Archive for December, 2010

Derrek Lee Signed For One Year

December 31, 2010

The Orioles have agreed to terms with 1B Derrek Lee on a one year contract worth $7.25 million with incentives that could make it as high as $10 million.

This is another great move this offseason by Andy MacPhail and it puts the finishing touches on our revamped infield. The Orioles plugged the holes at third base and shortstop relatively quickly with Mark Reynolds and JJ Hardy respectively but it seemed like first base was dragging on forever. Originally it seemed like we were close to a deal with Adam LaRoche on a three year deal but for whatever reason it never happened so we turned our attention to Lee and eventually a deal got done. Hes coming off a down year but theres not much downside to a one year contract. Last season Lee batted .260/.347/.428 with 35 doubles, 19 homeruns, and 80 RBI over 547 at bats between the Chicago Cubs and Atlanta Braves. That alone would be a big upgrade over what the Orioles produced at first base in 2010 but the good news is that Lee’s stats improved after being traded to the Braves. He went from .251/.335/.416 with the Cubs to .287/.384/.465 with Atlanta. He also played all of last season with a torn ligament in his thumb which he had surgically repaired after the season ended. In 2009 he had the second best season of his career with a line of .306/.393/.579 with 36 doubles, 2 triples, 35 homeruns, and 111 RBI. Hes 35 years old so you can’t count on him getting back to that level but I think its fair to look for an OPS around .850 like he had after being traded to the Braves last year. He should be healthy entering spring training and motivated to prove last year was a fluke. He’ll be a free agent again after 2011 so it would do him well to put up a good season so he can cash in on one more multiyear contract. We can also offer arbitration after the season in this case to either get an extra draft pick or two, or have him accept for another reasonable one year contract. Hes also a very good defensive first baseman so our infield will be improved both offensively and defensively. Patience, power, and defense – what more can you ask for from your first baseman? He might not be the long term solution for our franchise but on a one year deal I think its the best we could’ve possibly done.

Reliever Accardo Signed

December 14, 2010

The Orioles have signed RHP Jeremy Accardo to a one year contract worth $1.08 million.

This is a low key signing that has some upside. Accardo was non-tendered by the Blue Jays earlier in the offseason making him a free agent. It looks at this point like he’ll be taking Matt Albers’ role in the bullpen as a middle reliever. Hes spent most of the last three seasons at Toronto’s AAA Las Vegas club after saving 30 games with a 2.14 ERA with the big league team in 2007. He hurt his shoulder in 2008 and never really returned to form after that. He had ERAs of 6.57, 2.55, and 8.10 for the Blue Jays over the last three seasons but in AAA he put up ERAs of 3.55, 3.00, and 3.48 over the same span in a hitters league and home ballpark. Last year he saved 24 games for Las Vegas, striking out 26 batters and walking 15 over 44 innings. He gets more ground ball than fly balls but doesn’t strike out many batters. Its a low risk acquisition. If he returns to his 2007 form or even close to that he’ll be a cheap bullpen arm for the next two years. Hes only signed for one season but he’ll be arbitration eligible after 2011 and under team control for 2012 if the Orioles so choose. The worst case scenerio is that he struggles and gets released or sent to AAA Norfolk and the O’s have to eat a million dollars. I think there were better choices for that kind of risk (like Joel Peralta or Manny Delcarman) but they probably wouldn’t come as cheap and maybe their still options as Andy MacPhail tries to rebuild the bullpen.

O’s Bring Back Izturis

December 11, 2010

The Orioles re-signed SS Cesar Izturis to a one year, $1.5 million contract with incentives that could add another $1.75 million.

Izturis returns for a bench role to back up new shortstop JJ Hardy. Hardy missed 61 games with an injury last year and only played in 115 games in 2009 so a decent backup is a nice insurance policy in case he misses more time in 2011. We know Izturis can’t hit but thats not as big a deal for someone that should only play sparingly. His defense is good and this assures that there won’t be a drop off in the field when hes in there. He can also back up Brian Roberts at second base. The only problem I see with this is that we just traded for a utility man in the Hardy deal, Brendan Harris. Harris doesn’t provide much offensively either and I think it would be a waste to carry two no hit infielders on the bench. He still has an option so he could start the year at AAA Norfolk but I’m sure it will all play out in spring training. A bench of Izturis, Harris, Craig Tatum, and Nolan Reimold doesn’t give us many pinch hit opportunities and there would be a big drop off whenever a starter doesn’t play. Hopefully something happens where theres another bat added for the bench. So I don’t have a problem with the Izturis signing in general, I think its a mistake if both him and Harris are on the roster at the same time.

O’s Select Pitcher In Rule 5 Draft; Lose Two

December 9, 2010

The Orioles selected RHP Adrian Rosario, previously with the Milwaukee Brewers, in the rule 5 draft. They also lost RHP Pat Egan to the Brewers and RHP Pedro Beato to the New York Mets.

Rosario is a 21 year old relief pitcher that is tall and skinny (6’4”, 180). The Orioles took him in the first round of the rule 5 draft and he has to stay on the major league roster or else he can be offered back to the Brewers. I guess the Orioles see some potential in him and are hoping they can hide him at the bottom of the bullpen. Looking at his numbers he must have good stuff because he gets alot of strikeouts but as usual control appears to be an issue. In rookie ball he pitched to a 1.26 ERA over 14.1 innings with 15 strikeouts and 3 walks. Clearly too good for the competition there he was promoted to A ball where he went 4-0 with a 4.50 ERA over 32 innings with 44 strikeouts and 15 walks. Without having seen him pitch I don’t see how hes going to make it the whole season with the Orioles. If he can only manage a 4.50 ERA in single A, I can’t wait to see how he does at the major league level. But thats the nature of these things and the Orioles obviously know more about him than I do. I’ll be interested to hear the reports on him and spring training and hope it works out. Maybe we’ll end up making a deal to be able to send him to our minors.

As for the two pitchers taken from our minors, I think they have a better chance of sticking with their respective clubs than Rosario with the O’s but theres still a good chance they get returned to us at some point. Pat Egan was great with AA Bowie in 2010 going 6-1 with a 2.12 ERA and 5 saves in 46.2 innings with 25 strikeouts and 7 walks but struggled after being promoted to AAA Norfolk with a 5.11 ERA over 37 innings with 17 strikeouts and 9 walks. He gets alot of groundballs and had a good stint in the AFL with a 2.13 ERA over 12.2 innings so he might make it but his time in AAA makes it seem like hes not quite ready to stick in the majors. I had Pedro Beato as the Orioles 23rd best prospect in my top 25 prospect list and the Mets took him in the second round of the rule 5 draft. He was 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA and 16 saves over 59.2 innings with 50 strikeouts and 19 walks for AA Bowie in 2010. I’d say he has a slightly better chance than Egan to stick with his team but hes still never performed above AA ball and never pitched near as well as a starter at any level than he did as a reliever this year. Time will tell with all of these players but most of the time they get returned. It’d be nice to get an exception to that rule with Rosario but we can’t count on that.

O’s Trade For Shortstop Hardy

December 9, 2010

The Orioles have traded RHP Jim Hoey and RHP Brett Jacobson to the Minnesota Twins for SS JJ Hardy, INF Brendan Harris, and $500,000.

Andy MacPhail strikes again. When it comes to trades, I don’t know if theres another GM in baseball that I’d rather have than him. Not only can he trade established players for a haul of prospects like he did in the Erik Bedard and Miguel Tejada trades, but he can also do the opposite like he did with Mark Reynolds and now JJ Hardy. The two relievers the Orioles traded in the deal, Jim Hoey and Brett Jacobson, didn’t make my top 25 prospect list and they probably would’ve slotted in somewhere between 35-40 if I went that far. Hoey had a solid season after recovering from elbow surgery. He started at AA Bowie where he went 2-0 with a 3.16 ERA over 31.1 innings with 38 strikeouts and 17 walks before getting promoted to AAA Norfolk where he was 4-0 with a 3.38 ERA over 21.1 innings with 32 strikeouts and 17 walks. The strikeout rate is great but the walks are high and he’ll be 28 years old entering the 2011 season, not to mention he was terrible in ML stints in 2006 and 2007 with a 10.24 and 7.30 ERA respectively over 34.1 innings. Jacobson was who we got from the Detroit Tigers when we traded them Aubrey Huff near the end of the 2009 season. He had a good season with A+ Frederick, going 8-1 with a 2.79 ERA over 71 innings with 67 strikeouts and 24 walks but was repeating the league after pitching to a 6.30 ERA in 2009 and is old for the level at 24 years old. Each guy has a chance to be useful at the big league level but are more likely not to have impact at all.

The Orioles won’t lose any sleep over trading the relievers, especially not for our new starting shortstop in Hardy. After putting up with Cesar Izturis’ dismal offensive production (and it was offensive..), the O’s are getting a guy that is above average with the bat for the position. Hardy hit .268/.320/.394 with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 6 homeruns, and 38 RBI last year for the Twins but missed a couple months due to a bruised wrist that lingered throughout the season. Hes a power threat, having hit 26 and 24 homeruns in 2007 and 2008 for the Milwaukee Brewers respectively, and also hits alot of doubles for a shortstop (back to back years with 30 in ’07 and ’08). After those two great years Hardy had a terrible year in 2009, putting up a .659 OPS and getting demoted during the season, and was traded to the Twins in the offseason. He rebounded a little last year and should put up an OPS around .746 with the Orioles in 2011, which is his career average. Not only is he a big improvement offensively but hes also as good as Izturis with the glove, if not better. He has a very strong arm and good range. The best part is that hes only 28 years old and if I was the Orioles I would look into signing him to a contract extension, as hes currently set to hit free agency after the 2011 season. The Orioles also got Brendan Harris in the deal, who should compete with Robert Andino in spring training for the utility infielder role. The 30 year old was terrible with the bat in 2010, hitting .157/.233/.213 with 3 doubles, a homerun, and 4 RBI, but with very sporadic playing time over only 108 at bats. While hes not a great hitter hes not that bad, putting up a .701 OPS for his career average. Hes not a great fielder either but he won’t hurt you and he can play every position on the field other than catcher. Overall it was a great trade that completely revamps and improves the left side of the Orioles infield. Next we need to add a legitimate first baseman and our biggest needs going into the offseason will be filled.

Uehara Re-Signed

December 9, 2010

The Orioles have re-signed RHP Koji Uehara to a one year contract worth $3 million that could escalate to $5 million based on incentives. There is also a vesting option for 2012 based on appearances and games finished.

Well it looks like Andy MacPhail made the right decision after all by not offering Uehara arbitration. Koji would’ve probably earned between five and seven million dollars if he would’ve accepted, instead the most he can make is five but the Orioles have insurance in case his injury issues come back up. I still think it was too risky to not offer arbitration with a chance to miss out on a draft pick if he would’ve signed with another team but I’m glad it worked out. He was great in the second half of last year as the teams closer. A 2.86 ERA over 44 innings with 13 saves and an 11 to one strikeout to walk ratio are the highlights of his season. He’ll enter spring training as the teams closer but it’ll be interesting to see how hes handled in March to get him ready for the season. Hes very injury prone and we’re counting on him more now than we did at the beginning of last year so hes health will be crucial to the success of our bullpen. The best case scenario is that he stays relatively healthy all season and his 2012 option vests, giving us another productive season for a reasonable price. Worse case is hes hurt throughout the season and we don’t get much from him, but in that case he would only cost us $3 million. This was a safe signing with alot of upside and we really needed it after trading David Hernandez and losing Matt Albers and Mark Hendrickson to free agency.

2011 Top Prospects: #11 – 25

December 6, 2010

11. Bobby Bundy – RHP – 20 years old

A Delmarva: 4-6, 3.65 ERA, 116 IP, 91 K, 42 BB

Bundy rebounded nicely after a disappointing 2009 season. Hes got his career back on track and will look to build on his success in Frederick in 2011. He gets his share of ground balls and strikeouts. He needs to work on command like most pitching prospects do but theres alot to like about him.

12. Tyler Townsend – 1B – 22 years old

GCL Orioles: .385/.429/.692, 3 R, 4 doubles, 5 RBI, 13 AB
A Delmarva: .342/.398/.556, 16 R, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR, 26 RBI, 117 AB
A+ Frederick: .284/.385/.552, 6 R, 5 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR, 14 RBI, SB, 67 AB

If he could stay healthy Townsend would be alot higher on this list. When he was in the lineup this year he raked but it wasn’t very often with just 197 at bats. He got injured again during winter ball although its not considered to be anything serious. Hes a first baseman with some power, which the Orioles could use. If he can stay healthy in 2011 he could set himself up for a shot in the majors in 2012.

13. Joe Mahoney – 1B – 24 years old

A+ Frederick: .299/.358/.465, 37 R, 18 doubles, 9 HR, 49 RBI, 5 SB, 271 AB
AA Bowie: .319/.378/.545, 30 R, 12 doubles, 2 triples, 9 HR, 29 RBI, 8 SB, 191 AB

Another mediocre first base prospect, Mahoney is a late bloomer who came out of nowhere in 2010. He did well for Frederick before being promoted to Bowie where he came out of the gate scorching hot. He cooled down considerably after three weeks but it was still enough to put him on the prospect map. He’ll start 2011 in AAA Norfolk. If he can duplicate his AA numbers there then we might be on to something.

14. Parker Bridwell – RHP – 19 years old

GCL Orioles: 0-0, 5.40 ERA, 1.2 IP, 4 K, 3 BB
Short A Aberdeen: 0-0, 0.00 ERA, 4 IP, 2 K, BB

Bridwell was an overslot draft pick by the Orioles in this years draft. We didn’t see much from him this year but from everything I read hes got good stuff and alot of potential. I would guess he starts at short A Aberdeen but maybe he gets some action in Delmarva. As a multi sport athlete in high school it’ll be interesting to see how he does focusing on one sport.

15. Ryan Adams – 2B/3B – 23 years old

AA Bowie: .298/.365/.464, 81 R, 43 doubles, 15 HR, 68 RBI, 2 SB, 530 AB

Adams is a guy that can hit. An infielder with a good average, decent pop, and some plate discipline. If he could play second or third without being a butcher defensively he could be an every day player. Unfortunately he doesn’t seem capable of playing defense good enough. He can still be a valuable bench player/pinch hitter and if his defense improves who knows. He’ll start 2011 at AAA Norfolk.

16. Caleb Joseph – C – 24 years old

AA Bowie: .235/.301/.368, 43 R, 15 doubles, triple, 11 HR, 51 RBI, SB, 378 AB

Joseph had a very disappointing season offensively but he still has potential with the bat. Hes never going to unseat Matt Wieters as the starting catcher but he could make a good backup. His defense apparently came along well and he hit very well in the AFL (winter ball). It doesn’t take much to be a respectable back up at the catcher position so he still holds potential value.

17. Brandon Snyder – 1B – 24 years old

Short A Aberdeen: .231/.231/.538, 2 R, double, HR, 4 RBI, 13 AB
AAA Norfolk: .257/.324/.407, 36 R, 22 doubles, triple, 9 HR, 43 RBI, 4 SB, 339 AB
Baltimore: .300/.300/.400, R, 2 doubles, 3 RBI, 20 AB

Snyder’s stock has fallen fast and hard over the last couple years. He hit a wall offensively when he got to AAA Norfolk in 2009 and it pretty much continued all season this year. Just when it seemed like he was breaking out he got hurt and missed over a month. He looked pretty decent when he was called up to Baltimore in September so maybe the potential is still there but most likely he’ll be a bench player moving forward. Should start at Norfolk unless he has a great spring.

18. Jesse Beal – RHP – 20 years old

A Delmarva: 7-6, 3.86 ERA, 114.1 IP, 64 K, 23 BB

Beal is a different kind of pitching prospect. He has very good control of the strike zone but his stuff isn’t quite there yet. Theres some room for growth as far as velocity on his fastball but hes never going to be a power pitcher. If he can add 2-3 mph to his fastball and fine tune his off speed pitches he could be a four or five starter. Maybe he’d do well as a reliever when he hits the majors. For now he’ll start in A+ Frederick to open 2011.

19. Matt Angle – CF – 25 years old

AA Bowie: .383/.433/.467, 11 R, 2 doubles, HR, 9 RBI, 5 SB, 60 AB
AAA Norfolk: .260/.338/.303, 55 R, 4 doubles, 4 triples, HR, 24 RBI, 24 SB, 350 AB

Angle’s ceiling is probably a starting center fielder on a bad team but most likely he’ll never be anything better than a fourth outfielder. That still has value to major league teams. He plays good defense and is fast so he could be a defensive replacement/pinch runner. He has potential to hit for a decent average and take some walks but he’ll never hit for any type of power. Back to Norfolk to start 2011 but he could get a call up under the right circumstances.

20. Wynn Pelzer – RHP – 24 years old

AA San Antonio: 6-9, 4.20 ERA, 94.1 IP, 83 K, 56 BB
AA Bowie: 1-0, 4.50 ERA, 20 IP, 20 K, 7 BB

Pelzer was acquired when the Orioles traded Miguel Tejada to the San Diego Padres in July. Hes a failed starter turned reliever and is still a work in progress. He has a deceptive delivery and can get strikeouts but he needs to improve his command as he walks too many batters. Not sure how good his stuff is as I’ve read conflicting reports. He’ll get a chance to prove himself working out of either AAA Norfolk or AA Bowie’s bullpen next season.

21. Chorye Spoone – RHP – 25 years old

AA Bowie: 7-6, 4.02 ERA, 132 IP, 88 K, 79 BB

Spoone should enter 2011 fully healthy (or at least as healthy as hes going to get) after labrum surgery in 2008. He did alright this year but walked way too many batters. Hes going to need to get better in that regard if he wants a chance to pitch in the majors. Hes a ground ball pitcher that I could see being converted to relief soon but he’ll probably get one more shot at starting in AAA Norfolk to start the year.

22. Greg Miclat – SS – 23 years old

A+ Frederick: .311/.403/.402, 30 R, 12 doubles, HR, 19 RBI, 8 SB, 164 AB
AA Bowie: .246/.317/.316, 35 R, 9 doubles, 2 triples, HR, 16 RBI, 4 SB, 228 AB

Miclat is another guy that rebounded from a disappointing season in Delmarva in 2009 to putting up solid numbers in Frederick. He didn’t fare as well after being promoted to AA Bowie but did hit fairly well in winter ball. His ceiling is most likely a back up middle infielder but if he can settle in on a .725+ OPS and provide solid defense he might start somewhere. Hes got alot of work to do to get to that point though. Back to AA Bowieto start 2011 is my guess.

23. Pedro Beato – RHP – 24 years old

AA Bowie: 4-0, 2.11 ERA, 16 SV, 59.2 IP, 50 K, 19 BB

Beato had a great season this year after converting to a reliever. He was able to get his walks down and his strikeouts up while closing games for Bowie. He’ll take the next step to AAA Norfolk in 2011. If he can duplicate his 2010 numbers he’ll get a shot with the big league club, especially after the Orioles just traded David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio. Beato’s stuff still isn’t overpowering but hes on the right track.

24. Aaron Wirsch – LHP – 20 years old

GCL Orioles: 0-2, 8.64 ERA, 8.1 IP, 9 K, 6 BB
Short A Aberdeen: 0-1, 3.00 ERA, 3 IP, 4 K, 2 BB

Wirsch was an under the radar guy coming into the season but was injured during spring training and wasn’t able to make his debut until late in the year. His inflated ERA with the GCL Orioles is due to one very bad outing. His other appearances were strong and he looked good in his short time with Aberdeen. It’ll either be back to Aberdeen or on to Delmarva to start 2011 but I expect his innings to be limited either way coming off the injury.

25. Ronnie Welty – RF – 23 years old

A+ Frederick: .282/.349/.464, 86 R, 32 doubles, 3 triples, 18 HR, 82 RBI, 11 SB, 504 AB

Welty had a consistent, solid season for Frederick but hes a little old for the league for it to be considered note worthy. He’ll move up to AA Bowie and if he can continue his production than he’ll be taken a little more seriously. Hes a good fielder with a strong arm so as long as he can keep up with the pitching in the upper levels he should be able to crack MLB at some point. He also has decent speed so hes an under the radar guy to keep an eye on.

Honorable Mentions: Jake Cowan, Tyler Henson, Trent Mummey, Brandon Erbe, Oliver Drake, Jarrett Martin, Randy Henry, Steve Johnson

2011 Top Prospects: #1 – 10

December 6, 2010

1. Manny Machado – SS – 18 years old

GCL Orioles: .143/.143/.571, R, HR, 2 RBI, 7 AB
Short A Aberdeen: .345/.406/.448, 2 R, double, triple, 3 RBI, 29 AB

The Orioles took Machado with the third overall pick in the 2010 amateur draft. Alot of scouts think he could end up being the best player from the draft. Hes a great hitter that should develop power as he grows into his body. Has a chance to stay at shortstop where he has a good glove and rocket arm, but might eventually outgrow the position and shift to third base. Impressed the O’s in limited time, should start 2011 as the starting shortstop in A Delmarva.

2. Zach Britton – LHP – 23 years old

AA Bowie: 7-3, 2.48 ERA, 87 IP, 68 K, 28 BB
AAA Norfolk: 3-4, 2.98 ERA, 66.1 IP, 56 K, 23 BB

Britton picked up right where he left off in 2009. He dominated in AA before getting promoted to AAA Norfolk. He continued his success there but needs to work on getting deeper into games. He gets a ton of ground balls (2.80 go/ao combined in 2010) and is still developing his already good slider and changeup. Will most likely start 2011 in AAA Norfolk but won’t stay there all year. Look for a mid season promotion to Baltimore.

3. LJ Hoes – 2B – 20 years old

Short A Aberdeen: .464/.531/.821, 8 R, 5 doubles, triple, HR, 5 RBI, SB, 28 AB
A+ Frederick: .278/.375/.368, 19 doubles, 2 triples, 3 HR, 44 RBI, 10 SB, 353 AB
AA Bowie: .222/.222/.222, R, RBI, 9 AB

Hoes started off red hot for A+ Frederick until he came down with mononucleosis and missed a solid month. He was the best player on the field when he rehabbed in Aberdeen but the mono was still effecting him for the rest of the year. His power was sapped but he got his patience at the plate back to 2008 levels. The Orioles think the power will develop and were impressed by him in offseason work outs. He’ll start 2011 as AA Bowie’s starting second baseman.

4. Xavier Avery – CF – 21 years old

A+ Frederick: .280/.349/.389, 73 R, 25 doubles, 6 triples, 4 HR, 48 RBI, 28 SB, 447 AB
AA Bowie: .234/.288/.374, 10 R, 6 doubles, 3 HR, 18 RBI, 10 SB, 107 AB

Avery is another guy that rebounded nicely from a bad 2009 campaign. His patience at the plate improved tremendously and he hit for more power than ever. He struggled a bit after being promoted to AA Bowie but showed flashes. He still needs alot of work both offensively and defensively but the potential is there for a star player. Likely won’t reach Carl Crawford levels but that is his absolute ceiling. Maybe Felix Pie with less power and more steals is more accurate.

5. Dan Klein – RHP – 22 years old

Short A Aberdeen: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, SV, 6.1 IP, 10 K, BB

Klein was the Orioles second pick in the 2010 draft, a third rounder. He was a closer for UCLA and dominated for Aberdeen in their bullpen but the O’s are going to turn him into a starting pitcher. They’ll probably limit him to five inning outings in 2011 and he should start at either Delmarva or Frederick. Hes got three very good offerings with a fastball, curve ball, changeup combo. If he fails as a starter he can transition back to relief and get fast tracked.

6. Matt Hobgood – RHP – 20 years old

A Delmarva: 3-7, 4.40 ERA, 94 IP, 59 K, 38 BB

Hobgood had a disappointing year for a top five pick but he actually wasn’t too bad for a starting pitcher at his age in low A ball. He was bothered by a sore shoulder in the middle of the season and he needs to get his weight and conditioning under control. He can still be a workhorse third starter in the majors but its going to take some time. He gets a good amount of ground balls. I expect a bit of a break out season for him in 2011 where he’ll start at A+ Frederick.

7. Jonathon Schoop – SS – 19 years old

GCL Orioles: .250/.329/.467, 11 R, 4 doubles, 3 HR, 16 RBI, 60 AB
Rookie Bluefield: .316/.372/.459, 16 R, 11 doubles, triple, 2 HR, 16 RBI, SB, 133 AB
A+ Frederick: .238/.273/.381, 5 R, 3 doubles, 3 RBI, 21 AB

Schoop came out of nowhere this year. He was promoted from the Domican Summer League and performed well at every stop from there. A shortstop with some power and good patience at the plate is a very valuable commodity and he looks like he has that potential. He even held his own at A+ Frederick at a very young age. He might have to move to second or third base eventually but for now I think he’ll start 2011 in Frederick as the shortstop.

8. Mychal Givens – SS – 20 years old

GCL Orioles: .207/.207/.276, 2 R, 2 doubles, 2 RBI, 29 AB
Short A Aberdeen: .364/.488/.727, 8 R, 3 doubles, 3 HR, 5 RBI, 2 SB, 33 AB
A Delmarva: .222/.444/.222, 2 R, 4 RBI, SB, 18 AB
A+ Frederick: .500/.600/.500, 2 R, RBI, 4 AB

Givens had a weird year. He stayed in extended spring training for a while to get extra work before making his debut in Delmarva. He broke his thumb less than a week later and was sidelined until late in the season. When he was finally healthy he broke out with Aberdeen, showing great plate discipline and power in limited at bats. Fully healthy, heading into 2011 will be a big season for him. He’ll move to third base and start in Frederick next to Schoop most likely. We’ll find out if he can sustain the pace he set at the end of the year.

9. Clayton Schrader – RHP – 19 years old

Short A Aberdeen: 1-0, 0.00 ERA, SV, 8 IP, 10 K, 4 BB
A Delmarva: 0-1, 6.75 ERA, 4 IP, 6 K, 2 BB

Schrader might be the first 2010 draft pick to make it to the majors. Hes got filthy stuff but is a fly ball pitcher. He showed his strikeout ability at the end of 2010. That should continue in 2011 where he’ll start in Delmarva but could end the year at AA Bowie. Potential closer of the future for the birds, hes someone I’d keep an eye on next year.

10. Ryan Berry – RHP – 22 years old

A Delmarva: 0-3, 3.50 ERA, 46.1 IP, 43 K, 11 BB
A+ Frederick: 2-2, 3.04 ERA, 71 IP, 63 K, 25 BB

Berry was handled delicately this year since he was coming off an arm injury. He was effective in the short stints and showed strikeout ability. I would think the leash will be taken off in 2011 where he’ll start at AA Bowie. His eventual role might be in the bullpen as a swing man or set up guy but for now the O’s will let him build up his innings as a starter. Injuries will always be a concern for any pitcher that comes out of the Rice program and Berry is no exception.

Albers Non-Tendered

December 6, 2010

The Orioles have decided not to tender RHP Matt Albers a contract for 2011, making him a free agent.

Albers was set to make around a million dollars through arbitration for 2011 and Andy MacPhail must have thought he wouldn’t be worth that. I tend to agree with him in this regard. He had a 4.52 ERA over 75.2 innings in 2010 but was wildly inconsistent. He had stretches where he was almost unhittable but more often he got lit up. Albers can get ground balls but is a dime a dozen type reliever so the Orioles can do better, or at least the same for cheaper. He can always re-sign with the O’s but I think it would have to be a minor league deal and I don’t see that happening. This move gives Rick VandenHurk a better chance of making the bullpen out of spring training since hes out of options.

Orioles Acquire Reynolds

December 6, 2010

The Orioles have traded RHP David Hernandez and RHP Kam Mickolio to the Arizona Diamondbacks for 3B Mark Reynolds.

The Orioles finally made their first real move of the offseason and its a good one. We went into the offseason needing to upgrade first base, third base, and shortstop. Third base can now be crossed off the list. Reynolds is a power hitter that plays average defense. The 27 year old hit .198/.320/.433 with 17 doubles, 2 triples, 32 homeruns, and 85 RBI in 2010 but a minor injury in September brought those numbers down a good bit. Still obviously a disappointing season for him and the Diamondbacks after he hit .260/.349/.543 with 30 doubles, a triple, 44 homeruns, and 102 RBI in 2009. The Orioles are hoping he bounces back to those levels but even if he doesn’t hes still an upgrade at the position from what we put out there in 2010. Josh Bell can continue to develop at AAA Norfolk and we finally have a 30+ homer bat for the middle of the lineup that hits lefties well. Reynolds is signed very reasonably for the next two years ($5 million for 2011, $7.5 million for 2012) with a team option for 2013 (for $11 million or a $500,000 buy out). If he bounces back to all-star level numbers than we got a steal and easily exercise the option for 2013. If not, than we decline it and didn’t have to pay him much for his time here. Reynolds and Luke Scott back to back is a scary sight for opposing pitchers.

Losing David Hernandez stings but hes still a work in progress after transitioning into a reliever. Alot of potential as a future closer or set up man with a high 90’s fastball but he still needs to improve his breaking pitch. He had a 4.31 ERA in 2010, 3.16 as a reliever. I would’ve preferred to find a way to make the trade without including Hernandez but in the end hes a reliever and they tend to be overvalued in trades. They’re also the easiest commodity to find so any time you can trade one (or two) for a legitimate power hitting third baseman you have to do it. Mickolio is another hard throwing relief pitcher but more of a project. He had a 6.37 ERA over 35.1 innings at AAA Norfolk this year. At 6’9” he has a hard time repeating his mechanics. He could be good if he puts it together but you can say that about hundreds of players. This trade is a good first step for the offseason but we can’t stop here. We need to sign a first baseman (one of Derrek Lee, Adam LaRoche, or Carlos Pena), trade for a shortstop (JJ Hardy or Jason Bartlett), re-sign Koji Uehara, and then fine tune the roster. I would expect some more announcements this week at the winter meetings.