February 2011

More Sarasota pics..

Spring training 2011 009.jpg

Spring training 2011 011.jpg
Spring training 2011 012.jpg
Spring training 2011 013.jpg
Spring training 2011 019.jpg
Spring training 2011 021.jpg
Spring training 2011 023.jpg

WBAL to broadcast 16 games

The O’s new flagship, 1090 AM WBAL, will broadcast 16 spring training games. Here’s the list..

*Monday, February 28        Pittsburgh Pirates    1:05 p.m.
*Tuesday, March 1        Tampa Bay Rays    1:05 p.m.
*Saturday, March 5        Boston Red Sox    1:05 p.m.
*Sunday, March 6        Minnesota Twins    1:05 p.m.
Monday, March 7        New York Yankees    7:05 p.m.
Thursday, March 10        Pittsburgh Pirates    7:05 p.m.
*Saturday, March 12        Houston Astros        1:05 p.m.
*Sunday, March 13        Detroit Tigers        1:05 p.m.
Wednesday, March 16        New York Yankees    7:05 p.m.
Friday, March 18        Minnesota Twins    7:05 p.m.
*Saturday, March 19        Philadelphia Phillies    1:05 p.m.
*Sunday, March 20        Tampa Bay Rays    1:05 p.m.
*Thursday, March 24        Pittsburgh Pirates    7:05 p.m.
*Saturday, March 26        Tampa Bay Rays    1:05 p.m.
*Sunday, March 27        Boston Red Sox    1:05 p.m.
*Tuesday, March 29        Toronto Blue Jays    1:05 p.m.

*- Includes Pre-Game and Post-Game Shows

Orioles Spring Training Info

*Monday’s first workout for pitchers and catchers will start at noon since the players have physicals before that. The workout is free and open to the public and most mornings these workouts will be around 9 a.m. on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex. I’ll keep you updated on the blog and on Twitter if those times change.

Here are a few pictures of the architecture of the main field that I took in my walk around. As you can see, there’s still construction going on but right now the plan is for the field to be ready for the O’s first home game. I’ll have more pictures of the players, coaches and new digs later this week.

Spring training 2011 001.jpg

Spring training 2011 002.jpg
Spring training 2011 003.jpg
Spring training 2011 004.jpg
Spring training 2011 005.jpg
Spring training 2011 006.jpg
Spring training 2011 007.jpg

Odds and Ends from Sarasota

Happy Spring Training!

I got to the newly renovated Ed Smith Stadium complex at about 10 a.m. and was impressed with how nice the main field is coming along. It looks very similar to the Phillies complex in Clearwater design-wise. There are still construction crews everywhere trying to finish up in time for the first games in a few weeks.

My pictures on Twitter came out blurry (I didn’t know I had the zoom all the way on), but I’ll have more tomorrow when the whole group is here for the first official workout. Today being optional, I spent a little time introducing myself to the new guys and catching up with the players who were here last year. Plenty of time to interview and get quotes will  be coming this week, but here are a few quick observations from this morning…

*Orioles reliever Jason Berken is here and about 30 lbs lighter than last year. He’s also still on top of the world about the Packers winning the Super Bowl.
*Orioles pitchers that I saw included Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman, Brad Bergesen, Jake Arrieta, Mark Hendrickson, Brandon Erbe, Troy Patton and Zach Britton.

If you were curious, Patton is under strict orders from his lawyers to not talk about his DUI from this winter. He did say that he probably won’t have to leave camp for the hearing, which is contrary to what was originally reported. Clearly anything that wouldn’t disrupt camp — where Patton is trying to make the team — would be preferred.   

*New Orioles Jeremy Accardo, Clay Rapada, Mitch Atkins and Josh Rupe were all in the clubhouse this morning, along with Wynn Pelzer, who was acquired in last season’s Miguel Tejada trade.

*Mark Reynolds was one of the earliest position players to arrive to camp and seems excited to really get going. He was looking for new hitting coach Jim Presley to get some work in when I saw him.

*All of the coaches were in a meeting with manager Buck Showalter, so I took a mini self-guided tour with MASN’s Roch Kubatko, who is still learning the ins and outs of Twitter. Today, we practice Twitpics, clearly something I still need some help with as well.

*Coverage on Orioles.com begins tomorrow morning, as the players get their physicals, workout and then meet with the media. As always, check back here, on Twitter and on Orioles.com for all your coverage. 

Luke Scott avoids arbitration

The Orioles have avoided arbitration with Luke Scott, agreeing to a one-year deal on Thursday that will pay the outfielder $6.4 million in 2011.

The deal –first reported by the Baltimore Sun — avoids what is often a contentious court hearing  on Monday in Arizona and is a compromise for both sides. Scott, last season’s Most Valuable Oriole, wanted $6.85 million while the O’s countered with $5.7 earlier this offseason.  The two sides briefly flirted with the idea of a longer deal before settling on a one-year figure.

Scott hit a career-high 27 home runs and totaled 72 RBIs in 131 games last season. Known to be a streaky hitter he put together a solid
4 1/2-month stretch, finishing with a .284 batting average and a .535
slugging percentage. With the Orioles agreeing to terms Vladimir Guerrero, Scott is expected to be the team’s regular left fielder.

The Orioles lone arbitration-eligible player without a contract is now Jeremy Guthrie, whose hearing is scheduled for Wednesday. Guthrie proposed a salary of $6.5 million for 2011, while the O’s
countered with a $5 million offer. The 31-year-old was the ace who
anchored the Orioles’ rotation, particularly in the second half, when he
went 8-4 with a 2.76 ERA in his final 14 starts.

The O’s have also been in frequent contact with Guthrie and remain optimistic that they can also avoid court with their top starter.

Scott made $4.05 million in 2010.

Os return to WBAL

Orioles radio will have a new home in 2011, as the club announced Tuesday that it has signed a multi-year deal to make 1090 AM WBAL Radio the O’s flagship station.

The new agreement ends a four-season run with 105.7 The Fan and reunites WBAL and the Orioles for the first time since 2006.

The partnership with WBAL Radio marks the 42nd year since Baltimore returned to the Major Leagues 57 years ago that the station has originated Orioles broadcasts. The station first broadcast O’s games in 1957, which was the club’s fourth season.

“We are excited to reestablish our relationship with WBAL Radio,” said Orioles Director of Communications Greg Bader. “Both the Orioles and WBAL Radio have a long and proud tradition in this region and we are pleased to once again call them our flagship as we look forward to an exciting 2011 season.”

All 162 regular season games will be broadcast on WBAL Radio, as well as 10 Spring Training contests from Sarasota, Fla.  The move does not change the on-air talent, as both Joe Angel and Fred Manfra officially work for the Orioles, and the pair will return to call the action on the O’s Radio Network.

“We’re thrilled to have the Orioles on 1090 AM, where they belong, ” WBAL Radio’s Vice President and General Manager, Ed Kiernan said in an article on the station’s website.  “This is the extension of a terrific tradition.  For 41 of their 57 seasons, WBAL Radio has been the flagship for the Orioles.  With our 50,000 watt signal, we can blanket the east coast with our broadcasts.  Now, all of the great teams of the American League’s Eastern Division – the Yankees, The Red Sox and the Orioles, will be heard on the AM dial.”

According to the station’s website, WBAL Radio will launch a new Orioles “On Deck” show, hosted by Brett Hollander, prior to the games.  In addition, during the off-season, WBAL Radio will broadcast a weekly “Hot Stove” program.

“Clearly there is a new excitement surrounding the team this year,” Kiernan said to WBal.com. “We’re thrilled to be a part of it, and we’re anxious to get the season rolling.”

Os take a Riske, arb thoughts & a few other tidbits

*In a move announced by his agency on Twitter, the Orioles have agreed to sign David Riske to a Minor League deal with an invitation to big league camp. Riske had Tommy John surgery in 2009 and was released last season by Milwaukee after appearing in just 23 games. This is another one of those low-risk moves that president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail has made all winter.

*MLB.com columnist Hal Bodley spoke to MacPhail about the direction of the organization and thinks the O’s are headed the right way. The full column is up here. And while you’re there, check out my Spring Training preview up here.

*The Orioles have two arbitration hearings scheduled for next week– Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie -- but look for both sides to try to reach an agreement before then. As MacPhail pointed out at FanFest his track record is one of avoiding these hearings and I’d be surprised if either case goes before a judge.

I’ve gotten a lot of questions about whether agreeing to terms with Vladimir Guerrero could hurt the money the Orioles can give to Guthrie and Scott and the answer is no.

Since nearly half (more specifically, $3 million of the $8 million, according to the Baltimore Sun) of that money is deferred the O’s will end up paying the $5 million –which is around what they originally offered — this year. The rest comes later. This year’s Guthrie/Scott projected salaries have already been budgeted for.

Also, all indications right now are that neither player will get more than a one-year deal —although longer deals have been discussed — so the organization isn’t getting itself into a bind by investing in a large number of future financial commitments.

As you’ve probably noticed, the Orioles haven’t given out a lot of those under MacPhail either. After the 2010 season there were only four players –Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, Brian Matusz and Michael Gonzalez — who already had contacts for 2011. It’s called payroll flexibility, and when you’re trying to get to the point where you can make a run at premiere free agents, it’s a good idea.

*What happens now with Vlad in the lineup? MLB.com analyst Jim Duquette breaks that down here.

I’ll get into this more in this week’s inbox but it’s important to note that the organization doesn’t feel like bringing Guerrero means they have to trade away someone from the Scott, Nolan Reimold, Felix Pie group. While I wouldn’t rule out packaging one of these guys with a prospect and making a move, there’s not a lot of impact trades that go down in mid-February. It’s more likely that they let Reimold/Pie battle it out in Spring Training (with Scott pretty much assured left field) and go from there.

Keep in mind Reimold is coming off a disastrous year and has admitted he’s got a little chip on his shoulder this spring.He feels he didn’t get to show manager Buck Showalter what he can do and he’s eager for the opportunity to do so. If he has a nice spring it will be hard to send him to Triple-A. It could raise his stock and make him easier to trade. Don’t forget Pie has had trouble staying healthy and on the field; that could play a factor as well.

Right now the Orioles have something they lacked in 2010: depth. MacPhail is nothing if not deliberate and patient, and to quote the old baseball cliche, “these things always have a way of working out.”

Markakis, Jones, Scott react to Vlad deal

Orioles manager Buck Showalter -who joked about hoping to use his eraser on some mock lineups – got his wish.

The O’s have reached an agreement with free agent designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero on a one-year contract, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday evening.

“We got our cleanup hitter,” Adam Jones said of Guerrero. “He’s a masher.”

“I’m pretty sure he’s in great shape and ready to mash again. And I want to be the recipient of that, scoring the runs for him. “

Guerrero’s deal, which was first reported by ESPNDeportes.com, is reportedly worth $8 million dollars, although the details are still being worked out by both sides. The Orioles have not commented on the signing, which won’t be made official until Guerrero undergoes a physical early next week.  

The 35-year-old Guerrero posted a .300 average, with 29 homers and 115 RBIs last season with the Rangers and was hoping to land a two-year contract at the start of the offseason. But with the designated hitter’s market drying up, various reports the last several weeks hinted that the Orioles were Guerrero’s best -and perhaps only – remaining landing spot.  

President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail confirmed at last week’s Fanfest that the organization -although already past budget – had been given the green-light by principal owner Peter Angelos to continue negotiations.

The result is a payroll that will exceed $90 million and one of the deepest, power-laden lineups in recent Oriole history.

“[It's] definitely, hands down the best lineup since I’ve been here,” said Orioles outfielder Nick Markakis.

“You look at our lineup as much depth as we have, we’ve got to have the most depth on a lineup on a team in all of baseball.”

“I like it a lot,” Luke Scott said of Guerrero’s signing, which will shift Scott from designated
hitter to left field.

“To have [Guerrero's] bat in our lineup and to move out to the outfield is going to be fun. It’s going to be good for me to get a chance to play defense, [which is] something I enjoy doing.”

Friday’s agreement is just the latest addition for the Orioles who have made a flurry of offseason moves, including adding power bat Mark Reynolds -via a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks – and signing free agent Derrek Lee last month.  

“Top to bottom, one through nine, this is a lineup that you just can’t [coast through], you got to be careful a little bit,” Jones said. “It has no weakness now. Strength, speed, now you have that element of clutch and veterans with D. Lee and Guerrero.”

Over his 15-year career, Guerrero has hit .320 with 436 home runs and 1,433 RBIs and his arrival will help take the pressure off the likes of Scott, Jones, Markakis and Matt Wieters.

“We will be able to protect each other which will be nice,” Scott said of the O’s vastly improved lineup.

“[Guerrero is a] very, very, very dangerous hitter . [The] best fastball hitter I’ve ever seen. He can hit everything. He’s a freak of nature. I mean that in a very good way. He hits pitches out of the ballpark that most people can’t even foul off or get to.”

The O’s will use Guerrero as their full time DH, and with Scott -who is coming off a career year offensively — in left field, the organization now has a logjam of outfielders in Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold.

While Pie can play center field and is the lone backup for Adam Jones, Reimold still has an option left which means he could be the odd man out and start the season in Triple-A. The organization is hesitant to make any last-minute trades before Spring Training, meaning it will be a crowded picture that heads to Sarasota, Fla. for the first full-squad workout on Feb. 21.

But it’s a problem the Orioles will take in stride.

“Anytime you add a player of his caliber it’s definitely a positive,” Markakis said.  “You look at his career numbers he’s put up great numbers he’s done great things for several different teams. And we are hoping he brings that to our table now.”

“There’s just a lot of options for us as a group, we got a few guys that can DH and also play the outfield,” added Scott.  “So, the Orioles are in a good situation.”

Vlad and Os agree to one year deal

Orioles manager Buck Showalter -who
joked about hoping to use his eraser on some mock lineups – got his wish.

The O’s have reached an
agreement with free agent designated hitter Vladimir Guerrero on a one-year
contract, a Major League source confirmed to MLB.com on Friday evening.

The deal, which was first
reported by ESPNDeportes.com, is reportedly worth $8 million dollars, although
the details are still being worked out by both sides. The Orioles have not
commented on the signing, which won’t be made official until Guerrero undergoes
a physical early next week.  

The 35-year-old Guerrero posted
a .300 average, with 29 homers and 115 RBIs last season with the Rangers and
was hoping to land a two-year deal at the start of the offseason. But with the
designated hitter’s market drying up, various reports the last several weeks hinted
that the Orioles were Guerrero’s best -and perhaps only – remaining landing
spot.

The O’s will use Guerrero as
their full time DH, moving Luke Scott to left field, a position which Scott has
said told Showalter he has “no problem” with since the 32-year-old prefers to
play the field. Guerrero’s signing does raise questions about the roles of
outfielders Felix Pie and Nolan Reimold, both of whom will be in camp.

While Pie can play center field
and is the lone backup for Adam Jones, Reimold still has an option left which
means he could be the odd man out and start the season in Triple-A. The
organization is hesitant to make any last-minute trades before Spring Training,
meaning it will be a crowded picture that heads to Sarasota for the first
full-squad workout on Feb. 21.

Adding Guerrero is just the
latest in a flurry of offseason moves for Baltimore, which has also upgraded its
lineup with power bat Mark Reynolds -via a trade from the Arizona Diamondbacks -
and with last month’s free agent signing of Derrek Lee.

Over his 15-year career,
Guerrero has hit .320 with 436 home runs and 1,433 RBIs.

A few more quotes and Scott on his arbitration

A few more Vlad quotes are below- and here’s a quick update on Luke Scott’s arbitration case. He said tonight that there really hasn’t been anything new on that front.

“Right now we are in the process of negotiaton and trying to get a deal done, we haven’t gotten to that point yet,” Scott said.  “My hope is we get to an agreement and get ready for the season.”
 
NICK MARKAKIS
[on Vlad]
I’ve seen him play many times. You can’t say enough about the guy. I don’t know him personally but you hear good things about him and his on the field play speaks for itself.

He’s definitely tough to defend he can do some weird things up there, and that type of hitter with power. He’s definitely tough to defend. But We don’t have to worry about that this year I’m excited.
 
[on if he thinks this team is headed in the right direction]
Absolutely. I think the biggest thing that everybody overlooks is we still have our young core. All our guys are up here, we got a young pitching staff, we got some position players that are young. We still, despite a few exception, got a young team. To have these guys, Vlad, D Lee, JJ Hardy, those types of guys come in to add to this lineup it can only get better.

BRIAN ROBERTS
“I am extremely excited to add a player of Vlad’s caliber to our lineup. I think it changes the whole complexion of our team. Can’t wait to see how it all plays out.”

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 308 other followers