First, I present the headline for yesterday's O's game on ESPN.com:
Hey, ESPN! There's a school called Fordham University. Some people call it FU. That's right ESPN, FU.
Anyway, far be it for me to tell the great Dave Trembley what to do. (That's not sarcastic at all, I think he's doing an excellent job...) But he's making a big mistake that is affecting the Orioles on the field and in the front office.
As I mentioned yesterday, Jay Payton can only do two things well at this advanced stage of his career: serve as a passable defensive replacement and mash lefthanded pitching.
It's an evolution that has been happening gradually over the past 3 or 4 seasons but the transformation is now complete. Jay Payton is a guy you call off the bench to pinch hit against lefthanded relievers or give him spot starts against lefty starters.
If Dave Trembley would start deploying him as such, Payton will succeed and get the attention of contending teams in the National League. Good pinch hitters are not easy to come by. A veteran who could pinch-hit (like Payton) could be seen as a commodity come the trade deadline.
But only if you start his "branding" now. He's a righthanded bat off the bench who can rake lefties and a fine defensive replacement. Start using him that way now and it'll pay dividends in the box score and maybe get you a young minor league arm that is worthy of pitching in the Oriole bullpen in 2009.