Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Alfredo Simon Getting a Payday?

Alfredo Simon was acquitted of an involuntary murder charge in the Dominican Republic.

As you probably remember, Simon was accused of shooting a man during a New Year's Eve celebration about 11 months ago. At the time, I thought that was the last we would see of Simon in an Oriole uniform. Evidently, I was wrong as he appeared in 23 games for Baltimore in 2011 (including 16 starts) and was one of the better starters for the O's late in the season.

But that's not why I wrote this blurb. It was because of this phrase that caught my eye and gave me a good chuckle:

According to local news website gentetuya.com, Simon is expected to sign a $12 million contract with the Orioles.

That, on first blush is a completely laughable concept. According to Cot's Contracts, Simon isn't even eligibile for arbitration until 2013. Why would you sign him to any contract before then? They never did this to, say, Jeremy Guthrie. Why take that risk?

Now, Simon was (a bit surprisingly) worth 1.1 WAR according to Fangraphs.com which places his value to the team at $5 million for 2011. Even if you think that FanGraphs is a bit too liberal with it's valuations, Simon was probably worth $3.5-4 million. If you spread that $12 million over Simon's remaining years of control, that's $3 million per season.

Sure, he might be worth that. But would you really want to bet on it? There is no way the Orioles will be looking to lock up the likes of Alfredo Simon, certainly not before he becomes eligible for arbitration.

Dan Duquette: Man of Desperation

A great post at Et Tu, Mr. Destructo that goes into great detail about the recent hiring of new Orioles GM Dan Duquette and puts it all in context.

I haven't commented on Dan Duquette or the entire GM search for Baltimore but this passage pretty much sums up my cautious optimism:

Duquette, though, is playing with house money. He's not like LaCava. He doesn't have a reputation to lose. His last job was running a sports camp for kids. If he fails, he returns to obscurity, just another good baseball man chewed up and spit out by an out-of-touch organization. No one would blame him for not being the guy who could turn the Orioles around. But if he succeeds, then the bitter, honorable failure of an owner's last desperate gamble for a pennant-winning team came to rest on the shoulders of an outcast who was kicked to the curb and stayed there for 10 years, achieved in the face of the league's two highest payrolls and its two best front offices.

Duquette is a desperate man. He is desperate for this job and is desperate for success. Desperate men will do damn near anything to succeed and are far more willing to do unorthodox things to make it happen. Like Jonathan Bernhardt states, he really has nothing to lose. And that could be really interesting to watch.

Monday, November 14, 2011

O's Unhappy with Ed Smith Stadium Cleanup

Two years ago, the Orioles and the city of Sarasota, FL had a public lovefest as Baltimore moved their Spring Training operations to the Gulf Coast.

According to Tampa Bay Online, the honeymoon is over:

As the costs of an environmental cleanup at Ed Smith Stadium reach $1 million, the Baltimore Orioles are saying the city of Sarasota needs to pitch in more money.

The Orioles last week requested $420,000 to improve poor drainage at its spring training practice fields, a problem the team blames on an old city dump buried beneath the facility.

City Manager Bob Bartolotta says the Orioles are "trying to make a convoluted argument" to get the city to pay for field upgrades that should have come from a $24 million stadium renovation funded by taxpayers...

The Orioles are calling for that field to be rebuilt and fitted with a system of underground pipes at a cost of about $415,000. The team is also calling for a geotechnical analysis to see if the three other practice fields at the 53-acre ballpark on 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue need drainage systems...

Last December, the city and county signed off on a $975,000 cleanup plan — more than $500,000 of it to drain an underground plume of water polluted with vinyl chloride, a compound used to manufacture plastic.

It sounds really messy, physically and legally.

You would think this would have all been worked out beforehand and maybe it was and they just see it different ways. But I do find it entertaining how quickly the relationship soured between Sarasota and Peter Angelos.

Anyway, none of this will affect Spring Training 2012 (any changes the O's are pushing for will be completed before the end of the year or after Spring Training is over) or the long-term prospects of the Orioles keeping their Spring Training home in Sarasota. Neither side is going to terminate this relationship over $500,000.

Thursday, November 10, 2011

2011 Oriole Predictions Revisited

Better late than never, I figured I would revisit my pre-season predicitons for 2011 for the Orioles. Here they are (were):

If Brian Roberts plays in 130 games, I'm going with 80 wins. If he ends up on the DL, 76 wins.

Wow, I was really optimistic for 2011. Roberts did not play in 130 games, obviously. But the O's fell 7 wins short of my projections. I figured the pitching staff would struggle but not as much as it did. A top of the rotation that included Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz and Zach Britton held much more promise than it delivered.

Zach Britton wins the AL Rookie of the Year. Yeah, Jeremy Hellickson is the odds on favorite but I think Britton comes up on the outside and catches him.

Dead wrong. Britton had his bright spots but Hellickson had a solid season (helped by the defensive team behind him) and is still one of the favorites for the award. Dustin Ackley, Eric Hosmer and others from a strong rookie class.

Adam Jones breaks out this season. A mild breakout, something like a .295/.340/.450. 20 home runs. But a breakout nonetheless.

Jones hit .280/.319/.466 on the year. I predicted a .790 OPS, he OPS'ed .785. He broke out with the power more than with his hit tool (25 homers). But pretty close

I can't predict playing time but Nolan Reimold will finish the season with a higher OPS than Vladimir Guerrero. So will Luke Scott.

One of the few things I was really right on was the Reimold versus Guerrero debate. Reimold finished with a .781 OPS, Guerrero with a .733 OPS. Luke Scott only had a .703 OPS but if healthy, I think he would have hit somewhere north of a .750 OPS. I'm calling this one as correct.

Jeremy Guthrie will, once again, have an ERA lower than his FIP. Probably significantly so.

Not really. Guthrie's FIP was 4.48 (xFIP was 4.47) and his actual ERA was 4.33.

Nick Markakis will hit 40 doubles. Again. Also will have at least a .360 OBP.

This seemed like a real no-brainer before the season but Nick didn't come close to that 40 double mark, only 31 this season. And he rallied for a .351 OBP late in the season. But I continue to have rose colored glasses when it comes to Nick. It was the worst offensive season of his career.

Matt Wieters hits 15 home runs. Anything else he does is anybody's guess.

He hit 22 homers, had his best offensive year yet and became one of the top defensive catchers in baseball.

Luke Scott will OPS north of .850.

Not exactly. Even if healthy, I don't think Scott could have streaked his way to that number.

Josh Rupe doesn't see May 15th in Baltimore. He sees it from Norfolk.

I had forgotten all about Josh Rupe until I reviewed this post. May 5th was his last appearance for Baltimore.

Zach Britton is in Baltimore before May 15th.

Injuries made this a near necessity in early April.

JJ Hardy will be a fan favorite by June 1st.

I'll vote no on this. On June 1st, Hardy was OPSing .730 with 3 homers. The rest of the way he OPSed .817 with 27 homers. He was winning hearts in June and July but not by June 1st.

Matt Albers will outperform most of the Oriole pen while pitching for Boston.

This was definitely true through, oh, right about the All-Star break. But Albers' late season struggles gave him a 4.73 ERA (worse than his mark for the O's in 2010) and although his strikeout numbers improved, he just wasn't very good in Boston.

Mark Hendrickson ends up playing a large role in the Oriole season. Take that as you will.

Hendrickson pitched 11 innings for the O's in 2011. Not. Even. Close.

Mark Reynolds hits 30 homers and has 200 Ks.

Reynolds exceeded even my great expectations by hitting 37 homers but fell just short of the strikeout predicition with 196.