better? Maybe!

Guess who these statistics belong to

23 HR'S, 58 RBI'S and .285 BA

20 HR'S, 87 RBI'S and .306 BA

40 HR'S, 100 RBI'S and .236 BA

The top figures belong to Ty Wigginton

The middle belong to Nick Markakis

The bottom belong to Adam Dunn

Nick will probably get $10.5 million this year, Dunn will get $10-$11 million and Ty will get $2.5 to $3 million. We should add Wigginton and Dunn. Let's go AM. The money is there. Sign both of them and Garland or Wolf and we will win 85+ games

Link to comment
Share on other sites

I'm not sure that we're "significantly" better, but I do like the moves we've made this off season.

I would feel a lot more comfortable with the addition of Garland to this team. Having him along with the other two starters at this point would give you three guys that throw strikes and hopefully keep you in games and eat up innings.

I think the remaining two slots are going to be a revolving door until someone establishes themselves. I think you'll see some sort of mixture of Penn/Olson/Liz/Hendrickson/Burres with the other three in the bullpen. I'm not sure that it would be a bad plan. It would give you three guys who can give you multiple innings.

Penn/Olson/Liz/Burres either don't have options or don't have anything to prove in the minors. Hopefully, Penn and Olson will step up in spring training and fill in the 4/5 slots in the rotation, because I think that Burres and Liz's best bets are in the bullpen.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

There is no move the Orioles have made this offseason that is dramatic. But in a slow and steady way, MacPhail has improved the team for 2009.

Izturis > Hernandez, Bynum, Cintron, Fahey, Castro as starting SS

Gomez > that same group as utility infielder

Wieters > Hernandez as starting C

Zaun > Quiroz as backup C

Freel > Payton as 4th OF

Uehara > DCab as starting P

Hendrickson > Burres as swing man

Now, I don't mean to suggest that those moves accomplish anything much for the long term, or that they vault the Orioles into contention for 2009. I don't even mean to suggest that it's likely this is now a .500 team. All I mean to suggest is that for 2009, this is a perceptibly better team than in 2008. Much better at SS, the bench, and behind the plate.

If I have reservations about this, it's mainly that MacPhail still hasn't done enough to solidify the rotation. And 1B (or DH) is still in question (though I'm willing to ride with Salazar). But even so, I think the 2009 team has fewer glaring holes than in 2008.

I'm excited by the Uehara signing. It might be the signing I'm most excited about, regardless of how it turns out. But let's face it; we don't know how it will turn out. We really have no idea whether Uehara will be greater than Cabrera or not.

Most notably, Cabrera pitched 384 innings over the past two years and will be 28 in May. Uehara pitched 151 'major league' innings over the past two years and will be 34 in April.

I'm still leaning toward arguing that the one mistake was non-tendering Cabrera. That said, I can make an argument that it was the right decision, and there is not much sign that it was a major mistake that will impact the long-term future.

EDIT: I agree with the rest of your assessment. And will add that a slightly improved team doesn't necessarily mean more wins. Without looking it up, I'd say this team plays no better (and maybe worse) against the AL East as in 2008. But could win a few more games against the rest of the AL if the pitching isn't a disaster.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

That pitching gap is deeper and more ominous. Last year we began with Guthrie, Loewen, a temporarily effective Cabrera, a very effective Burres(in April) and early on a solid Steve Trachsel...now were talking about giving Danys Baez a shot to start! We have a Japanese pitcher who has never faced big league hitters as our apparent number two man. If Guthrie goes down at all, this could be the worst staff in all of baseball. All the Ryan Freel's in the world wont make us even slightly better then.I still think and hope AM has something up his sleeve.Sheets? Even a one year deal? Garland?Hayden Penn?

Someone who can throw strikes? I hope they dont throw J.J. out there..or Albers. Let then log innings in the pen.

Yet another Dunn reference, though I know it falls on deaf ears.

With another big booming bat, our offense cold make up alot of ground for our horrible pitching...Please consider Adam Dunn.Even a three year deal wouldnt spoil any "rebuilding"plans.

Roy... my man...

You're worsening a bit. I think Frobby's post is spot on, frankly. Not huge improvement or long term sustainability here, but there is incremental improvement even when you consider the pitching simply because of the improvement of the organizational pitching depth.

Don't tell me Guthrie, Loewen, Olson, Liz, Albers, Cabrera, Burres and Trachsel >>>> Guthrie, Uehara, Olson, Liz, Albers, Penn, Burres, Bass, Patton, Hendrickson, Hennessey, Baez, Bergesen, Waters, Hernandez and Berken.

As AM has stated, there is safety in numbers.

Link to comment
Share on other sites

Archived

This topic is now archived and is closed to further replies.


×
×
  • Create New...