Baltimore Orioles

 Check out the article on Reyes over at Stltoday.  I have read that he can be a pretty cocky guy and that is probably the reason LaRussa and Duncan ride him.  But I really believe they should back off some because you really don’t need to get a kid thinking too much.

The Carpenter signing looks even better as the White Sox gave RHP Javier Vasquez an extension of $34.5 million for 3 years.  He has a career record of  100-105 with an ERA of 4.34.

Southeast’s Dustin Refrow was named Ohio Valley Conference Pitcher of the Week. Renfrow is the second SEMO pitcher in as many weeks to win the award, Asif Shah won last week. The Redhawks lost to Arkansas State yesterday, 6-5, on a walk off homerun.  They host SLU today starting at 3pm at Capaha Field.

 2006 Finish:  70-92, 4th place in the AL East, 27 games back

Manager: Sam Perlozzo, 2nd year as manager

Comings: RHP Jaret Wright, RHP Steve Trachsel, 1B Aubrey Huff, LHP Jamie Walker, RHP Danys Baez, RHP Chad Bradford, RHP Scott Williamson, OF Jay Payton

Goings: RHP Chris Britton, RHP LaTroy Hawkins, RHP Rodrigo Lopez

Offense:  2B/Leadoff man Brian Roberts had another solid despite an injury.  He hit .286/.347/.410 and stole 36 bases.  He still needs to get to the OBP up.  3B Melvin Mora’s stats have been on the decline and at age 35 there is no reason to think that will change.  SS Miguel Tejada is still one of the better offensive shortstops in the game.  In 2006 his line was .330/.379/.498 with 24 HRs and 100 RBIs.  RF Nick Markakis had a super rookie year hitting .291 with 16 homers and 62 runs batted in.  He should be patrolling RF for the Orioles for many years to come.  1B/OF/DH Aubrey Huff was brought in to add more pop.  Between the Astros and Devil Rays last year he hit 21 HRs.  C Ramon Hernandez enjoyed his first season in Baltimore hitting .275 with 23 HRs and 91 RBIs.  Kevin Millar and Jay Gibbons should platoon as the DH and share time with Huff at first. Millar had 15 HRs and 64 RBIs while Gibbons 13 HRs and 43 RBIs in only 90 games.  Jay Payton was brought in to play LF and provide more offense.  With the A’s last year he hit .296.  CF Corey Patterson had a breakout year after getting away from the Cubs.  He .275 with 16 HRs, 53 RBIs, and 45 SBs.  His OBP was poor at .314 and he hit only .207 vs. LHP.  The Orioles really need to consider platooning him.

Rotation: LHP Erik Bedard put up a respectable 13-11 record with a 3.76 ERA.  He should only get better.  RHP Daniel Cabrera has electric stuff but has not been able to put it all together.  He struck out 157 in 148 innings, but also walked104.  LHP Adam Loewen went a respectable 6-6 after being called up from the minors.  RHP Jaret Wright was brought into hopefully rekindle some of the magic he had with Leo Mazzone when both were in Atlanta.  RHP Trachsel was brought in to replace RHP Kris Benson who is out with a shoulder surgery.

Bullpen: RHP Chris Ray enjoyed a fine Rookie season with 33 saves and a 2.73 ERA.  A lot of money was spent to revamp a bullpen that was really quite mediocre with the exception of Ray.  Baez was brought in as the primary setup man.  Walker enjoyed a fine year with the Tigers posting an ERA of 2.81.  Bradford was really good posting a 2.90.  I like RHP Sendy Rleal who has a very live arm but sometimes has trouble with command.

Analysis: This team should be improved but will not make any noise in a very top heavy AL East.  The Orioles are developing a solid core of young players in the likes of Markakis, Bedard, and Ray.  Putting all the money in relievers who can be completely different players from one year to the next is very risky and could prove to be costlier than it already appears.

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