First thangs first, y'all: The new site is coming. Soon. Don't know an exact date.
Hey, wanna see an idea of what it'll look like? OK. Have a look.
Again, I know the "We fear change" people might hate it at first, but trust me, it's a good change. We're running on yesterday's platform here, really. Once you're used to all the new bells and whistles, I think you'll love the change.
Guess who's talkin'?
Why it's that lovable scamp, Jay Payton! Payton said, "I could be here all year, I could be here half the year, I could be here another five days."
But it's not really all bad. He also said, "It's one of those things where, as an older guy, I've got to help these young guys out. I'll do everything I can, but on the same note I'm still here to play baseball. I'm out here trying to win a job and win at-bats."
And how can you hate on that? Of course he's trying to win at-bats. That's his job. I'm not the world's biggest Jay Payton fan -- Choir: "YOU DON'T SAY!" -- but I'm rooting for him to have a better year. He plays for the Orioles. Reason enough for me.
Actually, I'm rooting for that "five days" part.
Ah jeez, Hayden...
Hayden "Fox" Penn is hoping to re-prove himself with the organization this spring, and is vying for a spot in the rotation.
He probably does need to re-prove himself, though I'm not sure at what point, exactly, he was proven. The Orioles quickly went from treating Penn like he was Sean Douglass, Ace of the Future, to treating him like John Maine, Forgotten Man.
Wieters Wieters Wieters!
Word is that Matt Wieters is lookin' good in Lauderdale, and I'm psyched to hear it. Said Dave Trembley, "He looks real comfortable. He doesn't look like anything is too overwhelming for him."
Wieters is as real deal as it gets for a guy with his level of experience. He is one of the best prospects in baseball. And by God, he is going to kick some ass, and I'm excited. I rarely get too in love with any prospects, but Wieters is a guy to get your knickers in a twist about.
Did you know a Kris is a weapon?
I learned that in Champions of Norrath! The Phillies signed Kris Benson to a minor league deal, and he reported to camp. Best of luck to him.
Walker has a similar philosophy and can cite a recent example to bolster his case. The situational southpaw loves to talk about his time with the 2003 Detroit Tigers, a team that lost 119 games and went to the World Series just three years later. Walker said the initial returns weren't pretty, but he knew at the time that he was part of building something better.
"It was the same situation. The owner was committed to winning, just like here, and they went out and signed a bunch of free agents," Walker said. "It didn't work out, so they dismantled it and got a bunch of young arms and a bunch of young players ... We had three Rule 5 Draft pitchers on the team; carrying one seems like a lot, but we carried three all year.
"We took some beatings, but for the ones that stuck around, it made it that much better when we got to the World Series. And there were like seven or eight of us from that team that made it that far."
Walker, who will turn 38 during the season, may not have the kind of longevity necessary to ride out the full transformation in Baltimore. Still, he looks at the high-caliber arms acquired in twin trades for Miguel Tejada and Erik Bedard and can sense the reasoning behind them. Putting his situation aside, he knows it was the right move for the organization.
"I think we got seven pitchers in the two trades, and we needed them," Walker said. "There's probably some more things that will go down before the end of the season, and that's just the way it is. Either way, I'm happy to be a Baltimore Oriole. They committed to me, so I'm committed to them. I'm looking forward to the season and you never know what can happen."
How much more gung ho can you get? I now firmly believe this team will be contending in a few years. If Jamie Walker says it, it's so.
The O's are considering Juan Uribe as a replacement for Tejada. NO. NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO, NO. Juan Uribe will drive me f'ing crazy if we sign that SOB. I've seen him play enough. I honestly would prefer Alex Cintron or Luis Hernandez. If you've followed my thoughts on Hernandez, you know that's saying something.
Javy Lopez is getting a second chance in Atlanta. I think his odds of making the team aren't, you know, great, but weirder things happen. Javy was almost a Rockie last year. Go figure.
Maybe Javylicious is excited. Lopez was not exactly my favorite, let's put it that way. Fuckin' spoiled primadonna.
Say what you will, but...
I'm willing to give Aubrey Huff another chance. He stunk last year and pissed everyone off on that idiotic radio show this offseason, but he's reported to camp early, and he's also going to wear No. 17 this season as a tribute to his friend, the late Joe Kennedy. I think that's a pretty class move. Plus, like Payton, of course I want him to be better. He does play for the team I love, so come on.
Time well spent
Chris Roberson cleared waivers and was outrighted to Norfolk. I still have no idea why in the hell they let Jeff Fiorentino go to pick this guy up. It is likely a totally trivial move, but stupid nonetheless. Sort of like the Riley-for-Nivar deal. Riley continuing to stink doesn't make that less moronic and pointless.
In MacPhail We Trust
Andy MacPhail is now in articles that feature Billy Beane and Mark Shapiro, and that makes me feel good.