Monday, May 31, 2010

The Waiting Game

Another weekend sweep has brought on another uncomfortable Monday off day for Baltimore Orioles manager Dave Trembley. Speculation has been swirling for weeks regarding Trembley’s job status, and with three runs total this past weekend in Toronto, Trembley can’t be feeling too great about his survival chances. I’d put them at about 10% that he is still with the team after the all-star break in July.

What has happened to the Orioles these past two months is not all Trembley’s fault. There are many factors that have contributed to this horrid start. Injuries, underperformance, and simple bad luck have all contributed to the 15-36 start. Say it again: 15-36. 21 games under .500 before June. That is simply unbelievable.

Somebody is going to have to take the fall. The Birds play with no fire or confidence that they will win on any given day. Trembley has officially brought a losing attitude and it will never wear off. That much has become obvious over the past two months. Many people say that Trembley doesn’t do much wrong, that he’s been given a bad hand. That’s true to some extent; but it is totally ridiculous in many respects.

Trembley has overused the bullpen the past three seasons before June. The bullpen, which has had to overcome injuries to three of their best arms all season, has imploded mostly because they are overused and put in spots to fail. Trembley goes “by the book” every night. Wouldn't he think that maybe the so-called "book" is flawed? The matchups with lefty-lefty and righty-righty have backfired completely on him all season, yet he continues to employ the strategy.

For a team that cannot score runs or get many extra base hits, you’d think Trembley would steal, hit and run, or bunt guys over just to create runs and put more pressure on the defense. Nope. Trembley doesn’t even do that.

Another Trembley-ism is mixing up the lineup EVERY SINGLE DAY. Not just after losses---after wins, too. Trembley is always putting guys in different spots in the lineup. Nick Markakis has fabulous numbers in the number two spot, yet Trembley keeps running him out to the three-hole. Adam Jones hit .188 in the leadoff spot. In fact, it was fairly obvious after three games that Jones wasn’t comfortable hitting there and that he was hurting himself and trying too hard to succeed. It ruined Jones’ season, and it really didn’t have to be that way. Why Trembley continued to put one of his most talented young players in a position to fail is beyond me.

The Orioles have put themselves in a position to fail. They needed to either trade for a big bat or sign one, and they did neither. You cannot send young players out there without any protection or any other veteran production. It just doesn’t work because then they feel too much pressure to succeed. The Orioles with this horrid start now must pick up the pieces and trade some of their arms for a big bat (Prince Fielder) because there is no way a prime player is coming to Baltimore through free agency. It’s the sad reality for the Orioles right now, but it is what it is. They have dug themselves this hole with their reluctance to wisely spend money outside of the organization and in the draft. Matt Hobgood? Are you kidding me? I hate to get down on the kid because he didn’t draft himself, but to draft a guy who clearly was a signability pick when you preach spending through the draft to acquire players is ludicrous.

The draft is coming up next week, and the Orioles better hope they pick one of the best players available at the three spot or they will have a very, very long summer with their fans. If I'm the Orioles and I do not pick pitcher Jameson Tallion from Texas or shortstop Manny Machado from Miami, I have a ton of explaining to do.

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