11 February 2009

On the links . . .

A few more links this morning . . .

How an increase in ability can result in a decrease in performance.
Orioles Hangout has published an article by one of their in house writers, Ted Cook. The focus is on Nick Markakis and about how projection models are often suggesting that his performance will decrease due to a rather fantastic BABIP last year (.351). It would follow suit that a BABIP regression may result, which in turn would lower his production even though it would be an improvement if his BABIP were normal last year. It would be a faux slump, ability-wise. His conclusion reads as if it was based on his gut after all of this focus on modeling as Cook claims that we will actually see an increase in performance due to a lower K rate. I'm not sure where he is getting that. It seems that he might be unaware of any of the pitch ID information out there as he also seems for a loss on why Markakis saw a significant increase in his walk rate. It is an interesting exercise though.

Potential Abreu signing might eventually mean something for Baltimore.
With the removal of future journayman middle relief RHP Nick Green from the 40 man roster, we might be able to expect the Abreu rumors are about to end with him signing with the Halos. It is thought his signing will mean he will be wandering in left field as well as logging time at DH. He could also spell Vlad sometimes in right. That being said, this probably cements Chone Figgins at third base and Kendry Morales at first base. How does this play into the Orioles' hand? The Angels will probably find themselves in a fight with the A's for the western crown and will need a pick me up from, what I imagine will be, some poor offensive play from Morales. I think this will push the Angels into the market for a first baseman, again. That market will be sure to include Adrian Gonzalez, Prince Fielder, Dmitri Young, Chad Tracy, Adam LaRoche, and Aubrey Huff. The Angels probably would not commit themselves to another big deal like last year's Teixeira trade, so I imagine that would eliminate Gonzalez and Fielder from their list. This may put the O's and probably the Pirates in good position to pick up one of LAA's neglected prospects, Sean Rodriguez or Brandon Wood. That might be a deal one sees in July.

Keith Law on tap for the second day in a row.
He comments on what makes the Rangers system special at the moment:
They have integrated their scouting and evaluation across all areas -- draft, international, pro -- better than any team in baseball. They were the first team to target Latin American signees as throw-ins in trades while those players were still in short-season ball, often within a year of their original signing dates. You can't do that unless your international scouting department is talking to pro scouting and to the GM, or unless the information is all readily accessible to the GM when he's conducting the negotiations. In a league where the best teams are increasingly the best-run teams (Boston, Tampa Bay), staying ahead of the operational curve is obligatory.

This is important in how it relates to the Orioles in that this is what MacPhail's new dedication to the international market may help bring. That the Rangers have already made one of their strategies evident makes me doubt the Orioles could take advantage of trades like the Rangers did, but this quest to become more aware of the Latin and Pacific Rim talent base will hopefully bring them to equal footing. Nothing the Orioles do is particularly novel, but maybe they will follow the leader and make their upper mid-level revenue flow work for them.

Finally, some sad news about Roberto Alomar
If the lawsuit is to some extent correct, it appears Roberto Alomar has AIDS and might have be rather negligent is seeking proper medical care. Sadly, this disease is something that has kind of moved to the back burner of the American conscious . . . often only covered with respect to inner city dynamics, Africa, and Southeast Asia on mainstream news outlets. This disease has been in the human population from sometime between 1884 and 1924 around the Belgian Congo based on a 2008 study published in Science. Most likely, the disease entered into Latin America and the United States in the late 1950s when Haitian populations immigrated between their home country and work opportunities in North America and Africa. The disease slowly entered the international conscious as peculiar cases popped up in France and coastal US cities.

Erroneously thought of by layman as a disease afflicting homosexuals (originally referred to as GRIDS - Gay Related Immunodeficiency Syndrome), the disease was poorly funded for research. This partially caused the relatively widespread infection of the blood reserves in the United States and the subsequent spread of AIDS via blood transfusion (90% of severe hemophiliacs contracted AIDS due to infected blood). This brought us into the late 80s and 90s, where safe sex became more entrenched. Now, it seems that has somewhat dissipated. With the success of drug cocktails, differences in symptoms between viral strains, and other factors; many HIV-infected individuals are living for much longer periods of time. Some now even seem to think that this disease has been cured. With Alomar's potential reemergence into the spotlight as someone suffering from AIDS, maybe information about this disease will saturate again.

Perhaps indicative of individuals still lacking understanding of the disease, the lawsuit mentions:
In April 2005, Alomar told Dall he was suffering from erectile dysfunction and confided "he was raped by two Mexican men after playing a ballgame in New Mexico or a Southwestern state when he was 17," the suit says.

That would be 1985. It would be remarkable if he was infected in 1985 and did not register symptoms until 18-20 years later. More likely, his infection probably occurred between 1994 and 1998 if it was a typical case. This would be toward the end of his time in Toronto and during his stay with the Orioles. Of course, it is near impossible to determine with any certainty how this disease acts. Our thoughts and prayers are extended to the Alomar family and those he has known over the years.

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