Roch Around the Clock

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December 30, 2005|By ROCH KUBATKO

Guess I need to put in my two cents on the Jeromy Burnitz signing - matching the amount of Marty Cordova's contract he earned in three seasons with the Orioles. Will Burnitz cause season-ticket sales to go through the roof? Absolutely not. Will he quiet all the fans who are threatening to put up billboards and hire sky writers imploring owner Peter Angelos to sell the team? Hardly. Will he push the Orioles ahead of the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays, or at least allow them to fend off the Devil Rays? Oh, please. But he's still a solid addition, just like Ramon Hernandez, LaTroy Hawkins and Jeff Conine. He'll be more productive in left field than anyone who played there last season. And he's a defensive upgrade, which has been one of the club's top priorities. I heard a lot of grumbling from team officials about Larry Bigbie's tendency to let balls drop in for hits before he was traded to the Rockies for Eric Byrnes, who didn't do enough offensively to earn a contract in 2006.

As I said after the Conine deal, as long as this isn't the final move from the front office, there's no reason to be critical.Take the 20-plus homers and solid defense that Burnitz will provide, and wait for a much bigger announcement. There must be one coming before February.

Now, if you'll excuse me, I have to e-mail the editors at Athlon magazine and tweak my Orioles preview. Sorry, Walter Young, but you're now the fourth bench player, with Conine moving to first base. That is, if Conine ever takes his physical.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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