What they're saying about the Orioles

Baltimoresun.com staff

Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Orioles:

Updated July 1

• John Donovan of SI.com empties out his mailbag and answers this question regarding Dave Trembley's chances at Manager of the Year honors.

Is it too soon to suggest Dave Trembley as midseason Manager of the Year? Who is getting more out of less, or who has transformed a clubhouse culture as much as Trembley has?

-- Dan, Crystal River, Fla.

It's never too early, Dan. I'll take your nomination. And I'll give you these guys as his competition: Ron Gardenhire with the Twins, Bob Geren with the A's and Fredi Gonzalez with the Marlins. None of those managers -- with, maybe, the exception of Gonzalez -- has had to bring a franchise from as deep out of a mess as Trembley has. So great call, Dan. Now, let's see who can do it for a whole season.

SI.com's Tom Verducci presents his midseason awards and ranks Brian Roberts No. 10 on his list of AL MVP candidates.

NBCSports.com's Tony DeMarco says to count him among those surprised by the Orioles' record at this point in the season:

Like most everybody else, I'm pleasantly surprised with the O's. I had visions of a 90-loss season and a last-place finish, yet here we are halfway through the season, and they still are above .500 despite playing in arguably the toughest division in baseball. ...

Who would have thought Sherrill would have so many saves at this point? He was a quality situational lefty in Seattle, but only had four career saves prior to this season. Also, holding onto Brian Roberts when they couldn't get the desired asking price is having a positive impact.

You also have to think Dave Trembley is going to get at least some AL Manager of the Year consideration (although it's Joe Maddon's award right now). I like how players are buying into his emphasis on playing sound, fundamental baseball, and making pre-game infield practice a requirement.

SI.com's Jon Heyman has three Orioles on his list of eight relievers who could be available leading up to the trade deadline:

George Sherrill, Orioles. Has proven to have the guts to close in his new home in Baltimore. Chad Bradford, Orioles. Different (OK, odd) look makes submariner effective.

Jamie Walker is the third Oriole on Heyman's list of relievers. He also names former Orioles pitcher Erik Bedard among his top starters that could be dealt.

Erik Bedard, Mariners. He's exacerbated his rep as soft and prickly in his half season in Seattle. Even worse, he's not throwing nearly as well as he did in Baltimore.

CBSSports.com's Scott Miller has Bedard on his list of pitchers potentially available as the trade deadline nears:

The trade that was supposed to solidify Seattle as a contender has turned into a colossal bust. Bedard is fragile, prickly and frustrating to management. With every save George Sherrill collects in Baltimore, it's one more reminder -- and outfielder Adam Jones was supposed to be the center piece (and still may be). The Mariners face little choice but to blow up their roster, and if they could find a contender interested in Bedard, they could start the upgrade. Problem is, the guy probably is worth only 50 cents on the dollar given how disappointing he's been.

ESPN.com's Jayson Stark reports he's hearing the New York Yankees' interest in Bedard is waning, but says the Philadelphia Phillies may be contemplating a trade:

Much as the Yankees need pitching, we're hearing they've all but decided Erik Bedard's personality issues would make him a no-go in their always-serene clubhouse. But apparently, the Phillies haven't reached that same conclusion -- not yet, at least. Either that, or it was just a coincidence that their director of professional scouting, Chuck LaMar, showed up in Atlanta last weekend for just one game of a Braves-Mariners series -- the game Bedard started.

• Ken Rosenthal of FoxSports.com says that the Houston Astros may consider trading Miguel Tejada, but they won't be able to match what the Orioles received in the five-for-one December trade (Luke Scott, Dennis Sarfate, Matt Albers, Troy Patton and Mike Costanzo):

The Astros are telling teams that they are willing to discuss anyone on their roster who does not have a no-trade clause. Their position rules out potential deals for first baseman Lance Berkman, left fielder Carlos Lee and right-hander Roy Oswalt, but not shortstop Miguel Tejada. Unfortunately for the Astros, they would not get as much for Tejada as they gave the Orioles; the Mariners are in the same position with Erik Bedard. Tejada's month-by-month OPS since joining the Astros: .947-.713-.656 ...

FoxSports.com writes that outfielder Jay Payton has made the most of his playing time this season:

The Orioles' most experienced outfielder entered the year as a potential platoon candidate in left field, but has been nothing more than a fourth outfielder. Payton, 35, has been professional all year, sitting while 30-and-under players like Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Nick Markakis play in front of him. But Payton has made the most of the opportunities he's afforded. Friday he made his 28th start of the season in left field -- his 36th overall. In 70 games, Payton is hitting .258 with six home runs and 30 RBIs. Those numbers are similar to, and better than, those of Jones, the first-year starting center fielder. Entering Friday, Payton had seven RBIs in his previous two contests and 15 RBIs in his last eight starts. Even with an 0-for-4 game against Washington, he is batting .306 (15-for-49) with two home runs and 15 RBIs in June. Getting hot right now simply helps Payton's chances of going to a contender by September. While Payton -- and his estimated $5 million contract -- would likely clear waivers for a potential August trade, the Orioles would love to deal him in July. Payton would have value to a playoff contender seeking a veteran presence, a right-handed bat or a defensive replacement.

AL rules

Several national writers also weighed in on interleague play. Here's a sampling:

• Stark argues that the American League has flexed its muscles again this season during interleague play.:

Through Wednesday, AL teams had a ridiculous 116-83 record in interleague play. If that keeps up, this will be the second-most one-sided interleague mismatch in history -- trailing only the AL's 2006 wipeout (154-98). It's also going to be the fifth straight year the AL has outwon the NL. AL teams are now 133 games over .500 in that span. The Orioles, Tigers and Twins -- three teams that are 11 games under .500 against their own league -- have gone a combined 29-13 against the NL. And the Royals -- who are an ugly 24-40 against AL teams -- are a mind-boggling 12-3 against NL teams.

SI.com's John Donovan offers 10 reasons why the AL dominates the National League:

By now, we all ought to agree that when it comes to the American League vs. the National League, it's still no contest. Remember back in May, when everyone was trumpeting the demise of the AL? The seniors were outhitting the juniors. They were outscoring them. A switch had been flipped, a tide had turned, a chalk line had been crossed. Except ... no. It's just not happening. With interleague play going into its final weekend, it's become painfully obvious once again that the AL is still the indisputable champion of the leagues. It's hardly a contest.

Power rankings

SI.com's Gennaro Filice has the Orioles 15th in his latest power rankings, down one spot from last week:

Almost three months into the season, the Orioles are still trying to replace Miguel Tejada. Baltimore started the season with Luis Hernandez at shortstop. Strike one. Hernandez's defensive abilities weren't as advanced as expected and he managed just one extra base hit in 79 at-bats. Next, the Orioles opted for Freddie Bynum. Strike two. The career utility man hit .192 before being designated for assignment last Sunday. Now the O's are down to Alex Cintron. "I don't really think I have anyone else who is an option right now," Dave Trembley told the Washington Post. Not quite a ringing endorsement for Cintron.

The Orioles placed Cintron on the 15-day disabled list Tuesday and recalled Bynum from Triple-A Norfolk.

ESPN.com's power rankings list the Orioles 12th, up two spots from last week:

Aubrey Huffis batting a sizzling .455 with five home runs and nine RBIs in his past eight games.

• Aram Tolegian of FoxSports.com has the Orioles ranked 13th:

Nick Markakis has seen his average surge by over 20 points in June, and the O's are reaping the rewards in the standings. The story, however, of the O's offense this season has to be Aubrey Huff, who hit 15 homers in 2007 but has 14 already this season. Like Markakis, Huff's average has risen over 20 points in June. It's no wonder the O's have won five series' this month.

CBSSports.com's Eric Mack puts the Orioles 15th in his latest power rankings, down two spots from last week:

The best bullpen in baseball (3.18 ERA) has really bailed out a suspect rotation. A career resurgence of Aubrey Huff has really helped, too. Wonder what he thinks of Baltimore now? Oh, and how about what Erik Bedard thinks of it?

[Compiled by Dan Morrison]

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