Dave Trembley is done covering for his pathetic Orioles

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Heading into the season, the common phrase bandied about regarding the Baltimore Orioles was “they’re on the right track.”

Sure, no one really expected them to compete with the Yankees, Red Sox and Rays in the AL East, but at least they were stockpiling some promising young talent and looking like they had the potential to be contenders in a couple of years.

Well, the Orioles are on some kind of track for sure, but so far it looks like they’re zooming toward a cliff, having failed to notice the “Bridge is Out” sign along the way.

Baltimore manager Dave Trembley appears to be aware of impending doom, unloading on his team in a meeting on Wednesday before popping off to the press.

“I’ve been in a position where I’m a really nice fella and I’ll cover. I’ll get questions point blank and I feel like I’m a damn presidential press secretary sometimes instead of telling it what is it. I have to smooth it over,” Trembley said. “I’m not smoothing it over anymore.”

The Orioles (2-13 entering Wednesday night’s game in Seattle) have been pretty much awful across the board, ranking last in the AL in runs scored and 11th in ERA. In fact, dating back to Sept. 17 of 2009, they are 6-26 with a .242 team batting average.

The Orioles have had their share of injury problems, with Brian Roberts, Felix Pie and Michael Gonzalez all on the disabled list. Miguel Tejada is not on the DL, but missed his fourth straight game on Wednesday with a sore hamstring.

But Trembley’s big complaint on Wednesday was his team’s lack of fundamentals.

“I’m not going to let things continue to slide and say it’s OK. … I’m tired of that,” Trembley said. “I want to see the guys succeed. I’d like to get them back on track so they can enjoy that. You’re going to have to make some sacrifices and play some more as a team and do the things necessary in order for you to win. In order to do that you have to get your priorities straight. The priorities are the team.”

While I understand his frustration, the blame for a lack of fundamentals and team play should rest on the shoulders of the manager. It’s his job to instruct his players on how to play, then make sure they do it. So while it’s all well and good that Trembley is done being Mr. Nice Guy, it just might be too late for him. Maybe that’s a good thing.

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Brandon Belt signs $6.2 million deal, avoiding arbitration with Giants

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In a last-second compromise before a scheduled heading today, first baseman Brandon Belt and the Giants have avoided arbitration by agreeing to a one-year, $6.2 million deal.

Belt requested $7.5 million and the Giants countered at $5.3 million, so they’ve settled slightly on the team-friendly side of the midpoint. Belt will be arbitration eligible again next season for the final time before hitting the open market as a free agent.

He’s coming off a very good season in which he hit .280 with 18 homers and an .834 OPS in 137 games and Belt has a lifetime .803 OPS through age 27, making him one of MLB’s most underrated all-around first baseman.

Orioles sign ex-Padres reliever Dale Thayer

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Right-hander Dale Thayer and the Orioles have agreed to a minor-league contract that includes an invitation to spring training.

Thayer had a rough 2015 season for the Padres, posting a 4.06 ERA and spending time in the minors, but he was a solid part of San Diego’s bullpen from 2012-2014 with a combined 3.02 ERA and 173/50 K/BB ratio in 188 innings.

At age 35 there’s no guarantee that Thayer will look good enough to claim a spot on the Opening Day roster, but he’s got a strong chance to wind up pitching middle relief for Baltimore.

Phillies acquire Taylor Featherston from Angels

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Taylor Featherston, who was designated for assignment by the Angels last week, has been traded to the Phillies for a player to be named later or cash.

Featherston stayed in the majors with the Angels for all of last season due to being a Rule 5 pick from the Rockies organization, but the 25-year-old infielder hit just .162 in 169 plate appearances.

He’s been much better in the minors, but nothing about his track record there screams quality regular and the Phillies are likely viewing him as a defense-first bench option for now.

Keith Law: The Braves have the best farm system in baseball

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Flags fly forever! Hooray for The Process championship!

Ah, sorry. This is about as much rooting as I’ll get to do this year, so cut me some slack.

This is the week when ESPN’s Keith Law releases his prospect and farm system rankings. He kicks off his content this week with a top-to-bottom ranking of all 30 farm systems. As a rule he limits his analysis to players who are currently in the minors and who have not yet exhausted their rookie of the year eligibility. The top system: the Atlanta Braves. The bottom: the Los Angeles Angels, about whom Law says “I’ve been doing these rankings for eight years now, and this is by far the worst system I’ve ever seen.” Enjoy Mike Trout, though, you guys.

If you want to know the reasons and the rankings of everyone in between you’ll have to get an ESPN Insider subscription. Sorry, I know everyone hates to pay for content on the Internet, but Keith and others who do this kind of work put a lot of damn work into it and this is what pays their bills. I typically don’t like to pay for content myself, but I do pay for an ESPN Insider subscription. It’s worth it for Law’s work alone. And though he drives me crazy sometimes, Buster Olney’s daily column/notes thing is also worth the money over the course of the year.