Next up in the Regular Season Preview series: The Baltimore Orioles.
The Orioles had a bad 2008. However, if it weren’t for an utterly terrible final two months, the team would’ve been decent. They were 52 & 56 at the beginning of August. The problem with this team was their pitching. Jeremy Guthrie was the only good starter they had. In fact, he was the only one with an ERA under 5.00. Their offense was pretty solid; they were 9th in the league in runs scored. Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts will keep that lineup strong for years to come. It gets better, too. Youngsters Adam Jones and of course Matt Wieters could make a huge impact. Felix Pie will be given a chance to win the left field job in the spring; he could make a nice #2 hitter if he finds out how to be on base. Aubrey Huff and Luke Scott are also solid regulars playing at first base and DH. The more I look at their lineup, the more I like it.
The key to this team for 2009 is their pitching. Guthrie will be solid once again, but starters 2-5 have some big question marks. The team added four starters for depth this offseason. Koji Uehara came over from Japan, Mark Hendrickson was signed, and Brad Hennessey was picked up from the scrap heap. Rich Hill was acquired in a trade with the Cubs, also. He has a ton of upside as shown by his 2007 numbers. If he could reharness his control, the Orioles will have a great pitcher on their hands. If Hill bounces back, Uehara has a Hiroki Kuroda like year, and one other of the young pitchers steps up, this could be an average rotation.
A lot of things will have to go right for the Orioles to just hit .500, and it’s almost impossible to see the Orioles finishing atop the loaded AL East. I like this team’s nucleus of young talent, though. They have some nice hitters, and the lineup should get even better with Matt Wieters coming up. By next year it’s possible that their top pitching prospects, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and Jake Arrieta will be in the MLB. Those three could make a big difference. The Orioles will have a lot of money coming off the books once the season ends, so they should be able to and willing to sign an experienced veteran to slot in behind Guthrie. An additional bat could also be added if needed.
This season is for the Orioles find out what they have, and what they need. They are definitely a team on the rise, and could possibly be competing by 2010 or 2011. Even with the Rays, Red Sox, and Yankees sitting there, the O’s will at least have a chance. They have a direction now, and that’s something that they haven’t had for a while.
I had to take the weekend off from blogging. Sorry I didn’t let you know, but let’s get back to baseball.
The Angels are out of the running for Mark Teixeira. They pulled out when team owner Arte Moreno concluded that Tex didn’t want to play for the Angels, and would rather go to the east coast. Their 160 million offer is off the table, so Teixeira’s next team will be the Red Sox, Nationals, Orioles, or possibly Yankees. The latter don’t seem completely involved, but you never know about a team that has Hank Steinbrenner as the president.
With the Angels out, the Red Sox seem like the clear frontrunner to me. BoSox president John Henry said that “we’re not going to be a factor,” but I believe that was just a negotiating ploy. Several baseball writers have said that the Red Sox offer of 8 years, 180 million is still on the table. I’m guessing that Scott Boras went to the BoSox and stated that he had a better offer on the table from a different team. It looks like Henry effectively called Boras’s bluff, because if the unknown team was the Nationals, they would’ve signed him by now. It couldn’t have been the Angels, because they’re out, and the Yankees GM Brian Cashman said that they had not made an offer. The Orioles appear reluctant to raise their 7 year, 140 million dollar offer. So it looks like Boston’s offer of 8 years, 180 million is the best on the table. This is just me trying to draw conclusions, though. No one really knows who’s offering what except for Tex and Boras. This is making me crazy!
Now that Tex won’t end up an Angel, who will? They have about 22 million left to spend, and are looking to add a power hitting outfielder. A cheap starter could be under consideration, also. Brian Fuentes could make sense if his price drops down; the Angels are his first choice because they will give him a closer’s job, play on the west coast (where he is from), and are a contending team. I don’t consider the bullpen or the rotation a need, however, and would rather just get a great bat.
You can’t call Manny Ramirez a perfect fit, but he sure does make a lot of sense. He can DH most of the time, and is truly the only bat on the free agent market not named Mark Teixeira that can scare pitchers. If I see Manny hitting behind Vladimir Guerrero, I’m just as scared as if I see Tex. I know that Ramirez doesn’t have gold glove defense, and he has an attitude problem, but there is no difference between the two hitting wise. For some reason I have a feeling that the Angels will pass, but I don’t think they should.
If not Manny, then Adam Dunn makes a ton of sense. Dunn is no Manny or Tex, but he is still a 40 homer bat that will bring you an OBP in the .360 to .380 range. A lot of people get blinded by his poor defense, low batting average, and lack of emotion, but he is one of the most consistent bats in the MLB. He also brings some versatility because he can play both first base and left field. If I were the Angels, I would DH him, because like I said before, he has poor defense. Some other options that would make sense for Anehiem are Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, and Pat Burrell.
So the Angels are out on Tex, the Red Sox and Nationals look like the frontrunners for his services, and the Angels could pursue Manny Ramirez, Adam Dunn, Milton Bradley, Bobby Abreu, Pat Burrell, or Brian Fuentes. I can’t wait to find out how all of this happens.
4 teams are aggressively pursuing Mark Teixeira, and I mean aggressively. The Orioles, Nationals, and Angels have offers on the table while the Red Sox appear to be nearing an offer. The Angels proposal is believed to be 8 years, 160 million. The Nationals offered 8 years, 160 million also, while the Orioles proposed 7 years, 140 million.
The Orioles are unlikely to raise their offer, so they’re pretty much out unless Tex decided to take 20 million less to return home to Baltimore. I doubt it, because if he wanted to be close to home so bad he could just accept the Nationals offer. Unless the O’s change their mind, Tex won’t be in black and orange next year.
The Angels and Nationals are both offering the same amount, and it might come down to Teixeira’s preference. He could either go close to home and wait a while before contention by signing with the Nats, or he could jump right into contention with the Angels. However, the latter option requires he goes far away from his Baltimore home. I don’t know which one he will chose, but he might not have to. I think that the Nats would be willing to raise their offer, so my strategy would be to report back to the Nationals and say that he is about to accept the Angels offer. That would probably lead Nationals’s GM Jim Bowden to make a 9 year, 180 million offer. Then, the Angels could match the offer and Tex has the same decision as before except he’ll get an extra 20 million. Or, the Angels decline to raise their offer and Tex becomes a National. Either way works out.
Of course, this is assuming that the Red Sox don’t jump in, which is very unlikely. They’ll probably go all-in for Tex in an attempt to lure him to Boston. If they match the Angels’ and Nationals’ offers of 8 years, 160 million, I think they’d get him. Tex gets to go to a perennial playoff contender while staying close to his home. It’s the best of both worlds. Like I said before, the Angels and/or Nationals could always just raise their offer by a year. If one or both of those teams end up raising their offer, the BoSox could follow.
It looks like all 3 of these teams are desperate to sign Mark Teixeira. A bidding war is very likely, and I think that in the end, Tex will get the 10 years, 200 million he wants. This is how it will happen. The Red Sox jump in to offer 8 years, 160 million, and Tex decides on their offer if no team adds a year. The Angels drop out, and the Nats up their offer to 9 years, 180 million. The Red Sox jump right to 10 years, 200 million and sign him because Jim Bowden isn’t given permission to match the BoSox offer. This is just my prediction, though.
I can’t wait to find out where Mark Teixeira ends up. All I know is that Tex is going to be a very rich man when it’s all said and done.
The framework of a trade that would send Jake Peavy to the Cubs is in place. It would be a complicated 4-team trade, but apparently it makes sense to the GMs. The Cubs, Padres, Phillies, and Orioles would be the 4 teams. The Phillies and Orioles are satisfied by their part of the deal. The only part left of the trade would be whom the Cubs send to the Padres. I’m not sure on this, but guessing a trade would look like this.
- Cubs get: Jake Peavy
- Padres get: Josh Vitters, Garret Olson, Jason Donald, Ronny Cedeno, Sean Marshall
- Orioles get: Felix Pie
- Phillies get: Mark DeRosa
- Cubs lose: Mark DeRosa, Josh Vitters, Felix Pie, Ronny Cedeno, Sean Marshall
- Padres lose: Jake Peavy
- Orioles lose: Garret Olson
- Phillies lose: Jason Donald
It looks like a trade like this could be completed, but first the Cubs will need to clear salary by trading Jason Marquis. It looks like all they have to do is pull the trigger on a Marquis trade and they’ll be able to make this huge, blockbuster trade. Overcourse, this deal needs to make sense for all teams.
The Cubs would be aquiring Jake Peavy. Adding him to setup a rotation of Peavy – Carlos Zambrano – Rich Harden – Ryan Dempster – and Ted Lilly would make the Cubs the unquestioned best team in the MLB. Yes, their whole entire farm system is getting traded away, but I think it’s definately worth it. Vitters, Pie, Cedeno, and Marshall all are blocked, anyway. It hurts losing DeRosa, but you have to give something to get something.
This looks like a pretty solid deal for the Padres, too. The get a great
prospect in Josh Vitters to take over at third base in the future. They can shop Kevin Kouzmanoff until Vitters hits the big leagues. The Pads can take their time, because he is at least 2 years away from prime-time ball. Jason Donald is a solid shortstop prospect; he adequately replaces Khalil Greene. Cedeno provides depth. Garret Olson and Sean Marshall are by no means top notch pitching prospects, but they add depth to the back of the Padres’ rotation. Because of PETCO Park, it will be easy to find pitching. This is arguably just as good as the Braves’ offer of Yunel Escobar, Goyrks Hernandez, Jo-Jo Reyes, and Charlie Morton. It is just a more crafty way of doing it. I like this trade for the Padres, even though I admit they could do better if they wait until the trade deadline.
It’s a no-brainer for the Orioles to make the trade. Garret Olson doesn’t have the same upside as Felix Pie. They have both been awful in the MLB, but Pie has been given less of a chance. I know that they both look like busts right now, but Pie has a much better chance at becoming a quality player than Olson does. Maybe it’s just because I’ve seen Pie play so many times while watching the Cubs. It appears that the Orioles also like the idea of swaping Olson out for Pie, and I agree with them.
It also makes sense for the Phillies. Mark DeRosa was a great player last year. He was a
huge reason why the Cubs won 97 games, and it would hurt them lose DeRo, but it seems the Cubs are open to this trade. The Phillies are reportedly really high on Donald, but it just seems like they would trade him for DeRosa in a heartbeat. Donald is blocked, and DeRo makes more sense than anyone else on the free agent market. He can play second base until Chase Utley returns from his injury, and then he can move to left field, replacing Pat Burrell. Eric Bruntlett, Greg Dobbs, and Geoff Jenkins would play left field or second base until Utley returns. This would be a great idea for Philly. The only problem is that they’re making it a lot harder to get back to the World Series by assisting the Cubs in aquiring Peavy.
So I think this huge, blockbuster, 4-team trade would make a lot of sense for all the clubs involved, but one little snag in negotiations could ruin the whole thing. I hope it happens!
The Cubs, Padres, and Orioles are discussing a trade that would send Jake Peavy to Chicago. The Orioles would recieve outfielder Felix Pie while dealing Garret Olsen to the Padres. The Cubs would add other prospects to try to finish off a trade. I don’t understand how this puts the Cubs in a better position to satisfy the Padres needs. I think the Pads would rather have Pie than Olsen. Felix has always been the better prospect, and both have been awful in the MLB. On top of this, the Padres probably don’t want Josh Vitters. He is the only big time prospect that the Cubs have. I don’t think an eventual trade like this will ever end up happening; it just makes too little sense.
Mark Teixera’s agent, Scott Boras, says that he has recieved a number of offers for Teixera. He isn’t talking about teams that are interested, but actual offers that Tex could accept at any time. Boras didn’t say how many teams, or which teams, but Teixera has at least two offers on the table. The Angels haven’t made an offer yet. The 5 teams interested in Tex are the afermentioned Angels, Red Sox, Oriols, Nationals, and Yankees.
I doubt the Yanks have made a true offer, because they would be unable to sign CC Sabathia in that situation. They are interested in him as a backup plan to CC, but probably didn’t make an offer to Tex yet. It’s possible they could squeeze both Tex and CC into the payroll, but it seems they would prefer another starter like AJ Burnett or Derek Lowe.
So it is between the Red Sox, Nationals, and Oriols. At least 2 of those 3 teams have made offers. It might have even been all three. I find the Sox as the most likely team to make an offer. He is their offseason priority, and I have a feeling that he could end up in Boston when it’s all said and done. They probably already made him a contract offer that would exceed the 8 year, 160 million dollar contract they gave to Manny Ramirez. That was their biggest contract in club history. Tex will get paid more than that, from the Red Sox or a different team.
The Nationals and Oriols are the two sleepers in this market. I could see either team offering 10 years, yet I could see either team not even making an offer. I slightly edge toward the Nats. They seem like they’d be the team to spend a ton of money. Remember, there was a rumor that the Nats were preparing to offer Teixera 10 years, 200 million. If that were true, they would probably win him over. The Oriols also could have made an offer, but I’m guessing it’s more in the 6 year, 120 million range. That won’t get it done.
I have a feeling that Tex has gotten a big offer from some team. This might have been the reason that the Angels contacted CC Sabathia’s agent. It could be that there is a 10 year offer on the table from someone. 10 years is something the Angels will not do; they haven’t given an indication that they’d offer 8. The Angels may be moving on from Tex and moving onto Sabathia.
I used to hate the idea of the Nationals signing Teixera, but I’m starting to understand it. They are in a market that could potentially grow large. Washington DC has a lot of people in it. A 100 million dollar payroll isn’t out of the question. They won’t hit that range in ’09, but later on it’s possible. The Nats need someone to fill the seats, and hopefully Tex will be that player. Of course, they’d have to pull him away from the Red Sox, Angels, Yankees, and Oriols first.
AJ Burnett is drawing a ton of interest on the open market. After opting out of his contract with the Blue Jays, he has 6 teams seriously interested in his services. The Yankees, Red Sox, Braves, Mets, Oriols, and Blue Jays all want him. Because of all the interested teams, Burnett will look for a 5 year deal while considering nothing else. The Yankees don’t want to go to 5 years, but I’m sure they’d change their mind if the Red Sox offer that term. I don’t think the Sox will either, though. They really don’t need Burnett, they just want to keep him out of New York. It would probably be smarter to pursue a reunion with Derek Lowe. He wants to come back to Boston, and would be cheaper than Burnett even though he is probably a better pitcher. The Braves would rather have Lowe, also. They will pursue Burnett, but it’s no secret that they’d rather have the veteran durability of Lowe. The Mets will probably not be able to afford Burnett if they give Francisco Rodriguez a big contract. Maybe they’ll be the team to give him 5 years for less money than the 16 million per year he will command. The Oriols would like to add him because he would make a really nice 1-2 punch when combined with Jeremy Guthrie. When some of their great pitching prospects come up, the Oriols will be in great position to compete. I guess I could see them going to 5 years, but I really have to squint. JP Riccardi, the GM of the Blue Jays, has said that he would consider going to 5 years for AJ. If they are the only team offering this term, they’ll probably be able to resign him. I really think in the end that some team will offer Burnett 5 years, and I’m predicting it will be the Yankees. How many times have they changed their minds? A lot, and I think they will this time, too.