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So, what is being built?


Stotle

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We've heard through the media this off-season that:

1. Free agents are generally not interested in coming to play in Baltimore; and

2. Baltimore does not have attractive trade pieces in their system.

We've learned through posters that:

1. Baltimore should not hand out contracts like Crawford's until they are a mid- to upper-80 win team (and some argue BAL should never hand out a contract like Crawford's);

2. Baltimore should never hand out a contract like Werth's;

3. Baltimore should not give up any of the young pitching in trade; and

4. Baltimore should wait until next year, when the team has taken a big step forward, before they worry about the "big" moves.

Simple question. What, exactly, is being built in this organization? The minors are apparently barren (according to other organizations). The ML roster has a nice collection of young talent, but I think most O's fans would agree that the roster as it currently sits is not going to be enough to make this team a playoff team. Draft spend is "okay", but it can't be said Baltimore is better utilizing this avenue for player acquisition than it's competition. International acquisitions still lag well behind the competition. I'm just not sure how this team is much more than a competent improvement on it's former pre-MacPhail self.

If teams don't see pieces they want to acquire from BAL in a trade, and FA do not want to come to Baltimore, and fans do not want the front office to risk a bad "large" contract to someone that isn't a sure thing, where does this team improve? How does this team improve. Worse, is there reason to believe things will be better three years from now when the current core is approaching FA, Markakis and Roberts are winding down their contract and the "in house" options consist of the question marks currently occupying short-season and LoA ball?

I guess I just don't get it. Rome was not built in a day; a ML organization cannot be built in a day. Well, it's been around 1,270 days since MacPhail took over, began his evaluation of the organization and set out to put things back on track. Do fans generally think that staying the current course gets BAL to 90-95 wins in the near future?

This isn't meant to be a critique of MacPhail -- I'd just like to know, from those that are satisfied with the progress this off-season and over the past 3.5 years, what keeps them hopeful? I don't see any real replacements to allow BAL to deal a player or two if they need to try and bring in a big piece via trade.

I don't see a huge amount of payroll flexibility, with Scott, Jones, Guthrie getting expensive soon and Markakis and Roberts eating up just under a third of the payroll by 2013ish. To compare, Kansas City has LOTS of question marks surrounding their bumper crop of prospects at AA/AAA/ML, whereas Baltimore has a lot more certainty in their arms and in a few of their position players. The difference is that Kansas City has ZERO contract commitments for 2012 and beyond. Let that sink in. It is 100% a clean slate right as the young crop of prospects starts hitting the scene. The team can be shaped in any way they see fit. They have full resources to plug holes for whatever prospects flounder or fail. Say what you will about Dayton Moore, but his team is better set up than perhaps any rebuilding team in the history of the sport. They did it in about four years (counting from when they started acquiring this group of prospects).

So, respectfully and honestly, I ask what Baltimore is building. The only thing I can come up with is that they are building an organization that is run well enough, doesn't make terrible decisions in trade or signings, and could very well be an semi-regular competitor in a second tier division. I see very little indication that the team will ever be suited to compete in the AL East.

Maybe a creative trade comes out of right field and makes me look silly -- it would be the tastiest crow I've ever eaten. But today, looking at the organization, I see incremental improvement over 3.5 years, while the AL East counterparts likewise continue to improve. The gap is not closing, and I'm wondering if my optimism these past few years has been grossly misspent.

What are we building here?

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So, respectfully and honestly, I ask what Baltimore is building. The only thing I can come up with is that they are building an organization that is run well enough, doesn't make terrible decisions in trade or signings, and could very well be an semi-regular competitor in a second tier division. I see very little indication that the team will ever be suited to compete in the AL East.

This is where I have been since the Hobgood pick. That was when I realized that the O's were not going to go the extra distance to make themselves an elite team.

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Great post Stotle..

I agree we seem to be in a vacuum. No matter what we do we are going to suck.

I do have some optimism in some of the guys in the lower minors. We graduated quite a few guys in the last two years and I think we have hit a void in our farm system.

I think we are going to be forced to take the Tampa route. Until the O's begin winning with the core guys they will continue to be a pariah in the FA market. It really is a catch 22.

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Fantastic post, Stotle and a very good question.

I don't have a great answer to your question, though! :P

We still seem to be caught up in a "tweener" stage. We've got some nice, young pieces to build around, but you are right in that they are still (mostly) unproven and will soon be expensive.

I truly think that this is the season where we either see dramatic improvement or we will begin to see some of these guys dealt and the whole rebuilding process will start over again. If we finish this season with 70 wins, I think you'll see us try to start moving Jones, Markakis, Roberts, and some of the young pitching for prospects.

This upcoming season will be the biggest one we've had in 13 years. We have an established manager and young talent that should be on the verge of busting out. If it doesn't happen this year, then I think we could be looking at another long 4 or 5 years.

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We're going to be treading water until the O's either:

1. Become one of the most well-run organizaitons in baseball and can draft and develop their own talent consistently,

2. Become big spenders in free agency, while still not totally ignoring the importance of developing players. See Philadelphia, Boston and NYY.

And with neither one happening any time soon, we need to cross our fingers and hope that the planets align and we can make the post season for a year here and there because we are not set up to be a consistent contender in this division.

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You had to highlight the gross grammatical typo, eh? :D

Hardly a gross error, and anyway it express exactly what I've been thinking for at least the past year--as does the entire post.

I think what we're seeing now is what happens when a team sort of tries to rebuild, but not really; and sort of tries to please the fans, but not really; and sort of tries to build from the ground up, but not really, because nothing really changes on the ground.

What's really dismaying is that 2011 and 2012 may well be a high-water mark for this franchise for a while.

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We've heard through the media this off-season that:

1. Free agents are generally not interested in coming to play in Baltimore; and

2. Baltimore does not have attractive trade pieces in their system.

We've learned through posters that:

1. Baltimore should not hand out contracts like Crawford's until they are a mid- to upper-80 win team (and some argue BAL should never hand out a contract like Crawford's);

2. Baltimore should never hand out a contract like Werth's;

3. Baltimore should not give up any of the young pitching in trade; and

4. Baltimore should wait until next year, when the team has taken a big step forward, before they worry about the "big" moves.

Simple question. What, exactly, is being built in this organization? The minors are apparently barren (according to other organizations). The ML roster has a nice collection of young talent, but I think most O's fans would agree that the roster as it currently sits is not going to be enough to make this team a playoff team. Draft spend is "okay", but it can't be said Baltimore is better utilizing this avenue for player acquisition than it's competition. International acquisitions still lag well behind the competition. I'm just not sure how this team is much more than a competent improvement on it's former pre-MacPhail self.

If teams don't see pieces they want to acquire from BAL in a trade, and FA do not want to come to Baltimore, and fans do not want the front office to risk a bad "large" contract to someone that isn't a sure thing, where does this team improve? How does this team improve. Worse, is there reason to believe things will be better three years from now when the current core is approaching FA, Markakis and Roberts are winding down their contract and the "in house" options consist of the question marks currently occupying short-season and LoA ball?

I guess I just don't get it. Rome was not built in a day; a ML organization cannot be built in a day. Well, it's been around 1,270 days since MacPhail took over, began his evaluation of the organization and set out to put things back on track. Do fans generally think that staying the current course gets BAL to 90-95 wins in the near future?

This isn't meant to be a critique of MacPhail -- I'd just like to know, from those that are satisfied with the progress this off-season and over the past 3.5 years, what keeps them hopeful? I don't see any real replacements to allow BAL to deal a player or two if they need to try and bring in a big piece via trade.

I don't see a huge amount of payroll flexibility, with Scott, Jones, Guthrie getting expensive soon and Markakis and Roberts eating up just under a third of the payroll by 2013ish. To compare, Kansas City has LOTS of question marks surrounding their bumper crop of prospects at AA/AAA/ML, whereas Baltimore has a lot more certainty in their arms and in a few of their position players. The difference is that Kansas City has ZERO contract commitments for 2012 and beyond. Let that sink in. It is 100% a clean slate right as the young crop of prospects starts hitting the scene. The team can be shaped in any way they see fit. They have full resources to plug holes for whatever prospects flounder or fail. Say what you will about Dayton Moore, but his team is better set up than perhaps any rebuilding team in the history of the sport. They did it in about four years (counting from when they started acquiring this group of prospects).

So, respectfully and honestly, I ask what Baltimore is building. The only thing I can come up with is that they are building an organization that is run well enough, doesn't make terrible decisions in trade or signings, and could very well be an semi-regular competitor in a second tier division. I see very little indication that the team will ever be suited to compete in the AL East.

Maybe a creative trade comes out of right field and makes me look silly -- it would be the tastiest crow I've ever eaten. But today, looking at the organization, I see incremental improvement over 3.5 years, while the AL East counterparts likewise continue to improve. The gap is not closing, and I'm wondering if my optimism these past few years has been grossly misspent.

What are we building here?

This is the question. I think Baltimore is trying to put a team together that appeals to the fans, while not risking the forfiture of our future. Her is the problem I have, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie are all good players. They are very good players on the Orioles, but would only be good players on a playoff team. These are guys that should have been traded for very good return of young prospects IMO. Guthrie could be replaced by Britton as soon as this year. Scott is a good bat, bat he wouldn't be too hard to replace IMO. Markakis is the one guy I wouldn't have wanted to trade, but I think he is going to be in his 30's before we start to compete. Guthris should have been traded this offseason IMO.

I think you are either rebuilding or you are making a push for the playoffs. I think that playoff push requires you to spend money. The Orioles seem to be in between once again. Trying to add a few parts to be adequate, they may win 82 games, but 95 games is still well out of reach. The Orioles need to operate like the Royals (Build the system by trading away their best players) or like the Rays (Strike with a big signing or two, but accumulate picks through smart signings). I do not think we will ever be like Detroit, Chicago, New York, or Boston. They seem to identify players and go after them. I really like how Kenny Williams does things and would be excited if he were the Orioles GM (PA could be a problem too, but I can not judge a guy without knowing their role in things).

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We're going to be treading water until the O's either:

1. Become one of the most well-run organizaitons in baseball and can draft and develop their own talent consistently,

2. Become big spenders in free agency, while still not totally ignoring the importance of developing players. See Philadelphia, Boston and NYY.

And with neither one happening any time soon, we need to cross our fingers and hope that the planets align and we can make the post season for a year here and there because we are not set up to be a consistent contender in this division.

I think at some point baseball has to step in. The Red Sox and Yankees are two of the top 3-4 teams year in and year out. There is good parity in every other division in baseball outside of the AL East. The Orioles could sign LaRoche, two reliever, and a veteran SP and compete with most other teams in any other division IMO.

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Hardly a gross error, and anyway it express exactly what I've been thinking for at least the past year--as does the entire post.

I think what we're seeing now is what happens when a team sort of tries to rebuild, but not really; and sort of tries to please the fans, but not really; and sort of tries to build from the ground up, but not really, because nothing really changes on the ground.

What's really dismaying is that 2011 and 2012 may well be a high-water mark for this franchise for a while.

I think they tried to rebuild. The only asset that was a prime candidate to move that wasn't was Roberts and I never heard an offer for him I really liked.

The problem that I see is that the O's are too risk adverse and tradition bound to make the moves needed to compete in the AL East. They need to really push talent acquisition and development. Instead we have a team tipping its big toe into the pool of international talent.

The O's can't afford to make signability picks, they can't afford to ignore the posting process, they can't afford to sit out on the high profile Latin American talent.

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This is the question. I think Baltimore is trying to put a team together that appeals to the fans, while not risking the forfiture of our future. Her is the problem I have, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie are all good players. They are very good players on the Orioles, but would only be good players on a playoff team. These are guys that should have been traded for very good return of young prospects IMO. Guthrie could be replaced by Britton as soon as this year. Scott is a good bat, bat he wouldn't be too hard to replace IMO. Markakis is the one guy I wouldn't have wanted to trade, but I think he is going to be in his 30's before we start to compete. Guthris should have been traded this offseason IMO.

I think you are either rebuilding or you are making a push for the playoffs. I think that playoff push requires you to spend money. The Orioles seem to be in between once again. Trying to add a few parts to be adequate, they may win 82 games, but 95 games is still well out of reach. The Orioles need to operate like the Royals (Build the system by trading away their best players) or like the Rays (Strike with a big signing or two, but accumulate picks through smart signings). I do not think we will ever be like Detroit, Chicago, New York, or Boston. They seem to identify players and go after them. I really like how Kenny Williams does things and would be excited if he were the Orioles GM (PA could be a problem too, but I can not judge a guy without knowing their role in things).

Excellent points. I stated the same thing...that we are in a "tweener" stage.

I think keeping "fan favorites" is a good thing if you have a winning team and they are productive. When you have a losing team, you need to forget about "favorites" and try to build a WINNING organization. That will probably require some immediate sacrifice, but, in the long run, it will pay dividends if you trade your assets wisely.

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They are building a pennant contender. It is built around:

1. The young pitching staff. We got a glance of what the young starters can do the last two months of the season. That was without the improvement of Tillman and Britton pitching at their peak. Pennants are won with pitching(see the Giants) and the O's have an improving core.

2. A manager that knows how to win. There was more talent on this team then Trembley or Sammuel was able to get out of them. It took Buck to get it playing well. That will continue and likely get better.

3. A team which has good defense. The players that MacPhail is putting together can be a very good defense unit that helps out the pitchers.

4. A improved offense. I think Buck will get a good offense out of the players he has. I think the team will add another bat and probably strenghten the bench. It will not be Boston's offense in 2011 but it will be something the O's continue to work on.

5. I see this as the last year that free agents do not want to come to Baltimore. This team will at least reach the middle of the pack in wins in 2010. When they do they will be seen by all as an up and coming team. Then some free agents will sign here willingly. The O's will still not be able to attract players that the Yankees and Red Sox want but neither can the rest of the league.

I think the future is bright of the O's. They are on their way to improvement. To respectability. And to being a winner under Buck. Once they are winning Andy and Buck can figure the next step to being in the playoffs.

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The one thing I keep coming back to is that the organization failed miserably in drafting talent into the organization in the last 15-20 years. Recent years aside, there was never a consistent stream of players that you just knew would support the big league club.

A team can't control a FA's decision, it can't control what another team might give up in a trade. A team CAN control the players it drafts and develops, and the O's sucked at it for way too long.

I'm afraid that there may still be a long period (5-10 years?) where the O's are mediocre at best until the farm system is stocked with solid players top to bottom.

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I think at some point baseball has to step in. The Red Sox and Yankees are two of the top 3-4 teams year in and year out. There is good parity in every other division in baseball outside of the AL East. The Orioles could sign LaRoche, two reliever, and a veteran SP and compete with most other teams in any other division IMO.

Yeah, but the Rays have won the division 2 out of the last 3 years and the BJ's have been competitive for the last 10 although they have never really come close to making the post-season.

Baseball needs to make changes, but that doesn't mean the Orioles will all the sudden be able to make the playoffs year in and year out.

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