The next Tom Kelly? (cont.)
Posted: Tuesday July 17, 2007 12:08PM; Updated: Wednesday July 18, 2007 12:09PM
Trade Miguel Tejada. His power, defense and commitment have been slipping. He will become a 10-5 player at the end of the season, earning full veto power over trades. If Tejada can get back into the lineup from his broken wrist before the trade deadline, the Orioles ought to put him up for bidding. Come to think of it ...
Make every position player available except Nick Markakis and Brian Roberts. Let's be honest: Everyone else is expendable. Corey Patterson? His career OBP after almost 3,000 at-bats is .296, rendering moot any reference to the word "potential." Likewise, Jay Gibbons fills no role, a guy slugging .346 this year with a career OBP of .315 after almost 3,000 at-bats and little use defensively.
Melvin Mora? He's 35 and his OBP is down for a third-consecutive year. The Orioles are overloaded with spare parts, guys who may have some value as part-time players on winning teams, but nothing close to building blocks for a team that has to be better than the Yankees and Red Sox to even think about the playoffs. MacPhail did a good job in Chicago turning up Derrek Lee and Aramis Ramirez in trades while using a farm system stocked with pitching. He'll have to hit similar home runs in Baltimore.
Sign Matt Wieters. The Orioles knew the Georgia Tech catcher would be a difficult sign when they took the Scott Boras client with the fifth overall pick of the draft. They need to get him signed by the Aug. 15 deadline. If not, they lose his rights and get a compensatory draft pick next year. The Orioles, though, need high-ceiling players now, not draft picks later.
MacPhail faces a huge task that goes well beyond deciding whether or not Trembley is the guy to run the club. He needs to put a plan in place and sell it to a disenchanted fan base. And that plan must be aggressive enough not just to build a team that can win 82 games, but 95 games. After all, the two roads the Orioles can take to the postseason -- win the AL East or the AL wild card -- have required 95 wins each of the past six years.
"We have two very well run and financed teams to contend with every year," said MacPhail, referring to the Yankees and Red Sox, "that even when we get our act together are hard to overcome."
Derek Jeter did not want to respond to Gary Sheffield's inflammatory comments about race in the Yankees clubhouse, but he did find it peculiar that Sheffield did not consider Jeter to be "all the way black" because Jeter is the son of a white mother and black father. "I guess the African-American population just went down by a lot," Jeter said ... Sheffield, by the way, is the rare player who can draw walks while rarely striking out. He has a chance to become the first AL player since Frank Thomas in 1993 to draw 100 walks with fewer than 60 strikeouts. Only two NL players have done so in those 15 years: Barry Bonds and Brian Giles ... Don't pay much attention to the trade rumors about third baseman Troy Glaus and pitcher A.J. Burnett leaving Toronto. Said GM J.P. Ricciardi, "I like our team. This is the first time we're getting a look at our lineup together and these guys are an important part of what we have, not just now, but next year, too." ... Bud Selig is going to watch Barry Bonds in person -- well, this weekend in Milwaukee at least. The commissioner remains undecided if he will witness home run 756, but he definitely won't be in San Francisco July 28-29 when the Giants host the Marlins. The commissioner will be in Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame induction weekend ... Do the Yankees have the worst bench in history? On most nights Torre has Wil Nieves, Miguel Cairo and Kevin Thompson on his bench. Combined home runs in 174 at-bats this year? Zero. Nieves (.132, one extra-base hit) is halfway to one of the worst seasons in history. Only one AL player since the start of the DH in 1973 has slugged as badly as .151 with at least 100 plate appearances: Tom Egan of the 1974 Angels.