The first week of the 33rd annual MLB Free Agent signing period is in the books. What we have learned, or perhaps been reminded of, is that this process is not a sprint but a marathon. There will be weeks of posturing, negotiating, haggling and gamesmanship. And they suddenly, there will be a signing. Either anguish or exultation will follow. Or, the Baltimore Orioles will sign someone like Cesar Izturis and there will not be much of a reaction at all.

On that note, let’s start our first week recap with Mr. Izturis.

As most Orioles fans know, or should know, Mark Belanger held down the shortstop job for 13 years playing excellent defense although he was not much of hitter. Then some kid called Ripken came along and took over for 15 years. He gave way for the sure handed Mike Bordick who played for the Orioles for six years. The point here is that the Orioles had three very good shortstops for 34 years. Guys that could be counted on every day.

Enter Miguel Tejada. He does fine, extending the tradition to 38 years. Exit Miguel Tejada. Insert four guys:

Juan Castro .205/.256/.285 151 AB
Alex Cintron .286/.321/.361 133 AB
Freddie Bynum .179/.220/.223 112 AB
Brandon Fahey .226/.252/.349 106 AB

Cintron managed to hit for average but failed to draw walks or hit for power. He glove was suspect, too. None of these guys are still on the 40-man roster. Bringing us to Izturis. He started in LA winning a Gold Glove in 2004 and making the All-Star team in 2005. The problem is, he is a worse hitter than Bordick. Only once has he batted over .263, only once has he OBPed over .319 (.330 in 2004) and he has never slugged over .400 only breaking .380 twice. Those numbers are really abysmal; what ever he offers defensively will be greatly countered by the offense losses the team takes.

That was “new” news, here’s the old stuff:

  • Former Orioles great Mike Mussina retired. That has not been touched on here, but it will be in the coming days and I will make a strong and compelling case for his Hall of Fame enshrinement.
  • The teams interested in signing Mark Teixeira appear to be the Baltimore Orioles, Boston Red Sox, Los Angeles Angles, New York Yankees (maybe) and the Washington Nationals. Is it not great how alphabetical order puts the Os first and the Nationals last ?
  • The Orioles added five players to their 40-man roster. You can read the story here.
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