1st game of Spring, Teixeira

Ah, the first recap of the season.

Not the best of days. Our O’s lost 16-3 to the Florida Marlins. Granted, it is the first game of Spring Training. There’s some rust to shake off and there’s some players playing that aren’t going to make past spring with the team.

Case in point, Estaban Yan. Yan was a semi-productive bullpen arm about six seasons. Now, he’s just trying to hook on with a club. Today’s showing doesn’t bode well for his hopes of making the team.

1 inning 4 hits 4 runs 1 walk 0 k

Lance Cormier, who’s vying to be long relief, didn’t fare well either.

1 inning 3 hits 3 runs 2 BB and 1 K

Old reliable Jamie Walker did fare well either. 5 runs on 5 hits. On the bright side, he had no 0 BB and two K’s. I’m not worried about Walker. It’s the first game. Walker’s a good pitcher and he’s shaking off the rust.

Adam Loewen didn’t have a good outing in his return to mound after his surgery. He pitched one inning and didn’t make an out in the second.  3 hits, 3 runs, 4 BB, and 2 K’s for the day. Makes you shake your head and groan, but I’m going to chalk it up to the very first game of the spring. He’s coming off surgery and maybe that’s playing a role. Let’s hope so or it might be a longer season than we think.

On the plus side, some guy named Craig Anderson (did some research and here’s his career) came in and bailed out Loewen without allowing anymore runs. Chad Bradford gave up only 1 run. Rock Cherry pitched two scoreless innings. Jon Leicester pitched a scoreless 1.1 innings.

At the plate, Melvin Mora, Brian Roberts, and Tike Redman all drove in runs today.  Adam Jones went 0-0 with two walks. Nick Markakis had a double and that was about it for the day.

It is what is and it’s a Spring Training game. There’s plenty of other games to get the team tuned up. Hopefully, Loewen gets it together and there’s no more of these games.

Teixeria Pipedreams

Ah, it’s never to soon to start dreaming about Mark Teixeria signing with the Orioles this offseason. The Sun has already threw out the first pitch out of the season on the subject.

Do I think its possible. Certainly. Do I think it’ll happen? It has a chance….but I’m not counting on it.

The question is whether the Braves would shell out so much for one player – perhaps $20 million-plus per season for six or more years. A major strength of the Braves organization is that it doesn’t get caught up in emotions. It makes its moves based on what best fits the overall plan.

Therefore, the Orioles should be able to outbid Atlanta. And don’t be surprised if they take on the Yankees, too. Orioles owner Peter Angelos doesn’t like to overpay, even for a star. He would never do it for a pitcher. But he did open the checkbook rather wide for Albert Belle and Miguel Tejada. And this one is a better match.

The Braves didn’t like to break the bank to keep players since they usually have a player groomed to take their place usually. They can come up with the money. The have before, but more often than not, the players usually give them the hometeam discount because the Braves are a class organization. Teixeria’s going to hit the market and probably won’t be giving anyone a discount.

Rumor has it that Peter Angelos might like Teixeria…

If Angelos sets a club salary record, it would be for Teixeira.

If Angelos sets a club salary record, it would also be with Teixeira’s agent, Scott Boras, whom the club has avoided pointedly in the past.

 But why would a rebuilding team shell out big money for Teixeira when they’re rebuilding? The logic in that is right here.

And, maybe most important, this wouldn’t be the first time Boras has sent a top player to a bad team for big money. Remember 2003-04, when catcher Ivan Rodriguez, a Boras client, helped the Florida Marlins win the World Series and then signed a four-year, $40 million contract with the Detroit Tigers, baseball’s worst team. Critics said it was classic Boras, caring more about the dollar amount than his client’s landing spot.

The next year, Rodriguez was joined by Magglio Ordonez, another Boras client, and then another, left-hander Kenny Rogers. In 2006, the Tigers, thanks to deft trades and drafts and the Boras trio, made it to the World Series. Giving Boras the last laugh.

I’d love to have Teixeria. He’s only 28. The Orioles have a gapping hole at first base. Our offense is going to need help. We’ll be players in this. The question is whether we’re going to be used to drive up the price so that he can get more money from the Yankees/Red Sox/Braves or whether the O’s are a viable contender for him.  I say its 50/50.

Mega-Sized Spring Training Round-up!!

Hadn’t done a great deal of in-depth posting lately, so here’s a big whopper of a post today.  

Jeff Zrebiec has a good article up about the issues facing the O’s this Spring in the Sun today.

A few highlights:

Loewen has recently rediscovered the touch on his curveball and said he will focus on his fastball command. Regardless of how well he pitches tomorrow, the biggest development will be how his elbow feels as he walks off the mound.

Let’s cross our fingers and hope that 1) he pitches well tomorrow and most important 2) that his elbow feels awesome when he steps off the mound. This is a big season for him because there’s no number pitcher in this rotation. Jeremy Guthrie has thus far been a feel great story. Hopefully, he’ll move on from a one year feel good pitcher to establishing himself has a good pitcher. Daniel Cabrera is a huge frustrating question mark. Steve Trachsel is Steve Trachsel and then there’s a slew on young pitchers. A healthy Loewen could go a long way to making the rotation better.

On the five spot in the rotation

The Orioles have plenty of internal candidates, but none have had sustained success in the big leagues. That group includes Matt Albers, Brian Burres, Lance Cormier, Jon Leicester, Radhames Liz, Garrett Olson, Troy Patton and Hayden Penn.

Even if Patton avoids season-ending shoulder surgery, he’s far enough behind where he’s a long shot to make the Opening Day roster. Unless he’s totally dominant, Liz is headed to the minors, while the club is looking at Cormier more as a long reliever. That leaves Albers, Burres, Leicester, Olson and Penn in a five-man race.

It’s a relief the club is wanting to use Cormier in the bullpen instead of the rotation. I don’t want Cormier on the team in the first place, but long relief is better than rotation. Albers, Olson, and Penn are likely the main competition for the spot. Burres had a little luck last season, but he’s more long relief than a starter in my opinion. Hayden Penn slipped off the radar last season, but I think he can have a strong spring and finally live up to that potential we’ve been waiting for. Olson, despite last season’s rocky call-up, still has talent. Albers, I still don’t know much about but that’s what spring is for and I’ll get into Albers a little later on this post.

The bullpen

Trembley will carry a seven-man bullpen and he said today that only George Sherrill, Jamie Walker and Chad Bradford are definites. Dennis Sarfate, the hard-throwing righty acquired in the Miguel Tejada trade, and Randor Bierd, the Orioles’ Rule 5 selection, are near locks unless they falter badly this spring.

The long reliever spot will come from the pool of pitchers competing for the fifth starter’s spot. That leaves Greg Aquino, Rocky Cherry, Jim Hoey and Bob McCrory in the running for the last bullpen slot.

Sherrill, Walker, and Bradford weren’t in doubt. Bierd is a bit of a surprise, but since he is a rule 5 selection he has to make the team or he goes back to Detroit. We’ve heard Trembley rave on Sarfate this spring already. A seven man pen is a far cry from Sam Perlozzo’s 12 man pen last season.

Sherrill, Walker, Bradford, Bierd, and Sarfate are likely going to be five that are in the pen, the other two spots are up for grabs. Cormier and Burres will be vying for the long relief role. Rock Cherry is still around. Hoey and McCrory will likely start the season in Norfolk. Greg Aquino is probably going to be given every chance to make the team with his closer experience 

The slick-fielding Luis Hernandez currently has the advantage on Brandon Fahey and Freddie Bynum to replace Tejada as the starting shortstop. If Hernandez holds his own offensively this spring, the job is his. Trembley will give all three a shot early with the hopes of naming a starter by the middle of March. And club president Andy MacPhail has already said that the front office has identified several teams with a shortstop surplus in case the Orioles aren’t satisfied with their internal options.

Luis Hernandez is what he is. As a backup he’s ok, but as a starter he’s going to have to be better than advertised. I’m keeping my fingers crossed that MacPhail will pull the trigger on a trade that’ll bring someone else in to play short.

If he’s not traded, Jay Payton will be the fourth outfielder, leaving one more spot for either Scott Moore, Tike Redman or Chris Roberson. And the Orioles will have a decision to make in mid-April when outfielder¸designated hitter Jay Gibbons comes off the suspension list and needs to be placed on the 25-man roster.

Does Jay Gibbons have to come back? Ughhhhh. By that time, Payton should be an ex-O and a bench can be something like Moore, Guillermo Quiroz/Ben Davis, Bynum, and Redman.

On the eternal Roberts trade

The Orioles will dispatch a scout to Mesa, Ariz., the site of the Cubs’ training facility, next week to get a closer look at some of the names that the two teams have discussed. It’s expected that infielder Ronny Cedeno and pitching prospect Sean Gallagher would be in the deal, but the third and¸or fourth player still hasn’t been decided. There remains optimism from both sides that a deal could get done.

Same old song with the usual tune but its worth posting….again.

Adam Jones Watch

Here’s our big Adam Jones moment this spring, from Roch

Scott Moore drew a bases-loaded walk off Fredy Deza in the fourth inning to break the scoreless tie, and Adam Jones followed with a grand slam

Jones launched a fastball over the fence in right-center field for his second hit of the day.

That’s what I’m hoping for right there. Granted it is Fredy Deza and it is the spring but its still a Grand Slam. He did misplay another ball in the outfield today, but its not worth worrying about unless it keeps happening.

Roch has a Troy Patton Update

But the news isn’t as good concerning Troy Patton, who sounds pretty discouraged at his lack of progress from the shoulder stiffness that’s kept him from competiting for the fifth starter’s job.

Patton described his bullpen session as “nothing real great” and said he still doesn’t have the same arm strength and action that he possessed before the injury.

“I’m not coming back as easily as I thought I would,” he said. “It’s a little frustrating when you’re used to throwing the ball a certain way.”

Surgery’s probably going to happen for Patton. If he does have to have it, the sooner the better. He’s young and could possibly come back and pitch well from this. There’s also a good chance that after this injury and this surgery that he won’t be the same pitcher.

In cause you were wondering, MacPhail knew about his injury before the trade, from Spencer Fordin’s mailbag on the O’s website.

Surgery is still a worst-case scenario, and the Orioles would likely choose to have Patton try to rehabilitate it before they opted to put him under the knife.

Now, you may be asking, why would the Orioles complete the trade if they already knew he was injured? Patton’s upside made them think the risk was worth the potential reward, and the indecision around his pitching shoulder may have allowed the O’s to obtain a player that wouldn’t have been available under other circumstances.

And I might add, it gave the O’s a chance to unload a player who would untradeable the next day.

and Fordin on whether we might see Nolan Reimold this season

The Orioles have several outfielders in camp already and want Reimold to stay healthy for a half-season before he joins the parent club.

Last year, the former second-round pick went on the disabled list twice due to an oblique injury, but he was a productive player at Double-A Bowie whenever he was healthy. Reimold is the heir apparent in left field, which puts pressure on Scott to produce this season or risk losing his job whenever the prospect brings his game to the next level.

One thing the Orioles won’t ask Reimold to do is play center field. He always seemed more comfortable in a corner slot anyway, and now with Jones in the fold, that’s exactly where he’ll play. Nick Markakis is entrenched as the right fielder for years to come, and if Reimold can make the big league leap, he’d give Baltimore one less question mark.

Reimold at midseason if he stays healthy? His health has been a bit of an issue the past few seasons but he’s young and a big first half will apparently get him up to Baltimore.

More on Matt Albers

From the O’s website, a write-up on pitcher Matt Albers; who’s vying for a rotation spot.

 A highlight:

Albers retired six of the eight batters he faced, and four of his six outs came on ground balls. Albers made first baseman Kevin Millar foul off several pitches before allowing his only blemish, a solo home run in the second inning. Backup catcher Guillermo Quiroz singled off Albers, but the youngster threw 20 of his 26 pitches for strikes.

“I liked Albers,” said Baltimore manager Dave Trembley. “He worked fast, kept the ball down and throws strikes. He gave up the home run and came right back at the next guy. … That was a heck of a job of pitching there in that situation.”

That’s good. I’ve seen Daniel Cabrera give up a homer and then come unraveled. Sounds like he’s got some control and some thick skin.

Also in the article, there’s some notes and if Matt Albers had a strong debut, Garrett Olson did not have a good one.

Olson went right back to being wild on Tuesday, contradicting the scouting reports that label him as a command-and-control southpaw. Olson walked one batter and hit two — catcher Ramon Hernandez and reserve infielder Scott Moore — but managed to work out of trouble in each of his two intrasquad innings.

“He pitched down, but his command wasn’t where it needs to be,” said Trembley. “He needs to show he can command his pitches in order for him to be successful. … If you take a positive spin on it, that’s better than what I saw last year when he got called up. He’s still got a ways to go, and for his first time out, there’s room for improvement.”

It’s still early, but its a big spring for Olson to prove that his debut last season was just a bad rushed debut.

And from the Is Nothing Sacred Department

ESPN has an article up when the Cub’s current owner, Sam Zell, says he won’t hestiate to sell the naming rights to Wrigley Field regardless of what fans think.

Zell said he plans to sell the Cubs and Wrigley separately and in his own time frame. He also disclosed that Major League Baseball has approved “four or six” potential ownership groups and that any one of them would be fine.

I’m a big fan of stadiums that don’t have a corporate name. With the money naming rights have, the traditional name stadiums are rare. Despite what we think of Peter Angelos, we’re still got Oriole Park at Camden Yard. Yankee and Shea Stadium are closing and will have new corporate names. RFK is done but the Nats have aptly named their park Nationals Park. The Hubert H. Humphrey Metrodome is living out its final years. Jacobs Field is now Progessive (ugh) Field. The Braves still have Turner Field. There’s still Dodger Stadium and New Busch Stadium. Fenway is still Fenway.

Baseball still has a large number of stadiums without the clunky names of big businesses. The possibility of Wrigley Field being turned into something like Pepsi Stadium at Wrigley Field is sad. Its a reality that now days in sports that money means more than tradition. Zell with make tons of money by selling the team and stadium, but he can make even more by selling the naming rights too. Its sad, but it is what is.

Yesterday, my city’s minor league team also announced they had sold the naming rights  to their stadium. What was once West End Field has now become Fluor Field in the West End. I hate that they tried to compromise by still keeping West End in the name. Greenville has made a big effort to bring back the West End of downtown. They’ve done a great job, but still having it in the title is clunky. You really can’t have it both ways.

Fluor Field in the West End. Ugh.

I think that’s enough for now.

Latest on Roberts trade

From the Chicago Sun- Times:

Some in the organization think the Cubs won’t get Roberts at all after watching the last three months of on-again, off-again talks play out. The Orioles want pitcher Sean Gallagher, infielder Ronny Cedeno and two more top young players for Roberts.

Basically, we know nothing more than we know now apparently. Gallagher and Cedeno are both players that aren’t holding up the trade. Gallagher is a young pitcher who the Cubs are willing to give up. Cedeno is player that the Cubs have probably written off. 2006 was Cedeno’s first crack at the starting gig and it didn’t work to say the least. Last season, he was in Triple A most of the year. He might be someone who with a change might be someone who can be the O’s shortstop for the longterm or what he was in 2006 is what he’ll be the rest of his career. There’s no answer yet, but he’s certainly not someone who’d hold up this deal. The two more top young players the O’s want are likely what’s holding up this deal. Is it Felix Pie, Tyler Colvin, Ceda or someone else the O’s want holding up this deal? If the offer is Gallagher, Cedeno, one time Oriole Kevin Hart, and maybe Murton if they’re offering him….take the deal. Gallagher and Hart are young arms we can use. Cedeno can play short this season. Murton can be a 4th outfielder. If they’re willing to take Jay Payton….all the better!

Mark DeRosa’s heart scare may or may not hurry this deal up. Its good news that DeRosa’s doing better. Cubs GM Jim Hendry has said that this won’t change how they do business. But I’m wondering if they don’t want hurry and get Roberts just in case.

Whatever happens, its not going to happen for alittle longer.

The holdup in a would-be trade is on the Orioles’ side, and no movement is expected on that front until at least a week or so of exhibition games are played, with the O’s expected to have scouts taking another look at young Cubs players.

There’s smoke here but no fire yet.

Sherrill tweaks hammie

The Sun reports the first injury of the season happen Friday when newly acquired reliever/likely closer George Sherrill tweaked his right hamstring during during workout.

Breathe easy, it’s mild.

“It should be a few days and I’ll be back,” he (Sherrill) said. “It’s so soon, I’ll just take today completely off and we’ll go from there.”

Hammie injuries always get me worried. They have that tendancy to linger sometimes. Hopefully, a few days off will get him healed up.

A little further down, here’s the quote of the day that makes my skin crawl and scares me.

“When [Tejada] got traded, the first thing that came to mind was, ‘Man, they traded him. I might have a shot at being the shortstop.’ I didn’t know if they’d get somebody else, but they haven’t gotten anybody yet, so that spot’s still open.”

Guess who said this.

Yep, Brandon Fahey.

I’m not a Fahey backer. He makes Luis Hernandez look like Miguel Tejada. In 2006, he was a cute story. A gawky wire thin white kid who looks like he belongs in a math club instead of the ballfield comes up and has a few nice moments with the team. If that was it, it would have been enough. Last season was when it was too much, Fahey batted .167 with a .198 OBP, hit 0 homers and drove in a mere 1 rbi.

Bear in mind that I’m not opposed to a shortstop who’s a defensive whiz who carries a weak bat. We’ve been spoiled with Tejada. Say what you will about his defense, it was still decent and he could hit. Whether is was aided by PEDs or not is not something I’m going to get into here. If Luis Hernandez is the shortstop this season, that’s not ideal but its something that I can deal with. Fahey is not a longterm shortstop who we can build around. I hope he’s starting shortstop in Norfolk when the season starts.

If he’s the starter in Baltimore, I’ll cringe on Opening Day.

Patton Ailing

Not the best of news about the health of new pitch Troy Patton.

Patton, who made three appearances in September before the Houston Astros shut him down with left bicep tendinitis, is bothered by tightness in the shoulder and said he could have a tear in the labrum.

“I didn’t get injected with the [dye], so they said they don’t know exactly,” Patton said. “They said most likely it’s a slap tear. They know there’s something going on in there, but they don’t know how serious it is yet or what it is.”

Patton, 22, conceded that surgery is a possibility, but added that it’s “premature at this point” to speculate.

“I’ve been throwing fine so far,” he said. “My bullpens have been decent. I’m pretty optimistic about being able to pitch this year.”

More from Roch:

“It’s pretty tight right now, but it’s getting better every day,” he said. “I’m doing a lot of stretching and a lot of exercises to strengthen it and get it looser.

“They said most likely it’s a slap tear. They know there’s something going on in there, but they don’t know how serious it is yet or what it is.”

Patton said he’s “pretty optimistic” that he’ll pitch this season and avoid surgery.

Meanwhile, manager Dave Trembley said the team will continue to take a cautious approach and there’s plenty of time for Patton to get caught up.

Not the best of news. I didn’t know what a slap tear actually was, so I went to WebMD and checked it out. Here’s what I found out.

A SLAP tear is a specific kind of injury to your shoulder.

To help make your shoulder more stable, there is a ring of firm tissue, called the labrum, around your shoulder socket. The labrum (say “LAY-brum”) helps keep your arm bone in the shoulder socket.

SLAP stands for “superior labrum, anterior to posterior”-in other words, “the top part of the labrum, from the front to the back.” It refers to the part of the labrum that is injured, or torn, in a SLAP injury.

Doesn’t sound good, so how is it treated you ask?

How is it treated?

The first step in treatment is to see whether pain medicine and physical therapy can take care of the problem.

NSAIDs, which are anti-inflammatory medicines, may help the pain. NSAIDs are available over the counter or by prescription. Aspirin, ibuprofen (such as Advil or Motrin), and naproxen (such as Aleve) are commonly used NSAIDs.

Physical therapy includes taking part in a home exercise program, stretching, and avoiding activities that cause pain. If therapy at home doesn’t help, your doctor may want you to go to a physical therapist for treatment.

For many people, surgery is the only thing that helps. With arthroscopic surgery, the doctor can get a close look at the injury and also do some repairs at the same time.

It doesn’t really sound good. Maybe it makes sense now why the Astros were so eager to give up their top pitching prospect for Tejada now. Maybe he has surgery, maybe he doesn’t. There’s a chance that if he has this surgery, he might never pan out to be much a pitcher. There’s a chance that he might not pan anyway. That’s the risk with trading for unproven commidities like prospects. Before we start on the ‘woe is us’ bit, let’s remember that there were 5 players we got back.

Patton- maybe he’s damaged goods….maybe he isn’t

Luke Scott- For better or worse, he’s probably going to be the best leftfielder we’ve had in ten years and his bat could possibly make up for Tejada’s. You might laugh at that, but its very likely.

Dennis Sarfate- Trembley’s been raving about his power arm and it looks as if he’ll be a part of the bullpen. If George Sherrill declines the role of closer, Sarfate could be closer.

Matt Albers- He could contend for a backend spot in the rotation.

Mike Costanzo- This spring he reported with pitchers and catchers and is doing some catching. He could be a utility player/DH player.

 Maybe this trade pans out, maybe it doesn’t. But it was the best deal that could have be gotten for Tejada. Troy Patton doesn’t make or break this deal, but he sure would help.

The sad saga of Jay Gibbons

So what’s up with our boy Jay Gibbons? 

From Roch:

Jay Gibbons looked good in the cage. He understands that he’s got a lot to prove and isn’t assured of making the club despite having two years and $11.9 million remaining on his contract. “It’s obviously a little different situation for me this year,” he said. “The last few years, you come in knowing you have a spot. Now it’s going out there and trying to win a spot. I’m happy to do it. I know I have a lot to prove. I know last year was a disaster in so many ways. I’m just going to go out there and work hard and see what happens.” Gibbons used the words “embarrassment” and “disappointment” when describing how it felt to receive a 15-day suspension. “You know, it’s just one of those things where you look in the mirror, and I have no excuses,” he said. “I blame myself. It’s definitely something that’s out of character. I took a shortcut and I’m paying the price with the 15 days. It’s something I have to live with the rest of my life and it’s something I think about a lot. I do try to carry myself in a certain way. Like I said, it’s out of character for me. I wish I could take it back but I can’t. I’ve asked my family and friends for forgiveness, and they’ve given it to me. I go on from here.” Gibbons said he’s been throwing for about eight weeks and is full-go once he’s allowed to play.

Here’s where I start and Roch ends

I’ve written Jay Gibbons as a wash. I expect nothing from him, so anything that comes out of him will be a surprise. Every year for the past few, I’ve been a rube in thinking this will be the year that Jay Gibbons will be healthy for a full season, will be productive, and establish himself as a solid everyday player. So I decided to look on his baseball reference page and see where I got hoodwinked.

His first season was 73 games in 2001. He hit 15 homeruns and 38 RBIs. I thought he had potential here.

In 2002, he plays 136 games. That year he hit 28 homers and drove in 69. That’s better and I start thinking next year is going to be the year that he breaks out and becomes a big part of the Orioles.

2003 was the year that suckered me in…here’s where the myth of Jay Gibbons is born. Jay plays 160….160, I repeat 160 games. That’s the most he’s ever played in a season and will probably be the most he ever plays ever in a major league season. This is the year where he hits 23 homers. That’s five fewer than 2002, but you know what, he drove in 100 runs. Five less homers is nothing when you drive in 31 more runs.

Then in 2004, the cycle begins. Jay musters up 97 games, hits a paltry 10 homers and drives in a mere 47 RBI. I write this off as a tough year. He’ll get better and be back strong for 2005.

Ah, sweet 2005. Jay plays in 139 games. He hits 26 homers and drives in 79 runs. Jay’s efforts were rewarded with a 4 year contract 21 million dollar contract extension. This seemed somewhat foolish at the time because no team would give that kind of contract to Jay Gibbons.

With new contract in hand and a home for 4 years, 2006 should be the year that Jay comes out and shows that he’s worth that contract. Well, Jay gets hurt in Anaheim and things go sour. 90 games,13 Homers 46 RBI. Well, there’s always next season.

2007….Jay balks at talk again about moving to first base. He says that he’s an established outfielder and shouldn’t have to move positions. That said, Jay’s, at best, a below average outfielder. That’s kind of how he got hurt in Anaheim. Well, 2007…6 homers and 28 RBI. Move on folks. Nothing to see here. 

Offseason of 2007: Jay’s name comes out in the Mitchell report. Gibbons admits to it and is suspended of the first 15 days of the season. So now the reality is that the few good seasons Jay has had were the result of PEDs.

This brings us to now. Even Jay knows that he has no certain spot of this team. The outfield is crowded. Nick Markakis and Adam Jones have the everyday jobs in CF and RF nailed down. LF appears to Luke Scott’s for the talking. Jay Payton, Tike Redman, and Freddie Bynum are all suited for the backup spots far better than Gibbons. Scott Moore is learning to play outfield as well. Can Captain Warning Track get time at first? Well, he’ll have to wrestle Aubrey Huff and Kevin Millar for playing time. DH? same situation. The veteran jog jam is going to have to end and at least 2 of Payton, Huff, Mora, Millar, and Gibbons are going to have to go. At least 2 hopefully 3.

There’s not much of a spot for a steroid tainted, injury prone, poor defender, weak hitting DH on a rebuilding club. I like that Gibbons is saying the right things. He did man up and say ‘I took PEDs and I was wrong.’ He blames himself and not everyone else. He acknowledges that he’s going to have to play for a spot on this team. As long as he’s an O, I’ll cross my fingers and hope he gets it together and root that he goes. I’m skeptical.

On a sidenote, there’s going to a few things going on with the blog over in what could be the next few weeks or possibly a couple months. I really can’t say right now, things are still working themselves out. I’m kind of finding out things too. But there’ll be some changes soon.

Few things from the Sun

like I said from the Baltimore Sun:

Jay Payton knows that he’s the 4th outfielder and probably going to be gone from the Orioles sooner rather than later:

“I know I’m probably not the quote-unquote favorite, but this is the fourth year I’ve gone into spring training as the fourth outfielder, and I’ve gotten 400 at-bats every year, so I’m not going to worry about my status too much right now,” Payton said.

The Orioles have shopped Payton extensively, but his age, salary and poor 2007 season have hindered their efforts. The Orioles would likely absorb a significant portion of the $5 million left on his contract to move him.

“There’s still a possibility I don’t end up here when the season starts,” he said. ” … Like I said, they’re still trying to get younger and prepare for the future, so that doesn’t bother me.”

He’s saying all the right things. Chances are that he won’t finish the season as an O, but if he does….well, honestly we could do a lot worse for a 4th outfielder than Jay Payton. I misguidedly thought he’d make leftfield decent for us last year, but I was wrong. But as a bench guy, he’s ok for the few months he has an Oriole.

On Nolan Reimold:

Outfielder Nolan Reimold has been considered one of the organization’s top prospects since the Orioles took him out of Bowling Green in the second round of the 2005 draft. However, the 24-year-old still hasn’t received a spring training invitation.

“We thought it was best for him to guide him toward the opening of spring training and the minor leagues with not having him have to come over [to major league camp] and bounce back and forth,” Stockstill said. “We have a specific plan for him for the month of March so he’s ready to start the season.”

I kinda wish Reimold would be in camp, but there is a plan in play. It’s been ten years since there’s been a plan in play, so its best not to whine about it. Its probably for the best. Nick Markakis made the huge jump from Double AA to the big club with never a day in Triple A. I’m not sure Reimold will be a player like Markakis. I hope he will be because a potential outfield of a successful Reimold, Jones, and Markakis would be sweet. I think Reimold can be a good MLB player, but I don’t he’s sure thing.

On Scott Moore:

Orioles infielder Scott Moore has been getting in some work in left field, hoping the flexibility will give him a better chance to make the Opening Day roster

Boo. Scott Moore is a third baseman. I want him playing third. Melvin Mora is not entitled to play third because he’s a veteran. There’s no certainty that Moore is a sure thing, but hey…we’re rebuilding and we need to find out if Moore can play a role on this team over the haul. Mora isn’t because he’s aging. With Payton and Bynum already 4th and 5th outfielders, I can’t see Moore getting much time out there.

On the closer situation:

Trembley expects to settle on a closer soon. George Sherrill is the clear front-runner, but if he struggles or decides he doesn’t want the job, it will likely go to Greg Aquino or Dennis Sarfate

and from Roch:

Dennis Sarfate continues to stand out among the pitchers. He’s looked very good in his bullpen sessions. Trembley loves his demeanor and the way the ball comes out of his hand. He’s all business and he’s a power arm. He also could move into the closer’s role during the season if he makes the club, which he’s expected to do since he’s out of options and there are plenty of spots open.

Dennis Sarfate apparently has made an impression. If he’s a power arm that’s all business, I’d rather have him closing than George Sherrill. No offense to George Sherrill, who’s a great bullpen arm…but he’s not a closer. He’s a great guy to pitch the 7th or the 8th, but I’m not sold on the fact on him as closer. If Sarfate could come in and throw hell in the ninth, that’s awesome.

More from Roch:

On the catching situation:

Ramon Hernandez and Matt Wieters sat together at their lockers again this morning. Hernandez seems to enjoy being the veteran who looks after Wieters and offers advice. And the 2008 version of Ramon Hernandez seems to be a much better role model.

Hernandez said he didn’t have anyone counseling him when he first came up, and he doesn’t want Wieters to feel lost.

Awesome. Glad to see the 2007 Ramon is gone. The fact that he’s mentoring his replacement speaks great of Ramon.

On Chris Tillman:

More raves for Chris Tillman. People who have watched him throw marvel at his fluid delivery. He seems pretty advanced for 19.

Maybe he’ll be up in Baltimore in a year or two.

That’s round up, things sound great right now…but that’s the story in every camp right right now.