Friday, July 27, 2007

Tejada returns

..and because of that the Orioles needed to make a roster move. And as everyone might have guessed, Jon Knott is the one going back to Norfolk. The Orioles' bench for tonight's game against the Yankees is Chris Gomez, Luis Hernandez, Brandon Fahey, and Paul Bako. That's three utility middle infielders and a backup catcher. This is for a team starting five players at or a below a .700 OPS at the beginning of the night.

Jon Knott was a nice test for manager Dave Trembley. I was interested to see how Knott would be used under the new regime. At first it appeared that Knott was going to start against lefthanded pitching. That was a reasonable approach, but it didn't work out that way. The Orioles last game against a lefthander was Tuesday against Scott Kazmir with Knott nowhere to be found.

During the past two weeks Aubrey Huff went 7-36 (.194) but played in every game. Knott started three games and pinch hit once, failing to get a hit. Even with Huff (and Gibbons and others) not hitting Trembley was unwilling to try something new, plugging Huff's sub-.300 OBP into the lineup every single day.

Roch Kubatko's blog had an interesting tidbit from Trembley:

Knott was optioned because Trembley is stressing pitching and defense at the moment. He said if the Orioles need another right-handed bat, they'll dip into Norfolk's roster again.
If the team needs another right-handed bat? Right now Kevin Millar, Brian Roberts, Nick Markakis, and Miguel Tejada are the only hitters on the team that can be expected to provide league-average production. This team needs another credible hitter from either side of the plate, and Jon Knott is a lot more credible than half of the current roster.

It's fine to build around pitching and defense, but I truly wonder whether the offensive failings of the team are even considered? With Mora out, Huff can play third, Gomez and, let's say, Fahey can serve as backups. What role does that leave for Luis Hernandez? At least Freddie Bynum was fast and could play the outfield positions. Hernandez brings defense, but if he doesn't play, what good is he?

So far the Trembley era seems eerily familiar to the Perlozzo era in terms of philosophy, if not attitude. Let's hope Andy MacPhail takes note of both.

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