Baseball

Jorge Arangure Jr.
Washington Post Staff Writer
Tuesday, August 30, 2005 1:00 PM

Washington Post staff writer Jorge Arangure Jr., who covers the Baltimore Orioles, was online Tuesday, August 30, at 1 p.m. ET to discuss the team and Major League Baseball.

A transcript follows.

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Jorge Arangure Jr.: alright welcome to another edition of everyone's favorite baseball chat. before we begin let's send some well wishes out to nats beat writer barry svrluga, who Washington post sources say has been a little bit under the weather. if any of you have ever read his stories (already bad to begin with), you certainly know he can't afford to lose any concentration.

btw, anyone else think this summer's most underrated album is beck's "guero?" seriously I hear no pub for this and it's a great summer album.

a lot of baseball topics out there. yeah I guess we can talk about the orioles too.

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Coronado, Ca.: You don't think that the Giants will make the same mistake twice and take Sir Sidney back? If not, what's the alternatives for the Orioles?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Coronado, Calif you certainly will get the first question everytime. Love coronado. I spent some of my teenage summers working as a courier for the bank of coronado. Always liked to drive past homes I could never in my life afford.

As for Sir Sid, I'd say he's likely to sign a one-year deal somewhere next season if he and the Orioles can agree to a buyout. Sidney is a considerable risk but if he ever gets his head straight, maybe he can be a productive pitcher. But haven't we been saying that for almost eight years now? Not sure it's ever going to click for Sid. Discussing this with my colleagues, we think he'll probably end up signing some one year $2 million deal somewhere.

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Bethesda, Md.: Instead of griping about how poorly the O's are doing, I'm going to gripe about the Post's coverage. I guess the folks there think if they do it subtly, they can get rid of O's coverage without anyone noticing? First the stories never made the front page of the Sports section. That's fine. Then the stories got smaller and smaller. Then they started using the AP stories. I guess I should be happy that there's any coverage at all, right?

After the open discussion at the beginning of the season, I was hoping for something more, I guess. Look, I know the O's are playing craptastically right now. But that doesn't mean I don't want coverage.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Alright I have to take issue with this question. Even I -- a chronic complainer just ask my editors -- don't think the o's have been shortchanged this year. The stories were out on the front page for most of the year, and believe me i checked. The game stories have remained the same length the entire season. And believe me there have been games recently when i wished i only had to write a couple paragraphs. The only difference is the lack of travel now. But this is a pattern that has been set for a few years now. At the end of the year when the O's have tumbled in the standings, we've stopped making the unimportant trips with them. We're still scheduled to go to boston this weekend and then new york in a couple weeks, but there has been a consensus that we will use our budget for interesting and compelling baseball stories in the final months. We will look at teams in the middle of pennant races.

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Washington, D.C.: How did the Braves acquire Hollandsworth in a trade with the Cubs after the trade deadline, when the Orioles & Nationals need hitting? It seems rather unlikely that he passed through waivers & slid into a division leading team. What's up?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Because Todd Hollandsworth is not very good. And why would either of those two teams want a player who isn't better than the ones they have?

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Burke, Va.: It's sad to see a team that I have rooted for since I became Baseball aware in 1969 stay burried under NY, Boston, and even Toronto for so long. The Orioles management seems to have a vision, but an inability to execute. Can you give us your opinion on a top 3 list of things they have to do to be successful. Not tactics like get a 1B who can hit, but real strategies like build a team around pitching and defense or be strong up the middle.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Interesting question.

1. They must have an organizational philosophy and then stick with it. Don't put so much emphasis on psychological analysis and then on a lark completely go against those beliefs and sign a player like Sidney Ponson who does not test well. What sense does that make?

2. Have people in the organization who believe in the philosophy. Right now there are substantial rifts within the organization on what direction to take.

3. Be more aggressive in player transactions and be realistic about the talent you have to offer in trade. I can't count the number of times an opposing team's general manager has told that the Orioles come up with the most ridiculous trade offers that aren't even taken seriously. If i could reveal the names of players the orioles have requested in return for some of their marginal talent, you would certainly do a double take.

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Alexandia, VA: The O's have had one of the most unproductive outfields in recent memory this year. What are the chances that we see a whole new outfield next year?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Completely and totally agree with you. I can't think of another team who has batted their three outfielders in the last three spots in the lineup as frequently as the orioles have. Right now it's completely unknown what the Orioles will do in the offseason because we don't know what the front office will look like. I would have to think though that upgrading the outfield has to be a priority.

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Arlington, Va.: What is with the animosity between you and Barry? Is it for real (a la Tony K and Jay Mariotti) or something else?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Well what happened was that one day we had an hour long meeting with our editors to air out our differences during a slump the paper had. And in that meeting, i called out barry because he always refuses to play hurt. And barry called me out because he thinks i am not a team player. Well that meeting didn't solve anything and for the next few weeks we continued to lose games and couldn't score runs while falling out of the wild card race. Wait. Was that us or the nats? I can't remember anymore.

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Silver Spring, Maryland: Do you think the O's will drop Sosa, Palmerio, and Ponson this off-season and if so which big names could they pick up?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I would venture to guess that all three of those players will be dropped. Makes no sense to bring either of them back. I'm not sure how they will be replaced. Like i said earlier, we won't know the direction the team will take until the front office situation is settled.

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Spring Grove, PA: I'm tired of reading about how Perlozzo is so proud of his team for trying hard, never giving up, hustling (huh?), etc. If in fact they're playing to the best of their ability, are they just a truly awful team? I know Surhoff always plays hard, so I was real surprised when he dropped a routine fly ball on Saturday. What gives?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: The team is certainly not making a good case for Perlozzo to stay on as manager. Although Peter Angelos loves Perlozzo, it would be difficult justifying giving him the full time job if the team continues to collapse. Perlozzo is a good man and might be the victim of a team already in a descent.

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New Castle, DE: Take that, Mr. Angelos:

I grew up in DC in the 60 's but moved away many years ago. I made it to my first Nationals game last friday, and was just enchanted. They have fixed up RFK much better than I had antcipated. It brought back such a flood of memories. I know the Nationals are going through a rough patch, but they outplayed and beat the best team in baseball (Cardinals)! And the crowd was SO in the game. They cheered for every out and, unlike in Baltimore, knew to start cheering when the count reached 2 strikes without being told by the scoreboard to do so. And Mr. Angelos said there are no MLB fans in Washington? Hah! I'll be back!!

Jorge Arangure Jr.: See this is a classic case of a non question. Very bad chat etiquette. You might be fooled because there is a question mark in that paragraph but being the keen person i am i realize it was more of a rhetorical statement.

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Jimmyville, Md.: Here in the charred ruins of Jimmyville, a few survivors are picking through the desolation for scraps of hope. Our once proud city has been decimated by bad news and bad play. Can you offer these scattered bands of post-apocalyptic refugees anything in the way of optimism?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Hmm. Actually no. Nothing. No optimism. But in the land of Jimmyville, a winning streak is only a game away!!!

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Olney, MD: Now that the Os are in the middle of their annual late season swoon, I don't think it is to early to think about what they are going to do in the offseason to add to the team, especially since they appear to have a lot of cash to play with for that purpose. What does the market look like and are there any players that you think they should make a serious run at? This assumes of course that our wonderful owner won't blow it again this year.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: There are some interesting players out there this winter, but none that are what you'd call franchise players. Brian Giles, Paul Konerko, A.J. Burnett are all available and would be fine additions, but at what price? Here's an interesting scenario: What if the Dodgers non-tender Milton Bradley, making him a free agent? Would you o's fans take a chance on him? I've heard mixed answers.

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Arlington, Va.: Jorge: Nick Markakis is a Baseball America midseason top 25 prospect and has ripped the ball in Bowie. Val Majewski was the organization's top minor leaguer last year, Hayden Penn is highly thought of, but the assorted Freire/Young/Castro/Calzados I think are not viewed as even 4A/ replacement guys. Do the Os have an organization that can start contributing a position player and a pitcher each year, either directly or as trade bait (maybe Castro)? Do you expect to see some "let's see what we got" down the stretch, beyond Freire? Could Walter Young suit up for the Ravens if the Os don't give him a chance?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Markakis and Penn are the best the Orioles have in the minors and players who appear the most ready to contribute at the major league level soon. Agree with you on the assessment on the 4A guys. The Orioles love how this year's draft has turned out but again, but it will take more time to fully evaluate those players. I don't see the ORioles calling up a lot of interesting prospect players. You're more likely to see the 4A players. As for Walter Young, i guess he could suit up for the O's but it wouldn't matter since they'd still have Kyle Boller at quarterback. As a USC grad i'll take any chance to rip a Cal quarterback.

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AL Wild Card: Who do you like? Why?

I'm from Cleveland and lamented the Tribe's sweep by the D-Rays as a sign they weren't ready this year, but since then they've been on a tear.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I think Cleveland has a very good team capable of making a run in september. Their lineup is talented, led by sizemore and hafner. Their bullpen has the best ERA in baseball. Their starting pitching is good. They may be the most balanced team.

This is a very weird year to predict a world series winner. You asked who i liked, well I really don't like anybody. All the teams that appear to be in the playoff mix are flawed in some way.

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Arlington, VA: Re: Jorge/Barry rift

So you guys are still in fifth grade arguing over who has the better sneaker? BTW, who does have the better sneakers?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Oh i totally have the better sneakers. I'm much more hip.

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Burke: Bradley might just be good for the Orioles. First, he plays hard, gets emotional, and plays harder. Second, with Tejada as a real leader, Bradley wouldn't have to be appointed to lead like the Dodgers tried. Third, ummm, he's alive and plays the outfield.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Yes. Yes. And YES!!!

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Arlington, D.C.: Let's not cast the net too broadly in dumping on the Os OF. Matos, until the brainlock yesterday, has decent numbers, and Gibbons will end up with 22 HRs or so with his typical .265 average. The RBIs numebrs aren't hot, but that is a function of Sosa and others "meriting" the 4-5-6 positions. A little more faith in these two and they can produce. Left has been a disaster, but Markakis will be there next year.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I see how you can be fooled. Again let's refer to other general managers and scouts on this. They say if you have Luis Matos as your every day center fielder then you NEED to have two very productive corner outfielders. Matos can get on base and has a nice average but is not at all a run producer. Gibbons will have his 22 hr, but his on base percentage and strike out numbers aren't good at all. Byrnes is said to be overrated by many people, because he at best is a platoon guy to hit against lefties.

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Arlington, VA: You know what they say about people in glass houses. The Nats may be fading a bit, but they are still in a wild-card race rather than looking behind them uncomfortably and wondering whether or not they can hold off the Devil Rays.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Non question part 2. Arlington you didn't even throw in a question mark there to try to fool me. That's a bad effort there.

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Fairfax, VA: I for one am grateful for the continued coverage of the Orioles in the Washington Post and I have not found it lacking at all. I do think you are a little hard on Barry -- he writes better than most. DO you think the Post will cut back his expense account next year after all the talk about his extravagent meals at Panera last spring?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: You think Panera is bad? I hear he eats at Cosi in New York. And you wonder why there is a rift?

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Washington, D.C.: 'Guero' gets better after each listen. CD de Ano!

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Totally true. A better point will not be made in this chat.

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Packing it in: Terrible to see the Orioles just packing it in and losing every game. Wish their salaries were dependent on wins/losses. Pitiful to see a team playing out the string and not caring (though they will tell you they are trying).

Can you tell now when interviewing the Orioles that they are talking the talk but not walking the walk??

Go NATS!!!

Jorge Arangure Jr.: No but they are playing it one game at a time. They insist tomorrow is another day. And when they lose they insist that's part of baseball. Don't you just love cliches? By the way how do you walk the walk and talk the talk? And can you walk the talk and talk the walk?

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Richmond, Va. RE: O's coverage in Post.

Did the guy in Bethesda just come off a plane? Dude, the Redskins & Ravens are in training camp. The Nats are in a wildcard race? Hel-lo.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I knew i was in trouble when i saw a 50 inch feature on the Redskins long snapper accompained by a three column photo. Yup, space will be limited in the final month of the season.

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Wooster, OH: Are you a Simpsons fan? If so, Burns is Angelos, right? Homer is Palazzo (right now). Who would be Moe? Barney? Police Chief Wiggum (another possibility for Angelos)? Lisa? Maggie? Bart? Do you see my conundrum?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I SO love this question for some many reasons. Genius. I'll try to fill in some of the names here, but i will need some help.

Sidney Ponson has to be Barney. Brian Roberts (nice, smart, not so dysfunctinoal) as Lisa? Jeff Fiorentino (Class A player called up during year) as Maggie? Steve Kline (wiseacre, smart aleck) as Bart? Mike Flagangan/ Jim Beattie (the leaders of the front office) as Chief Wiggum? This is a fun game.

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Cambridge, Mass.: Enought about the O's woes ... size up the BoSox v. Yankees matchup going into stretch. The Sox play most of their remaining games at Fenway, where they rock. But their pitching still seems unpredictable. Meanwhile, the Yankees seem to have been on an upward arc since the All-Star break, and have the raw talent. How do you see it all shaking out? Does it basically come down to Sox v. Yankees games?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I keep hearing from people that the loser of this division won't make the playoffs. I don't neccessarily buy that one just yet. The two teams are looking to be so evenly matched because both are flawed in so many ways. The Yanks have subpar starting pitching. But so do the yanks. Where the yanks win is in the bullpen. I still have to give the Red Sox the edge in offense. I think the red sox will win because of so many home games. But it will be fun to watch like always. Actually it won't be that much fun. I have to say i'm pretty sick of that whole rivarly.

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Fairfax, VA: The O's... what a collapse. Here's a novel idea, spend less money on fading hitters and get some pitching!

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Are you available for a general manager job?

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Lost Springs, WY: Brian Cashman must have a flair for the dramatic signing Mark Bellhorn. Is there potential for some real theater in upcoming games against the team that just released him?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Can you see Mark Bellhorn coming into the game in the eighth inning of a game in late september to pinch hit against mike timlin? he then hits a home run over the right field fence to give the yanks the lead.

Yeah me neither. He'd probably strike out.

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East Berlin, PA: Luis Matos' baserunning blunder yesterday was just the latest in a season of gaffes. Why do the O's think he's a more viable outfield option than Newhan? And will Matos be back? It's gotten old.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Well right now Matos is hitting almot 80 points higher than Newhan. Matos has had a decent season. He gets on base. He isn't a superstar and not someone you build the outfield offense around. You must have two productive corner outfielders if you want Matos to play 150 games in center.

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Washington, D.C.: Can another MVP for Giambi be too far away? Now that he has all of the diffuculties behind him, and is probably tested ad naseum, we are seeing the real, old, Giambi coming back to form. Let the Red SOx fans start bashing, but this guy is becoming the old hitter who was one of the most feared in the league ...

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Let's not get ahead of ourselves here. Giambi has had a good season, not one many people predicted. But he is far from an MVP candidate.

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Gaithersburg, Md.: Well, the O's season is over, I don't think there is anything worse to watch in September than an out of playoff contention team. Even if they can play the spoiler role, who cares? they had a chance this past week to do that and they didn't. What would you suggest are the reasons fans should watch the O's in September?

Jorge Arangure Jr.: Wow you got me.

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Alexandia, VA: With Palmeiro out of the equation, who plays first base this year and next? Gomez is a nice BACKUP MIDDLE INFIELDER. We need a first sacker with a little pop.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: I don't think anybody currently with the organization will play first base next year. My guess is that the O's will sign someone or make a trade. They really don't have any viable candidates to fill that spot from within.

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Stafford, Va.: first off, thanks for you're great coverage. It's tough being a loyal O's fan with all these washington ship jumpers out here. quick question, maybe no real answer, but here it is...how do you go to extras and then lose by 5 runs?? are they really that bad? the swan dive from 1st to 4th really dissapoints me. I thought we had a chance this year. Thanks again jorge.

Jorge Arangure Jr.: They've become a miserable team. It's really hard to imagine it considering how well they started. Quite sad really. They may have regressed from last season.

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Jorge Arangure Jr.: allright everyone. thanks for stopping by. like always, the pleasure was yours. take care.

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