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The Beast of the East

The question came up on the Wall to Wall baseball show that airs Saturdays at 11:00 a.m. on MASN. Why aren't any Major League Baseball officials concerned about the payroll and competitive disparity in the AL East where the Yankees and Red Sox are on one level and the other three clubs are at another? I guess the biggest reason is because this impacts three

Closing Time

So just how important is the closer on a baseball team? The closer may be the most important player on a good team. If you've beaten a team for all or most of eight innings, there is seemingly nothing more devastating than blowing the lead in the ninth. If you've come from behind late to get the lead, you need to seal the deal. But

MacPhail talks starting pitching

When looking ahead to the 2010 season, it seems the O's have four starting pitchers pretty set in their rotation with Jeremy Guthrie, Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman. That would leave the O's needing to add just one starter to the rotation. But O's president Andy MacPhail isn't ready to say that just yet. "I would say we are in far better (rotation)

Turkey Day takes

Happy Thanksgiving everyone! Today, I am very thankful I have such great family and friends. Also thankful that I get to cover my hometown team, the team I grew up rooting for in the Orioles. Also, thankful so many of you have found this blog, read it often and even take the time to offer comments. Thanks to all! Now some Turkey Day takes:

O's have "payroll flexibility"

A recent Baltimore Sun article projected the Orioles' current payroll for 2010 at about 45 million dollars. That is looking at players already signed for next season and projecting arbitration-eligible players and other contract renewals. In an interview on Tuesday, O's president Andy MacPhail would not confirm the O's current figure, but said a projection in that area is likely accurate. "People are free to

Andy MacPhail talks about Bell and Snyder and first and third base

Even though the Orioles have solid prospects at first and third base in Josh Bell and Brandon Snyder, the club is still in the market to add players at those positions. In an interview today, O's president Andy MacPhail said it's unlikely that either young player would start with the O's on opening day in 2010. "I would prefer not. Josh doesn't have any time

Pondering free agency questions

Now that the time for free agency has arrived, I'm asking a few questions today and providing an opinion or two about them along the way. Feel free to add your own comments. What is the O's biggest need? A starting pitcher. I don't expect them to get John Lackey, although that would be nice. But they need to add a dependable, reliable and above

Erbe's fastball: Less juice, better results

Some of the best pitchers in baseball get outs without throwing the ball as fast as they can. They have found that by giving up a few miles per hour on the radar gun, they get better fastball command and movement. That can lead to better control, faster outs and lower pitch counts. After five seasons in the Orioles' farm system, pitching prospect Brandon Erbe

Joe Jordan on the O's top five draft picks

Today we wrap up our two-part series taking a look at the Orioles' picks in the first ten rounds of last June's draft with scouting director Joe Jordan. Today we get Jordan's thoughts on the O's first five picks from last June. All the quotes in the article are from Jordan.

Brandon Erbe on making the 40-man roster

Even though he has a splint on his right pinky finger that ended his time in the Arizona Fall League early, Wednesday was a good day for pitcher Brandon Erbe. The Baltimorean and life-long O's fan from McDonogh High made the Orioles' 40-man roster for the first time. "Just excitement," the 21-year-old Erbe said. "You're kind of one step closer and in the minors, that's

Baseball is going to miss Ernie Harwell

I don't remember too many facts from that day. I know it was March, perhaps in 2003, and I was at the ballpark in Lakeland, Florida, getting ready for a spring training broadcast. That day I would host the Orioles pregame show for my then employer, WBAL Radio. It was several hours before the game and almost no one was in the stadium at the

Joe Jordan sizes up some O's draft picks

Today in this space we begin a two-part series sizing up the Orioles' top ten draft picks from last June's First-Year Player Draft. Who better to analyze the players than the man who drafted them, O's scouting director Joe Jordan. All the quotes in the article are from Jordan who took plenty of time for MASNsports.com to provide some interesting insight. The O's selected nine

No shortage of bullpen candidates

If you want to point to an area where there will likely be jobs to be won in spring training in March, it's the Orioles' bullpen. There are a lot of questions right now. Will Koji be the closer? Can Sarfate and Ray come back from injury? Will Kam Mickolio emerge with that mid 90's fastball? Here are some candidates for next year's bullpen that

Talking Norfolk pitchers with Gary Allenson

Today we continue our review of the 2009 Norfolk Tides season by looking at how some Tides pitchers fared this year. We featured mostly hurlers that did not pitch in Baltimore this year. The quotes are from Tides' manager Gary Allenson. All stats in bold are with Norfolk only.

Updating injured minor league pitchers

Since I've been asked a few times by readers how several of the O's injured minor league pitchers are doing now, today we try to answer that question. O's Director of Player Development David Stockstill was nice enough to update us on eight different O's hurlers. All the quotes throughout are from Stockstill.

A matter of statistics

No game is more about numbers than baseball. There is a stat for everything and in baseball the numbers seem to mean more, both for players now playing and even throughout history. There are magical numbers like 20 wins for a pitcher and a .300 batting average for a hitter. Even the most casual fans probably understand the basics of batting average, wins and losses,

Pondering the gold

Two things came to mind when thinking about Adam Jones winning a Gold Glove award. One, after 12 straight losing seasons, it's great to see an Oriole get recognized for good play - in any award. When you follow a losing team you don't expect that teams' players to get many awards. This was a nice change. Second, you can't always use stats to prove

Jones reacts to winning his first Gold Glove

Adam Jones said he was shocked and surprised but honored as well to win his first-ever American League Gold Glove. "The Gold Glove is hard to get into because so many guys win it consecutively. Ichiro and Torii do it every year and it's deserved. To get into that fraternity is an honor in itself," the 24-year-old Jones said. "It did (surprise me). I was

Dave Trembley weighs in on Jones' GG award

Orioles' manager Dave Trembley sounded like a proud dad on the other end of the phone line. He was excited to see one of his players get some national recognition when Adam Jones won his first AL Gold Glove for fielding. Jones became the first Oriole since Mike Mussina in 1999 to earn the honor and first O's outfielder to do so since Paul Blair

He had a breakout year in the O's Minors in 2009

Heading into the 2009 season, little was expected of O's minor league relief pitcher Luis Lebron. He missed most of 2008 due to a right elbow injury, pitching just 20 innings. It looked like he might be headed for Tommy John surgery but instead he chose to rehab the injury. At the start of the 2009 season, O's officials were just hoping he could get

Wrapping up the 2009 Norfolk Tides season with manager Gary Allenson

Today we continue our review of Oriole farm teams in the 2009 season with the a look at the Triple-A Norfolk Tides of the International League. The Tides finished the season at 71-71, in third place in the IL South. But when they were at full strength early on, Norfolk was the IL's best club. At the end of May, the Tides were in first

Keys manager talks about Billy Rowell

Since he hit .328 in 2006 between Bluefield and Aberdeen, the career of Billy Rowell has been on a downward spiral. While he is still very young, and the O's management remains solidly behind him, Rowell has put together back-to-back mediocre years at Frederick. Rowell w-Fred, 2008: .248-7-50....315 OBP.....368 slug......104 K's Rowell w-Fred, 2009 .225-9-39....284 OBP......336 slug.......122 K's Today in the final part of a

Re-visiting Lackey & Guthrie

Color me naïve maybe, but I had no idea my little blog-article-opinion piece on Jeremy Guthrie and John Lackey posted on Thursday would stir up so many people. I guess bringing out the passion in readers and hearing from so many of you is a good thing - whether you rip me or not.

Erbe will miss 'Rising Stars' game in Arizona

One of the O's top pitching prospects, Brandon Erbe, has a minor injury that will cause him to miss the Arizona Fall League's Rising Stars game set for this Saturday night. "A couple of days ago, during pre-game stretching and running, Brandon tripped and fell and jammed the pinky finger on his right hand," O's Director of Player Development David Stockstill said. "It was X-rayed

No lack of attention for Lackey

John Lackey, John Lackey, John Lackey. Are you tired of hearing about him yet? Get used to it. He's considered the top free agent pitcher out there and the time for players to file for their "freedom" hasn't even come yet. Some are speculating that Lackey will garner a contract for five years and worth between 80 and 100 million. The ship is about to

The Frederick Keys 2009: The Pitchers

Today we continue our review of the Frederick Keys 2009 season with comments from Keys manager Richie Hebner. Monday, we reviewed several Keys' position players and today wrap up the 2009 season for Keys' pitchers. The numbers - Frederick, which finished 64-75 in the Carolina League, had a team ERA of 4.11 which tied for 5th in the eight-team league. The Keys were 4th in

Motivations for pursuing free agents

There seem to be some solid reasons out there for the Orioles to sign one or more big dollar free agents this winter. For one, they would improve the team's talent base. And, maybe get a needed bat for the lineup. Both good reasons to add a player. But, is another reason to enhance the club's credibility with its fan base? And another to prove

A look at the Frederick Keys 2009 season

Over the next several weeks, we'll review how the O's minor league teams finished this season, with an in-depth look at each team and some of their top players from the 2009 season. Today we take a look at the 2009 Frederick Keys with comments from Keys manager Richie Hebner. (Stats listed are for games with Frederick only).

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