Tag:Matt Wieters
Posted on: July 3, 2011 12:24 pm
Edited on: July 3, 2011 1:24 pm
 

American League pitchers and reserves

By C. Trent Rosecrans

The biggest notable name that's not on the list is Yankees' starter CC Sabathia, who is scheduled to start next Sunday, so he wouldn't be eligible to pitch in the game anyway. He also said he was happy not to go, instead using his time off to take a mini-vacation.

American League

Pitchers

Chris Perez, Indians (players' pick)

Jose Valverde, Tigers (manager's pick)

Aaron Crow, Royals (manager's pick)

Josh Beckett, Red Sox (players' pick)

Mariano Rivera, Yankees (players' pick)

Gio Gonzalez, Athletics (manager's pick)

Felix Hernandez, Mariners (players' pick)

Justin Verlander, Tigers (players' pick)

Brandon League, Mariners (player's pick)

David Price, Rays (managers' pick)

James Shields, Rays (players' pick)

Jered Weaver, Angels (players' pick)

C.J. Wilson, Rangers (managers' pick)

Reserves

C Matt Wieters, Orioles (manager's pick)

OF Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox (players' pick)

OF Carlos Quentin, White Sox (players' pick)

SS Asdrubal Cabrera, Indians (players' pick)

1B Miguel Cabrera, Tigers (players' pick)

2B Howie Kendrick, Angels (players' pick)

OF Michael Cuddyer, Twins (manager's pick)

C Russell Martin, Yankees (players' pick)

OF Matt Joyce, Rays (players' pick)

3B Adrian Beltre, Rangers (players' pick)

IF Michael Young, Rangers (players' pick)

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Posted on: May 11, 2011 10:01 am
 

Pepper: Lackey struggling for Red Sox



By Matt Snyder


'OUT OF REASONS': John Danks is 0-6 this season and he can't figure it out.

"I’m out of reasons. I don’t know. I’ve done the same thing I’ve done my whole career. I feel good. It’s just not working out. I don’t have any other way of putting it. But I’m back at it for my next start, whenever it is (May 17 against Texas). We’ll go from there.” (Chicago Tribune)

Could I make a suggestion? How about pitchers -- and the fans/media still clinging to the same notion -- quit acting like wins and losses are the defining individual pitching stat. Look at Danks' individual game logs. On opening day, he gave up two runs in six innings and lost. On April 13 he threw eight innings and allowed just one run and took a no-decision (there are guys with three or four wins who haven't had an outing this good). On April 19, he threw seven innings and gave up two runs, taking the loss. May 4, Danks worked eight innings and gave up three runs, taking the loss. Five of his eight starts have been quality starts. With better run support or bullpen help, he could easily be something like 4-3. Now, Tuesday night he was terrible, but that alone should be the discussion following the game, not how he's 0-6. That record alone suggests he's been terrible all season, but that couldn't be further from the truth.

FREE SPEECH? Pirates prospect Tony Sanchez is in trouble over a tweet he sent Monday night, where he complained about the umpiring -- even suggesting they decided "to blow a game." Obviously, Eastern League officials weren't too happy about the suggestion the umpires purposely changed an outcome. Sanchez ended up apologizing. (Hardball Talk) Much time has been spent discussing how athletes -- and, really, anyone -- should be careful when going to Twitter while emotional about anything. You're sending your thoughts to everyone who wants to see. That's not always a great idea. But what bothers me more than anything in these discussions is how few peolpe actually understand what "freedom of speech" means. The First Amendment begins, "Congress shall make no law." So you can't be punished by the legal system for speech. You most certainly can get fined, suspended or fired in any profession for something you say.

SPEAKING OF SOCIAL MEDIA: Jeff Sullivan over at SB Nation takes a look at the presence all major-league teams have on Facebook and Twitter. All use both outlets, but the numbers of fans vary and could correlate to how well the social media department of each franchise is run.

HUNTER UPDATE: Monday we passed along the news that Tommy Hunter of the Rangers had re-injured his groin. The good news now is that the strain is less severe and he'll only be set back about two to three weeks in his rehab. "I was more upset [Monday]," Hunter said. "It might just be scar tissue. It was just a little tweak. It's just a little setback." (Star-Telegram.com)

HUGHES UPDATE: Injured Yankees' starting pitcher Phil Hughes is expected to start a throwing program Thursday and could return in six to eight weeks. (MLB.com via Twitter) It will be interesting to track his progress, namely the great velocity question.

AN INNOCENT EMBRACE: If Albert Pujols does leave the Cardinals at the end of the year as a free agent, one major player for his services moving forward will most certainly be the Cubs. They lack power, will have an opening at first base and have about $50 million coming off the payroll before 2011. So, of course, when Cubs general manager and Pujols hugged before the Cubs-Cardinals game Tuesday night (look right for the evidence), it set off a media/social media firestorm. See, look, he's recruiting him already! Hendry, of course, said there was nothing to it.

"I can't win. I like Albert. We've always gotten along. He's a great, great player. I admire the heck out of him. He plays the game the right way every day," Hendry said, also noting he hugged former Cub Ryan Theriot, too. (CSN Chicago)

Pujols went out and had a 4-5 day as the Cardinals won.

BEST STUFF: What pitcher in baseball has the best pure stuff? Not who is the best or who has the best control, but the best arsenal of pitches that can baffle hitters. Fangraphs.com uses the criteria of "velocity, movement, intent and simply how hard it is for opposing hitters (of all types) to produce against what they're thrown" to determine Felix Hernandez has the best stuff. A healthy Ubaldo Jimenez, Roy Halladay, Tim Lincecum and Justin Verlander round out the top five.

SLOW STARTER: Mat Latos was lights-out for a stretch last season. In fact, he was one of the best pitchers in baseball. From May 7-Sept. 7, Latos was 13-2 with a 1.58 ERA, 0.78 WHIP and 153 strikeouts in 136 1/3 innings. He did finish quite poorly and has started this season off poorly as well, so maybe that's why it's easy to forget last season he started out pretty poorly as well, as he took a 6.20 ERA into May. SignonSanDiego.com points out it's possible Latos is simply a slow starter and wore down late last season.

BEHIND THE DISH DEFENSE: There are lots of defensive metrics out there for defense in the field, such as range factor and zone rating. It's a bit tougher to judge catchers with stats, though, considering range doesn't factor in. They're parked behind the plate. Of course many have come up with methods over the years, and the thoughtful boys over at Beyond the Box Score have come up with their own methodology based upon tweaking parts of other metrics. So, in terms of saving runs for his team, the best defensive catcher so far in 2011 has been ... Matt Wieters. Of the 75 they ranked, Josh Thole was last. Interestingly, Yadier Molina -- who is hyped by many as a great defensive catcher -- checks in at No. 62, just ahead of Jake Fox and Ryan Doumit while trailing Mike Napoli. Small sample size? Maybe.

THE LEMONADE GUY: I had no idea who Kenny Geidel was before he passed away earlier this week, but apparently he was known to Pirates' fans as simply "the lemonade guy" and was pretty beloved. Big League Stew put together a tribute to the popular vendor.

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Posted on: April 21, 2011 10:29 am
Edited on: April 21, 2011 1:28 pm
 

Pepper: Booooooo!

Mets fans
By C. Trent Rosecrans

I think I've booed once in my life and to tell you the truth, I felt like a jerk afterwards.

That was a long time ago and booing has kind of bugged me ever since. Maybe it's because I've always been harder on myself than anyone else. When I was a kid, coaches and my parents never yelled at me or criticized me because they could see I was madder about it than they were. I tried hard and hated to fail more than they hated watching me fail. I've just assumed most people are like that. Failing isn't fun.

And that's why I've just never understood booing in 99 percent of the cases it's done.

Ryan Franklin apparently aggress with me. 

After Franklin, the removed Cardinals closer, gave up a home run to Laynce Nix in the eighth inning of St. Louis' first game against the Nationals on Wednesday and heard boos from the St. Louis fans.

"Sure, I hear it," Franklin told FOXSportsMidwest.com after the first game. "I guess they have short memories too, because I think I've been pretty good here. It doesn't bother me, but it shows some people's true colors. You're either a fan or you're not.

"You don't boo your own team. I don't care who you are or what you say or just because you spent your money to come here to watch us play, that someone happens to make one bad pitch and give up a homer and you are going to start booing him? I've been here for five years, and four years I've been pretty good.

"You should go write stories about the fans booing. They are supposed to be the best fans in baseball. Yeah right."

The thing is, from my travels, the Cardinals fans are the best -- especially if you want to judge them in terms of not booing. When even Cardinals fans are booing, this thing is getting big (or as a society and as baseball fans, we're becoming even bigger jerks).

Franklin later apologized, issuing a statement (via MLB.com) -- "It was right after the games and I said things I shouldn't have said. I apologize for that. It was the wrong thing to say, but at the same time, I was frustrated. I am frustrated. 

"I'm just trying to do my best to do everything I can to get back on track. So that's what I'm trying to do. I'm trying to get back out there and help this team."

Franklin also said he's loved his time in St. Louis and "it's my favorite place to play. It's just a frustrating time for me right now, because I feel like I'm letting everyone down."

To me, that's what it comes down to -- this game is hard. That's why we're not all baseball players. That's why we still go and watch, you never know what's going to happen. It's people trying their best and sometimes mistakes happen. To pile on someone who knows they didn't do well just seems like a jerk move to me. What's so wrong in your life that you have to boo someone else to make you feel better about yourself? Is it the money? You don't make enough so it makes you feel better to make someone with more money feel bad? Job frustration? Problem with teh ladies? Physical shortcomings? Sometimes the boos say more about the boo-er than the boo-ee.

BASEBALL TODAY -- Matt Snyder joins Lauren Shehadi to discuss the Dodgers and more.

Mets NEXT? -- There are some folks in New York feeling a little nervous over MLB's takeover of the Dodgers. There's a difference in that the Wilpons have been Bud's buds, while McCourt hasn't always played by Bud's rules. [New York Daily News]

APRIL NOTE -- Just noting that the Reds who started 5-0 and the Rays who started 0-5 are both 9-9 now. Clip and save for next April.

BLAZING -- The great Tator Trot Tracker times Peter Bourjos rounding the bases in 14.02 seconds, which is flat flying. Texas' David Murphy  misplayed Bourjos' single and Bourjos never stopped. Larry Granillo times every home run as part of his Tater Trot Tracker and the fastest inside-the-park home run last season was Angel Pagan's 14.48 inside-the-parker and Bourjos was nearly a half-second faster than that, which is amazing. (Bourjos also stole a home run from Murphy in the game.) [Baseball Prospectus]

ROAD BACK -- Adam Wainwright is in the second month of his rehab from Tommy John surgery and no longer has to sleep with his brace. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

ROAD BACK II, ELECTRIC BOOGALOO -- Mariners closer David Aardsma said his arm and hip felt great after pitching an inning at Triple-A Tacoma on Tuesday. [Seattle Times]

ROAD BACK III, WITH A VENGEANCE -- Royals catcher Jason Kendall hopes to return by mid-May from his shoulder injury. "I'm close," Kendall said. [MLB.com]

ROAD BACK IV, A NEW HOPE -- A's starter Dallas Braden will not need surgery on his left shoulder. Braden has inflammation in his shoulder, but no structural damage. He will have to rest and take anti-inflammatory medication, but there is no timetable for his return. [San Francisco Chronicle]

FAMILIAR TERRITORY -- Noted former Expos fan Jonah Keri looks back on the last time MLB took over a franchise. Dodger fans may want to avoid reading it. [FanGraphs.com]

FAMILIAR TERRITORY II, JUDGMENT DAY -- Dodger players asked former Expo Jamey Carroll just what it's like working for Bud. He said it really wasn't much different. [MLB.com]

SHOWALTER ON WIETERS: DEPENDS -- Orioles manager Buck Showalter says catcher Matt Wieters is entertaining -- "I'm going to start keeping a notebook of Wieterisms. He's funny. He said a couple of things in the dugout last night, I almost peed my pants. He didn't even know it. He's sharp. He's quick." [Baltimore Sun]

ATTENDANCE WATCH -- Major League Baseball's attendance problem isn't as bad as it looks. Many of the empty seats are at the high-end of the ticket spectrum, meaning the tickets closest to the field (and likely to be seen on TV) are the ones going empty. [CNBC.com]

RAMBO: ATTENDANCE WATCH II -- This season has seen four of the five smallest crowds in the history of this version of Busch Stadium. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

OLDEST MINOR LEAGUER -- Here's a really good read on Andy Tracy, who at 37 is the oldest position player in the minors. [The Good Men Project]

HISTORY OF THE D -- Here's a really cool poster from the Tigers' gift shop at Comerica Park that shows the history of the Tigers' D. [UniWatch Blog]

BALLPARK BEERS -- A nice look at the craft beer options at Great American Ball Park, including my go-to summer beer, Bell's Oberon. Unfortunately, Oberon's no longer on tap at GABP because of our InBev overlords. [Red Reporter]

RICKEY WINS -- The new Pepsi Max commercial featuring CC Sabathia is pretty cool. I like anything with jokes about Rickey Henderson speaking in the third person, though, so I'm an easy mark.


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Posted on: April 14, 2011 12:50 pm
 

Wieters hopes fix to batting stance will pay off

By Evan Brunell

WietersMatt Wieters was supposed to be the next big thing. Instead, he's struggled to find his stroke at the plate and live up to the hype that surrounded his selection in the 2007 draft and eventual promotion to the majors in 2009. In 920 total plate appearances, he has a pedestrian .265/.328/.393 line, far from what the Orioles thought they would get.

And now that the start to the 2011 season hasn't gone as planned, Wieters is back to the drawing board and may have found an answer to his issues.

"I went back and watched some tapes from ’09 and some earlier times in my career and I think I got a little bit spread out,” Wieters told the Baltimore Sun. "I’m just trying to get back to where I used to be. If you go through a long enough stretch and you have some success, you don’t really go and look back at the tape and see what you are doing different. With the struggles that I’ve had going on lately, I went back and looked at the tape and I was probably a little bit more stand up and my feet were a little closer together. That’s what we’ve been trying to work on the last few days. It feels good."

Wieters has been working on the changes the past few days with hitting coach Jim Presley and they paid off Wednesday against the Yankees when he had a 2-for-3 night, cranking a double and nailing an A.J. Burnett fastball for a home run. An admiring Buck Showalter said that he looks "real hitter-ish up there right now."

The home run off the fastball was notable because he has struggled to corral good fastballs during his time in the majors, which could simply be an issue with loading, as Wieters indicated the fix helped tweak. By spreading out, he wasn't able to gear up as effectively as he used to.

"Maybe instead of trying to be so mechanical up there, [I’m] just trying to get that feel of where it used to be," Wieters added. "It’s sort of going back to when it was more natural for me. I was doing things that weren’t comfortable probably all the way through spring training. It wasn’t like I had to go back and change everything, but to be able to get back to the way I felt in ‘09 and ‘08, it feels good to go back to that way."

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Category: MLB
Posted on: April 4, 2011 6:06 pm
 

Hot Orioles off to best start since '97

By Matt Snyder

The Baltimore Orioles are 4-0 for the first time since 1997.

You know what else they haven't done since 1997? Make the playoffs.

Now, let's avoid alerting the small sample size police. There are 158 games left, which is 97.5 percent of the season. It's just that Orioles fans haven't had this much to be excited about in a long time. Not only has it been since '97 for a playoff appearance, but the Orioles have finished in either fourth or fifth place in the AL East every year since then except 2004, when the O's came in third. They've finished last in each of the past three seasons and haven't won 70 games since 2006.

It's not just the four wins that should have people excited, either. It's a combination of many factors.

Consider the Orioles were 34-23 under Buck Showalter last season. Also consider they have outscored opponents 17-4 thus far. That's right, just a 1.00 ERA for the entire staff, one that has gone through injuries and reshuffling already. Vladimir Guerrero and Adam Jones haven't started hitting yet -- and you'd expect they will. Brian Roberts appears healthy and is swinging for power, while Matt Wieters is off to a hot start -- which is paramount in confidence-building for a young hitter. The defense has only committed one error. Best of all, the Orioles have beaten two very capable teams in the Rays and the Tigers.

The Orioles have sprinted out of the gate for a marathon of a season, but it would be pretty hard to blame Baltimore for getting excited about the exceptional start by its Orioles.

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Posted on: March 14, 2011 10:55 pm
Edited on: April 18, 2011 11:54 am
 

3 up, 3 down for 3/14: Pie's day

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3 UP

1. Kyle Lohse, Cardinals -- Lohse has been a weak, expensive link in the Cardinals' rotation the last two years, but is impressing this spring. On Monday, Lohse allowed just one hit over six innings against the Braves. This spring, he's allowed just two runs in 13 innings.

2. Matt Cain, Giants -- In his first start since the spring opener, Cain pitched three hitless innings against the Brewers on Monday. Cain hadn't pitched since Feb. 27 because of inflammation in his right elbow.

3. Felix Pie, Orioles -- The outfielder had a hit in four at-bats Wednesday, but he's here because it was his day, Pi Day (3.14). Sure, it's a stretch, but it's just spring training.

3 DOWN

Andrew McCutchen

1. Andrew McCutchen, Pirates -- Not only did McCutchen lose his glove trying to catch a home run by Baltimore's Randy Winn, in the same inning he was thrown out at the plate and complained that Orioles catcher Matt Wieters didn't avoid contact as much as he should in spring training (pictured).

2. Bruce Chen, Blake Wood, Jason Kendall, Royals -- One of the best days of spring is the one scheduled off day. For players (and reporters) the one day without a game in March is the prize of six weeks in Arizona and Florida, who go without a day to themselves from the middle of February until April. The Royals trio all had to show up to work on Monday, Chen and Wood worked in a minor-league intrasquad game, while Kendall continued his rehab from shoulder surgery.

3. Chris Sale, White Sox -- The 21-year-old lefty was good last season after being called up at the end of the year, but has struggled this spring. Chicago's first-round pick in the 2010 draft allowed three runs in the fifth inning of Monday's game against the Padres. He has a 7.36 ERA in five appearances this spring.

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More MLB coverage
Posted on: March 2, 2011 9:07 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 9:23 pm
 

Stars, scrubs of March 2 games

By Evan BrunellSilva

Coming your way: the three stars and scrubs of March 2 spring training games ...

STARS

1. Matt Wieters, BAL: 3 for 4, 2 RBI: Could Wieters be ready to break out? After a very disappointing 2010 season, the 24-year-old is looking to tap into the potential that caused the birth of MattWietersFacts.com. Stay tuned, but this is a nice start.

2. Casey McGehee, MIL: 3 for 3, 2 R, 3 RBI, 2 HR: A nice day for the Brew Crew's third baseman. As the projected No. 6 hitter, he will be the last line of defense before the motley crew of Yuniesky Betancourt, Carlos Gomez and the pitcher in the lineup. McGehee, who cracked the 100-RBI barrier last season, will be counted upon to have a repeat season.

3. Jose Tabata, PIT: 3 for 3, 1 RBI. With Andrew McCutchen moving to the No. 3 spot, Tabata will be looked at to be the new leadoff batter for the Pirates. So far, so good, although what bears monitoring is Tabata's stated focus to improve his power. All Pittsburgh cares about is Tabata getting on base. 

SCRUBS

1. Carlos Silva, CHC: 1 IP, 3 H, 6 R, 3 ER, 1 BB, 0 K, 2 HR. Do you really have to ask why? Silva got into a fight with Aramis Ramirez after a disastrous first inning in which there were six runs coughed up by Silva's hand on two three-run home runs, and three errors committed by fielders. Really, it's just a day the Cubs would like to forget.

2. Nick Bierbrodt, BAL: 1/3 IP, 3 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 0 BB, 0 K, 2 HR: Um, how much of a blast from the past is Bierbrodt? I recall the 32-year-old from High Heat 2001, and he was just as bad in the game as he was in the majors. He has a career 6.66 ERA (devilish!) in 144 2/3 innings and hasn't appeared in the majors since 2004. Just a guess, but that streak will extend another season.

3. Josh Johnson, FLA: 1 2/3 IP, 5 H, 5 R, 4 ER, 1 BB, 1 K: Not exactly a great debut for JJ, who will be looked upon to anchor the rotation once more and one of very few Marlins with long-term financial security and a home address in Miami. Ask Dan Uggla how rare that is.

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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

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The views expressed in this blog are solely those of the author and do not reflect the views of CBS Sports or CBSSports.com