Wednesday, December 28, 2011

Jeff's Hall of Fame Ballot

I hope everyone had a lovely holiday season.  After a short holiday-related hiatus, the blog is back and will be operating as normal from now on.  Look for posts roughly every 3 days up until the season starts.

A Few Words About My Votes

It's time for everyone to get over the steroid era.  Baseball has been here before with a little thing called the "dead-ball era".  Now I'm not going to be the first, or the last, to suggest that we all realize that we just lived through the "Steroid Era".  So many players have admitted, been outed, or hinted at using PED's that we really just need to accept that it was seemingly pervasive throughout baseball.  Take it how you will, but cheating is kind of a part of the game.  Whether it be players corking their bats, putting pine tar in their gloves or stealing signs; cheating is an integral part of the game.  (This coming from a guy who, in high school, specialized in interpreting the signs from the opposing teams).  I've come to terms with it, and you should too. That's my opinion at least, take it or leave it.

So when voting there are only 2 questions I ask myself.  1. Is he a Hall of Famer? and 2. Is he a 1st Ballot Hall of Famer?  I know these are vague, but the selection criteria is a little vague so blame Cooperstown, not me.

So that said, here would be my ballot if the BBWAA were to ask me (They won't).

In no particular order:

Barry Larkin
The 1995 NL MVP will go down as one of the best all-around SS that anyone younger than 40 has ever seen.

Edgar Martinez
He was a DH.  This is not a problem for me.  Still the gold standard in my book, and the guy who made the position more than just a spot to throw a bench hitter.

Mark McGwire
Given my thoughts on the 'Steroid Era' this one is a given.  583 career HRs and a career OBP near .400.

Jeff Bagwell
Bagwell had a career line of .297/.408/.540 and hit 449 career HRs.  Add a HoF Plaque to his mantle, next to his MVP and Rookie of the Year trophies.

Rafael Palmeiro
Raffy is one of the more debatable guys here given his unique steroid situation.  However, the guy hit 569 career HRs and played over 150 games in 15 of his 20 seasons in the big leagues (counting his first two years which were partial seasons).

Honorable Mention:

Larry Walker - I think that if he played outside of Coors he wouldn't have had the career he had.

Bernie Williams - Not a first ballot Hall Of Famer.  He gets my vote next year.

I'd love to hear everyone's thoughts in the comments below!

Thursday, December 22, 2011

The Trade That Didn't Happen

We've all heard the rumors at this point, the Braves and Orioles discussed a trade that would send Jair Jurrjens and Martin Prado (along with prospects) to Baltimore for O's CF Adam Jones.  An earlier post here on Warehouse Worthy discussed Jones' contract situation, and as it stands, the O's are not going to lose Adam just yet.  So let's break down this trade, and why the O's might want to trade Adam.

The Trade

Jones is one of the most talented and valuable players on the Orioles' roster, which is why teams without a long-term answer in CF (or even LF) would be interested in Jones.  The Braves reportedly offered Jair Jurrjens, Martin Prado and a prospect (likely a lower level prospect) for Jones, an offer that many Braves fans (and baseball fans in general) thought the O's should have taken.  Reportedly, the Orioles countered by asking for 2 of the Braves top 5 pitching prospects along with the pair of major leaguers.  The Braves, understandable, balked at this proposal, and talks have cooled for now.

What We'd Get

Jurrjens posted a solid, though injury marred season last year with a 2.96 ERA (despite a 3.99 FIP).  There are 2 issues for Jurrjens, and that is 1. that he only strikes out 5.33 batters per 9 innings, and 2. he struggles with injuries, throwing over 200 IP just once in his career.

Prado had a solid season hitting .260/.302/.385 and can competently play several IF and OF positions.  Prado was hurt last season, and is expected to bounce back somewhat in 2012 if he doesn't get injured again.  It is obvious that these 2 players would provide value to the Orioles, but would not likely be a part of the O's next winning team.

Getting them would likely require more trades in the future to find players that will be on the O's next playoff team.  This obviously hurts their value to the Orioles, as these players don't math up with Baltimore's needs.  Not to mention that some question how effective Jurrjens would be in the AL East, given his propensity for pitching to contact.

Duquette's Rebuttal

Dan Duquette supposedly countered asking for 2 of the Braves top 5 pitching prospects, including Julio Teheran, Arodys Vizcaino and Randall Delgado.  I really like this counter offer, as the O's are not currently facing the potential loss of Jones to free agency.  It's fine to listen to offers, but at this point, the team would have to be blown away to trade one of their stars.  Jones holds immense value for both his potential and his production, and the O's either need to lock him up or get a massive haul back for him.  There's no other option at this point for the team.

In case you're feeling nostalgic, here's a look at what you'd be missing if Jones was traded:

Monday, December 19, 2011

Getting to know Tsuyoshi

When GM Dan Duquette first talked about being the Orioles new GM he talked about a few of his goals. One of those goals was to improve the O’s internationally. So far it looks like Duquette is sticking to his word.

On Friday, the Orioles introduced Japanese pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada. Wada (pictured above) has a two-year-deal with the Orioles, including a club option for 2014. He will make $8.15MM and his option for 2014 is for $5MM.

Wada, is 30-years-old and has played in the Nippon Professional Baseball League since 2003. He began playing Nippon Professional Baseball when he was 22 and went 14-5, with a 3.38 earned-run average and finished with 195 strikeouts.

Since his first season, Wada has posted 77 wins and 51 losses. He has never struck out more batters than when he did his first season, however he has increased his command and has never had more than 61 walks, which he also had in his first season.

He is left-handed and has a very, very unorthodox delivery. Also, Wada is about 5’10” and 170 Ibs.

So what’s in his repertoire?

Wada has a four-seam fastball that usually sits at 85-88 mph, his four-seamer tops out at about 91 mph. Like I said early, Wada has an unorthodox delivery, which is very deceiving to hitters and it compensates for his below-average fastball velocity.

He also throws 2 other pitches; which are a change-up and a slider. His slider is average to above-average.
A few scouts have compared Wada to current Oakland A’s LHP Dallas Braden. Braden throws in the mid-to-upper 80’s and is also left-handed.

How will he fair in Major League Baseball?

It should be an interesting year for the Orioles pitching staff. Wada will probably slot in towards the back end of the rotation.

I can see him having an ERA above 4.00, most likely sitting from 4.50 to 4.75. Winning 6-8 games isn’t an unrealistic expectation for Tsuyoshi, especially since he plays in arguably the toughest division in baseball.
I am excited to see what Tsuyoshi Wada can bring to the Orioles. Hopefully he can bring stability to a rotation that certainly lacks it. It should be noted however, that the O’s could utilize Wada similarly to Koji Uehara. Uehara originally fit into the rotation, but fell back to the bullpen where he became much more effective. The O’s may use this path with Wada as well, since they’ve seen success with it in the past.

Friday, December 16, 2011

Will Jeremy Guthrie Be Traded This Offseason?

This will hopefully be a new feature on Warehouse Worthy where loyal readers get an opportunity to guest post on the blog.  I have been on the west coast since last Sunday, and I appreciate a good friend Jonathan helping out by writing a great post about Jeremy Guthrie.  If you're interested in posting on the blog, send us an e-mail at       - Jeff

The Orioles have made no secret of their desire to stockpile starting pitchers.  Tsuyoshi Wada and Dana Eveland are both Orioles and Wie-Yin Chen could soon follow.  It’s not even New Years yet.  Add those names to a stable of possible starters that includes Tommy Hunter, Brian Matusz, Jake Arrieta, Brad Bergeson, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Troy Patton, Jim Johnson, Alfredo Simon, and of course Jeremy Guthrie.  While, of course, some of these names will inevitably be destined for the bullpen, at this point there is potentially thirteen viable starting pitching candidates for five spots.  That number should continue to grow.

Some have wondered if these moves are a means to provide flexibility for the Orioles to trade their ace-by-default Jeremy Guthrie.  This is more than just conjecture.

Since being stolen from the impatient Cleveland Indians, Guthrie has been a symbol of consistency, starting 30 or more games every season and pitching over 200 innings the past three years.  He is in the last year of his contract and will be thirty-three years old when his contract expires.  It seems logical that Guthrie will be traded.

But not so fast.

The easy answer to why a trade will not happen is that last season the next closest thing to Guthrie’s 208 innings pitched was Britton’s 154 and it keeps dropping from there.  There is simply no one to replace him in terms of innings and production.  It is hard to imagine Buck Showalter would allow the Orioles to go into next season with one starter who eclipsed 150 innings and four other starters who were not even close to that number.  Furthermore, Dan Duquette has been quoted as saying that he wants the team to be over .500 next year.

There is another, more complicated, reason to why he will not be traded. The market indicates that the Orioles will simply never get what they want for him.  Although pitching is always a premium that does not absolutely mean a valuable return.

Let’s look at the Shaun Marcum trade as a comparison.   Before the 2011 MLB season, the Jays were able to nab top prospect Brett Lawrie, a guy who was ranked anywhere from 40-54 on top prospect lists in 2011 (and played pretty well in limited time with the Jays).  It seemed like a fair trade for Marcum who was only 28 year old at the time of the trade with a full two years left on his contract.  On closer examination, Marcum’s stats are not too far off from Jeremy Guthrie’s 2010 season (give Marcum 40 more strikeouts and Guthrie a few more innings).  At that time Jeremy Guthrie also had two years left on his contract.  See where I am going with this?

If the Orioles wanted to trade Guthrie, he should have been traded prior to the 2011 season.  Milwaukee was in a frenzy for starting pitching and like every offseason, so was everyone else.  The free agent pitching market looked something like Cliff Lee and then . . . Freddy Garcia?  Guthrie’s value was high and so was his tradability.  He had lowered his WHIP to a career low 1.16 the season before and had pitched almost 210 innings of sub-4.00 ERA baseball.   Now I am not insinuating that trading Guthrie would have absolutely netted a player of Lawrie’s caliber.  Marcum was younger and flashier at the time of trade.  What I am indicating is that by waiting Guthrie’s value has been sapped.  He has one year left on his contract, will be 33 years old during the season, is coming off of an average year (although good by Orioles rotation standards), and is lost in an offseason that, if nothing else, is deeper in free agent pitching than last season (especially if you include international talent).

Will Guthrie be traded?  It seriously could happen, pitching is always a premium and teams will always pay for pitching, especially a pitcher with Guthrie’s durability.  If a team is willing to trade a high upside, near ready prospect for a guy with one year left on his contract, then the trade is likely.  I just doubt it.

- Jonathan

A Prince in Baltimore?

So far this off-season has produced some shocking results: First-baseman Albert Pujols signing a 10-year deal worth $254 million with the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, as well as starting pitcher C.J. Wilson signing a five-year, $77.5 million deal with the Angels.

Other countless free agents have signed as well, ranging from shortstop Jose Reyes to closer Joe Nathan.

However, there is still one prized player left: First-baseman Prince Fielder (pictured above)

Fielder is only 27-years-old and is coming off a year where he hit .299 with 38 home runs and 120 runs batted in. He also finished 3rd in the NL MVP race.

What isn’t there to like about Prince? 

Well there are many arguments to giving him a long-term deal worth at least $150 million.

Since Fielder started in the league he has never had a defensive Wins above replacement (dWAR) rating higher than -0.3.

Another issue with Fielder is his weight. He is listed at 275 lbs. Many scouts believe he will have to play for an American League club because they think he will eventually have to be a full-time designated hitter.

Despite these beliefs, I believe Prince Fielder would be a great addition to the Orioles.

He is definitely a very-large guy, however I think if we play him at first base day-in and day-out it will prolong his value.

When it comes to defense, I know Fielder isn’t a great defender but he will be more than able to make up for it with his offensive value.

Since 2007, Fielder has hit over 30 home runs every year and he had more than 100 runs batted in, except for 2010, when he finished with 83. 83 runs batted in would have still been a team-high for the Orioles. Ty Wigginton finished with a team-high 76 runs batted in.

This is a crude estimation, simply used to illustrate Fielder's power. - Jeff

This picture above shows all of the home runs that Prince Fielder would've hit out of Camden Yards since 2008. It shows 3 home runs would have been "warehouse worthy". Thanks to Jeff for creating this!

Fielder has also increased his plate-discipline greatly. In 2010, he finished with 138 strikeouts and 114 bases on balls. In 2011, he finished with 106 strikeouts and 107 bases on balls. He also lead baseball with 32 intentional walks in 2011.

As mentioned earlier, Fielder is only 27.  Statistics have shown that most players are in their “prime” from ages 26-32.  Signing Fielder now would give us at least five years of a top- player in his prime.

Unlike Pujols, if the Orioles were to give Fielder a long-term contract the longest it would be is 10 years, at which Fielder would be 38, since his birthday is in May.

However, I do not expect Fielder to get a ten-year-deal in this market. I expect a deal ranging from 6 to 8 years.

Orioles fans can just imagine what it would be like to have Fielder in our line-up. He would give the Orioles a feared clean-up hitter, as well our best first-baseman since Rafael Palmeiro.

Note - This post was written by Chad, posted by Jeff due to technical difficulties.

Friday, December 9, 2011

Jim Johnson: Closer or Starter?

Jim Johnson has held down a prominent role in the Orioles' Bullpen since coming up for good  in 2008.  However, Jim made a majority of his appearances in the minors as a starter, starting 52 games from 2006 - 2007. If you listen to Jim Palmer, Johnson is a starter in reliever's clothes. With Kevin Gregg having a $6M option for next season based on 50 games finished, we're looking at Johnson either in the rotation or closing. He saved 9 games at the end of last year anyway.

So rotation or bullpen? Issue 1: sure Johnson started in the minors, but that was over 4 years ago. And, he never threw more than 156 innings in the minors. He'd be on a strict pitch count to say the least. After throwing 91 innings last year, it's conceivable that he could go somewhere between 120 and 150 this season depending on health.

What about performance? Well he struck out only 5.74 batters per 9 innings last year, so he would likely be a contact pitcher. Also, he would have to rely on his secondary stuff rather than the fastball heavy repertoire he's leaned on lately. Yes, he has 3 good pitches. Yes they could play in the rotation. But they would all likely take a hit, with his fastball velocity likely dropping from 95 to 92 (where it was when he was starting).

At the end of the day, Johnson holds more value to the Orioles and other teams as a reliever. Potentially a very good closer. While I don't blame the Orioles for considering it, I doubt he makes it out of spring training in the rotation.

Thursday, December 8, 2011

Interesting Links

This post may seem like a cop-out, but I promise, a regular post is coming tomorrow.  In the meantime, take a look at some 'experts' thoughts on the Orioles' top prospects for 2012:

Also, here's an interesting article from a writer I really admire about the Angels' signing of Pujols.

Finally, look forward to a post tomorrow, and then sometime next week a more in depth look at O's prospects with the release of the Baseball America Top 10 Prospects list.

Monday, December 5, 2011

Should the O's go after Cespedes?

So far throughout Free Agency the same names have been mentioned: Albert Pujols, Prince Fielder, Jose Reyes, C.J. Wilson, and… Yoenis Cespedes.
Yoenis Cespedes (pictured above) is a 26-year-old Cuban outfielder who defected from Cuba to the Dominican Republic this summer. Cespedes’ plan was to finally become a Major League baseball player.

The first thing Cespedes did was send out a promotion video to all 30 MLB teams, a very interesting video to say the least. Here is a link for those of you who haven’t seen it: Cespedes' Showcase (Warning this video contains explicit language).

When it comes to stats, Cespedes has put out some very impressive numbers in his playing career. Since debuting in the Cuban National Series in the 2003-04 season, Cespedes has hit over .300 almost every single year except for 2007-08 season. He also hit 175 home runs in 9 seasons, showing that he clearly has power. Besides hitting, Cespedes has above-average speed, but isn’t known for his stealing ability. In the field Cespedes is an average defender and reports say he has an above average arm.

So far plenty of teams have been interested in the Cuban outfielder. Teams have ranged from the Yankees and Redsox, to teams like the Pirates and the Indians. The Orioles have also expressed interest in Cespedes.

However, the price for Cespedes continues to climb. Reports say it could take $50-60 million to sign him. But should the O’s spend that much money on a player who hasn’t constantly faced major-league competition?

No, the Orioles should not spend that much money on Yoenis Cespedes.

Signing Cespedes would be like signing a player like Mike Cameron. Yes, Cameron was an average to above-average player in his prime, but would he be worth $60 million or more?!?

There is another international prospect that the Orioles should go after though.

19-year-old Cuban outfielder Jorge Soler is not drawing nearly the same amount of attention, but he may be well worth the wait.

Unlike Cespedes, Soler is not major-league ready. Scouts say it will take him 2 or 3 years in the minors, but Soler could turn out to be a better major-league player than Cespedes. Soler is known to have great bat speed and could become a hitter that hits 40 home runs in the major-leagues. Soler will also come a lot cheaper. Soler is expected to get a deal similar to Rangers centerfielder Leonys Martin, who signed a 5-year major-league contract worth $15.5 million.

Soler may not be major-league ready, but he has a ton of raw potential and having a 6’3” frame, he has a ton of potential as a power hitter.

Signing someone like Jorge Soler will be cheaper than spending money on Yoenis Cespedes and Dan Duquette will stick to his word by focusing on more international signing and development of prospects.

Friday, December 2, 2011

Taylor Teagarden's Acquisition

In case you missed it, the O's acquired Taylor Teagarden this past week.  The trade sent minor league pitcher Randy Henry and a PTBNL for Teagarden, bringing in the catcher to backup Matt Wieters.  Let's quickly compare Teagarden to other options on the market.

First, a note about the trade.  Some Rangers fans are happy about the trade saying Henry was a steal for Teagarden.  Let's call a spade a spade.  Henry is a 21 year old pitcher in A, who's ERA was boosted by playing way over his level in Delmarva for the first part of the year.  It's a win-win for both teams I guess as Teagarden was sufficiently blocked in Texas and Henry had little to no shot at making an impact for the O's.  He's a two pitch pitcher who's trying to add a changeup but it's currently below average.

Taylor Teagarden
Teagarden's career MLB stats look something like: .220/.286/.417 over 4 seasons.  Keep in mind that Teagarden has just 392 PA to his name over that time however, the equivalent of about 1 season.  The average and OBP are nothing to write home about but Teagarden does have some power.  He's hit 16 home runs over those 392 PA, good a HR every 24.5 AB.  The biggest downside for Teagarden is his K rate which is over 35% for his career.  Teagarden is however, well regarded for his defense, so he essentially gives the O's Tatum quality defense with decent power to boot.  I like the (minor) upgrade here.

Jorge Posada                           Jason Varitek            

Jorge Posada and Jason Varitek were the two other options being discussed this offseason.  Posada and Varitek hit .235/.315/.398 and .221/.300/.396 last season respectively. Those numbers are relatively comparable to Teagarden, though he does bring more power to the table.  Additionally, Teagarden's defense is head and shoulders above Posada and Varitek given their ages.  The final nail in the coffin here is price.  Posada made over $13M last season and would likely be looking for several million in any deal.  Varitek made $2M and would be looking for a similar amount this year.  Teagarden costs the O's just over $400K for the season, making him not only a better option, but also more efficient.

This was a good move for the O's, and the first trade under Duquette's watch.  Let's see how the rest of the offseason shakes out for the team.