21 July 2010

Looking Back at the Mortgaged Future of 1996

I was reading Tony Pente's summary of the troubles the Orioles are facing and I was led to this article.  It included this passage:

The Orioles further mortgaged their future by acquiring veterans such as Eddie Murray, Todd Zeile, Pete Incaviglia, Terry Mathews and Luis Polonia and successfully made their wild-card run.

As you probably know, I hate overreaching statements and I zeroed in on this one.  I amcertain it is true that this is a mind blowingly silly statement (especially after the writer already said the system was ignored for at least a decade prior to the deals in '96, which is very true).

So did the O's "mortgage their future?"

Eddie Murray was acquired for Kent Mercker

Mercker was a horrible starter for the Orioles and became a usable reliever for the Indians.  No idea what the Indians got out of this deal.  Mercker was let go after the season and wandered for several more seasons without a considerable amount of success.  Murray OPS'd 766 and had some memorable home runs.  This was probably a somewhat even deal.  Orioles got a marginal bat and the Indians got a good relief arm.  Neither player stayed.

Todd Zeile and Pete Incaviglia was acquired for Calvin Maduro and Garrett Stephenson

Todd Zeile also provided some marginal offense with an OPS of 762.  Inky was very solid in limited play, putting up an 860 ops largely as a pinch hitter or DH.  Maduro washed out hard with the Phils and wound up getting some time starting for some very awful Orioles teams in the early 2000s.  Garrett Stephenson looked like he might be something in 1997 when he was solid for the Phillies, but saw only 100 more games in the bigs and mostly as a mediocre starter for the Cardinals.  Stephenson had value, but the 1997 Orioles team had no use for him.

Terry Matthews was acquired for Gregg Zaun

I always had a fondness for Zaun.  He seemed to have a good bat and block the ball well.  His arm was not the best and he could never find a starting gig until he was in his mid-30s.  I'd have to say not much was lost here.  This is considerably true when you consider that the O's catching was largely good for the 90s with Hoiles and Charles Johnson.

Luis Polonia?

He was a free agent and was released mid-season.  Not sure why his name was brought up.

So . . . BUSTED.

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