Update: I just got off the phone with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, who said it’s “unlikely” that the Orioles will make a trade today.
“At this point, I would believe not,” he said.
I’ll check back with him later this afternoon.
Now, back to your original entry, already in progress:
The 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline is bearing down on us, and I passed up a chance to accompany my parents and the birthday girl to the beach this morning because I need to make phone calls and remain close to my laptop in case the Orioles swing another deal. I would have been an oily ball of stress sitting by the ocean, so I chose to stay back at the house.
How truly pathetic.
Anyway, I’m not anticipating a second trade unfolding, but the Orioles supposedly weren’t close to consummating a deal late Thursday morning and you know what happened.
The market for Ty Wigginton is diminishing, but someone could step up with a suitable offer. It’ll have to be a good one, because the Orioles aren’t looking to unload him and clear room for another first baseman. He still serves a purpose here, and MacPhail won’t dump him for a low-level prospect.
You could argue that Wigginton should be re-signed over the winter as insurance in case the Orioles don’t upgrade at first base or Josh Bell isn’t ready to take over third. He could be a backup corner infielder with pop from the right side - his original role heading into the season - though he’ll want a starting job somewhere in 2011.
A guy like Will Ohman could clear waivers next month and be dealt before the Aug. 31 deadline for teams to finalize their playoff rosters.
You can’t trade Jeremy Guthrie when he’s currently the only starting pitcher who clears five innings.
I guess contenders don’t view Cesar Izturis as an impact shortstop. He, too, figured to be a pretty good trade candidate earlier this summer.
Michael Gonzalez’s ERA is down to 6.14 after another scoreless outing last night, though it lasted only two-thirds of an inning. Interim manager Juan Samuel played matchups and called upon Koji Uehara to face Jason Kendall with two outs in the eighth, and the Royals’ catcher flied to left.
I questioned the move at the time - for the record, so did my mother, and we were the only two people in the room still awake - but it worked out.
You know how I hate the constant calls to the bullpen. And Gonzalez was originally signed to be the closer and face hitters from both sides of the plate. Now we’re matching up?
Anyway, Samuel’s move paid off, but Alfredo Simon blew the save in the ninth after retiring the first two batters. Once again, a walk came back to haunt the Orioles, this one to Rick Ankiel that started the rally. Wilson Betemit grounded a single to right and Alex Gordon - now batting .183 - hit a three-run homer to right.
Simon’s pitch to Gordon was fatter than Sidney Ponson after another slice of cheesecake. (That’s three.)
Incoming manager Buck Showalter will be evaluating this club over the last two months, and not from the ESPN studios. He’ll have a closer view of his closer, and everybody else on the roster.
Should Simon be the ninth-inning specialist in 2011, or can the Orioles upgrade - perhaps going back to Gonzalez if Showalter deems him worthy?
Will Showalter be comfortable projecting the young starters in next year’s rotation, or will he question whether one or more have been over-hyped? Will he be comfortable running them out there until the season ends, no matter the results? Will he be comfortable adding Zach Britton and, perhaps, further taxing his bullpen?
Will he want to rope off left field and pretend it doesn’t exist, since nobody seems capable of playing the position or just picking up a ball cleanly?
Will he have a different opinion of Adam Jones in center field?
Will he consider Luke Scott as a viable option at first base next season? Will he give Scott enough starts there to form an educated opinion?
Will the roster that he inherits on Monday look exactly like this one?
That’s the assumption, but we’ll know by 4 p.m.