Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

The State of the Oriole Nation

Posted by Mike on December 29, 2005


Miguel Tejada took the conclusion of the winter meetings as his opportunity to do his best Manny Ramirez impression. He told the AP “I’ve been with the Orioles for two years and things haven’t gone in the direction that we were expecting, so I think the best thing will be a change of scenery”.

Now, a trade demand happens in the NFL where there are no guaranteed contracts. It can happen in the NBA where clubs can execute sign-and-trade agreements. But, in the MLB, where the players union is stronger than in any other sport, you can not demand a trade. Miguel’s options, should the O’s refuse to trade him, are to play for them or retire. With the passion for baseball that Tejada has displayed for all of us to see in the past two years (excluding the last two months of last season), I find it unlikely he’d ride off into the sunset. In fact, it is his passion and excitement that has enthralled countless fans during his tenure here. However, as easy as it is to pick at the front office, and as easy as Tejada is to like, he is absolutely wrong to act this way. Consider:

– Just two years ago, he signed a lucrative six year deal with an Orioles team that was much worse than this one. He did this knowing we were in a division with two perennial superpowers.

– He can criticize Angelos all he wants, but you can’t say ol’ Pete isn’t at least trying. He was the high bidder for Konerko and offered as much money as the Yankees for Pavano last off-season. I don’t blame Miguel Tejada for taking the most money he could get when he had the chance but his anger is misguided if he blames the front office for other free agents not doing the same.

-The real problem is the lack of direction in this organization. Throw all the money you want around, you’ll never out-Yankee the Yankees or out-Sox the Sox. We need a steady stream of developing players to support the occasional free agent signing, not vice versa. And, Mike Flanagan may not be anyone but Peter Angelos’ idea of a good General Manager candidate, but isn’t that what’s most important? when dealing with an overbearing personality like this, having someone in a position of power that has his full trust is as important as any appreciably greater skill other GM’s might have. And Miggy gives this guy what, a month before he goes all Brenda Walsh on us?

So, where do we go from here? We have two offensive building blocks on the whole team. One is nursing an arm explosion and the other is making outrageous trade requests. It doesn’t help that Melvin Mora is sticking up for his good buddy Miguel.The easy answer is to just keep Tejada. It is impossible to get full value for him. He is among the five best players in baseball, he plays a premium position (well), and he is locked up for four more years at an (increasingly) reasonable rate. Beyond the problem of seeking out equitable talent, Flanagan is stuck at the disadvantage of everyone knowing his hand before the cards are dealt. Of course, it goes without saying that there is an inherent disadvantage to Flanagan doing the bartering, but I digress. The Orioles also don’t want to be responsible for setting a disturbing precedent of trading a pouty superstar mid-contract.

Then, there is the only other option. Let’s burn this mother down. Seriously, the O’s are not going to compete in 2006, probably with or without Tejada. It is time to start preparing for those seasons when we might contend now and end this cycle of mediocrity. Let’s get rid of anyone who will not be contributing to those teams and get some cheap, young talent that might.

Having said this, the Orioles have a number of outfield bats on the way and some promising young pitching in the major and minor leagues. What we lack are quality infielders and impact bats. And who has more of those than the Anaheim Angels, who are incidentally in a win-now mode and have an interest in Javy, instability at third base, and would jump at the chance to get a bat as big as Tejada’s to protect Vlad Guerrero. Here it goes:

Javy, Melvin, and Miggy for Brandon Wood, Dallas McPherson, Ervin Santana and Casey Kotchman.

They can even throw in Steve Finley (which they would prefer) to shed some salary. They can worry about flipping Orlando Cabrera or shifting him to 2B later.
The Angels suddenly become as powerful as the Sox or the Yankees and one of the favorites to win it all. The Orioles really aren’t that much worse in 2006 and start to get better every year after that, building towards 2008 or so. Next on the chopping block; Rodrigo, Jay and… well, I guess that’s all we’d have left. But you gotta admit, Bowie and Ottawa would be pretty nasty next year.

2 Responses to “The State of the Oriole Nation”

  1. Daddy Warbucks said

    How are we “not that much worse” in 2006? Looks to me like we’re losing 3 of our best players for other players that will not make their biggest contributions until years down the road.

  2. Mike said

    Well, the offensive production of Casey Kotchman in 2006 will probably be better than Javy Lopez’s. and if we are going to use Javy mostly as 1B/DH fodder anyway, I’ll opt for the young 1B. Same deal for Mora/McPherson. McPherson, like Kotchman, has a lot of injury concerns but is ready to be an impact major leaguer. The big dropoff is that Brandon Wood is a year away from being an impact major leaguer. Any replacement for Miguel Tejada in 2006 would likely be about 7 or so wins worse than him. But how big of a deal is it to go from 75 wins to 68 wins in 2006 if it means we are significantly better/cheaper/less drama-filled in 2007 and beyond?

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