• Jun
    05

    Q&A with Danny Knobler, CBS Sports

    Danny Knobler is a Senior National Baseball Writer for CBSSports.com.
    Prior to joining CBS, Knobler was a Beat Writer for the Detroit Tigers for 18 years, and also spent 5 and a half years with Baseball America.

    You can find Knobler’s work with CBS at:
    http://www.cbssports.com/columns/writers/knobler/archive

    You can find Knobler on Twitter at:
    http://twitter.com/#!/DKnobler

    Orioles Hangout thanks Mr. Knobler for answering a few Orioles related questions.

    Orioles Hangout: “Earlier this week you wrote that the O’s might be targeting Prince Fielder.
    (http://danny-knobler.blogs.cbssports.com/mcc/blogs/entry/8590096/29723768) Fielder turned 27 on May 9th and has a .920 OPS for his career. The O’s offered Teixeira 7 years $145M two winters ago. Due to Fielder’s weight concerns, I can not see the O’s being willing to offer him the 7 years they offered Teixeira. If Baltimore offers the same annual $ per over 5 or 6 years, will that be in the ballpark of the contract you anticipate  Fielder signing? Do you think that would be a proper use of resources for Baltimore? Who else could be a primary suitor (Texas, Cubs, Cardinals - if they lose Pujols)?"

    Knobler: "It's very hard to know exactly what it will take on any free-agent signing. All the estimates on Werth/Crawford last winter ended up being too low. The Teixeira offer isn't really relevant, because the Orioles were in a much different position then (and so was he). They didn't have a team that was close to being ready to win. Plenty of other teams could be interested in Prince, including the ones you mentioned, and also the Nationals and Angels. Could be others, too."

    Orioles Hangout: “Next Winter, the O’s determine they have the ability to target either Fielder or Yu Darvish. Let’s say to obtain Darvish it would take a $35M posting fee, and a 5 year, $50M contract. Which player makes more sense for the Birds to target? Will the issues Boston has had with the Matsuzaka signing limit the posting fee on Darvish?”

    Knobler: "I think the question of how Matsuzaka impacts Darvish is very interesting. I also think that at this point, with the young pitching they are already developing, the biggest need this winter is going to be a big bat in the middle of the order. If it's either/or, I'm going for the first baseman."

    Orioles Hangout:The Los Angeles Times has reported that the Orioles are one of 9 teams in-violation of MLB debt service rules. If the O’s are telling friends in the game they have significant money to spend this off-season - is this debt service violation a non-issue?”

    Knobler: "I don't know if it's a non-issue, but I do know that the Orioles expect to have money to spend. In fact, I was told that if they had stayed in the race this year, ownership would have been willing to add to this year's payroll at the July deadline."

    Orioles Hangout: “The perception seems to be that there will not be much pitching available at the Non-Waiver Deadline. If the O’s make Guthrie (under contract through ‘12) available, what type of value will he command? For example, would you think the Orioles could obtain Yonder Alonso for Guthrie? Would you advocate that trade for the O’s?”

    Knobler: "There won't be much big pitching available, so yes, Guthrie could have value. On the other hand, if the Orioles believe they can contend in 2012, would they really want to trade him away?"

    Orioles Hangout: “Markakis had a .561 OPS in April, and a .708 OPS in May (.287 baa). Going into June 3rd, Markakis has just 4 doubles (43+ the last 4 years). Does Markakis end ‘11 with an OPS over .800? (.817 for his career).”

    Knobler: "I'm not big on stats predictions. I think Markakis is a good player who got off to a bad start. Good players usually end up performing close to where they should."

    Orioles Hangout: “After playing in 115 games in ‘09, and 101 games in ‘10, JJ Hardy has played in just 27 of the O’s first 54 games here in ‘11. If the O’s want to extend him, should they be attempting to do so now (prior to the Non-Waiver Deadline), or should they wait until after the season to address?”

    Knobler: "If it's me, I wait. But they know more than I do about his health, and about the risk."

    Orioles Hangout: “Reynolds had a poor April (.566 OPS), but rebounded a bit in May (.778 OPS) with numbers closer to his career averages. Under contract for ‘12, with a team-option for ‘13; I think it is very important to the O’s immediate prospects for Reynolds to produce. Where do you see his numbers ending?”

    Knobler: "Again, I don't predict numbers. But the Orioles knew they were taking a chance with Reynolds, who has great power but also huge strikeout numbers. I'm a lot less interested in his OPS than his power. They didn't get him to walk. They got him to hit home runs."

    Orioles Hangout: “When I think of the O’s younger core, I think of Markakis, Jones, Wieters, Matusz, Arrieta, and Britton. Obviously we discussed Markakis above, and at age 27 he should be at his peak. Matusz has just returned to make his first start of ‘11. We have seen some progression from Jones (defensive positioning), Wieters (his defense, and vs. LHP), and Arrieta (overall consistency, though his mechanics have been a mess the last two starts). We have also seen the emergence of Britton. Your overall thoughts on this core?”

    Knobler: "I think it's a strong place to build from. I like Britton and Arrieta a lot, and Wieters is already by far the best catcher in the division. Young players are going to show some inconsistency, but the overall trend is good."

    Orioles Hangout: “Tampa has proven over the past three seasons that a well run franchise can reach the post-season, even with far less resources than the New York Yankees and Boston Red Sox. That said, if a second wild card team is added to each league, are the three largest beneficiaries Tampa, Toronto, and Baltimore?”       

    Knobler: "If the Rays, Blue Jays and Orioles keep improving, maybe the biggest beneficiaries of the second wild card are the Yankees and Red Sox! A second wild card does provide some hope in tough divisions like this one, but with the unbalanced schedule and better competitive balance in the AL East, it may be tough for 2 wild card teams to come out of this division."

    Orioles Hangout: "The 2011 Rule 4 Amateur Draft will be the last draft held under the current Collective Bargaining Agreement. There appears to be some industry-wide belief that the 2012 Draft could feature the ‘Hard Slotting.’ The O’s lack Compensatory picks. Should the O’s be willing to drastically increase their Draft Spend ($8.8M in ‘09, similar in ‘10), and go ‘Over-Slot’ throughout the Draft?”

    Knobler: "I always advocate teams going over-slot. I'll also believe hard slotting when I see it. I wouldn't assume that hard slotting will come in next year."


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