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O's: The Atkins diet

Yep, the Orioles dropped about 220 pounds today, and I'm sure there are a lot of fans celebrating the decision by the Orioles to designate Garrett Atkins for assignment. That's not hard to understand when you look at his dismal offensive numbers, but it's always sad to see somebody's career go over a cliff.

It seems when an Andy MacPhail experiment goes sour -- Rich Hill immediately comes to mind -- it doesn't go half-stepping. Atkins had some great numbers a few years ago, so it wasn't unreasonable to think he might have something left when the O's signed him for one year at $4 million (plus a $500,000 buyout for 2011). The trouble with one of those gambles, however, is that it burns money that could be applied to a big contract for a star-quality player at some point.

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That's basically what Frank Robinson was saying when I talked to him yesterday. His only apparent criticism of The Plan was the attempt to prop the club up over the short term with low-priced, low-percentage free agents. Of course, nobody's complaining that much about Miguel Tejada, who was brought here under the same rationale, because he can generate some excitement.

I'm starting to get the impression that both Peter Angelos and MacPhail are finally feeling a sense of urgency, which could bring a managerial decision in the next week or so, but I'm more interested in what happens at the trading deadline and next winter.

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