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Tag:Nick Markakis
Posted on: March 8, 2012 8:25 pm
 

Injury roundup: Price, Manny, Harper and more

By C. Trent Rosecrans

David Robertson may not even have the oddest injury of the spring for any pitcher named David in the American League East.

Rays left-hander David Price Thursday's game after two innings with what the team called a "minor neck spasm." How does one suffer a minor neck spasm? Well, apparently by toweling off the beck of his head just a bit too hard.

Really.

Don't believe me? Ask Price.



If you didn't click on the video, Price said it's happened to him before and he shouldn't miss any time. [Tampa Bay Times]

PROJECTED LINEUPS AND ROTATIONS

• Cardinals right-hander Chris Carpenter may not make his scheduled start on Monday because of neck stiffness that has halted his training.

Carpenter canceled his throwing session on Wednesday and said Thursday he's been bothered by the neck stiffness. He was scheduled to throw Friday, but that may not happen, either. He said there's no timetable for his return. [St. Louis Post-Dispatch]

• Manny Ramirez may return from a sore back on Saturday against the Reds. Ramirez has played two games this spring and was scratched on Wednesday. [MLB.com]

• Nationals prospect Bryce Harper was a late scratch from Thursday's exhibition game because of a tightness in his left calf. He's listed as day-to-day, but expects to play either Friday or Saturday.

Harper said he didn't feel the tightness when hitting, but did feel it when he was in the outfield. [Washington Times]

• Nationals first baseman Adam LaRoche played in a minor-league intrasquad game on Thursday, but he's still limited on his injured foot. He hit a home run during the game, but he wasn't able to get a real feel how his foot felt. He said he may be able to play in a big-league exhibition by Saturday. [MASNSports.com]

• Two days after his first start of the year, Mets left-hander Johan Santana said he felt good and is looking forward to his next start, Sunday against the Marlins. [New York Daily News]

• Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis will make his spring debut on March 14. Markakis had abdominal surgery in the offseason. He'll DH at first. [Baltimore Sun]

• Reds left-hander Bill Bray had been shut down for two weeks with a groin injury and then stopped his scheduled bullpen session short on Wednesday. Reds manager Dusty Baker told reporters that could lead to Aroldis Chapman moving back to the bullpen.

The Reds have tried stretching Chapman out and using him as a starter this spring, but he could be back in the bullpen with Bray's injury. Chapman is starting Friday in a split-squad game against the Giants. [Cincinnati Enquirer]

• The Rangers' Brad Hawpe was scratched from a B game against the White Sox because of a setback with his right hamstring. Hawpe was supposed to lead off every inning in his first action of the spring, but instead "overdid it" getting ready on Wednesday.

Hawpe said he expects to be ready by Friday. [MLB.com]

• Marlins right-hander Anibal Sanchez hasn't thrown in a spring training game yet, and there's no telling when he will return from the tightness in his throwing shoulder. He's expected to throw for the team in Jupiter on Friday. [Miami Herald]

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Posted on: February 2, 2012 7:43 am
Edited on: February 2, 2012 7:55 am
 

Baseball's worst contracts, Part II: OF/DH



By Matt Snyder


As we continue our look at the most cumbersome contracts in baseball, today we'll look at outfielders and designated hitters. We covered the infield and catchers Wednesday and will look at pitchers Friday. As a reminder, we're looking at what is left on the contract, not what the player has been paid through the duration of the deal.

Left Field

Worst: Vernon Wells, Angels
Remaining contract: 3 years, $74 million

Man, this was a tough call because it's a crowded field (see below), but we'll go with Wells because the average annual value remaining on the contract is insane. He hit .218/.248/.412 last season and had a negative WAR, meaning a replacement-level player was better than a guy making over $25 million for the season. At age 33, he could certainly bounce back, but it's hard to see him all of a sudden becoming worth as much money as he's making.

Honorable Mention

Carl Crawford, Red Sox: There are six years and $128 million left on the deal, and I feel like many will argue that Crawford's remaining contract is worse than Wells'. I'm willing to give the 30-year-old Crawford a mulligan for his catastrophic first season in Boston. Next year at this time we'll know a lot more.

Alfonso Soriano, Cubs: Amazingly, he still has three years and $57 million left. Wow.

Jason Bay, Mets: In two seasons for the Mets, Bay has hit .251/.337/.386 (what an ugly slugging percentage for a supposed power hitter) with just 18 homers in 218 games. He still has two years and $36.25 million left, too, in addition to a $3 million buyout should the Mets not pick up his option year.

Center Field

Worst: Alex Rios, White Sox
Remaining Contract: 3 years, $38.5 million

While his teammate got much of the blame last year in terms of the White Sox's shortfall -- and you'll see him below -- Rios was pretty awful himself. He hit .227/.265/.348, which was good for a 65 OPS-plus (if you don't know what that is, trust me, it's embarrassingly bad). He actually posted a negative 1.5 WAR, meaning -- according to the stat -- that he single-handedly cost the White Sox a win and a half just by being in the lineup when he was. And now, thanks to that contract, he's untradeable.

Honorable Mention

Actually, I've got nothing here. Once one-time center fielders' contracts get too big they are usually shoved to the corners. The big-money guys here (Matt Kemp, Curtis Granderson, etc.) are fairly compensated.

Right Field

Worst: Jayson Werth, Nationals
Remaining contract: 6 years, $116 million

Very easy choice. I fully expect a bounce-back season from Werth this year, as several things didn't go his way last season. That being said, the Nationals are paying Werth like he's a superstar all the way until the season in which he turns 38. He wasn't even a superstar his last year in Philadelphia, when he was 31.

Honorable Mention

Nick Markakis, Orioles: There's a reason you only hear about other teams asking for Adam Jones in a trade and not Markakis. The latter is due $43.05 million over the next three seasons while he hit .284 with 15 homers and 73 RBI last season. You need more offense than that from a corner outfielder in order to pay him almost $15 million a year.

Designated Hitter

Worst: Adam Dunn, White Sox.
Remaining contract: 3 years, $44 million

Another easy one. Like Werth, I also expect Dunn to bounce back, but there's no way he can be good enough to earn his full contract over the next three years, especially considering how bad he was last season. He was historically awful with the bat -- there's really no need to rehash the gruesome details at this point -- and that's all he does. And if he does field, his value actually decreases because he's such a butcher with the glove.

Honorable Mention

Travis Hafner, Indians: Nitpicky here, but Pronk will make $13 million this season. He's only averaged 91 games per year the past four seasons. No one else really warrants mention, because Big Papi, for example, is still worth the big bucks.

On the Other Hand ...

Justin Upton, Diamondbacks: Thanks to an early Longoria-type extension, Upton is set to make $46.109 million over the next four seasons. He made just under $4.5 million last season, when he finished fourth in a crowded NL MVP field. Since Upton is only 24, the D-Backs will have to pony up again -- and probably in huge fashion -- to lock him up through his prime, but for now this is a very team-friendly contract.

Special Cases

Bobby Bonilla, Mets: This is both hilarious and sad at the same time. When the Mets bought out Bonilla's $5.9 million contract in 2000, they agreed to repay him with interest starting 11 years later. Beginning July 1, 2011, the Mets are paying Bonilla an annual salary of roughly $1.2 million until 2035. Or around $35 million in all. In 2012, the Mets will pay Bonilla more than the following regulars/rotation members: Daniel Murphy, Ike Davis, Lucas Duda, Josh Thole, Ruben Tejada, Jonathon Niese and Dillon Gee.

Manny Ramirez, Dodgers: We'll ignore that the Red Sox are paying Manny B. Manny $2 million per year until he's 54 because he helped bring them two World Series titles. But the Dodgers are paying Ramirez $8.33 million in 2012 and 2013. Assuming Clayton Kershaw gets more in arbitration, that means Manny will be the Dodgers' sixth highest-paid player this season. Of course, Frank McCourt is still going to make a billion dollar profit, so ...


Part I: Infielders and catchers
Part III: Pitchers, coming Friday

Source for all figures was Cot's Baseball Contracts

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Posted on: January 6, 2012 1:25 pm
 

Reports: Markakis underwent abdominal surgery

By Matt Snyder

Orioles right fielder Nick Markakis had surgery Thursday to repair a muscle tear in his abdomen, according to multiple reports from the Baltimore area (MASNsports.com).

Markakis is reportedly "confident" he'll be in the Orioles opening-day lineup April 6, and it's worth noting that Nationals third baseman Ryan Zimmerman missed six weeks last season after having the same procedure. Six weeks from right now is February 17, which gives Markakis another seven weeks until opening day, assuming he heals similarly to how Zimmerman did. Thus, he certainly should be ready to go when the season begins, barring serious setbacks.

Markakis, 28, hit .284/.351/.406 with 15 homers, 73 RBI, 72 runs and 12 steals last season for the Orioles, also winning a Gold Glove. He currently figures to sit in the middle of the Orioles lineup along with Adam Jones. If Markakis somehow did suffer a big setback and was forced to open the season on the disabled list -- which really seems like a longshot -- newly-signed Endy Chavez could open the season as the right fielder with Nolan Reimold playing left.

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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

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @eyeonbaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: November 1, 2011 11:28 pm
 

Baseball reveals Gold Glove winners

Molina

By Evan Brunell


For the first time, the Gold Gloves were unveiled in a televised presentation on Tuesday night. Below, you can find the results of the awards. Winners are chosen by managers and coaches who vote for players in their leagues and can't pick players on their own teams.

Catcher
AL: Matt Wieters, Orioles -- Wieters became the first Orioles catcher to win the award. I predicted Wieters would win the award in late September saying that "Runners fear Wieters' arm -- he's only allowed 56 stolen bases all season, while the next-lowest total among catchers who qualify for the batting title is J.P. Arencibia's 77, achieved in 10 less starts. Oh, and Wieters has nabbed 32 runners for a caught-stealing rate of 36 percent, a high percentage for a catcher.

NL: Yadier Molina, Cardinals (pictured) -- Obviously. He wins the award for the fourth straight year, the first time since Charles Johnson from 1995-98.

First base
AL: Adrian Gonzalez, Red Sox -- Gonzalez wins his third Gold Glove and pairs with second baseman Dustin Pedroia to keep the right side of the infield to one team in the AL. The same goes for the NL.

NL: Joey Votto, Reds -- Votto takes home his first Gold Glove award to put on the mantel along with his MVP trophy from 2010.

Second base
AL: Dustin Pedroia, Red Sox -- This is Pedroia's second Gold Glove and first since 2008. As one of the best second basemen in the league, this was a no-brainer. "It's fun playing alongside him," Gonzalez said of Pedroia on ESPN2, saying the communication is top-notch between the two players.

NL: Brandon Phillips, Reds -- The color red really dominated first and second, as the Reds in the NL take home the awards at each respective position. Same with the AL and Red Sox. Phillips wins his third Gold Glove.

Third base
AL: Adrian Beltre, Rangers -- What I said back in September: "Beltre somehow only has two Gold Gloves despite a career of success. That success continues in 2011 in Texas, as Beltre has tremendous range compared with soft hands. Evan Longoria is a fantastic defender as well, but in the AL there simply is no comparison to Beltre."

NL: Placido Polanco, Phillies -- Back in September, C. Trent Rosecrans picked Pablo Sandoval of the Giants. "There are players with better defensive reputations than the Kung Fu Panda, but nobody's had a better year," he wrote. Gold Glove voters disagreed, and Polanco gets his third Gold Glove -- first at third base. He becomes the second major leaguer to win a Gold Glove at two separate positions, following Darin Erstad nabbing one for first base and outfield.

Shortstop
AL: Erick Aybar, Angels -- It's Aybar's first Gold Glove, and he's as good a pick as any to dethrone Derek Jeter's undeserved Gold Glove last season.

NL: Troy Tulowitzki, Rockies -- Trent may not have gotten Sandoval right, but he nailed Tulo. "The Rockies may know a little something about drafting defensive shortstops -- they picked two of the best in the league, Tulowitzki and the Astros' Clint Barmes. Finally healthy, Barmes was outstanding defensively for the Astros, while Tulowitzki seems like the second coming of Cal Ripken," he wrote.

Left field
AL: Alex Gordon, Royals -- Gordon racked up the assists this year, but how do you not give this to Brett Gardner?

NL: Gerardo Parra, Diamondbacks -- Parra grabs his first Gold Glove. I haven't heard Parra as a name among the elite defenders, but there you go. He appears worthy.

Center field
AL: Jacoby Ellsbury, Red Sox -- Ellsbury's victory gives the Red Sox three Gold Glovers. It must be sweet music for the center fielder too, after being moved to left field to start 2010 amid reports of poor defense. Frankly, this is a stretch -- Ellsbury still takes poor routes to the ball. But he's fast, so that helps. It's the first time since 1979 Boston has three winners.

NL: Matt Kemp, Dodgers -- Really? Kemp is a poor center fielder, and it's really difficult to imagine Kemp as a Gold Glove finalist, never mind a victor. But we all know that Gold Glove awards usually aren't worth much, and in this case...

Right field
AL: Nick Markakis, Orioles -- Markakis is not a very good defender. In fact, he made my list as the AL's worst defensive right fielder. I wouldn't go so far as to say that anymore, but a Gold Glove? Frankly, though, I have a hard time getting worked up about who wins the Gold Glove because it's such an irrelevant and inefficient award. For true honoring of defensive prowess, check out the Fielding Bible winners.

NL: Andre Ethier, Dodgers -- It's just the second time in the 21st centery that outfield teammates have won a Gold Glove award. Ethier wins his first. Not quite deserved.

Pitcher
AL: Mark Buerhle, White Sox -- It's his third straight Gold Glove.

NL: Clayton Kershaw, Dodgers -- It's the first award for Kershaw, who said on ESPN2 during the unveiling that he did not expect to win the award. Kershaw spoke about how pitchers fielding practice in spring training can get old, but it provides the basis for good defense. "Once you get out on the field, repetition helps it sink in," he said.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.

Posted on: September 21, 2011 10:12 pm
Edited on: November 1, 2011 11:22 pm
 

Looking at the AL's worst defenders

Reynolds

By Evan Brunell

You've seen who Eye on Baseball tabs as the AL Gold Glove award winners, and who should take home the hardware in the NL. But let's flip the switch and take a look at who is deserving of tin gloves. That is, who were the worst defenders at their respective positions in the American League this season? Let's take a look.

Catcher: J.P. Arencibia, Blue Jays: -- The Jays would love it if Arencibia become a viable starter behind the plate. Unfortunately, that doesn't look as if it will work out. In his first full season as a catcher amassing 116 games, Arencibia registers as one of the worst catchers by advanced defensive metrics and more basic ones, too. Defensive Runs Scored (DRS), errors, caught stealing percentage, passed balls... all are leaderboards that Arencibia appears on, and not at the top.

First base: Miguel Cabrera, Tigers
-- Ah, first base ... where inept fielders make their home. That includes Miguel Cabrera, who is a really, really good hitter but just can't add value fielding. He doesn't have much range and is a statue in the field, leading all AL first basemen in errors with 12 (second in the majors behind Prince Fielder). There isn't anything in the field he does particularly well, so he lands here with a tin glove.

Second base: Jemile Weeks, Athletics
-- Weeks takes after his older brother, Rickie, in that he's just not a very good defender. Despite playing in just 88 games, Weeks has committed 12 errors, most among all second basemen. Ian Kinsler has committed one less error in 50 more games. Infielders -- middle infielders, especially -- can rack up errors if they have great range, committing miscues on balls that the average infielder wouldn't have gotten to. But even Weeks can't claim this, as his range factor is among the worst among second basemen.

Third base: Mark Reynolds, Orioles
-- This one is really easy, and is a player that everyone can agree on. Both advanced metrics and traditional defensive stats all agree that Reynolds is awful with -30 DRS, 26 errors and no range to speak of as well. There's a reason the Orioles have been giving Reynolds looks at first base, and it's because he's that bad at the hot corner.

Shortstop: Derek Jeter, Yankees
-- Yeah, Jeter has five Gold Gloves to his name, but that just shows you what's wrong with the voting process. The fact is that Jeter has been a bad shortstop, and been one for quite some time. He has zero range to speak of with poor reaction time and throwing accuracy or strength. His instincts and ability to make plays on balls he can get to can only take him so far.

Left field: Delmon Young, Tigers
-- You know how in the little leagues, the worst fielder was usually put out to pasture in left field, where he'd befriend weeds while the game played out around him? Yeah, well, that player turned out to hit pretty well, which is why Young is in the majors. Because he's certainly not in the bigs for his defense, which is among the worst in the league by any player at any position.

Center field: Alex Rios, White Sox
-- How much must GM Kenny Williams be regretting claiming Alex Rios off waivers? Not only has the center fielder not hit, he can't even fulfill playing his position. What does Rios in, and it's not like he does well at any aspect of defense this year, is his lack of instincts and range. He may have a solid .991 fielding percentage, but how much does that matter when you can't run balls down in the gaps?

Right field: Nick Markakis, Orioles
-- In right field, a player's arm is one of the more important characteristics as right-fielders need to be able to gun players out both at home and at third base. Markakis' arm is not one of his better attributes, but he's also lacking in speed which is odd given his 12 stolen bases are his most since 2007, but stealing bases and covering ground in the outfield are two very different things.

Pitcher: A.J. Burnett, Yankees
-- As a pitcher, range doesn't really matter. If a ball goes somewhere easily out of the reach of the pitcher, other fielders will handle the play. So it can be tricky to gauge just how good of a fielder a pitcher is. Looking at errors is one way to judge how surehanded a pitcher is, and Burnett's five errors tie him with two others. He doesn't have good range either, with his lack of mobility leading to just eight putouts and 21 assists, which rank at the bottom of the pack.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeonBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.


Posted on: September 21, 2011 11:41 am
Edited on: September 21, 2011 11:43 am
 

R.I.P.: 2011 Baltimore Orioles

By Matt Snyder

Another season gone, another disappointment for 29 teams as one is immortalized forever. Let’s take a look back at 2011 and forward in Eye on Baseball’s R.I.P. series...

Team name: Baltimore Orioles
Record: 64-90, 29.5 games back in AL East
Manager: Buck Showalter
Best hitter: Adam Jones -- .283/.324/.466, 23 HR, 80 RBI, 63 R, 25 2B, 11 SB
Best pitcher: Jeremy Guthrie -- 9-17, 4.28 ERA, 1.34 WHIP, 128 K, 202 IP

The more things change, the more they stay the same. The Orioles haven't been in playoff contention since 1997. Following that season, they finished fourth nine times and third once. They're now headed for their fourth consecutive last-place finish.

2011 SEASON RECAP

Things appeared to be looking up early in the season for the Orioles. They started off 6-1, and this wasn't against pushovers. They swept the Rays, took two of three from the Tigers and then beat the Rangers. Of course, it was too good to be true. They proceeded to lose eight straight. They did battle back to .500 twice and lingered close to .500 until being buried by an awful stretch, when they went 6-23 from June 11-July 15. That would end any hope of breaking through, as the Orioles wouldn't be closer than 20 games in the AL East after July 22.

The Orioles did get younger in trading Derrek Lee, Koji Uehara and Mike Gonzalez, and there were some positive signs. They now have a decent offensive core of catcher Matt Wieters, third baseman Mark Reynolds, shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielders Nick Markakis and Adam Jones (any of the four could have been picked as the "best hitter" above). None of those players are older than 28. Of course, none are younger than 25, nor do any appear to be superstar material. On the mound, the Orioles saw enough from rookie Zach Britton to believe he's one of the pieces of the future, but Brian Matusz had a disaster of a season. Jim Johnson is showing himself the answer at closer and Pedro Strop -- who was acquired from the Rangers in the Gonzalez deal -- is throwing the ball very well in front of him.

2012 AUDIT

The outlook would be a lot more sunny in a different division. The fact of the matter is that the Orioles are set up to improve their on-field product, but probably not be drastic enough to translate into more wins next season -- because the AL East is so good. The Yankees, Red Sox or Rays don't appear to be getting much worse any time soon and the Blue Jays are pretty well set up to take some significant steps forward. That means that even if the Orioles get better, they're still behind the 8-ball, so to speak.

One area where they can improve is from simple progression from all the young players. Matusz can't possibly be worse, so long as he stays mentally balanced, healthy and works hard in the offseason. Tommy Hunter has good enough stuff to be a part of the rotation, too, just as Jake Arrieta does. Chris Tillman is still too young to give up on. Shifting to the position players: Brian Roberts will still only be 34 and should be healthy, so there's hope he comes back with a productive season. Luke Scott and Nolan Reimold are fine pieces of a supporting cast and we already mentioned the offensive core. Also of note: Wieters is becoming a great defensive catcher. That matters.

FREE AGENTS

Cesar Izturis, SS
Vladimir Guerrero, DH

OFFSEASON FOCUS

They need to quit trying to make a patchwork lineup (Lee, Guerrero) for the short-term and instead use some money looking long-term. You aren't competing in the AL East by filling holes with washed-up vets. Here are five big things I'd do to improve the Orioles with the eyes on the future.
  • Sign Prince Fielder. Whatever it takes. I mentioned above the offensive core is good, but lacking a centerpiece. Prince ties it all together. The top seven in the lineup would go something like: Roberts, Markakis, Fielder, Jones, Hardy, Reynolds, Wieters. That looks pretty good, no? Fielder might not want to head to the worst team in the AL East, but money talks. Blow him away. Worried about his durability due to weight? He's only 27 and hasn't played less than 157 games in a season until this year (and he's at 155 and primed to surpass that mark again). He just doesn't miss games. After the big splash signing, try to keep everything else in-house and see what other holes definitely need to be filled after '12.
  • Move Mark Reynolds to DH permanently. He's an absolute butcher at third, but his power and on-base abilities are helpful to the offense.
  • Let Josh Bell and Chris Davis compete for the third base job. Both players have upside, so the Orioles could strike gold here and make the lineup even stronger.
  • Trade Jeremy Guthrie. He's going to be 33 next season and -- as long as you can ignore the high-loss totals his Orioles have saddled him with -- isn't a bad pitcher. He could give a contender 200 decent innings as their fifth starter. Thus, he'll get something like a mid-level prospect back, but the main reason is the Orioles need to see what they have by giving extended looks to the young pitchers who have already seen time in the bigs. Go into the season with a rotation of Britton, Matusz, Hunter, Arrieta and Tillman and give it an extended look. By midseason, if one or two aren't working out, it's time to dip into the minors for others. If three or four aren't working out, more drastic measures will have to be taken in the offseason.
  • Stick with the Strop-Johnson duo at the end of games. There's no reason to go out and grab another retread like Kevin Gregg again. Trade Gregg if they could, but it's doubtful much comes back. Whatever, let him pitch in non-save situations.
This wouldn't make them a contender in 2012, but they'd be better and would have the chance to evaluate where everything stands with the young players after the 2012 season. You have to take babysteps to get back to respectability after finishing fifth four straight times.

For more baseball news, rumors and analysis, follow @EyeOnBaseball on Twitter or subscribe to the RSS feed.
Posted on: August 14, 2011 11:49 pm
 

3 Up, 3 Down: Belt belts two home runs

Belt

By Evan Brunell

Jack McKeon, Marlins:  Giants first baseman Brandon Belt showed the Giants (and opponent Florida) that if Aubrey Huff's recent resurgence isn't for real, the Giants will be just fine. Belt... well, "belted" two solo home runs on Sunday to pace San Francisco over the Marlins. Ryan Vogelsong won his 10th, trimming his ERA to 2.47. But neither of them get the prize -- that goes to Marlins manager Jack McKeon, who told the Associated Press that there was no bad blood between the two teams as a result of the Buster Posey broken leg suffered at the hands of Scott Cousins earlier in the year. "Guys get carried away," McKeon said. "Vogel ... Volkswagen ... whatever his name is -- he's lucky he didn't have to face Drysdale or Gibson or one of those guys. You would get a shave and a haircut real quick."

Brett Lawrie, Blue Jays: Boy, is Toronto sure glad it finally called up Brett Lawrie. The rookie has been hot so far in his early career, and delivered a game-tying double in the ninth inning that the Blue Jays would go on to win the next inning. It was his only hit in four trips to the plate, but Lawrie's already shown a knack for getting pivotal hits and is hitting .355 on the year. He's rallied the troops by wearing his heart on his sleeve and is quickly becoming a fan favorite.

Nick Markakis, Orioles: Markakis has been a major disappointment not just this season, but for a few years now. Markakis followed up two strong years with his best season yet in 2008 as a 24-year-old, raking 48 doubles and 20 home runs with a .306/.406/.491 mark, but he tumbled off by close to 100 points in OPS over the next two seasons. This year's been even worse, as he came into Sunday's game against Detroit with a .280/.333/.391 mark. He exacted some measure of help Sunday by going 3 for 5 with a home run, two runs scored and four RBI. It's something.



Jason Marquis, Diamondbacks: Marquis' first two starts for the Diamondbacks didn't go too well, giving up eight runs (seven earned) in four innings two starts ago, following that up with another four-inning stint, coughing up seven runs (four earned). That made Sunday promising, as Marquis had given up one run through 3 1/3, but a line drive off his shin the inning previous flared up all of a sudden and he tumbled to the ground in a heap -- as did batter Josh Thole, who was plunked by Marquis' errant pitch when he took a dive. The diagnosis? Broken shin. Ouch.

Jordan Lyles, Astros: Lyles had a tough opponent in Hiroki Kuroda, who hurled seven scoreless, but Lyles didn't help matters by blowing up for seven runs in 5 1/3 innings. It's the second straight time that Lyles has given up seven runs, and he drops to an unsightly 1-7 on the year and his career. His 5.32 ERA belies a pitcher that might need some more seasoning in the minors, but he's also just 20, and there's plenty better things on the horizon for the right-hander.

Jeff Francis, Royals: Leading up to the trade deadline, Francis was looking like a nice left-hander to slot in the middle of the rotation, especially in the NL. Alas, since then he's been anything but and turned in a six-run outing in just 3 2/3 innings, balls rifling all over the park with 10 hits. Francis also walked two and struck out just one in what was just an overall bad day at the park. His ERA is all the way up to 4.76 now and that luster? It's gone.

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