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Are these five Orioles likely to repeat their 2012 in 2013?

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Are these five Orioles likely to repeat their 2012 in 2013?

In order for the Orioles to equal or improve on 2012, some of those who had excellent seasons. Here are five who are unlikely to repeat their 2012 performances in 2013.

1) Jim Johnson

Johnson saved 51 of 54 games in 2012. Only eight times in baseball history has a player saved more, and twice in Johnson’s blown saves, the Orioles won the game.

That’s a success ratio of 98.1 percent, and that’s probably not going to happen again.

Nor are the Orioles going to convert him to a starter, which is what he was when he came up. If he saved 35 of 40 games, that would probably be fine.

2) J.J. Hardy

Hardy has room to improve on his offense. In 29 more games in 2012, he hit eight homers and 29 fewer RBIs than he did in2011. He also hit 31 points below his 2011 average.

His defense was wondrous in 2012. It’s hard to believe that a shortstop can make just five errors in 158 games.

Hardy had never played that many games, and it’s unlikely he will again.

3) Nate McLouth

The Orioles rescued McLouth from the minor leagues and when Nick Markakis’ season was ended by CC Sabathia, he saved the Orioles.

After an All-Star season, McLouth nosedived, and was released by Pittsburgh in May. He stole 12 of 13 bases, batted .268 and played well in the outfield.

McLouth is looking for a contract that’s probably too rich for the Orioles, and may not return to the team.

4) Wei-Yin Chen

Chen was the only Orioles starter with more than nine wins last season. He didn’t win after August. It will be interesting to see if opposing batters have learned much about Chen, who admittedly knew little about American hitters last spring.

Twelve more wins would be just fine with the Orioles. They’d like it if someone else-Jason Hammel, Dylan Bundy—took over as the staff ace.

He’s training in California this off-season and the Orioles hope he’ll be stronger and even better in 2013. That’s probably unlikely.

5) Buck Showalter

I know that it’s cheating; he’s not a player, but it seemed that nearly everything Showalter did turned out correctly.  The Orioles won 16 straight extra-inning games. They won 20 more one-run games than they lost.

While Showalter is the master at turning teams around, he’s never made the postseason twice in a row, and it might be hard to imagine the Orioles winning 90 or more again.

I’m sure that Showalter will talk endlessly about how difficult it is to win when it’s expected. The Orioles will have to navigate a tough AL East.



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Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

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USA Today Sports

Orioles GM Elias calls reports of Brandon Hyde being next manager "premature"

Orioles new general manager Mike Elias is a busy man out in Las Vegas. Not only is he looking to add much needed talent to Baltimore's roster but he is also searching for a new manager. Elias interviewed six candidates, including Nationals bench coach Chip Hale, for the vacancy. On Monday, Elias said they were “pretty far along in the process.”

Then the reports surfaced on Tuesday that the Orioles had found their man. 

For a second straight year, Joe Maddon's bench coach has landed a managerial job (Davey Martinez). 

But, in the words of College Gameday's Lee Corso "Not so fast my friend!"

Does that mean Hyde is not the manager? Not necessarily. It likely means Elias wants the news to come out on his terms.

 

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Saved! Baines surprise pick for Hall, Lee Smith also chosen

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Saved! Baines surprise pick for Hall, Lee Smith also chosen

LAS VEGAS (AP) -- Harold Baines was given a save as big as any Lee Smith ever posted.

In a vote sure to spark renewed cries of cronyism at Cooperstown, Baines surprisingly was picked for the baseball Hall of Fame on Sunday after never coming close in any previous election.

"Very shocked," the career .289 hitter said on a conference call.

Smith, who held the major league record for saves when he retired, was an easy pick when the Today's Game Era Committee met at the winter meetings.

It took 12 votes for election by the 16-member panel -- Smith was unanimous, Baines got 12 and former outfielder and manager Lou Piniella fell just short with 11.

George Steinbrenner, Orel Hershiser, Albert Belle, Joe Carter, Will Clark, Davey Johnson and Charlie Manuel all received fewer than five votes.

Smith and Baines both debuted in Chicago during the 1980 season. Smith began with the Cubs and went on to record 478 saves while Baines started out with the White Sox and had 2,866 hits.

Baines had 384 home runs and 1,628 RBIs in a 22-year career -- good numbers, but not stacking up against the greats of his day. He never drew more than 6.1 percent in five elections by the Baseball Writers' Association of America, far from the 75 percent required.

"I wasn't expecting this day to come," the six-time All-Star said.

The Hall board-appointed panel included longtime White Sox owner Jerry Reinsdorf.

"I'm glad he was on that committee this year to help to get into the Hall of Fame," Baines said.

Reinsdorf praised his former player in a statement. Baines currently serves as a team ambassador in community relations department of the White Sox.

"So happy for Harold. He's a great player and a great human being," Reinsdorf said. "I am so honored that I was a member of the committee. He deserved to be in long ago. I am just so excited."

"Not only was Harold one of my favorite players to watch, but I have nothing but admiration for him as a player and as a human being," he said.

Tony La Russa, Baines' first big league manager, also was on the panel that elected him.

In the past, Phil Rizzuto and Bill Mazeroski were among the players who benefited from friendly faces on Veterans Committees to reach the Hall. That panel has been revamped over the years, and the Today's Game Era group was created as part of changes in 2014.

"The era committees were established as a sort of a court of appeals for an opportunity in the event that over time it was felt that maybe somebody slipped through the cracks," Hall President Jeff Idelson said. "And in the case of someone who received 6 percent of the vote in the BBWAA election, the reason that may have happened could be for many, many reasons."

Baines, now 59, had a smooth, consistent, left-handed stroke. But he never finished higher than ninth in an MVP vote, and never was among the top five AL hitters in the yearly batting race. His single-season high was 29 home runs at a time when lots of players hit more.

Smith's fastball helped him become a seven-time All-Star in an 18-year-old career. Known for his slow trudges from the bullpen to the mound, he owned the saves record when he retired during the 1997 season while with Montreal. Trevor Hoffman and then Mariano Rivera reset the mark.

Smith never reached 51 percent in 15 BBWAA elections. Still, he kept believing his day would come.

"I'm pretty patient, though, and I think I waited long enough. But it's sweeter," he said on a conference call. "You look at those things, well, OK, who's on the ballot this year? Who's on the ballot next year? But I'd never, never, never give up hope.

"And then when they started with the second-chance ballot, I thought my chances got a little better. This probably today was probably the (most) nervous I've been with this Hall of Fame voting thing," he said.

Smith became the seventh pitcher who primarily was a reliever to make the Hall, joining Hoffman, Dennis Eckersley, Rollie Fingers, Goose Gossage, Bruce Sutter and Hoyt Wilhelm. The 61-year-old has long worked for the San Francisco Giants as a minor league pitching coach and instructor.

Baines was a designated hitter for much of his career after knee trouble ended his days in the outfield. DHs have struggled to gain backing from Hall voters. Baines joined Frank Thomas as the only players in the Hall who spent more than half his games as a DH.

"Everything I hear or read is DH is really not part of the game, I guess. But I disagree. But maybe this will the open up the doors for some more DHs," Baines said.

Both closers and DHs could see the numbers increase again very shortly.

Rivera is eligible for the first time and big-hitting DH Edgar Martinez will be back on the ballot when results of the next BBWAA election are announced Jan. 22.

Induction ceremonies are scheduled for July 21 at Cooperstown, New York.

Between now and then, there's certain to be more debate about who else should be in the Hall. Drug-tainted Barry Bonds and Roger Clemens are on the upcoming BBWAA ballot, influential players' union head Marvin Miller has been denied seven times by various committees, and admitted steroids user Mark McGwire wasn't among Sunday's candidates.