Archive for November, 2006

Possible Back Up Catcher Signed

November 30, 2006

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The Orioles signed catcher Paul Bako to a one year deal.

Bako: .209/.261/.229, 3 doubles, 10 RBI

Cost: 1 year/<$1 million

Grade: D

The deal is for one year and less than a million dollars. Bako will to Spring Training as the favorite to win the back up catcher job at this point. There had to be better options out there than Paul Bako, who managed a sub -.500 OPS last season in 153 at bats. Reports say he is a good defensive catcher and game caller, but I don’t think is enough to make up for his lack of hitting skill. Looks like a standard Orioles back up catcher.

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O’s Sign Another Reliever

November 28, 2006

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The Orioles signed right handed relief pitcher Scott Williamson who pitched for the Chicago Cubs and San Diego Padres last year.

Williamson: 2-4, 5.72 ERA, 39.1 IP, 1.60 WHIP, 9.62 K/9

Cost: 1 year/$900,000

Grade: B+

This is a nice low risk, potential high reward signing. If Williamson can get/stay healthy next year he could be the best pitcher in the Orioles bullpen. He’s a high strikeout pitcher who has had success when hes been healthy throughout his career. A nice cheap contract that won’t make us lose a draft pick is another bonus. Combine this with another reliever signing soon and our bullpen is going to be vastly improved. Good signing, now its time to focus on some other areas like LF/1B/DH/SP.

Orioles Sign Reliever Baez

November 27, 2006

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The Orioles signed right handed relief pitcher Danys Baez to a 3 year deal. Baez pitched for the Los Angelos Dodgers and the Atlanta Braves last season.

Baez: 5-6, 4.53 ERA, 9 saves, 59.2 IP, 1.29 WHIP, 5.88 K/9

Cost: 3 years/$19 million

Grade: C

Almost six and a half million dollars a year for Danys Baez is an expensive buy, added in is the fact that we lose a 2nd round draft pick, but thats the market. Baez has been solid in the past, but his strikeout rate has declined steadily for the past few years. He missed the end of last year because he needed to get his appendix removed, but I doubt that effected his pitching too much. I think Baez could be a solid pitcher for us and I mark it as a slight improvement over LaTroy Hawkins, but we can’t put all of our faith on him. Another percieved bonus is that Baez has closer experience with his time in Tampa Bay and LA. We still need another reliever or two for the bullpen.

More Minor Signings

November 22, 2006

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The Orioles signed former Mets outfielder Roger Cedeno to a minor league contract. The O’s also re-signed left handed reliever John Parrish to a one year deal.

Grade: C

Cedeno has 57 at bats in the past 2 years combined, so I wouldn’t expect anything besides AAA filler. But its another no risk, potential reward move so if something positive comes of it, its a good signing. If nothing comes of it, we don’t lose anything. Parrish could be a contributor after being hurt all of last year.

Orioles Sign Lefty Relief Pitcher

November 16, 2006

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The Baltimore Orioles signed 35 year old LHP Jamie Walker for their bullpen.

Walker: 0-1, 2.81 ERA, 48 IP, 1.15 WHIP, 6.94 K/9

Cost: 3 years/$12 million

Grade: B

Walker was probably the best left handed reliever on the market and the Orioles signed him quickly. We might have overpaid a little, but just under $4 million a year for 3 years isn’t too bad. The bullpen was terrible last year and the Front Office is getting to work early on trying to fix it. Walker is a step in the right direction, but we need more if we want to improve our bullpen enough. There are plenty of targets available and the Orioles are rumored to be in negotiations with many more relievers. We can also go the trade route with Rodrigo Lopez and/or Kris Benson. I like the aggressiveness and I hope we keep it up.

Minor League Signings

November 16, 2006

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The Orioles signed 1B/DH Josh Phelps, 1B/3B Terry Tiffee, C J.R. House, OF Luis Montanez, 1B Brandon Sing, OF Ruddy Yan, SS Cesar Crespo, RP Jose Acevedo, RP Jon Leicester, RP Cory Doyne, RP Oscar Alvarez, RP Steve Green, RP Victor Moreno, SS Eider Lopez, and 3B Michael Cervenak to minor league contracts.

Grade: A

Its not that any of these players are going to make a major contribution to the Orioles next year, but the fact that we were quick to sign players that could have an impact for us. Instead of waiting and waiting and not getting anything that could help out even in emergency situations, we went out and signed some players with MLB experience (Phelps, Tiffee, House, Crespo, Acevedo), players past success in the minors (Sing), and players that were once promising prospects (Montanez, House). These are players that could step in for an injured player without losing as much of a step as an Eddy Rodriguez in left field would. House should compete for the back up catcher duty or a bench spot. Phelps could win a platoon or bench spot. Montanez and Tiffee could earn call ups at one point or another during the year. But mostly, its that these signings give our AA and AAA teams some depth and quality players. It shows a great step in the right direction.

O’s Make Trade With Yankees

November 13, 2006

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The Orioles trade 23 year old right handed relief pitcher Chris Britton to the New York Yankees for 30 year old right handed starting pitcher Jaret Wright and 4 million dollars.

Wright: 11-7, 4.49 ERA, 140.1 IP, 1.52 WHIP, 5.39 K/9

Cost: 1 year/$3 million

Grade: C-

The Orioles traded their second best reliever and weakened their biggest weakness. They traded for Jaret Wright, whose contract the Yankees were going to buy out and make him a free agent. The Orioles decided to trade for him instead because they figured he would cost more if they tried to sign him on the market. At first look this is a bad deal. But after hearing all sides, its not all bad. Jim Duquette said you trade a reliever for a starter every time, Wright gives us someone to put at the back end of the rotation or in the bullpen, and its just the start of the plan and there are more moves on the way. With that said, I like the deal a little more. This allows us to trade one or both of Kris Benson and Rodrigo Lopez and gives us more versatility in what we can do. That is all the judgment I can make for now, until more moves (or lack thereof) are made.

2006 In Review: Right Handed Relievers

November 8, 2006

LaTroy Hawkins

3-2, 4.48 ERA, 60.1 IP, 1.46 WHIP, 4.03 K/9

Grade: C

2007 outlook: Hawkins will most likely not pitch for the Orioles next season. Unless he is willing to sign a bargain basement deal, Hawkins will be moving on. He was an improvement over Steve Kline, so the trade was still a good one. His strikeout numbers dropped and he wasn’t a very effective set up man, so I think its time to let him go.

Todd Williams

2-4, 4.74 ERA, 1 save, 57 IP, 1.67 WHIP, 3.79 K/9

Grade: D-

2007 outlook: Williams will get a chance in Spring Training, but he shouldn’t be pitching in any meaningful innings if he pitches in the majors at all. He started off the year hurt and was not very effective when he came back. Most effective bullpens have pitchers that strikeout alot of batters. As you will notice, the Orioles have too many pitchers that don’t have that trait. Williams is another one that falls into that category.

Chris Britton

0-2, 3.35 ERA, 1 save, 53.2 IP, 1.17 WHIP, 6.88 K/9

Grade: B+

2007 outlook: Britton will be in the 2007 bullpen with a shot at the set up role. He had an up and down rookie year in 2006, but it added up to a good start to his Oriole career. He started off in the minor leagues before being called up for an extended time. He produced well before going through a rough stretch and being sent back down to the minors in August. He came back strong in September and is hope that we can provide quality bullpen arms through the farm system.

Sendy Rleal

1-1, 4.44 ERA, 46.2 IP, 1.52 WHIP, 3.66 K/9

Grade: D

2007 outlook: Rleal will get a shot to make the bullpen in Spring Training. There will be alot of pitchers competing for the spots. Sendy was another rookie reliever that was up and down throughout the year. His strikeouts dropped significantly this year, hopefully he can bring it back up to his past numbers next year. It seems he was relying on his changeup way too much.

Julio Manon

0-1, 5.40 ERA, 20 IP, 1.95 WHIP, 9.90 K/9

Grade: D

2007 outlook: Manon may well be another one of those pitchers that competes for a job next Spring Training. He was a pitcher that struck out alot of batters, but also walked a ton. He could be effective if he can cut down on the walks, but he could be getting his strikeouts because hes so wild.

Russ Ortiz

0-3, 8.48 ERA, 40.1 IP, 1.91 WHIP, 5.13 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Hopefully Ortiz will not be on the Orioles 2007 roster. In one of the most puzzling moments of my Orioles fan career, we signed Russ Ortiz in the summer and left him on the Major League roster for the remainder of the season. Time after time he got shelled and was the worst pitcher on the team (and thats saying something), but we kept a roster spot for him and kept sending him out there.

James Hoey

0-1, 10.24 ERA, 9.2 IP, 1.97 WHIP, 5.59 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Hoey will be in the 2007 bullpen at some point, but he may start off the year in AAA Norfolk. By the time he reached the Majors last September, Hoey had already pitched (and thrived) at three stops in the minor leagues. I expect him to be a big cog in the future of our bullpen and he’ll get a shot to make it out of Spring Training.

Eddy Rodriguez

1-1, 7.20 ERA, 15 IP, 1.80 WHIP, 6.60 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Rodriguez was confusing last year. Continuously great in AAA Ottawa, but continuously terrible when he pitched in Baltimore. Could be one of your classic AAAA players. Don’t expect to see him in Baltimore in 2007.

Winston Abreu

0-0, 10.13 ERA, 8 IP, 2.00 WHIP, 6.75 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Abreu won’t be pitching for the Orioles organization in 2007. He just signed a minor league contract to pitch for the Washington Nationals. He won’t go far, but it’ll be far enough. Abreu showed flashes and pitched great in AAA, but I think he’s another Eddy Rodriguez type.

Jim Brower

0-1, 13.86 ERA, 12.1 IP, 2.76 WHIP, 6.57 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Brower will catch on somewhere probably, but it won’t be in Baltimore. After pitching horribly early on in April the Orioles released Brower. They did the right thing, which makes the Russ Ortiz fiasco that much more confusing.

2006 In Review: Left Handed Relievers

November 7, 2006

Kurt Birkins

5-2, 4.94 ERA, 31 IP, 1.32 WHIP, 7.84 K/9

Grade: C-

2007 outlook: Birkins started off hot after being called up and then got hit hard just before he got injured and missed the last 2 months of the season. His poor stretch may have been a result from the injury, but his good start may have been fluky since he never really showed much dominance in the minors. He’ll most likely get the chance to prove which pitcher was the real Birkins in Spring Training, with a shot at the 2007 bullpen.

Brian Burres

0-0, 2.25 ERA, 8 IP, 0.88 WHIP, 6.75 K/9

Grade: B-

2007 outlook: Burres looked good in a brief look in September. He also pitched good all year as a starter for AAA Ottawa. He’ll get a good look in Spring Training next year for a spot in the bullpen.

John Halama

3-1, 6.14 ERA, 29.1 IP, 1.74 WHIP, 3.68 K/9

Grade: D-

2007 outlook: Halama will not pitch for the Orioles in 2007. I doubt he pitches anywhere for that matter. He did have a decent start thrown in there with his not-so-decent stats. Halama was just too old and didn’t strike anyone out.

Tim Byrdak

1-0, 12.86 ERA, 7 IP, 3.14 WHIP, 2.57 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Byrdak pitched awful in 2006, before and after he went on the disabled list. I don’t see Tim having any kind of role on the big league club in 2007, maybe a minor league spot.

Eric DuBose

0-0, 9.64 ERA, 4.2 IP, 2.79 WHIP, 3.86 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: DuBose pitched in 2 games early on in the season before being sent down to the minors, never to return. DuBose was awful, as were most Oriole left handed relievers, and isn’t going to be a part of the bullpen in 2007 either.

2006 In Review: Starting Pitching

November 1, 2006

Erik Bedard

15-11, 3.76 ERA, 196.1 IP, 1.35 WHIP, 7.84 K/9

Grade: A

2007 outlook: Bedard should be the Orioles opening day starter if nothing changes. Started the year off good, then had a bad spell before turning it on for the second half. Pitched like an ace from June 21st on. He gives some hope that our other pitchers can make similar strides in the not too distant future. Should be considered almost untouchable and signed to a long term deal soon.

Daniel Cabrera

9-10, 4.74 ERA, 148 IP, 1.58 WHIP, 9.55 K/9

Grade: C

2007 outlook: We got more of the same from Cabrera this year. Still struck out a boat load of hitters, still walked almost as much. Was very inconsistent, one night throwing an absolute gem, the next night walking 5 in 3 innings. Cabrera got demoted in the middle of the season and he pitched a little better after returning. His last game of the season was a high note, shutting out the Yankees with a one hitter. Enters next year in the starting rotation.

Kris Benson

11-12, 4.82 ERA, 183 IP, 1.40 WHIP, 4.33 K/9

Grade: C-

2007 outlook: The Orioles got what they should have expected from Benson, he has always been around a .500 record with a mid-4’s ERA. Did a good job eating up innings and got a few tough losses and no decisions along the way. Benson could demand a trade in the off-season, but he will most likely return to the back end of the rotation. Look for more of the same.

Adam Loewen

6-6, 5.37 ERA, 112.1 IP, 1.54 WHIP, 7.85 K/9

Grade: C-

2007 outlook: Loewen should start off the year at the back end of the rotation. He pitched admirably for the Orioles, being brought up earlier than expected and holding his own on most nights. Seemed to improve as the year went on. He needs to get his walks under control, and like Cabrera, could be a top flight starter if he does.

Rodrigo Lopez

9-18, 5.90 ERA, 189 IP, 1.55 WHIP, 6.48 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Rodrigo was supposed to be a bright spot for our rotation and hold down the fort until the prospects were ready. Instead we got one of the worst pitchers (performance wise) in Major League Baseball. He got moved to the bullpen and still almost got 20 losses. Could be back as a long man in the bullpen next year or he could be traded in the off season.

Bruce Chen

0-7, 6.93 ERA, 98.2 IP, 1.74 WHIP, 6.39 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Chen will not be pitching for the Orioles next year. I’d be surprised to see him pitching anywhere in the majors next year, unless its as emergency long man in the bullpen. Chen was supposed to combo with Rodrigo Lopez to be a big part of the rotation. Instead, he pitched even worse than Rodrigo and most definitely would have reached 20 losses if he didn’t get moved to the bullpen fairly early on. Thanks for the solid year and a half of pitching Bruce, good luck in your future.

Hayden Penn

0-4, 15.10 ERA, 19.2 IP, 2.59 WHIP, 3.66 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Penn is one of the Orioles best prospects (if not the best), but he struggled mightily in his September cup of coffee. Despite that, he still pitched excellent at AAA Ottawa and is still going to be a very big part of future Baltimore Oriole teams. Came back from his emergency appendectomy quite nicely and should compete for a spot in the rotation in Spring Training. If he doesn’t win a spot, he could either pitch out of the bullpen until ready or pitch at AAA Norfolk until ready.

James Johnson

0-1, 24.00 ERA, 3 IP, 4.00 WHIP, 0.00 K/9

Grade: F

2007 outlook: Johnson came up for a spot start and got bombed. He clearly wasn’t ready and I’m pretty sure everyone already knew that before that but they needed someone and he was the best option we had. He will pitch in AA or AAA for all of 2007 and hopefully will continue to work and improve to be ready to contribute in the Majors some day in the future.