Monthly Archives: February 2010

Rolling into Spring Training

Pitchers and catcher report to spring training this week and despite the teams outlook for this season, I’m still excited. There is no better time of year than baseball season. Having a good time at the yard and playing a little ball myself are probably my two favorite things to do and this is the only time of year they both happen simultaneously.

The Orioles offseason appears to be paused until spring training. There are rumblings they are interested in signing Jarrod Washburn but I don’t see it happening. I have a hard time believing that he would be interested in coming here or that the Orioles really want Chris Tillman to start the year in Norfolk. He has already dominated AAA hitters and if he is going to learn to get major league hitters out he needs to do it against major league hitters at this point. People are forgetting that this kid was 21 years old last year and pitched the most professional innings he ever had in a single season. We aren’t going to compete this year and everyone knows it, let him learn at this level now. If midseason he is struggling mightily we have Jake Arrieta, David Hernandez, and Jason Berken waiting in the wings to take some starts. Let’s not forget we are talking about the fifth starter here. Tilman doesn’t have to be very good to be comparable to most fifth starters around the league.  We have depth we haven’t had in quite some time in the pitching staff, and most of it is homegrown and cheap. There is also many promising arms in the pipeline.

With spring training about to begin, the O’s believe they have 21 of their 25 roster spots set. The positions up for audition are several bullpen spots, and backup catcher. I think Chad Moeller ends up returning as the second backstop but he will be “competing” with Michel Hernandez, recently of the Tampa Bay Rays, and Craig Tatum, a waiver pickup from the Cincinnati Reds. The final 3 spots on the roster will be bullpen arms. It appears there will be a heavy  competition for these three spots between David Hernandez, Jason Berken, Kam Mickolio, Cla Meredith, Matt Albers, Dennis Sarfate, and Will Ohman. Don’t get me wrong here, I love Will Ohman’s Harry Carey impression as much as the next guy, but I just don’t agree with the Orioles notion that you need a LOOGY in the pen. I think Ohman ends up with one of the spots simply because he throws with his left hand. If it were me, I take the guys I think are the 3 best pitchers on the team regardless of what hand they throw with. We already have two lefties in Gonzalez and Hendrickson, we don’t need a one out guy who is going to pitch an inning per week. Give me three guys that can get guys out no matter what side of the plate they are on who can pitch whole innings regularly. In my scenario, the 3 spots go to Mickolio, Meredith, and David Hernandez. Mickolio looked very promising before injury last year and is a power arm who can miss some bats. Meredith was not impressive last year but he has had solid years and is a groundball machine when he is right.  David Hernandez also seems destined for the pen with a power fastball and inconsistent secondary pitches. I believe if told he was only throwing an inning or two he could be a dominant two pitch reliever if he finds command in the pen. Fat Albers is out of options and could be lost to waivers in this scenario but I don’t see that as a big loss with the plethora of arms on the way, not to mention he is not very good. What do I think the Orioles end up doing? I think the last 3 bullpen spots end up going to Albers, Meredith, and Ohman, with the rest of the bunch being sent back to AAA because, well, they can.

I don’t believe the Orioles are done making moves before Opening Day however as I think we will possibly see a trade or waiver pickup before the start of the regular season but I will not speculate on that just yet. Ultimately, spring training will be interesting for the same reason it always is, the baseball season is right around the corner. I will be in Sarasota for a few games between March 25th and 29th to give some reports, stay tuned.

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Nick Swisher Needs a New Hobby

Don’t get me wrong.  I’m a fan of the Swish.  Well, until he became a Yankee.  I’m physically unable to be a fan of a Yankee or a Red Sox player, unless they are Asian.  Can’t bring myself to hate an Asian person.

Anyway, I follow Swish on Twitter and up until recently, he seemed like a decent enough Twitterer.  I mean he put out the usual tweet crap:

Have a question for me? Ask me ANYTHING on my new YouTube Channel! Check my latest video.

4 Days until Valentines, what are you getting your valentines?

Congratulations to the New Orleans Saints on winning the Superbowl!

See, nothing ground breaking there.  But then he put this up:

RT @baron_davis Spent some time today hanging out with my boy @nickswisher dude is hilarious – http://bit.ly/cnXutb

So let’s break this down a bit.

Notice the RT in front.  This, for you non-twitterers, is a Re-Tweet.  Basically it’s just repeating what someone says on their network, to your network.  Great for spreading breaking news.  In fact, a hiker caught in an avalanche was found because the word of his disappearance spread so quickly on Twitter, people found him.  Great stuff.

But here’s the problem I have.  He’s repeating a compliment given to him by another famous athlete.  One who happens to be one of my beard idols, Baron Davis.

So Baron Davis said something nice about another person on his own network.  As if, someone hung out with us at an O’s game and told all their friends how much fun they had.

And Nick happens to follow Baron so he saw the compliment too.  As if, Shane Falco overheard someone say how much fun we are to watch an O’s game with.

And then Nick had to go tell all his friends that Baron thinks he’s funny.  As if, Shane, after overhearing the compliment, went out and told every single one of his friends, one by one, that someone thinks we’re awesome.

Are you that insecure that you need to tell a lot of people who already like you, that another famous person likes you?

Isn’t this your wife?

Can’t you think of something better to do with your millions of dollars, famous friends, and smoking hot wife?

And before you point it out: I have nothing better to do than make fun of famous people who could give a shit what I say.  And I’m sad.

Bonus – Want to see her without clothes? Enjoy!

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When is Spring Training again?

What is it about another foot of accumulation, on top of the existing 4 feet that makes it feel like spring?

Save us Sarasota.  Save us from the winter hell that is Turdland.

*Bonus points – Name that player!  And don’t look it up, cheater.

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Let’s go shake der hans.

If you are a really astute reader, you may have noticed a new link added on the side bar called Hockey’s version of ESH.  Most of you probably didn’t.

Our boys over at The CAPS Lock are taking hockey by storm.  If your looking to blame someone for having to dig out of 4 feet of snow…blame them.  Ian stands on the roof of his house in San Diego with a fan, a leaf blower, and his lungs of steel and pushes the warm moist air across the country to the frigid east coast.  What a dick.

Anyway, if you don’t follow hockey, the Caps are on fire right now and if you need somewhere to go for Caps related humor and all the hockey fights your stomach can handle, well,  you know where to go now.

I’m traveling out to the left coast to meet up with Ian and our own Ted Logan for a week in the sun.  Got any suggestions on what three knuckleheads can do to cause O’s related mischief out there?  Drop a line in the comments.  My gut tells me I should try and find Manny and spike his morning OJ with colon blow.

Also, bonus points for any reader who can name the movie referenced in the title of this post.

And finally, with El Nino fresh on our minds, I give you…The Nino.

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Bullpen Shakedown

Oriole fans everywhere exhaled in unison on Thursday when the announcement was made that Mark Hendrickson was coming back on a one year deal. Start printing off the playoff tickets baby!

In all seriousness it isn’t a bad move. Hendrickson will be back at a lower amount of money than he made last year and he will be used strictly out of the bullpen, where he has excelled throughout his career. Hendrickson has been miscast as a starter until this point, but out of the bullpen he has always been solid. His numbers from last year do not look good as a whole but most of his innings were logged struggling as a starter, when he was moved to the bullpen he was largely effective. He is also cheap, which is a good quality for relief pitching due to its volatile nature.

The bullpen this year will almost definitely be an improvement from ’09 and it should be very interesting to watch its development. Bringing in Mike “The Situation” Gonzalez should help, although I am not a giant fan of his acquisition. If he is healthy, he will be a solid pitcher but he has had his share of health issues previously. As I stated before, relief pitching is a volatile commodity an I do not like the money they committed or that we relinquished a second round draft pick to sign him. All of the being said, if he stays healthy he will be a solid contributor.

Along with The Situation and Hendrickson, the other locks for the bullpen (assuming health) appear to be Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara, Kam Mickolio, Cla Meredith, and one of the Hernandez/Berken duo. I would also imagine Fat Albers will be on the bubble for a spot and the Orioles may even make a typical stupid decision to carry 13 pitchers. Dennis Sarfate would also have been in this conversation, but he was recently designated for assignment and his future is up in the air. When performance and health issues arise we have a number of interesting arms in waiting that could prove to make us very deep in an area that has been a weakness in recent years. At some point this year we may see any of Jake Arrieta, Brandon Erbe, Luis Lebron, Troy Patton, and Wilfrido Perez. The O’s are also still being linked to Erik Bedard and his signing would also impact the bullpen for obvious reason. The Orioles have also extended spring training invites to lefties Will Ohman and Hisanori Takahashi, though neither has accepted the offer yet.

The Orioles should have a deep number of talented arms to create a bullpen from and I expect it to be a strength of the 2010 team barring a catastrophic number of injuries. The very interesting part will be how they construct the pitching staff going forward from this year with the glut of starters that will be available soon. We are going to have see of few guys who have been groomed as starters in the bullpen or see some moves being made to clear room in the rotation as guys like Arrieta, Erbe, and Zach Britton are ready for the show.

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Gonzo Got Good Body

If you’ve never seen Bobby Bottleservice, take this opportunity to do so.  Our video will make a little more sense if you watch it.  Besides, it’s awesome.

And now here we are.

In all fairness, if we’re this mean to our own players, just imagine what it’s like to be on an opposing team.  We don’t pull punches.  That’ll be written on our collective tombstones.

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Fanfest Video Numero Two.

Part two of our Fanfest series, kind of.  Lots and lots of beard love going on in this one.

Enjoy!

Well did you, enjoy?

Another new video tomorrow.  And it’s a good one, especially if you like Bobby Bottleservice.

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