Joe Jordan sizes up some O's draft picks

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 players in the top ten rounds. Not all have even played for the Orioles yet, and of those who have, most played...
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Baseball is going to miss Ernie Harwell

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 time. I was the only person in the main area of the press box for a while. Then I felt a tap on my shoulder. An older, gray-haired man extended his...
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Brandon Erbe on making the 40-man roster

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 your goal to continue to make progress. This is a step in the right direction. Being from Baltimore, now I can look...
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Joe Jordan on the O's top five draft picks

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.
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Erbe's fastball: Less juice, better results

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 now subscribes to this "less can be more" theory with his fastball. He can crank it out at 95 and did often in his early years in...
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Pondering free agency questions

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 average talent. You can never have enough pitching and everything starts with a solid rotation.
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Andy MacPhail talks about Bell and Snyder and first and third base

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 at Triple-A and Brandon doesn't have that much. It would be my preference to get them both some time there. You don't always...
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O's have "payroll flexibility"

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 speculate about what (our payroll) it is. You can make educated guesses on...
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Turkey Day takes

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:
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MacPhail talks starting pitching

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) shape than we have been in years past because of those four. But they are not necessarily assured of anything. We could...
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Closing Time

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 is the closer critical on a losing and/or rebuilding team? Here's my take on the O's and the closer position for the 2010 season.
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The Beast of the East

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 clubs and not the other 27 teams. Why should anyone in MLB or a team official from Minnesota or Kansas City or Texas care?
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The O's minor league All-Stars

The O's minor league All-Stars
Let's take a look at the O's minor leagues today. I present Melewski's 2009 Orioles minor league All-Star team. I didn't consider a player that made the Majors before August 31, eliminating players like Brian Matusz and Matt Wieters. I didn't consider players that played in fewer than 50 games, eliminating Josh Bell, among others, from consideration. This isn't necessarily a listing of the best prospects, just those that had good years at those positions. For the outfield, I did not...
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Talking glovework

Talking glovework
When the Orioles were consistent winners in the 60's and 70's, they did it with pitching and defense. That's not pitching and homers or pitching and a good on base percentage. That's pitching and defense. If you can standout in those two areas, you will be in a lot of games and probably win your fair share of them.
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For now, Johnson is staying in the pen

For now, Johnson is staying in the pen
Dave Trembley mentioned late last season that there was some sentiment in the O's organization and even among the coaching staff, to move Jim Johnson into the starting rotation After all, that was his role throughout his entire time in the minors. But, with spring training now less than three months away, that talk has cooled according to the O's manager.
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Trembley talks Winter Meetings

Trembley talks Winter Meetings
The Orioles have made their needs pretty clear for this offseason. Now the time to make acquisitions is near with the Winter Meetings starting Monday. O's skipper Dave Trembley expects the Birds to be active in Indianapolis and on into the offseason. "I think the Orioles will be aggressive. But I also think some decisions throughout baseball may go further into the offseason than they have in the past, simply because of the economic situation and [because] the non-tender dates are later...
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One vote against trading O's young pitchers

One vote against trading O's young pitchers
As baseball's Winter Meetings are set to begin on Monday, some fans are stoked to see what the O's first move will be. There seems to be a segment of fans who just want a move, the bigger the better, to create a little excitement around here. I can understand that, but if the O's make a trade, I hope they don't deal much if any of their young pitching.
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Talking about the batting order with Dave Trembley

Talking about the batting order with Dave Trembley
As the baseball off season moves on, O's manager Dave Trembley never keeps that legal pad too far away. On it he makes notes about the upcoming season and writes down different possible lineups for his 2010 Orioles. Of course, Trembley is hoping there is player that will be in that lineup that he can add later, a middle of the order type hitter that the club will acquire. The skipper saw rookies Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters deliver at the plate last year and both should have prominent...
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Are free agents looking at Baltimore in a different light?

Are free agents looking at Baltimore in a different light?
ESPN's Buster Olney recently wrote an article praising the Orioles young base of talent. Baseball America listed Josh Bell as the fifth best prospect in the Arizona Fall League. That same publication listed six Orioles among the best players in their Double-A and Triple-A leagues from 2009. A picture has emerged that some national media think the O's have top young talent to build around. The Orioles are not talking up their own players, others are doing it for them.
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Would short-term gain be shortsighted?

Would short-term gain be shortsighted?
There are a mountain of stories you can read on the internet about baseball and each team in the Majors. You can be online all day and still not come close to checking it all out. But the other day, I read an article in the Boston Globe that was very interesting to me. It was written by Sox writer Amalie Benjamin and is filled with quotes from Boston GM Theo Epstein.
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