Movies, Sports, and Life

Orioles: Continue Rebuilding

In 2007, the Orioles' front office never released a press statement noting the 2007/08 season was about wins or where the O's finished in the AL East standings. The 2007/08, the first season of Andy MacPhail's (O's General Manager) rule has been from the start about rebuilding the Orioles' team from the ground up. This season was an examination of every single aspect of what is contributing to 11 straight losing seasons.

Importance of the Draft

In line with the current trend in Major League Baseball (MLB), young and fresh talent are the recipe for success. For example, let's take the Tampa Bay Devil Rays: 10 years of terrible baseball to their first winning season, first playoff appearance, and winning the AL East with a $44 million payroll (Caple 2008) -- compared to NY Yankees 218.3 million (see NY SUN). How was this done? Simple: Development of young talent through scouting and the draft. In September, 12 of their first-round picks were on the expanded roster (Caple 2008). Evan Longoria, is a perfect example of great scouting/drafting; despite missing a month with a broken wrist, Longoria finished the regular season with: .272 BA, 27 HR, 87 RBI and is considered a possible Rookie of the Year (Caple 2008). Yet scouting/draft cannot over shadow vital trades for team players, such as pitcher Matt Garza (11 wins) and shortstop Jason Bartlett.

The importance of the MLB Draft cannot be understated. According to Buster Olney, author of "Yankees' fall from grace stems from years of draft neglect," highlights the Yankee's failures from their neglect of drafting youth and development of talent. From the 1997-2005 drafts, the Yankees only produced 10 position players whom appeared in a major league game; with 888 career at bats (compared to the Met's 11,469 and Blue Jays' 27,427); and the "20 pitchers selected by the Yankees have amassed 1,852 2/3 innings in the majors -- the fewest innings for any group of pitchers drafted by any team" (Olney 2008). What did the Yankees do instead? The opposite of the current Orioles' strategy: fix the ship now; instead of focusing on the long-term. As a result, the Yankees failed to make the playoffs and have become a middle-aged team by signing high priced veterans (i.e., Jason Giambi, Steve Karsay, Rondell White, Tom Gordon, Paul Quantrill, Johnny Damon, and Ivan Rodriquez).

Rebuilding the Orioles

Andy MacPhail knows baseball. As the general manager of the Twins, he won two World Series championships (1987, 1991). MacPhail's strategy for this season was to evaluate the rebuilding project by evaluating individual success and organization progression (Adam Jones and Matt Wieters established themselves as key players. Nick Markakis (25 years-old, .306 BA, 20 HR, 87 RBI) also had a solid year. There's no reason for Orioles management and fans to hit the panic button; it is impossible for this team to get any worst.

Long-term solutions are needed at shortstop, first base, and in my opinion pitching. I've said for years that pitching (or lack their of) is the root cause of the Orioles' ills. However, pressing issues do exist. Mora, Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff, and Ramon Hernandez are all in their final year of their contracts: do not expect all of them to be back. Look for starting pitcher Daniel Cabrera 's so-called "promising career" with the Orioles to come to and end.

A personal and side note, I hate Cabrera. I do not hate him personally, but I hate his baseball game and his so-called "ability." I remember a friend arguing with me how good Cabrera is because how fast he can throw and his velocity. So what? I replied a lot of pitchers have that and something else called consistency, which for all of his career he has lacked. For example, in 2008, he went 8-10 with an ERA of 5.25; his career ERA is 5.05 with 48 wins to 59 loses. He has a career walk rate of 5.1 BB/9; his career high walks in a single game was 9!

According to Zerbiec, "It is expected that the Orioles' 40-man roster will be overhauled by next season, especially after so many players on it got significant opportunities and did little. Team officials have also become concerned with the number of players who have gotten shut down with injuries the past two seasons long before the season's final out." Zerbiec notes Cabrera and other pitchers (i.e., Radhames Liz and Garrett Olson) failed to established consistency and prove their value.

The solution to the O's problem: "Look at everything" and that's what MacPhail plans to do.


0 Responses to “Orioles: Continue Rebuilding”

Post a Comment

© 2008 lil dunn