Camden Chat — ALL of Camden Chat — Grades the Offseason

Sammy Sosa. Kevin Millwood. Vladimir Guerrero.

The names make any Oriole fan shudder, and for good reason. They were all "centerpiece" offseason acquisitions that were supposed to propel the team forward in some way. They all failed to do so in spectacular fashion.

It's often said that hindsight is 20-20, and it's always easy to be a "Monday morning quarterback". But in reality, all of these moves were largely opposed at Camden Chat more or less from the moment they were announced, and well before each player's season even began. This despite the fact that the moves were celebrated by many members of the Baltimore media and embraced by, um, "other" fanpools. You know the folks I mean... they comment with regularity on Peter Schmuck and Roch columns.

Were we just lucky? My guess is no. James Surowiecki wrote a book almost a decade ago called The Wisdom of Crowds. The book argues that "in some circumstances, large groups exhibit more intelligence than smaller, more elite groups, and that collective intelligence shapes business, economies, societies and nations."

In other words, several hundred well-informed fans at Camden Chat might well make better decisions than 22 professionals in the front office of the Baltimore Orioles. I'm fascinated by this dichotomy, and by the concept of the crowdsourcing in general: I think the regulars here at CC are by far the most intelligent baseball fans I know, and with Dan Duquette being a brand-new GM, I thought it would be fun to test the theory.

So this year, we're going to quantify the CC offseason opinions and and see how good we really are.

Click below to play along.....

None of this is to say that there weren't people here who defended the moves above. (As an example, I was one of the folks who embraced the Vlad signing—actually a lot of us thought it was a gamble worth taking—but far more of us felt it was a trainwreck signing that would block ABs for Reimold. Turns out the majority was right.) But that's one of the central tenets of the wisdom of crowds: a group needs to be diverse. It also needs to be independent, which is one of the things that separates us from Roch or Schmuck commenters—folks who follow a particular media figure are more likely to echo his or her opinions. And a group needs to be decentralized. Not just geographically (although we are), but also philosophically: some of us love statistics, some don't. Those that love them disagree about which ones are best to use. Etc.

Perhaps our best asset at CC is this: we constantly discuss about all these things in a civil manner, replying back and forth about a particular topic in an organized and structured way that no other platform provides. This is our crucial advantage, because according to the theory, the best decisions will be arrived at as a product of disagreement and contest.

* * * *

But enough blather, let's get to the grading. Here's how we're going to do this.

Below, I have singled out every major transaction of the offseason that affected the 40-man roster. (I say "major" transactions, because there are a couple of minor ones left out—such as when we DFA'd Willie Eyre and then later re-signed him). I did include the DFAing of some folks (Rapada, Angle, etc.) in case they have fans who think they will catch on elsewhere and should not have been the ones let go to clear roster space.

Each move will have a summary description along with stats about the players involved, and links to previous CC discussion. The purpose of the links is so that you can refresh your memory of what was said at the time. You are also free, of course, to seek out and read any other folks' opinions on a move (and I have provided those for the instances where j.q. higgins did a transaction scorecard.) And you are likewise free to simply vote based on your gut impression—again, our differences are what make us stronger.

You will have two ways to vote, and I encourage you to take advantage of both of them:

First, there will be a simple anonymous poll following each transaction. All moves will be graded on a simple 5-point scale, with 1 being "I hate it and think it's a disaster," and 5 being "I love it and think it's a brilliant move". Vote a number from 1-5 in the poll. As you vote, try to bear in mind the obstacles facing Duquette and the team in general: the budget, the recently diminished market for obtaining prospects, the actual available players out there, etc. Recognize that the options to improve the team are limited. Voting everything a 1 because you think the entire franchise should be blown up will not really serve this exercise. Realize that when we look back in October, we'll mostly being viewing the moves based on whether they helped the team this year (although we can revisit in a couple of years as well).

Another way to look at your vote is this: If you were GM, would you have made this trade/acquisition?

I could leave it at that. But since I think the strength of this community is its regulars, there will be a second way to vote as well.

The problem with the internet polls is that any yahoo from Yahoo can come along and vote in them—you don't even need to be logged in. So it would be nice if we had actual voting records of people who are CC stalwarts. It's your chance to put your money where your mouth is! We'll take these ID'd votes and average them out to get a slightly different grade for each trade, but one that is more identifiable to the site.

So if you're comfortable standing behind your selections, the second way to vote is this:

Please enter a summary of your votes in the comments below.

It would be most helpful to me if you could provide it in the following format: Player name: x, where x is a grade from 1-5 with, as above, 1 being the lowest and 5 being the highest.

In fact, here's a template for you to copy and paste:

Antonelli: x
Teagarden: x
Eveland: x
Flaherty: x
Scott nontender: x
Wada: x
Chavez: x
Miller: x
Snyder: x
Chen: x
Hudson DFA: x
Betemit: x
VandenHurk DFA: x
Guthrie for Hammel/Lindstrom: x
Rapada DFA: x
Ayala: x
Angle DFA: x

If you can cut and past this example and use it as a template (just changing the x's to your votes), that would be awesome (easier for me to dump into a spreadsheet).

Use "N/A" for any moves you decided not to vote on. And that's perfectly acceptable. If you only have an opinion on the major moves, only vote on the major moves.

You can use the comments section for any questions (or corrections if you spot an error), but please no lobbying for/against certain trades/acquistions, explaining your votes, anything else like that. We don't want to affect other people's decisions in this thread—the point is to record how people feel based on their own opinions and past discussion. Really the comments should just be a bunch of lists of votes like the one above.

Comment voting is limited to folks who have been members of CC for at least 6 months. If you are more recent then that, I'll take your vote if you've made around 100 comments on the site. I just don't want any johnny-come-latelys in this exercise.

Voting will be open until 8:55pm EST this coming Thursday evening, February 23. I do hope we get at least 100 participants, if not more. The greater our numbers, the better this will work.

And now, without further ado, the transactions:


11/21/11—Orioles signed free agent 2B Matt Antonelli to a one-year deal.

There are differing accounts as to whether this is a minor league or major-league deal.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this signing on Camden Chat is here.

Vote on the Matt Antonelli signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


11/21/11—Orioles acquired C Taylor Teagarden from the Rangers for minor league RHP Randy Henry and a PTBNL.

Teagarden is on a 1-year deal. His 2011 contract was for $417k.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this trade on Camden Chat is here.

Vote on the trade for Taylor Teagarden in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


12/8/11—Orioles acquired LHP Dana Eveland from the Dodgers for minor league LF Tyler Henson and minor league LHP Jarret Martin.

Eveland was due for arbitration, but signed with the Orioles for one year, $750k.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this trade on Camden Chat is here; j.q. higgins also did a scorecard on it here.

Vote on the trade for Dana Eveland in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


12/8/11—Orioles selected 3B Ryan Flaherty from the Cubs in Rule V draft.

He also plays a little outfield. No contract terms yet, but he's never played in the bigs.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this drafting on Camden Chat is here and here.

Vote on the Rule V drafting of Ryan Flaherty signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


12/12/11—Orioles non-tendered Luke Scott.

Scott's 2011 salary was $6.4M. He eventually signs with the Rays for $6M.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to the nontender on Camden Chat is here; reaction to the Rays picking him up is here and here.

Vote on the non-tendering of Luke Scott in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


12/14/11—Orioles signed Japanese free agent LHP Tsuyoshi Wada to a two-year deal.

The deal is for two years, $8.14M, with a club option for a third year at $5M.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this signing on Camden Chat is here and here; j.q. higgins scorecard is here.

Vote on the Tsuyoshi Wada signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


12/20/11—Orioles signed free agent OF Endy Chavez to a one-year deal.

The deal is for $1.5M.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this signing on Camden Chat is here.

Vote on the Endy Chavez signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


1/3/12—Orioles acquired OF Jai Miller from the A's for $45K.

Miller mader $414k with the A's last year.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this trade on Camden Chat is here.

Vote on the trade for Jai Miller in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


1/3/12—Orioles traded C Brandon Snyder to the Rangers for cash considerations.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

There was virtually no reaction on Camden Chat to this trade.

Vote on the trading of BrAnDoN sNyDeR in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


1/10/12—Orioles signed free agent Taiwanese LHP Wei-Yin Chen to a three-year deal.

The deal is for three years, $11.4M, with an option for 2015.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this signing on Camden Chat is here and here.

Vote on the Wei-Yin Chen signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


1/10/12—Orioles designated LF Kyle Hudson for assignment.

Hudson was DFA'd to make room for Chen. He made $410k with the Orioles last year. He has since signed a MiLB deal with the Rangers.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction on Camden Chat to Hudson being DFA'd is here.

Vote on Kyle Hudson being DFA'd in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


1/24/12—Orioles signed free agent 3B Wilson Betemit to a two-year deal.

The deal is for two years, $3.25M, with an option for 2014.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this signing on Camden Chat is here and here; j.q. higgins scorecard is here.

Vote on the Wilson Betemit signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


1/24/12—Orioles designated RHP Rick VandenHurk for assignment.

VandenHurk was DFA'd to make room for Betemit. He made $410k with the Orioles last year. He is not currently with a team.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

There was no substantive reaction on Camden Chat to VandenHurk being DFA'd.

Vote on Rick VandenHurk being DFA'd in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


2/6/12—Orioles traded RHP Jeremy Guthrie to Colorado Rockies for RHP Jason Hammel and RHP Matt Lindstrom.

The trade that inspired this entire post!

Guthrie stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Hammel stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Lindstrom stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to this trade on Camden Chat is here, here, here, here, and here.

Vote on the trading of Jeremy Guthrie for Jason Hammel and Matt Lindstrom in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


2/6/12—Orioles designated LHP Clay Rapada for assignment.

Rapada was DFA'd to make room for the extra player in the Guthrie deal. He made $410k with the Orioles last year. He has since signed a MiLB deal with the Yankees.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

There was no substantive reaction on Camden Chat to Rapada being DFA'd.

Vote on Clay Rapada being DFA'd in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


2/10/12—Orioles signed free agent RHP Luis Ayala to a one-year deal.

The deal is one year, $925k, with an option for 2013.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction to the Luis Ayala signing on Camden Chat is here and here.

Vote on the Luis Ayala signing in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


2/10/12—Orioles designated CF Matt Angle for assignment.

Angle was DFA'd to make room for Ayala. He made $410k with the Orioles last year. He has not signed on with another team.

Stats, injury history, team history, and past contracts, are here (baseball cube). More stats here (baseball-reference).

Initial reaction on Camden Chat to Matt Angle being DFA'd is here.

Vote on Matt Angle being DFA'd in the anonymous internet poll.

Remember to also record your vote in the comments below.


Remember, if you're willing to stand by your predictions, vote below using the following template:

Antonelli: x
Teagarden: x
Eveland: x
Flaherty: x
Scott nontender: x
Wada: x
Chavez: x
Miller: x
Snyder: x
Chen: x
Hudson DFA: x
Betemit: x
VandenHurk DFA: x
Guthrie for Hammel/Lindstrom: x
Rapada DFA: x
Ayala: x
Angle DFA: x

Polls will close Thursday night at 8:55 pm EST.

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