• Jul

    Orioles need to change their ways

    In a  post on the message board the other day, I made the following comments:

    "The more I talk with people within the organization the more it's fairly obvious there are some serious problems at the big league level within the clubhouse.

    There is a lot of behind the scenes things going on. I can't and won't get into this right now, but needless to say, I was even surprised at some of the things I've heard.

    I will fill you guys in on this part, Tejada loves Baltimore and loves the fans, but he wants to win badly and the constant losing is hitting him very hard. And he's not the only one. The clubhouse is not a happy place (most losing clubhouses are not) and although the players are not going to break the clubhouse code officially, moves like adding Ortiz, Brower, Halama, Conine, etc are not viewed well while other teams are signing quality players or bringing up minor leaguers who contribute immediately.

    This team needs to be willing to take risk, develop value in their prospects, and either replace older expensive declining parts with them or trade them while their value is at their highest for pieces they need (LF/1B/ACE SP).

    What this organization needs is a huge shakeup at the major league level. The Orioles have some parts for a competing club, but until the organization is willing to take risk (trade prospects for parts or acquire prospects they need for prospects they have in depth (read pitching prospects), sign or trade for a number one starter or big time power hitter, they are doomed to mediocrity."

    Just to clarify things a bit, I have no idea how the whole clubhouse feels about things, but I doubt it's much different then any losing clubhouse.

    The organization has lost for nine straight years now. Like any competitive player, they want to win and some guys on this club have never even been on a team that finished above .500. When they see themselves competing against the Red Sox and Yankees and even the Blue Jays who went out and picked up a lot of good pieces in an attempt to compete, yet the Orioles stay on the same track, it can be deflating.

    In my opinion, my opinion only, the signing of Hernandez and the Patterson trade were two things that made this off season a little better, but the loss of Ryan and the fact the team still had one of the weakest LF/1B/DH combos in baseball tells me they weren't ready to compete. Add in the fact that the rotation and bullpen was filled with question marks, and you can see why some might become frustrated.

    The organization needs to completely change the way it thinks when it comes to taking risk and definitely needs to improve it's Dominican operations. Ever wonder why the Orioles don't get any top Dominican players? Well, the Orioles complex is a one field and the players live in a building which was described to me as a "barracks" where the players all sleep in the same room.

    Meanwhile the Red Sox and some other teams have a four field complex and the players live in what is luxury accommodations, especially for Dominican standards. Who would you sign with? Add in the fact the Orioles do not pay top bonuses for Dominican talent and you excuse Carlos Bernhardt for not signing the next Vlad Guerrero.

    Until the Orioles invest in their own organization from top to bottom, you can expect they will continue to field mediocre teams while promising a brighter future. There are a lot of hard working and knowledgeable baseball men in the organization from the major leagues, to scouting, to minor league development. But they need the resources and the ability to take risk, even *gasp* financial risk in order to restore what was once a model baseball organization.

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Tony Pente

Tony has owned and operated Orioles Hangout since 1996 and is well known for his knowledge of the Baltimore Orioles organization from top to bottom. He's a frequent guest on Baltimore-area sports radio stations and can be heard regularly on the 105.7 FM The Fan. His knowledge and contacts within the Orioles minor league system and the major league baseball scouting industry is unparalleled in the Baltimore media and is known as an expert on the Orioles prospects.