Chris Gomez Returns to Baltimore

Here’s a feel good note to end the week on, Chris Gomez has signed_back_on_with_the_O’s.

It’s a minor league deal with a Spring Training invite. Unless Gomez goes 0 for 80 in Spring Training with 80 strikeouts and commits 30 errors (and I strongly doubt such a scenario), he’ll be a utility bench player with the O’s this season.  

I’ve always liked Gomez with his first stint with the O’s and was sad to see him go. But he’s back and with him and Freel, that’s two guys who can play second base and with no talk at all about Brian Roberts signing an extension it’s one of those things that make you scratch your head and wonder. Actually, You probably don’t need to wonder because if a Roberts extension doesn’t happen soon…he’ll be traded. Which makes me sad, but so it goes.

With this and the Uehara signing, it’s a solid week for the O’s.

Who’s playing first?

The search for 2009’s starting first baseman continues.

Two names that are now getting tossed around…

Roch_again_mentions Ryan Garko and makes reference to Ken Rosenthal mentioning the O’s have interest in Jim Edmonds playing first.

Really with all the names out there and Jim Edmonds makes it no different, Garko doesn’t sound horrible. He’s not the best player to have 1st, but he’ll be the best we’ve had in awhile. Until the team can get something better, I could deal with this. Edmonds…I’ve never cared much for him anyway and at this point, I’d take a solid pass…unless he could do diving cartwheel bellflops on routine ground balls. That would at least make it an entertaining signing.

Redding Likely Heading to the Mets

Jon Heyman says that former National Tim Redding is soon_to_be_a_met. It’s a 1 year deal, with the O’s just missing out. That’s all I really have to say on that one.

O’s and Uehara reach agreement

The O’s and Japanese right handed pitcher Koji Uehara reached_an_agreement for him to pitch for the O’s this season. The deal is a multi-year deal, but no other terms have been released yet.

I’m not overwhelmed by it, but it is good news.

  • The Orioles have finally signed a Japanese player. Baltimore never has had a Japanese born player on the team EVER. Perhaps this can establish Baltimore as a viable option for future Japanese free agents.
  • We need pitching, and I’d rather have an unknown commodity like Uehara over a been there, done that retread pitcher.
  • He has starting and closer experience, so if/when all the minor league boys are ready, he could go the pen if need be.

I’m not expecting a lot, he’ll be 34 in April…so I’m not expecting Nomo-mania redux. I just hope he can eat innings, get some outs, and doesn’t walk 2 to 3 guys an inning. Really, I’m just thankful that the Orioles have finally realized that Japan has quite a number of good ball players and decided to sign one. It could two,  since the O’s are still in for Kenshin Kawakami.

1/4/08

I’m going to try something a little different with my posts. So bear with me.

Rebuilding Blues

I touched on this yesterday in the Roberts/Floyd trade rumor post, but I feel like it merits a little more space, but I think we all (myself included) need to take a deep breath and remember that rebuilding a team takes a few years. With the double dose of frustration of missing out on “Maryland Living Legend” Mark Teixeria and the actual signing of Mark Henderickson, some frustrations have come to a head.

Look at the Rays, it took them a decade to become winners. Granted, more than half of that time was under a failed regime and lackluster ownership. Their reward for that was a constant stream of top draft picks, which they used correctly on nearly everyone. In those years before they had their fair share of stopgaps and hey, they even had Mark Hendrickson.

I hate to use the Rays as a prime example because that’s a dream scenario and they’re going to be overused as such in coming seasons, so here’s a few more.

The Twins, Indians, Brewers, Phillies, and A’s are other teams who have bit the bullet and rebuilt using their fair shares of stopgaps whether they be Cesar Izturis or Craig Counsell, Mark Hendrickson or Andy Ashby, Melvin Mora or Mike Blowers. You can’t sign a name free agent to fill every void because the O’s have to starting winning some games to become a viable free agent destination. I’d be all for throwing rookies and prospects who were ready out and letting them play, but the O’s still have to catch up with their positional prospects. Like I said yesterday, give me Ryan Freel or Cesar Izturis over Brandon Fahey everyday.

It’s going to be a long season, and we’re moan and groan a lot over the losing that comes with rebuilding, so I’m saying this a lot more to reassure myself than anything else. The team has a direction and I’d rather take my lumps now.

Roberts to Chicago redux

Roch mentioned that there’s talk between the O’s and White Sox about Brian Roberts. I like a Roberts/Floyd trade for the obvious reasons, 1) trading a player who apparently isn’t going to re-sign, 2) will be in his mid-30’s when the team could be ready to compete, and lastly 3) we’re not trading him to the Cubs.

I harbor no ill will toward the Cubs, but I get sick of the O’s trading with them. Andy MacPhail was previously with the Cubs, so he has plenty of Cub numbers in his rolodex. Out of all of the Orioles’ wheelings and dealings with the Cubs, what have we to show for it?

Memories of Corey Patterson striking out 4 times a game and Sammy Sosa’s warning track power. Rocky Cherry, Freddie Bynum, and Scott Moore are more trophies from the Cubs. Give me Gavin Floyd over Felix Pie or whatever’s left in the Cubs farm system.

I worry with the Cubs trade of Mark De Rosa (I’m not buying the Aaron Miles everyday 2nd baseman) that they’ll be back in the Roberts talk. I hope I’m incorrect.  

Pitching Talk

Roch talked_with_pitching_coach_Rick_Krantiz and had this to say:

  • First round pick Brian Matusz is expected to start the season in Single A Fredrick and if all goes well, he’ll be in Bowie after the break.
  • Krantiz is in favor of keeping Jim Johnson in set-up role, rather than putting him back into the rotation. (Ditto from me)
  • He thinks Jamie Walker will bounce back from a wretched 2008, which in humble opinion shouldn’t be very hard for him to do.
  • He views Mark Hendrickson as being a starter (gag) but he likes his versatile “skills.”
  • Krantiz scratches his head about why he couldn’t turn Daniel Cabrera into an ace, with that he joins the legions of others who have tried and failed and others will join him as well.

Still Looking for that backup catcher?

Ramon Hernandez was traded to make room for the impending rise of Matt Wieters. Which was an overdue move to be made, but it appears Wieters won’t be starting the season with the team, but rather play a month of something at Triple A. For those of you wondering why, reference the Tampa/Evan Longoria dealings last season. Greg Zaun at the start of the offseason seemed to be very likely signing at temporary starting catcher/back up/mentor to Matt Wieters. Since then, Matt Treanor got more interest but eventually signed with the the Tigers. Chris Coste has been a name batted around too. But I’m partial (much like Rick Dempsey) to the signing of Zaun. The guy has been around awhile, still plays well, knows his place in the game, and would be a good mentor to a rookie such as Wieters.

With the current slow flow of the free agent market, Zaun is out there throwing his own pitches. He says he would_love_to_play_for_Boston. At this point, he’d be a better (and cheaper) signing than Jason Varitek. The Sox did sign Josh Bard this week, so he’ll be backing up whoever starts next season.

Roberts swap for Floyd?

It’s been awhile since there’s been any trade talk surrounding Brian Roberts, so Roch has something_fresh_and_new.

The deal that the White Sox would like is a straight up swap of Gavin Floyd for  Brian Roberts. The Orioles in typical Andy MacPhail fashion would like another minor leaguer or two tacked on. Roch follows up with_the_suggestion_that the O’s should try and get minor league 2nd baseman Chris Getz added on to the deal.

I think Gavin Floyd for Brian Roberts is fair. If the O’s want to add Hayden Penn or Radhames Liz or another more quality player onto the deal to get another one from the Sox then that’s fine.

I’d hate to see Roberts go. He’s my favorite current O. I have his jersey and I think he is the best leadoff hitter in baseball and a dang good second baseman too. That said, he’s mostly likely not going to re-sign. When that happens, would you rather have him walk away and get two draft picks (ask the Bluejays how they like that 3rd rounder for AJ Burnett) or trade him now. I think last season’s hauls for Tejada and Bedard has some of us greedy. MacPhail fleeced two inept GMs (Bavasi and Wade) and that’s not going to happen with Kenny Williams most likely. Remember Roberts would be a 1 year rental for the Sox, so giving up a 25 year old 17 game winner for a rental would be a more than fair trade.

The pitching rotation is Jeremy Guthrie and 4 empty slots and the looming spector of Mark Hendrickson. Jeremy Guthrie, Gavin Floyd, and 3 other spots makes it 20% percent better. A future rotation of Guthrie, Floyd, Matusz, Tillman, and Arrieta sounds good.

It’s been a slightly depressing offseason. I was never a staunch advocate of paying Mark Teixeria a billion dollars to play here, but it still stunk to see him go to the Yankees. The O’s end up trading Ramon Hernandez for Ryan Freel and 2 apparent AAAA players, sign Cesar Izturis, add Mark Hendrickson and don’t look now but they have interest in Richie Sexson (Schmuck reported it a few days ago but I don’t feel like finding it). 3 or 4 years ago these moves would have been exciting, now they’re rather mundane with the exception of Sexson, which would be labeled as dreadful. This is rebuilding folks. You’re not wild about Izturis? Well, the next best thing in the system at the moment would be Brandon Fahey. Would you like that better? The bench has stunk for the past decade. Freel makes it somewhat better. Hendrickson and possibly Sexson? Tall filler and easy targets. These are short term stopgaps. Exciting. No. Depressing. In some cases Yes.  But that’s the way it is. Marque names aren’t going to be signed normally during rebuilding. I’m trying to say optimistic, but when I hear names like Eric Hinske, Richie Sexson, and Sean Casey in the race to be the 2009 first baseman, it brings us all down. A trade for someone like Floyd could excite some more folk after this K-mart Blue Light Special offseason.