17 December 2012

The Aging of Bad Outfield Arms

A few weeks back, I took a look at how elite arms age in the outfield.  What was interesting in that little study was that performance peaked in year two and then collapsed.  There was some question as to whether it was merely a regression to the mean sort of phenomenom (although if that was the case the trend should be flat instead of a concentrated and significant increase in year 2).  There was some interest in how poor outfield arms aged and whether it looked like a mirror image of the good arms or if bad arms gain a reputation and will be exploited by runners.

If you did not click on the link above, here is what the elite arm graph looked like.


I used the same methodology of the previous post, but used the nine worst outfield arms as defined by Defensive Runs Saved.


Runs by Arm per 1400 Innings


1 2 3 4 5
Andre Either -9.0 -3.6 -5.1 -6.1 -2.6
Coco Crisp -3.8 -4.4 -3.1 -1.2 -6.3
Chris Young -2.2 -6.0 -6.9 3.1 -3.1
Justin Upton 1.6 -1.2 -6.3 -5.1 -3.3
Ryan Braun 1.1 -2.1 -4.2 -6.7 -1.1
Corey Hart -6.4 -3.1 -3.0 -1.2 -5.2
Jason Bay -2.9 -9.0 -8.2 -2.3 -4.2
Grady Sizemore 0.0 -3.0 -4.0 -2.1 -8.7
Matt Holiday -9.2 -4.0 -5.2 -1.0 -2.3
This yields an insignifiant p value (0.39) and the following averages and standard deviations:


1 2 3 4 5
Average -3.4 -4.0 -5.1 -2.5 -4.1
StDev 4.1 2.3 1.7 3.1 2.3
What does that all mean? 

I am not sure what this means with respect to this population or the statistically significant differences observed in the elite arms group.  No trends can be measured here or inferred.  Bad arms do not seem to improve as a group and neither are they exploited.  The explanation eludes me.  It may well be that the elite arms group was genuinely a unique occurrence.



16 December 2012

Sunday Comics: Christmas Lists...


At some point, we all realize that we can't always get every single thing we want for the holidays.

15 December 2012

Where Are They Now -- the 2012 Tides Home Opener Roster (Pitchers)

One of the purposes of a Triple-A team is to supply their affiliated team with reinforcements during the course of the long season. In 2012, the Norfolk Tides did supply the Orioles with many key pieces, such as outfielder Nate McLouth and starting pitchers Chris Tillman and Miguel Gonzalez. But not all of the 77 players who appeared on the Tides’ active roster in 2012 were as useful as McLouth, Tillman, or Gonzalez. Although I don't have the Tides 2012 Opening Day roster — they opened 2012 on the road — over the next two weeks I'll review the Tides' roster for their April 9 home opener. This week, I'll go over the pitchers.

Brad BergesenBergesen began 2012 in the Norfolk starting rotation, and in fact was their opening-day starting pitcher. As other starting pitchers joined the team, he was moved to the bullpen. When the Orioles tried to remove Bergesen from the forty-man roster, the Diamondbacks claimed him and he pitched in nineteen big-league games. The Diamondbacks released him in November.

Jason BerkenBerken, the Tides starting pitcher in their home opener, spent almost all of 2012 in the Norfolk starting rotation. He led the Tides in starts and innings pitched. He had one disastrous relief inning in Baltimore, and after the minor-league season was claimed on waivers by the Cubs. He made four starts for the Cubs and was outrighted to AAA after the season.

Dana EvelandEveland bounced up and down all of 2012, making 14 starts for Norfolk and appearing in 14 games (2 starts) for the Orioles, mostly in a mop-up role. He was granted free agency after the season.

Willie EyreEyre had been a successful pickup at the end of 2011, and made the Tides bullpen out of spring training. Unfortunately, Eyre could only manage a 7.92 ERA in his 25 Tides innings and was released in June. The Rangers signed him, and he pitched fairly well for their AAA team. He’s now a minor-league free agent.

Chris George – After two modestly successful seasons as a swingman for the Tides, former Kansas City Royal George was on the Tides’ roster at the start of the season. After 4 games, 8 innings with an 11.25 ERA, George was released at the end of April and didn’t catch on anywhere.

Steve Johnson – Johnson began 2012 as a spot starter/long relief pitcher with the Tides, but after promotions, injuries, and roster moves became a fulltime starting pitcher. He pitched very well for the Tides – much better than he had in 2011 – and went 4-0 with a 2.11 ERA in twelve big-league appearances. He's in the mix for the 2012 Orioles' staff.
Jon Link – Link started 2012 as one of the Tides’ closers, but lost that job and was released in early June despite pitching fairly well. He was signed by Miami and was declared a free agent after the season.
Pat Neshek – Recovering from an arm injury, Neshek eventually took over the closer role for the Tides and led the team in saves. Neshek was sold to Oakland in early August and became a useful member of the Athletics’ bullpen, posting a 1.37 ERA in 24 games. He’s currently on Oakland’s 40-man roster, having signed a contract for $900,000.
Zach Phillips – Phillips was the Tides’ primary left-handed setup man to Pat Neshek until Neshek was sold to Oakland; then he became the Tides’ closer for the last month. He led the Tides in pitching appearances and gave up only one home run in 54 innings. In addition, Phillips pitched six scattered innings for the 2012 Orioles. After the season, he was declared a free agent and has signed a minor-league contract with the Marlins.
Miguel Socolovich – Another Tides middle-to-long relief pitcher, Socolovich went 4-0, 1.90 in 28 Tides relief appearances. He had two brief stints with the Orioles before being claimed by the Cubs on waivers in late August. After a few appearances with the Cubs, he was removed from their roster and is currently a free agent.
Chris Tillman – Tillman started 2012 in the Tides’ rotation. He pitched better and was recalled to Baltimore on July 4. The fourth time was the charm, as Tillman became a reliable rotation starter, going 9-3, 2.93 with the Orioles. He starts 2013 as a likely member of the Orioles’ rotation.
Oscar Villarreal – Villarreal was one of the two Tides to spend all of 2012 at Norfolk, generally as the right-handed setup man. Villarreal was effective in that role with a 2.88 ERA in 68 innings. He was declared a free agent after the season and signed a minor-league contract with the Red Sox.
Dontrelle Willis – The Orioles signed Willis to a minor-league contract with the hope that he would become a left-handed relief specialist. Willis made a couple of ineffective appearances, was put on the disabled list, and then left the team, declaring that he wanted to be a starting pitcher. Eventually, the Orioles agreed to that and he rejoined the Tides. On June 27, he made a start at Columbus and was hit hard. After that game, he announced his retirement and so far has stuck to it.

12 December 2012

Will trading JJ Hardy improve the Orioles?

There has been a general feeling from many national writers as well as those in the fan base that moving J.J. Hardy (who is currently under contract for two years at seven million a piece) could help improve the team in the present as well as in the future.  The opportunity presenting itself is one where Manny Machado is able to shift over to shortstop and then back filling the third base position.  The need there would be to get someone who could play at third for a couple seasons while Jonathan Schoop develops into what is hoped to be at least a league average third baseman.

A major problem is finding someone who is worth as much as JJ Hardy is:


Po. wRC+ Defense xWAR
JJ Hardy SS 92 10 3.7
Manny Machado SS 96 0 3.0

3B 96 10 3.0
The above numbers are somewhat optimistic.  The offensive and defensive components are not what are optimistic.  What is optimistic is assuming that JJ Hardy can be worth 3.7 WAR because it is projected to 150 games.  That is something Hardy has done twice in his seven years of service time.  More likely, the team could expect something more in the neighborhood of 2.8 to 3.2 WAR as Hardy may play somewhere around 125 games.

Unfortunately with the scope limited to 3B, that number is not projected to be matched by anyone who is available in free agency.


Age wRC+ Defense xWAR
Miguel Cairo 39 77 0 0.4
Mark DeRosa 38 68 -5 -0.8
Chone Figgins 35 72 5 0.5
Alberto Gonzalez 30 54 15 0.0
Jack Hannahan 33 74 10 1.2
Orlando Hudson 35 85 -5 0.6
Brandon Inge 36 81 10 1.8
Adam Kennedy 37 82 0 0.8
Jose Lopez 29 66 0 -0.5
Casey McGehee 30 72 5 0.5
Placido Polanco 37 75 10 1.3
Mark Reynolds 29 108 -30 0.0
Scott Rolen 38 87 5 1.7
Brandon Snyder 27 103 -15 1.1
Ian Stewart 27 68 5 0.2
Ty Wigginton 35 89 -15 -0.1
Kevin Youkilis 34 105 -5 2.2
The best figure on the list is Kevin Youkilis' 2.2 WAR, but he has been hobbled by injuries over the past four seasons.  He may be putting in anywhere between 50 to 120 games.  The third best target is Scott Rolen, who is also a major risk.  The general take home message here is that basically all options are rather poor ones with major question marks.  The Phillies when presented with these options chose to go with Michael Young, who was the worst full time player in baseball last season and someone who has never looked comfortable at third base.  They are banking on him improving upon his defense and showing something more similar to his 2010 season as opposed to his 2011 season.  My choice would have been different as many of these options would have been cheaper than the 6 MM the Phillies are paying along with the two decent relief pitchers.  Guys like Figgins, Hannahan, Inge, Polanco, and Gonzalez might be decent pick ups.  Though, to be honest, none of these solutions have the potential upside of Young.

That upside is wishing though.  A common thought process risk assessors go through is attaching themselves to a desired outcome.  That is, if you want something then you are more likely to forgive misfortune than recognize good luck.  It is a concept I have mentioned often this off season.  That people are more likely to forgive something like Nick Markakis' injury than understand the good fortune of something like Miguel Gonzalez' performance.

Anyway, bringing this discussion back to the main point of the article...can JJ Hardy be adequately replaced for what he brings to the team?  Highly unlikely.  The Orioles would need to be more creative than simply dealing Hardy for prospects and filling in third base via free agency.  The talent simply does not appear to be available.  Perhaps, signing Brandon Inge along with finding a +1 improvement on an established position (e.g., 1B or DH) might be a solution and one that is useful if pieces are also acquired that will be of value for future seasons. 

The remaining teams most active on the shortstop market are the Tigers, A's, Diamondbacks, Red Sox, and Yankees.  Targets would be players capable of providing a 3 WAR value which would provide the needed increase of one of the established positions.  The focus on a Tigers deal would be for Rick Porcello who would likely be a +1 or more increase upon whoever the team trots out in the 5 slot in the rotation.  For the A's, that target would be Josh Reddick.  He has an average bat and plus defense.  With the Diamondbacks, the likely player to acquire would be Justin Upton.  The Red Sox' Jacoby Ellsbury would be the target with that team.  The Yankees?  I see no opportunities there.  Of course, identifying a target does not mean it will be easy or even possible to engage these teams on these players...though trade rumors have been mentioned for each of these targets.

In the end, it will be a challenge to deal Hardy while maintaining value on the big league club.  Even more difficult will be to maintain that value while improving the team in the future.  Porcello and, maybe, Reddick would be the two targets that might bring back talent in addition to the player mentioned.  However, that certainly is not a guaranty.

10 December 2012

Arrivals and Departures (12/10/12)

A short primer on options was provided in an earlier post found here.  If you have any further questions about this issue or other baseball related issues, feel free to email us at CamdenDepot@gmail.com.

The Winter Meetings in Nashville began with great hope.  The Orioles announced they were looking for a middle of the order hitter who would play at first, left, or designated hitter.  They were also mildly interested in upgrading their pitching rotation.  These moves were suggested as coming by trade.  However, trades are a rather unpredictable ephemeral quality and nothing much went down in Nashville for Baltimore.

Transactions from last week:
December 5, 2012 - Signed Nate McLouth to a 1 year, 2 MM contract
December 6, 2012 - Selected TJ McFarland in the Rule 5 draft from Cleveland
First, there is still a considerable amount of time left in the offseason with a considerable number of players on the free agent market and being bandied about in trade rumors.  There is still time and Duquette, himself, said "Sometimes [talks] come together, sometimes they can take a little while to percolate after the meetings."  This brought back some unpleasant memories for some as Andy MacPhail was well known for using the term "percolate."  It can sound, particularly with some precedent, as if very little can be expected to be done.  Again, that said, trades are very difficult to pull off and a general managers position is far more intense and difficult than most fans give credit.

Regardless, there has been movement in that AL East this offseason.  The Blue Jays have remade their roster.  The Rays have added a useful piece in Yunel Escobar and traded James Shields for Wil Myers, a prospective above average major leaguer without any service time to his name.  The Yankees have been laying in wait and can always strike when they find something they like (but yes no real movement from them).  The Red Sox have been quite active in buying up mid to low level veteran talent at somewhat questionable prices.  I will be shocked if Shane Victorino's 3 yr / 39 MM deal will bring back anything better than a 8 MM per WAR value.

Anyway, these moves have left me with the following napkin scratch:


EdG Win
Orioles 85
Red Sox 85
Yankees 86
Rays 92.5
Blue Jays 90
I have the Orioles as having a 2 win increase in talent from last year (which fits well when you normalize their success in one run games...that alone takes them down from a 93 win team to a 83 win team).  That two win improvement comes primarily from two places: Endy Chavez and Mark Reynolds.  Their absence from the team allows other players with better fit and/or performance slide onto the team.  That said, simply excising the imperfect features of last year's squad does not set the team up for a strong chance to compete in 2013.  That is not to say that the playoffs are an impossible event at the moment, but highly improbable.  This is similar to last season when the playoffs were also highly improbable.  Add in an unbalanced schedule and that "85 win" talent may be more like ".500" win talent.

Going forward, the Orioles need to find themselves about 5 WAR to become a serious contender.  The Mets R.A. Dickey has been on the market and would be worth something in the neighborhood of 3-4 WAR.  That move would likely cost the team Chris Tillman or Brian Matusz in addition to several second tier prospects.  The actual win increase for the team is likely more in the neighborhood of 1-3 WAR depending on who goes.  I have not heard of any other pitchers being associated with the Orioles.  For batters, Nick Swisher, Michael Morse, Billy Butler, and Justin Morneau has been attached to the team.  Swisher has been crossed off according to the Orioles' front office and the group in general is likely only to improve the team by a win or two at most.  Their value would mainly come from providing more depth to be utilized if an injury comes along in an area where the depth is present.

In other words, the Orioles need to acquire stars.  Retaining a marginal starter like Nate McLouth or picking up a fringe lefty with good control and no above average pitches (i.e., TJ McFarland) will not help the team maintain the high level of performance (as opposed to talent) that they exhibited last year.  I think a lot of people look back to last year and thing (1) what if Markakis was healthy, (2) what if Nate McLouth played like that for the entire year, (3) what if Jason Hammel was healthy, (4) what if Manny played for the entire year, (5) what if they figured out the starters earlier, etc.  This is a 20/20 hindsight view that overlooks so many things that broke right for the Orioles.  You can also look back and say (1) what if the Orioles had a typical one run game record split, (2) what if Strop lost himself earlier in the year, (3) what if Chris Davis hits his career line, (4) what if Adam Jones did not explode offensively at the beginning of the year, (5) what if Mark Reynolds sucked for 26 weeks instead of 25 weeks, etc.  The truth does not lie in either extreme perspective, but in a mix of both.  It is good to think of how things will change next season, but be sure to recognize the good and bad breaks the team had this year.

Current 40 Man Roster with Options:

Options Remaining

* 3 2 1
Pitchers 



Jake Arrieta 
7/6/2012 O O
Luis Ayala 
X X X
Mike Belfiore 
O O O
Zach Britton 
7/9/2011 6/6/2012 O
Dylan Bundy  3/11/2012 O O O
Wei-Yin Chen 
| | |
Zach Clark 
O O O
Miguel Gonzalez 
O O O
Jason Hammel 
X X X
Tommy Hunter 
8/16/2008 4/1/2009 5/7/2012
Jim Johnson 
6/3/2006 3/12/2007 5/1/2010
Steve Johnson 
6/3/2012 O O
Brian Matusz  3/14/2009 6/30/2011 7/1/2012 O
TJ McFarland
5 5 5
Darren O'Day 
5/13/2008 O O
Troy Patton 
3/14/2009 3/15/2010 3/11/2011
Pedro Strop 
3/10/2008 3/24/2011 5/4/2011
Chris Tillman 
3/30/2010 5/29/2011 3/31/2012
Tsuyoshi Wada 
X X X
Catchers 



Luis Exposito 
3/17/2011 3/23/2012 O
Taylor Teagarden 
7/21/2008 4/27/2010 3/29/2011
Matt Wieters 
O O O
Infielders 



Wilson Betemit 
X X X
Alexi Casilla 
3/23/2007 3/14/2008 5/6/2009
Chris Davis 
7/6/2009 4/23/2010 3/29/2011
Ryan Flaherty 
O O O
J.J. Hardy 
X X X
Manny Machado 
O O O
Yamaico Navarro 
3/17/2011 5/29/2012 O
Steve Pearce 
3/17/2008 3/28/2009 4/4/2010
Brian Roberts 
X X X
Jonathan Schoop 
O O O
Danny Valencia 
3/19/2010 5/9/2012 O
Outfielders 



Xavier Avery 
5/29/2012 O O
L.J. Hoes 
O O O
Adam Jones 
X X X
Nick Markakis 
X X X
Nate McLouth
X X X
Nolan Reimold 
3/20/2009 5/12/2010 3/28/2011
Trayvon Robinson 
3/18/2010 3/14/2011 3/17/2012

09 December 2012

Sunday Comics: Nate the Great

So we get at least one more year out of Nate McLouth! Hooray!

I was admittedly pressed for time this week and literally had a few moments late on Saturday night to draw this (this time of the year things get awfully frantic), but Nate's all set to move back in and stay in Baltimore for a little while longer.


08 December 2012

What the Orioles Lost -- Joe Mahoney

On November 30, 25-year-old first baseman Joe Mahoney was claimed on waivers from the Orioles by the Miami Marlins. Mahoney spent most of 2012 with the Norfolk Tides; he got a two-game, four at-bat cup of coffee with the Orioles. According to Baseball America, Mahoney ranked as the Orioles’ #11 prospect after 2010 and as their #13 prospect after 2011. Mahoney played 132 games with Norfolk in 2012, of which I saw and scored about 40. What did the Orioles lose in Mahoney? How will his loss affect the organization?
Mahoney was the Orioles’ sixth-round draft selection in 2007, a semi-local selection out of the University of Richmond (VA). His progress through the Orioles farm system was steady but affected by nagging, minor injuries — he played 95 games in 2008; 115 games in 2009; 124 in 2010; and 88 in 2011. After two productive half-seasons (at total of 137 games) at Bowie, he was ready for Norfolk in 2012.
Mahoney is 6’6”, 240 and bats left-handed; he looks like a prototypical first baseman. But he didn’t really have a good year with the Tides; he hit .265/.319/.389. While Norfolk’s Harbor Park is an extreme pitcher’s park — probably the most extreme pitcher’s park in AAA — there’s a “short porch” down the right field line, so Harbor Park hurts left-handed power hitters less than other hitters. Mahoney’s disappointing season can’t be completely blamed on the park.

I saw two trends that contribute to Mahoney’s disappointing season. First, Mahoney simply didn’t hit very many hard ground balls. In the games I saw, he hit 54 ground balls and only 4 (7%) went through the infield and were initially fielded by an outfielder. In Mahoney's career, he has not drawn a large number of walks -- less than 8% of his plate appearances. So it's likely that he swings at too many pitches and too often makes weak contact. Second, when Mahoney did hit the ball in the air to the outfield, he didn’t pull it often enough. He hit 19 fly balls to the right fielder (41%), 15 to the center fielder, and 12 to the left fielder. While hitting the ball to all fields can be a good thing, a power hitter – especially a power hitter with a short porch to right field – needs to pull the ball more frequently to take advantage of his power. He did start to pull the ball more as the season went on.

Mahoney looked to be a pretty good defensive first baseman, but that may just be because Norfolk has recently had some really bad defensive first basemen. He has gotten mixed reviews for his defense. Mahoney looks like he has the tools to play left field, but he hasn't played there much because of his nagging leg injuries. 
Joe Mahoney would have made a nice insurance policy stashed away at Norfolk, ready to be promoted in case of injury or lack of first-base production. If he did learn to turn on pitches, he might have become a useful complementary player. But it's unlikely that the Orioles lost a future star, and he probably wouldn't have helped them much in 2013.

07 December 2012

Final Days of the Winter Meetings Recap

So days 3 and 4 of the Winter Meetings came and went with much rumor and little bite. Baltimore agreed with LF Nate McLouth to a very reasonable 1-year $2m contract with another 500k possible in bonuses. The rule 5 draft was also held with Baltimore selecting TJ McFarland from CLE, who is a 23 year old lefty with a good sinker, a good change up and great command. That is pretty much the MO of this front office, as shown during the "cutter-gate" incident last year, that this team's philosophy is that they like guys that can get groundballs, and guys with a FB/CV/CH combo. McFarland doesn't have much of a chance to stick in the pen as currently constructed all season because 6 of those spots are taken up by: Johnson, O'Day, Strop, Hunter, Patton, and Ayala. It would be tough to keep McFarland there all season, but there is an outside shot due to the LHP, and GB%. I'm sure they will give him a good look in ST, and try to work something out with CLE to send him to AAA if he can't make the team.

On day 3 the O's also made some minor league signings:


Lew Ford - Fans already know about Lewwwwwwww.
Conor Jackson - Career .350 OBP, can play 1B and corner OF, could be a sleeper for the 25 man.
Jason Pridie - Another depth OF move like Ford, Buck likes veteran AAA help.

Daniel McCutchen - RHP - Had a couple games in the Pirates pen, replacement level production.
Adam Russell - RHP - Couple games in 4 different MLB pens, had a rough 2012 in the minors.

Allan De San Miguel - C - Organizational C spent last year at 3 levels for the O's.
Jose Gil - C - Organizational C from the Yankees system the past 7 years.
Chris Robinson - C - Backup C for AAA Norfolk last year.

Jan Novak - LHP - 18 years old, out of the MLB academy in Europe, has a decent low 90's FB and some potential with some other pitches. Very raw, but could be a good first step into Europe which the team has indicated that it would like to do.

Trade talks with a few teams were still ongoing according to Duquette who said some things may have to percolate beyond the meetings. They are still on the hunt for a middle of the order bat, but as expected the cost is high and the market is a bit frozen waiting on Grienke and Hamilton to sign and start dominoes falling.

It will probably be quiet for a few days, as it usually is after the meetings, but sometime next week you should see some pieces really start moving around the league.

05 December 2012

Orioles Bring Back Nate McLouth On a One-Year Deal

It was pretty widely acknowledged by the team that they wanted to bring Nate McLouth back for the 2013 season, and today they've accomplished that goal; McLouth will get $2 M, with the potential for another $500 K in incentives.

We've discussed the Orioles signing McLouth quite a bit since the season ended; my opinion was that a $2-3 M contract could be an OK value (apparently the O's agreed), but that it wouldn't do much to actually improve the team for next year. And so it is.

It seems like the team is done looking for outfield help and will go with Nate McLouth and (if healthy, presumably) Nolan Reimold in left-field for 2013. A McLouth/Reimold combo is certainly capable of providing league average (or even a little above) production out there but I wouldn't necessarily consider that the most probable outcome, and so it leaves the O's (who got about 1 win from left in 2012) in a marginally better position than they were. Really, just losing Endy Chavez's -0.8 fWAR is a pretty sizable upgrade all by itself, but the opportunity was potentially there to make it a real jump.

I've had a hard time figuring out this off-season if the Orioles viewed themselves like a 93 win team (and so they were already mostly set to compete in the AL East again) or a 73 win team (and so far away that they're just look to add complementary pieces and wait for the younger guys in improve). The club could have stood to add wins in left-field, second-base, first-base, and third-base. So far it looks like they have Nate McLouth and Alexi Casilla penciled in for the first two spots (and potentially Manny Machado at third). Those are the types of guys who can certainly hold down jobs for second division teams, but unless their record in one-run games was close to 0% luck last season, they're not likely to do a huge amount to help propel the Orioles to the play-offs again.

I would have liked to have seen the O's go after Melky Cabrera on the kind of deal he ended up getting from the Blue Jays (2/$16 M), or looked at Nick Swisher if his contract demands are more in line with some rumors (more like 4 years than 7). If the Orioles started the off-season out as more of an 80-85 win team, then those types of players are ones who can add W's. Going for the cheaper value players can be a fine strategy - one I've recommended often in the past - but if they want to be competitive then that probably isn't going to be quite enough with the pieces they currently have. That doesn't mean that the Nate McLouth signing was bad - the question is just if it will be enough.

Orioles Winter Meetings Notes and Rumors: Day 2

Not a whole lot going on publicly on the Orioles front after day 2.

Some meetings took place with the agents for Joe Saunders and Nate McLouth. The team expects to have an OF signed by the end of the week. It should be noted that they also met with Nate Shierholtz's agents and that the word choice was signed, not acquired, as in trade.

Another wrinkle in the same discussion is that late last night the Orioles met with the reps for Nick Swisher, who has been thought to be seeking a fairly large contract. A curious move in that the O's are worried about keeping their payroll below $100m and have around $22m in incoming arbitration raises coming. This item shouldn't be taken too seriously just yet, since Swisher's agent is MVP Sports Group, who also represents Omar Quintanilla, who it has already been reported the team was looking into resigning. MVP also represents recently cut closer Brian Wilson formerly of SF. While the O's do have room for a player like Swisher, it may be nothing more than a coincidence during a period where media and fans are ready for a big move or signing to be made.

This morning has started simmering a little earlier than usual with continuations of talks that may have begun yesterday and reports on Twitter have the Twins contacting the O's to gauge interest on Justin Morneau who has spent the past 2 seasons coming back from a concussion and dealing with a nagging wrist injury. Morneau could be an interesting acquisition depending on the cost, as he should a couple months last season that he can still be that .850+ OPS player he was for 4 years prior to the injuries. With one year left on his deal at $14m if the Twins ate some money and the player return wasn't too rich, it could be just the kind of move Duquette likes to make. Reclamation projects with room for return seem to be Dan's specialty these days.

On the heels of the KC trade rumors, they seem to be looking at Shawn Marcum, a KC product, this morning, while the big news is that the Rangers are trying to close a deal with Grienke, which could set dominoes in motion for the rest of the free agent and trade market. 


04 December 2012

2012 Orioles Retrospective: Wilson Betemit

When the Orioles signed Wilson Betemit to a two-year contract, it was initially a little confusing. Multiple years for a part-time player? But the price was low enough ($3.25 M total), and Betemit's adequate production in 2012 has things looking alright even if the O's decide to cut ties with him.

Though he missed a fair bit of time later in the season, Betemit started often in the first four months and still amassed his most plate appearances since 2006 (376). At the plate, he largely repeated his 2011 season, minus over 50 points of BABIP - it fell all the way to .336 (still well above average and around his .341 career mark). Betemit was able to walk (even if his 8.2% rate of drawing free passes was down a bit) and hit for some power though, which kept his batting line of .261/.322/.422 just barely above average (101 wRC+) despite him striking out in over 27% of his plate appearances.

It's been said before, but it might be a good idea for Betemit to give up on the switch-hitting entirely - and 2012 was a new low for the guy as a right-handed swinger. As a lefty, Betemit's .302/.357/.502 is more than worthy of a starting job even if his third-base defense leaves a little to be desired*. As a righty, it was a disaster; .140/.219/.186 and a wRC+ of 10. 10! Almost 30% of the pitchers who had at least 50 PA on the season finished with a wRC+ above 10. Though he might not have always been able to maximize it, Buck did get Betemit in there against righties a touch more often than had been the case for Wilson in recent years.

* Betemit was pressed into service at the position when it became clear that Mark Reynolds was not going to be able to handle it, and was more or less his usual self over there with a -5.5 UZR (-12 UZR per 150 games, compared to -14 per 150 career).

Overall, Betemit's 0.7 fWAR (0.6 rWAR) made him a fine contributor to the team and worth his $1 M (and then some). Having him as a "left-handed" bat of the bench who can fill in various positions (he also played some first and left-field) when needed for 2013 isn't bad, but counting on him to be play almost every day (when healthy) might not be for the best (especially given that 324 more PA would cause his 2013 option for $3.2 M to vest).

03 December 2012

Orioles Winter Meeting Notes and Rumors: Day 1

So as we get into the evening hours of the first day of the Winter Meetings, the Orioles name has been tossed around in various rumors and news. Tidbits from the first day:

In an interview with MLBNetwork Duquette says that the club cut ties with Reynolds because they calculated his arbitration numbers around 12-14m and that salary number didn't work with the team's financial situation.

Duquette laughs when asked about Josh Hamilton, says that he is a great player who just about won a whole series against the O's early in the year by himself, and says that the team is definitely on the hunt for a middle of the order bat, but if Josh is that guy he wasn't sure. He says that he doesn't know if Josh works with the financial situation of the O's right now.

With Dan Connolly reporting that he has talked to sources indicating the O's have the pieces to pull off a trade for a pretty significant  power hitter now, but need to decide whether to pull the trigger or not, fans have been speculating all day. Kansas City has been rumored to be shopping some of their young hitters to get back some pitching, so people have been trying to link the O's to players such as Billy Butler. Kevin Towers has been said to be looking for a young, long term SS or top of the rotation SP for Justin Upton and Jim Duquette on XM Radio mentioned that he reportedly has two offers already, and ATL is not one of them, with TEX deep in the hunt, the second team is a mystery and some have speculated if it could be Baltimore.

Adam LaRoche has been close on a deal with WAS, with sides haggling over a third year as the reported sticking point. With their acquisition of D. Span, the Nats gained leverage in the negotiations, but teams such as BOS and TEX have been rumored to be in on LaRoche. With the meetings first big signing today, Napoli to BOS for 3/$39 it removed one the suitors, and Baltimore began coming up in speculation. With the team trying to upgrade defense, OBP and 1B production overall this winter, LaRoche would be an upgrade over last season, but the question is would the Orioles be willing to give the 3rd year that WAS has not?

Other players that have been speculated to be targets of varying interest to Baltimore are Willingham from MIN, Soriano from Chicago (which would require money from the Cubs), Morneau from MIN, and Trumbo from ANA, however it's not known if or how available these players are.

The Hot Stove is burning, so check back here and we will try to cover moves, news and rumors especially pertaining to the O's as they develop.

Arrivals and Departures (12/3/2012)

After a long hiatus, I am updating the information on the 40 man roster designations in terms of who has how many options left.

First though, I'd like to run down some basic points on options:
  • When a contract is purchased, a player can be optioned to the minors three times (unless player was signed an MLB contract under the pre-2012 draft rules then he has 4 total options or if an "amateur" international free agent is signed to a MLB contract--most established amateur players like Wei-Yin Chen will negotiate for teams to not be able to use options).
  • An option counts as expended if the player spends more than 20 days in the minors based on that assignment.
  • Only one option can be expended each season, but a player can be sent up and down between the Majors and Minors as many times as possible in that season under that option.
  • Players who have options remaining and more than 5 years of MLB experience must give consent to an option being used.
  • A Rule 5 player cannot be sent to the minors (unless on injury rehabilitation) the year he was draft.  The following year, he will retain all remaining options.
If you have any further questions about this issue or other baseball related issues, feel free to email us at CamdenDepot@gmail.com.

Transactions of the last few weeks:
November 20, 2012 - Traded Robert Andino to Mariners for Trayvon Robinson
November 28, 2012 - Purchased Danny Valencia from the Red Sox
November 30, 2012 - Lost Joe Mahoney to Marlins via Waivers
November 30, 2012 - Traded Jhondaniel Medina to Pirates for Yamaico Navarro
November 30, 2012 - Non-tendered Mark Reynolds, Omar Quintanilla, and Stu Pomeranz
Current 40 Man Roster with Options:


Options Remaining

* 3 2 1
Pitchers 



Jake Arrieta 
7/6/2012 O O
Luis Ayala 
X X X
Mike Belfiore 
O O O
Zach Britton 
7/9/2011 6/6/2012 O
Dylan Bundy  3/11/2012 O O O
Wei-Yin Chen 
| | |
Zach Clark 
O O O
Miguel Gonzalez 
O O O
Jason Hammel 
X X X
Tommy Hunter 
8/16/2008 4/1/2009 5/7/2012
Jim Johnson 
6/3/2006 3/12/2007 5/1/2010
Steve Johnson 
6/3/2012 O O
Brian Matusz  3/14/2009 6/30/2011 7/1/2012 O
Darren O'Day 
5/13/2008 O O
Troy Patton 
3/14/2009 3/15/2010 3/11/2011
Pedro Strop 
3/24/2010 5/4/2011 O
Chris Tillman 
3/30/2010 5/29/2011 3/31/2012
Tsuyoshi Wada 
| | |
Catchers 



Luis Exposito 
3/17/2011 3/23/2012 O
Taylor Teagarden 
7/21/2008 4/27/2010 3/29/2011
Matt Wieters 
O O O
Infielders 



Wilson Betemit 
X X X
Alexi Casilla 
3/23/2007 3/14/2008 5/6/2009
Chris Davis 
7/6/2009 4/23/2010 3/29/2011
Ryan Flaherty 
O O O
J.J. Hardy 
X X X
Manny Machado 
O O O
Yamaico Navarro 
3/17/2011 5/29/2012 O
Steve Pearce 
3/17/2008 3/28/2009 4/4/2010
Brian Roberts 
X X X
Jonathan Schoop 
O O O
Danny Valencia 
3/19/2010 5/9/2012 O
Outfielders 



Xavier Avery 
5/29/2012 O O
L.J. Hoes 
O O O
Adam Jones 
X X X
Nick Markakis 
X X X
Nolan Reimold 
3/20/2009 5/12/2010 3/28/2011
Trayvon Robinson 
3/18/2010 3/14/2011 3/17/2012