What they're saying about the Orioles staff

Here's a roundup of what the national media are saying about the Orioles:

Updated July 22

• Joe Sheehan from says the Orioles have exceeded expectations so far this season, but will still find themselves in the basement of the American League East by season's end:

The Orioles have played their best defense in years, especially in the outfield, where Adam Jones, Nick Markakis, and anyone would be an above-average defensive unit. They don't score or pitch like a contender, so while they'll have a better season than expected, they're definitely the fifth-best team in the division, and managing expectations will be the big challenge for Andy MacPhail.'s Jon Heyman says that Adam Loewen's attempt to become the next pitcher-turned-everyday player will not be easy:

Adam Loewen has retired from pitching after his latest arm ailment and will attempt to convert to a hitter, a la Rick Ankiel, who once himself suffered from that Steve Blass thing. Ankiel's conversion has been amazing. But that's a lot easier said than done.

• Heyman also writes that the market for Orioles closer George Sherrill is growing with predominantly National League teams showing interest:

While talk of a trade involving Mariners pitcher Erik Bedard has dissipated with each of Bedard's aches and pains, one of the players traded in the Bedard deal, Orioles closer George Sherrill, could still be dealt. The Marlins, Dodgers, Cardinals, Phillies and Brewers were among teams scouting the Orioles game on Tuesday night. The St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported that the Cardinals were interested, and the Baltimore Sun reported interest from the Brewers in Sherrill, one of the All-Star heroes who's done a nice job in Baltimore (29 of 35 in saves, 3.89 ERA). Sherrill is known for having decent stuff but exceptional guts. Other viable relievers who could be dealt include Ron Mahay (though word is the Royals would have to be "overwhelmed''), David Weathers, John Grabow, Cla Meredith, Will Ohman, Mike Gonzalez and two more from Baltimore (Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker).

• Steve Henson of wonders if falling into last place in the division will cause some changes in the Orioles roster:

Will the disappointment of falling into last place despite a litany of improvements headed by the emergence of closer George Sherrill doom the rest of the season? Could Brian Roberts, Aubrey Huff or other veterans be traded for prospects that could eventually enable the Orioles to keep up with the Rays?

• Tracy Ringolsby of says the Orioles are among the teams who will be selling off players in the second half of the season while just trying to get through the remainder of their schedule:

Baltimore can't even find a shortstop, having gone through four candidates in the first half. Baltimore OF Jay Payton could provide insurance for contender.'s Ken Rosenthal weighs in on some of the Orioles options as the July 31 trading deadline approaches:

The Orioles are willing to trade left-hander George Sherrill only if a potential suitor wants to overpay. The team's previous closer, Chris Ray, is recovering from elbow-ligament transplant surgery, and Sherrill is under club control for the next three seasons. Erick Aybar, a player the Orioles could have acquired for Tejada along with All-Star righty Ervin Santana at the '06 deadline, remains the Angels' shortstop of the future. Maicer Izturis, the team's No. 3 hitter of late, also is too valuable for the Angels to move. The Orioles actually could be more active in August than they are in July. Most of their available players figure to clear waivers. Relievers Chad Bradford and Jamie Walker and infielder/DH Aubrey Huff are signed through 2009. Outfielder Jay Payton and first baseman Kevin Millar, both playing on one-year deals, also would be unlikely to be claimed.

• Rosenthal says the Orioles shouldn't let finding a replacement for George Sherrill deter them from trading the closer for prospects:

The Orioles' reluctance to trade closer George Sherrill stems from their lack of a ready replacement for the rest of the season. The team does not want to rush back Chris Ray, who is recovering from elbow-ligament transplant surgery, or ask too much of rookie Jim Johnson, who has had a breakthrough season. Still, if Sherrill could bring back two quality pieces, the Orioles would be foolish to worry so much about 2008 . . .

• Rosenthal also discusses the teams that could land Sherrill -- if they make a good enough offer:

The Orioles want closer value for Sherrill, who is not a free agent until after the 2011 season. The Brewers bolstered their offense with Durham in part because the prices for relievers were so high. They could use Sherrill to close, but Salomon Torres has been mostly reliable since replacing Eric Gagne in that role. The Cardinals, who lead the majors with 23 blown saves, have a greater need for Sherrill, but the Angels remain perhaps the best fit because of their depth at shortstop -- a position of dire need for the Orioles. While Erick Aybar and Maicer Izturis likely are off-limits, the Angels could offer, say, minor leaguer Sean Rodriguez and a pitching prospect. Some scouts doubt whether Rodriguez can handle short -- he is playing second at Class AAA -- but the position is so thin right now, the Orioles might be willing to take that chance.'s Larry Dobrow bumped the Orioles down four spots from last week to 21st in his latest power rankings:

If your answer at shortstop is Juan Castro (36 years old, lifetime .602 OPS), you're clearly asking the wrong question ... The Orioles' Sunday losing streak has now reached a near-impossible 15 games. If nothing else, such continued futility should provide terrific recruitment fodder for whoever's organizing the team's weekly religious services.'s Aram Tolegian rates the Orioles 19th in his latest power rankings, down one spot from a week ago:

The good: Luke Scott's power stroke provided the dramatics last week. Scott is approaching the team lead in homers. With not much else to get excited about, there's nothing like a walk-off win. The bad: George Sherrill has gone from being one of the first half's most reliable closers to a shaky proposition each time out. His ERA is up around 4, but he does have two saves and a win in this last three outings. has the Orioles ranked 22nd in its latest power rankings, dropping two spots from last week:

Daniel Cabrera ranks fifth in the AL in pitches thrown (2,059) and seventh in innings pitched (129).

[Compiled by Dan Morrison]

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