• Jan

    As the Orioles Turn

    Say what you want about this off season with the Orioles, but boring it’s not. A quick read through the message board and you can find fans expressing just about every emotion, but the one thing that’s certain is there are a whole lot of folks following the Orioles this off season as they try to rebuild themselves.

    In case you’ve been missing it, here’s a little recap of “As the Orioles Turns”

    Things were pretty quiet last week as the whole Brian Roberts to the Cubs fiasco finally subsided. Just as quickly though the Erik Bedard to the Mariners heated up and began to boil over when the center piece of the trade from the Mariners, Adam Jones, told a paper in Venezuela that he was headed to Baltimore to take a physical.

    "I received a call from Seattle saying that is no more playing for me and I can't do anything about that,'' Jones told the Diario Panorama, "I leave tomorrow morning...It sucks. I want to play. This is Game 4 of the finals and I really want to be there for my team, but it's something that all the guys understand. I really want to play, but I can't."

    Jones then spoke about the actual deal itself: "(Bill Bavasi) called me yesterday and told me the news. I've got to go to Baltimore tomorrow morning and handle things there. I'm the centerpiece of the deal on the Mariners side. It's an honor to get traded for such a highly talented pitcher as Bedard is. He's one of the best. Last year he finished up as arguably one of the top candidates for the Cy Young. He's that good, so for me it's an honor. You know, I like Seattle, but if I am in Baltimore, as I think now I am, I'm going to embrace it and have the best time of my life in Major League Baseball." Mariners spokesman Tim Hevley confirmed to the The Seattle Times that Jones was asked to return to the United States but would not comment further.

    Immediately the posters on OH went crazy with everything from congratulating Andy MacPhail to wondering who would be the Orioles opening day starter, to links to an article that explained why Jones was switched off of shortstop Heck, one person even pulled the flight itineraries from Caracas to Baltimore from Expedia.com. But like with everything with the Orioles this offseason, soon Lee Corso’s catch phrase was about to be heard.


    Andy MacPhail then told The Sun’s Jeff Zrebic, "We do not have an agreement with the Mariners.” The SeattleTimes’ Geoff Baker though put out a piece saying the deal could still get done within 24 hours. This of course had people going nuts. Speculation started, people were confused, mad, happy, and some were trying to be the police officer in front of the 20-story building on fire saying, “there’s nothing to see here folks, move along.”

    Sports Illustrated’s John Heyman put out a report that said the two sides were still working but had quotes from both Seattle GM Bill Bavasi and MacPhail saying that the deal was not done. The Sun’s Roch Kubatko then speculated what might be going on, but he was fairly certain Jones was not heading to Baltimore. Jason Churchill of Prospect Insider said he had three sources that indicated the deal was “99% done.”

    Then it hit like a ton of bricks, ESPN’s Jayson Stark reported the deal was being held up because Orioles owner Peter Angelos had not signed off on the deal. The speculation from the OH crowd went into overdrive as did the folks who were ready to get their pitch forks and torches and head to the warehouse.

    Then, the rumors and speculation went into overdrive:

    1) Angelos nixed the deal because he was upset with the Mariners

    2) Angelos nixed the deal because he found out Bedard was interested in an extension

    3) Angelos was unavailable on Monday so he could not sign off on anything

    4) Angelos and MacPhail are playing good cop/bad cop

    And then today, poster Hank Scorpio reported that Stan the Fan was on Mark Viviano's radio show and reported that there is internal concern in the Orioles camp regarding Adam Jones and that they believe he has a degenerative hip condition. According to Stan, this is the leverage the Orioles are trying to use in order to pry more away from Seattle in this trade. There is a perception that Jones is in fact damaged goods.

    Now Stan Charles is the guy that scored the interview with Angelos a while back so it can be assumed that he has a pretty good in with Angelos. This certainly throws another wrench into the equation.

    So here we are on Tuesday January 29th and all we have is a gigantic male soap opera with no conclusion in sight.

    I’ll tell you, I really don’t know what to think anymore. I’ve heard things that suggest that Angelos is more involved than a lot of fans would like and that he was upset over the fact that information about the trades was leaked out of the Seattle side. But at the same time, MacPhail still gets the benefit of the doubt that he has the authority to pull off a deal until it’s proven he doesn’t.

    This situation will tell us a lot about how things are being run in the warehouse. If MacPhail and Bavasi had an agreement and Angelos nixed it, then we know that the more things change, the more they stay the same. This is going to hurt the credibility of the organization that was recently improved with the hiring of MacPhail.

    The only thing I know for certain is this soap opera is a long way from being finished. Hang on for the ride….


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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.