Baltimore Orioles open MLB winter meetings

In monitoring social media over the weekend, I saw a lot of folks complaining about the Baltimore Orioles’ lack of moves this off season. I would remind folks that today is only the opening of the annual MLB winter meetings. The off season hasn’t even begun to fight yet in a sense.

Obviously much of that sentiment stems from New York trading for Stanton over the weekend. But as I said yesterday, keep in mind that he was never a player that was in play for the Orioles and Dan Duquette. Not because they wouldn’t shell out or couldn’t afford him, but because they literally don’t need another slugger.

What they need is pitching. And the question is whether or not they’ll pick up some pitching this week. My prediction is that they won’t. And I don’t mean that they won’t do it out of lack of trying. I wouldn’t be surprised if the groundwork for something is laid this week, however.

Deals are often made at the winter meetings. However more realistically deals are begun – and finished later. When you see teas signing a player or perhaps making a trade in January or so, odds are those deals were begun at the winter meetings.

And in a way sometimes it does boil down to being social with other GM’s, or having relationships with other GM’s or executives. I can’t say for sure what Duquette’s relationship is with GM’s who might want to trade pitching or anything like that. But if you don’t believe me, look no further than Jeter trading Stanton to his old team.

Needless to say, it should be an interesting week in Orlando for the Orioles. And it stars today.

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Baltimore Orioles: New York trading for Giancarlo Stanton

The Baltimore Orioles’ quest to return to the post season got a little bit harder yesterday. Or maybe a lot harder. Giancarlo Stanton, previously of the Miami Marlins, appears to be headed to the Bronx.

Stanton of course had been the subject of substantial trade rumors over time, but with his no trade clause he had veto’d trades to several teams. And decent teams at that. Of course when the opportunity came to play for the New York Yankees, he apparently had no issue waiving the no trade clause.

Let’s be very clear; this is not a case of the Orioles not stepping up to the plate and doing what needed to be done to have Stanton on their team. They don’t need him, because they already have a lineup with a decent amount of pop. The likes of Jones, Davis, Trumbo, Schoop, Mancini, and Machado will keep balls flying out of Camden Yards next summer.

However it does illustrate why the Birds need to invest in more pitching. How they, or any other team for that matter, think they’re going to shut down that lineup is beyond me. Now in fairness plenty of stacked lineups have failed over time in various sports. Whether this one will or not remains to be seen.

Of course adding to the story is the fact that former Yankee captain Derek Jeter is now the CEO in Miami, and the one who’s pulling the strings on the trade. There will no doubt be calls of collusion among other things. And the fact that New York message boards and call-in shows are already touting the fact that the captain came through in the clutch for the Yankees one last time isn’t going to help matters. However it’s unfair to say that there’s a fix in simply for that reason. Derek Jeter was above all a clean and honest ballplayer. There’s no reason to think that as an executive he wouldn’t bring the same integrity to the table.

Of course as we go into this week’s winter meetings, this is a major story that will now be off the table. However again, it is something that should light a fuse under the Orioles when it comes to pitching. And I’m not talking about a Rule 5 pitcher or anything like that. I mean a bona fide big league starter. Should be an interesting week.

Baltimore Orioles: Overvaluing vs. Undervaluing

I wrote yesterday about the Baltimore Orioles, potential trades, and player value. That last part was almost an add-on, but it’s just as important as anything else. Almost more important if you think about it.

Former GM Andy MacPhail famously said that he wasn’t going to let other teams undervalue his players when it came to trading them away for pieces. And when you want to criticize Dan Duquette for wanting too much in return, keep in mind that the likes of Tillman and Jones are only Orioles because of that attitude.

It’s other teams’ jobs to undervalue your talent. And while it would be tough to undervalue a guy like Manny when it comes to on-field talent, teams could easily argue the point of him only being under team control for one year. But is one year of Manny worth it if he helps you get a title?

That’s how the Orioles have to approach this. Because the fact is that they aren’t in a position where they absolutely have to make a trade. They in fact would prefer to keep Manny on the team through 2018 and continually try to extend him. But if they are going to make a trade, it’s going to be hugely slanted their way. Basically you’re talking about gutting someone’s farm system.

And sometimes teams do their jobs for you – as was the case in the Bedard-for-Jones trade. Bedard was a great pitcher, but Seattle vastly overvalued him. And quite frankly they’re still in the doghouse today partially because of that. So you always have to be careful with trades. And odds are Dan Duquette will be if any are made.

Baltimore Orioles getting calls about Manny Machado

There have been multiple reports this week saying that the Baltimore Orioles have been getting calls from opposing teams regarding Manny Machado. The Birds have no interest in trading Machado. However they’re willing to listen to offers on any player.

And it makes sense that teams are starting to call. The annual winter meetings begin next week in Orlando, FL. The entire baseball world will be there, from coaches, to GM’s, owners, agents, and even a few players. As we all know, we’ll see some deals made over the course of next week. And a few begun.

The obvious question is whether or not the Orioles should trade Machado. And team management knows that the obvious answer to that is NO. The Orioles are a better team with Machado on board. And if they could get some pitching this off season, they’d be a really dangerous team.

However the Catch-22 is that Machado may be the key to getting better pitching. But that’s another story for another day. The Orioles don’t want to trade Machado – officially. However I suspect they’re open to doing so…IF the offer is right.

And by right, I mean that another team would have to blow the Orioles away with an offer. We’d be talking at least one or two top prospects, and pitching prospects at that. The type of prospects which could in theory be ready to come to the big leagues – as in right now.

Many teams and even fans will say that this is overvaluing a guy who’s only under team control for 2018 with his current contract. But this is also one of the top three players in baseball today, and without a doubt the best third baseman in the league. Probably in his generation. Is it possible to overvalue your talent too much? For sure. But you don’t want to let other teams undervalue it either.

Baltimore Orioles: A comeback for Rafael Palmeiro?

Desite his PED suspension in 2005, Rafael Palmeiro was always a fan favorite for the Baltiore Oriole. But at 53 years old, most people would agree that his baseball career is behind him. His playing career, at least.

But yesterday it was reported that Palmeiro was considering a comeback. Uh, come again?! Palmeiro last played in the big leagues in 2005, with the Orioles. He of course was suspended for 50 games that August after testing positive for steroids. He was the first high profile player to get dinged in season, this after he wagged his finger at the United States Congress saying he had never (knowingly) used a PED.

But that’s all behind Palmeiro now. He apparently thinks that he can help a team win. And I would agree – as a coach or instructor. Rafael Palmeiro was a great player, and withstanding the PED suspension he was always good to the fans of Baltimore. But he should stay retired.

In short, I think that no matter how good a shape he’s in, a 53-year old at the professional level would embarrass himself. Mind you, this is just my opinion. Admittedly I haven’t seen Palmeiro work out or hit anytime recently. For all I know he in fact is a freak of nature and could do it. I just think that the odds would be so against him that it would make you question if it’s really worth it.

I’ve always said that the great athletes always know when it’s time to go. I would add that they also know that they should stay retired. But obviously several high profile athletes have come back, Michael Jordan being probably the biggest name in the bunch. And I’m talking specifically about the time he was with the Washington Wizards. I’ll stop short of saying that he embarrassed hiself, but he wasn’t “MJ.” (Not going to lie, I bought a ticket to see him play!)

Magic Johnson did the same a couple of times, as have other athletes. Heck, Terrell Owens has claimed that he could still play in the NFL. I can only imagine how difficult it must be to be at the top of your field, and then suddenly you’re a part of history. But…is it really worth jeapordizing your career numbers to make a comeback well past your prime?!

There’s a place for Rafael Palmeiro in baseball should he want it. I think he’d make a great hitting instructor. Maybe even a good manager at some point. But for his sake, I hope his playing days remain behind him.

Baltimore Orioles: Beware at the winter meetings

The Baltimore Orioles’ contingent, led by Dan Duquette, will head to the annual MLB winter meetings next week. There are a lot of questions surrounding this team, many more so than there probably should be. With a veteran manager and a solid lineup, that is.

Obviously the Orioles stand at a crossroads in the sense that quite a few contracts (including those of the GM and manager) coming off the books following the 2018 season. So there are quite a few moving parts. And quite a few decisions to make.

We know from past experiences that the Orioles will be active in the Rule 5 draft. You can probably bank on it. But again, there are a lot of moving parts. And a lot of outside forces who would like to see the Orioles do certain things.

Namely, other teams would love the opportunity to purchase some of the Orioles’ players. You know, the Machado’s, Schoop’s, Bundy’s, and maybe even the Jones’ of the world. So other GM’s may well be trying to convince Dan Duquette to sell. Even still, perhaps a few will try to convince him to stand pat and that it’s too risky to sell. But too expensive to buy.

Ultimately, every team is out for himself. Another GM may well be offering advice to Duquette and so forth, but in reality he’s trying to come off as such so as to potentially convince Duquette of a plan of attack – which may benefit that other team more than the Orioles. So the Birds have to be careful. Other teams may not be telling them to sell with benevolent reasons.

Ultimately whatever happens, it should be the Orioles’ decision. For their reasons and their reasons only. Because the Orioles are accountable to their fans. Those other teams and GM’s are not.

Baltimore Orioles: More botched personnel moves in sports

Once again, I hope that the Baltimore Orioles were observing a fellow sports franchise (albeit in another sport) these past few days. In this case, the New York Football Giants. They gave us another lesson in how NOT to handle personnel moves.

The Giants fired head coach Ben McAdoo yesterday morning. And let me be frank; McAdoo should have been fired. He probably was never cut out to do the job in the first place. Keep in mind, I don’t cover that team so I’m only watching from afar just like most of you reading this. But from my standpoint he lost the locker room weeks ago.

However last week, McAdoo announced that he was benching quarterback Eli Manning in favor of backup Geno Smith. This turned into a media circus, which eventually led to rumors that McAdoo was going to be relieved of his duties following the teams’ game this past Sunday in Oakland. And in fact, the news came first thing yesterday morning.

However it was also reported that McAdoo had cleared the benching of Manning with owner John Mara prior to pulling the trigger. And in his own commentary yesterday, Mara seemed to back that up. So if that’s the case, why did Mara decide to fire McAdoo?

Again in his commentary, Mara said that the firing had more to do with the record than anything else. But let’s be frank, it was the catalyst. First off, I personally believe that the head coach should have the final say in on-field matters – such as who starts and who sits. I thought that the decision to sit a two-time Super Bowl winning quarterback and a perennial pro bowler was a poor one. But it should be the coach’s decision – NOT the owner’s.

However that aside, if McAdoo “cleared” this move with ownership, why is he being held accountable for it by having it cost him his job? I’m not criticizing the decision to fire McAdoo, because while I’m not a fan of changing coaches in season, I don’t think he was cut out to be an NFL coach. But it doesn’t say much for the organization when the owner fires the coach for implementing something on which he signed off.

Again, hopefully the Orioles were paying attention. Peter Angelos may be a lot of things, but to my knowledge he’s never meddled in on-field matters like this. Furthermore he’s never fired someone for doing what he was told to do, or something on which he had signed off. Hopefully that never changes.