It Seems To Me

It Seems To Me (formerly known as “Am I The Only One?”) is a continuing look at some interesting happenings in Baltimore Orioles baseball.

It seems to me… 

  • Adam Jones is the epitome of what a role model should be. Beyond his abilities on-the-field, Jones has displayed a level of perspicacity that is rare among pro athletes. Since the incident in Boston where he felt the direct onslaught of racial slurs yelled adam jones smileyat him from the outfield stands and from behind the dugout, he has taken the extreme high road. Last week, while the Orioles were in Kansas City, Jones donated $20k to the Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, a motion that gives a positive return on what could have been a disparaging blemish to Major League Baseball. In a move that will hopefully generate more publicity than the incident in Boston, Jones has become a proponent of equality in sports and continues to do so in a way that brings awareness to an issue that extends beyond the body of professional sports.

 

  • Buck Showalter has been struggling with his handling of the bullpen since Zach Britton went to the DL for the next 45-60 days. Last night we saw him remove Alec Asher, a starting pitcher in a relief role who threw over 100 pitches in his last start, after only 42 pitches. Not only was the pitch count well within reason, the decision to bring in a sixth relief pitcher for the game could easily leave the bullpen taxed for the rest of the series against Detroit. With Ubaldo Jimenez slated to start tonight, the odds increase that the pen will be needed again, putting Showalter’s decision to use almost every arm in question.

 

  • That Chris Davis is living up to his $164 million dollar potential thus far. I’ve Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Oriolesdiscussed this earlier in the season, but seeing as we are more than halfway through May and he continues to post a .384 obp and has batted almost .500 in his last seven games, it deserves recognition. Last night, Davis single-handedly won the game for the Orioles by becoming only the second player in franchise history to hit two homeruns in extra innings in the same game. Both dingers put the Orioles ahead. Maybe the “C” that stands for “Crush” should also stand for “Clutch”.

 

  • That the Orioles should have looked more into trading Britton during the off-season. It wouldn’t have been a popular move, especially right now as the bullpen struggles to find itself and not having Britton as the reason is an idea that seems to be gaining momentum. Four straight loses by one run before last night’s extra inning marathon victory tells a different story. A 3-2 loss and a 4-3 loss on consecutive nights in Kansas City wasn’t necessarily the bullpen’s fault (although they gave up the runs); An offense like the Orioles should be able to generate enough runs to win low scoring, close games. A trade of Britton would have brought in a plethora of young talent and also would have allowed the organization to demand a major league ready arm to either replace him in the pen or put another reliable starter in the rotation. As it goes, Britton is now hurt and his value has dropped faster than Jose Bautista after a Rougned Odor right. Oh well. Hindsight is 20/20.

 

  • Everyone should have a friend like Wayne Kirby. Recently, there was an article posted about him on Pressbox and it was a wonderful read. I’ll leave the link here for whoever wants to enjoy it and also learn a little more about the Orioles’ loved first base coach.

Am I The Only One?

Another season in the books. Afterwards, was I the only one who…

…Thought the reaction from Adam Jones toward the Toronto stands after a beer can came flying at Hyun-Soo Kim’s head was entirely justified? Adam is a leader of the team who has been questioned throughout the year by some of the Baltimore fanbase for swinging at bad pitches and starting the year off slow enough for Buck to permanently move him to the lead-off spot. But, as one would probably assume, on-the-field play isn’t the entire spectrum when it comes to the chemistry of a baseball team, and Jones displayed some of the hidden emotion with his very angry defense of his teammate. There is little as impressive in professional sports than to see human emotion displayed by the leaders of a team, and AJ has a knack for doing it at the right times. Kudos to his gut reaction and sticking up for his teammate.

…Thinks that if the Orioles are not able to sign Mark Trumbo, who had his best major league season this year and led the majors in homeruns, that Pedro Alvarez would be a good second option? Odds are, if Trumbo were to be brought back, it would be a role in which he found himself playing DH much more often than he did in 2016. Alvarez, a left-handed hitter, already fills that role. With the power he has displayed throughout his career, it could easily be beneficial for him to see more consistent playing time and opportunity to put up the big power numbers he showed off during his days in Pittsburgh. He will most definitely come cheaper than Trumbo, for good reason, but if the Orioles are concerned about money due to their upcoming contract discussions with Manny Machado, Chris Tillman, and Kevin Gausman, cheaper may have to be the path they choose.

…Thinks the lack of attendance this season was a bit embarrassing? It seems to me, according to a lot of social media outlets at least, that Orioles’ fans pride themselves on being able to fill the stadium better than a lot of teams. Most notably, I remember discussions during the O’s dark years about how Camden Yards was consistently more filled than a place like Tropicana Field, home to a perennial playoff Tampa Bay Rays team. However, now that the shoe is on the other foot, Camden Yards sat half full almost every night, allowing Boston and New York fans to take over when their teams were in town. “Fenway Park South” is the nickname for OPACY, and that is not a compliment to any sort of historical milestone. Baltimore is a blue collar football town, for sure, but surely O’s fans can do a better job of filling the seats when their team is in the running for a playoff spot.

…Thinks that not making any attempt to sign David Price last off-season was one of the best moves the front office made? Price, who is pitching for Boston, lost again in the playoffs last night. He has a 2-8 record and a 5.54 ERA in playoff games in his career, putting him up near the top of the most unreliable pitchers in the playoffs in the modern era. Don’t get me wrong- he’s a good pitcher, as his 3.21 career ERA shows, but when you want your ace to win the big game, it’s got to be frustrating to watch him go out there and throw a dud time and time again. Maybe him and Clayton Kershaw should join a support group together.

…believes that speaking of starting pitching, the Orioles should be hands off again this off-season when it comes to free agent starters? There are two guys on the market that are worth any value as a player who could improve the rotation. Rich Hill, who is 37, is undeserving of any long-term contract, and has battled hand issues during the entire second half of the season. Hill, who has played in Baltimore before, resurrected his career this season by pitching lights out ball in Oakland before being traded to the Dodgers at the deadline. The other name is Doug Fister. Fister, who is younger, would be more attractive if the market wasn’t going to drive his asking price through the roof. The conversation will always revert back to money because the Orioles have a limit and they also have forthcoming contracts. Overpaying for a guy like Fister would be a mistake. It will be better for the Orioles to continue to rely on Tillman and Gausman, let Bundy work back up to a full season workload, and find their 4th and 5th starter in Spring Training.

…feels a little bit bad for Ubaldo Jimenez? Let’s be real here. The guy pitched some insanely good baseball for the last two months. A ton of people were calling for him to start the game against Toronto in the playoffs. Buck’s decision to bring him in during the 11th inning was not a black mark on Jimenez, despite him giving up two singles and a homerun to end the game. Buck should have known his player better; Ubaldo, more often than not, begins his game shaky. Hitters are batting .331 off of him with seven homeruns, 28 RBIs, and 27 walks in his first 15 pitches of the game. On top of that, he has a 6+ ERA against Toronto this year in 21 innings pitched. Jimenez has proven in the media that he cares about this team. He has shed tears on TV for God sake. And before you make that horrid “well, he makes millions of dollars” argument, tell me the last time the amount of money you made affected how much you cared about the effort you put into wanting to do something well. Maybe it’s time we give the guy some slack- without his stellar performance in the stretch toward playoff time, this team wouldn’t have had the opportunity to play in the wildcard game.