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Matusz looks back and ahead

In looking ahead to their 2012 rotation, the Orioles probably can’t project Brian Matusz as one of their starting five right now. Not after a season where he went 1-9 with a 10.69 ERA, spent time on the disabled list and made just 12 major league starts with 11 more coming in the minors. Matusz was a guest last night on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report”

After solid 2011 season, Miclat’s winter ball run ends early

After missing the last 10 games last summer at Double-A Bowie with an injured left thumb, infielder Greg Miclat was headed to winter ball for more experience and more at-bats. But after just seven games in Panama, Miclat suffered an injury in the rib cage area that would eventually end his short time at winter ball and lead him back to the United States. “I

Some thoughts from the new Orioles scouting director

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and new scouting director Gary Rajsich just finished a conference call with several Baltimore reporters and here are some topics they discussed. Duquette on the amount of scouts the team will employ: “We have appropriate staffing levels and we are going to be making some other changes to the staff to make sure we are strong, not just in

Pondering a few questions

Some questions to wonder about as we get a new week started: If Jim Johnson does get moved to the starting rotation in 2012, how many innings will he be able to pitch? Some feel he will be limited there, but C.J. Wilson of the Texas Rangers went from 73 2/3 innings out of the bullpen in 2009 to 33 starts and 204 innings as

So what’s the big deal about a baseball autograph?

It is funny some of the things we remember from our youth. I can specifically remember standing in the parking lot at Memorial Stadium - I think it was in 1974 - and talking to Claudell Washington of the Oakland A’s. He was holding a cab waiting for Reggie Jackson to ride back to the team hotel. He was not happy that Reggie was holding

Random takes

Here are some random thoughts and takes for a Friday: * As I wrote back on Nov. 16, any cap on draft spending is not good for the game in my opinion. If Bud Selig’s goal was to enhance competitive balance in this latest collective bargaining agreement, he failed. The draft was a rare area where a team like Pittsburgh, Kansas City or Baltimore could

Thankful for a few things including one football team

A very happy Thanksgiving to everyone, and I’m sure many of you are like me in that you have a lot to be thankful for. That list always starts for me with my family and friends, and I am thankful for them every day, not just today. I’m thankful to get to cover my hometown team, the team I grew up loving as young kid

Help for the Orioles? It now could take about five fewer wins to make playoffs

Things are looking up for the Orioles. They got closer to the playoffs yesterday without adding a single player. They did, really, but so did every other club in the game, too. When baseball adds a second wild card playoff team in each league for a total of five clubs, teams will obviously need fewer wins to make the playoffs. I went through the last

Some initial thoughts on the draft changes in the new CBA

Fans and reporters around baseball are still learning about the changes coming in the draft through baseball’s new five-year collective bargaining agreement that was announced today. Check out this story from Baseball America to read about many of the changes. It appears some front office staffers in baseball are expressing some unhappiness with the effort to put a cap on total spending on draft picks

Dan Klein: After the surgery, so far, so good

The 2011 season was Dan Klein’s first full season in the Orioles’ organization. The right-hander got off to a great start and was quickly becoming one of the O’s best pitching prospects. He began with Single-A Frederick and, after only one month with the Keys, was moved to Double-A Bowie. Klein was pitching very well and appeared to be on a fast track that might

Chorye Spoone is leaving the Orioles to join Boston

After pitching seven seasons in the Orioles organization, right-hander Chorye Spoone, who was removed from the club’s 40-man roster July 19, today agreed to a contract with the Boston Red Sox. Spoone’s deal, which includes a spring training invitation, will become official when he passes a physical, which he said he felt certain he would do. He was in Boston today for that physical. The

Will fans hang in there if it takes a while to rebuild the Orioles?

The blog I wrote about Dan Duquette’s interview on Boston radio over the weekend sparked some debate about how soon Orioles fans should expect Duquette to make their team a winner. Some fans wrote that Duquette could or should go buy the top free agents to try and make the team a winner next year. Some fans believe that, after 14 losing seasons, Duquette and

Duquette’s interview on Boston radio

In his first few days on the job as Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations, Dan Duquette made the Baltimore media rounds. He was on many talk shows and was interviewed often. While he was polite to all, there seemingly was not too much to be learned from his comments. We didn’t get any major insight into his plan to revamp the Orioles. We

Oliver Drake talks about making the 40-man roster

It was late this afternoon when Oliver Drake got an important phone call. Tripp Norton, the Orioles’ assistant director of player development, informed Drake that he was being added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster. The 43rd-round draft pick from 2008 out of Navy went 11-8 with an ERA of 3.32, making 13 starts for Single-A Frederick, 12 at Double-A Bowie and one for Triple-A Norfolk

Orioles add Antonelli

The Orioles have signed infielder Matt Antonelli, a former first-round draft pick of the San Diego Padres. Pending a physical, he is expected to be added to the 40-man roster. The 26-year-old, right-handed batter was the Padres’ top pick, taken 17th overall in 2006 out of Wake Forest. He could compete for playing time at second and/or third base in Baltimore. Antonelli spent most of

Looking at some candidates to be added to the 40-man roster today

Later today, the Orioles and the rest of the teams in Major League Baseball must set their 40-man rosters in advance of the Rule 5 draft set for Dec. 8 at the Winter Meetings. Any player from the organization the Orioles add to the 40-man today will be protected and will not be available to be selected by another team during that draft. It was

Pondering the Orioles’ 2012 payroll

A lot of fans and reporters are wondering what the Orioles’ total team payroll will be for the 2012 season. While the Orioles -and just about every other team out there - are very unlikely to disclose their projected budget for next season, we can at least make a good guess at where the Orioles are right now with their 2012 payroll. In compiling some

Is MLB about to limit spending on the draft?

If Major League Baseball is looking to limit spending on draft picks in the new collective bargaining agreement, I am strongly against that. Clubs should be allowed to spend whatever amount they choose on the draft. It is one area where the so-called small market teams can spend with the big boys. They can’t match the 25-man roster payrolls of the Yankees and Red Sox,

How active should the Orioles be in free agency?

When I wrote over the weekend about Yu Darvish, many of your replies surprised me. I didn’t keep a tally, but it sure seemed most fans that left a comment were against going after Darvish via free agency if he is posted if the total price tag for a posting fee and contract would total $100 million or more. I admire your restraint considering how

In the game of compensatory draft picks, the Orioles have come up short

No matter how you feel about Joe Jordan’s record as the Orioles’ scouting director from 2005 through 2011, there is one area that hurt the Orioles during his time with the club that was out of the control of the scouting department. The Orioles had fewer picks than their American League East rivals in the top three rounds during those seven drafts - in some

An opinion on baseball in Venezuela and a look at Yu Darvish

In recent years, there has been talk of the Orioles increasing their presence in Venezuela. It is a nation that has produced current players like Asdrubal Cabrera, Felix Hernandez, Victor Martinez, Freddy Garcia, Magglio Ordonez, Johan Santana and former Oriole Melvin Mora to name just a few. The kidnapping this week of Nationals’ catcher Wilson Ramos sheds light on the dangers that pro baseball players

Posada to the Orioles? Don’t see much chance for that

For the life of me I don’t see Jorge Posada, who is a free agent, as a fit for the Orioles. Jon Heyman of SI.com tweeted this yesterday: “If posada decides to play, i’m thinking orioles or marlins. but i hope he retires. great career. terrific guy.” Posada turned 40 last summer and while the Orioles need a backup catcher and might have some DH

One vote for Nolan Reimold as the everyday left fielder

Nolan Reimold began the 2011 season in the lineup at Triple-A Norfolk. He ended it with a huge ninth-inning RBI double for the Orioles against Jonathan Papelbon that capped a big September. Will it be enough to get him in Buck Showalter’s starting lineup as a regular in left field in 2012? I say the answer to that should be yes. After a strong rookie

Ron Hopkins expresses interest in O’s scouting director job

One of the first key hires for new Orioles vice president Dan Duquette will be a new scouting director to replace Joe Jordan, who left to take a job with the Phillies. Duquette said yesterday he would consider internal candidates for any openings and the Orioles have a man on the staff now that is interested in the scouting director job. That is Ron Hopkins,

Going one on one with Dan Duquette

The man who used to pretend he was Brooks Robinson as a kid and who later delivered newspapers to the Massachusetts home of Mark Belanger made his way into the MASNsports.com studios today for a one-on-one video interview. I had a chance to ask new Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette about getting back into the game, his initial top priorities, working

Duquette on staffing, free agency and the minors

After his press conference today, new Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was asked about staffing and the makeup of his front office. “I staff my office or my team from strength. I try to put the people that are strong in one area, in that area. I try to pair up the person’s passion with their strength. Once I decide what

Winter ball updates

Here are some current stats on players from the Orioles organization that are playing in winter ball leagues around the world: In the Dominican: * Pedro Florimon is batting .235/0/1 going 4-for-17 with seven strikeouts. * Pedro Viola is 1-0 with a 1.23 ERA in 11 games. In 7 1/3 he has allowed four hits and one run. * Jose Diaz is 0-0 with an

Looking at some issues facing Dan Duquette

As Dan Duquette becomes the latest top executive to try and turn the Orioles around, many Orioles fans must be hoping the Buck Showalter-Duquette pairing will be the one to finally take this team back to the top of the standings. While no one can blame fans for being doubters and skeptical about that, a new face at the top does provide hope. Hope that

Will Dan be the man for the Orioles? (updated with deal done)

The idea of Orioles fans being held hostage may soon be over. If Dan Duquette gets the general manager’s job, the club will have its new top executive and you can get on with your lives, not to mention the rest of the offseason. Personally, I was and remain a big fan of De Jon Watson of the Dodgers. I think this guy is going

A question about the fans: What if they jump ship?

Here is a good question to ponder this weekend: How do you feel about a fan that dumps one team for another? How would feel about an Orioles fan that dumps the Birds for say the Nationals or Red Sox or Yankees or any other baseball team? I think fans have the right to be upset with their team, to rip their team on the

Can the Orioles solve their “perception problem”?

This just in: The Orioles are getting crushed by the national columnists right now. ESPN’s Buster Olney published a column yesterday that was titled: “Orioles stalled by a perception problem.” Here is part of what he wrote: “The Orioles have a significant perception problem now, slowing down a team already viewed within the industry as one that is all horse-and-buggy in a wireless world. Think

Are the Orioles making any improvements on the international front?

The Orioles’ international signings in recent years have been rated poor by many of the so-called experts, but there were some indications this year that the Orioles may have made one or two gains on the international front in 2011. While I put almost no stock in a minor league team’s record as it relates to their quality of prospects, the Orioles’ Dominican Summer League

Markakis on Roberts and an error-free season

Nick Markakis has played plenty of games in right field with Brian Roberts patrolling second base. Markakis talked to Roberts recently and hopes Roberts can return to regular duty next season after playing in just 98 combined games the last two years. “I talked to him not too long ago,” Markakis said. “I know 100 percent he plans on coming back. He wants to be

Markakis updates an injury and talks about Gold Glove

On a conference call to talk about his Rawlings Gold Glove Award, Nick Markakis updated reporters on an injury. If you recall, he was taken out of the last game of the season with a bone bruise in the abdomen area. “It happened a couple of weeks prior to the end of the season, stealing a base, just dove in and hurt myself. As far

Xavier Avery talks about being named to AFL Rising Stars Game

Orioles outfield prospect Xavier Avery rode an 11-game hitting tear right onto a roster spot for the East squad in Saturday’s Arizona Fall League’s Rising Stars Game. The rosters were released Tuesday and Avery earned a spot on the East squad that will take on the West team Saturday night at 8:10 p.m. Eastern time in a game that will be televised live on the

Should the Orioles pursue Prince Fielder?

If the Orioles wind up shocking the baseball world and signing free agent first baseman Prince Fielder this winter, I would have no problem getting on board with that. He would give the team a feared middle-of-the-order slugger who, at 27, could be heading into the best years of his baseball life. People always question his weight, but the guy has played 157 games or

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