The Orioles supposedly are running third in the race to sign Kenny Lofton. This is one instance where they should shoot for fourth.
I know the club really soured on Luis Matos, with various officials noting how he seemed out of shape and lazy. Guys in the bullpen would watch in horror as Matos got another late jump on the ball, and how he often didn't seem ready as the pitch was being thrown. They'd joke about how casually he stood in center field as the ball was being delivered to a batter, as if he was waiting through a pitching change. But I don't see where Lofton, well past his prime, is a huge upgrade. If it's just a matter of keeping the position warm for Val Majewski or Nick Markakis, find somebody else.
Unless he's undergone a major personality change, Lofton is known for being a problem in the clubhouse. Remember those Indians teams that included Lofton, Albert Belle and Eddie Murray? Back then, Manny Ramirez seemed stable by comparison. And Lofton didn't win many friends in Atlanta. The Orioles not only need to upgrade their outfield production, they need to improve their clubhouse chemistry. I'm not sure Lofton is the solution.
Speaking of Ramirez, one of my favorite baseball stories involves the night of the famed O.J. Simpson white Bronco slow-speed chase. The Indians were watching the bizarre scene unfold on their clubhouse televisions after a game, totally captivated by it. Ramirez, not known for keeping up with current events, asked what had everyone so interested.
"The police are chasing O.J.," someone said.
To which Ramirez replied: "What did Chad do?"
Only Manny would have assumed that pitcher Chad Ogea was fleeing police.
Ramirez once asked an Indians beat writer if he could borrow $40,000. Taken aback by the request, the reporter said, "Um, Manny, I don't have $40,000."
"Well," Ramirez replied, "you can write me a check."