I am hoping against hope that the team will not suffer another historic collapse, but in the meantime I will keep looking at the future.
For 12 innings, the Orioles looked pretty good. Unfortunately, yesterday's game went 13 innings. You don't usually see an extra inning 9 run loss, so at least the Orioles are still noteworthy, even if it is for all the wrong reasons.
But the thing that happened this weekend that is important to note is that the team finally received its compensation for the Gregg Zaun to the Rays waiver claim, and that compensation was 25 year old 1st base prospect Rhyne Hughes. Hughes has a bit of a feww swing, as evidenced by his 149 strikeouts in 440 at bats between AA and AAA, but he does have some pop in his bat (22 home runs and 82 RBI's in 114 games split pretty much evenly between the two leagues). The home runs were more prevalent in AA (15 compared to 7 in AAA), but the batting average at AAA is a good bit higher (.313 vs. .252 at AA). Obviously the coaches need to work on his pitch selection, but the kid is a legitimate prospect and could be a sign that the Orioles are not going to go hot and heavy after re-signing Aubrey Huff in the offseason, with both Hughes and Brandon Snyder in AAA waiting to get up to the big league club.
I still think that the Orioles are going to try to move Luke Scott to 1st base during the offseason and use Ty Wigginton as their primary 3rd baseman (at least at the beginning of the season) and then bring up at least one of the three minor leaguers they have at the corner positions (Snyder, Hughes, or 3rd baserman Josh Bell, the jewel of the George Sherrill trade from last month) by the All Star Break at the latest.
In other news of the future, the Orioles shut down Troy Patton, but don't read too much into that. He pitched very well at AA Bowie, and was doing okay at AAA Norfolk after being moved up. But he is one year removed from surgery for a torn labrum (it's a shoulder thing that most pitchers wind up injuring to some degree during their careers), so it was smart on the team's part to let him take a little more time off than he would normally get, let his body get some rest, and then get him on an off-season training regimen. If Patton can meet projections, he would join the Young Guns of Chris Tillman, Brian Matusz, and Jake Arrieta in what could very well be a formidable starting pitching rotation. Pushing him too far now serves no purpose.
One other thing to talk about. My good friend Brian called me crazy when I said that Dave Trembley would be back this year. I asked him the question I have posed to all of you…If not him, then who? I will not say who he said (I am hoping that he will post a comment with who he thinks and why he thinks that person should get the job, and maybe we can spark some conversation on this), but I will say that I do not think that this person is any more qualified than Trembley. So, Brian, it is on you. Tell the blogging world who you think should get the job and why, and let's see if we can help make Andy MacPhail's job that much easier if he does indeed form a search committee for next year's manager. Or if you are NOT Brian, go ahead and post YOUR thoughts and we can see where to go from here. Yes, you can consider this a direct challenge.
About the Author
Written by Ron Burr
Ron is a lifelong resident of Maryland and has been a passionate player and fan of sports for as long as he can remember. When he is not watching the games or explaining to his lovely wife why he is cursing at the television, he runs an improv/sketch comedy troupe, Drop Three. He can't hit a curveball or run a sub 4.5 40 yard dash, but he knows the games and loves talking about it with anyone. Differing opinions are welcome and encouraged!