Expanded playoffs may be the right move for baseball

Expanded playoffs may be the right move for baseball
It looks like Major League Baseball is on its way to expanding the playoffs from eight to 10 teams. MLB's special 14-man, on-field committee, a group that includes Andy MacPhail and Frank Robinson, will meet on the topic at the upcoming winter meetings. Under the plan, there would be two wild-card teams in each league. When I first heard of this talk of expanding the playoffs, my first reaction was negative. Were the powers that be in the game going to mess with something that is working...
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More O's minor leaguers are released

More O's minor leaguers are released
The Orioles have released 14 more minor league players as the club continues to reduce its number of players in the minors after trimming two minor league clubs at the end of the 2010 season. Now that the O's no longer need to send players to Bluefield or fill the roster of a second Dominican Summer League squad, some players became expendable. Six of the 14 were taken by the club in either the 2008 or 2009 draft. Preston Hale and Brad Decater were players taken in the 2010 draft. In a...
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The 40-man: A look at who made it and who didn't

The 40-man:  A look at who made it and who didn't
Congrats are in order for Zach Britton, Joe Mahoney and Matt Angle, who were added to the Orioles' 40-man roster on Friday. Now they cannot be taken by another club in the Rule 5 draft at the winter meetings. But some players were left unprotected and can be taken by another club, however, must stay in the Majors for all of 2011 or they will most likely return to Baltimore. By the way, it should be pointed out that Britton was drafted in round three, Mahoney in round six and Angle in round...
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Britton on Boras and his offseason plans

Britton on Boras and his offseason plans
It was about a month ago that O's top pitching prospect Zach Britton sat with agent Scott Boras for lunch. Nearly four hours later they were still talking. "We had a long lunch with Scott and talked baseball a lot, but it was more just getting to know him and I was really impressed," Britton said. So the lefty that was the O's minor league pitcher of the year for the 2010 season, decided it was time to change agents. He moved from the Hendricks brothers, neither of which he had ever...
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Britton joins forces with Boras

Britton joins forces with Boras
The Orioles 2010 minor league pitcher of the year, Zach Britton, has become the latest player in the organization to be represented by agent Scott Boras. About a month ago, Britton decided to switch from the Hendricks brothers to the Boras corporation. "I was with Hendricks Sports and dealt with Matt Laird," Britton said. "He was great but I never really had contact with the Hendricks brothers myself, so I just never felt comfortable going forward with people I hadn't met. So I had a...
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O's release eight minor leaguers

O's release eight minor leaguers
The Orioles have released eight minor leaguers, seven of which played in their Dominican Summer League program last season. There are likely to be more releases coming since the O's will have two fewer minor league teams next season as they cut back to one, not two clubs, in the Dominican and they have also moved out of Bluefield. The players that were released are: *C Moises Beltre, 20 years old, who hit .182-1-10 in 21 games. *C Carlos Paez, 19 years old, who hit .151-0-9 in 44...
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Talking about Buck and the King

Talking about Buck and the King
So Buck Showalter didn't get a single vote for AL manager of the year. My reaction? I didn't expect him to. The award is for manger of the year, not manager of the last two months. Buck would have been a strong contender for that. Don't worry, this is no lack of respect for Buck or the Orioles. You just can't win this award when you manage just 57 games. Well, maybe if you went 57-0, but how likely is that? I'm sure some readers and fans may find a reason to be upset over this, but...
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To trade or not to trade pitching, that is the question

To trade or not to trade pitching, that is the question
Let me start by repeating that I am, for the most part, against trading young pitching. Not in every case and there are probably some deals that could really help the O's where they just have to part with a young arm or arms. But, if they have any interest in getting a top talent like Adrian Gonzalez or Prince Fielder in a deal, there is no way they can avoid dealing some young pitching, I don't think. But here is the key reason the O's should not deal any young pitching right now. ...
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Britton and Griffin joined forces in 2010 at Norfolk

Britton and Griffin joined forces in 2010 at Norfolk
After working with pitching coach Kennie Steenstra at Delmarva in 2008, Frederick in 2009 and Bowie last season, when lefty pitching prospect Zach Britton made it to Triple-A Norfolk last summer he worked with Tides' pitching coach Mike Griffin. He was certainly in good hands with both gentlemen. Griffin has worked with most of the best young arms on the O's farm over the last three seasons and said Britton clearly stacks up well with all of them. "I think so. He is knocking on the door...
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Mike Griffin is returning to the O's organization

Mike Griffin is returning to the O's organization
Mike Griffin, the O's well-respected pitching coach at Triple-A Norfolk, confirmed today that he is returning to the organization in 2011. "I'm returning and looking forward to it," he said. Griffin, who was pitching coach at Bowie in 2008 and at Norfolk the past two seasons, will likely serve as pitching coach at Triple-A once again although the final coaching positions have not been announced by the O's, who have also yet to finalize their Major League staff. Griffin has worked with...
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Taking the pulse of the fans

Taking the pulse of the fans
Now that free agency is here, it's time to find out what the fans think. At least those of you that will read this blog today. Pick one of these listed below that you feel best represents how you feel the club will do this winter in an attempt to fill some holes and improve the club. Feel free to explain more about why you answered how you did. Feel free to select "other" if none listed below characterize your feelings and tell us what thoughts you do have on the team. A: The O's...
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Does MacPhail move too slowly in free agency?

Does MacPhail move too slowly in free agency?
Here is a question that will probably make Andy MacPhail's critics, and some feel that is a large list, move front and center. Do you feel that MacPhail moves too slowly in dealing with free agents? For those critics, I just lobbed a softball that they can hit out of the park. But one thing I have come to realize over the years, first as a talk-show host and now as a blogger is this - the fans that jam the phone lines and message boards don't represent everyone. Because many readers or...
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Caleb Joseph makes changes with his defense

Caleb Joseph makes changes with his defense
Most minor league players are thrilled to be invited to the Arizona Fall League. The League is often filled with prospects and has graduated many players to the Major Leagues. O's minor league catcher Caleb Joseph is there now with the Scottsdale Scorpions. As a taxi squad player, he only gets into two games a week. But that hasn't stopped him from reaping big benefits of playing in the AFL. Joseph has taken the time when he is not playing to work on his game and make big improvements on...
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The quality start stat is a good one

The quality start stat is a good one
I have heard some fans and media guys over the years say the quality start stat is not a good one because you can have an ERA of 4.50 and get a quality start. For those that don't know, a quality start is defined as an outing where a starting pitcher goes six innings or more and gives up three earned runs or less. So, yes, if you give up exactly 3ER over 6IP, you fulfill the minimum requirement and your ERA for that game is 4.50. But if you give up 2ER over 6IP, the ERA is 3.00. If you...
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Talking Lee, Samuel, Greinke & Joseph

Talking Lee, Samuel, Greinke & Joseph
Checking in and commenting on some recent news around the baseball world: Cashman courts Lee: No one should be surprised the Yankees' GM headed to Arkansas to talk with Cliff Lee and his agent. Why aren't the O's headed there too? Because they have no shot at Lee and it's crazy to pay 100 million or more for a pitcher. Pitchers get hurt and most megabucks free agent contracts for pitchers have backfired, dating back to Kevin Brown and the Dodgers. You can add Mike Hampton and...
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O's announce partnership with new food vendor for Oriole Park

O's announce partnership with new food vendor for Oriole Park
After recently parting ways with ARAMARK, the only previous food vendor in OPACY history, the Orioles today announced a new partnership with Delaware North Companies Sportservice, who will begin providing food, beverage and retail merchandise services at the Yard in 2011. Sportservice will manage all concessions, catering, dining operations and retail stores and kiosks within the ballpark, including Eutaw Street. According to Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader, the O's expect the...
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A take on the free agent first basemen

A take on the free agent first basemen
If the Orioles are going to add that so called "big bat" during free agency, the supply of quality hitters is certainly larger at first base than at third. Adrian Beltre heads up a not great list of free agent third sackers, while Adam Dunn and Paul Konerko top the list of first baseman. Dunn and Konerko are both type A free agents. Because the O's draft among the top 15 in the first-round of next June's draft, they cannot lose that pick. If they signed any type A free agent that is...
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AFL Update: Joseph finds his swing with Scottsdale

AFL Update:  Joseph finds his swing with Scottsdale
When catcher Caleb Joseph went home after this season, he had time to think about his play at Double-A Bowie this year. The O's seventh-round pick out of Lipscomb University in 2008, he hit .235-11-51 in 106 Baysox games. He called it a "terrible year." It came a season after he hit .284 with Frederick and was among the O's top ten prospects on some lists. "I wasn't getting the job done offensively and felt I was very average defensively. I've never struggled like that in my life...
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Follow VandenHurk's European tour

Follow VandenHurk's European tour
This offseason, O's fan can follow a few of their favorite Birds on the European Big League Tour. Orioles reliever Rick VandenHurk and teammates Adam Jones and Jeremy Guthrie will be participating in the tour, along with other MLB players and coaches who are traveling through Europe this winter to bring a love of baseball to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and Antwerp. VandenHurk will be blogging about his travels for MLB.com, and he's already posted a few entries from the tour's first...
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Follow VandenHurk's European tour

Follow VandenHurk's European tour
This offseason, O's fan can follow a few of their favorite Birds on the European Big League Tour. Orioles reliever Rick VandenHurk and teammates Adam Jones and Jeremy Guthrie will be participating in the tour, along with other MLB players and coaches who are traveling through Europe this winter to bring a love of baseball to Rotterdam, Amsterdam, Eindhoven, and Antwerp. VandenHurk will be blogging about his travels for MLB.com, and he's already posted a few entries. According to his blog,...
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