Orioles ups and downs

October 09, 2001|By Joe Strauss

David Segui -- EVEN

The Orioles were almost a break-even team with him in the lineup. Problem is that the first baseman's hand, hamstring, inner ear and knee had other ideas. Segui's 82 games played were a scary first installment on a four-year, $28 million contract.

As the Rotation -- DOWN

Turns Pat Hentgen (2-3) and Sidney Ponson (5-10) didn't make it through the season because of arm injuries. Jose Mercedes (8-17) left after approaching a 20-loss effort. Jason Johnson (10-12) had 10 wins, fewest to lead the staff since Bob Milacki in 1991. Chuck McElroy was released in July. Rookies made 49 starts. 'Nuf said.

Raines & Raines -- UP

OK, we know it was contrived. But putting father and son in the same outfield last Thursday hurt nothing and added a nice touch to an emotional week. Our concern is that Tim Sr. (42) may receive a three-year extension.

Injuries -- DOWN

The Orioles rightly cited a raft of injuries as a negative influence on their record. They wrongly blamed their second-half collapse entirely on them. Things got so bad, their first-round draft pick even showed up lame. Well, it beats blaming it on the media. (Been there, done that.)

Come See the Kids -- DOWN

Cute commercial campaign couldn't mask the reality that the Orioles were neither the youngest nor the least experienced team in the game.

Closer Intrigue -- DOWN

Ryan Kohlmeier, Mike Trombley, Willis Roberts and B.J. Ryan all took a shot. A 6-21 July and 7-13 September made the role almost irrelevant. We hear Armando Benitez is available.

Jeff Conine -- UP

Earned team MVP honor after arriving at spring training without a position. Batted almost .400 with runners in scoring position, an incredible statistic in a lineup offering little protection.

Free Agency -- UP

Count on the Orioles dropping their abstinence against long-term deals to veteran position players. Confederate money may be back in vogue. There is no bigger indictment of the July 2000 purge.

Marketing '02 -- DOWN

How do you sell a team after four straight losing seasons, ownership's reluctance to address its frustrated local fan base and Cal Ripken's retirement? Please ignore the man behind the curtain.

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