Category Archives: Orioles

MacPhail…Seriously?

First of all, I must apologize to John for jumping the gun here and posting three individual posts in a row, I don’t mean to be hogging the Blog but situations warrant such actions. It’s hard not to be excited when your favorite team is almost literally making a deal per day. Today, the Orioles announced that they signed Ty Wigginton to a 2-year, $6M deal. Wigginton’s name was thrown around as an O’s interest for months but everyone thought that had falling by the wayside after the Pie deal and the realization that Huff would play first. Adding Wigginton to our current roster is a curious move and it only stands to reason that more trades are on the horizon. I mean, right now we have an OF of Pie, Jones, Markakis, Freel, and Scott; first base is manned by Wigginton and Huff; third base would be Mora and Wigginton and up the middle would be Izturis, Brob, and Gomez. That’s fine but there isn’t enough room. My thoughts are that Scott will be moved in the next day or so. On a smaller note, the O’s signed IFer Jolbert Cabrera to a minor league deal today; Jolbert played in the Majors last year for the Mariners after two years in Japan. What is MacPhail going to do next?

On a side note, I will be taking off for vacation tomorrow to Wyoming until next Monday. In my absence, John will be taking over all posting duties so you’ll have some great stuff to look forward to reading. When I get back, I’ll pick up with updating you on the O’s news, will break down some card trades I have in the works with several fellow bloggers, and will start posting more sac bunt cards. Stay tuned!

-Chris

 

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Andy MacPhail for President!

The rumors are true; the Orioles today acquired P Rich Hill from the Cubs for the infamous Player To Be Named Later. The player will depend on how well Hill pitches this year. Hill was out of options so the Cubs had to move him on the cheap to make room on their 40-man roster. This is  yet another low-risk, high-return move by MacPhail who continues to make all the right moves (except for the Bradford for Cash deal last year to the Rays). Anyways, a 1-2-3 of Guthrie, Uehara, and Hill really doesn’t sound that bad to me…here’s a link to the story.

-Chris

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Orioles 2009 Roster

…you knew it was coming. After John’s fantastic break down of his Twinkies line-up, I’ll go through ours and let me tell you something, I’m getting kind of excited! As an O’s fan, I can’t honestly tell you the last time I was actually excited heading into a season. Here we go!

wieters2Catcher: I guess the discussion should be about who’s going to start Opening Day, but who cares when you’ve got, arguably, the #1 prospect across all of baseball chomping at the bit down in Norfolk to get his shot on April 16th? Don’t get me wrong, the Greg Zaun signing was a great move by the Orioles; they bring back a homegrown talent and an excellent tutor for the next ‘can’t miss prospect’ Matt Wieters. How many times have you heard about a ‘can’t miss’ prospect that well…missed? Ryan Leaf anyone? I saw Wieters play at Bowie last year and, unfortunately, he didn’t do anything spectacular, but how can you argue with the numbers he has put up AT EVERY LEVEL?? The kid is something special and is the symbolic backstop for the Andy MacPhail era in Baltimore. I guess Quiroz or Moeller or someone will back-up Zaun until Wieters comes up but that doesn’t really matter at all.

1B: Well, Kevin Millar officially isn’t going back to Baltimore and he’s not happy about it. I have mixed feelings about this guy. I love the way he plays the game, goes out there everyday and gives it his all knowing that he doesn’t have the ability to honestly keep up with his peers. On the other hand, when he threw out the first pitch at a Red Sox game as a current member of the Orioles, that really pissed me off. With the recent transactions, it looks like Aubrey Huff will get a shot to earn the duties of everyday player at 1B and I hope he holds his own. After the season he had last year he deserves a shot. After him though, it’s kind of weak; Luke Scott can fill in and when you look at organizational depth it’s not too good: a converted catcher in Brandon Snyder and then maybe recently-cleared waivers Oscar Salazar?

2B: Brian Roberts. Period. Because frankly there is no one else, literally.

SS: Last year I think we ran out 5 or 6 different shortstops to stop the bleeding and none of them did. A lot of people really hated on the Brandon Fahey solution and to those people I say, “Brandon Fahey played Major League Baseball and you didn’t.” You have to give respect to the kid who weighs less than me and looks like a strong wind might blow him over. Anyways, we’ve got Cesar Izturis for the next two years whom is a FANTASTIC defensive shortstop and will actually be an improvement offensively at that position too. I’m looking forward to seeing some glove flashed around the dirt at shortstop in Baltimore again. Maybe Blake Davis is the youthful, long-term solution, but I prefer that MacPhail keep looking.

3B: Melvin Mora has like 23 babies and is 55 years old and keeps getting it done. Mike Costanzo and Scott Moore are great youthful options as well. Gotta love Melmo though personally. Mora is the only player that actually panned out from the barn burning days of Syd Thrift WHO WAS/IS THE ABSOLUTE WORST BRAIN IN BASEBALL.

OF: ARE YOU KIDDING ME????? I get to watch an Outfield of Felix Pie, Adam Jones, and Nick Markakis with a spelling here or there by Ryan Freel? What? I get to watch that for like the next 10 years? I’ll take it. Throw in Lou Montanez, Nolan Reimold, and Jeff Fiorentino as back-up plans and I don’t believe you are even talking about the lowly-Orioles.

DH: I hate the DH, I think it has ruined baseball and the way that the game is supposed to be played. However, if I have to watch a DH, I’d like to watch Luuuuuuuuuuuuuuke Scott; one of the classiest guys in the game. Did you hear that one way he’s preparing for the season is by chopping wood? He’s a man’s man.

SP: I know John will do a separate post on Pitchers, and I will too, but this is the best part and I can’t believe that the O’s system got so stocked with young arms so quickly. Here’s a roll call: Jeremy Guthrie, Radhames Liz, Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Dennis Sarfate, Kam Mickolio, Troy Patton, Pedro Beato, Brandon Erbe, and David Hernandez.

Can you all say 4-team race in the AL East…in 3 years?

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‘The’ Number 8

So this is a pretty cool card isn’t it?

ripkengwynn_masterpieces1

Me, John, and Drew got our shipment of 2 ’07 Fleer Ultra SE boxes and 1 ’07 UD Masterpieces box in the mail yesterday from www.dacardworld.com. As part of their sweet deal, we got 1 lonely pack of ’07 Masterpieces for FREE. Being impatient, I ripped that bad boy open. Staring right back at me was this beautiful card of the HOF buddies; Cal Ripken, Jr. and Tony Gwynn. Without getting into too much detail here on this post, Cal Ripken, Jr. is/was/will forever be my most favorite baseball player ever. He was born in Maryland and played with the Orioles his entire career. When I got into collecting cards when I was younger my dad said “Why don’t you focus on one player and try to collect his cards?” That sounded like a good idea so I picked Ripken. I haven’t actually counted but I think I have 4,000+ Cal Ripken cards of all types and varieties. My dad and I were always stopping at obscure, hole-in-the-wall hobby shops looking for that ‘odd ball’ Ripken card that was distributed in random packages of Alpo dog food…for example. In addition to cards, I have Coke bottles, Milk cartons, energy bars, figurines, posters, etc. with Number 8 on them. I owe my love of baseball cards and my genuine love of Cal Ripken to my dad. Thanks Dad! Also, many thanks to Mom for putting up with stopping at every hobby shop along the way and for housing 99% of the collection at their house…even until this day!

In other news, just beneath this sweet card, was an on-card autograph of Boof Bonser! Not an awesome signing, but not bad for a free pack, eh? Any thoughts on Dave and Adam’s Card World shipping out ‘hot packs’ as their freebies to generate return business? John, I smell a trade? Whatcha got?

-Chris

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The Poster Child of the Sac Bunt Blog!

Congratulations Curtis Wilkerson and 1989 Fleer for combining to make possibly the greatest baseball card of all time.

wilkerson_fleerAfter going through 72 packs of this great product last Friday night, besides the Bill Ripken ‘Rick Face’ black scribble, this is clearly the second best card out of the 1,080 flimsy, error-ridden, photography-challenged cards we pulled. I mean, what better shot on a baseball card than an action shot of a game bunt by Curtis Wilkerson!!! It may be debatable about whether Curtis is sacrifice bunting or bunting for a hit. My initial reaction was bunt for a hit due to his back-foot placement and apparent dragging of his top hand down the bat barrel. Of course, this was the late 80’s so who knows what techniques were going on then. If you are wondering Curtis Wilkerson was a 4th round pick of the Texas Rangers in 1980 and was the Rangers’ Rookie of the Year in 1984. He was in the package deal, along with Luis Benitez, Pablo Delgado, Paul Kilgus, Mitch Williams, and Steve Wilson, sent to the Cubs in exchange for Rafael Palmeiro, Jamie Moyer, and Drew Hall. Hmm, who got the better end of that deal? Here are his impressive career stats: 972 Games, 600 hits, 8 HRs, 179 RBIs, 81 stolen bases, and a .245 batting average; this over a 10-year Major League career. Does anybody have any other examples of similar stars caught in the act of bunting?

 

PS: Oscar Salazar cleared waivers and was re-assigned to the O’s minor leagues; he received an invite to Spring Training as well. We’ll also get to see Jake Arrieta at Spring Training but I doubt he’ll get a shot to make the club considering his only experience is high A-ball and the Olympics.

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What color is ‘taupe’ exactly?

I found myself asking that question when I pulled this sweet looking Jake Peavy mini from a random pack of 2008 Upper Deck Goudey. My girlfriend and I have made it a tradition to open some cards every Christmas Eve starting with 2008, so after getting our shipment of several packs of cards, we started breaking. We got just 3 packs of Goudey and sure enough we pulled a mini Peavy ‘taupe’ back numbered 1 of 8. I actually missed the numbering the first time I looked at the card; I think I have mentioned before that I am a sucker for serial numbers. Maybe the other 7 lucky owners of this card should get together and we can talk about our favorite piece of taupe clothing…or furniture? I think it’s pretty cool that we got this out of 3 packs considering Dave from Fielder’s Choice got 2 in his Goudey case.

peavy_goudey

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

It’s been pretty quiet on the O’s front recently after a busy week last week. The only update I have is that it’s surfaced that Brian Roberts is ‘demanding’ a four-year deal versus the 3 year/ $30M that we offered him recently. Convention wisdom (and I agree) has him ultimately signing a 4-year deal with the Orioles after O. Hud gets taken off the market. I, for one, would love to see BRob in an O’s uniform his whole career. In other news, it’s been widely reported that the O’s are NOT interested in Ben Sheets. His injuries notwithstanding, I see no reason to offer him a 2-year deal if it will only take $8M per year to get him to sign…until next time…

-Chris

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I Agree with Schmuck…

For once I agree with Peter Schmuck. His last article sums up the feelings that most Orioles fans are thinking as they are trying to catch up and dissect all the O’s moves in the past 6 weeks. The article can be read here. Another great move today was reaching a settlement with Luke Scott before going to arbitration. The deal was for 1-year for $2.4M; a bargain in my opinion. The rumors are flying right now that MacPhail is still looking at Ty Wiggington, if that is the case, I have no idea where they are going to put everyone, especially with the fact that we’ll have to carry 13 pitchers. On another, less positive MacPhail note, today the O’s dropped Oscar Salazar from their 40-man roster; hopefully he will clear waivers so we can keep him in the system but I doubt that will occur. Most of you are saying “Oscar who?” and you are probably right but I thought he might be a good potential replacement for Melvin Mora at third base.

On to the cards…tomorrow is the scheduled box break of two boxes of 2007 Fleer Ultra SE Baseball; both John and I have a box each so we’ll be posting the results late Thursday or Friday morning. (In fact, John has two boxes!)

Below are two scans of the cards I mentioned from the Elements break. Like I said, I’m not really feeling the Elements set, it’s a little too over the top for me, but I like the serial numbered rookie cards:

abreu_elementsarias_elements

OK, now the next item is something that I want to share with you all. Generally, I’m learning that eBay is not the most fulfilling way to compile a card collection, but sometimes it’s the easiest place when you have a certain card in mind. Brandon Snyder was a High School star at nearby Westfield High School in Northern Virginia and, in fact, I used to go to a baseball camp run by his father. His was chosen as the Orioles first-round draft choice in the 2005 MLB draft to be their catcher of the future. Unfortunately, a nasty labrum injury quickly diminished those hopes. Regardless, Baseball America still ranked Snyder as the 9th best prospect in the O’s system late in 2008, this time as a 1B. While you never wish an injury on anyone, if Snyder didn’t get hurt, we wouldn’t be getting excited about the Wieters era AND we might still get to enjoy Snyder’s power production at 1B in the near future and we all know we are EXTREMELY thin at 1B in our organization. So anyways, here’s a nice 2006 Bowman Sterling Brandon Snyder Autograph; not only a hometown star but for my favorite team as well!

snyder_bowman

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