Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Crowded House

The Orioles have done a good job acquiring a lot of decent talent to compete for the 2008 roster. Competition is good and will bring out the best in younger players. But that also means that some fringe players aren't going to make the team, and since they are out of options, they'll probably be released.

So get to know guys like Rocky Cherry, Brian Burres, and Scott Moore while you can, because there's a good chance they don't make the team.

This bothers me more than it probably should. Here's why...

The Orioles are in a full rebuilding mode. Gone are any fantasies of the Orioles reaching that serene mountain that is a .500 season. This year's team is going to be bad.

So it makes sense to give different guys a shot. But as it stands, the likes of Melvin Mora, Jay Payton, Kevin Millar, Aubrey Huff and Jay Gibbons are crowding the roster which means that someone like Scott Moore doesn't stand a chance to make the team, much less get a decent amount of playing time, like he should.

Who is Scott Moore you ask?

Moore was acquired along with Cherry and a PTBNL when Andy MacPhail pulled that rabbit out of the hat and traded Steve Trachsel to the Cubs last year.

Moore has some decent MiL numbers including a career .793 OPS. He strikes out a ton, but has decent power and could become a solid 3B as Mora declines, and could even play some 1B. Problem is, he's blocked at every turn by the above veterans.

Andy MacPhail isn't close to trading or releasing any of the vets, and things may change as sprint training begins, but I can't see the O's trading enough of their dead weight to make room for Moore, and the chances of them eating a contract or two become even less likely.

Dave Trembley loves veterans, he lived by them last year even at the end of the season when all hope was lost, and one has to think that if Mora, Payton, Millar, Huff and Gibbons are on the team in 2008, they will get their fair share of playing time. Add to that the likes of Freddie Bynum and Brandon Fahey, Trembley favorites who are solid defensively, but swing swiss-cheese bats at the plate.

One also has to think that Steve Trachsel, who signed a MiL contract with a ST invite, has a pretty good shot of cracking the rotation as well, blocking one of the several pitching prospects who deserve to be given a shot in the starting rotation.

We are rebuilding after all.

Losing someone like Scott Moore isn't likely to raise many eyebrows in Oriole Nation. But it's just another small example of the Orioles not embracing the rebuilding process, like they failed to do last year when J.R. House and Jon Knott were busy spitting sunflower seeds in Norfolk while Fahey, Bynum, Fahey, Bako and Payton all collected their meaningless AB's.

The O's may be paying for the sins of past GM regimes, with all these declining veterans and their hefty contracts to sort through, but if they want to get better, they should find a way to shed them one way or another.

I'll wait to see what happens, but it doesn't look good.

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