The MLB Network is nothing short of great, and this late evening, I caught a re-broadcast of “30 Camps In 30 Days” that profiled the Baltimore Orioles.
Well, the broadcast was very comprehensive and needless to say they went over everything under the sun with the Orioles. I sat in bed with laptop in hand and just bulleted the pertinent items.
The review is long, so sit back and be patient.
Panel: Joe Magrane, Harold Reynolds, Jon Hart & Greg Asminger. Trini Kusnierek was onsite in Fort Lauderdale interviewing players.
• All concluded that the pitching will shape the Orioles in 2009, but they like that are following the model of the Rays , and mentioned the role of Andy MacPhail.
• The panel figured that the Orioles are indeed improving; however, it is going to be a long road.
• Dave Trembley wanted guys who were versatile, and men are closer to major league players. Gave glowing reviews to Cesar Izturis, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones and believes that extensions of Markakis and Roberts shows the team is serious. He knows that games are won by pitching a defense, and that will be a mantra – hopefully – of the Orioles in 2009.
• Trembley believes that Orioles may be more of a NL-style, small ball team, and they’ll have to manufacture runs.
• Wieters may – ok, will start – in Triple A as he only has one year of professional baseball, and perhaps more importantly allows the Orioles to gain and extra year before he’s eligible for free agency.
• The panel figured the Markakis deal was obviously a no-brainer, and discussed the Roberts deal. Also added that the chase for Teixiera was a great public relations move.
• Gave praise to MacPhail, and they believe in his abilities, smarts along with the right choice to guide the Orioles back to respectability.
• Believed the Orioles should have gotten some mid-level arms; however, the panel stressed that the Orioles will leave the rebuilding in the hands of the youngsters and develop them slowly.
• Ty Wigginton and Aubrey Huff believe the Orioles are developing like the Rays (they also spoke about their time in Tampa); therefore, they believe the team may break out.
• Former Rangers GM – John Hart – said the Orioles have some similarities with the Rays; however, the pitching isn’t there and the team is not as athletic.
• Hart gave Joe Jordan and his staff praise; thereafter, he spoke about the young arms in the minors. The panel believes that the turnaround starts with pitching, and the rest will follow.
• Matt Wieters was interviewed and spoke about this time in camp so far. He spoke about how he’ll get in shape and prepare for the long season. He’s got his expectations in perspective, and he’s still learning the game – but he’ll get advice from Gregg Zaun – as well spoke about his peers (especially the arms), most of who are his age. Wieters got nothing but praise from the panel – especially from John Hart – and he’s a big key to the rebuilding process. The panel also believe that Dave Trembley is the perfect pick to guide the young Orioles.
• Luke Scott then spoke, and first mentioned he was drafted by the Cleveland Indians. Scott spoke about being traded from Houston to Baltimore, and spoke about playing in the outfield versus being a designated hitter – he thinks he’ll have both roles. As well, he spoke about hitting in Baltimore’s lineup – he thinks it’s great – and loves the clubhouse. He thinks Camden Yards can be both good and bad – real cold spring, hot summers.
• Spoke about the pitching staff, and they got a few words from Jeremy Guthrie. Always well-spoken, he talked about how he improved last year on the mound and as well went through his pitching repertoire. He says that he’s grateful to be an Oriole, and thinks the team’s only hole is the starting pitching; however, he thinks the competition for the starting rotation should bring some quality. Finally, he believes the bullpen is solid.
• The panel spoke about Koji Uehara and they spoke about his experience and his ability as pitcher. They noted that he’s now a finesse pitcher, as opposed to a power pitcher.
• They also spoke about the pitching, and Hart mentioned that the walks – a big problem – need to be cut down. The panel believes that the starting pitching needs to go deep, and that Hill could be a boon – if he could get over his problems that he has in Chicago. Hart believes the Orioles are solid in the back-end of their bullpen, and believes the key to it is Chris Ray (assuming he comes back from injury.)
• Markakis was then interviewed, and he’s happy to be with the Orioles long-term. He believes in the Orioles’ commitment and likes that Roberts was signed. The right-fielder believes that the climb for the Orioles will be tough; however, he believes the team is on the right path. Now that he’s signed to a long term contract, he knows that there is pressure on him – he’s learning – but he spoke about the veterans, and how he can learn from them.
• John Hart spoke about Pie – they believe he’s a special player, and will only get better at the plate.
• The conversation soon turned to the infield and much of the conversation turned to Brian Roberts. He was glad that the team signed him for five years, and wanted to stay in Baltimore as he feels they were great to him, and the community has embraced them. He wants to bring the organization “back to where they should be”. The topic turned to Dave Trembeley and small ball – once again, he referred to the Rays – and just doing the little things to win. Roberts spoke about his ability to steal, but mentioned the Orioles will not win every game by “three-run homer”, so they need to do it all.
• The panel went over the infield, and they believe Izturis is the key (especially after last year). They also mentioned that Wigginton will have a role, and Hart believes that Brian Roberts is underrated.
• After a commercial break, the show looked back at some of the greatest moments in team history and notable players.
• The panel talked about the “Oriole Way” and the method of how the team used to conduct their instruction. Reynolds believed that the team must return to tradition.
• The show ended as the panel look at where the Orioles will finish in ’09. Sadly, everyone believes they will finish last; however, they were positive on the team’s future. They believe that the team will suffer because of the division they play in along with the lack of starting pitching depth.