From my inbox

I’ve been saddled with a rotten cold for the past week, so I’ve been down for the count for a few days.

I checked my inbox and I got another one of those Nigerian bank scam emails. Apparently scammers like the Orioles as well, and if they’re reading this…I’m not an idiot, so quit with the emails. But this did give me a good idea for a dumb post today.

Dear kind  sir:

   You do not know me and I do not know you, but I have heard good accounts of your character through other people and I got your  impressive information through the Burkina Faso Chamber of Commerce on foreign business relations here in Burkina Faso (located outside Baltimore, I assure you) was very pleased with what I saw. I am in need of someone of outstanding character for the following transaction. For you see, it is a rather large and risky transaction. One not for someone who is full of self-doubt.

    I am a rich man, whose occupation is not a concern. I wish to purchase the Baltimore Orioles. The man who owns the team is getting old and is not happy with his public image because of the team. He wishes to sell, but due to his pride, will not do so publicly. What we wish to do is to appeal to several fans and privately sell interest. You will, with your investment, become a part of the ownership group. There must not be word of this to the public, or the deal with be called off. Secrecy is key to this transaction and your future happiness.

I could have done the following transaction by myself, but it would have raised a few eye brows because of my occupation. For I have a family to take care of and my involvement would jeopardize my job and for that my kids would hungry and my wife would not love me.

  I will reimburse you for all travel, phone calls, and other travel expenses, such as hotels and rental cars. What I need you to do next, after you email me back with your intentions on becoming a part of this deal, is to take a lump payment in cashiers checks, no less than $15,000, as your down payment on this wonderful investment chance that will give you much happiness. I will also need you to email me your account numbers as well. Then fly to Burkina Faso, it will be a longer trip than you think. It may not look like Maryland when you get there, but I humbly assure you that it is in the wilderness of Maryland. A Mr. Brandon Fahey will pick you up at the airport and drive you to a said location. At the said location, you will meet one of my assoicates, Mr. Todd Williams at a said location in the city. It will be a long trip, but we must operate under a cloak of caution.  Upon meeting Mr. Williams, you will give him the down payment and he will give you documentation of a primary stake and further instructions.

 Remember tell no one of your involvement in this deal. Not your wife, children, friends, or family. It must be keep quiet between your lips and teeth. For if you wish to own the Baltimore Orioles, I need your full cooperation and silence. For in time, you will be a very happy man.

I need an immediate reply. Please contact me at the email and phone numbers at the bottom of this message. If you can not by some chance reach me, please contact my cohort, Mr. Kris Benson and he will cheerfully and humbly assist you. We all want what is best for the team and the fans of the Orioles of Baltimore, MD USA. Please quickly respond, so that we can act. For you see, even though I have a great deal of money, I have many expenses with family and action is needed quickly.

Many thanks from on high,

Mr. Melvin Mora

Surprise Team of 2007?

HOld on to your hats and sit down. Here’s something positive about the Orioles from a national writer. 

From Foxsports.com’s Ken Rosenthal:

Orioles

2006 record: 70-92.

Key players: Daniel Cabrera, Adam Loewen.

They play in the wrong division. They’ve got the wrong owner. And after nine straight losing seasons, it’s reasonable to call them the game’s most underachieving franchise; the Orioles, playing at Camden Yards, possess far greater financial resources than say, the Pirates and Royals.

Co-GMs Jim Duquette and Mike Flanagan put those resources to use this off-season, spending on — ahem — the sport’s most volatile commodity, relief pitching. The signing of right-handed reliever Danys Baez for $19 million over three years was particularly jarring, but at least the front office addressed the team’s weaknesses.

The additions of Baez, Jamie Walker, Chad Bradford and Scott Williamson should improve a bullpen that last season was next-to-last in the majors in ERA. The additions of outfielder Jay Payton and infielder/outfielder Aubrey Huff should bolster an offense that ranked only 10th in the AL in runs.

The only way for the Orioles to challenge the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, however, is if Cabrera and Loewen make the same jump that left-hander Erik Bedard did last season. If that happens — and if the division somehow proves weaker than expected — then the O’s could turn into the Tigers East, reviving with young pitching.

More likely, the Orioles will improve modestly, then target a breakthrough in ’08. Of course, the Devil Rays should be much-improved by then, while the Red Sox finally should have a closer and the Yankees could have Andruw Jones playing center field. Things never get easier in the AL East.

Things could work out well this season. It all hinges on pitching. If Cabrera makes that big turn and ditto for Loewen, then we’ve got a chance. If our starters only make it 5 innings a game, well then… that’s bad news.

Only 23 more days

We’ve got 23 days til Spring Training. It’s the time of year where my hope springs eternal.

Last year at this time, I was full of optimism and that of course was dashed.

Why was it dashed?

Rodrigo Lopez and Bruce Chen were bad on an epic scale.

The bullpen was equally as bad.

Javy Lopez was not very good.

Jay Gibbons got hurt…again.

Stopgaps in the rotation weren’t good (Russ Ortiz anyone?)

Left Field (Brandon Fahey, Niner, Ed Rodgers, Fernando Tatis, Luis Terrero and on and on and on).

Why do I feel better about this season?

Chen, Ortiz, and Lopez are gone.  I think in the end Jaret Wright basically equals Rodrigo Lopez of the years before 2006. Wright had a snazzy season in Atlanta with Leo Mazzone and maybe he catches that lightning in a bottle again. For the record, I say he goes for a Bensonesque season of 12-10 and a 4.78 era. He’ll miss a few starts too.

The bullpen got dealt with. Goodbye to the John Halamas, Julio Manons, Jim Browers and LaTroy Hawkins and hello to the big money boys. Chad Bradford, Jamie Walker, Danys Baez, and Scott Williamson are now added to the pen to work in front of Chris Ray. We’ve got two spots left in the pen, so odds are we got Todd Williams back and either Hayden Penn or Kurt Birkins will be the long relief. The pen will obvious be much better and it’ll make a difference in the win total. Too many times last season I saw Todd Williams, who was overworked last season, give up an eighth inning lead. You can substitute the name with Julio Manon, Hawkins, Ortiz, Chen etc.

Javy Lopez is gone. In the end, he proved to be a bad signing. But those happen sometimes.

Jay Gibbons, for the time being, is healthy. He’ll be seeing a great deal of time at DH and maybe some time at first. The big deal is that he’s out of the outfield, where his defense was never golden and where injuries happen much easier. I still think he’ll miss games at some point, but the risk of injury is much less at DH.

The rotation is pretty solid. Bedard, Cabrera, Benson, Loewen, and Wright. My fear is that someone will be the Lopez/Chen of 2007. I think Wright has the best odds for that. 

Left Field is better. Fahey will be at Norfolk playing shortstop where he belongs. Aubrery Huff and Jay Payton will be much better than anything we had last season.

In short, the Orioles have had a solid offseason. We didn’t get a Carlos Lee or Alfonso Soraino but we have to get back to respectibility before we can realistically think about signing the big name free agents.

I think this will finally be the year we get back above .500.

A little down time

If you haven’t noticed, I’ve taken a few days off. There’s not too much going on news wise and in just a couple weeks spring training will be starting and there will be plenty to talk about. So until then, I’m taking it easy. I’ll post a couple times a week, so when Spring Training gets kicked off, I’ll have my batteries charged up.

So here’s something to make you smile.

Another piece about Cal.

Good stuff.

A less than perfect circle?

The Texas Rangers have offered our boy Sammy Sosa a minor league contract.

Sosa signed his first pro contract with the Rangers 22…yes..22 years ago and now if he signs, he’ll sign his last with them too, more than likely.

Nothing symbolizes false hope to me more than Sammy Sosa. When the O’s traded for him and gave up nothing more than Jerry Hairston (who ended up Texas last year) and a throw in or two, I was happy. I wasn’t fooling myself into thinking we had just gotta the guy who hit 66 homers and have 158 RBI. No, I was thinking we had just gotten the somewhat declining Sammy Sosa who would hit 33 homers and have maybe 80 something RBIs.

The thing of it was when watching him play, he did not look good at all. There wasn’t anything that made me say “He’ll get it next time.” No, I was left thinking “This is the guy who hit 66 homers in one season? He’s a mess at the plate.” Maybe it was the fact that he no longed was on the chemical magic. Maybe it was a horrible year. Maybe it was just a rapid decline in his skills. Maybe it was injuries. Maybe it was a combination. I lean to the first option personally.

We didn’t get that guy either. The Sammy Sosa we got was the trash heap Sosa. .221 average 14 homers and 45 RBI. I remember when I was in Atlanta watching the O’s and the Braves, Sosa got a hold of one and I thought I was going to see one of the few Sosa homers of that season, but it tailed off at the warning track and became an easy out.

Seeing that we only gave up Hairston in that trade, it was a noble gamble. Now if we had given the Cubbies Brian Roberts and kept Hairston, I would hate the Cubs for life.

So maybe Sammy can return to his roots and be a contributer for the Rangers. I think he’ll only be a shell of what he once was, but you never know.

But for one season, Sammy Sosa was there as a relic of once great player. Never having his golden moment for the Orioles before limping out before the season ended. A season that we all knew of being much more painful than just from watching Sammy Sosa’s swing.

We all say Goodbye to Roddy

He’s gone, but we still sadly remember

Rob’s salute to the Man, the myth…the 18 loss pitcher.

The Oriole Post says their farewell to Lopez.

My Baseball Bias has the cold hard stats our former boy and they are not good.

Last but not certainly not least, Camden Chat has the best salute to Roddy.

I find the whole Roddy/Javy reunion in Colorado comical. I’m sure the Lopez brothers will be playing the same day in hopes of rekindling that magic they had together those….uh…two starts I guess last season.

But now, I say goodbye to Rodrigo Lopez.

Fare thee well Rodrigo Lopez

Take a breath and exhale.

The Rodrigo Lopez era is over.

It’s TRUE!!!!!!

For the golden arm of Rodrigo, we  get Double-A pitchers Jim Miller and Jason Burch from the Colorado Rockies.

From ESPN:

Miller was 0-3 with 12 saves and a 3.86 ERA in 45 relief appearances last year for Tulsa, the Rockies’ Double-A affiliate. Colorado picked him in the eighth round in the 2004 amateur draft.

Burch was 3-4 with a 4.95 ERA in 45 relief appearances in Tulsa last year. Burch was drafted by the St. Louis Cardinals in the 21st round in 2003 and was acquired by the Rockies as part of a trade that sent right fielder Larry Walker to St. Louis in 2004.

I’m surprised we got even that for him. These guys could have upside, or they could come to our farm system to die. But you know what, I won’t see Rodrigo throwing taters this season. I was afraid he wouldn’t be traded and it would be a year where he’d complain about being in the pen. Then someone would get hurt or slump and he’d back in the rotation and blocking Olson or a phoenix from the ashes Hayden Penn. But this won’t be a problem. He’s gone.

What a week to be an O’s fan. Cal gets inducted and trade Rodrigo. But you got to take the good with the bad.

The Orioles are bringing back Todd Williams with a one year deal. Though with the new bullpen, we won’t see him as much. He was very very very very very over-used last season.

Pinch me though, Rodrigo is gone.

I hold no fondness for him…and his whining…and his rotten pitching.

But I wish him well in Colorado. He could be lights out there…or he could be batted around like a rag doll. If he gets 20 wins next year and wins the Cy Young, I won’t be mad because he wouldn’t do it here.

He’s gone. Slap me.

Rodrigo is really really gone.

Party at my place.