Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Around the Organization

Posted by Mike on June 21, 2006

  • Garrett Olson Promoted

Garrett Olson received a much deserved promotion to AA Bowie yesterday, while Matt Bruback was sent down to HiA Frederick to make roster room.  I recently saw Bruback start against the Trenton Thunder and he shut them down through 7 innings.  His stats are mixed: 43.0 ip, 49 K, 8 BB, 3 HR, but with 53 H's allowed.  He's started and relieved this year, works in the 88-90 mph range (as a righty), and is 27 years old; so it'll take quite a bit for him to wear off his organizational soldier tag.

Back to Olson; some might be curious as to why he got promoted and not Radhames Liz. For starters, Liz was named to the Carolina League all-star game (along with Nolan Reimold and Paco Figueroa), so any promotion would wait until after he partakes in that. Secondly, Liz has dimmed slightly in recent starts, including giving up 4 runs on 4 BB's and 5 H's in his start last night.  At the same time, Olson has come on very strong: to the point that their ERA's now both start with 2.7_.  Finally, and probably most importantly, you can not overlook the fact that Olson has an astonishing groundball to flyball ratio.  I feel comfortable in saying that I have probably underestimated him in the past (and I never exactly bashed the guy).

As an aside, there are few things cooler than the availability of minor league batted ball data.  It's the reason someone like Chuck James failed to make off-season top 100 prospect lists and why the Adam Loewen bandwagon has gained momentum in stathead circles.

  • Brandon Snyder Demoted

After the draft, each mlb club fields a pair of short-season teams.  For the Orioles, these include the Rookie-level Bluefield Orioles, where all high school and some college draftees head, and the Aberdeen Ironbirds, where many college draftees and some returning players head.  The Delmarva Shorebirds are the Orioles LoA affiliate and are thought of as one peg higher than Aberdeen. 

With Brandon Snyder's struggles in Delmarva so far this year, the Orioles have decided to give him a fresh start with Aberdeen.  I'm actually a big fan of the move.  First off, I can only imagine to mental hurdle that has been cleared for Snyder by his stats being reset.  It's also apparent that he was a bit over his head in Delmarva.  Hopefully, he'll be able to regain some confidence and take the Shorebirds by storm in 2007.  Thus far in the young Aberdeen season, he's hitting .500. 

  • The Wade Townsend Fiasco

I don't know why I have to point to a past failing of the organization in order to point out something positive, but check this out.  I think I have trust issues.

  • Conine on the move?

This article has an interesting snippet:

Conine's biggest problem has been a lack of production. He took a .236 average and .314 on-base percentage into Tuesday's game. His name has been brought up in trade rumors with the first-place St. Louis Cardinals.

Lack of production, eh?  That's his biggest problem?  Well thank you very much, Juan C. Rodriguez of the South Florida Sun-Sentinel.  How exactly do fans outside of south Florida get their baseball insight?

Anyways, Conine and Millar have both been mentioned as possible replacements for the injured Albert Pujols.  In completely unrelated news, Juan C. Rodriguez has been mentioned as a possible replacement for Joe Sheehan.

  • Trading Deadline Nears

Here's an article by the Sun's Jeff Zrebiec.  It's a nice, if optimistic, overview of the O's situation as the trading deadline nears.

Here are some snippets of interest:

Though the Orioles say they will be both buyers and sellers, they vow not to be renters. They will not make a trade to bring back a player in the last year of his contract unless they have assurances that the player will sign a long-term deal with them.

Some of the biggest names expected to be available, including Washington outfielder Alfonso Soriano, Oakland pitcher Barry Zito and Milwaukee outfielder Carlos Lee, are all free agents after this season.

Sounds like a good idea to me.  Although, the only player I'd be willing to give up valuable prospects for is Barry Zito.  Zito has unfairly earned a reputation as being somewhat of a disappointment after his 2002 CYA, but that's mostly from people that don't understand how and why ERA fluctuates.  Any player that can routinely give you 200+ innings of above-average pitching is a frontline guy in my book (which will turn into a coffee table and have the standard condescending subtitle).

Florida pitcher Dontrelle Willis and Tampa Bay outfielder Carl Crawford are among the biggest names not facing impending free agency who could be available, and the Orioles, whose biggest need is a top-of-the-rotation starter, would be interested in either.

Bill James once said that a pitcher's strikeout rate is more indicative of the mileage left on his arm than anything else.  Combine Willis' league average K rate with his awkward mechanics and you have one very popular pitcher that I have serious reservations about. As for Crawford: he's fun to watch play and beats any option for LF that the O's currently have, but he is, and will continue to be, among the more overrated players in baseball.  Besides, there is absolutely no chance of that deal getting done. 

Available for a price

Jeff Conine: If his offense improves, versatility and playoff pedigree will attract interest from winning teams. Would likely draw mid-level prospects in return.Luis Matos: Tenure with Orioles could be drawing to an end. As of now, Orioles haven't gotten many calls on out fielder, but that could change with injuries.

Bruce Chen: Free agent next year has attracted some attention despite struggles. Every body wants pitching, but Orioles aren't going to just give him away.

And then…

Biggest trade chips

LaTroy Hawkins: Orioles not looking to move him, but free-agent status next year and league-wide bullpen con cerns certainly create a market.Rodrigo Lopez: Has won 14 games or more in three of past four seasons. There won't be that many pitchers on market with better resumes.

Javy Lopez: The Orioles' biggest trade chip, Lopez brings power and catching depth. He is also due $8.5 million, a price that has already scared teams away.

I would have written this next to Javy Lopez: Lopez brings memories of 2003 and 2004, but not much else.  At this point, he is a below-average DH who is grossly overpaid.  If he ends up catching for you, plan A has gone seriously awry.

Sure, he might fetch a pair of C+ prospects if the O's eat his contract, but that is not going to happen.  Not during this regime. 

Rodrigo should bring a better return if he continues to pitch well.  But if trading him is the difference between Loewen getting some development time in the minors or getting smacked around prematurely in the majors, I'd hold onto him.  Ideally, they'd get something of value for him while plugging some sort of journeyman into the 5th slot in the rotation.  For all intents and purposes, 70 wins are just as good as 75 wins, folks.  Especially when it means a player like Loewen gets the development time he deserves.  After all, he might one day make a difference in the fortunes of this franchise.  It's just not going to be this year.

Hawkins might actually turn out to be the most valuable trading chip of all.  He has a good track record and has done enough this year to, at least, avoid tarnishing his reputation.  Plus, he's affordable.  The O's would be well served to see the big picture on this one and appropriately weaken what is already an underwhelming bullpen. 

  • Minor League A-doings

Here's a nice game report from John Kazlo, of Minor League Watch.  Check it out.

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7 Responses to “Around the Organization”

  1. Stu said

    You make some good points about the Snyder demotion. Has he said anything since it took place? Do you know if he is taking it well?

  2. Ben said

    After last night’s fiasco against the Marlins, I’m ready for a few trades.

  3. Sam said

    For all intensive purposes. That’s what i’ve been saying my whole life. I’m an idiot. Anyways your article and your website suck, I’ll get my baseball info from John Kruk and Harold Reynolds thank you very much. Our biggest trading chip is Tejada, and there’s no god damn reason why we shouldn’t move him. The Angels want him? Fine, take him. There’s a whole list of people over there I’d give up Tejada for. We should’ve jumped at that Tejada, Mora and Javy deal when we had the chance. Outside of Markakis, Loewen and Ray, there isn’t one guy I’d think twice about moving. Maybe someone is under the impression that Corey Patterson is good again. If so, gone. Move Kris Benson and eat some contract? Sure, he’ll have value to a team desperate for pitching in mid-July. We’ll do none of these things of course, because we’ve replaced idiots with even bigger idiots in the front office.
    Anyone see the first game of the Marlins series, where we’re down like 6 runs and get thrown out trying to take extra bases at least 3 times? I would’ve fired Treblehorn on the spot? How the crap is Treblehorn still on our staff? He’s been doing this for years. In other words, blow this thing up completely or we’ll be stuck winning 70-75 games for another 10 years.

  4. Kilbs said

    I think the frustrating thing to me about the trade deadline is that the performanes of Chen, Rodrigo and Javy should be surprising to nobody (not to mention Conine and Millar), and thusly their trade value is limited. So, now Flanny has the challenge of trading the aging veterans when their value is super low. Of course we should deal them, but considering how long it takes them to do anything, they better start now.

    The larger problem I have with the FO is that they do not understand the success cycle. Flanny et al should have understood that the Orioles need to go younger. But rather than trading Rodrigo and giving chances to guys like Matt Diaz or Heep Sop Choi, Flanny recycles guys like Conine and Millar.

    Flanny and Duquette should’ve realized that Chen’s DIPS ERA last year was a run higher than his actual ERA, and thusly should’ve traded high. But he didn’t. And now we have an overpaid long reliever. Did Flanny really expect some of these guys to be part of a competitive Oriole squad?

  5. Thomasina said

    Idle folks lack no excuses… Thomasina

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