Posts Tagged ‘Josh Bell’

Miguel Tejada, Orioles Reunite In Baltimore

January 24, 2010

I really like what the Baltimore Orioles have done this offseason. They have brought in a nice group of veterans to mix in with the young and up-and-coming talent they have.

The key to what they are doing is they are not signing any of these veteran players to contracts that could be considered an albatross down the road. These veterans are on one or two-year contracts and aren’t blocking any of the prospects the Orioles have in the minors.

Tejada is returning to the Orioles

The latest veteran the Orioles have brought in–Miguel Tejada.

According to Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have signed Tejada to a one-year, $6 million contract. Despite never playing an inning at third base in his career, Tejada is expected to play third for the Orioles in 2010.

This will mark Tejada’s second tour of duty with the Orioles. Baltimore signed Tejada back in the Winter of 2004 and spent four years in an Orioles’ uniform.

In those four years, Tejada hit .311 (great band) with 102 home runs, and an .862 OPS. Tejada was later traded to the Houston Astros in December of 2007 for Mike Costanzo, Matt Albers, Troy Patton, Dennis Sarfate, and Luke Scott.

Despite signing third baseman Garrett Atkins earlier in the offseason, the Orioles were still looking for a corner infielder to play either third or first. Tejada fills exactly what the Orioles were looking for.

Tejada really dropped off defensively in 2009 (-13.9 UZR), so moving to third will help prolong his career. As I recall the Orioles moved another shortstop back in the day to third to help prolong his career and it worked swimmingly.

The Tejada signing allows the Orioles to move Atkins to first, where he is better suited and Luke Scott back to DH. Ty Wigginton is the odd man out here, as he will be moved into a bench role.

With Tejada and Atkins signed to one-year contracts, it will give top prospects Josh Bell (third base) and Brandon Snyder (first base) some extra seasoning in the minors until they are ready to take over full-time in 2011. Once again, the Orioles sign a veteran, but aren’t blocking their prospects.

I expect Tejada to bat fifth or sixth in the Orioles’ lineup and hit around .285/.290 with 10-15 home runs in 2010. At $6 million, this signing will pay for itself by July. Good signing by the Orioles.

This move also ends the Orioles pursuit of first baseman Carlos Delgado.

Tejada will be entering his 14th season in the major leagues and has a career .289 average with 285 home runs with the Oakland A’s, Orioles, and Astros. He won the 2002 AL MVP with the A’s.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Advertisements

Orioles Add Two, Sign Garrett Atkins and Mike Gonzalez

December 17, 2009

Just because the Orioles are in rebuilding mode, doesn’t mean they can’t add pieces to their team to make them competitive in 2010.

Earlier in this offseason, the Orioles added Kevin Millwood to bolster their starting rotation. Now they have added a batter and a closer.

According to the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have signed LHP Mike Gonzalez to a two-year, $12 million contract to be their closer. Gonzalez can make an additional $4 million in incentives.

Gonzalez is the new closer in Baltimore

The Orioles also signed 1B/3B Garrett Atkins to a one-year deal. Atkins became a free agent after he was not tendered a contract by the Colorado Rockies last week. Terms of Atkins’ deal have not been disclosed yet.

Lets talk about Atkins first.

I was reading some sites around the web where some Orioles fans didn’t like this move? Why?

Has Atkins’ OPS dropped four years in a row? Yes it has. Is he the best defensive third baseman in the world? No, he is not.

But Atkins was not brought to Baltimore to be the savior. He was brought to Baltimore to be a stopgap until top third base prospect Josh Bell or until top first base prospect Brandon Snyder are ready.

Best case scenario for Atkins–he has a bounce back year and the Orioles can then trade him for prospects in July. Atkins could just need a change of scenery and Camden Yards is a good hitters park.

Worst case scenario–he continues his downward spiral and becomes a right-handed pinch hitter off the bench, who can occasionally fill in at first or third. In 2009, Atkins’ OPS was over 200 points higher versus left-handed pitching.

This is a good low-risk, high-reward signing by the Orioles.

Now on to the Gonzalez signing.

I am luke-warm on Gonzalez being a full-time, No. One closer, but for just $6 million a year–it’s a good deal by the Orioles.

Think about it like this. The Houston Astros paid Brandon Lyon $5 million a year for three years. The Orioles are paying Gonzalez $6 million for two years.

Who would you rather have?

I would rather have Gonzalez and it’s not even a debatable in my opinion. The Orioles are paying just $1 million more for clearly the better pitcher. Good move.

Gonzalez pitched a career high 74.1 innings last year and in those 74.1 innings struck out 90 batters. He was especially nasty on left-handed hitters.

Lefties against Gonzalez in 2009 hit only .194 and had a pedestrian .581 OPS. The Gonzalez-Curtis Granderson match up in 2010 should be fun to watch.

Is there some concern with Gonzalez after he pitched a career high in innings last year only a couple of years removed from Tommy John surgery? Maybe. But I don’t it’s that big of a concern.

As Gonzalez proved last year, most pitchers come back stronger from Tommy John surgery. For two years and just $12 million, it’s certainly worth it for the Orioles.

This move obviously adds some much needed depth to the Orioles’ bullpen and it allows them to put Jim Johnson back in the eighth inning set-up role, where he seemed more comfortable last year.

With Gonzalez, Johnson, and Koji Uehara the Orioles have the makings of a much better bullpen in 2010.

I like what the Orioles are doing this offseason. They are sticking to their rebuilding plan, but adding pieces with reasonable contracts here and there.

I like the direction of this team.

You can follow The Ghost of Moonlight Graham on Twitter @ theghostofmlg

Preview: Arizona Fall League Rising Stars Game

November 7, 2009

Update: Josh Vitters has been scratched from tonight’s game. Baltimore Orioles’ 3B prospect Josh Bell will replace Vitters on the East roster. Bell was traded to the Orioles in the deal that sent George Sherrill to the Los Angeles Dodgers.

Bell is expected to compete for the Orioles’ starting third base job in spring training and is a Rookie of the Year candidate in 2010.

Original Post

Here is what I wrote back in June after I had just done a recap of the major league draft:

“Here is my suggestion for Bud Selig in order to give the draft some juice. Unless you are a real die hard baseball, other than Stephen Strasburg, you don’t know 99 percent of the players drafted in the first round.

“The MLB Network should show a high school or college “Showcase Game of the Week.” Once a week broadcast a game that features a projected first round pick. This will allow fans to get to know some of the players their team is interested in. I think this will really help the draft.”

Major League Baseball and the MLB Network has followed my suggestion–to an extent. Since we are there is no high school or college baseball to showcase right now, the MLB Network has decided to do the next best thing.

Tonight at 8:15 ET, the MLB Network will televise the Arizona Fall League Rising Stars game. This is exactly what I was talking about when I suggested the MLB Network show a rising stars game for high school and college players.

This is really great for the game of baseball.

This will allow fans a chance to see some of the future stars of the game. How often do casual fans get to see their teams top prospects play before they reach the major leagues?

Now that the MLB Network is televising this game, who should you be looking for? Here are 10 players in tonight’s game that you should keep an eye on.

East

1. Buster Posey, C

Organization – San Francisco Giants

Arizona Fall League Stats – .218/.317/.364 in 14 games

Posey was called up by the Giants in September, but for reasons only known to the Giants organization he didn’t play much. In seven games, Posey only hit .118 with the big club.

Don’t be fooled, this guy can hit. All signs point to Posey being the Giants’ starting catcher in 2010.

2. Josh Vitters, 3B

Organization – Chicago Cubs

Arizona Fall League Stats – .360/.385/.460 in 12 games

The former No. 3 pick in the 2007 draft has been tearing up the Arizona Fall League. Vitters should be ready to take over the starting third base job in Chicago once Aramis Ramirez is done with his contract after the 2011 season.

3. Grant Desme, OF

Organization – Oakland A’s

Arizona Fall League Stats – .373/.453/.827 in 18 games

That sound you just heard was Desme just breaking another window. In just 18 games, Desme has 10 homeruns in the Arizona Fall League. Desme has “light tower power” and for those of you think he is a typical A’s “Moneyball” player–he is not.

In the minor leagues in 2009, Desme had 42 SB’s,

4. Starlin Castro, SS

Organization – Chicago Cubs

Arizona Fall League Stats – .433/.462/.550 in 17 games.

The Cubs might have a star on their hands with Castro. The 19-year-old non-drafted free agent out of the Dominican Republic is currently leading the Arizona Fall League in hitting. He is also tied for third in SB’s with five.

Watch for Castro tonight. He might be the most exciting player on the field.

Castro also played in the Future’s Game in July.

5. Drew Storen, P

Organization – Washington Nationals

Arizona Fall League Stats – 0.93 ERA, nine K’s, and two saves in 9.2 IP

Not only does Storen do a good job of updating his Twitter page, but he also might be the future closer for the Nationals. If the East is leading in the ninth inning, look for Storen to close out the game.

West

1. Jason Castro, C

Organization – Houston Astros

Arizona Fall League Stats  –.143/.260/.214 in 11 games

Ready or not, here Castro comes to the Astros. Because the Astros no established catcher in their organization, Castro might be rushed to the majors in 2010.

Castro hit .300 with a .826 OPS in the minor leagues in 2009.

2. Yonder Alonso, 1B

Organization – Cincinnati Reds

Arizona Fall League Stats – .275/.298/.375 in 13 games

Alonso was the No. 7 overall pick in the 2008 draft and if he is going to play in Cincinnati, he is going to have to learn to play another position. I don’t think Joey Votto is going anywhere for a while.

Alonso had a .838 OPS between Rookie and Single-A in 2009.

3. Dustin Ackley, OF

Organization – Seattle Mariners

Arizona Fall League Stats – .300/.378/.375 in 11 games

The No. 2 pick in the 2009 draft is someone to watch tonight. The former Tar Heel star has all the tools to be a star in the majors.

I have gone on record in saying that Ackley would be the best player to come out of the 2009 draft.

4. Jordan Danks, OF

Organization – Chicago White Sox

Arizona Fall League Stats – .333/.378/.485 in 18 games.

The White Sox have done well with one Danks at the major league level, so why not give another Danks a try. Jordan is the younger brother of White Sox LHP John Danks.

Danks made the jump to Double-A in 2009 and while he didn’t tear up Double-A pitching (.243 avg), he could get his shot with the big club in 2011.

5. Tanner Scheppers, P

Organization – Texas Rangers

Arizona Fall League Stats – 3.00 ERA and nine K’s in nine IP.

Scheppers was drafted by the Pittsburgh Pirates in 2008, but decided to go back to college. While in college, Scheppers tore his rotator cuff in his pitching shoulder.

With doubts about his health, Scheppers slipped to the 44th pick in the 2009 draft. Now healthy, Scheppers is showing everyone why he was on the highest regarded pitchers in the draft.

Conspicuous by his absence on this list is Stephen Strasburg. Strasburg was supposed to start this game for the East squad but was scratched because of a strained neck muscle.

The Reds and the Cubs have the most players in this game with four.

You can view the complete rosters for both teams here.

Los Angeles Dodgers Acquire George Sherrill…

July 30, 2009

The Los Angeles Dodgers, while still pursuing a trade for Roy Halladay, switched their attention for a second to the back-end of their bullpen. This afternoon the Dodgers acquired Baltimore Orioles’ closer George Sherrill for minor-leaguers Josh Bell and Steve Johnson.

With Jonathan Broxton already firmly entrenched as the Dodgers’ closer, Sherrill becomes the Dodgers’ primary eighth inning guy. Sherrill thrived in a middle-relief role with the Mariners in 2007 (2.36 ERA in 73 games), so I don’t think going from a closer to an eighth inning guy will affect him like it did Eric Gagne and JJ Putz when they made the move.

Sherrill is headed to lala land

Sherrill is headed to lala land

Sherrill came to the Orioles in the extremely lopsided Erik Bedard trade last year and in a year and a half was sensational for the Orioles. If you really think about it, Sherrill was just an extra in that trade and all he has done is save 51 games in 94.2 innings for the Orioles. He also was an All Star in 2008.

Despite Sherrill’s 20 saves and 2.40 ERA in 2009, it made sense for the Orioles to trade him. Sherrill is 32-years old and the Orioles were out of the race this year and next year figures to be a rebuilding year as well. Sherrill is under team control until 2011, so his value was the highest now.

In return, the Orioles get the Dodgers eigth best prospect in 3B Josh Bell according to Baseball America. Bell is a slugging third baseman who was hitting .296 with 11 HR’s, 52 RBI, and had a .386 OBP for Double-A Chattanooga. With current third baseman Melvin Mora becoming a free agent after the season, it’s possible Bell will compete for the starting job in 2010.

The Orioles also received RHP Steve Johnson. Johnson was drafted in the 13th round of the 2005 draft and in five years in the minors Johnson was 29-26 with a 4.25 ERA and had 397 K’s in 408.2 IP. Johnson projects to be reliever in the majors.

The Erik Bedard trade is looking better for the Orioles by the day. Adam Jones is already becoming a star in this league, top pitching prospect Chris Tillman made his major-league debut last night and after two very productive seasons from Sherrill, the Orioles flip him for two prospects.