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  1. I know he’s not much of a glove, but shouldn’t Adam Dunn be on the list of 1b possibilities?

    Comment by bflaff — November 8, 2010 @ 2:29 pm

  2. If by “top-notch defensive outfield” you mean one that combined for -12.2 UZR/150 last year, then right you are.

    Comment by Ben — November 8, 2010 @ 2:58 pm

  3. This article forgets about Nolan Reimold, who has shown big-league potential and who has a chance not only to start in left field over Felix Pie, but to factor into the 1B mix as well at some point in the season.

    Comment by mbrokos — November 8, 2010 @ 3:16 pm

  4. Based on this read, I presume you think the Orioles are still too far off to “make a move”? I agree heartily with the idea that 1B, 3B, and SS are the trouble spots…it would be difficult to come to any other conclusion. I agree that the market sets up nicely for the O’s to make a short-term commitment to a 1B who will likely provide a 3-win boost over what we had last season. However, your end-game result at these positions results in essentially the status quo at SS , 3B, and SP.

    Izturis may bounce back from a career-worst season at age 31, but I think the best-case scenario there is 1.0 WAR…and the most likely scenario is between 0.0-0.5 WAR.

    Wigginton, while he would be a solid option off the bench for his versatility, would be a hugely disappointing starter at 3B. At best, we’re probably looking at something in the 0.5-1.0 WAR range.

    Signing a Garland (or Garland lite) type won’t be a significant upgrade on Millwood. In the AL East, Garland would have a difficult time cracking a 4.75 ERA.

    Which leads back to my question: Do you think the Orioles are simply too far from being competitive to justify (a) giving more significant FA contracts or (b) trading young talent for more established players? This plan amounts essentially to treading water and hoping that the young players make huge strides…do you think it’s too early for the Orioles to start looking to fill holes in a more costly, more long-term manner?

    Comment by Eric — November 8, 2010 @ 4:17 pm

  5. Yup, always liked Reimold. Not entirely sure what went wrong this year…most likely a combination of some bad luck and slower than anticipated rehab from the Achilles injury. Still some big time raw power from the right side of the plate. Hope they find a way to get his bat in the lineup every day.

    Also don’t get the hating on Luke Scott. Why is there, “little chance he’s in for a repeat?” Other than simply playing the entire season, he didn’t do anything radically different this year. He simply improved pretty moderately across the board. Slightly better wOBA than career, slightly fewer Ks, slightly more BBs. A moderate uptick in ISO. I suppose the HR/FB% (18.6 vs career average of 15.5) was a bit high, but still nothing extreme. Seems like a very possible case of a late bloomer who finally got to play every day.

    Comment by Ben — November 8, 2010 @ 4:18 pm

  6. Is there really a lot of value in playing for respectability? I’d rather see some young guys or maybes in the field than old vets, even if it involves losing a few more games. If I were them, I’d only want to sign guys to short term contracts who might end up having a big season so I could flip them for prospects or offer them arb for draft picks. Hall, Magglio, Harang, Nick Johnson, and Berkman might fit that mold. Otherwise, I don’t see the point of signing a guy like Lee. You’re going to have to offer a multi-year deal, while instead you might have been able to pick up somebody’s garbage (Rule 5 pick, junk swap) and possibly strike gold for the future. Using a spare roster spot to develop talent seems like a better long term strategy than locking an aging vet into the position.

    Comment by B N — November 8, 2010 @ 5:13 pm

  7. Clearly, 1B was a massive black hole for the O’s in 2010, and any of the players you mention would be an upgrade. Hell, even Brandon Snyder would be an upgrade. I hope MacPhail and Co. can find a better 3B alternative than Wigginton, who’s a useful utility player but a butcher in the field.

    I take issue with your suggestion that Jones or Ordonez would be better than Pie and Nolan Riemold. On SS, I’d rather have Izturis than any of the alternatives, at least you’re getting solid, consistent defense. Plenty of teams win with good-glove, no-hit shortstops. And pitching-wise you didn’t mention Brad Bergeson, who had a miserable first half but came on strong. And barring a major trade, it doesn’t appear there’s anyone available who will be significantly better than Kevin Millwood.

    Bottom-line, it doesn’t look like the team can make dramatic improvements in the off-season, though they can get better. As you say, the most improvement is likely to come from Roberts staying healthy and the young guns getting better. Sigh…

    Comment by KS — November 8, 2010 @ 6:42 pm

  8. Seems to me the Orioles’ biggest problem is… cliché, cliché… playing in the AL East. The Yankees will be the Yankees next year (with or without Cliff Lee), the Red Sox can only have better luck with injuries, the Rays (despite some potentially large regression) will still have the pitching to play with the big boys, and the Jays shouldn’t realistically be expected to be any worse than they were this year, with their strong pitching core and a potent offense even when the HR numbers drop.

    The Orioles, I think, need to focus less on being a “winning” ball club than on trying to do what Alex Anthopolous has started to do in Toronto: foster or buy elite talent at every position, both for now, the immediate future, and the distant future. It’s the only way to win in the beast that is the east.

    Comment by Theo — November 8, 2010 @ 9:34 pm

  9. What does that even mean? Is there a way to “foster” talent besides what the O’s are (attempting) to do? That basically just boiled down to “get better players”

    Comment by tbad — November 8, 2010 @ 9:55 pm

  10. Given the glut of 1B options and lack of SS options, strengthening the bullpen will likely be top priority. A second LH to complement Gonzalez would be nice, and either re-upping Uehara or replacing him with a Putz/Benoit-type would be ideal. Plus less innings out of Albers/Hendrickson/Simon and more out of Berken/Johnson/Hernandez can’t hurt.

    Comment by captain_oblivious — November 9, 2010 @ 7:01 am

  11. Pie wasn’t out there much last year and all of the outfielders have proven, in the past, that they are capable of being good fielders. There is no physical reason that any of the current outfielders should have gotten worse, so I think it is likely that the -12 UZR is not a true measure of their fielding ability. There is room for doubt, but more reason for optimism. To beat a tired drum, one year is too small of a sample to draw true talent level conclusions from UZR.

    Comment by Bill — November 9, 2010 @ 7:48 am

  12. They didn’t really get worse. Markakis was -5.2 last year and -6.0 the year before that (although he was admittedly +12 the year before). Adam Jones was -5 this year and -7.6 the year before (+5.8 the year before). You’re right Pie was only there for half the season, but he’s never played a full season in left so it’s hard to judge. For his career, his average UZR/150 (which I recognize is a crude way of going about it…) is 3.3.

    Long story short, even if you view the numbers as optimistically as possible, there’s just no objective way you can call this trio a “top-notch defensive outfield.” The best-case scenario is more like, “a slightly above average defensive outfield.”

    Comment by Ben — November 9, 2010 @ 12:17 pm

  13. The Orioles were the fourth best team in baseball in August and September, after schedule adjustments.

    Phi .692
    Min .631
    TB .602
    Bal .592
    SF .588
    Tor .576
    NYA .564
    Bos .555
    Tex .549
    Cin .546

    They obviously have some holes to fill, but their young talent is probably way better than their 2010 season lines would indicate.

    Comment by Eric M. Van — November 9, 2010 @ 5:31 pm

  14. I would say paying big money at b is justifiable at this point. I mean Prince or Adrian Gonzalez big. Bringing in a bona-fide stud at their biggest hole would not only affect the ability of one position but could influence some of the other guys in the club. Izturis is the best they can do this year at SS, is Uribe really that reliable at SS? What about the big boy at 3b, if it is feasible to get him? All I know is McPhail has one more year to make some decent moves that don’t involve Garret Adkins. Bleh.

    Comment by Kyle — November 15, 2010 @ 5:09 pm

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