July 2010

What now?

Over the next month, deals involving players on the 40-man roster cannot be made unless the players already have cleared waivers. A player exposed to waivers can be claimed by any team and — if there are multiple claims — the player would be offered to the team with the worst record.

At that point, a team has 48 hours to either try to work out a trade with the claiming club or remove the player from waivers. A player can only be pulled back from waivers once, but if he clears waivers either the first or a second time through, a team can attempt to trade him to any club.

More on the Ohman trade, and why Wiggy stays

Minutes before the Trade Deadline, the Marlins acquired veteran lefty
reliever Will Ohman from the Orioles for right-hander Rick VandenHurk. Ohman appeared in 51 games with Baltimore and he posted a 3.30 ERA.

A free agent after the season, president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said moving Ohman was basically just a two-month rental, and the team couldn’t afford to have a ‘pen of all one-inning relievers.

As for Ty Wigginton, the Orioles basically lost a chance to move him when Jorge Cantu went to the Rangers.

Auditions for Showalter

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail said there likely won’t be any rotation moves and he wants the three young struggling starters –Brad Bergesen, Brian Matusz and Jake Arrieta — to “audition” for new manager Buck Showalter before they decide the next course of action.

Saturday’s trade for minor league right-hander Rick Vandenhurk will provide emergency help in the rotation or the bullpen, although he will be sent to Triple-A Norfolk for now. Norfolk’s Troy Patton is expected to be here tomorrow to join the team in long relief, with Mark Hendrickson taking over Ohman’s role as lefty specialist.

Ohman speaks about the Trade

Orioles reliever Will Ohman was traded to the Marlins for Minor Leaguer RHP Rick Vandenhurk. Vandenhurk will report to Triple-A Norfolk with Troy Patton expected to be in Kansas City tomorrow to take Ohman’s spot in the ‘pen.

Here is Ohman’s final interview as an Oriole..

[did you expect this?] I mean I thought that there was a possibility, nothing is ever certain. Just talked to Andy and he said it went right down to the wire. I guess that’s just how it goes. You are always with the team that wants you this most. So, I guess my time here is done.
[on it being a positive thing] Anytime you get traded it’s a good feeling. [It means] you did well enough in the place that you were to merit the trade, and there’s somebody else out there that thinks you are serviceable. In that way, I guess it’s a compliment.
[difficult to leave?] Got another 24 friends picked out for me in South Florida. So, go find out if they like me.
[key to him being productive this year?] The surgery I had in the offseason for me, made the difference. It really made a huge difference, was actually able to locate pitches where I wanted to, I wasn’t able to do that last year. I fought through it, it just didn’t work.
[joining a race] You always want to pitch meaningful innings, meaningful games. Obviously we’ve come up short a lot on that here. So I guess there will be some added energy in that regard ,but the game remains the same.

Orioles/Royals lineups and tibdits

*Buck Showalter called soon to be ex-interim manager Juan Samuel today to tell him how much he’d like Juan to stay on board.  Samuel said he will meet with president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail when the team returns on Monday to discuss his future. Samuel has been offered back his third base job, but he acknowledged on Thursday it would be awkward to go back to that spot, particularly since he has never met or worked with Showalter. The sentiment is Samuel likely won’t stay (although the rest of the coaching staf will stay in place until the season ends.)
*Jason Berken hasn’t pitched since July 24, but interim manager Juan Samuel said there’s not to worry about.
“He is ready to pitch when we need him,” Samuel said.  We just wanted to give him some time off.”
*Nick Markakis is batting second now that Miguel Tejada is officially a Padre. Josh Bell is here but he can’t play until tomorrow due to the 10-day rule when you get optioned down. So the O’s will play with a short bench, consisting of backup catcher Jake Fox and Julio Lugo tonight.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Brian Roberts 2B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 3B
Luke Scott 1B
Adam Jones CF
Felix Pie LF
Matt Wieters C
Corey Patterson DH
Cesar Izturis SS
Jake Arrieta RHP

ROYALS LINEUP:
Chris Getz 2B
Jason Kendall C
Billy Butler 1B
Jose Guillen DH
Rick Ankiel CF
Wilson Betemit 3B
Alex Gordon LF
Yuniesky Betancourt SS
Mitch Maier RF
Sean O’Sullivan RHP

Odds and Ends

*Interim manager Juan Samuel confirmed Brian Matusz will make his next start.

*Royals manager Ned Yost said he considered pitching around Ty Wigginton in the 11th inning of last night’s game, before deciding otherwise.

“I felt right-on-right that [Blake] Woody would have a better opportunity to get a ground ball with Wigginton than he would with [Luke] Scott,” Yost said. “So the plan going into it was to keep the ball down, get a ground ball on Wigginton, keep the runner at third. Then we would walk Scott and face Jones. I felt our percentages were a little higher in that scenario.”

Wigginton went on to hit the game-winning sacrifice fly. That’s why hindsight is always 20-20.

*The O’s inked two more picks from this year’s Draft, eighth-rounder Wynston Sawyer and 10th-round pick Clayton Schrader.

*Reliever Jim Johnson threw a simulated game on Thursday and will throw a bullpen on Saturday with a rehab game in the Gulf Coast League tentatively scheduled for Monday. Johnson said he was a little rusty, but is happy with the way things are progressing.
 

Does Wiggy stay? and more trade musings

Ty Wigginton has been considered the Orioles best trade chip for months now, but he could end up staying put at the Trade Deadline. Why?

There’s a few reasons to take into account, namely that yesterday’s trade to move Miguel Tejada was primarily to clear a space for top position prospect Josh Bell. The O’s don’t have a first baseman nearly as ready, although Michael Aubrey has been on a tear lately and could earn a call-up to help share a possible platoon with either Jake Fox or Luke Scott.

So far, the offers for Wigginton aren’t deals that would really improve the O’s. He would likely get the same type of mid-level prospect acquired yesterday from San Diego, and his departure would help leave a significant hole in a Baltimore lineup trying to avoid going down as the worst team in franchise history.

MacPhail said yesterday after the Tejada trade that no more moves were on the immediate docket, and given that tomorrow at 4 p.m. ET is the deadline, an “immediate move” would have probably been deemed as something early this morning. Still, things can change in an instant and the O’s could be moved to move Wiggy. But with the Tejada trade and the Rangers –thought to be the front-runners — acquiring Jorge Cantu, I wouldn’t be shocked if he stays.

What’s becoming increasingly more likely is that the Orioles could trade reliever Will Ohman who is cheap and a lefty specialist. Particularly with the bullpen nearly back at full force and Jim Johnson progressing along in Sarasota, the Os could get a decent return on moving Ohman, who was signed to a Minor League deal this spring. 

 

Os Reax to Showalter hiring

With the news that Buck Showalter has been named the Orioles manager, here are some reactions from inside the clubhouse today.

KEVIN MILLWOOD (who played under Showalter in Texas and remains in close contact with him)

[on his reaction to the hiring] “It’s going to take a lot more than a manager to get a team going in the right direction. I think Buck’s going to do a good job for us, he’s done a good job every where he’s been. It’s just going to be coming down to the simple point of guys buying into what he preaches.”
 
[on Showalter's no nonsense approach] “I think cutting back on some nonsense wouldn’t be a bad thing. Maybe just new blood around here, maybe that will help. Obviously, something needs to change and I think  [interim manager Juan Samuel] did a good job, but sometimes you got to take someone from the outside coming in to really make the kind of change that they need.”

It will definitely be nice to know who is going to be here for however long, and not worried about whether he’s getting fired at the end of the season and in the offseason. This season you are going to end up with him and you are going to go into Spring Training with him and probably have him for a while after that. So, a little stability goes a long way.”

MATT WIETERS

[on his initial reaction to the hiring of Showalter] “We’ve been hearing about it a lot over the last month or so we were certainly aware that the situation might happen. It’s something that it doesn’t really matter who the manager is, the players are going to have to play better and we’re all going to have to pull together and play better as a team. Maybe this will give us a more continuous face at the head.

I’ve loved both managers [Dave Trembley and Samuel] that I’ve had since I’ve been here, but now that I know that this guy is going to probably be here for a while. I never met the guy so I’m definitely going to be coming in with eyes wide open and see what he’s all about. It will be good that you’ll have a manager that’s probably going to be here for a long time.”

[on what he's heard about Showalter]: “He goes into places and he commands respect and he’s going to sort of preach his ways and the places that he’s been, he’s been able to turn around some teams and be successful. Everybody in this clubhouse wants to turn things around.”

BRIAN ROBERTS

[on his reaction] “First and foremost, you feel bad for the guys that came before him. I think we still feel bad for Dave and Juan’s done a great job filling in. I think always, the guys that have been around for a while, and the ones that have been here, you hope that they have a chance. We know now that it’s going to be Buck. I’ve heard good things. I heard he’s very prepared and certainly his reputation over the years is very good. He’s managed winning teams. Hopefully, it will be something good for us.”

[on Buck bringing some changes to the organization] “I’m sure he’s going to change some things. I think every manager is a little bit different. I don’t know how much can be changed. I don’t think any of us really know that at this point. I guess Millwood could give us a little bit of an idea of what’s coming. I think it’s just going to be something that we’re going to have to experience and see where he takes us.

[on finally knowing what's going to happen] “Direction, I think stability is always a good thing. I don’t think any organization, any company wants to be in an unstable place. Hopefully, this will bring some stability and hopefully this will be something that will be a lasting decision, and it will maybe go even beyond that. I think it’s a good starting point. When he gets here on Tuesday, we’ll see where we’re at.”

NICK MARKAKIS

“With the situation we are in, it is nice to know that we are going to have a permanent solution as far as the manager goes. It’s been tough, Juan’s been doing a good job, but the organization feels that we needed to have a long-term manager. And I think for the team and the organization it’s the right decision.”

[on what he knows about Showalter] “Nothing, never met him.  You hear what you hear but you don’t know what you are going to get until he talks to us, Tuesday. And we will go from there.”

JEREMY GUTHRIE

“I really don’t know anything about Buck other than I’ve heard a few players say they enjoyed playing for him. He expects a lot of his players, pays attention to details. That’s about the extent I’ve heard of him as a manager. I’m eager to see his knowledge of the game, just watching baseball tonight and ESPN programs. He has a tremendous track record, it’s probably one of the things that was most appealing to us in our situation is a guy who has been there and had a ton of success in his career.”

[on possible changes coming with Showalter as manager] “Yes I think he’s definitely here to change things. It makes sense for them to bring in fresh perspective, bring in a different attitude, someone who hasn’t necessarily been part of the orioles but has seen what we have gone through the past years. And try that approach. In the four years I’ve been here that’s an approach we haven’t taken yet. I can’t speak for [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] but I’m sure that’s part of what went into the decision making to bring Buck on board.”

[on finally having a long-term manager in place] “It will certainly provide stability and give us a foundation to start building off. As it is it feels like maybe we’ve been building kind of on a temporary foundation. But now Buck will arrive next week and he will begin his project of getting this team back where it should be.”

Tejada on trade

Miguel Tejada’s thoughts on today’s trade to San Diego..

On his reactions on trade: “I know this game is a business. I wish the team could do better with me here. I’m just sorry because I think we can do much better than we’re doing now. I got to accept whatever they do. It’s a great honor that a first-place team wants me. I wish it could be here and we were fighting for first place. That don’t happen and I got to go do my job.”
 
On whether this surprised him: “It hit me hard. It’s not because I get traded, but one thing I never want to do is leave this team. I love being here. I feel bad because I left a lot of good guys behind. I always say that I love the city and I love this team. It hit me hard, but I got to go play and help those guys to win a championship.”
 
On how he’ll be used in San Diego: “I’m probably going to be used as a third base or a shortstop, the two positions that I play. I just want to go up there and help them. I love winning and there’s an opportunity there to be a winner.”
 
On whether his time is running out to get a ring?: “You see what happened here and now I go into a situation where I can get a ring. It’s not easy to get a ring. It’s a lot of hard work. Now, I’m going to have an opportunity. I’m just going to move forward and keep working hard and hopefully I’ll have an opportunity.”
 
On whether he’d consider another return to Baltimore: “I always say that I love this city, I love this team, I love the guys that they have in here. I would love to never leave here. I’ll always be interested in coming back here. I already told the team that the only team that I can be coaching when I retire is here. I love it here. In my heart, I’m one of the Orioles. I feel like this is the team that gave to my family. I think that everywhere I go, people are going to look at me as one of the Orioles. Hopefully now, they’ll look at me like a Hall of Famer like Jim Palmer or Brooks Robinson because those guys did so much for baseball and the Orioles. But I think I’m getting there because I love the Orioles and I played for them a long time. I think my heart belongs to the Orioles.”
 

Samuel ponders his future

KANSAS CITY–Interim manager Juan Samuels’ temporary tenure with the Orioles will end with Sunday’s series finale in Kansas City. Baltimore made the hiring of Buck Showalter official on Thursday afternoon, and the new skipper will be unveiled in a press conference on Monday, leaving Samuel -who will move back to third base coach — to ponder his future in the organization.

“I have not met Buck at all,” Samuel said. “I don’t want him to feel uncomfortable, I don’t want to feel uncomfortable myself. So, I’m going to think about [what to do] in the next few days. And it’s a decision I’m going to make at the end of this weekend.”

Samuel, who entered Thursday with a 16-31 record as Orioles manager, acknowledged it will be tough to go back to his former position at third base and said he will undoubtedly “throw in his hat” in other managerial openings, both now and down the road.

“I don’t think it could get any tougher [to manage] than the situation that we are in,” said Samuel who took over after the dismissal of Dave Trembley (15-39) on June 4.

“Hopefully this opportunity will give me that [respect] and people will probably notice that Sammy can do it. And when managerial jobs open my name will be in there. I think I can do this. Yes, if the opportunity comes up I’d love to do it again.”

Samuel said president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail was very communicative in the managerial search, and he spoke with MacPhail on Thursday morning about Showalter’s hiring.

“I thanked him for the opportunity because it was a tremendous opportunity for me,” Samuel said of his first managerial gig. “You never know you can do something until you start doing it.

“This was a great, great experience for me, it was a great school. I look at it that way. Nothing but positive could come out of this.”

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