Tag:Felix Pie
Posted on: October 11, 2010 11:12 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:51 am
 

R.I.P. Orioles: Three managers, almost 100 losses

RIP As the sports world waits for the crowning of a champion, 22 other teams are busy preparing for spring training. What went wrong for these teams, and what does 2011 hold? MLB Facts and Rumors here at CBS Sports will be answering those questions through all of October. Next up: The only AL East team to finish under .500 in the Baltimore Orioles.

The Orioles were a team with a budding youth movement at the end of 2009 with enough solid young players that it was thought 2010 could be the first step towards an eventual return to the top of the AL East.

Instead, the team cycled through three managers and a host of disappointing seasons from crucial players en route to the same old, same old.

WHAT WENT WRONG

In the offseason, the O's made three moves geared toward addressing the team's perceived weaknesses amid a push for .500. Those were bringing in Garrett Atkins, Miguel Tejada and Kevin Millwood.

Atkins couldn't hit his way out of a brown paper bag before being released, Tejada played poorly in his first season as a third baseman and increasingly appeared disinterested before being traded to the Padres and Kevin Millwood ran up a 4-16 record and 5.10 ERA in 31 starts.

In addition, center fielder Adam Jones regressed, left fielder Nolan Reimold was sent to Triple-A, second baseman Brian Roberts struggled with back problems, limited to just 59 games and Nick Markakis' 12 home runs were a massive disappointment. Mega-prospect Matt Wieters' pedestrian season proved that you can't always depend on minor-league numbers to tell the whole story. (Wieters still figures to develop into one of the league's best backstops.)

And if someone can tell me why the O's didn't trade Ty Wigginton when he was very much in demand and a free agent likely to depart, please call me. Because that was one of the dumber decisions at the trade deadline made by any team, with only the Nats' decision to hang onto Adam Dunn perhaps worse.

WHAT WENT RIGHT

Brian Matusz Brian Matusz (pictured, right) shook off a slow start and ended the year with a 4.30 ERA, impressive for a rookie in the AL East. The lefty should eventually develop into Baltimore's ace. He was joined by Jeremy Guthrie, who shook off a poor 2009 to return to his usual season of around 200 innings (209 1/3) and an ERA just under 4.00 (3.83).

On offense, Felix Pie established himself as the left-fielder of the future after questions surrounding his commitment and talent. Pie was injured for a major part of the year, and nomad Corey Patterson -- himself an ex-Cub top prospect -- filled in admirably for Pie.

Luke Scott powered his way to a .902 OPS and career-best 27 blasts, hitting .284/.368/.535 in 447 plate appearances, as Scott has established himself as a solid power-hitter in the middle of the Orioles' lineup. On a contending team, he would likely bat fifth and at 32, his value is running out. His age is not a concern thanks to having two more years of arbitration that other teams would covet. However, Scott will only get older and only get closer to free agency, so the O's should capitalize on Scott's best full-time year and deal him.

HELP ON THE WAY

The Orioles debuted Jake Arrieta and brought Chris Tillman up for another shot at the rotation, giving the O's three nice arms with Matusz that will eventually be the foundation of the team. Tillman is still struggling to adapt to the majors but has plenty of time to figure out while Arrieta has a 2011 rotation spot locked up.

Zach Britton skyrocketed up the prospect rankings all season and should debut in 2011, eventually pairing with Guthrie, Matusz, Arrieta and Tillman to give the Orioles its best pitching staff since its mid-90s halcyon days and its best shot to take down the Yankees, Rays, Red Sox and Jays. Offensively, the club drafted shortstop Manny Machado in June, who will appear on many Top-100 prospect lists this winter.

Josh Bell didn't find the bigs to his liking in his major-league debut, compiling a .214/.224/.302 line but represents the O's best hope for developing a power hitter and will get every chance. Brandon Snyder will also get every chance to become Baltimore's long-term first baseman, but a poor 2010 calls into question how ready he is currently.

EXPECTATIONS FOR 2011

Buck Showalter The Orioles ran through Dave Trembley and Juan Samuel heading up the clubhouse before settling on Buck Showalter (pictured, right). The longtime skipper posted a 34-23 record in town, giving many hope. While Showalter will combine with many budding, talented youngsters to give forth a strong effort, the team is simply not ready for prime time.

Shooting for .500 is a realistic goal, but the team may have to temper expectations given the mighty behemoth that is the AL East. Finishing with 88 losses could be as good as finishing .500 in any other division.

SUGGESTIONS FOR 2011

The Orioles need to be focused on one thing and one thing only: surrounding the team with enough talent to compete. With enough money to make a play for a big free agent, the O's could strike big, but need to make these smaller strikes count as well.

The Orioles could make a play for Jayson Werth or Carl Crawford and sell them on having enough talent coming up to make a push. The dollars and sense won't likely work out, however, so the O's will have to go second-tier shopping. Taking a flyer on Jeremy Bonderman, still under age 30 and with plenty of talent, could work out in spades for the O's.  Jorge De La Rosa would be a safer get, but also come at a higher price.

On offense, the team could target someone like Carlos Pena or Derrek Lee, amongst a host of others, to come in to act as a veteran presence and occupy first base long enough for Snyder to develop. The Orioles could also strike to acquire Prince Fielder, giving the team a cornerstone power bat to build around for the foreseeable future. Baltimore would also be able to flash enough money to potentially keep the slugger in town beyond 2011.

2011 PREDICTION

The Orioles will take baby steps toward contention. The offense is major-league ready enough, but the pitching is lagging behind and needs at least a year -- if not two -- to settle down. Baltimore's task is to get its young hitters focused in the meantime while cashing in on chips like Luke Scott and Jeremy Guthrie. The Orioles will likely sniff 90 losses but could be primed for a breakout in 2012.

Check out the rest of the R.I.P. reports here .

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Posted on: September 10, 2010 12:09 am
Edited on: September 11, 2010 12:22 pm
 

After wakeup call, Felix Pie a 'dangerous' hitter

Felix Pie Felix Pie was once a can't-miss prospect for the Chicago Cubs, but the club finally gave him on him and sent him packing to Baltimore prior to the 2009 season.

Pie won the left field job to start the season, even though hitting coach Terry Crowley thought he wasn't ready. He proved to be right as Pie looked lost at the plate and went about his job with an entitled attitude -- and eventually lost that starting gig, which didn't make things much better.

"When he first got here, you could just tell he had an attitude and a little chip on his shoulder and whatever the hell else was wrong with him," center fielder Adam Jones said of Pie to the Baltimore Sun .

"I saw him in the bigs in Chicago, and he looked so uncomfortable, so tense," Jones added -- something that followed Pie to the Orioles.

"He was just this big ball of talent, and there was no character, no discipline, no hard work, no dedication," fellow outfielder Luke Scott added. "There was laziness and an attitude that somebody owes him something," Scott said. "What was going through my mind was this guy has this golden opportunity that people would kill for and he was [wasting it]."

And so Scott let Pie have it.

"I said to him: 'Do you really even want to be here? Because if you don't, then leave and stop taking somebody else's spot who is willing to work hard,'" Scott remembered. "I told him, 'There are people here that really want to see you succeed, but you have to work, you have to make the effort.'

"The whole time, his head was down. Finally, he just said, 'OK, I'll work.'"

It was, as Scott put it, a reality check. And Pie took it and ran with it.

"To Felix's credit, he's made that effort, he's put in the hard work," Scott says. You see him every day, he's in the cage, he's working on his swing, he's doing the drills that he's supposed to do. He's trying to make himself a better ballplayer."

Pie has since won his left-field job back and has posted a .274/.304/.416 line in 243 plate appearances, losing significant time to an injury that put him on the DL. While that line looks pedestrian, he is still just 25 and has all the talent in the world -- and a new best friend in Scott. The two converse constantly, with Scott and Pie partaking in pregame videos and with their own personal handshakes following home runs by one of the two.

"Every day when I come to the ballpark, I see him and he makes me laugh. I could be mad at something, but when I see him, I forget it," Pie said. "He talks to me every day. That's my friend."

Many other teammates, including Adam Jones, can see the transformation in Pie -- from a downcast, surly player to a fan favorite.

"It's good that Pie was mentally strong enough to take [Scott's lashing] for what it was," Jones noted. "And it's good on Luke for taking that initiative and taking on that responsibility. That's enabled Pie to be the guy you see."

Even though Pie hasn't impressed when you take out his early-season success and focus on just his post-DL numbers (204 PA, .263/.289/.379), Crowley feels Pie has become one of the more dangerous hitters in the AL East -- high praise given the quality of talent in the division. And Pie has his own praise of Crowley.

"Terry Crowley, this guy has meant so much to me. The Felix Pie that everybody sees right now, that is because this guy made that person. Every day, he makes my mind strong," Pie said. "He never left me alone. He talked every day with me, worked with me, taught me about how to play baseball. Now, you know what kind of player I am."

Pie may still have a ways to go before he truly breaks out as a dangerous hitter, but if and when he does, he'll have Scott and Crowley to thank.

 -- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
Posted on: August 26, 2010 12:29 pm
Edited on: August 26, 2010 12:57 pm
 

Buehrle accuses Pie of stealing signals

Felix Pie
It's probably a good thing Orioles outfielder Felix Pie isn't going to face White Sox starter Mark Buehrle again this season, because Buehrle has a beef.

Buehrle gave Pie an earful as the outfielder ran off the field in the sixth inning Wednesday night. Those who overheard say the pitcher was accusing Pie of stealing signs and relaying them to batters, and warning him that there would be consequences for Orioles batters if he didn't knock it off.

Buehrle told a Chicago Tribune reporter simply that "I let him know how I felt," and Pie told the Baltimore Sun "I don't know what he says. I don't play that game."

Stealing the catcher's signs is one of those things that happens in baseball with some frequency, but you'd better not get caught doing it unless you want a fastball in the square of your back.

As the Sun pointed out, the outburst might have had something to do with frustration over Pie's success against the Sox -- he's 5-for-7 with a walk in the first two games of the series. Ironically, the one person his alleged sign-stealing doesn't benefit is Pie.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed .


Category: MLB
Posted on: July 6, 2010 4:18 pm
 

Orioles place Millwood on DL

As expected , the Orioles have placed Kevin Millwood on the disabled list to make room for outfielder Felix Pie.

Millwood lasted just an inning in Monday's loss to the Tigers and has been diagnosed with a strained right forearm (flexor mass).

Millwood is 2-8 with a 5.77 ERA.

Pie has been on the disabled list since April 16 with a strained upper back muscle.

-- C. Trent Rosecrans

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.

Category: MLB
Posted on: July 5, 2010 2:17 pm
Edited on: July 5, 2010 3:49 pm
 

Gonzalez, Pie nearing return for Orioles

Mike Gonzalez Mike Gonzalez was supposed to be a lockdown closer for the Orioles in a season where the club chased .500.

Unfortunately, Gonzalez allowed four runs in two innings then promptly went on the disabled list with a left shoulder strain. He began a rehab assignment in late June but showed decreased velocity. That velocity has picked up as Gonzalez goes through the rehab assignment and now has a cumulative 4.26 ERA in 6 1/3 innings across three levels of the farm system.

MLB.com's Brittany Ghiroli reports that Gonzalez will make three more rehab starts before consideration is given to activating the lefty. He will pitch Tuesday and then back-to-back on Friday and Saturday. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz previously said Gonzalez would not be activated until after the three-day All-Star break which starts Monday.

That leaves Gonzalez in perfect shape to join Baltimore Friday to host the Blue Jays.

In other injury news, the Orioles plan to activate outfielder Felix Pie from the disabled list. Pie was quite unlucky in suffering a back injury in mid-April because he would have received a ton of playing time ahead of Garrett Atkins and Nolan Reimold, neither of which are no longer on the major-league squad. Unfortunately, the Orioles brought up Corey Patterson who has been contributing to the team, so now Pie will have to battle for playing time in the outfield as well as scrap for at-bats at DH.

A former top Cubs prospect, Pie was hitting .400 (8-for-20) on the season and contributed a .266/.326/.437 line in 2009. Just 25, the potential is there for Pie to emerge as Baltimore's long-term left fielder over the second half.

Another top prospect for Baltimore, third baseman Josh Bell, left Sunday's game against Boston with leg cramps. While not in the lineup, he doesn't figure to miss any extended time although he may be the demotion of choice when Pie is activated.

-- Evan Brunell

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.



Posted on: July 1, 2010 3:48 pm
Edited on: July 1, 2010 6:28 pm
 

Power prospect Bell gets call from Orioles

Josh Bell Felix Pie was seen settling into his locker Wednesday night, leading to the assumption that he would be returning from his rehab assignment to take the Orioles roster spot of Luke Scott, who injured his hamstring during Wednesday's game and was headed to the disabled list.

Well, you know what they say about assuming.

As it turns out, the Orioles called up super-prospect Josh Bell instead, putting the third baseman in the lineup to make his major league debut against Oakland.

Bell, 23, is a 6-foot-3, 235-pound switch hitter with major power. He was acquired from the Dodgers last year at the trade deadline as part of a package for closer George Sherrill. In his first spring training game with the Orioles, he homered twice.

Bell was batting .266 for Triple-A Norfolk this season, with 10 homers and 44 RBI in 74 games.

Outfielder Pie hasn't played in the majors since April, coming back from a back injury. According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles apparently didn't want to rush Pie, who is still working on throwing, just because of Scott's injury.

It's not immediately clear what the Orioles plan to do at third base, where Miguel Tejada is the starter and playing pretty well. They might just juggle things around for a few days until they're convinced Pie is ready, then send Bell back down.

-- David Andriesen

UPDATE: The Orioles are indicating that Bell may only be up for a few days, with Pie due back from the DL Monday. "We told him to not buy an apartment here," Orioles president Andy MacPhail told the Baltimore Sun.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.




Category: MLB
Posted on: July 1, 2010 9:51 am
 

Fresh Pie on Thursday at Camden

Luke Scott Within hours of Orioles outfielder/DH Luke Scott suffering a hamstring injury Wednesday night, an injury that happened while he was rounding first base after hitting a go-ahead homer, his replacement arrived at Camden Yards.

Shortly after Scott's injury, the team contacted Felix Pie, rehabbing at Double-A Bowie, and told him to be ready to rejoin the Orioles if Scott needs to go on the disabled list on Thursday. Two hours after the end of the game, in which Scott's homer held up in a 9-6 win over Oakland, Pie showed up in the Orioles' clubhouse and started moving back into his locker.

That's a pretty good sign the Orioles expect Scott, who said Wednesday night he thought he'd miss about two weeks, to need to go on the DL. It's also a good sign that Pie is eager to get back to the Orioles.

Pie, who batted .266 with 29 RBIs for the Orioles last season, hasn't played since April 15 due to a torn back muscle. He wasn't due back for a few more days as he continues to work on his throwing, but the team can stash him at DH until he's ready in the field.

-- David Andriesen

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter.



Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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