I celebrate Christmas -- in fact, I love it. Sure, I go broke every year buying crap for family, my girlfriend, and my friends (and, uh, gifts from me to me, let's be honest), but it's a good time. Children laughing, people passing, meeting smile after smile. (For the record, Dean Martin's version of "Silver Bells" that is on Christmas with The Rat Pack is my favorite Christmas song ever recorded, and I'm way into Christmas music. Other superb notables: Otis Redding's "White Christmas," Sinatra's heartbreaking "I'll Be Home for Christmas," and Bobby Darin's "Christmas Auld Lang Syne." But I could go on. I won't.)
In the spirit of the season, I figured I'd share some of my wishes for our beloved Baltimore Orioles. Add your own. And first off, I thought it was nice of Andy MacPhail to give us an early present by shipping Miggi to Houston.
1. Trade Erik Bedard
Some of youse guys ands gals have expressed regret that you, too, wish for this to happen. I hear ya; I feel what you're getting at. But, I can't say as though it much pains me. As great as he was this year and as good as he was in 2006, I've never gotten attached to Bedard beyond just thinking he's awesome and being thankful that every fifth day or so, he'd give me a reason to watch the Orioles.
It's probably because I was pretty sure this was bound to happen if he got good, as I didn't expect the team around him to be good. He's as valuable as he's going to get, with his durability at what may well be its peak, the pitching market thin and friendly to the seller, and the fact that he would've led the American League in strikeouts and been a legit Cy Young contender this season had he not gone down with his umpteenth nagging injury.
Yeah, he's good, and I like him. But he's outta here the first chance he gets to make that decision for himself anyway. Trade him now, don't dick around about it.
2. Trade Brian Roberts, Melvin Mora and Ramon Hernandez, Jay Payton and Aubrey Huff
Another thing peeps has been sayin' here: If we're gonna suck even worse than usual -- and we are -- then let's do it young. Brian Bob is a fan favorite and I'm going to be a supporter of his no matter where he goes. If they traded Roberts to New York or Boston, I would still root for him. I like him that much. There are several teams that could use an All-Star second baseman who gets on base and steals a second one as soon as he's there. And, at 30, his value is also about as high as it'll ever really be.
The other four are just guys that have no place on a rebuilding team, at least one that's serious about rebuilding from the ground floor up. They're all old, they all suck, and frankly, I just don't like any of them. Payton is a member of MLB's All-Douchebag team, and Huff got voted on this offseason, too. (Not that I object to a dude getting drunk and talking shit, but it is stupid to do it on the radio if you're a public figure, and especially if your profession is something you aren't very good at.)
Mora gave us good years, but now he mostly just whines about his legendary playoff heroics and how he knows all about how a bunt is the greatest idea in the history of time. And Ramon is an injury-prone catcher. You aren't going to get much back for Payton, Huff, Mora or Ramon, but fine. Just so long as they aren't stinking up the Yard next season, that's all I care about.
3. FIRE TERRY CROWLEY
This won't happen, but with all the staff changes Trembley made, including firing arguably the greatest pitching coach to ever live, he keeps Terry fuckin' Crowley? This guy hasn't just stunk at his job for years now, he's done so with authority. Someone has got to step in. I don't care if Terry Crowley is the nicest man in the world, he has got to go.
4. Go cheap on the 'pen
Look, the last two Oriole bullpens have been hideous, and this year's was just brutal. Just snag a bunch of guys with healthy arms, maybe a few guys who are about to have healthy arms again, and throw shit on the wall all spring, and find out what sticks. Jamie Walker isn't Billy Wagner or anything, but he and Chad Bradford can anchor the bullpen. No more money spent on Joan Baez. Don't invest in the biggest crapshoot in the game anymore. It's not worth it.
5. Find some way to not have Luis Hernandez, Boom Boom Bynum or Beanpole Brandon starting at shortstop
I want to go young, but I have my limits. Bynum isn't really a shortstop, and the other two just are not major league hitters. They aren't even bad major league hitters. Adam Everett would have been a nice caretaker for a year or so, but the Twins picked him up already. I like Luis, Bynum and Fahey in their own special ways. Starting at shortstop does not compute, though.