Sunday, March 30, 2008

The Orioles Use Common Cents

In a world that is ruled by the all-mighty dollar, the Baltimore Orioles have just made a decision that doesn't fit the status quo - releasing Jay Gibbons.

Jay Gibbons is owed $11.9 million over the next 2 seasons and the Orioles will be paying Gibbons 100% of that money whether he signs with someone else or not. Financially, it's a tough decision to make, but it makes sense in just about every other way.

Gibbons has shown a complete inability to stay healthy and productive. Orioles manager has also stressed the importance of having players that are NOT one dimensional, which is exactly what Jay Gibbons is. He doesn't offer anything defensively, and he hasn't hit well since the first half of 2006. If Trembley doesn't want too many one dimensional players, he definitely doesn't want someone with zero dimensions.

By cutting Gibbons, the Orioles also get to keep the younger Scott Moore on the roster. Moore has much more of a future with the rebuilding Orioles and he's much more versatile. Gibbons is limited to DH and a horribly played left field. Moore has played at third base, first base, second base and left field this spring. I would expect most of his playing time to come at the infield corners, but it's nice to have him available at the other positions.

Other roster battle updates:
LHP Brian Burres has been named the 5th starter, meaning RHP Matt Albers will be in the bullpen as the long reliever. Manager Dave Trembley has said that they'll use the open date on Tuesday, April 1st, to skip the 5th spot, so for the first week of the season Burres will also be available out of the bullpen.

As for the shortstop position: "Can you keep a secret? So can I." That's what Trembley said to his coaches regarding who will start at shortstop on Opening Day. I guess we'll all just have to wait until the lineup card gets posted.

Neither Luis Hernandez nor Brandon Fahey leave me dreaming of the 6-4-3 double play. It's more of a pick-your-poison situation, but Trembley keeps giving evidence that he's leaning towards Luis "Throw-Away" Hernandez. Trembley says that he's going to go more off of what he saw during the regular season last year than what he saw in spring training. That's all well and good, but it's obvious that Hernandez is pressing. Regardless of who Trembley wants to start, you have to wonder if Hernandez will deal well with the pressure of starting on Opening Day. It may be a good idea to start Fahey on Opening Day and then give them each equal playing time over the first few weeks and see who settles in - play the hot hand. Trembley keeps citing Fahey's versatility as a reason to keep him as a utility player, but Hernandez can play both middle infield spots and as long as we've got Jay Payton and Scott Moore on the team, there shouldn't be any reason to play Fahey in the outfield.

Edit: Trembley just announced that Luis Hernandez will bat ninth and play shortstop tomorrow. Fahey will serve as the utility man. The article from The Sun does mention the possibility of Fahey splitting time with Hernandez as the season progresses, so maybe my idea will happen after all, but with a different Opening Day starter.

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