Posted in the rOster on July 27th, 2014 by The Wayward O

From Thursday night. Do you think Delmon saw this one?

Image via Root Sports

That still – the way his eyes have lit up – kills me. Here’s the video. If ever there was an example of a bad breaking ball keying every atavistic synapse in a hitter’s spinal column, that was it.

Going for a sixth win today in Seattle with a five wins under Team’s belt on a 10-game road trip through three contending cities? Check. Holding off the Yankees, who have been facing bad teams in their haven for cheap home runs? Check.

Buck’s ability to get Team to handle business on West Coast is nothing short of fantastic.

making mOves that make sense

Posted in hOpe springs eternal, the rOster, the rOte on February 19th, 2014 by The Wayward O

Team of Blog rightly was being excoriated for listless off-season but, after a busy weekend celebrating our dearly departed founding fathers, Team also seems to have built depth into rotation, which now has better capacity to shape-shift over long season without scraping along surface of talent ocean.

Given Team’s checkered and chiseley past the last few months of criticism have been justifiied.

Now Team of Blog must get at least speculative credit for making moves that make sense at right time. Blog is very excited out spring training now because — it appears — at least seven or eight pitchers now will compete for starts.

While Blog of Team scoffs at notion that a roughly $50 million pitcher contract is “historic” or whatever — finds self wondering what decade some of these people dropping the history lingo live in — nevertheless the signing of Ubaldo Jimenez marks departure from past behavior in which Team rightly should have bolstered rotation and did not.

And signing of Suk-min Yoon from Korea also adds intrigue to rotational mix. But Yoon’s price-tag was so low, even by Oriolean standards, that if he ends up pitching in relief (closing perhaps?) he still will be seen as valuable as long as he’s effective. Let’s hope he’s game for a start every fifth day.

But, as Harvey Keitel once famously said … well you know what he said. Or maybe you don’t? [NSFW] To paraphrase: Let’s not take Team off the hook quite yet. On to phase two!

There’s more to do: Many folks in Blogs’phere don’t want to see Kendrys Morales as Oriole but if price is right Blog of Team formally endorses switch-hit DH with power pop in bat for team. Go get him — or make a trade for somebody else.

This horseshit where Team doesn’t have real DH is horseshit. In the AL, you DH. Nuff said.

warm and cOzy

Posted in the rOster on December 10th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Mark Reynolds is taking strikeout funks, homer binges, walks and plus chemistry to Cleveland. Clearly interest going both ways — between Mark and Baltimore, that is — was sorely lacking.

Many of us will miss Mark, Blog of Team included. And if he figures out how to bring his batting average up, we’ll miss him a lot.

[This was Blog’s favorite Mark moment (besides when he almost got intarperated).]

Sixty home runs in two seasons, despite playing without any real certainty about his defensive role until near the end of his tenure in Baltimore. It should have been different and, yes, we all knew it at the time — prior to 2012 campaign that is — that the third base experiment went on too long.

Mark plays best when he’s just letting the game come to him; that’s why he’s a better first baseman. At third after you catch it, a lot of times you have to throw it. That scary moment where you think about the throw wasn’t Mark’s strong suit.

Many of us will be tempted to conclude that Team is not interested in spending money. But maybe — maybe — that’s not true.

Maybe our Cash-Hoarding Head Strategist simply is looking for more value with the $8 million (at least) that Team now has saved by not moving on Reynolds and by trading our other dearly departed chemistry-plus player, Robert Andino.

After all, Dan did see fit to drop $2 million on Nate McLouth, who gets on base at a higher career clip than Reynolds, plays reliable defense, can lead off and apparently has a new lease on baseball life.

Besides Nate — and a sort of halfway interesting Rule 5 draft choice and the signing of a minor league reclamation project — the winter meetings came and went with many beat writers and bloggers telling us to sit tight and be patient. Guess you have to write something when there’s nothing to write about.

Okay! That’s what we’ll do!

But with all that dry powder it would certainly be reasonable to expect something. After all Team does like to roll out new baubles, such as they have been, at FanFest in January.

Maybe Team is being tight-fisted now because Warehouse knows it blew any shot it once may have had at extending Matt Wieters with a friendly contract — and now it’s trying to scrap together enough of a ceiling to make that happen eventually. That’s just a conspiracy theory, though. Probably not a very good one as far as those things go.

Or maybe Duquette cares not a whit for any one at any given moment and sees only a stat sheet with on-base percentage in his mind’s eye when he tucks in at night all warm and cozy beneath his Orioles nightcap.

cash hOarding head strategist

Posted in sO which guys?, the rOster on November 3rd, 2012 by The Wayward O

Dan Duquette is off to underwhelming start in first full off-season as el Capitan Meisterschaftheld of Equipe de Baltimore!

So far nobody could reasonably ask for more from somewhat quirky, still new and possibly lucky general manager — oh, sorry, EVP of Operaciones de Beisbol.

But he nevertheless reminds Wayward O of some parsimonious billionaire from movies who dumpster dives for parts rather than take his Bentley into dealership for new water pump.

Latest on-the-cheap spare? Alexi Casilla — Team’s fifth second baseman.

Years ago, back around 2003 maybe, owner of Blog of Team used to lament Team’s inability to choose between two second basemen. Now there are five guys in mix if you count our very rich, very reverent and very contract-focused friend Brian Roberts and also count Omar Quintanilla.

A quick look at Casilla and you see why Minnesota tired of him after five middling years in which  he stole a few bases but did little else to rouse one’s baseball soul either with bat or in field.

All of it suggests Team really still thinks Roberts has decent shot to return and play out final year of contract.

Blog digresses here, but wouldn’t it be great if he did? Blog can see the headlines now:  “After Years in Wilderness, Roberts Returns With Biblical Vengeance.” Maybe — it’s not beyond realm of the possible — B-Rob will even sign a new contract. Somewhere.

It’s all kind of too bad for Ryan Flaherty, probably the most intriguing of the second base bunch, and for the ever-so-human Robert Andino, who just is one of Blog’s favorites for Aubrey Huff-like reasons.

In picking scraps from edges of baseball’s steam table, at least Duquette hasn’t, so far, given Fans of Team indigestion by seriously considering Nick Swisher, one of the game’s great overrated players and a grinning fool who simply cannot, MUST NOT be part of Team’s future for any reason.

Blog simply cannot overstate this point: Bringing Swisher on (and handing draft picks to Yankees as a result) would put serious dent in Blog’s ability to care about Team. And Blog is not alone.

Is this thing on? Don’t you do it, Dan!

Concept of bringing another former Team nemesis and Moneyball hero, Kevin Youkilis, to Baltimore is far more appetizing, relatively speaking, than concept of bringing in Swisher.

Youks over the years has delivered many cases of heartburn to Orioles fans, who incredulously watched his idiotic batting stance, marveling at how it was possible for anyone to hit the ball while gyrating like a wind-up toy — and then invariably cursed when he would burn Team with key hit.

But baseball more recently been a very humbling game for Youk.

Knowing his competitive nature, Blog will say he’s likely to come back next year and produce even if it’s in a limited role.

If Orioles can’t manage to keep Mark Reynolds for the right price — and if they feel need to bring in a right-handed first baseman to spell Chris Davis — Youks would be a far less drecky move than the aforementioned Swisher.

Many people have said Swisher is kind of guy who “you love if he’s on your Team.” No. He’s not that kind of guy. Youks, however, is that kind of guy.

At any rate, nobody can accuse Duquette of rushing in where Angels fear to tread. His hang-back, pick-up-the-scraps approach has left Team with options to make moves at first base, left field and — arguably most importantly — in starting rotation.

So far, so good (or something) for our cash hoarding head strategist.

temperament cOunts

Posted in the rOster on July 10th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Five games over .500 after 85 games, one trade for designated hitter under belt, more trades possible as Team — behind recently-minted general manager Dan Duquette — adopts philosophy that present is future.

Certainly it would be crazy for Team to adopt a losing attitude at this juncture, especially with extra (sort of kind of) playoff seating available.

So what do to? Stand pat and preserve current makeup, which consists of a strange brew of about six young, legitimate MLB stars, one Hall-of-Famer, five potential stars and some spare parts? Or move pieces in order to find a solid starting pitcher, left fielder or third baseman to bolt on to Big Club?

ANSWER IS QUESTION: What has gotten Team where it is now? And how can Team get more of it?

Many have tried to understand how it is that Team has had such success during first half. Lots of home runs, occasionally brilliant starting pitching and reliable bullpen are stock answers, and they’re quite correct, but there’s a more overarching reason as well:

Discipline. Since Mr. Buck took over, we’ve seen minimal horseshit from players. No hideous meltdowns on field or in media; few to no on-field incidents between Team and opposing teams; and fewer self-immolating, self-flagellating comments after losses.

In short Team plays more on even keel now than it has for some time. Buck, along with Matt Wieters and Nick Markakis — both known to be even-tempered guys — have instilled notion that temperament counts especially when grappling with tough competition and losing streaks.

Amid winning so far, we’ve only seen one really tough losing streak — that one was a six-game skid that began near the end of May and lasted into June.

So Blog would say any move Team makes should be done with an eye on what kind of player would be coming in. Would he be able to understand role and contribute? Or would he clash with the Three Guys mentioned above and be more  distraction than addition?

Certainly you’d hate to give up young prospects in exchange for distraction.

As postscript Blog would say: Don’t give anything away lightly! If deal doesn’t happen, you kept your chips and lost nothing.  Heck Team might get hot and start winning again all by itself with recent changes to rotation (who knows?) and pending return of Markakis.

benefit Or detriment

Posted in the rOster on February 6th, 2012 by The Wayward O

Any time Team trades Blingie’d player, Blog takes notice.

Clean energy son

Guts joins non-Blingie’d Rodrigo Lopez as erstwhile Baltimore multiple Opening Day starter who ended up on Rockies.

In return for Guts Team gets one durable starter in Jason Hammel and one capable reliever in Matt Lindstrom.

Pitching in Camden bandbox against AL East bats vs. pitching in post-humidor Colorado against weaker bats from light-hitting NL West?

Probably pitching in Colorado slightly easier.

Also Guts won’t likely be No. 1 starter in Colorado so he’ll likely face weaker opponents and get better run support.

Guts could bust loose in 2012 and rack up a sick win-loss record. But even if he does that, it’s doesn’t follow he would have done so in Blartzinore.

Couple other observations:

Hammel started 96 games over past three years for Colorado and hit 21 batters. Guthrie started in 99 games over that span and hit 34 batters.

So Orioles fans who like watching A-Rod get plunked will have make do with less.

Among Guts’ many plunking victims is Michael Cuddyer, whose wrist Guts almost broke in August. Cuddyer — a longtime Twin who just moved to Colorado — sent a tweet Monday, saying “I hope you bring some ice with you. My wrist still hurts! LoL welcome aboard man, excited for your addition!”

A couple years back Guts’ Yankee-plunkings got so obvious, they caused a mini shit-storm.

So Blog recommends Guts not, you know, dig in too deep when he finally picks up bat in NL. At least for first few months. That stuff gets around in baseball.

Hammel gave up 56 dongs over last three years and Guts gave up 76. But their ratios of home runs per nine innings are close to even for their careers. So it’s a safe bet that Hammel will give up plenty of home runs at Camden.

Both Hammel and Guthrie are very durable. In fact, in many ways, they are very similar pitchers. But Hammel is far cheaper and Team also gets Lindstrom, who is coming off the best year of career, having posted a 3 ERA over 63 appearances for Rocks. Team pays less combined for new guys than Guts would likely have cost.

If you like pitchers with meat on their bones, you’ll love Lindstrom (6′ 3″, 220 lbs) and Hammel (6′ 6″, 215 lbs). Blog of Team personally likes giant Sasquatches who cast lumpy shadows from pitching mound.

Guts is 32, Hammel is 29 and Lindstrom is 31. So new guys are a tidbit younger. Of course Guts is mad durable and is one of best athletes in baseball so that’s probably a wash.

Blog of Team concludes that benefit or detriment of trade remains to be seen. Or, to paraphrase Walter Cronkite: TIME WILL TELL.

But if Blog of Team had to say RIGHT NOW Blog of Team would say: Good-ish trade.