Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Snippets

Posted by Mike on July 17, 2006

  • Cabrera, Rleal Optioned; Loewen, Rodriguez Recalled

I have to admit, it never occurred to me that Daniel Cabrera might get sent to Ottawa.  But Adam Loewen has shown that he has little to learn in the minors, even if the results have yet to be there in the majors.  Plus, recalling him will have no substantive effect on his service clock, since he’s up for good next year anyway.  And Cabrera has regressed quite a bit this year.  Rich Lederer wrote a blurb on this topic that prety much sums up how a lot of people feel about Cabrera’s performance this year.   He’s still a big part of what this rotation could be, but there is no masking how disappointing his season has been.  Finally, I have to admit that I am impressed that the organzation followed through with their decision  Whether or not you deem the move necessary or not, it is encouraging to see an Orioles administration with the fortitude to make potentially unpopular decisions because they believe them to be correct.

As for Rleal getting sent down, it’s about time.  He’s a flyball pitcher who walks a lot of batters and doesn’t miss bats.  I’ll admit being a staunch spporter of his in the past but, lets face it, I was wrong.  Eddy Rodriguez, on the other hand, has been lights out in Ottawa this season.  He’s striking out over a man an inning, has a newfound respect for the strike zone, and has yet to allow a home run in over 36 frames.  He’s held righties to a .307 OPS and has excelled in close and late situations.  He finally appears poised to shed his perennial project label.

  • Jim Bowden the Genius

I’m sure you’ve read about how Wayne Krivsky is an idiot and how Jim Bowden actually ripped someone else off for a change, so I won’t bore you with any self-evident analysis.  But my friend text messaged me the other day with Why don’t we have Austin Kearns? and it got me thinking.  Kearns’ value had never been lower than after last season.  He was jerked around from the minors to the majors and back again and ended up posting career lows across the board.  Yet, statheads looked at his excessively low batting average, consistent batted ball data and sustained secondary hitting skills and remained united in their optimistic outlook for his future.  Thus far this season, he’s justified that faith and what happens?  He gets traded for some middle relievers, a good relief prospect, and one present and one future utility player.  Oh, and he was only part of a package that included the 26 year old reigning silver slugger at shortstop and a 23 year old pitcher that took about a week to reach the majors.  Quite simply, a lot of things would have to go wrong for the Nats to not get the best of this deal now and later.

I’m not trying to insinuate that the O’s are any more guilty of any other non-Bowden team, but Kearns would be a pretty tasty fit on a club so devoid of OBP as this generation of birds.  And if seemingly all it would have taken was some combination of LaTroy Hawkins and/or Kurt Birkins… then doesn’t it make you whince just a little bit that someone else beat them to the punch?

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12 Responses to “Snippets”

  1. Sam said

    I sent that text message, and I think an outfield of Kearns, Patterson and Markakis looks pretty solid, but oh well.

    On another note, it appears as if Rodrigo is almost sure to be gone by the end of the month. I don’t disagree with this idea, but here’s a thought: Why not move Benson instead? Benson is paid more and likely will yield more in a trade. Furthermore, if you compare Benson’s peripherals to Rodrigo’s, you’ll find that Benson hasn’t really been all that much better. He’s actually lucky to have an ERA at 4.6. Benson’s value probably can’t get much higher, and I think moving him instead would be a pretty shrewd move.

  2. Mike said

    Sam,

    I think you hit the nail on the head with that one. It’s unlikely the O’s will get much value out of trading Lopez and, frankly, his peripherals are better than Benson’s. RoLo has allowed an inexcusable # of homers (almost 1.7/9), but 17% of his flyballs allowed are leaving the yard. That will definitely regress.

    Need more food for thought?

    BABIP

    RoLo- .326
    Benson- .279

    FIP (Fielding Independent Pitching)

    RoLo- 5.17
    Benson- 5.04

    I think buying low on RoLo is a decent idea and selling high on Benson is a GREAT idea.

  3. Kilbs said

    A few thoughts: I am very happy that Cabrera was demoted. He has a lot of work to do to realize his incredible potential.

    Also, re: Kearns and Felipe Lopez. A friend of mine is a huge Red fan, and this was posted at a site that she goes to, and it is supposedly legit. An interesting read, though sorry for the length:

    From a former Reds (now Tampa Bay) scout who pops by on my message board when important things happen…could explain the thought process behind sending them away, and why Kearns didn’t command more:

    “Since I have 4 hours before my flight leaves I figure I would post what I know about the Trade and fill in the blanks with what I am almost certain.

    Kearns wore out his welcome. Likeable guy but not accountable. He has not, and probably will not, reach his big league potential. Sure O’Brien dogged him last year. With good reason. He missed extra hitting sessions (Philadelphia, NY), his shoulder rehab could have gone a lot better and his extra poundage was costing him. Not the way you want to please the Manager or FO.

    Austin has a hitch in his swing that you could shove Adam Dunn through. Fortunately for him he has great hand speed and enough strength to make it work, most of the time. In baseball you hit the bottom half of the ball by staying strong THROUGH the ball. Austin hit the top half of the ball while dipping like a softballer. Austin was to 3B what Casey is to 2B. Fastball in or down = Ground ball to 3B or SS. Hard breaking ball away = Foul ball or pop up to 1B. Like I was saying, great fortune and hand speed allowed him to get ahead of enough balls to get some quality hits. What was impressive was the OPPO Home runs. To shear a fastball away out of the park they way he did requires some serious skill. Unfortunately that becomes a crutch for a player.

    BEYOND the mechanical issues is the fact that he WOULD NOT correct any part of his swing. And I mean NEVER EVER. The swing he came to the bigs with was nearly flawless. (Shades of Molitor) His swing last year told the whole story. Put on some weight, lost some hand speed and there you have a .215-.220 swing. Now Chambliss will not have the stress of having to fight with him.

    In retrospect Casey was the same way. “I’m hitting (*avg) so why would I work on this”? Heard it myself from them both in years passed. Great guys. But they just wanted to stay with what they had. Casey had a little more lead on that leash as he did a great job pounding breaking balls. Little easier since he as a LH hitter.

    I could go on about Austin’s lack of closing speed in the OF this season, how he can not get to balls to his right and the fact that only 1 out of 5 throws are on line or make it to the bag. But then I will get accused of picking on Austin when in fact I am just putting the facts out there. I know the real story, I have the facts and I’m not some Fantasy baseball guy that thinks the Mets will give us Pedro for Freel and Claussen.

    I know for an absolute fact that he was running out of support in the Clubhouse. A lot of guys “LIKE” Austin but did not feel that he was committed to this game. I agree and made mention of this last season and was blasted on this board for telling the truth. I saw Austin in Louisville twice this off season and looked him in the eye to tell him what I thought and what I heard. No screaming, no carrying on. You have to remember I spent A LOT of time with these guys for almost 3 years. I told him he should be starting in RF in every AS game from 2006 on… he liked hearing that but did not want to follow the rest of the conversation about accountability. Austin is like a Ferrari Enzo that has water damage to the interior. Everybody walks up to it and goes “WOW, man that car is AWESOME”, “I’d give my right arm for that car”. True it is beautiful, it runs fast, smooth gets a lot of looks but you are only seeing it from the outside. Then you tell someone you want to trade it for two nice Cadillacs. “Oh Man, you’re crazy!!! You’re an idiot” Who’s the idiot that wants to drive a Ferrari that stinks like swamp water? Jim Bowden?

    The Braves were interested in Kearns. They took him off their board after doing some due diligence. What does that tell you?

    Felipe Lopez. A real shame to see him go. This is a guy who works hard at the game. He takes this game seriously. Unfortunately he has a very difficult time becoming consistent. When the trade for Castro was made it was mainly doen to HELP Lopez. It did. I have several game notes and have asked for others on Lopez before and after the trade. I also had a few Tivo games that I watched just to see if the notes were dead on. They were. Prior to Castro coming over Lopez had SIGNIFICANT trouble with is footwork, glove postioning and throwing angle. Watch some old footage of him. Routine groundball comes right to him he would STOP, separate and then get his feet going. No can do. In order to make a quick throw he would get caught with his feet together and end up with a high throw OR a taling throw. Something Reds fans have seen far too much of. It’s not like Bucky Dent was not working with him. Feverish would be the word that comes to mind. For whatever reason, they just could not get on the same page. No one to blame, it just happens sometimes. Unfortunately it happened to the SS. Castro comes aboard. Castro, Lopez and Dent spend HOURS working together and whhaaalah. Lopez is now settling through the ball, footwork is timed and MOST IMPORTANT he is throwing over the top and right on the bag. Not to say he didn’t make an error or is never going to make one again. He’s just more consistent and has a better base to work with. His biggest fielding problem still remains the ball over the mound coming across the middle. He’ll get it.

    Hitting wise… He has the stick. His stroke is there. If you gave Kearns Lopez’s stroke, Kearns would be hitting .330. Lopez approach seems to be killing him. He consistently hit in the hole and the best pitches had already gone by. Even Gwynn and Boggs would have trouble hitting that way. It’s ok to hit that good fastball early in the count.

    I’m really proud of Krivsky. He knows EXACTLY what he is doing. I have read a lot of comments on this board that are mind numbing. Not that I do not understand that fans have a right to voice their opinions. I’m exercising mine now. What I do not get is this “promise of tomorrow” stuff. I was reading and article about Kearns today that really just skipped over all the facts. They showed numbers with him averaging out at 600 AB’s? Are you kidding me? He hasn’t even made it to 120 games OR 400 AB’s in a season. That’s not a fluke. That is a fact. His best season was his first season and he has not made ANY adjustments since! Austin Kearns is not a superstar! If he’s your favorite player that’s perfectly fine. Mine growing up was Tracy Jones (I know, I Know… I was 11 years old) If you pinned your dreams and hopes onto the back of his uniform, folks you pinned them onto the wrong guy. I drank some of the same Kool Aid until I got to know Austin. I got to see how he went about his business and perfected his craft. You need to find another object of affection.

    BTW, playing the game the “Right Way” wins games Championships! Ask the 87-92 A’s or the 70-78 Reds. ALL of those teams played Championship caliber baseball. Any ONE of those guys will tell you they themselves would be good individaully but possibly not GREAT unless they had the type of teammates they had around them. The A’s more so than the Reds. The A’s got more out of less talent where as the Reds meshed great talent to become a true Dynasty. The “right way” is hitting the ball the other way with a man on first, stealing bases, working counts, knowing EXACTLY what to do with the baseball in all situations, etc… When your team is losing you pick each other up and hold someone including yourself accountable. I could probably go on until midnight about playing baseball the right way. Fewer and fewer ballplayers do what is necessary to win. They leave it to chance. Krivsky isn’t leaving this season to chance. He’s doing things the right way.

    Krivksy is one of the best evaluators in the game. Hands down. I wish I had a fifth of his talent. In Wayne you should trust.”

    …and a reminder of why we needed bullpen help so badly:

    “For all those folks who think the Reds have lost their mind I point you to last night’s performance by Jason Standridge giving up 4 runs in the ninth inning forcing Guardado in for the save. And Dunn had an error in that inning so only 3 of them were earned.

    Here was the left side of the defense before the trade. Dunn and Encarnacion each with 10 errors. Lopez with 14. And 13 blown saves to boot.

    I question whether Freel is durable enough to play everyday but he’s good playing 4-5 times a week. People seem to be making arguments as if fiedling and the bullpen are minor things because Washington received 2 pretty good everday players. If you’ve been watching the Reds this season you know how big pitching and defense is when you don’t have it.

    The Minnesota Twins made the playoffs 3 times while Krivsky was in their front office. Cincinnati has not been in the playoffs since ’95. ”

    Still absolutely ridiculous. You know, the Reds did sign Tony Womack this off-season. He brought them a lot of post season experience. He was a proven veteran. Did the little things that don’t show up in the box score. He was a dfa’d by the reds in May, I believe. Then he was DFA’d by the Cubs in June. Awesome!

  4. Mike said

    Good info Kilbs. My argument would be that even if Krivsky felt Kearns was nothing special, the perception of his value was still higher than what he received for him. So, even if he felt Kearns had to go, he could’ve done much much better.

  5. kilbs said

    Mike…my thoughts exactly. The Orioles apparently have quite a few of clubhouse guys…it’s just players who are good that seems to be the problem.

  6. Sam said

    That’s amazing info that you got there. I never knew baseball scouts were so unbelievably long winded though.

    I’m certainly no scout, but even if Kearns has all these problems, he still looks like a reasonably productive every day player. If he is just that, and not the all-star the scout says he should be but for his attitude, he still has more value than 2 middle relievers. Coupling that with another every day player and a former first round pick is insanity just to get the same 2 middle relievers is insanity. Also, it’s kind of weird to list two extremely talented teams while making the point of how playing the “right way” wins championships. But that’s just me, I like to find flaw with peoples’ arguments.

    On another note, I just read on Yahoo that there were 3 Mets scouts watching Kris Benson throw against the Rangers. Apparently the Mets are also interested in Rodrigo. No insight on this, I just think it’d be hilarious to trade Benson back to the Mets. Maybe we can give Duquette back to the Mets too, so he can trade us Scott Kazmir for one of these two bums.

  7. Mike said

    I agree Sam, the scouting report seems a little fishy in some parts. I’ve only seen Kearns play a few dozen times and by no means do I have a clear picture in my head of his wing in 2003 vs. 2005 vs. 2006, but his batted ball data does not corroborate (sp?) the scout’s opinions. Kearns hit 22.5% of balls for line drives in 2005, the most of his career and nearly double his 2004 rate. He did, however, hit a very high number of infield flies, so some of what he was saying makes sense.

    In general terms, I think it’s fishy when someone distances themselves from any line of thinking to prop themselves up or takes an unnecessary hard-line approach(ie. “I’m not one of these fantasy guys… I have the facts”). That’s not to say that this guy isn’t who he says he is. There are, after all, plenty of real scouts who refuse to acknowledge any inherent value to stat analysis. Vice versa too.

    Anyway, I’m just saying that this scouting report does not match the numbers in some places, however tasty some of the dirt is. In this case, I’ll side with the thing I can verify.

  8. Mike said

    Also, re: RoLo and Benson getting scouted by the Mets, I’ve heard the same thing.

    Despite the numbers I cited above, Benson would certainly get more in return. I hope that if something does go down, the O’s are smart enough to ask for Heath Bell as a throw-in. I really think he would help shore up the pen and he seems to be doing his best Rodney Dangerfield impression with the Mets.

  9. Kilbs said

    Re: Benson…I think his value is as high as it’s ever going to be right now. I would like to deal him for somebody good. I can’t imagine that the Orioles would get too much for Rodrigo, although his periphals really do seem just as good if not better than Benson’s.

    Re: the alleged scout. I don’t know if it’s legit or not. My friend states that this guy posts on a site whenever big things happen. If you all are curious, I can email her and have her send me the link to whatever site she goes to.

  10. Sam said

    Kilbs,

    Personally I think the scout is legit just because of the detail he went into and the stance he took. He just says some real strange things. Maybe he sees a skull and bones laughing at him with a fiery pit in the background when he tries to sleep, like another baseball blogger we may know (his name rhymes with schmike).

  11. Sam said

    Holy Crap.

    If anyone is watching the bottom of the 9th of this game tonight, the Comcast camera crew just caught a gay couple kissing in the stands. Palmer somehow awkwardly managed to change the topic. Good save Jim.

  12. Mike said

    I remember seeing that but I thought it was a man and a woman. I wasn’t paying that mucb attention, though.

    Also- if I am Jerry Blank, then you are Orlando Pinatubo.

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