MacPhail answers O's fans' questions
Director of baseball operations dishes the inside scoop
"Did you ever expect the Orioles to win this many close ballgames and have this many come-from-behind victories this early in the rebuilding process?"
-- Matthew H., Wilmington, N.C.
One of our goals for the season was to win the games we are supposed to win. Whether that was going to be 50 or 100, nothing is more demoralizing to a team than to consistently blow leads and lose games it is in a position to win. Our bullpen has done a nice job this year. As the season progresses, we (and other clubs as well) worry about the mounting inning totals. Our offense has risen to the occasion so many times and refuses to quit this year, and I think part of the reason is that they have confidence in the bullpen.
"As far as power numbers go, do you think that Nick Markakis has reached his ceiling or could you see him developing into a 40-plus home run guy over time?"
-- Joseph F., Pasadena, Md.
Not to put any added pressure on the young man, but Markakis probably has not yet reached his ceiling. I don't know about 40 home runs, but as Markakis continues to grow and gain experience, I would not be surprised to see some of his power numbers increase. Just as importantly, he has consistently played a high-caliber defense in right field, which has quietly contributed to our win total.
"Do you see Jim Johnson in the starting rotation next year?"
-- Michael F., Towson, Md.
Johnson has been so good late in the ballgame this year that it's tough to think about dramatically changing his role next year. That said, Johnson came through our system as a starter, and he certainly has enough quality pitches to be a potentially effective member of our rotation. Those decisions are largely a function of the recommendations from our uniformed staff, including manager Dave Trembley and pitching coach Rick Kranitz.
"How do you keep track of all the various rules governing rosters and player moves (i.e. waivers, options, etc.)?"
-- Rob D., Greensboro, N.C.
You have to have a good staff to stay on top of everything, but I think anyone who oversees the baseball operations department of any MLB club should be aware of most every rule. Director of baseball administration Scott Proefrock and director of baseball operations Matt Klentak both make sure that every "i" is dotted and every "t" is crossed before we move forward on any transaction. The staff we have here is very bright and capable.
"Can we please have a Trembley T-shirt day on Tuesday? I feel that he is the most important person in uniform."
-- Thomas B., Abingdon, Md.
I am not at all involved in this part of the club's operation, but I will pass it along to the appropriate parties. I do thank you for your suggestion -- I know many fans probably feel the same way about Trembley after the great job he has done with the club.
This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.