Is a second baseman the first priority?

I'll begin this entry by congratulating shortstop Manny Machado for hitting a home run last night in his first game with Single-A Frederick. Machado went deep in his second at-bat with the Keys, and I've heard it was a moon shot.

Machado was 1-for-4 and accounted for Frederick's only run in a 2-1 loss to Winston-Salem.

I think the kid needs more hype. We haven't written enough about him.

The Cincinnati Reds have arrived in Baltimore, which will conjure up plenty of memories and anecdotes from the 1970 World Series.

Anyone here attend one of those games?

I hear the third baseman for the Orioles had a pretty good series.

Reds starter Edinson Volquez is 4-3 with a 5.61 ERA, 45 walks, 71 strikeouts and a 1.61 WHIP over 69 innings. Vladimir Guerrero is 3-for-7 with a double and home run against him. J.J. Hardy is 3-for-13 with two homers.

The Orioles will try to avoid falling a season-worst seven games below .500. If it happens - or if it doesn't - you can be sure that their manager won't resign.

I'm not close enough to the Nationals to act like I'm plugged into the inner-workings, but it's hard to buy the argument that Jim Riggleman didn't behave selfishly yesterday. He quit with his team one game above .500 because he wasn't happy with his contract. Isn't that pretty much the definition of selfish?

I don't understand why the Nationals put him on the back burner. He seemed like the right guy for the job. He deserved to be treated with more respect. But quitting June 23 because you were upset that the general manager wouldn't meet with you to discuss an extension won't have other teams lining up for your services.

Riggleman is 661-824 in parts of 12 seasons as a manager. That also might keep teams from lining up. But he had the Nationals playing good baseball. Keep winning with them and you'll either get that extension or look a whole lot better to another club that's searching for a manager.

For example, I don't think Jack McKeon is the long-term answer in Florida.

Is Brian Roberts the long-term solution at second base for the Orioles?

We'll probably see Robert Andino back at second tonight after Blake Davis made his major league debut Wednesday. Roberts is mostly confined to conditioning exercises for the next two weeks. If he returns this season, it won't be until after the All-Star break.

Has a second baseman become a bigger priority this winter than a big bat in the middle of the lineup? What about a leadoff hitter?

Nobody is counting out Roberts for the second half of the season, but he still hasn't been cleared for full baseball activities. He's still burdened by headaches. He's played in 98 games over these last two seasons. That's become an organizational-wide headache.

How can the Orioles count on him in 2012?

Roberts is signed through 2013. I've heard some fans suggest that the Orioles should just release him now. This isn't the NFL. He still gets paid.

But will he play?

Hardy has done a nice job as leadoff hitter, but Roberts is missed at second base. And he's been missing way too much.

The Orioles have to end the succession of one-year contracts for first basemen. It can't be ignored. It can't go back-burner like Jim Riggleman. They need a thumper. But should the shopping list also include a second baseman, no matter what happens in the second half?

Which one is more important?

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