Dear Santa Dan...
It’s Christmastime here in Charm City. Santa’s House is lit up at Harborplace, all of the local athletes are hosting their holiday events for underprivileged children, and the Ravens are making another run to the playoffs, hoping to give their fans a Lombardi Trophy as a late present. It’s a truly special Christmas for me, as I will be celebrating it with my beautiful 6 ½ month old daughter, who is the best present anyone could have ever given me.
The holiday season is usually the time of the year where I get excited for baseball season again. The Winter GM Meetings happen, which initiate a variety of moves that are made to (attempt to) improve everyone’s respective ball clubs. Trades happen, contract extensions are signed, players are non-tendered, and ridiculous contracts are offered to players who are amazing, but will probably not live up to their awesomeness during the entirety of the deal.
This offseason, however, I am not incredibly pumped about the moves that my team has made thus far – Both on-the-field and in the Front Office. Our new GM, Dan Duquette, has basically done nothing except for bring all of his Red Sox buddies in that he worked with over 10 years ago, piss off our scouts, and not done the one thing that would probably make a huge difference in our team’s scouting & development department: Fire anyone with the last name Stockstill that works for the Orioles. For the on-the-field product, he has traded for a pitcher that has been DFA’ed/non-tendered from every team he has played for (Dana Eveland), signed Koji Uehara Jr. (Tsuyoshi Wada), and traded for a back-up catcher (Taylor Teagarden). Oh, and let’s not forget our B-Rob replacement, Matt Antonelli, who hasn’t played more than 21 major league games and was signed to a major league deal. Woof.
We Orioles fans are over it. We’re over Peter Angelos, we’re over losing, and we’re over having a Front Office incapable of making moves that will have a positive impact on our future. I will always be an Orioles fan, but I’d like to be able to write more positive blog posts about the team in the coming years. It’s not pretty in the warehouse underneath those phenomenal funny bird hats.
Here’s a little Christmas list that I put together for Jim Duquette’s cousin. I hope that he decides to play Santa this year & give Orioles fans something that will get us excited for the 2012 season:
- Please don’t pick up any more retreads: We have seen this for years upon years upon years. The GM will look for that “lightning-in-a-jar” type of player, and unfortunately those types of guys are few & far between. We caught lightning once with Jeremy Guthrie, and he has turned out to be one of the more well-liked birds, and the definition of a workhorse (even though his numbers don’t show it due to offensive shortcomings). People like Dana Eveland aren’t going to teach our young players how hard work and persistence pay off – They teach them that regardless of your numbers, there will always be some sucker that will be willing to pay you.
- Fix the Front Office: I believe it was my buddy @kt1000 on Twitter who said that the Stockstills will never be without a job in the Orioles organization because they know where the bodies of the Angelos family lie. That has to be true, as they remain in the organization, while up and coming executives like Matt Klentak (who should have been hired as GM, in my opinion) roll out to other teams and end up doing pretty well for themselves. The irony in the fact that Jerry Dipoto said “No Thanks” to the O’s, hired someone who Dan Duquette said we could do without, and signed 2 of the biggest names on the FA market is almost too much to bear. We need to hire people with proven records in the scouting & development department. Get to it.
- Cut the dead weight: I’m not going to lie: My favorite move of the offseason so far was the non-tendering of Luke Scott. We don’t need to pay a 4th outfielder over $7 million to ride the pine – It makes no sense. DD needs to keep up with the trend of getting overpaid clowns off of the payroll, so that more money can be spent on extensions & signing some sort of offensive power… OK, I couldn’t keep a straight face when I wrote that, because I know that no young power hitter with a decent trajectory will sign here for any amount of money until we prove ourselves. When I say “dead weight,” I first and foremost mean any overpaid bullpen pitcher, aka Kevin Gregg. Also, anyone without minor league options left who has little impact on the team. Trade them for whatever you can get - Single A players, a case of beer, whatever.
- Sign Some Extensions: I know, I know: Last time we signed our homegrown players to extensions, the on-the-field payoff wasn’t what we thought it would be: Brian Roberts has been injury-plagued since 2010, and Nick Markakis, while incredibly consistent defensively & offensively, hasn’t had a team assembled around him as we all thought he would. However, we need to give Matt Wieters some money, which will be a challenge in itself as he is a Boras client, and Boras clients don’t sign extensions. We also need to keep Adam Jones, not only by signing him to some serious duckets, but also by promising him that this team is going somewhere so that he doesn’t waste his talent on a perennial last place team.
Happy Holidays to you and your families, and here’s to a great start to 2012 – And hopefully the start of a new era in Orioles baseball.