Posted on: May 11, 2010 2:50 pm
Edited on: May 11, 2010 5:09 pm
The Orioles are the worst team in baseball after the completeion of 20% of the season. The 9 win start is second worst in the history of the franchise. This was supposed to be the breakout year. Year 3 of the 3 year plan. The team was going to be competitive. The team was going to be judged by the win and loss columns. What happened? What happened is that the Baltimore Orioles are not in good hands. They never were. It was just smoke and mirrors. From the owner Peter Angelos, to the President of Baseball Operations Andy MacPhail, to the manager Dave Trembley and his coaching staff.
MacPhail has a sub .500 record as a President, V.P. and GM of the Twins, Cubs and Orioles. Although he had most of the parts in Minnesota, he traded away the farm for a few veterans. He got away with 2 world series wins, but he put the Twins in a 8 year downward spiral where they fished fourth or last in the division. The longest and roughest span in their history. His tenure with Chicago resulted in nothing significant. The Cubbies started to win after he left and Lou Piniella was hired and the new FO made some savy trades. Andy has little success attached to his resume. Three 90 loss seasons and a stubborness to retain brain dead coaching has many observers outside of the organization wondering when Angelos will fire him. The Orioles fan base, after being promised that the 3 year plan was being fully executed and that the team will be judged by wins and loses, is losing its patience with MacPhail. He risks alienating what's left of the fans (as proven by plummeting attendance at Camden Yards) if he sits still much longer without making at least a manager change.
Any Baltimore fan that remotely follows the O's knows that Trembley has no professional baseball training at any level. His managerial success in the minor leagues was less than stellar where he accumulated a 1369-1413 record and his teams finished above .500 just 7 times in 20 years. As the manager of the Baltimore Orioles he has led his team to three consecutive 90+ loss seasons for a pathetic 284 loses to just 201 wins.
Last year at about this time everyone was calling for the coaching staff's collective heads, except Terry Crowley. I was not one of those. I think Crowley sucks and always has. He was a horrible major leaguer who got DFA'd by the Braves and Expos, and released by the Orioles twice. He never had 250 AB's in a season and amassed a total of 42 HR's and 229 RBI in 15 seasons. He was not liked by Earl Weaver and certainly does not reflect the "Orioles Way." And IMO, the fans have witnessed an absolute decline in the young players once they got to the ML level under his guidance. Adam Jones and Nolan Reimold are particularly worse off since joining the big league club.
Rick Kranitz never made the major league. He was 37-39 in 7 seasons in the minor leagues. His ERA at the highest level was 5.17 and his lifetime BB/9 ratio was an incredibly high 5.7 (that's average walks per nine innings over his entire career). And this is the idiot that is supposed to help a young pitching staff.
Jeff Datz played 9 seasons all in the minor leagues and hit .243 lifetime.
Alan Dunn played 2 seasons in the minors and had an ERA of 5.51 and like Kranitz sports a lifetime BB/9 of 5.17 in A and AA ball.
John T-Bone Shelby was a decent defensive OF for 11 seasons, but had a career average of only .239 and had no power. He did steal 98 bases but was thrown out 40 times (that's a poor 71% success rate).
Juan Samuel was a career .259 hitter. He did steal 396 bases but was caught 143 times (a not-so-good 73%). He also led the league in strikeouts 4 times. We have all seen his blunders as the team's third base coach.
The Orioles have employed the worst field management team in the history of their franchise and perhaps in the history of professional baseball. Today's team plays baseball like they are in a coma induced state with a manager who looks out from the dugout with a dumbfounded stare that makes one wonder what planet he's from. And he is surrounded by minor league failures and average veteran players. None of which have ties to the "Orioles Way". For some mysterious reason, the O's FO chooses to stay away from true professionals who exemplify the rich tradition that was once the trademark of this franchise. In their stead, they hire retreads, wanna-bes and failures. If Peter Angelos truly wants the Baltimore Orioles to be a successful baseball organization, then its time to bring in successful baseball people. The Birds have some excellent young talent at the ML level now with Nick Markakis, Matt Weiters and Brian Matusz, and there is more talent down on the farm. But without true proven leadership and guidance, this group may never realize that talent. If new leadership is applied now, however, it could turn this season and the franchise around rather quickly.
The FO is running out of excuses. Injuries, like those to Brian Roberts and Felix Pie, come with the territory and every team endures them. Those teams that are adequately prepared (and have some depth) get through those kind of hurdles more easily than the unprepared teams (like the O's). The difficult early season schedule primarily played against the beasts of the east has been played. But the team was swept by the weaklings of the A.L. west (the Athletics) and beat up pretty badly by the mediocre Mariners during that stretch too. The offense has been unquestionably anemic at times and the back of the bullpen has been pretty bad more often than not, but the starting pitching has been very good and boasts 16 quality starts. Yet the team has only 9 wins to show for it. The defense has not been as porous as advertised and ranks 12th in all of baseball. That's in the top half with Miguel Tejada at 3B, Ty Wigginton at 2B and Garrett Atkins at 1B.
This team doesn't need to send Adam Jones to Norfolk. This team doesn't need to release Garrett Atkins or Julio Lugo. This team doesn't need to demote Nolan Reimold or Luke Scott. This team needs a fire lit under their collective butts. This team needs to hire the leadership that will to do just that. Enough with the 3 year plans, bring in the right management with the right tools and the right attitude. Let's get this damn thing rolling. If Andy can't get it done, then be done with Andy.
Posted on: January 30, 2010 2:22 pm
Edited on: January 30, 2010 2:39 pm
The Orioles started the 2009 baseball season with a payroll of $67,101,666 (which I'll round to $67.1M) and ended the season with a payroll of $77,169,792 (or $77.2M). As the season went on, Andy (along with Peter Angelos) increased spending by $10.1M. After the season concluded, money owed Ramon Hernandez ($2.0M) and Jay Gibbons ($6.2M) came off the books, along with some bad contracts (via trade or release) that belonged to Melvin Mora ($8.0M), Jamie Walker ($4.5M), Ryan Freel ($4.0M), Aubrey Huff ($8.0M) and Danys Baez ($7.2M). The O's, consequently, are only on the hook for $1.05M for players no longer on the roster this year. One was to buyout Melvin Mora ($1.0M) and $50k to buyout Chad Moeller. So, when the smoke cleared, Baltimore's payroll obligation to begin 2010 was just $29,568,000 ($29.6M). Granted, it doesn't include the arbitration eligible players and most of the young players. But that's where the FO and Andy began this offseason.