03/19/08 10:00 AM ET
MacPhail carefully plotting road back
Orioles front man making tough choices as club reshapes
By Spencer Fordin / MLB.com
"What's gone on here had to happen, and Andy MacPhail made the totally accurate statement that we were stuck in neutral," said Millar. "With or without Erik Bedard and with or without Miguel Tejada, we were in fourth place. I think the bottom line when you look at this organization is there was no foundation. When we lost a few guys at the big league level, who could we call up? It wasn't a matter of buying into it. You just knew that this was the only way to get better."Not everyone agrees with that philosophy. Melvin Mora, one of the longest-serving members of the team, said that he's seen quite a bit of turnover and nothing to show for it. Mora, who's under contract through the 2009 season and holds a no-trade clause, listed a few names of prominent teammates who have been traded for little or no gain. "You're talking about two guys and calling it rebuilding," he said of the current movement. "Of course it's a big deal when you get rid of a guy like Miguel Tejada or Erik Bedard, but it's also a big deal when you get 10 players for those guys. That could happen to me or to anybody, but it's not like they're rebuilding the whole club and getting rid of everybody. "You know when I called it rebuilding? When Will Clark was here, B.J. Surhoff was here, Brady Anderson and Delino DeShields were here. Sammy Sosa and Rafael Palmeiro were here. Charles Johnson and Harold Baines were here. Then they left and we rebuilt. The only thing is if the team gets good offers. If they do, then it can happen to anybody." MacPhail has said that he doesn't like to put a timeframe on the rebuilding project, but his players are clearly hoping it will happen quickly. The Orioles will get an immediate impact from offseason acquisitions like Luke Scott, George Sherrill and Adam Jones, but there's even more hope for prospects like Troy Patton and Chris Tillman down the road. "When you bring in young guys, you bring in a lot of energy. The veteran guys have to try to help them, but it's a good mix," said Hernandez. "Maybe it will take two or three years. And we're going to lose some games, but we're going to come out and try to beat everybody. Whoever's going to beat us is going to have to come out and play the game right." "It's all about pitching -- young arms and power arms -- and this organization may have been caught short, but what they've done since is phenomenal," added Millar. "When you use a word like rebuilding, you have to be careful because that's almost an excuse to lose. But if you create a winning attitude right now, that's different. We can beat anybody on any night. "Are we going to go through our lumps? Of course we are. But you can create the attitude with the young players and teach them how to go out there, and then you look down the road to when you're right back in the hunt." MacPhail, who has presided over renovation jobs with the Twins and Cubs, terms his tenure with the Orioles as a "labor of love." But make no mistake about it: He's serious about turning around his favorite team from childhood. "I think our chief goal is to try to really make a significant investment in the infrastructure," he said. "Judge us by our actions, not our words. We have a brand new complex opening up in the Dominican Republic. We've created an international scouting department. We're going to roll out a new video system for our players and their instruction. We've invested over $7 million in our amateur draft for the first two picks last year. We haven't made any secrets of our course."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.