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Trembley, 56, ran a training camp that reflected the organization's commitment to fundamentals. In particular, he emphasized holding base runners ("Our pitchers were abysmal [at it] last year," he says), situational hitting ("We start every batting practice with it. Last year we had no program") and working the count ("The top five teams at seeing the most pitches went to the playoffs").
Baltimore still doesn't have a bona fide shortstop or closer, and second baseman Brian Roberts figures to be the next veteran asset traded for inexperienced players. In the short term the Orioles may be risking a last-place finish for the first time since the infamous 1988 team that started 0-21. This year won't be pretty, but they're trying.
CONSIDER THIS a modest proposal . . .
Baltimore has three bright pieces of its future in centerfielder Adam Jones, rightfielder Nick Markakis and catcher Matt Wieters, its top pick in last year's draft, who will start the season in the minors. Having unloaded shortstop Miguel Tejada and put second baseman Brian Roberts on the block, the Orioles might as well pull the plug on 36-year-old third baseman Melvin Mora and hand the job to rookie Scott Moore (left). Acquired from the Cubs for Steve Trachsel last August, Moore, 24, showed good power in the minors, a big plus considering Mora's power has virtually disappeared. Despite getting eight hits in his first 12 spring at bats before an abdominal strain slowed him, Moore is ticketed for a utility role--an odd move for a team that says it is fully committed to rebuilding.
On-base percentage of Orioles outfielders last season; only the Diamondbacks' outfield had a lower figure. With the acquisition of centerfielder Adam Jones (.350 career OBP in the minors) and leftfielder Luke Scott (.366 career OBP in the majors) from Seattle and Houston, respectively, to play alongside budding star Nick Markakis (.362 OBP in '07), Baltimore should put more pressure on opposing pitchers this year.
contains a table. Please see hardcopy of magazine or PDF.]
PROJECTED ROSTER WITH 2007 STATISTICS
TREMBLEY SECOND SEASON WITH BALTIMORE