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Dan Duquette: Between a rock and a (frustrated) fan base

There can be no doubt that many Orioles fans are frustrated and they are beaten down by 14 straight losing seasons. As someone who went to his first game at Memorial Stadium at the age of 6 and later covered many of those seasons, I can relate. I don’t completely relate, though, to the fans who seem to be clinging to seemingly extreme long shot

We’ll be missing one key Oriole in 2012

As this calender year comes to a close it is sad to think that we won’t be seeing Mike Flanagan during the 2012 season. I’ve said it many times, but among all the Orioles I’ve been lucky to meet over many years, none loved being an Oriole any more than Flanny. It is still stunning to think about the events of last August. I saw

Updating O’s scouting and Boras talks about Fielder

New Orioles amateur scouting director Gary Rajsich continues to set up his staff and department now with about six months remaining before the 2012 First-Year Player Draft. He recently hired Danny Haas from the Red Sox organization to serve as a national crosschecker. Haas was a player in the Boston farm system when Rajsich worked for the Red Sox. Haas and Ron Hopkins will be

Projecting the starting rotation

Many things could change between now and April, but at this moment, with the current makeup of the roster, here is my projected Orioles starting rotation and order of the five: Jeremy Guthrie Zach Britton Jake Arrieta Tsuyoshi Wada Tommy Hunter I am certainly not counting Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Dana Eveland and/or Brad Bergesen out of the picture, but if I had to pick

The one position where other teams are envious of the Orioles

If there is one position where the Orioles are set for the next several seasons and one position where they can hold their own with just about every other club in baseball, it is catcher. With Matt Wieters, they have a 25-year-old catcher that is a Gold Glove winner, was a first-time All-Star in 2011, a switch-hitter, a player that is big and durable and

Are you still confident in the young pitchers?

It was true last year and likely will be true again next year: The Orioles can improve as a team, but they need their young pitching to take a step forward in 2012. The opposite pretty much is what we saw last year. * Brian Matusz ended 2010 going 6-0 with a 1.57 ERA over his last eight starts, then got injured, lost his fastball

Finding the joy in the game

First of all, on this joyous weekend, a merry Christmas and happy holidays to all of the loyal readers. I never take you for granted and am always appreciative that you are here, today and every day. Since most are feeling happy and festive this time of year, I figured it was a good time to get your thoughts about baseball and the Orioles. What

The Orioles are not in position to pull off a Gonzalez-type deal

Whenever a team acquires a player in the offseason, some fans invariably asks the question, “Why didn’t the Orioles do that?” Some have asked that of the Nationals’ trade for pitcher Gio Gonzalez. The Nationals gave up four prospects - three of their top nine as rated by Baseball America - to get the 26-year-old lefty. It was a deal where both sides got what

The case for the defense

Here are two things I feel are quite true about baseball: * Defense is often underrated. * Defense is very hard to statistically quantify. I have heard Buck Showalter talk often enough about run prevention to realize he values defense. I think most managers understand a run saved is pretty much equal to a run knocked in. We hail a player with a two- or

A scouting report on Ryan Flaherty

The Orioles added to their infield depth and got a versatile player recently when they selected Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs organization in the Rule 5 draft. A left-handed hitter, Flaherty, 25, is a career .278/.346/.462 hitter in four seasons for the Cubs after being selected out of Vanderbilt with the 41st overall pick in the 2008 First-Year Player Draft. He batted .280/.347/.478 with 53

Callis on Duquette, the farm, O’s future and more

In reviewing some notes from the Winter Meetings, I found some quotes from an interview in Dallas with Jim Callis of Baseball America that had not yet been published here. I know many fans love to hear Callis’ insights, and I do, too. So here are some topics we covered there. Callis said that when Baseball America puts out its next list of the top

Could Nolan be rollin’ as the starter in left field?

As Orioles fans wonder who will start at certain positions for the 2012 Birds, there are indications that manager Buck Showalter prefers Nolan Reimold as his starting left fielder next year. No one from the club - Showalter included - has said with certainty that Reimold is the starting left fielder moving forward. But in an interview at the Winter Meetings with Mel Antonen of

Expanding their presence in Venezuela could be big for Orioles

The day the Orioles hired Fred Ferreira as their executive director of international recruiting, Ferreira told me he plans to add international scouts and also that he would look into the possibility of the Orioles adding an academy in Venezuela. The Orioles have never produced a major league player from Venezuela, although the club has some promising young talent from there in the lower minors

Tyler Henson: Switching coasts, switching teams

He was drafted by the Orioles out of an Oklahoma high school in the fifth round in 2006. After playing in 622 minor league games with 2,338 at-bats representing the Orioles, Tyler Henson will now find out what it’s like with another team. Last week, Henson and pitcher Jarret Martin were traded to the Dodgers when the Orioles acquired pitcher Dana Eveland. Henson was working

A take on Pujols, Luke and the Duke

Three Tuesday quick takes for your reading enjoyment: * Albert Pujols has become the latest baseball player to sign an amazing megabucks free agent contract with a new team and then say it wasn’t about the money. This came after the Los Angeles Angels introduced Pujols on Saturday after he signed a whopping 10-year, $254 milion deal with the club. “To tell you the truth,

What defines a true Orioles fan?

I noticed on one of the comments on a recent blog here where one reader, when responding to another, said he was a “real fan.” It got me to thinking. What makes for a good and true Orioles fan? This is one very subjective topic and, of course, there is no right answer like there would be to a math problem. What impresses someone about

Ben Badler’s take on Yoenis Cespedes

The Orioles were expected to have a contingent, including manager Buck Showalter and new international scouting guru Fred Ferreira, in the Dominican Republic this weekend to scout Cuban-born Yoenis Cespedes. Cespedes is a 26-year-old right-handed hitting outfielder who defected from Cuba in 2011. He batted .333 with 33 home runs and 99 RBIs during the 2010-2011 season with the Cuban national team. He has yet

Video: Steve and Roch wrapping it up in Dallas

Even if the Orioles didn’t make a lot of moves, the group from MASNsports.com had an eventful run at the Winter Meetings in Dallas. We set records for readership, so thanks for that, and we had fun covering and blogging about anything and everything. Before we left Big D, we finally saw the sun come out, and Roch and I had time for one last

Home from Dallas and fans are wondering about O’s moves

Even with the Orioles not making many moves and not generating many rumors, somehow the Winter Meetings still seemed very busy for those of us on the MASN team covering the Orioles and Nationals in Dallas the last few days. It’s nice to be home. I hope the readers here enjoyed the coverage and videos that we featured in this blog the last few days.

Orioles add Loomis and Sweeney in minor league phase of Rule 5 draft

DALLAS - The Orioles today added two players in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft, getting lefty pitcher Andrew Loomis of the Phillies organization in the Triple-A portion of the draft and infielder Matt Sweeney of the Rays organization in the Double-A portion of the draft. The 26-year-old Loomis is 10-10 with a 3.34 ERA in 133 career games in four minor

Video: One on one with Duquette on Eveland, his next move and more

DALLAS - In our last one on one video interview of the Winter Meetings with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, I asked him about several topics, including the club’s acquisition of lefty pitcher Dana Eveland in a trade with the Dodgers. But I also asked the question many fans are asking today: Do the Orioles still have a chance for some bigger moves this

Duquette talks about the Orioles Rule 5 selection (updated)

DALLAS - Here is what Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said about infielder Ryan Flaherty, the player the Orioles selected from the Cubs organization today with the fourth pick in the Rule 5 draft: “He’s got a good bat. He can play third base and second base. He’s a left-handed hitter and he has some power. He was a high draft pick (41st overall

The Rule 5 draft is set for today

DALLAS - Baseball’s Rule 5 draft will be held this morning at 10 a.m Eastern time and the Orioles will have the fourth pick. Any player selected in this draft must remain on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the entire big league season or be offered back to his original club. Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft who are not

Duquette on the young pitchers: “We are holding onto them”

DALLAS - In today’s one-on-one video interview with Dan Duquette, the Orioles executive vice president indicated he is getting closer to making one or more trades and it could happen before the Winter Meetings end tomorrow. “Well, I mean, we are a little further down the track on a couple of deals that we hope to close,” Duquette said. “It takes a little time to

After long run with Milwaukee, Castro joins O’s as bullpen coach

DALLAS - Bill Castro was hired today by the Orioles as their bullpen coach. He joins the club after 37 seasons with the Milwaukee Brewers organization, the last two as pitching advisor for Latin America. Castro spent 18 seasons on the Brewers’ major league coaching staff, including the first part of the 2009 season as pitching coach. He previously served as bullpen coach from 1992-2008

Video: Jim Callis talks about the Orioles’ farm system

DALLAS - I had a chance to interview Jim Callis of Baseball America today here at the baseball Winter Meetings in Dallas. He spent quite a long time discussing the Orioles and their farm system with me. It’s no secret that right now, the Orioles have a farm system ranked by just about everyone in the bottom third of all teams in baseball. I asked

O’s should tread lightly when thinking about dealing young pitchers

If it’s true that the White Sox seek young pitching for a player like Baltimore native, pitcher Gavin Floyd, the Orioles may not be the team for them to match up with. You would have to wonder why the Orioles would trade, say, a Brian Matusz for Floyd. There is a lot more at work here than if you think Floyd is simply better than

For Duquette it’s .500 or bust

Dan Duquette provided an interesting quote yesterday, one that I suspect will be controversial with some fans. When asked last night if he feels the team has a reasonable chance of finishing better than .500 in 2012,the Orioles executive vice president said, “We want to be .500 or better this year. We want to build, but we definitely want to be over .500.” Later, when

Dan Duquette: “We are not out marketing Adam Jones”

DALLAS - During my one on one video interview tonight with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, I asked him about center fielder Adam Jones. There were conflicting reports today, including my own blog where I reported a source saying the Orioles were open to holding trade talks involving Jones. Another report said the Orioles were telling teams Jones was “off limits.” I asked Duquette

Would the Orioles entertain trade offers for Adam Jones? (update)

DALLAS - A major league source said the Orioles are willing to trade Adam Jones. I would say there is a big gap between “are willing to trade him” and “an actual deal happening,” so it’s a little premature to jump that far with this development. It makes perfect sense to me for the team to listen to offers for Jones. He’s a 26-year-old talent

Why would you trade pitching for pitching?

DALLAS - Some fans have asked why the Orioles would trade pitching for pitching, as for instance moving Jeremy Guthrie and getting a pitcher of Guthrie’s ability back in return. Isn’t that just swapping one deck chair for another? One reason to do that would be to get a pitcher that is younger and perhaps less expensive. Before you go saying, “There the Orioles go,

Still a Buehrle fan

DALLAS - While the Orioles have yet to make any deals or acquisitions here at baseball’s Winter Meetings, they clearly have a lot of irons in the fire. One source familiar with the club’s work here last year and this year described them as much more active now. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told us last night that he has talked to more than

Video: Going one on one with Dan Duquette

DALLAS - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette feels that some players will be traded during the next 36 hours here at the Winter Meetings. The question is, will the Orioles be involved in any of those deals? “We’ve had a lot of discussions,” Duquette said. “Probably met face to face with eight clubs (today) and then we also had discussions with another eight or

Showalter one-on-one video interview

DALLAS - After Orioles manager Buck Showalter met with a horde of reporters here today at the Winter Meetings, he took some time out for a one-on-one interview here on MASNsports.com. Showalter talked on several topics including the additions to the front office of Fred Ferreira and Lee Thomas. “Freddy was in New York with me and very instrumental in Bernie Williams, Mariano Rivera and

Quotes from Buck Showalter

DALLAS - Orioles manager Buck Showalter finished a lengthy session with the media a few moments ago. Here are a few topics he addressed: Are these meetings any different with Dan Duquette? “There are some similarities. We met as a group this morning, the travel party at 8 a.m. Dan made a lot of assignments, different clubs. We gathered some more information. Everybody has their

After helping Red Sox land Dominican talent, Ferreira now looks to do that for the O’s

DALLAS - Before he got back into the game officially as the Orioles new executive director of international recruiting, Fred Ferreira spent time working with a young Dominican player that the Red Sox signed for big bucks last summer. I would guess Ferreira’s day of working with a player that signs with the Sox are over. But last summer Boston signed outfielder Manuel Marcos to

Manny being Manny in Baltimore? Please not here

DALLAS - When Andy MacPhail was the Orioles team president, if the club was rumored to be involved with a player at the Winter Meetings and the reports were unfounded, MacPhail could be counted on to set the Baltimore media straight. “I wouldn’t go down that road (with that rumor),” was typical of something he might say to let us know that rumor was going

The Orioles are finally players on the international market

DALLAS - When new Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette told me last week that “by the first of the year, I think we will have a very, very strong international recruiting department here. We will add veteran baseball people, scouts and executives,” he wasn’t kidding. It appears the Orioles’ international program went from 0 to 60 in about three seconds. Duquette said he would

Lee Thomas on Duquette: “Some people missed the boat on him”

DALLAS - Dan Duquette and Lee Thomas are working together again. Thomas was hired today as a special assistant to the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations. Most recently, Thomas worked as a pro scout for the Milwaukee Brewers from 2004-2006. Prior to that time, he worked for six seasons as special assistant to the general manager and assistant general manager for the Red

O’s add international scouts; Venezuelan academy could be coming

DALLAS - It appears that the Orioles are quite serious about beefing up their international scouting efforts under new executive vice president Dan Duquette. Fred Ferreira, who was hired officially today as the Orioles’ executive director of international recruiting, said he has already reached verbal agreements to hire 10 new international scouts. He said they will work in the Dominican, Venezuela, Curacao, Guatemala, Holland and

New O’s scouting director looks to add Florida-area scout

New Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich has only been on the job a few days, but says he’d like to hire some new amateur scouts by the end of the year. Rajsich said it appears his first O’s scouting staff could be slightly larger than Joe Jordan’s last one. “I would like to add a couple of guys to strengthen some areas that, in talking

Dan Duquette: No decision on Jones yet

New Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette certainly realizes that Adam Jones would be popular in trade talks and could bring a nice return for the club should it choose to put him on the market. He also knows Jones brings a lot to his team right now and could be a key future core piece as he works to improve the team. “I think

Duquette confirms John Stockstill will remain as head of player development

In a phone interview today to discuss the Orioles’ minor leagues and player development, Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette confirmed that John Stockstill will continue in his current role as director of player development for the team. “Yes, he’s in that role. Yes,” Duquette said. When asked if that means Stockstill is staying in that role moving forward, Duquette said, “He’s

Is it getting tougher for Orioles farmhands to make the majors?

Here is a fair question that some of the Orioles’ prospects in the higher minor leagues might be asking these days: How much of a chance will I get in the next year or two with the Orioles? Pitchers wondering that could include Tim Bascom, Steve Johnson, Oliver Drake, Cole McCurry, Chris Tillman and Sean Gleason. Position players asking that could include Ryan Adams, Matt

Checking in with Jim Callis on the new draft rules

At first glance it appears the new rules for the First-Year Player Draft in baseball’s new collective bargaining agreement do not enhance competitive balance at all or provide a new system where the have nots can gain on the haves in Major League Baseball. But after an interview this week with Baseball America’s Jim Callis, I don’t think the new rules are quite as bad

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