• Dec

    MacPhail First Move a Winner

    You have to give Andy MacPhail credit. He may not move as quickly as some fans would like, but when he does make a move it’s hard not to be impressed.


    MacPhail started what most hope is the first phase of the Orioles off season moves when he traded Ramon Hernandez to Cincinnati for utility player Ryan Freel and minor leaguers third baseman Brandon Waring and 2B/SS Justin Turner.


    The Orioles also reportedly threw in $3 million dollars to help offset Hernandez’s $8 million salary next season. When added to Freel’s $4 million 2009 salary, the Orioles came ahead by $1 million, got a solid utility guy with speed, and two mid-level prospects to boot. Not bad by any estimation.


    Let’s face it. After the way Hernandez sleepwalked through the 2008 season and with uber-prospect Matt Wieters ready to take over behind the plate, most of us would have been happy to just rid ourselves of Hernandez’s contract with nothing in return.


    The two minor leaguers acquired are not top prospects but both could have a major league future. Turner will play next year as a 24-year old and is most likely going to start the year as Bowie’s everyday second baseman although there’s a chance he could play some shortstop as well. Turner is an over achiever who maxes out his ceiling due to being a baseball rat with a well above average baseball IQ. He makes solid contact with gap power. Defensively he reportedly has the range to play shortstop but his arm is fringy and is better suited for second base on an everyday basis. At worse he should be able to take over for Freel in 2010 as the Orioles utility player, but his ceiling could be as Mark DeRosa-type second baseman.


    Waring, a 7th round pick in 2006 by the Reds, will be a 23-year old third baseman next spring. The big 6-foot-4 right-handed hitter has plus power and has smashed 40 home runs and 40 doubles in 799 professional plate appearances. Last season he put up a .813 OPS in the Midwest League (league OPS of .693 and the equivalent of Low-A ball like Delmarva) and his 20 home runs were third best in the league. Before you get too excited, Waring also has a pretty big swing to generate that power and his 156 strikeouts was second most in the league. Defensively Waring is a bit stiff at third base and the prevailing thought is he’ll eventually need to move to first base full time in the future. With Billy Rowell, Tyler Henson, and Ryan Adams all most likely starting the year at Frederick next year, that future could be 2009. Waring will need to prove he can hit at the upper levels before he’ll get too much publicity as a prospect, but he certainly adds needed power into the organization.


    Overall, this was a nice haul by MacPhail.

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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.