Archive for the Offseason Category

Orioles Sign Oliver Drake to a Major League Contract

Posted in Free Agency, Offseason, Pitching with tags , on November 20, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

On Tuesday, the Orioles signed RHP Oliver Drake to a contract. Drake, who was drafted in the 43rd round of the 2008 draft by the Orioles out of the United States Naval Academy has spent his entire professional career in the Orioles minor league system and had become a minor league free agent following the 2014 season, which he spent entirely in Bowie (AA). In fact, Drake has only appeared in AAA once, throwing 2 innings for Norfolk in 2011. The fact that the Orioles signed Drake isn’t all that interesting (they signed a bunch of guys who aren’t expected to see much time in the major leagues yesterday). What’s interesting is that they signed him to a major league deal.

The fact that Drake gets a major league deal, doesn’t mean that he’ll be on the major league club, but it does mean that he’ll be occupying a spot on the 40-man roster (at least for the moment). Kiley McDaniel, the lead prospect analyst for Fangraphs gives the details of the deal.

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Orioles Trade Target: Michael Saunders

Posted in Offense, Offseason, Trades with tags , , , , on November 18, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Since the Orioles officially declined the team option on Nick Markakis, they’ll have some decisions to make.  Since it looks like he may require a four-year contract, it may be best for the Orioles to move on.  If they decide to take that route, they could go into the 2015 season with an Adam Jones, Steve Pearce, Alejandro De Aza, and David Lough outfield, or they could replace Markakis through a trade (as I mentioned in a previous post, upgrades on the outfield free agent market are virtually non-existent).  Today at ESPN Sweetspot Network affiliated Orioles blog Camden Depot, I explain why the Orioles should look into acquiring Michael Saunders from the Seattle Mariners.

Direct Link to Article –> Orioles Trade Target: Michael Saunders

Should the Orioles Trade Matt Wieters?

Posted in Offseason with tags , , , on November 7, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

After an elbow injury (requiring Tommy John surgery) ended Matt Wieters‘ 2014 season in the middle of May, Caleb Joseph filled and provided enough value to potentially make Matt Wieters expendable.  Joseph didn’t hit he ball, but his defensive skills, specifically his pitch framing saved enough runs to more than offset his offensive shortcomings.  Today at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot, I take a look at whether the Orioles should look into dealing their All-Star catcher to make room for Caleb Joseph, pitch framer extraordinaire.

Direct Link to Article –> Should the Orioles Trade Matt Wieters?

Nick Markakis and Why the Orioles Should Pick Up His Option

Posted in Offense, Offseason with tags , , on October 23, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

After the loss to the Royals in the ALCS, the Orioles offseason is officially underway, and they have several items they need to take care of prior to the start of the 2015 season.  One of the decisions that needs to be made deals with the team option that they hold for Nick Markakis.  Even though the media is reporting that the Orioles are likely to decline his option, I explain why I think they should exercise it today at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot.

Direct Link to Article –> Nick Markakis and Why the Orioles Should Pick Up His Option

Projecting the 2014 Orioles: Pitching

Posted in Offseason, Pitching, Projections with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on March 31, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

Last week we looked at what the Zips projection system over at Fangraphs thought the Baltimore Orioles position players were capable of in the 2014 season.  Comparing those projections to the wins (fWAR) the team received at each of the offensive positions in 2013 resulted in the 2014 Baltimore offense to be worth 4.7 wins worse than the previous year’s team.  Today we’ll take a look at the pitching staff and see if we can bring that number back into the positive.

Starting Pitcher

2014 Zips Projection

2014 Zips Projection

In 2013, Baltimore starting pitchers as a whole were one of the weakest parts of the roster.  The starters combined for only 7.4 fWAR, which placed them 24th among all major league starting rotations.  Much of that production came from Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Tillman, and Miguel GonzalezScott Feldman and Bud Norris also added about 1 win each in a little less than half a seasons worth of work for the Orioles.  Other than that, 9 other pitchers produced anywhere in between 0.5 fWAR (Jason Hammel) and -0.8 fWAR (Freddy Garcia).  I looked at how the starting rotation fared in depth at ESPN Sweetspot Network Orioles blog Camden Depot earlier in the offseason, so if you would like a more detailed analysis, you can find it here. Continue reading

2014 American League East Preview: Boston Red Sox

Posted in Offseason with tags , , on March 30, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

We’re now less than a week away from opening day of the 2014 baseball season (while that whole thing in Australia was fun, I’m not considering it the “real” opening day).  As we count down the remaining days of spring training this week, Orioles Proving Ground will be asking some of our friends to answer somewhat important questions about the Orioles American League East foes.

Today, Ben Feeney takes some time to answer some questions about the defending World Series Champion Boston Red Sox, which somehow includes a Wizard of Oz comparison.  Below are links to the teams we’ve already looked at.

Tampa Bay Rays | New York Yankees | Toronto Blue Jays | Boston Red Sox

Orioles Proving Ground: The Red Sox went from worst (in 2012) to first (2013), winning the World Series last year, and no one saw it coming.  In fact, I remember a comment you made on my very first blog post in March of 2013 that stated that the Red Sox will be “non-existent” in 2013.  What do you think was the biggest reason for their turn-around?

Ben Feeney: So you want to know how a team such as the Red Sox goes from worst (2012) to first (2013) right??   Well, maybe I have the answer written down in a small envelope concealed in a safe, hidden in the deep dark cavern beneath my house.  And you would have to assume it is being guarded by the Sloth character from the Goonies!   Listen Friend, if I had the answer to that riddle I wouldn’t be sitting here writing this response.  I’d be rich and important…both of which I am currently lacking.  The way I see it there were several factors that contributed to their success and I will give each factor a percentage based on it’s respective influence.

TEAM CHEMISTRY- 50% – This team reminded me of the 2004 squad.  Each player had his own personality and identity.  If you can be allowed to be the raw version of yourself while working…win/win.   JOHN FARRELL-25% – Finally they brought in a manager with similar mannerisms to Terry Francona.  Valentine’s strong-arm tactics and feuds with players backfired, end of story. Farrell trusted this group and rarely changed the line up during post-season play, most notably when hitting slumps were felt by more than a few.   All of the players contributed to filling in the “gaps” when fellow teammates struggled. 2012 OFF SEASON CHANGES TO PERSONEL & LUCK 15% & 10% – Honestly, I questioned some of the salary dumps in the off-season.  I will not question upper management further (until next season of course). They are good at what they do, period.  Still, even those Add-Wizards could not have predicted this outcome and luck plays a part and takes her cut.   THE BEARDS-100% per whisker!!!!! Continue reading

2014 American League East Preview: Toronto Blue Jays

Posted in Offseason with tags , , on March 28, 2014 by oriolesprovingground

We’re now less than a week away from opening day of the 2014 baseball season (while that whole thing in Australia was fun, I’m not considering it the “real” opening day).  As we count down the remaining days of spring training this week, Orioles Proving Ground will be asking some of our friends to answer somewhat important questions about the Orioles American League East foes.

Today, we’re heading north of the border as Will Ragland answers questions about the Toronto Blue Jays in his best Canadian accent (Editor’s Note: Will isn’t actually Canadian, or even answering these questions from Canada, despite how that previous sentence read). Below are links to the teams we’ve already looked at.

Tampa Bay Rays | New York Yankees | Toronto Blue Jays | Boston Red Sox

Orioles Proving Ground: The Blue Jays made a couple very high profile trades last year in an attempt to go all in, and it didn’t quite work out for them.  Despite some roster holes that surfaced last year, they chose to the “do-nothing” approach this offseason.  Did they miss a golden opportunity to upgrade an already talented team (on paper at least), especially considering they have 2 protected 1st round draft picks?

Will Ragland: Losing out on Ervin Santana, who opted for a more pitcher friendly Turner Field, was huge and will leave big holes in a rotation that busted a lot of bubbles last year.  Run production will be anemic if Reyes and Bautista can’t stay healthy and Lawrie has been a bust for all the hype.  Maybe there’s something in the air (I’m looking at you Mayor Ford).  One upside is the bargain signing of former all-star catcher Dioner Navarro, who signed a two-year deal for $8 million.  He struggled before hitting .300 with the Cubs last year, but anything will be better than Arencebia’s production. It will also be interesting to see if Melky Cabrera still has it. Continue reading