Tag:Nick Markakis
Posted on: July 4, 2011 9:59 am
Edited on: July 4, 2011 12:58 pm
 

Pepper: Head indoors during All-Star Weekend



By C. Trent Rosecrans
 

It's not that I'm not looking forward to heading to Phoenix on Saturday; it's just that, well, it's going to be really, really hot and that doesn't sound like fun.

The average temperature in Phoenix on July 12? 107. I don't care how dry that heat is, it's still hot.

Phoenix has wanted to host an All-Star Game for years, but with the All-Star Game comes more than just nine innings of baseball. There's the Futures Game, a celebrity softball game, the Home Run Derby, FanFest and an influx of people, all walking around the area around the ballpark. Anyone outside is going to be hot.

The Diamondbacks are planning as many things indoors as they can, according to this Arizona Republic article. The team may open the roof for a possible flyover during the national anthem, but that would take place during the hottest part of the day.

Also, the usual parade will be about two blocks and players have been told not to wear suits and ties.

Team president Derrick Hall tells the newspaper, "I think everyone is going to be shocked how comfortable it's going to be."

I hope so. Then I can get ready for Kansas City next July -- and that could be even worse, just ask Ichiro (language NSFW).

CLOSER QUESTION: Twins manager Ron Gardenhire stood behind closer Matt Capps after pulling him Sunday, but Capps may not be the closer for long. He has blown six saves in 19 chances, and Joe Nathan is back and healthy. [Minneapolis Star-Tribune]

FREAK OR FISH?: Marlins manager Jack McKeon questioned Bruce Bochy's selection of Tim Lincecum for the All-Star team. "He's a good pitcher, don't get me wrong," McKeon told reporters, including Joe Capozzi of the Palm Beach Post. "But do we reward for what you're doing now or do we reward for what you've done in the past."

DERBY LOBBYING: Not only are two captains picking the sides for this year's Home Run Derby, they can pick players who aren't in the All-Star Game to participate. Here's two non-All-Stars I'd love to see. Bob Young of the Arizona Republic suggests Ichiro Suzuki, which may sound odd, but Suzuki's batting practice displays are the stuff of legend, and what is the Derby but glorified batting practice? I'd give Suzuki a better shot than most at winning the deal. While Suzuki doesn't look like a guy who would be a Home Run Derby favorite, the Marlins' Mike Stanton does. Marlins first baseman Gaby Sanchez wants to see his teammate in the derby, and so do I. [Palm Beach Post]

NO REHAB FOR PUJOLS: Albert Pujols "doesn't need" a rehab assignment before he returns to the Cardinals, St. Louis manager Tony La Russa told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch on Sunday.

RECORD DEAL: The Rangers signed Dominican outfielder Nomar Mazara with what is believed to be a record $5 million signing bonus. The 6-foot-3, 16-year-old left-handed outfielder is said to have the most raw power in Latin America. [Baseball America]

SELLOUT RECORD: Saturday the Dayton Dragons, the Reds' Class A team in the Midwest League, recorded their 814th sellout in a row, tying the all-time professional sports record set by the Portland Trail Blazers. The team expects to break the record July 9.

While the Dayton Daily News has the news, the New York Times takes a look at just why the Dragons have been so successful.

HISTORICALLY BAD: As bad as the Padres' offense has been this season, it's not as bad as the Mariners' last season -- so there's that. Otherwise, the outlook is bleak for San DIego bats. [North County Times]

STEREOTYPES DISPUTED: Former Cubs and current White Sox TV analyst Steve Stone says the stereotypes of Cubs fans and White Sox aren't exactly true. Cubs fans are usually believed to be more interested in being at Wrigley Field than what's going on at Wrigley Field. The stereotype of White Sox fans is best displayed by the buffoons who get liquored up and run on the field to attack either the umpire or the opposing team's first base coach. [Chicago Tribune]

VLAD'S BATS HEATING UP: Vladimir Guerrero isn't producing at the plate, but his bats are. Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis is crushing with Guerrero's bats, hitting .436 in his last 21 games since switching to Guerrero's heavier bats. [Baltimore Sun]

PADRES DRAFT COULD BE GREAT: Well, the Padres' draft could be a great one if the team spends the money to sign the players it drafted. The Royals stopped worrying about "signability," and David Glass started paying the going rate for drafted players. That's how the Royals built the best farm system in the majors. If the Padres follow suit, it could certainly pay off in the end. [InsideThePadres]

HOSMER USED TO OVERCOMING: Check out this fantastic feature by my friend Kent Babb of the Kansas City Star on Royals first baseman Eric Hosmer and his family. Hosmer's dad was a firefighter and his mother a nurse who immigrated from Cuba.

RACIAL BIAS BY UMPS: A study recently published in the American Economic Review shows a small difference in called strikes when the umpire and the pitcher are the same race. But the bias disappeared in games with computer monitoring, which is now standard across MLB. (H/T to BaseballMusings.com

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Posted on: June 4, 2011 9:52 pm
Edited on: June 5, 2011 5:29 pm
 

Best first-round picks of the last decade



By C. Trent Rosecrans

With the MLB Draft beginning Monday night at 7 p.m. ET, the Eye on Baseball crew is going to look at the best -- and worst -- first-round draft picks by each team in the last 10 years. 

With the way the baseball draft goes, there are plenty of busts in the first round every year, but there are a lot of great players in the game that were drafted in the first round and the supplemental first round. Tomorrow we'll look at the misses, but for today, here are the hits.

Arizona Diamondbacks: Most first overall picks make the majors and many (Alex Rodrgiuez, Ken Griffey, Chipper Jones) find their way to superstardom. Justin Upton may not be a superstar yet, but the first overall pick of the 2005 draft already has one All-Star appearance under his belt and will probably have more to come.

Atlanta Braves: With the 14th pick in the 2007 draft, the Braves took a local kid, outfielder Jason Heyward. Nice pick.

MLB Draft

Baltimore Orioles: Matt Wieters is close to taking this spot, but for now it's still Nick Markakis, who was taken with the seventh overall pick of the 2003 draft out of Young Harris College in Georgia.

Boston Red Sox: The Red Sox had five picks in the first round and the supplemental first round in 2005, and as good as Jacoby Ellsbury and Jed Lowrie are, the pick here is right-hander Clay Buchholz, taken 42nd overall out of Angelina College.

Chicago Cubs: While his name is now a cautionary tale, it's easy to forget just how good Mark Prior was before arm trouble. Drafted with the second pick of the 2001 draft, he won six games in 2002 and 18 in 2003, his best season. Overall, Prior was 42-29 with a 3.51 ERA.

Gordon BeckhamChicago White Sox: Even with his struggles last year and this season, Gordon Beckham has been a productive player for the White Sox after he was taken with the eighth overall pick in the 2008 draft.

Cincinnati Reds: Taken out of high school with the 12th overall pick in 2005, Jay Bruce is the reigning National League Player of the Month and only seems to be getting better at 24. He already has 85 homers in his career, including a National League-best 17 this season.

Cleveland Indians: How bad have the Indians' first-round picks been the last decade? The 18 players taken by Cleveland in the first round and the supplemental first round over the last 10 years have collected just 506 games in the majors, 334 for Cleveland. Lonnie Chisenhall (29th overall in 2008) may eventually be their best in this list, but for right now it's the Orioles' Jeremy Guthrie, who at least has 40 big-league wins.

Colorado Rockies: While the Indians' choice was tough, the Rockies' wasn't -- Troy Tulowitzki was taken with the seventh overall pick in 2005.

Detroit Tigers: With the second pick in 2004, the Tigers took Justin Verlander.

Florida Marlins: The team's best pick of the last decade came in the fourth round of the 2002 draft when it took high school pitcher Josh Johnson, but as far as first-round picks, their best is right-hander Chris Volstad, taken with the 16th pick of the 2005 draft.

Chris BurkeHouston Astros: The Astros didn't have first-round picks in 2003, 2004 and 2007 and haven't had much production from any of them. There's really just two choices, Chris Burke (10th overall, 2001) and Jason Castro (10th overall, 2008). Castro has potential, but is out this season and has played in just 67 big league games, so the pick is Burke, who played in parts of six seasons with three teams, but his 18th-inning walk-off homer (left) to clinch the 2005 NLDS against the Braves is one of the franchise's signature moments.

Kansas City Royals: This choice could be much more difficult in five years, but for now it's pretty easy -- Zack Greinke. The Royals selected him sixth overall in the 2002 draft and he won the American League Cy Young Award in 2009.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim: Jered Weaver was the 12th pick of the 2004 draft.

Los Angeles Dodgers: The Dodgers took lefty Clayton Kershaw with the seventh pick of the 2006 draft out of a Texas high school.

Milwaukee Brewers: This could change in a couple of years, but for now, Prince Fielder (seventh overall, 2002) leads Ryan Braun (fifth overall, 2005). Fielder is a free agent this offseason, while Braun is under contract through 2020.

Minnesota Twins: There were those who questioned the pick of hometown boy Joe Mauer with the first pick in the 2001 draft instead of Prior. Not anymore.

New York Mets: Fred Wilpon may not think he's a franchise player, but David Wright is the team's best first-round pick in the last decade, taken with the 38th overall pick in 2001.

New York Yankees: The Yankees have plenty of first-round picks on their roster, although few were their picks. Two key pitchers, starter Phil Hughes (23rd overall in 2004) and reliever Joba Chamberlain (41st overall in 2006), were Yankee picks. The pick here is Chamberlain, who has allowed fewer runs in a similar number of innings and is currently pitching.

Oakland Athletics: A chapter of the book Moneyball focuses on the 2002 MLB Draft and Billy Beane's distaste of drafting high school players. In the book, the team is excited the Brewers take a player they won't touch (Fielder), and the team also doesn't want Zack Greinke, Scott Kazmir, Cole Hamels or Matt Cain -- all high school player. But they get the man they want the most, Nick Swisher at No. 16. It's a good pick, as is Joe Blanton at 24 -- but it's hardly Greinke, Fielder, Hamels or Cain. The team also picked Jeremy Brown, a catcher out of Alabama, and Mark Teahen in the supplemental round. 

Philadelphia Phillies: Another pick from the Moneyball draft, the pick after the A's took Swisher, the Phillies snatched up Hamels, the left-hander from a California high school with the 17th pick.

Pittsburgh Pirates: The 2005 draft featured six players listed as center fielders taken in the first round -- and all six have made the big leagues. The second one taken was the Pirates' Andrew McCutchen with the 11th overall pick. The others were Cameron Maybin (10), Bruce (12), Trevor Crowe (14), Ellsbury (23) and Colby Rasmus (28).

San Diego Padres: The Padres may have had one of the biggest busts of the last decade in Matt Bush, the first overall pick in 2004 draft, but he's not been their only bad pick. The best of the lot was Khalil Greene, taken No. 13 in 2002, who had a promising start of his career, but his troubles with social anxiety disorder drove him from the game. Still, he's the Padres' career leader in homers by a shortstop with 84.

San Francisco Giants: Nine teams passed on the right-hander out of Washington, some scared off by his funky motion and small stature. Tim Lincecum proved them wrong.

Evan LongoriaSeattle Mariners: Adam Jones (37th pick in 2003) played in just 73 games for the Mariners, but was named an All-Star and won a Gold Glove with the Orioles in 2009.

St. Louis Cardinals: With a compensation pick for the Red Sox signing Edgar Renteria, the Cardinals used the 28th pick of the 2005 draft to take Rasmus out of an Alabama High School.

Tampa Bay Rays: Were Luke Hochevar and Greg Reynolds better than Evan Longoria? The Royals and Rockies took those two right-handers with the first two picks of the 2006 draft, leaving Longoria (left) for the Rays.

Texas Rangers: Funny story here -- in 2001 I was working at the Athens Banner-Herald in Georgia and was covering the NCAA Regional in Athens when a Teixeira-led Georgia Tech squad was bounced from the tournament. After his last game, a kid from the student radio station asked Teixeira if he thought his poor showing in the regional would hurt his draft status. The Georgia Tech coach, Danny Hall, took the microphone before Teixeira could answer and said, "No." So did the Rangers, who took him fifth overall.

Toronto Blue Jays: The Blue Jays took lefty Ricky Romero out of Cal State Fullerton with the sixth pick in the 2005 draft.

Washington Nationals: Another pick that could change with the emergence of Stephen Strasburg and Bryce Harper, but that's still several years away because of the fourth pick of the 2005 draft,  Ryan Zimmerman.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @cbssportsmlb on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: May 3, 2011 1:45 am
 

3 up, 3 down: Matsui says sayonara

Hideki Matsui

By C. Trent Rosecrans

3UP

Hideki Matsui, Athletics -- Matsui hit a sayonara home run (what the Japanese call the walk-off) off Texas' Darren Oliver to lead off the bottom of the 10th, giving Oakland a 5-4 victory and moving Oakland above .500 at 15-14. It was the 496th career homer for Matsui, combining his Japanese and American homers.

Mike Stanton, Marlins -- Stanton tied the game for the Marlins in the fifth inning with a solo shot and then scored the go-ahead run after leading off the eighth inning with a triple off Cardinals closer Mitchell Boggs.

Tom Gorzelanny, Nationals -- Madison Bumgarner didn't give up a hit until the fifth inning, but Gorzelanny didn't give up a run in his eight innings. He allowed just three hits in the 2-0 Nationals victory. He improved to 4-0 in his career against the Giants.

3DOWN

Brandon McCarthy, Athletics -- The A's starter didn't allow any earned runs -- but he did give up four unearned runs because of two errors. So why's he on this list? Because he committed both errors. McCarthy misplayed bunts in the second and fifth, allowing the Rangers to score twice in each inning.

Miguel Tejada, Giants -- The Nationals' only two runs of the game in their 2-0 victory over the Giants came thanks to Tejada's seventh-inning error. With two outs in the inning, he let Wilson Ramos' grounder hit off his glove. Ian Desmond followed with a single, then Michael Morse hit a bleeder that made it to center and Jerry Hairston Jr. doubled in the final run.

Chris Sale, White Sox -- With two outs in the ninth and a comfortable 6-0 lead, Sale hit Nick Markakis and gave up a two-run homer to Derrek Lee, he then gave up a single to Vladimir Guerrero and walked Luke Scott before being lifted for closer Sergio Santos. Santos was able to strike out Adam Jones to end the team's six-game losing streak, but the bullpen has been such a concern, they would have liked to not have to use Santos in that situation.

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Posted on: March 8, 2011 9:54 am
Edited on: March 8, 2011 11:09 am
 

Pepper: Paging Dr. Zambrano

Carlos Silva

By C. Trent Rosecrans

Either it's crazy or it makes perfect sense. And, in an upset, I'm going with the latter. 

After his second rough outing of the spring, Cubs starter Carlos Silva went to Carlos Zambrano for help.

Silva allowed 10 hits and eight runs in 2 1/3 innings on Monday, and his first instinct was to turn to his countryman.

"Right after I finished pitching, I texted Zambrano, and I was telling him, 'Man, I don't know what's going on,'" Silva told Joe Cowley of the Chicago Sun-Times. "What he told me in the text was, 'You just need to forget everything, go out there and pitch and do your thing. You know how to pitch, you did it before, so why can't you do it again.' It's true."

Silva was still frustrated, but he held back and punches this time, so there's progress.

It may seem crazy to go to Zambrano, but there are few people out there more uniquely suited to help Silva than his fellow Carlos. Both are from Venezuela, both have had trouble living up to high expectations and big contracts and both have had incidents with teammates in the dugout. But Zambrano has, at least in the last couple of months, shown signs of bouncing back. He's undergone anger management and worked hard just to get back into the Cub uniform. Sometimes when you're struggling, you just need to hear from someone who has been there. If anyone can find the right words for the talented Silva, it just may be Zambrano. And for now, it doesn't seem like it could hurt.

REMEMBERING CHRISTINA: The White Sox and Diamondbacks played an exhibition in Tucson on Monday to raise money on behalf of shooting victim Christina-Taylor Green.

Yahoo!'s Jeff Passan was there and passes on the moving story.

HAIRY BIRDS: Facial hair fans, it's time to celebrate -- the Orioles are relaxing their ban on the most manly of expressions, in response to Derrek Lee and Vladimir Guerrero desires to wear goatees.

Luke Scott and Nick Markakis are taking advantage of the new rules, as well. (Baltimore Sun)

CONFUSING CONCUSSIONS: Sometimes there's a story that just grabs me and I read everything that comes along about it. For the last couple of years for me, that's been concussions in sports.

The New York Times looks at how no two concussions are alike, using the examples of Justin Morneau and Josh Beckett.

While Beckett bounced back from his concussion last week, Morneau still isn't back.

NAME GAME: Looking for some puny fantasy baseball names? The Orange County Register has you covered, if just for its several Shin-Soo Choo puns. I'm one of those people that have the same name every year since I've been playing -- Royal Disappointment. And I've yet to not live up to my name.

LONEY RETURNS: James Loney was back on the field Monday after missing two days with a swollen left knee. He didn't play in the Dodgers' game, but could return to the lineup by Wednesday, manager Don Mattingly said. (MLB.com)

UTLEY TO OF? Phillies senior adviser Dallas Green thinks it might be wise to move Chase Utley from second base to help save his knees. The Philadelphia Daily News' Paul Hagan disagrees.

GOOD IMPRESSION: If you haven't heard of the Braves' Julio Teheran yet, you will. The top pitching prospect in baseball made his first appearance in a Grapefruit League game yesterday and hit 96 in a scoreless inning of work. (Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

HOT TICKET: The Marlins have sold out the Diamond Club section of their new ballpark for next season. Now, that's just 379 seats, but they're high-priced seats, so it doesn't exactly hurt.

The team says the highest-priced seats are selling well. (MLB.com)

NO BUENO: The blog itsabouthtemoney.net takes up the case to former Cardinals minor league shortstop Lainer Bueno who was suspended for the first 50 games of this season for testing positive for clenbuterol.

The blog notes it's possible Bueno tested positive for the drug because it is used in livestock and its possible that he ate meat in Venezuela that contained clenbuterol.

HALL OF FAME DEBATE: Diamondbacks manager Kirk Gibson is once again on the College Football Hall of Fame ballot. He's been on the ballot since 2007.

An All-American wide receiver at Michigan State, he led the Big Ten in receiving in league play and led the team to a co-championship in 1978. Gibson only played one season of baseball at Michigan State and was drafted in the first round of the baseball draft and seventh round of the NFL draft by the St. Louis Cardinals.

SPEAKING OF TWO-SPORT STARS: Former Hazelton (Penn.) High quarterback Joe Maddon invited Tampa Bay Buccaneers coach Raheem Morris and two assistants to be his guests at the Rays' camp today.

Maddon said he'd like a chance to run the Bucs' scout team in practice. (St. Petersburg Times)

NG TO MLB: Dodgers vice president Kim Ng is reportedly leaving the team to join the home office of Major League Baseball under new vice president Joe Torre. (Los Angeles Times)

DEMOCRATIC CONCESSIONS: CNBC.com's Darren Rovell is asking readers to vote on the next great ballpark food and dessert -- and the winner from each category will be served at historic Grayson Stadium in Savannah, Ga., home of the Mets' Class A South Atlantic League affiliate, the Savannah Sand Gnats.

STATS TO GO: Baseball-Reference.com has beefed up its mobile site for use on your smart phone, so when you're not at home and you just have to know what George Brett's career slugging percentage is (.487), you know have hope.

SEVEN-MAN ROTATION: The Softbank Hawks of Japan's Pacific League are considering a seven-man rotation for this season. (YakyuBaka.com)


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Posted on: March 5, 2011 5:22 pm
Edited on: March 5, 2011 6:23 pm
 

Getting to know the Orioles

By Matt Snyder

TEAM MVP

Though his power has decreased over each of the past two seasons, Nick Markakis is still the most valuable player on the Orioles. While Adam Jones fought through growing pains and Brian Roberts battled health issues, the constant in the lineup has been Markakis. From 2007-2010, the anchor of the Orioles has had an .837 OPS. And remember, he's only 27. It's very possible the power returns and he hits close to 25 home runs again. With Vladimir Guerrero, Mark Reynolds and Derrek Lee around, he actually has some veteran protection in the middle of the order, too.

PLAYER ORACLE - Frank Robinson to Adam Jones

Frank Robinson played with Dennis Eckersley for the 1976 Cleveland Indians

Dennis Eckersley played with Jamie Moyer for the 1986 Chicago Cubs

Jamie Moyer played with Adam Jones for the 2006 Seattle Mariners

POP CULTURE

When Cal Ripken, Jr. ended his consecutive games streak at 2,632, the Energizer Bunny called him a quitter. Later, when Ripken was named the inaugural member of Energizer's Keep Going Hall of Fame, he ended his feud with the bunny. (And, yes, this is fictional to those who may be a bit slow).



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Category: MLB
Posted on: March 1, 2011 11:02 pm
Edited on: March 2, 2011 7:09 am
 

Stars, scrubs of March 1 games

MarkakisBy Evan Brunell

Did you realize that the regular season officially starts this month? OK, OK, so it starts on the 31st and we're only on the first day of March, but still.

Until then, however, we will have to content ourselves with spring training games, and this early into the schedule these games are peppered with scrubs and players trying to get their timing in place for the regular season. And some are a bit further along.

Let's look at some stars and scrubs of the day's games ...

STARS

1. Ryan Raburn, DET: Raburn held off teammate Victor Martinez in a split-squad game (3 for 4, 2 R)

2. Nick Markakis (pictured), BAL: 3 AB, 2 R, 3 H, 4 RBI, 2 HR. Could Markakis reclaim his long-lost power? After bopping 23 in 2007 and progressively declining to just 12 in 2010, Markakis ripped two home runs off Andy Sonnanstine and finished with three hits and four RBI in three at-bats. A return to the top of the best right fielders in the game is possible.

3. Gio Gonzalez, OAK: 2 IP, 0 H, 0 ER, 0 BB, 5 K. What a great showing from Gonzalez, who is slated to be the No. 3 starter for the A's Gonzalez has improved each season in the majors, but last year really benefited from limiting his home runs and playing in a pitcher's park. It's early, but if Gonzalez can limit his walks like he did Tuesday, he could be in line for a real step forward into the elite, and has unquestioned strikeout ability.

SCRUBS

1. Brett Anderson, OAK: 2 IP, 6 H, 4 ER, 0 BB, 2 K. Unfortunately for Gonzalez, his quest for a win was erased by Anderson's clunker. Anderson followed Gonzalez in the game despite being one spot ahead in the rotation. The lefty coughed up four earned runs and six hits in two innings, walking and whiffing two apiece. Better days are ahead for the talented youngster.

2. Andy Sonnanstine, TB: 2 IP, 6 H, 6 ER, 0 BB, 1 K, 5 HR: Poor Sonny. The starter-turned-reliever got a shot at the starting gig again even as he figures to remain in the bullpen. He did himself no favors by coughing up six runs in his two innings of work, striking out just one and giving up an eye-popping five home runs -- two to Markakis and one apiece for Vladimir Guerrero, Adam Jones and Jake Fox.

3. Ricky Romero, TOR: 2 1/3 IP, 5 H, 4 ER, 2 BB, 2 K: After a breakout season, the Jays are counting on Romero to anchor the top of the rotation for Toronto. He certainly didn't get off to a strong start but he didn't give up any extra-base hits, although he was on the hook for Miguel Cabrera's three-run double off Zach Stewart that plated runners Romero put on base.

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

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 20, 2010 11:30 pm
 

Markakis makes history with 43rd double

Nick Markakis History was made in the Red Sox-Orioles game Monday night, when O's outfielder Nick Markakis cranked two doubles, giving him 43 on the season.

That mark makes Markakis just the third MLB player ever with at least 43 doubles in four straight seasons, joining Hall of Famers Joe Medwick and Tris Speaker.

Markakis is hitting .290/.365/.422 in what has been a down year for the 26-year-old, but is still among one of the better young outfielders in the game and has a streak of 43, 48, 45 and now 43 in the last four years, respectively.

Speaker, meanwhile, played a 22-season career, 11 with the Indians and nine with the Red Sox. He bashed 40 or more doubles 10 times, but the longest consecutive seasons with at least 43 doubles was in a four-year streak from 1920-23. He hit 50, 52, 48 and 59 respectively, all with the Indians.

Medwick spent 11 seasons with the Cardinals in a 17-season career, hitting for at least 40 doubles seven seasons in a row from 1933-39, all with the Cards. His streak of multiple seasons with at least 43 came from 1935-39, meaning Markakis has one more year to go to tie Medwick for most consecutive seasons. "Ducky" had 46, 64, 56, 47 and 48, respectively.

-- Evan Brunell

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Category: MLB
 
 
 
 
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