Archive for November, 2011

A Couple Minor Signings

November 28, 2011

UPDATE: Chong decided to stay in Korea, accepting a three year deal from one of their teams. Not a big loss but it would’ve been an interesting signing.

The Orioles have signed 2B/3B Matt Antonelli and Korean RHP Chong Tae-Hyon to major league contracts.

Antonelli is a former first round pick and was once a highly regarded prospect for the San Diego Padres. He gets a one year deal with a chance to be a starter at either second or third base. Most likely he’ll be a solid option off the bench but if Mark Reynolds starts at first base or Brian Roberts isn’t healthy to start the season he has a chance. He has a solid glove and is good at getting on base. He has decent power for a second baseman. Over 300 at bats for AAA Syracuse he batted .297/.393/.460 with 19 doubles, 3 triples, 8 HRs, 30 RBI, and 6 stolen bases. After coming off an excellent 2007 season, he struggled in 2008 including a brief stint in the majors. He battled injuries in 2009 and 2010 before having a bounce back year last season at age 26. I like the signing for bench depth.

Chong is the first South Korean player to get signed directly to the major leagues. Hes 33 years old and pitched for Korea in the World Baseball Classic with some success. He was a late inning reliever with very good stats over there in his career. Last season he had a 1.48 ERA over 52.2 innings with 39 strikeouts and 28 walks. Thats not a great K/BB ratio but hes a groundball pitcher and the year before he had 47 strikeouts and only 8 walks over 45 innings with a 1.40 ERA. Hes a submarine style pitcher that will probably profile as a right handed specialist in the majors. Apparently the deal is for two years for a total of $3 million. I’m not convinced he’ll be a great pitcher in the major leagues but I like the fact that Dan Duquette is taking chances and looking at different avenues for talent. He said he was going to put more emphasis on international talent and so far hes lived up to his word.

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Dan Duquette Replaces MacPhail

November 6, 2011

The Orioles have announced that former Expos and Red Sox GM Dan Duquette has replaced Andy MacPhail as executive vice president of baseball operations.

Duquette hasn’t been heard from since he was fired by Boston following the 2002 season. He has had success in the past, building a championship caliber team in Montreal before the strike ruined their season in 1994 and putting together most of the 2004 world series winning Red Sox roster before he was fired. He traded for Pedro Martinez twice, signed Manny Ramirez and Johnny Damon. He has legitimate credentials and has alot of ties to Japan and South America which is a big need for the Orioles. His style won’t be too much different from MacPhail’s aside from the international market, but he probably won’t be as conservative. I’m just worried his time away from the game will have him playing catch up while other teams are making their moves. The Orioles strung along the process of hiring the new GM in traditional Peter Angelos fashion. Taking forever to get the process started, dragging out the initial interviews. He waited until right before free agency started to offer the job to Toronto assistant GM Tony LaCava, only to have him turn down the job and forcing the O’s to go through the whole process over again. Another one of our candidates, Jerry DiPoto, took the Angels GM job. This team is the biggest joke in baseball and its embarrassing. Duquette seems like a good baseball guy but hes gonna have his work cut out for him working for this organization. If hes allowed to do his job we might have a chance for some good years but I don’t think we’ll ever be truly competitive again until Angelos sells the team. The sooner the better.