I posted this rant over at Camden Crazies in response to some tweets by frostking. I figured I'd repost some of that here...
OK, so this trade in a vacuum is 31-year old Salazar for 26-year old middle reliever. But in this case I don’t care how old Salazar is because he is a) cheap and under control (not even a full season of MLB experience yet) and b) the Orioles have a need for a bat at both corner spots in the infield, certainly this year and even more so in 2010.
The Warehouse will not pick up the option on Mora and will probably not resign Huff unless Aubrey is ready to take a big paycut. That leaves Ty Wigginton to play third base and…who’d on first? Salazar could have filled that need and given Brandon Snyder (who is not exactly tearing up AAA) more time to develop. It’s cheap offense and buys time for one of our few position player prospects. That’s value.
People act like the only choice was to trade either Salazar or Pie. There was another. Cut Melvin Mora. MacPhail seems to understand the concept of a sunk cost and with only $3 million still owed to Mora, it would have been fairly easy to do. Even with Salazar’s poor defense at third, he would still more valuable than Mora. Shift Wiggy to third and let Salazar get ABs at first, the defense is even less of an issue.
Cla Meredith is bad away from PETCO and against AL competition:
The splits are ugly and he may contribute absolutely nothing to the team.
A team like Baltimore needs to be creative in filling holes. They can’t attract top free agents quite yet. Who’s going to play third base next year? Or first? Retreads, has-beens or “good field, no-hit” types. Seems to me Salazar would have been at least a shot at filling the spot cheaply and maybe even produce on a regular basis. His major league OPS is .880 . His last two years in Norfolk he’s had an OPS well over .900 . Worth a shot, I think.
Now maybe MacPhail has irons in the fire that will garner Baltimore a 1B or 3B for next year. But I gave him the benefit of the doubt with the rotation this year and they really didn’t have a great plan in place for that deficiency. On the face of it, I’m calling this trade shortsighted.
I'd say this is my last word on the subject but I know if Salazar starts tearing up the NL West I'll be back here stamping my feet like a petulant child...
A few loosely related things...
I finally got around to reading the Sports Illustrated Earl Weaver "Where are they now?" article.
I've toyed with the idea of writing an article about how easy it is for an Oriole fan to get on board with basic Sabermetric principals because Earl was employing them years before they had a name. But I'm not that talented a writer and Tom Verducci basically did it here.
Semi-related, former Oriole farmhhand Steve Dalkowski is being inducted into The Shrine of the Eternals. Read all about the amazing career (or lack thereof) at The Baseball Analysts and via links at Roar From 34.
So, regarding the Earl Weaver/Sabermetrics link, there was this about former Oriole manager Paul Richards:
As a manager, Richards was thrown out of games more frequently than anyone else....
He was the first manager known to enforce pitch counts to protect young arms from injury. Previously undiscovered documents reveal that Richards tracked his hitters' on-base percentages before that statistic even had a name and decades before it became a cornerstone of baseball analysis. He computed catchers' earned run averages years before the sabermetric community thought of it.
So the roots of statistical analysis (and evidently hot-headedness) run deep in Oriole managerial history.
Also, this nugget about Dalkowski:
However, to the extent that this card has any value whatsoever, it is solely due to the legend that is Dalkowski, the inspiration for Nick LaLoosh, the character portrayed by Tim Robbins in "Bull Durham."
Ron Shelton, who wrote and directed the 1988 movie classic, will introduce Dalkowski at tomorrow's induction ceremony. Shelton was a minor league second baseman for the Orioles during the '60s, yet, according to George Vecsey in an article in today's The New York Times, he and Dalkowski have surprisingly never met.
I had forgotten all about the Dalkowski's Nuke La Loosh connection and that Ron Shelton had been an Oriole farmhand. Makes me love that movie even more...
Some new developments of note for Oriole Spring Training...Sarasota has cleared a major hurdle in luring the Orioles to Sarasota for Spring Training. The City of Sarasota has approved a measure to turn the stadium complex over to the city for $1 allowing the county to make a $31 million bid for the team. County officials and the Orioles report they are close to an agreement.
So I switched from Sirius to XM so I could listen to baseball on the radio. It's nice.
Anyway, I was listening to MLB Home Plate and Aubrey Huff was scheduled to join the network for an interview during the 11 o'clock hour but he never showed up.
If I was a conspiracy theorist, I would imagine that it is because he is on the verge of being traded and the club doesn't want him talking to the media. If I was...
Screech is tearing up the International League. Jeff Fiorentino in Norfolk:
AVG OBP SLG 2B 3B HR K BB
Fiorentino .317 .388 .527 18 4 7 44 28
Not too shabby. That gives him a MLE OPS of .793. Maybe he could be trade bait? Maybe he's finally breaking through? A long shot but worth thinking about. And good for Jeff.