Tag:Orioles
Posted on: December 29, 2011 11:36 pm
 

Third baseman Melvin Mora retires

By Matt Snyder

After a 13-season career, Melvin Mora has retired from Major League Baseball, reports Rafael Rojas.

Mora, 39, initially signed with the Houston Astros as an amateur free agent all the way back in 1991, but he didn't make the majors until 1999 with the Mets. He got 19 postseason plate appearances for the Mets that season, but -- unfortunately for Mora -- that was the last time he played in the playoffs. He was a member of the Diamondbacks this past season, but was released in June.

Mora played most of his big-league career for the Orioles, spending parts of 10 seasons there. He was a two-time All-Star and won the Silver Slugger with a superb offensive season in 2004, when he hit .340/.419/.562 with 27 homers, 104 RBI, 111 runs and 41 doubles.

As recently as 2008, Mora was still a productive offensive player, but he's declined the past few seasons as he's gotten closer to 40 years old. He hit just .228/.244/.276 last season for Arizona before his release.

Mora also spent one season with the Rockies.

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Posted on: December 27, 2011 3:38 pm
Edited on: December 27, 2011 3:46 pm
 

Voting for the 2011 MLB Bloggies, Part II



By C. Trent Rosecrans


With just a few days left until 2012 brings us a whole new year, it's only fitting to look back at the year that was. Sure, there's an actual baseball season, including spring training, the regular season and the postseason, but things happen nearly every day throughout the entire calendar year. So we're going to create a fake award and call it a Bloggie. 

We'll set the table with some nominations and let you, our readers, vote for the winners. We did Part I on Monday and this is Part II: Electric Boogaloo. Friday, we'll post the winners and our staff picks. Without further ado ...

Best Twitterer
• @JGuthrie46 (Jeremy Guthrie): The Orioles starter loves his Air Jordans and often gives updates on his newest kicks, but he also trash talks with his teammates in an entertaining feed.
• @BMcCarthy32 (Brandon McCarthy): The A's right-hander may be the most prolific tweeter of English Premier League analysis in baseball. He also shows off a great sense of humor.
@LoMoMarlins (Logan Morrison): The Marlins' brass may disagree, but Morrison is candid and entertaining with his tweets, even if it got him in trouble with the front office.
@DatDudeBP (Brandon Phillips): Phillips not only engages with his fans on Twitter, but also brings them into his real life. He's held contests to give away not just merchandise, but also a trip to spring training and even asked fans what to do on a day off, and when a kid invited him to his baseball game, Phillips showed up.
@str8edgeracer (C.J. Wilson): The off-season's most sought-after starter tweeted during the season, throughout the World Series and even in free agency.



Biggest bonehead move
• A-Rod's popcorn snafu: Usually having a famous actress feed you popcorn is a badge of honor -- unless you're Alex Rodriguez. Not only did Fox cameras catch then-girlfriend Cameron Diaz feeding A-Rod popcorn during the Super Bowl, but then Rodriguez made it worse by allegedly was upset about the shot.
Mike Leake's shopping spree: The second-year Reds pitcher was arrested for taking $60 worth of shirts from a downtown Cincinnati Macy's in April. He eventually pled guilty to a lesser charge.
• Distracted baserunner: The Reds and Phillies went 19 innings on May 25, but the game could have ended earlier -- with a different winner -- had Phillips been playing more attention to pitcher J.C. Romero than to his conversation with Phillies shortstop Jimmy Rollins. While gabbing with Rollins, Romero picked Phillips off at second. What made it worse was that the Reds had two on and one out -- and were a ball away from loading the bases -- before Phillips got picked off. After walking Scott Rolen, Romero walked Jay Bruce to load the bases with two outs, but David Herndon replaced Romero to get out of the inning.
Beer and chicken: Beer and fried chicken are great things -- unless you're consuming those two in the clubhouse as your team is playing on the field. The backroom hijinks got Terry Francona fired and may have cost the Red Sox a shot at the playoffs.
Tony La Russa's communication breakdown: If the Cardinals hadn't come back to win the World Series, Tony La Russa's gaffe in Game 5 would go down as one of the worst of all time. La Russa claimed the crowd noise at Rangers Ballpark prevented him from communicating with his bullpen. He said he wanted his closer, Jason Motte, to get warmed up, and instead Lance Lynn was told to get warm. When Lynn came into the game, his manager was surprised and the Cardinals went on to lose the game.



Best celebration:
Brewers: Milwaukee's "Beast Mode" was inspired by Prince Fielder's kids and the movie Monsters, Inc.
Diamondbacks: Was the team's "Snake" inspired by the movie Dodgeball?
Yadier Molina: The Cardinal catcher either did a "cry baby" or motorcycle celebration during the NLCS.
Rangers: Texas' "claw and antler" started in 2010 and started the signaling to the dugout trend.
None, they're all lame.



Weirdest injury:
Jeremy Affeldt: The Giants left-hander suffered a deep cut that required surgery on his right hand when he used a knife to attempt to separate frozen hamburger patties.
Sergio Escalona: The Houston reliever suffered a spraining ankle when he tripped over a glove during batting practice.
Matt Holliday: The Cardinals left fielder left a game after a moth flew into his ear.
Zack Greinke: The Brewers' ace debuted on the disabled list after he broke a rib in a pickup basketball game before spring training started.
Chris Narveson: Another Brewer pitcher with an odd injury, the left-hander cut himself while fixing his glove.

 

Most Impressive home run:
Juan Francisco

Justin Upton

• Prince Fielder

Mark Trumbo

Mike Stanton




Best defensive play:
Asdrubal Cabrera

Brandon Phillips

Ben Revere

Jeff Francoeur

Sam Fuld




So, cast your vote and check back Friday for not only the winners, but also the choices from our staff.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter, subscribe to the RSS feed and "like" us on Facebook.
Posted on: December 22, 2011 11:53 pm
Edited on: December 23, 2011 12:19 am
 

Homegrown Team roundup: Who is our champ?



By Matt Snyder

Well that was fun. An entire month of Homegrown teams has now been concluded. Now it's time to see how this thing would play out -- and let's avoid any "realistic" talk. Nothing about this is realistic. It's an exercise intended for fun and entertainment.

If you need to review the teams, go check out our landing page, where there's a link to the Homegrown unit from each of the 30 teams.

We'll run through this thing division by division, then the playoffs and then pick a Homegrown World Series champion. I encourage the comments section at the bottom of this post to be used for you readers to do this on your own as well, doing as much as every single divisional breakdown or as little as simply posting your World Series picks. Let's get interactive and discuss, as this is a truly subjective exercise. I also have no doubt some people will post comments telling us we're idiots for predicting the Mariners to win the AL West, for example, thinking this is predictions for the real 2012 season. When that happens, please direct them to this paragraph. Thanks in advance for your help.

[Note: I'll put our staff rankings in parentheses, but those are the average of rankings by three of us -- editor Michael Coulter and bloggers C. Trent Rosecrans and myself. The picks below are only mine, so there could be some differences.]

AL EAST
1. Blue Jays (5)
2. Rays (6)
3. Red Sox (7)
4. Yankees (16)
5. Orioles (30)

We do an exercise like this and we end up right back where reality is: With the AL East having three of the best 10 teams in baseball. Of course, the Yankees aren't included this time, so there is some variety here ... except for last place.

AL CENTRAL
1. Royals (10)
2. Indians (11)
3. Tigers (17)
4. White Sox (24)
5. Twins (27)

The division lacks elite teams and I could see arguments for either the Royals or Indians. Maybe even the Tigers. I ultimately went with the Royals because I like their lineup and getting Zack Greinke back atop the rotation gives a boost.

AL WEST
1. Mariners (1)
2. Angels (15)
3. Rangers (23)
4. A's (26)

I feel like Seattle would have this thing clinched in early September. The other three aren't even close here.

NL EAST
1. Braves (2)
2. Phillies (8)
3. Nationals/Expos (9)
4. Mets (14)
5. Marlins (20)

Very strong division here, as I wrote that the Mets Homegrown unit would challenge for the NL wild card. It's just that three teams in this division (and two more in the West) happen to very clearly be better.

NL CENTRAL
1. Cardinals (13)
2. Pirates (12)
3. Astros (21)
4. Reds (18)
5. Brewers (25)
6. Cubs (29)

Like the AL Central, this is a sub-par division. In the rankings where three of us voted, the Pirates edged out the Cardinals, but I still think the Cardinals' Homegrown team is a bit better and these are my picks. Definitely feel free to do something different in your own picks below -- and I know my boy Trent would. I do think 83-85 wins would take this thing, though, and the winner would be destroyed in the first round of the playoffs.

NL WEST
1. Diamondbacks (3)
2. Dodgers (4)
3. Rockies (19)
4. Giants (22)
5. Padres (28)

Two-horse race here, as both the D-Backs and Dodgers came out ranked in our top four overall. The other three teams in this division aren't even .500 ballclubs in this exercise.

PLAYOFFS

AL Wild Card: Tampa Bay Rays
NL Wild Card: Los Angeles Dodgers

ALDS
Blue Jays over Royals in 3
Mariners over Rays in 5

NLDS
D-Backs over Cardinals in 3
Braves over Dodgers in 5

ALCS
Mariners over Blue Jays in 7

NLCS
Braves over D-Backs in 6

THE HOMEGROWN WORLD SERIES
Mariners over Braves in 7

Can we say it was a pitchers' duel for the ages in Game 7 with Adam Wainwright vs. Felix Hernandez? Sure, why not? This is just for fun anyway.

So those are my picks. Again, make your own below and we can compare.

CONCLUSION

I probably don't have to do this, but I felt like clarifying a few things. First of all, you know how sometimes people leave comments like "it must be a slow news day!" like it's some kind of huge insult? Yeah, it's actually true some of the time -- especially in the offseason. Aside from the whirlwind that is the Winter Meetings -- and this year's version was insane -- the time from Thanksgiving to Christmas in baseball can be a collective "slow news day." And we knew this. So we came up with the idea to run this series, as it would give us something of substance every single day for 31 days (including this recap).

Now, we didn't just do it to kill time. That would be a waste of readers' time. We wanted to do something that was a bit unique, interesting and also fun. Making fictional lineups is pretty fun for any die-hard baseball fan. Think about, is an "All-Star team of players over 30 years old" really worth anything but a fun discussion? No. It's entertainment for those of us who love talking baseball. That's what the Homegrown series was all about. If you aren't a die-hard fan or hate ever thinking about something unrealistic, it's not for you, and that's OK.

Most of the feedback we got was good. Some was really bad, but that's the way things go. No exercise is ever going to be universally accepted, especially when the Internet provides the cloak of anonymity and someone can just type "this is awful, you suck" and then move along to the next page. For everyone who weighed in, thanks for the feedback. We appreciate all comments, both good and bad -- but mostly, we were happy to see that so many did find it interesting and fun. That was the goal.

As for any "flaws" in this exercise, if one was trying to draw some broad, sweeping conclusion, there would be many flaws. The Yankees, for example, are generally always picking in the last few picks of the first round in the MLB Draft and also lose picks frequently as they sign top-shelf free agents. On the other hand, teams like the Rays, Pirates and Royals have enjoyed quite a few chances to pick toward the top of the draft and to also nab supplemental picks as free agents depart. Plus, there's a reason there are real-life trades: Because no team could possibly have enough foresight on how prospects turn out and put together a well-rounded roster from draft/international signings only.

Also, in an effort to avoid inconsistency, we only used the 40-man rosters and major-league free agents. If a player is retired or in the minors and not yet on a 40-man roster, we didn't use him. Several Giants fans, for example, really wanted prospect Gary Brown to be used as the center fielder, but he's not on the 40-man (yet). I understand that if this was a realistic scenario, the ballclub might more quickly promote a guy to fill a hole, but, again, this wasn't meant to be "realistic" in any stretch of the term. And on Brown specifically, he spent 2011 in High-A ball, so he's hardly big-league ready.

We knew all of these so-called "flaws" heading in. I cannot possibly stress enough that the object of this series was for entertainment and nothing more. There's no need to go thinking too hard about it or getting worked up about your favorite team being either over- or underrated. Who cares? This isn't reality. Take the series for what it's meant to be.

Most of all, we thank our readers for taking part in this fun little exercise and encourage each and every one of you to post your rankings or standings or simply pick a World Series champion below. The beauty of it is there's no wrong answer, as it is entirely subjective. Get the discussion going as you sit in the office with nothing to do on the last day before Christmas weekend.

We have had a few requests for possibly doing these again next year -- but instead placing the players on the team they debuted in the majors with. That's definitely something we'll look into. We take all feedback seriously here at Eye On Baseball.

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Posted on: December 19, 2011 1:10 pm
 

Orioles to improve ballpark, put up new statues



By Matt Snyder


Believe it or not, Oriole Park at Camden Yards is about to enter its 20th season. It was the park that changed everything, moving away from the cookie-cutter astroturf parks (Riverfront Stadium, Busch Stadium, Three Rivers Stadium, Veteran's Stadium, etc.) and back to a retro look. In honor of the 20th anniversary, the Orioles are making several improvements to the stadium -- and also erecting six statues.

The Orioles announced in a press release that "larger than life sculptures" of six Orioles greats will be progressively unveiled during the course of the 2012 season in the bullpen picnic grove, which will also be getting massive upgrades and "additional landscaping as part of a plan to turn the area into a ballpark oasis."

The six statues? They will depict Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Cal Ripken Jr., Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray and, of course, Earl Weaver.

“We are excited and proud to honor the six greatest Orioles of all time,” said director of communications Greg Bader. “These legends will now have a more visible presence inside the ballpark, just as they are honored with retired number statues outside the gates. As we celebrate the 20th Anniversary of Oriole Park at Camden Yards, it seems especially appropriate to pay tribute to the past while looking forward to a bright future for the Orioles.”

Each of the six statues will be unveiled during a 2012 home game, with the Orioles greats on hand for their respective unveiling.

The Orioles also announced that there will be a new bar and seating area on top of the batter's eye in center field, an area previously inaccessible to fans. Several other improvements to concessions, concourse area and sight-line improvement will be done as well.

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Posted on: December 18, 2011 6:50 pm
Edited on: December 19, 2011 9:46 am
 

Reports: Orioles sign Endy Chavez

By Matt Snyder

The Baltimore Orioles have agreed to sign free agent outfielder Endy Chavez, several different outlets are reporting (MASN.com). The New York Daily News reports the deal is for one year.

Chavez, 33, hit .301/.323/.426 for the Rangers last season in limited duty (274 plate appearances). He also had 10 stolen bases. The Orioles will mark Chavez's seventh team in 11 seasons.

FREE AGENT TRACKER

New Baltimore general manager Dan Duquette had said earlier this offseason that a left-handed outfield bat was a need, as Felix Pie -- who has signed with the Indians -- just wasn't cutting it. Chavez is a lefty and a definite upgrade over Pie.

Chavez could even land some significant playing time for the O's. Obviously Nick Markakis and Adam Jones are firmly entrenched in right and center field, respectively, but Nolan Reimold is slotted as the left fielder. Reimold has good power, but inconsistency has plagued him the past two years. In fact, he didn't even make the team out of spring last year. He had a really good September, but who knows if that continues. With Chavez, the Orioles have a potential platoon-mate (Reimold is right-handed) or even insurance to take over. If Reimold does hit well all season and remain the starter, Chavez is a fine fourth outfielder.

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Posted on: December 13, 2011 10:48 am
 

Left-hander Wada nearing deal with Orioles

By Matt Snyder

Tsuyoshi Wada is nearing a two-year deal with the Baltimore Orioles, sources have confirmed to CBSSports.com's Jon Heyman. The news was first reported by Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun.

Wada, 30, is a left-hander who is said to be a soft-tosser cut in the Jamie Moyer mold. He went 17-8 with a 3.14 ERA and 1.81 WHIP in Japan last season. He did strike out 169 batters in 169 1/3 innings, so he must be crafty.

There's already a logjam of potential starting pitchers for the Orioles. The starting five, as of now, appears to be Jeremy Guthrie, Zach Britton, Jake Arrieta, Chris Tillman and Brian Matusz, but Tommy Hunter could easily figure into the mix. Plus, there's been talk of moving closer Jim Johnson into the rotation and we know Alfredo Simon can start if need be. If Wada is added, there are even more bodies vying for the five spots. It will be interesting to see what happens from there, as Guthrie -- to name just one -- has been mentioned in trade rumors for quite a while. With new leadership in place, massive changes could be on the horizon.

List of MLB free agents

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 3:48 pm
 

Indians add Felix Pie on minor-league deal

Felix PieBy C. Trent Rosecrans

The Indians have agreed to a minor-league deal with former Orioles outfielder Felix Pie, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun tweets.

According to the report, Pie can earn up to $1 million in performance bonuses and can opt out by opening day.

Pie, a one-time top prospect of the Cubs, took a huge step back in 2011, hitting .220/.264/.280 in 85 games for the Orioles after hitting .270/.315/.424 with 14 homers and 60 RBI in his first two seasons in Baltimore. Pie offers debth in the outfield, as he can play all three positions. Clevelnad re-signed center fielder Grady Sizemore, who makes up the outfield, as of now, with Shin-Soo Choo and Michael Brantley.

The Indians are reportedly still in on free-agent outfielder Josh Willingham. The Mariners, Rockies and Twins are also interested in Willigham. Minnesota and Colorado see Willingham as a fallback option if either loses out on Michael Cuddyer.

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Posted on: December 11, 2011 6:35 am
 

Homegrown Team: Baltimore Orioles

Erik Bedard

By C. Trent Rosecrans


What if players were only permitted to stay with the team that originally made them a professional? No trades, no Rule-5 Draft, no minor or major league free agency ... once you are a professional baseball player, you stay in that organization. This series shows how all 30 teams would look. We give you: Homegrown teams. To view the schedule/past entries of this feature, click here.

The Orioles haven't had a winning season since 1997, and part of that has been the team's inability to draft, sign and cultivate its own players. Even the teams with the biggest payrolls, like the Yankees and Red Sox, have learned the lesson that you need to have a steady crop of homegrown players, not only to keep costs down, but also to have the commodities to trade if needed. The Orioles' Matt Wieters emerged as an All-Star in 2011 and Brian Roberts has had a solid career, but the team has still struggled to produce a consistent pipeline to the majors, and when those players have gotten there, they've often disappointed.

Lineup

1. Brian Roberts, 2B
2. Mike Fontenot, SS
3. Nick Markakis, RF
4. Jayson Werth, 1B
5. Matt Wieters, C
6. Nolan Reimold, LF
7. Jerry Hairston Jr., 3B
8. Willie Harris, DH
9. Darnell McDonald, CF

Starting Rotation

1. Erik Bedard
2. Zach Britton
3. Jake Arrieta
4. Brad Bergesen
5. Brian Matusz

Bullpen

Closer - David Hernandez
Set up - Arthur Rhodes, Jim Johnson, Koji Uehara, Jason Berken, Pedro Beato, D.J. Carrasco

Notable Bench Players

Eli Whiteside is the backup catcher, and a pretty good one. But other than that, the Orioles' bench is thin. Brandon Snyder? Ryan Adams? That's about all the team has to offer.

What's Good?

The middle of the lineup -- Markakis, Werth and Wieters is solid and the bullpen is deep. Other than that? Not much.

What's Not?

Take your pick -- the rest of the team's lineup isn't up to snuff. The rotation, minus Bedard, is similar to the real team's rotation in 2011. And then there's not much depth, either in the rotation or the lineup.

Comparison to real 2011

Only the Astros, Twins and Mariners had a worse record than Baltimore's 67-95 mark in 2011, and this team could be even worse. The rotation is about the same and the offense isn't as good without J.J. Hardy, Adam Jones and Mark Reynolds. The Orioles once were known for throwing money at free agents and not developing their own players, now they just don't develop their own players. A team of homegrown Orioles could challenge the 100 loss mark and maybe even the worst record in baseball.

Next: Washington Nationals

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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