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Angelos or Steinbrenner: Whom would you want?

Just some quick hits from around the globe this morning, starting with a question that was rattling around in my head this morning after I saw this New York Times story about Hank Steinbrenner essentially demanding that Joba Chamberlain be inserted into the Yankees rotation after the Bronx Bombers had trouble with the Orioles this weekend.

Say you could make the trade tomorrow: Angelos family for the Steinbrenner family.

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Would you do it? Let's make it fair by saying that the YES Network is not part of the deal. So you don't get the Yankees' $200 million payroll. People are always complaining about Angelos in Baltimore, with many of you saying you won't support the team until he sells it to someone else. But many of these same people can't stand the arrogant and bullying ways of the Steinbrenners. Let's do a quick comparison.

With Peter Angelos, you have an owner who seems to want to win, but doesn't really know how to go about it. He vetoes trades from behind the scenes for PR reasons, seemed to spend more time trying to block the Nationals move to D.C. than he did improving his own ballclub, and thus far, has refused to extend an olive branch to the fans by keeping the word "Baltimore" off the road jerseys, a policy that didn't begin with him, but one that he has declined to reverse. In his favor, he seems to finally be letting his baseball people, like Andy MacPhail, make the baseball decisions. It's unclear what the succession plan will be after he's gone, whether his sons will run the team or not. Mr. Angelos may, in fact, plan to live forever.

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With the Steinbrenners, you have an aging, bombastic owner who has stepped down from running the team and handed the reigns to his sons Hank and Hal, and Hank, it turns out, may be more hands on and bombastic that his father. With the Steinbrenners, it's always going to be a constant soap opera, and you never know if one of them is going to hire a private investigator to dig up dirt on one of their own players, or demand that A-Rod hit second, or trade away the best prospects for aging sluggers. But you can never question their desire to win. It seems to be all they care about. The Steinbrenners don't seem to care about personal wealth as much as they do bragging and gloating over the baseball team's success.

Would you make the swap?


-- A few years ago, before he ever signed with the Athletics, I couldn't understand why the Orioles wouldn't be interested in Frank Thomas, who I argued was motivated to prove people wrong and would come at a complete bargain cost. Although he'd been injured, for his asking price, the risk was minimal. Thomas signed with Oakland that year, in 2006, for $500,000, then went on to 39 HRs and drive in 114 runs.

The Orioles instead decided to sign Kevin Millar, and pay him $2 million. Millar hit 15 HRs and drove in 54 runs. He and Thomas had similar on-base percentages, but Thomas' slugging percentage was more than 100 points higher.

Thomas is available again, having just been released by the Blue Jays after a slow start (he complained when they benched him, and the two parties mutually agreed to part ways) and there is a spirited debate over at Orioleshangout.com about whether signing Thomas is something the Orioles should consider.

I think clubhouse chemistry is important, but I also think it's overrated by a lot of people who use it far too often to justify the presence of hitters with miserable stats and outgoing personalities. The team is playing well right now, but it's going to have to find more hitting if it wants to have any chance at surprising people this year.

Would Thomas interfere with the Orioles push to get younger? Maybe. Although I can't see how it would interfere any more than Millar's presence and Huff's presence already is. One of them would almost certainly have to go, since Thomas is only a DH at this point, and the Orioles don't have a very versatile roster at this point anyway. 

My gut says no. It's just a shame that the Orioles didn't have the foresight to sign Thomas three years ago.


--Sports Illustrated's Peter King, in his Monday Morning Quarterback column, is predicting the Ravens will take cornerback Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie of Tennessee State, or trade the pick. 

Baltimore. CB Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Tennessee State. No playoff contender needs a cornerback more than the Ravens. They either sit here and pick the one they like, or trade down a few slots to choose the one they can get while adding a second- or third-round pick to move. My bet is on a trade.


In the column, he also analyzes Steve McNair's career and ultimately comes to the conclusion that McNair's not Hall of Fame material. I have to say, reluctantly, that I agree on McNair.

Hank Steinbrenner photo: AP 

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