Mora Rips Trembley

Third Baseman Says Manager 'Disrespected Him' And He's Ready To Leave Orioles

August 03, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | Jeff Zrebiec,jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

The nine-year marriage between Melvin Mora and the Orioles appears headed for a nasty divorce.

Out of the lineup Sunday for the third time in the past four games, the veteran third baseman said that he feels disrespected by Dave Trembley, wondered whether the manager has a personal problem with him and conceded that it's time for him to "move on."

"I don't appreciate the disrespect, because I've been playing hurt for a guy who won't respect you. I don't deserve it," said an emotional Mora. "Whatever he wants to do, he can do it. But like I told you before, I need to have my respect. This is not a guy who just came to the Orioles. This is a guy who's been here for nine years busting his butt for the organization."

Mora, who was acquired in 2000 and is the longest-tenured member of the club, has an $8 million option for next season that the Orioles almost certainly will not pick up. And that doesn't appear to bother Mora, who went as far as to say that he'd be OK with getting released, which is not entirely out of the question as the Orioles are looking for ways to get Felix Pie and Ty Wigginton more at-bats over the final two months.

"I'm a competitor," Mora said. "I don't like to be here and [I'm] just thinking about in October [how] I'm going to go on vacation. ... I know here they're rebuilding and they bring a lot of young guys here, good players ... I know it's time ... to move on."

Mora is hitting .256 with three home runs and 27 RBIs, easily his worst season since joining the Orioles. He has just one homer since May 7, a walk-off shot to beat the Toronto Blue Jays on July 11. Last year, Mora batted .285 with 23 homers and 104 RBIs, and was one of the league's most dangerous hitters in the second half.

On Friday, Trembley acknowledged that Mora could face a reduction of playing time, and said, "if guys hit, they'll play." Apprised of Mora's comments before Sunday's game, Trembley mostly took the high road.

"I'm disappointed that he feels that way, but that's really nothing for me to comment on because I'm not going to get into that," Trembley said. "Melvin's been a very good player for a long time, but we don't show disrespect to anybody.

"I'm trying to help people. I'm not trying to hurt anybody. If I give a guy a day off - guys who are up there in age, they've played a long time, guys who are struggling - I'm trying to help them. ... You've got to be a 'team guy' here. It's not about one guy on this team and everybody knows that. We need to stay away from that and we will stay away from that."

Trembley said after the Orioles' 18-10 loss Sunday that he had met with his disgruntled third baseman, but offered few details about their discussion. Asked if he thinks the meeting will help their relationship, Trembley said, "I don't know."

Mora said that his issue was not with playing time, but what he perceived as Trembley's "excuses" for keeping him out of the lineup.

"Don't give me the excuse that I cannot beat John Smoltz, that I cannot beat Josh Beckett or I cannot beat [Jon] Lester or I cannot beat Pedro Martinez or I cannot beat nobody here because I've been here for nine years," Mora said. "All those guys in the [American League] East, they know me. They know me and you don't make the All-Star team for nothing. You deserve respect. That's the only thing I can say.

"When you do that, especially with a guy who's been here for nine years, tried to save your butt and played hard, I think that's not respect. I always speak up. I never hide nothing and I'm an honest man, and that's the way I do it. I cannot control whatever lineup is put up there. The only thing I can control is just respect me. ... That's it." Mora said that a conversation during Saturday's game with Boston Red Sox designated hitter David Ortiz further fueled his ire.

"He told me something like, 'Why are you hitting seventh? I've never seen you hitting there,' " Mora said. He said something like, 'You know what, I think I have the best manager in the world because he trusts his veterans.' I said, 'Yeah, but Terry Francona has been in the league a long time.' My opinion about this [situation] is it's 'what have you done for me lately.' "

Mora then sounded like someone who has played his last game as an Oriole, thanking the fans and owner Peter Angelos, who he said, "created a monster" by allowing him to play third base.

"I'm never going to forget the Orioles and whatever's going to happen next year - next year I'm going to be with somebody else - I'm an Oriole," he said. "The last few years, I played through injury. I played the first half [last year] with a bone sticking through my nerve and ... I came back and tried to play hard for Trembley and to try to give everything I've got for the second half. Now this year, I think I deserve more respect than what I've been getting."

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