Is it Spring Training yet?

Fuck, that really got boring quickly. Now we have to wait weeks with nothing at all to talk about until Spring Training starts. Yes, the Orioles are apparently not done making moves before camp but nothing major is expected and there has been nothing in the way of news over the last couple of weeks. Sure, a lot of fans have been clamoring for the O’s to sign Vladimir Guerrero but it’s not likely to happen, and I am totally fine with that.

Vlad faded fast last year and didn’t manage a .350 OBP for the season despite hitting .300. We don’t need another hitter who swings at everything in his general direction, we already have Pie, Jones, Izturis, and Fox to do that. We need to get away from those types of hitters. I would have preferred Jim Thome who had a phenomenal year last year and knows how to get his fat ass on base and hit with big time power even at 40 years old. It was pretty much a foregone conclusion that he would return to Minnesota however, and the 3 million dollar 1 year deal would have been nice. That seems awful cheap for a guy who put up a .283/.412/.627 line last year, of course they probably had an advantage over other teams since it seemed like he wanted to stay.

I will admit that signing an aging DH doesn’t really make a whole lot of sense as the team is currently constructed, it is likely the maximum difference of 3 wins. I think it is likely that a platoon of Pie/Reimold in left could be pretty productive. I would suggest however that the platoon actually be Pie/Scott in LF and Scott/Reimold at DH. Despite his athleticism, Reimold has been an awful awful outfielder in his major league time and his minor league reputation doesn’t paint any better of a picture. Despite being slower and not having as good of an arm Scott has been an average to slightly above average defensive outfielder in his career. I would use Pie in LF and Scott at DH against right handed starters and Scott in LF and Reimold at DH against left handed starters. Despite admitting that the move would not make a ton of sense,  I love Jim Thome and it would have been fun to watch him work counts and hit regular missiles onto Eutaw Street. My bias got the best of me, but I realized from the start this was an unlikely signing. An added bonus also would have been Orioles themed Dugouts with Thome onboard. You may also have realized that I advocated signing Kyle Farnsworth too, he has since signed with the Rays, but imagine how awesome that would have been on the Dugout. Let’s not start any fights with Tampa this year.

As far as what is left, the Orioles say they are looking for a veteran starter and a left handed reliever. There have been rumblings that they are interested in Freddy Garcia, who is terrible. They have also stated that they are pursuing trade options for the dreaded “innings eater”. This would seem to indicate Joe Blanton, Kenshin Kawakami, or the near perfect game thrower Armando Galarraga. None of these are good options either. Despite nearly throwing a perfect game Galarraga is not a good pitcher and Blanton is expensive and mediocre. I would be interested in Kawakami on a salary dump as his peripherals indicate he is better that what he showed last year. I would not guarantee him a rotation spot however and would make sure he is willing to pitch out of the pen. Kawakami could fill in as a starter if needed and we could let Tillman finally sink or swim at the major league level. Pitching at AAA again isn’t going to help him and we shouldn’t be blocking him with bad veteran starters. It’s not likely he will be much worse if he is at all and he has upside the others don’t. Despite our improvement this offseason, this is still not a team in contention. We still have to manage the team with the future in mind. All of that said, I would rather go into the season with a rotation of Guthrie, Matusz, Bergesen, Arrieta, and Tillman with Zach Britton waiting for his turn. I would be ok with signing some veterans that can start for the pen or even a reclamation project to start the year at AAA but I don’t want to guarantee a rotation spot to a bad starter just because he has “established” that he isn’t good.

I fully expect the O’s to sign a lefty reliever shortly, my guess is Scott Schoeneweis. Then I do expect a move for a veteran “innings eater” that will all but be guaranteed a spot in the rotation a la Kevin Millwood last year. I say let the young guys pitch but I doubt they will do it. Anyway, can we fast forward to March already?

Guess I should start signing these things,

Det. Tom Ludlow

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