As start of Spring Training is upon us, one has to look at the work Andy MacPhail has done so far. I know that there were a lot of fans – myself included – who thought the man at the helm of the Orioles was well, a tad slow.
I guess we all jumped to conclusions, and although Baltimore may not be a contender this season, or next – the organization is in a lot better shape than it has been in the past. So we didn’t get Mark Teixeira, Derek Lowe or A.J., but I see improvement.
While the Orioles didn’t get the marquee or veteran arms we like, he finally made inroads into Japan and Far East by acquiring Koji Uehara and rid us of Daniel Cabrera. Meanwhile, he stockpiled on arms and got Rich Hill – a pitcher who started with such high hopes with the Cubs, but is a work in progress – David Pauley, and a litany of others.
As the world knows, baseball has been rocked by a steroids scandal for the past few seasons -- however, it has reached a crescendo this week with Alex Rodriguez's admission of drug use and the saga of Miguel Tejada.
The Commissioner of Baseball -- Bud Selig -- is obviously not pleased with the turn of events despite the implementation of drug testing and the public relations hit baseball continues to take. Thursday morning, he spoke with USA Today's esteemed journalist Christine Brennan about the steroid era.
Although Selig has taken a lot of lumps from fans and the media alike during his tenure, a different side of him was shown in Brennan's piece -- an upset, and saddened leader who may be ready to strike the hammer.
"It was against the law, so I would have to think about that," Selig said of possible action against Rodriguez. "It's very hard. I've got to think about all that kind of stuff."
As for the game's once-revered record book, he said, "Once you start tinkering, you can create more problems. But I'm not dismissing it. I'm concerned. I'd like to get some more evidence."
Were Selig to act, he would find precedent not in his game, but in the Olympic world, which is much tougher on cheating and misbehaving athletes than baseball is, at least partially because it doesn't have to face an impossible, stonewalling players union.
For Oriole fans, Brian Roberts is a name synonymous with hard work, hustle and being of one of best lead off men in baseball. That being said, right now we all know that the second baseman is in final year of his current contract in Baltimore, and question now is will he remain a part of Birdland?
After the 2008 season, I would have said he would be traded before Spring Training; however, now the answer is no.
In the past few weeks, Brian Roberts has shown a willingness to stay in Baltimore as his representation and the Oriole front office along with Andy McPhail are actively working to extend his deal. He has said over and over that he would not be willing to have contract discussions after a certain point in Spring Training to focus on baseball. Considering the market for players and the economy, Brian may find it in his best interest to stay in Baltimore.
This week has not been a good one for hard-core fans of the game, and perhaps one of the sadder stories of the steroid era came to a conclusion yesterday.
Miguel Tejada this week was charged with lying to Congressional investigators about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball. He pleaded guilty yesterday to the charges, and his punishment -- if any -- should be coming shortly.
However, the saddest part of yesterday was seeing Tejada in Houston yesterday evening during a press conference after appearing in Washington. He was signed to a handsome contract to be part of the rebuilding process in Baltimore as a free agent from Oakland -- where he was considered one of the better shortstops in the game at the time -- and vault the team into contention.
Despite having a career year in 2004, and being relatively solid at the plate until 2007, he never did really make the Orioles into a better team. Later on, some of us perhaps saw the dark side of Tejada with the whole Palmeiro episode, demanding his way out of Baltimore, his age discreprancy, and his questionable work ethic despite his talent at the plate.
In the end, after the 2007 season, Miguel left to Houston (via a trade) as a pariah to some in the Oriole community.
Although most fans probably do not at all feel sorry for a multi-millionaire who lied about his misdeeds, there's a tragic part about this with Tejada.
Now, I don't know him at all; however, I saw the way Miguel was with fans -- nothing short of wonderful and engaging for the most part -- and thought he interacted with people well. Furthermore, everyone for the most part when he came into town talked about his infectious love for the game and upbeat attitude.
Then again, in the last year, he's been exposed as one of many who probably took the dirty road to the top; alas, to me it's kind of sad. Realize, Miguel Tejada is nothing short of revered in the Dominican Republic -- where baseball is a religion -- and came from what we would consider abject poverty and became wealthy beyond his or any one's dream.
He looked like a broken man yesterday and someone who sold his soul to be better, but instead got exposed in the end.
Bobby Abreu has found a new home in sunny California, and boy did the Angels ever get themselves a bargain…
From ESPN:Bobby Abreu has reached preliminary agreement on a one-year contract with the Los Angeles Angels, a baseball source said. The Angels expect to announce the contract once Abreu passes a physical exam, which was scheduled for Wednesday, and the team clears a spot on the 40-man roster.
It's believed that Abreu will make about $5 million in base salary, and there will be additional, undisclosed incentives that would bring the total value closer to the $8 million that Abreu was seeking.
Foxsports.com reported Tuesday -- and two baseball sources confirmed -- that the Angels will make room for Abreu by taking pitcher Nick Green off the 40-man roster.
Last night at the ESPN Zone in Baltimore's Inner Habor, Oriole fans got to relive some of the magic of the incredible 1989 season where a young team led by Hall of Famer Frank Robinson -- that finished 1988 with 107 losses and started the season 0-21 -- shocked all of baseball by contending in the American League East until the final weekend of the season.
A few stars of that season -- dubbed, "Why Not" -- Mike Devereaux, Larry Sheets, and Dave Johnson spent about 45 minutes reminiscing about the fun times, what life was back then, the moments, and the friendships that made 1989 so special.
The triumvirate took questions from fans and emcee Tom Davis in front of a crowd that filled the popular restaurant. After talking with fans, they went to an auxiliary room in the restuarant and signed autographs for those in attendance.
There's audio of the event (49:00) if you desire to listen below.
Favre was expected to speak to the media in a conference call at 6 p.m. ET.
"We had an all-encompassing conversation," owner Woody Johnson said of his discussion with Favre. "He told me at that point that he had made his decision to retire and thanked everybody and talked about what a great experience he had with the New York Jets."
"I have great admiration for him as a player and a person. I wish him only the best in his life after football," Ryan said.
The Nationals are expected to hold a news conference at Nationals Park on Thursday. General manager Jim Bowden was not immediately available for comment.
Dunn, 28, and Bowden have a history together with the Reds organization. Bowden drafted Dunn in the second round of the 1998 First-Year Player Draft. Three years later, Dunn was in the big leagues and became Cincinnati's best power hitter.
It looks like former Oriole Miguel Tejada has had his day in court and took the easy way out. This has been a bad week -- can we just get to Spring Training already?
From the Baltimore Sun: WASHINGTON - Former Orioles shortstop Miguel Tejada pleaded guilty this morning in U.S. District Court to the misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress about the use of performance-enhancing drugs in baseball.
According to a criminal information document filed by the U.S. Attorney's Office for the District of Columbia yesterday, Tejada was not truthful with staffers from the congressional Committee on Oversight and Government Reform on Aug. 26, 2005. It was part of the perjury investigation of former Oriole Rafael Palmeiro.
Tejada, 34, reached a plea agreement with prosecutors and entered the guilty plea before U.S. Magistrate Alan Kay this morning.
The misdemeanor charge of making misrepresentations to Congress can lead to as much as a year in jail. But federal guidelines call for a lighter sentence.
From what I have gathered, he'll most likely get probation since he does not have a criminal record; also, one has to wonder considering he's not a U.S. citizen, if his visa would be jeopardized. Now, I would guess Miguel Tejada was a student from abroad who came to this country for college -- yes; however, he is a highly paid athlete on a professional sports team.
I would think nothing happens to Tejada although his reputation is pretty much in tatters in the United States. As well, one has to think has after Tejada's contract is up if he would find another job in the majors.
Considering Miguel's age, his declining numbers and role in the steroid mess, who knows?