Minimum to be accomplished & calendar of events (Updated)
In early August, I blogged about what I saw as the minimum to be accomplished for the O’s through the calendar end of 2009.
As the season comes to an end, lets review, and revise this list a bit.
August 8th – October 4th
1) The first thing I wanted to see accomplished in this period, was the signing of 2nd-round pick SS Mychel Givens. This was accomplished, against the expectations that existed at the time.
2) The O’s were 46-63 at the time, and are now 60-92, with 10 games remaining. I thought finishing 24-29 to achieve 70 wins was a reachable goal, obviously I was wrong. If the team had not had to deal with the injuries to Jones, Bergesen, Reimold, Mickolio, and shutting down Matusz; this might have proved possible. At the end of the day, it matters very little.
3) I talked about how Wieters had had hits in 8 of his last 10 games, and raised his average to .275. I wrote about I wanted to see Wieters play at-least 45 of the remaining games, and show improvement vs. lefties, with increasing power. At the time, Wieters had a .599 OPS against lefties. Today, he has raised that to a .634 OPS against south-paws. Wieters has raised his OPS overall to .757, and has played in 38 games since August 8th.
4) I wanted to see Troy Patton shut-down, and allowed to get some additional rest and rehab in preparation for 2010. It turned out that Patton had already made his last-appearance for the year on August 5th.
5) I stated that I would have also liked to have seen Albers shut-down, or seen his use limited. My rationale being that he had equaled the innings-pitched in the 2008 season, and that I thought he was tiring out. He had a 4.56 era when I wrote that, which now stands at 5.34.
6) I made the point that if Wigginton is going to be used as the stop-gap everyday 3rd-baseman in 2010, that he should play everyday at 3rd to end 2009, with minimal use of Mora. Wigginton has played nearly everyday, but only sparingly at 3rd.
7) I wanted to see Roberts end his 2 year trend of decreasing 2nd-half numbers, and that has occurred. After a .772 OPS in the 1st-half, Roberts has a .870 OPS in the 2nd-half.
8) Tillman entered his August 8th start with 10.2 Major League innings. I thought he had another 40 or so innings left in his arm for the 2009 year. I stated that Tillman getting 10 starts at the ML level to end 2009, would prepare him well for 2010. Tillman has now made 11 total starts, and pitched 63 Major League innings. Despite 14 homers allowed, he has been very competitive. I am eagerly anticipating the Tillman we are going to see growing month-to-month this coming year.
8a) I stated I had a hard time believing that the O’s would allow Matusz to pitch in September. The O’s allowed him to make two-September starts, and he ended on a high-note, with wins over Texas, and at New York.
9) I discussed how I would be preparing to provide a contract extension to Adam Jones, as soon as th season ends. Something along the lines of a deal that buys his first 3 years of FA (through the 2016 season). The numbers I suggested were 7 years at $70M. Jones’ injury has not changed my thinking, I believe this should be the organization’s first-priority.
October 5th – December 6th
1) Year-end Organization Meetings… the O’s will review every player in the system and discuss their off-season agenda.
1a) MacPhail has now worked with the Baseball Operations Department the past 2.5 years… he has to decide if he is comfortable with the existing leadership, or if he believes he can improve externally.
1b) If the Front-office brain-trust is returning, I think input should be solicited from all quarters about the return of Dave Trembley and the ML Coaching staff. Ultimately, it is MacPhail’s decision, but all of the Organization should be on the same-page. If people do not believe Trembley or members of the Coaching staff should return; they should be prepared to offer names they believe would help the Organization.
1c) Would MacPhail promote any out of Joe Jordan, Matt Klentak, David Stockstill, John Stockstill, Lee MacPhail IV to Asst. GM?
1d) Former Reds GM Wayne Krivsky is the Special Asst. to the President of Baseball Operations. Is the succession plan in-place for MacPhail to turn the reins over to him?
1e) What gains has John Stockstill made as Director of International Scouting? Understanding US/Venezuela relations with Chavez, would the O’s consider partnering with Mora to build a facility there similar to what they now have in the Dominican Republic? What about Asia, and a facility in Korea, or Taiwan?
1f) If David Stockstill retains his role as Director of Player Development, ask him to list his basic goals for the coming year…. Review the coaching in the organization, is the same message being taught from the top down?
1g) If Joe Jordan retains his role as Director of Scouting, ask him if he has sufficient funding…. And to out-line needs for the 2010 draft. Go back and review the 2006, 2007, and 2008 drafts…. Who did the Scouting Department really like going into those drafts, that have underperformed in other organizations?
1h) The O’s are in the American League East, and will continue to have to deal with their division 72 games per-year. I would want to know if Lee MacPhail IV as the Director of Pro Scouting believes the O’s have budgeted the proper amount of resources towards Scouting the AL East? Are further gains in video technology necessary? In all of MLB, who are players that have been identified as potentially available, that could help?
2) After a list has been complied of external players you would like to obtain, attend the General Manager meetings, and discuss in broad terms.
3) Return from the GM meetings and narrow down the teams and players you want to target most at the Winter Meetings.
4) The Arizona Fall League starts the week of October 5th. I had hoped that Billy Rowell would have had the chance to go, but that did not occur. Will still be interesting to watch Bell, Snyder, and Erbe in particular.
5) Dec. 1st is the last-date for the former Club to offer salary arbitration to receive compensation. With the August trade of Huff, this day will mean very little to the O’s.
6) I talked about how the O’s have roughly $40M coming off the books, but likely an additional $10-$15M in salary-increases. That means the O’s should have the ability to add $25-$30M in pay-roll if so inclined. I was skeptical of the idea of investing money (and more importantly years) in a Lackey, Bedard, or Harden. Bedard has since suffered an injury which will likely have teams avoiding giving him any significant guaranteed money. Rich Harden continues to show his stuff (177 k’s, 122 hits allowed, in 141 innings), but in his in-ability to stay healthy, has to limit the money (and years) you could offer him.Lackey is going to look for AJ Burnett money, and I think the O’s are very unlikely to attempt bidding in that vicinity. The 2009 Free Agent class is weak, and you have answers in RF, CF, C, 2nd, probably DH, and LF, and even possible answers at 1st, and 3rd. Still, I am coming around to the idea that the O’s might be more aggressive than I first-anticipated.
Izturis had a very strong 2nd-half with the glove, but still only has a .609 OPS, with a on-base% of .288. At the time, I thought it was possible the O’s could be interested in Tejada for a 1 year-deal, but I now think the O’s are more likely to committ to Izturis through 2010.
I do think the payroll flexibility, will allow the O’s to take on a contract through a trade. I can still see a trade for JJ Hardy occurring.
December 7th – December 31st
1) At this point, the O’s have identified talent they would like to acquire, and have spoken in general terms with teams at the GM Meetings. At the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis, (December 7th – 10th) the intention should be of making specific offers.
2) As previously stated, I do not see the O’s bidding on FA pitching. If they did, I think they should make the offers here. Make the offer you are comfortable with, and provide expiry dates on the offers… if not accepted move on, and address through other means. With Guthrie, Uehera, Bergesen, Hernandez, Matusz, Tillman, Arrieta, Berken all options to start for you in 2010; the O’s will not bid on a back of the rotation starter. You either get a guy with front-line stuff (Lackey, Bedard, Harden) or you do not bother bidding. If you are going to target one of those starters, it will have to be early.
3) Rule V draft – Can you obtain a potential LOOGY? The O’s have lots of right-handed options for the 2010 bullpen. Johnson, Ray, Albers, Uehara, Berken, Hernandez, Mickolio, Meredith, Sarfate, Bass… a situational lefty is needed. If the O’s were to add a Rule V pick, a lefty-specialist is probably the only option that makes sense.
4) At some-point this off-season, you have to obtain a potential long-term SS. If you have not obtained someone like JJ Hardy who can help in 2010, and for several seasons; you have to obtain someone that can join Bell, and Snyder in the next-waive of Oriole prospects.