O’s trade Freel to Cubs for Gathright

 Gathright (left) as a Royal with teamate Estaban German

Yesterday, the Baltimore Orioles traded yet again to the Cubs, sending OF Ryan Freel to Chicago for OF Joey Gathright in return. Personally, i think this is a great move on the Orioles behlaf, as Gathright is younger, faster, and at this point, better than Freel is. Freel was obviously upset about his situation in Baltimore, saying the AL is much different than the NL, where he spent almost his whole career in Cincinatti, one with Toronto in 2001, which was a September call-up before being involved in the Ramon Hernandez trade. He said he felt that there was no role as an Oriole, thats probably true. Espically after the O’s traded for Felix Pie and signed Ty Wigginton right after acquiring Freel. To add on to the whole situation, Freel was struggling in Baltimore, hitting .133 in 15 at-bats and 1 RBI. He also struck out 4 times. And he is 33 years old, and injurys hampered him again in Baltimore, where on a freak accident, was hit in the head on a botched pick-off throw against Boston.

Gathright is the better player in this deal, and i’ll show you why. Also being on the bench in Chicago, he was hitting .214 with a stolen base. My guess is he didnt like his situation in Chicago either. He is a good player just entering his prime at 28. He is a decent average hitter, a great outfielder, and has blazing speed, and thats what attracted the Orioles. I think the O’s found their starting LF for 2009 at least. He was optioned to AAA Norfolk, but i think he will work his way up and be on the Orioles roster by the middle of the month. He has been in platoon roles his whole career, his career high in at-bats was in 2006 (383) with Tampa Bay and Kansas City. Gathright doesnt have power, only 1 career homerun, but he is a good pick-up for the O’s. He could be a diamond in the rough if he gets the right oppurtunitys like Pie and Montanez have gotten this year.

Although, this probably puts a block on Lou Montanez, who will probably go back to AAA soon because of the Gathright acquisition, and Pie will probably be on the bench, as he is stuck behind Montanez as of now on the depth charts. The reason Pie will stay up and not Montanez is because Lou has options left and Felix does not. However, this does give the Orioles one of the fastest OF’s in the league with Markakis, Jones and eventually Gathright, as Gtahright has already had 3 20+ stolen base years in six najor league seasons. Trust me, i think you will be pretty pleased with Joey when he finally arrives, as he does fit that Orioles mold, as Freel did not.

Actually, if you look at it, Freel and Gathright are very similar if you compare the stats, but Freel has 800 more at-bats than Gathright. But all in all, the Orioles made the best decision possible for them and going forward with this organizations hopeful rise back to the top.

Thats it for now, check back soon for a new article.

                                                                                                             Logan Quick

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Baez coming back strong

It has been an awesome start for Danys Baez. Just 13 months removed from major Elbow surgery, he is back on his way to being one of the top relievers in the game.  His best season came in 2005, with the Tampa Bay Rays. That season he made his one and only All-star game, and finished the year with a 2.86 ERA and 41 saves in 67 games. After a 2006 season with the Braves and Dodgers, he signed a 3yr/19 million dollar deal with the Orioles before the 2007 season. It quickly turned into a nightmare for Baez, as he had a bad ERA of 6.44 in 53 games. Then, it got worse for Baez. He missed all of 2008 with that elbow suregery previously mentioned.  Baez has been one of the top relievers in the game, as he has a 3.99 ERA, 114 saves, 33 holds and 33 wins in his 9th professional season. This is just a quick biography of Danys Baez.

Baez has been huge for the Orioles in 2009. He has been the Orioles most reliable reliever so far, as he has a 2.30 ERA in 9 games so far this seasom. He also has 13 strikeouts in 15 and 2/3 innings. He is also 2-1, for what its worth. I wouldnt be suprised if Baez was called on to close out some of the games with this shaky bullpen situation, as he has had success as a closer in the past. He had 96 saves in 3 seasons from 2003 to 2005 with Cleveland and Tampa Bay. The good thing about Baez is he is very hard to rattle, he always has ice in his veins and gets out of tough situations very regularly. He can also eat up innings, as he did come up as a starter, he had 10 wins in 26 starts in 2002. And he is just 31 right now, and has a good amount of good seasons left in him i think.

Even though he didnt do much in his 1st two seasons in Baltimore, this is a public service announcement. The Orioles need to re-sign him for 2010 at least. He is getting back to his old form, and that cant hurt the Orioles at all, as we know what he can do when he was on his game when he was a Ray. He also provides good vetern leadership and can teach these big top reliever prospects a thing or two about pitching in the majors. I was against him even making the team in spring training, unsure of how good he would be after the surgery, but he has become one of the Orioles big suprises of the early year, and am a big Baez fan this year, just like i was whe he first got to Baltimore.

  Thats it for now, check back tommorow for a new article.

                                                                                       Logan Quick

Closer job up for grabs?

At the press conference of the O’s 4-3 loss to the Blue Jays and the end of the 3 game sweep of the O’s, manager Dave Trembley was asked a question about the closer situauton, and Trembley said it was ‘day-to-day’. Let me put this in other words:  other people than George Sherrill, the O”s representative in the 2008 All-star game, will not be the only one getting save oppurtunities right now. Trembley said he will do what is best for the team to get back on track and start winning. 

Sherrill has struggled this season, going 4 for 6 in save oppurtunities, which is decent, but he has a 5.06 ERA and has allowed 3 homeruns, two which gave the opposing team the lead.  And it was noted in the Baltimore Sun that Sherill  is allowing righties to hit .394 off him in the early goings. Thats pretty bad. It also states that Trembley said that Sherrill is putting pitches in bad spots and is getting hit, spots he didnt put pitches in last season. And the most worrying stat is that Sherrill has blown 6 of his last 8 one-run lead save oppurtunities, and dating back to last year, is just 13 for his last 19. That is also, not good.

Who could be getting save chances you ask? Well, two names pop into mind, and thats the O’s top set-up guy in Jim Johnson, and O’s top long relief pitcher, Danys Baez. Johnson has a 2.70 ERA in 10 apperaences in 2009, posting 10 innings pitched and 7 strikeouts, while Baez has a 2.63 ERA in 8 appearences, posting 13 and 2/3 innings and 12 strikeouts. There is a good chance that both of these guys would be good closers, and im all for them getting a oppurtunity here and there, but i will give you a couple good reasons why not to push Sherrill out just yet.

For one, it is early, and it is only 6 oppurtunities. If it was 12 for 20, it would be a problem. Two, throwing someone else in the closer role could mess up some of the good things we have going in the otherwise sturggling bullpen. Johnson is one of the games top young set-up guys, and who are you going to put as the set-up guy if Johnson is closing? Sherrill will have some sort of adjustment going back to set-up duty, and his confidence might be damaged, and then you have Chris Ray, who is still looking to get back on track, posting a really bad 7.56 ERA. Then if you put Baez in, who do you have to pitch long relief? Albers and Sarfate, two long relievers you needed to do good, are sturggling and in AAA and the other is hurt. So then you have no long reliever. Not good.

Look, i cant say for certain that Sherrill will bounce back and be his old All-star form again, i just cant. Maybe the scouting report got out on him really fast, and he is having trouble counter-adjusting, I have no idea, im not George Sherrill. If he continues to struggle in a month or so, then look for a replacement for closer. But hey, if we do put in Johnson and he goes 10 for 10 with a .50 ERA, then thats that. But dont act like Sherrill is just a stopgap, because hes not. Here, ill give you a 80 percent chance he bounces back by the end of the month. I just have a hunch that he will be fine.

                                                         Logan Quick

Orioles April 2009 MVP

You could actually go a lot of different ways here. We have had a lot of good hitters early this season, and its very close. I will breakdown each of my 4 canidates for Orioles April MVP.

#1- RF Nick Markakis- .381 AVG, 2 HR’s, 21 RBI, 9 doubles- Markakis has had himself one of the best April’s in the whole league. Not only is he still around the .400 mark, he has already driven in 22 runs, a quarter of what he did last year when he drove in 87 RBI. He is also the O’s franchise player and one of the team leaders and he has acted and played like it. Nobody knows where we would be if it wasnt for Markakis. Not to mention, he has the longest streak of getting on base in a game in the MLB.

#2- 2B Brian Roberts- .356 AVG, 2 HR’s, 7 RBI, 19 runs, 3 SB- Roberts also has had himself a good month, thats why he is on this list. He has proven again that he is one of the best lead-off hitters in the game, and he is still doing it with a .426 OBP, a full .069 higher than his career average. He is also one of the best fielders at second base, putting himself in the early gold glove talks already. He is definally showing why we gave him that huge extension.

#3-  CF Adam Jones- .359 AVG, 4 HR’s, 18 RBI, 24 runs- Jones had himself a good rookie year in 2008, and has definally improved in year 2. He is looking more relaxed at the plate and his discipline at the plate is a lot better, result- a .359 average. Jones is another reason why we are doing so good on offense, and is one of the games top young players. Like Markakis and Roberts, he is also a great defensive player as well. Jones is definally one of the franchises stars, and hopefully we will see him patrol center field and camden for a very, very long time.

#4-1B Aubrey Huff- .273 AVG, 3 HR’s, 19 RBI, 11 runs- Huff has had a pretty good year, and is one of the 4 reasons why we are leading the league in batting average from hitters 1-4, and as you may have noticed, every player on here is batters 1-4. Our hitting has been the highlight to a decent April that ended on a slump, but if these guys keep hitting, we should have an even better May. Huff is always good for a hit in every game in 95 percent of the games, and he is a very good defensive 1B as well. Huff is one of the vetern leaders, and he is one of the reasons that this team has stayed so close together( which is great after what he said when he first came here, you know what he said). Heres to you Huff, and keep on hitting Homers into Eutaw Street.

And there is the finalist…….. and the winner is………………………….. Nick Markakis! He had too good of a month to give it to anybody else.

What do you guys think? Am i right? Am i wrong? Put in your input in the comment box. I’d like to hear what you all are saying and thinking right now. Oh, and if i could have put a 5th person in the mix, it would probably be Danny Baez or Jim Johnson, our two top relivers in the first month.

                                                                                                                           Logan Quick

Post-series report 4/6-4/9: O’s vs Yankees

Game 1-  O’s 10 Yankees 5. Game 2- O’s 7 Yankees 5. Game 3- Yankees 11 O’s 2 . OUTCOME: Orioles win series 2-1.

Player of the series: Nick Markakis- .500 AVG, 1 HR, 5 RBI’s, 4 R’s. Markakis was a beast for the 1st 2 games, but went 0-3 in the last game. Beside that, he had 2 rbi’s in game 1 and then had 3 rbi’s and a 2 run Hr in game 2. He also made a hell of a play in right in game 2, robbing a NYY batter of a hit. The MVP of the opening series goes to Markakis

Game of the series- game 1- opening day. O’s win 10-5. They also rough up CC Sabathia for 6 runs in 4 and a third. They also held hometown punk Mark Teixeira to an 0-4 game. Cesar Izturis also hit a 2 run bomb to put a good lead on the Yanks again, at 8-5.

Suprise of the series: Gregg Zaun. The vetern Zaun was veiwed as just a great defensive catcher coming into 2009, and a temporary stopgap until Matt Wieters is ready( which he will be come May or early June). But early on, Zaun has shown a good bat, going 2-7(.286 AVG), and has 2 runs to go with 2 doubles and an RBI. He also called great games behind the plate in games 1 and 2. with Guthrie and Uehara both getting wins.

Goat of the series: Brian Bass. I could have easily went with Chris Ray or Dennis Sarfate, but Bass’s bad game came at the most crucial time. going into the 5th inning, it was only 3-2 Yankees, but Bass allowed Alfredo Simoon’s inherited runs, and allowed  5 more of his own( 3 earned). The biggest bad play was when Bass threw a good pitch to get a NYY batter to get a hopper right back to the mound on a bases loaded, 1 out situation, and Bass threw it right over Chad Moeller’s head, letting 2 more runs come in and putting 2 more in scoring position. That is what got the game 3 blowout started. But people, mistakes are a part of baseball, and Bass is talented. He didnt make the roster for nothing, and hopefully he forgets this bad outing and puts all of his focus ahead of him.

Moment of the series: It was either Izturis or markakis’s 2 run homers, or it was watching Mark Teixeira get booed and have a pretty bad series and watching CC Sabathia get shelled haha. O’s power!

But you couldnt have asked for anything better. we won the opening series to start the season, and are looking good heading into the Tampa Bay Rays weekend series.

On another note, my prayers go out to LAA SP Nick Adenhart’s family, and the other 2 people who died in that accident. He was a talented young pitcher who’s life was cut short. A Silver Spring, MD product too. Just 22 years old.

                                                                                                                                                By- Logan Quick

Anger?

Just great…

The deal may be a four-for-one, not a five-for-one.

The agreement may be for Adam Jones, Chris Tillman and George Sherrill to be joined by either Tony Butler OR Kameron Mickolio, but possibly not both of the latter two.

But, then again, the last correspondence I had with anyone about the trade’s details said that things could be held up right now because of Peter Angelos’ anger that the details were leaked out from the Mariners side and that they may be trying force the Mariners to replace the Butler-Mickolio tandem with a better player.

No word on whether Angelos is or was planning on okaying the trade, but I’d bet he’s just waiting for the physical on Jones and Sherrill.

Also, in the P-I at about 11:00 this morning, John Hickey reported that Sherrill had not been told anything and was not on his way to Baltimore as had been reported on ESPN.com a few hours earlier.

This is insane. This is not what I want to see, old meddling Pete. Please just let this deal happen and not see another fiasco happen. Otherwise, no one will trade with us. Ugh.

A positive post

I’ve mighty negative as of late, with good reason to be I might add. But all negatives all the time makes this place mighty depressing. There has been one big positive lately by the name of Jeremy Guthrie.

He’s only started three games for the O’s and his starts look like this:

vs Tampa- 6 innings, 6 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 2 K’s

@ Boston- 8.1 innings, 3 hits, 0 ER, 2 BB, and 2 Ks.

@ Washington- 7 innings, 4 hits, 1 ER, 0 BB, and 10 Ks.

It’s only 3 games, but he’s looking like argueably the O’s best starter right now. I know Bedard will get it all back together and Cabrera will flirt with greatness and disaster stimultaniously. But in his few starts, Guthrie has been one of the few Oriole pitchers that don’t give me a heart attack every inning. Why? Because he doesn’t walk many batters. In 3 starts and 21.1 innings=2 walks. He also manages to get deeper into games as a result of the few walks. It’s still too early, but he’s been a joy to watch this far.

Here’s a little background on him I got off MLB.com. Guthrie was his high school MVP in baseball, basketball, and football and class valedictorian. Out of high school he was drafted by the Mets, but did not sign. He attended BYU (freshman year) and Stanford. After college, he was a third round pick by the Mets and in 2001 the Pirates drafted him, but didn’t sign either. In 1999-2000, he was a Mormon missionary in Spain.  In 2002, the Cleveland Indians made him the 22nd overall pick.

In his 2 years pitching for Stanford, he was 26-8 with ERAs of 2.82 and 2.52. In 3 years of getting spent up and spent down with the Indians, he went 0-0 over 37 innings and 6.08 ERA. He was used out of the bullpen with the exception of 1 start.

It’s good to see our team get a player resurrection for once. I hope this is what we can expect game in and game out from Guthrie, because he’s made the loss of the 27 or so starting pitchers we’ve had go down thus far, much more bearable.