Thursday, December 19, 2013

Welcome to Baltimore David Lough

So the Orioles finally made a move in the offseason that wasn’t met with a ton of fan backlash. Yesterday they traded Danny Valencia to the Royals for David Lough. Valencia’s value was about as high as it will ever be after all of his clutch homers and extra base hits to end the season while the orioles were attempting to make the playoffs. Even though Valencia ended the season with a triple slash of  .304/.330/.553 in 170 plate appearances with the acquisition of Michael Almanzar in the rule five draft he became expendable. The Orioles then used Valencia to potentially fill the hole in left field from the departure of Nate McLouth.
            Lough is a solid pickup who had a triple slash of .286/.311/.413 for the Royals and also finished 8th in A.L. Rookie of the Year voting. Lough brings solid speed and above average defense to a crowded left field battle. Lough will be competing against Henry Urrutia, Nolan Reimold, and Francisco Peguero. Out of this group, besides Urrutia Lough offers the most upside after his rookie campaign. Urrutia is more suited for a DH role but he would need to hit for more power. Lough’s speed, defense and experience at all three outfield positions are the traits that set him apart from the rest of the group.
            Personally I like this trade a lot, Valencia was a man without a position but was too valuable of a trade commodity to be stashed at Triple A. Lough is a very good option in left field who is under team control for at least two more years before entering arbitration. That’s great value for someone whose value was higher than it has ever been and (probably) ever will be again.
            So welcome to Baltimore David Lough and may the odds be ever in your favor in the left field battle.

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Wednesday, December 18, 2013

We'll Miss You Brian

Brian Roberts stealing second base
            In the wake of the recent news I think it’s appropriate to write a tribute to the Orioles former table setter, Brian Roberts. After 13 seasons wearing the orange and black, Brian Roberts will be suiting up in pinstripes next season. He received a 1 year 2 million contract plus incentives from the New York Yankees. Roberts was the longest tenured Oriole after being in Baltimore for his entire 13-year career. Roberts holds the team record for doubles in a season with 56 set in 2009. He was a consistent force atop the order with a .276 batting average and an on base percentage of .312 from 2001-09 (all stats through With that solid on base percentage Roberts also added speed, gap power and good defense to the lineup. Roberts was also a clubhouse leader even during the orioles losing seasons.
Then in the 2010 season Brian Roberts was limited to 59 games due to a serious concussion that he suffered sliding into second base. From 2010-13 Brian Roberts averaged 48 games per year causing the Orioles to search for a new second basemen. Due to injuries Roberts wasn’t even able to take part in the Orioles 2012 playoff run. With players like Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop and the newly acquired Jemile Weeks the Orioles are prepared for life without Roberts. Because of that the Orioles began the offseason by filling other holes rather than resigning Roberts and hoping that he would stay healthy all season. That opened the door for the Yankees to sign Roberts to replace Robinson Cano.
Orioles’ fans instead of showing Roberts the respect he deserves for his service to Baltimore are now pegging him as a traitor. Sure it would have been good for him to retire a career Oriole but it wasn’t a good fit for either side. It was a strictly business decision on both sides. The Orioles are able to carry the trio of Schoop, Weeks, and Flaherty for about 1.3 million (courtesy of That’s .7 million less than the base salary for Roberts, a player we aren’t sure will make it to the end of the season. If Flaherty plays like he ended the season his pop and defense will fill the void left by Roberts. This move also allows Nick Markakis a career .335/.390 hitter in the leadoff spot to move there once again if no one is signed. This betters the Orioles offense as a whole and hopefully allows Markakis to rebound from his slump last season.
Instead of being bashed on how they are treating an icon the Orioles should be applauded on a good business decision. Sure I wish Brian Roberts luck with the Yankees but I’m confident that the Orioles trio of second basemen can pick up the slack.

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Monday, December 16, 2013

Ravens Lions Recap

Justin Tucker after hitting a massive 61 yarder for the Ravens to edge the Lions.
Somehow, someway, the Ravens just find a way to win. Even in the most improbable of circumstances they find a way to survive. Tonight the defense and Justin Tucker shined, assisted with some timely throws from Joe Flacco and big catches by Jacoby Jones.
After the Lions first drive Ravens fans thought they were in for a long night. The Ravens followed up that scoring drive with a three and out of their own but then the defense took over. The Ravens Defense limited one of the NFL's most explosive offences to one touchdown for the first half. Even though the Ravens were able to limit the Lions scoring chances Detroit's 3rd ranked red-zone defense held stout. The Ravens offence could only muster nine points behind the prowess of Justin Tucker's leg. 
In the second half the Ravens defense kept Matthew Stafford on edge starting with an interception in the third quarter by defensive end, DeAngelo Tyson. The Ravens offense still couldn't get it going in the third quarter putting up one more field goal. They ended the third quarter leading 12-10. Keeping with recent trends we were all in for a wild finish to the game. The Ravens added another field goal with 8:06 left in the 4th then put the game into their defense's hands. The defense allowed Stafford to orchestrate a touchdown drive capped off by a 14-yard strike to tight end Joseph Fauria. The lions would then fail to score on the ensuing two-point conversion.
Joe Flacco and the ravens then got the ball with 2:33 left and Joe did what Joe did best. He marched the ravens down the field with two huge catches by Jacoby Jones. But then it was time for Justin Tucker to work his magic. Tucker nailed a 61 yarder with 46 seconds left to put the Ravens up two. They then had to kick it back to the Lions and give Matthew Stafford one more shot which he squandered by throwing an interception to rookie safety Matt Elam to seal the ravens 18-16 win.

Up next for the Ravens are the New England Patriots at home on Sunday. The Ravens now control their own destiny and can end the season with an AFC North division title. This is a team getting by on hope and grit and even thought their sometimes sloppy they are winning. Since the bye the Ravens have went 5-2 to put themselves back into the playoff picture. This is a team nobody wants to face right now.