For the most part, I agree with a lot of what national baseball columnist Rob Neyer has had to say over the years. He really knows the game and writes interesting and often thought-provoking columns.
When I read his piece yesterday about why the Orioles haven't traded Adam Jones, he really caught me off guard when he called Jones "a disappointment." I guess he is saying in relation to what some thought he would become.
His story is here.
But I find it hard to call a solid-fielding center fielder, who hit .280 with 26 doubles, 25 homers, 83 RBIs and a .785 OPS, anything close to a disappointment. Among American League center fielders in 2011, Jones ranked second in batting and third in homers, RBIs and OPS. You could do a lot worse in center and most teams do.
To me, Dave Cameron's Fangraphs article about Jones (it's linked in Neyer's column) is much more representative of what Jones is and could become as a player and why the Orioles are said to want a big return in any trade talks for Jones. Feel free to leave your comments after reading the articles.
Meanwhile, one pitcher that Orioles fans will get to know better this coming season is 30-year-old Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada, a player the Orioles signed to a two-year deal with a club option for 2014 in December.
Last year, Wada was 16-5 with an ERA of 1.53 for Fukuoka. In 52 starts over the last two seasons, he went 33-13 with an ERA of 2.29. In 354 innings he walked 95, fanned 337 and allowed 18 homers.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter talked about Wada during an interview on "The Scott Garceau Show" on Thursday on 105.7 FM The Fan in Baltimore.
"The one thing that jumps out at you is command and his ability to throw a changeup for a strike," Showalter said. "That always bodes well in our division and being left-handed. He's considered one of the smartest pitchers over in that league. He really studies the game and has already asked for a lot of tape on American League East hitters," Showalter said.
"This is a guy that is going to be very cerebral about his approach and he's a strike thrower. He can command the fastball on the inner half of the plate and the changeup is always a big pitch for him.
"But there is an adjustment they're going to go through. You have to understand, this is their dream to play in the big leagues in America and one of the adjustments those guys make is they are used to pitching in a six-man rotation over there. So that's an adjustment physically they have to make in the states."
Wada was named the 2003 Rookie of the Year and was named to the Nippon Professional Baseball All-Star Team in 2003, 2004, 2010 and 2011. In 2010, he was named the NPB Most Valuable Player as he led the league with 17 wins and on Aug. 3, 2011, he became the fastest NPB left-hander to win 100 games.
Wada pitched in the 2004 and 2008 Olympic Games, winning a bronze medal in the 2004 Athens games, and also helped Japan to the 2006 World Baseball Classic.
Showalter also talked about staying patient with his young pitchers during the 105.7 FM interview.
"You go through pains with young pitchers. Hardly any of them come out as finished products from the get go. Some of them struggled and came back strong towards the end. That bodes well for the future. But you've got to stay the course and can't just throw your hands up the first time a young pitcher has struggles. Developing pitching in the AL East is a struggle but something we have to do," he said.