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The interesting case of Koji

Koji Uehara went 1-2, 2.86 this season with 13 saves in 15 chances and didn’t walk a batter over his last 32 appearances. But to this point, it appears the Orioles haven’t made much of an attempt to resign him and Uehara can soon become a Major League free agent. Makes you wonder if the O’s are skeptical of Koji’s late-season success and ability to

The role of the coach

With the news yesterday that Jim Presley is going to be named the new Orioles’ hitting coach, I wonder what that means for Terry Crowley. The Crow will become an “offensive evaluator” for the organization, according to reports. Until we hear from Buck Showalter or Andy MacPhail when the new coaching staff is officially announced, I am not sure what his role will be exactly.

A thought about moving Jim Johnson to the rotation

The date was July 29, 2006. No, that was not the first day I dreamed of one day becoming a blogger. It was the date of Jim Johnson’s one and still only Major League appearance as a starting pitcher. He lasted just three innings and gave up nine hits and eight runs in his big league debut. So in parts of five Major League seasons,

Not much happening with the O’s free agents

The deadline has been moved up this year, and five days after the World Series teams can begin to sign free agents. Up until that time, teams can negotiate with and re-sign their own free agents. The Orioles have seven such players, but barring something unforeseen, they are not expected to sign any of them before that date. “I wouldn’t rule it out, but I

MacPhail talks about the club’s organizational meetings

The Orioles are scheduled to hold organizational meetings next week in Arizona. They will hold meetings that begin on Wednesday and run through next Saturday. The assembled will also have some time to check out some Arizona Fall League games. “We’ll review our season and our needs,” O’s president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said. “Talk about how we can fill them internally and externally.

When will Jeremy Guthrie get some respect?

I can still remember it now. I wrote a column last winter that got some readers very stirred up. It brought me what felt like an avalanche of criticism. Some questioned my sanity, not to mention my intelligence about baseball. The comment I made was pretty simple. I wrote that, at his best, Jeremy Guthrie is in John Lackey’s class as a pitcher. I’d like

Mahoney takes Baseball America snub in stride

When I interviewed Joe Mahoney Sunday about his wrist injury that forced him to head home from Venezuela, the topic came up. I asked Mahoney, the O’s minor league player of the year, his take on being left off Baseball America’s top 20 prospects lists for the Carolina League and the Eastern League. “One of my buddies called and brought it up. We have a

The O’s in winter ball: Not a long list

It’s not a long list, and it’s subject to change, but here is the current list of Orioles’ players already playing or soon to be playing in winter ball leagues around the world. Puerto Rico: Pitcher Brandon Cooney with Carolina Venezuela: Pitcher Chad Thall with Zulia Mexico: Pitcher Eddie Gamboa with Mexicali Dominican Republic: IF-OF-C Jake Fox with Licey Australia: Pitcher Cole McCurry Pitcher Brett

Mahoney headed to Baltimore to have injured wrist checked

O’s minor league player of the year Joe Mahoney was really looking forward to the challenge of playing winter ball in Venezuela. He arrived there last weekend, just a few days after getting married and joined the Margarita Island team. But before the first game he played in was even over, he was injured. On the second pitch of his fourth at bat, Mahoney came

Checking in with some AFL stats & notes

After another win on Saturday, the Arizona Fall League’s Scottsdale Scorpions improved to 8-3 and they have the best record in the league. There are eight O’s minor leaguers playing on that Scorpions team. Here are the up-to-date stats on all eight. The hitters: Ryan Adams: .333-1-8.......7 games.....9-27 AB. Xavier Avery: .259-0-1.......7 games.....7-27 AB. Caleb Joseph: .417-0-0......4 games....5-12 AB. Greg Miclat: .333-0-1........7 games......9-27 AB. Adams

Texas takes down the AL East on its way to the Series

Ballgame over. Season over. Yankees lose. Theeeeeeee Yankees lose!!! Of course, I had to go there. Jeffrey Maier II could not even save them. When you flaunt winning like they do, like their fans do, like even their play-by-play announcer does, you have to expect some fans to revel in it when you lose. To some, the Yankees represent excellence - To others, all that

Building the model franchise

Here is an interesting question. Is there a model franchise in baseball - one that all others could learn from and should emulate? In this article, a Texas Rangers’ executive feels the Red Sox, Angels and Phillies are great franchises for others to emulate. What makes a good franchise? Is it one that produces a steady stream of talent through its farm system? Is it

Will there be a logjam at the upper levels on the farm?

In a recent post I mentioned the possibility of Brandon Snyder and Josh Bell starting next year back at Triple-A Norfolk. A lot can happen between now and next spring to change that, and the two players themselves could come to spring camp and force their way onto the Orioles roster next Opening Day. But if they don’t and they start next April at Triple-A,

After surgery, Erbe looks for smoother, cleaner mechanics

After surgery to repair a torn labrum on August 13th, O’s pitching prospect Brandon Erbe is in the very early stages of his comeback and rehab. He hopes to begin some light throwing in December and report to spring training on time in February. It may take a while, though, before he is back to pitching at top form and he is quite aware of

Luke Scott talks about his homer potential

Earlier today in this space, I posted an article about Luke Scott’s homer potential. He hit 27 homers this year and that ranked 14th best in the AL. But he was 6th in the AL in at bats per each home run. Scott is a player that has never gotten over 475 at bats in a single season. This year he had 447. With more

Luke and the longball: How many homers can he hit?

Here is a question I’ve been wondering about for a while: How many homers is Luke Scott capable of hitting if he were to get more at bats? Scott hit 27 homers this past season, which ranked 14th best in the American League. But he ranked 6th in the AL in at bats per homer. Here are the top six in at bats per home

Monday quick takes

Checking in with a few thoughts and opinions while waiting for the next Cody Ross homer. Bell and Snyder: The Orioles are not saying it publicly, but it sure seems pretty certain that they are not planning to start either Josh Bell or Brandon Snyder in their infield to begin next season. There are two schools of thought here: You could just send them both

This just in: Tom Hicks says he was stupid

When you list the men that have helped escalate salaries in baseball over the years like Marvin Miller, Don Fehr and Scott Boras, don’t leave out the name Tom Hicks. He was the owner of the Texas Rangers who gave Alex Rodriguez a 10-year, $252 million dollar contract in December of 2000. Hicks now agrees that was a dumb move. Well, duh. Most of the

The O’s vs. the East & Avery’s breakout AFL game

There were so many ways to statistically quantify how dramatic the turnaround was for the Orioles under Buck Showalter. You can look at the starting pitching stats or the hitting with runners in scoring position stats. You could also look at how the O’s did when playing the Beasts of the AL East. Before Showalter took over, the club won just one of 15 series

In pursuit of homers: Should Markakis pull the ball more?

It’s been said and asked before about Nick Markakis by those with the Orioles and some others from outside the organization. Why doesn’t he pull the ball more and hit a bunch of homers over that right-field scoreboard? Some think that short right-field porch should become a regular landing place for Markakis homers. That is, if he would turn on the ball more and drive

One final thought: My take on the top prospects’ lists

There is no spin or excuses that can explain the fact the Orioles had just four players listed on the Baseball America minor league top 20 prospects lists while the rest of the AL East had 56 combined. The O’s come up lacking big time here and got blown away by the rest of the division. To me it raises a red flag or two

MacPhail’s take on the Baseball America lists

I checked in with Andy MacPhail to get his thoughts on why the Orioles had so few prospects on the Baseball America minor league top 20 prospects lists. He can see, like we all can, that the O’s had just four players listed and it tied Oakland for last in baseball. “The last two drafts, for whatever reason, we’ve had an inordinate amount of our

Jim Callis on Machado, Mahoney and more

Earlier today, I ran a story with quotes from Jim Callis of Baseball America discussing the O’s lack of players on the publication’s top 20 prospects lists in minor league baseball. Only four players from the O’s farm - Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Xavier Avery and Wynn Pelzer - were listed in the top 20 of any league. In Baseball America online chats about each

A look at the O’s lack of prospects listed by Baseball America

This is not a good statistic for the Orioles farm system. Just four players from the O’s organization were listed among the Baseball America top 20 prospects lists for each league in minor league baseball. One of the four came in a trade. That tied Oakland for last in all of baseball. Pitcher Zach Britton was ranked 2nd in the Eastern League and 6th in

Talking with Buck about the minor leagues

As new O’s manager Buck Showalter continues to put his stamp, if you will, on this organization, what about the minor leagues? During his brief time as O’s skipper, Showalter already has made trips to Bowie and Aberdeen and saw some of the O’s younger prospects workout during the instructional league camp at Camden Yards. How much impact and input does Showalter want to have

For O’s Erbe, the comeback begins

In 2009, with Bowie, Brandon Erbe was limited to 14 starts due to shoulder problems. This year he had to deal with more shoulder issues. He made 14 starts for Triple-A Norfolk. He would pitch just once after June 20th, throwing a couple of innings on July 24 in an injury-rehab outing with Aberdeen. This time, the problem led him to undergo surgery to repair

A couple of notes

There seemed to be some confusion among fans as to whether Xavier Avery will be playing in the Arizona Fall League. He will be and is indeed on the Scottsdale Scorpions’ roster. The AFL season starts on Tuesday. It should be an interesting challenge for the 20-year-old Avery. “It means a lot. It’s an opportunity and I’m going to take it, a chance to get

The O’s need to keep Izzy at short

When it comes to quantifying defense, we just don’t have many stats that really provide the value of a player that offensive stats can provide. It is easy to see which player drives in a lot of runs and gets on base a lot, but which players keep runs from scoring? Which players create confidence and a real peace of mind for a young pitcher

Analyzing Markakis

Here’s a question for you. If Nick Markakis hit .338 this year with runners in scoring position and .299 last year, how come last year he drove in 101 runs and this year he had just 60 RBI? Twice in his previous four full seasons with the Orioles, Markakis knocked in 100 runs and he averaged 91 RBI per year from 2006 to 2009. Clearly

The five biggest developments of Buck Ball

Well, a lot of good things happened in the last two months for the Orioles. Here is one man’s take, ranking them from five to one, on the biggest developments with the club under Buck Showalter. 5 - Matt Wieters was empowered to become a leader. Under Buck, you get the impression that Matt Wieters knew he had to, at some point, become a leader

Can the Twins go toe-to-toe with the Yankees in October?

I guess the Rays didn’t call the Orioles for a scouting report on Cliff Lee. The Rangers lefty shut down the Rays today as Texas won game one of their playoff series, 5-1. In his two Rangers starts vs. the Orioles, Lee gave up 14 ER over 14 2/3 innings, allowing seven homers. Now tonight in the AL, it’s the Yankees at Minnesota. While I

Solid first season for Arrieta ended on high note

By the end of the 2010 season, Jake Arrieta was what we thought he was. One of the top pitching prospects in baseball. In his last three starts, which were against Boston, New York and Toronto, Arrieta went 2-0, 2.60. Over 17 1/3 innings, he walked just two and fanned 13. The reduced walk number was a key stat for Arrieta during his 18 Major

During a trying season, Reimold turned to Brady for help

Nolan Reimold admits he had reached a real low point in his season. Expecting to be an every day player in the Orioles lineup, instead he was the regular left fielder in Norfolk. And he was struggling badly at bat. His average was low and so were his spirits. He needed someone, anyone to reach out to for some advice, tips or anything that could

Reimold ready to regroup for next year

Coming off a 2009 season where he hit .279-15-45 in 358 at bats, Nolan Reimold looked poised to have a solid sophomore season in the Major Leagues. But it started with an injury and later it was his bat that wasn’t well and he spent more time in the minors than the big leagues in 2010, playing 94 games with Norfolk and just 39 with

Two noteworthy items

When teams begin play in the Arizona Fall League a week from tomorrow, it turns out that Tyler Townsend will be playing for the Scottsdale Scorpions. The team’s roster includes 8 O’s minor leaguers. Townsend told me recently he would not play in Arizona, but rather Australia. The reasoning being that he is a “taxi squad” player on the Scorpions and said player can only

No game today

When I was broadcasting Triple-A games back in the 80’s and early 90’s, my broadcast partner, Bob Black and I, had a running joke. We used to say the three saddest words in baseball were “no game today.” In a way, it is sad. Yes it does feel strange today to not have a game to cover, watch or attend. I might have to watch

Bergy and Nick talk about the regular season finale

Try as they might, the Orioles just could not put together a five-game win streak in 2010. Not even under Buck Showalter. They lost 4-2 today to the Tigers to see a four-game win streak snapped and post a final record of 66-96. The O’s had six, four-game win streaks this year. Here are some post-game comments from Nick Markakis and Brad Bergesen. Markakis went

The 2010 season comes to an end as Tigers top O’s, 4-2

It began April 6th with a one-run loss on the road vs. Tampa and ended this afternoon with a two-run, home loss vs. Detroit. In between, the Orioles did have some fun this season, especially since August 3rd. The Tigers beat the Orioles 4-2 in the regular season finale as the Orioles finish the 2010 season with a record of 66 and 96. Even in

O’s players talk about the club’s strong finish

Over the last few days, the O’s players have been asked a lot about the team’s strong finish under Buck Showalter and what it could mean for the club’s future. Here are some player opinions. Nick Markakis: “It shows you what we have and what we’re capable of doing. I’ve said all along we’ve got a great group of guys and we have great talent.

With a win today...

...The O’s will: *Finish with a record of 67-95, topping last year’s win total by three. *End the second-half of the season as they ended the first, with a four-game sweep. The O’s won four straight at Texas from July 8-11 right before the All-Star game. *Have their seventh series sweep of the year of three or more games. *Finish the year with a .500

Matusz and Gonzo talk about another night of stellar O’s pitching

On a night when he had some of his best stuff of the season and produced a career-high nine strikeouts, Brian Matusz continued the O’s starting pitching roll tonight in a 2-1 win over Detroit. He gave up just two hits and one run over six innings, throwing 100 pitches to finish his year at 10-12, 4.30. Over his final eight starts, the 23-year-old lefty

Matusz on the mound: Lefty latest starter to shine as O’s top Tigers

For the Orioles it was a case of another night and another outstanding performance from a starting pitcher. Brian Matusz had the honors on Saturday night, allowing just one run over six innings as the Orioles tamed the Tigers 2-1, in front of 35,332 at Camden Yards to take the first three games of this series. Matusz gave up just two hits and one was

Luke Scott talks about his MVO award

At the end of April, Luke Scott was batting just .194 with only two homers. Who knew then he would end the year being named winner of the Louis M. Hatter Most Valuable Oriole award. “For me, it’s a tremendous honor. It has been a year of a lot of adversity but it’s been a year of a lot of victory for myself and us

Thinking about Ernie Tyler

We are sending along best wishes tonight for Orioles long time umpires attendant Ernie Tyler, who became ill earlier today at the ballpark and was hospitalized. Ernie, who celebrated his 86th birthday in April, is currently stable and staying overnight at University of Maryland Medical Center for observation. His sons Jimmy and Freddy are with him. An O’s official said doctors have not determined yet

MacPhail on possibly dealing young pitching & O’s attendance

As Andy MacPhail spoke to reporters at Camden Yards today he again mentioned the club’s interest in acquiring a middle of the lineup bat. I asked him if now that some of the young pitchers have made the Major Leagues and had some success, if the club is more open to trading some of its young pitching to get a bat. “We always have to

Stunning starters

With starting pitching like the Orioles are getting, who needs much offense? Okay, we all know the O’s need more offense for next year, but consider the fact they scored just six runs in three games in the Tampa series, but won two of three. They scored just two runs in game two last night and won. In their last four wins, O’s starters have

Guthrie on his outing vs. Detroit

After watching Chris Tillman hold the Tigers to one run on three hits over seven innings in game one, the O’s had to be hoping Jeremy Guthrie could duplicate that outing in game two vs. Detroit. He did even better. Guthrie gave up just two singles over eight shutout innings in the Orioles 2-1 win as they swept a doubleheader. Guthrie and Tillman combined to

Guthrie dominant over eight, as O’s tame Tigers 2-1 to sweep the DH

After allowing 10 ER over his previous two starts, Jeremy Guthrie finished his 2010 season with a flourish tonight, pitching eight shutout innings as the Orioles beat Detroit, 2-1, to sweep a doubleheader at Camden Yards. With the win the O’s are 65-95 and now have one more win than the 2009 Orioles. Guthrie was in command throughout, giving up just two singles, one to

Tillman talks

In his last start of last season, Chris Tillman gave up six runs over two innings vs. Cleveland. Today, he ended his 2010 season on a real high note, allowing just three hits and one run over seven innings in the Orioles 10-6 win over the Tigers in game one of today’s doubleheader. Chris Tillman talks about his outing in the O’s 10-6 win in

Tillman, Jones, Pie & Tatum lead O’s to 10-6 win in game one

The Orioles used one big inning and one big pitching performance to beat the Tigers 10-6 in game one of a doubleheader at Camden Yards. With the win they improved to 64-95, matching last season’s win total. They also improved to 32-22 under Buck Showalter. His 32 wins matches the combined total of Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel over 105 games. Buck Showalter talks with

Markakis talks about his season

It’s been one of those “weird years.” That is the phrase Nick Markakis used to describe his season. In some respects, his stats have matched what he did last year. He hit .293 then and is at .293 now. He had 45 doubles last year and has 45 now. He had an on-base percentage of .347 last year and is at .367 now. He is

Are some potential free agents already eyeing Baltimore?

No one is naming any names, but some players from other teams have expressed an interest in joining the Orioles through free agency. This is a bit of a gray area, since players can’t even file yet for free agency. But when asked today if the O’s improved play since August 3rd might help the club attract possible free agents this winter, O’s manager Buck

Aiming high: Avery made it to Double-A at age 20

Maybe he tired a bit late in the year and his bat slumped then, but overall, the 2010 season has to be considered a pretty successful one for O’s outfield prospect Xavier Avery. He began the year with Frederick as one of the youngest players in the Carolina League (at 20) and by season’s end, was the leadoff hitter and center fielder for Double-A Bowie.

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