Every month, there will be another mailbag where Aaron Folsom answers the Questions of the Fans.
A: The only guys that might have some trade value at the deadline in the infield are Ramon Hernandez, if he has a good first half, and Brian Roberts. Kevin Millar may be able to attract a team looking for bench help. I don't see Mora going anywhere unless he has a first half like his spring training. I believe Guillermo Quiroz would take over for Ramon Hernandez, if he gets shipped out, and if he gets more time at the position I could see Scott Moore taking over second base duties if the team does not acquire a 2B prospect from any trades.
Ramon Hernandez could be a valuable trade chip for the Orioles come July 31st.
Q: Will Daniel Cabrera ever learn to pitch, or will he continue to have high walk totals?
A: I believe no matter what you do, Daniel Cabrera will always have high walk totals. Rick Kranitz has worked with him over the off-season and both Kranitz and manager Dave Trembley feel it will be breakout year for Cabrera. However, that has been said about Cabrera since his rookie year. Maybe Kranitz can help him out, but so far in Spring Training he seems like the same old D-Cab.
A: Adam Loewen is making progress from his recovery and the same goes for Penn. Loewen might not be a 100% as of right now though. Penn added some weight and looked very well in spring training. I think they will stay healthy for atleast a good part of the season, but injuries are spontanious, so I can't give my full confirmation on there full season status.
Q: Will the Orioles show enough this season to persuade Mark Texeira to sign with Baltimore?
A: I think regardless of what the Orioles do this year, they will still persuade Texieria to come to Baltimore. He is a native of Maryland and grew up a Orioles fan. I also think Tex would want to come here tro be around this rebuilding program. I understand he wants to win, but if Tex came to Baltimore, the O's would be on the upside of rebuilding and would be on the rebound. He would probably like being around some vets and some young guys.
Q: Will Troy Patton recover?
A: Patton has a pretty serious injury, but I believe in a year or two he could become a good member of the Orioles team. It will take a while to heal, but regardless is a Top notch prospect. I think he will recover well but may take a while.
Q: Will Nick Markakis continue to develop into a star player?
A: I think by the end of this season, Markakis will go from a top 20 outfielder to a top 15 outfielder. He continues to get better and will probably get even better by seasons end. I believe N-Mark could be a All-Star back-up for the AL this year. Look for good numbers and a solid season from Markakis all season long.
Nick Markakis has the potential to be an All-Star in 2008.
Q: Will Matt Weiters be a september call-up?
A: If The O's elect to trade Ramon Hernandez(Or can find a suitor), I think there is a 70% chance of a Weiters sighting in Baltimore come September. However, if Ramon is still with us, I think there is only a 40%-50% chance of a Weiters sighting in Baltimore. I believe MacPhail and Trembley will want to gte him a few at-bats in the majors here and there to prep him.
Q: Will the Orioles really finish below the Rays this year?
A: Without any significant injuries, I would say yes. The Rays got better over the off-season by adding Cliff Floyd and Troy Percival and bringing up thrid base super prospect Evan Longoria improves the team atleast 10 wins. Now with Wheeler, Reyes and Percival, theyhave a decent bullpen and there offense looks well rounded with Longoria, Crawford, Upton and Pena. Plus, they have a pretty good Top 3 in the rotation in Kazmir, Shields and Garza. However, one or two major injuries could put the Rays right back where they have been for so many years, 5th place.
Q: Will the O's look like they are heading in the right direction by the end of the year?
A: Every year the O's look like a contender in April, then suck it up the rest of the way. This year, it will be the opposite way. The O's will do bad and get better as the season progresses and the younger players get legit playing time. Expect last place in the division, but it will be a fun losing season in my mind. The team will eventually get better and be in the right direction.
Randor Bierd appears as one of the young O's players who will progress as the season goes on.