Baltimore Orioles Rumors
The Orioles spent much of the winter quietly adding depth in the form of minor league contracts, then struck late to score some notable Major League free agents.
Major League Signings
- Ubaldo Jimenez, RHP: Four years, $50MM
- Suk-min Yoon, RHP: Three years, $5.575MM
- Ryan Webb, RHP: Two years, $4.5MM
- Nelson Cruz, OF/DH: One year, $8MM
- Francisco Peguero, OF: One year, $550K
- Kelvin De La Cruz, LHP: One year, $525K (since outrighted)
- Edgmer Escalona, RHP: One year, $550K
- Total spend: $69.7MM
Notable Minor League Signings
- Johan Santana ($3MM base salary if he makes Major League roster), Alfredo Aceves ($1.2MM base salary if he makes ML roster), Delmon Young ($1MM base salary if he makes ML roster), Luis Ayala, Evan Meek, Alex Gonzalez, Alexi Casilla, Xavier Paul, Quintin Berry, Brett Wallace, Aaron Laffey, Luis Vizcaino, Ivan De Jesus
Trades And Claims
- Acquired 2B Jemile Weeks and C David Freitas from the Athletics in exchange for RP Jim Johnson.
- Acquired OF David Lough from the Royals in exchange for 3B Danny Valencia.
- Acquired IF Steve Lombardozzi from the Tigers in exchange for SS Alex Gonzalez
- Acquired RHP Brad Brach from the Padres in exchange for RHP Devin Jones.
- Acquired C Johnny Monell from the Giants in exchange for cash considerations.
- Claimed IF Cord Phelps off waivers from the Indians.
- Claimed IF David Adams off waivers from the Indians.
- Claimed 1B/3B Michael Almanzar from the Red Sox in the Rule 5 Draft.
- Jim Johnson, Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, Brian Roberts, Francisco Rodriguez, Nate McLouth, Michael Morse, Wilson Betemit, Tsuyoshi Wada, Danny Valencia, Chris Dickerson, Dan Johnson
Baltimore fans spent much of the winter getting impatient with Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette. Several notable players left for free agency, former All-Star closer Jim Johnson had been traded to get his ballooning salary off the books and the team had not one, but two signings fall through due to last-minute issues with the players' physicals.
After a busy February, however, it seems like Duquette was simply biding his time. The Orioles signed one of the few notable starting pitchers left on the market when Ubaldo Jimenez agreed to a four-year, $50MM deal -- the most significant commitment made by the O's to a pitcher in recent memory. Duquette had been vocal about not wanting to overspend for a free agent arm and was hesitant to surrender the team's first-round draft pick in order to sign free agents who had rejected qualifying offers, yet had kept in touch with Jimenez's representatives for much of the winter and finally locked the right-hander up by agreeing to a fourth year.
It took Jimenez the better part of three seasons to regain his mechanics, but after a rough start he was dominant in 2013, posting a 2.40 ERA over his final 22 starts with Cleveland. It remains to be seen if Jimenez can remain consistent, but at worst, the O's added a durable veteran arm who has averaged 198 IP per year over the last six seasons. Jimenez joins Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez on the staff, and Bud Norris retained his spot with a solid Spring Training, bumping several promising young hurlers to the bullpen (Brian Matusz and Zach Britton) or the minors (Kevin Gausman).
If that wasn't enough pitching depth, the Orioles also have a pair of intriguing arms that could be available later in the season. Suk-min Yoon's three-year, $5.575MM deal is Duquette's latest venture into the international market, and while Yoon was a stand-out starter in the KBO and will be stretched out as a starter in the minors, there is some belief that he would translate best to North American baseball as a reliever. Minor league signing Johan Santana could also find himself in the pen if he can't handle a starter's workload following shoulder surgery that cost him the entire 2013 season. So little guaranteed money is tied up in Yoon and Santana, however, that both pitchers are essentially lottery tickets for the Orioles that could pay off extremely well if either returns to form.
Before landing Jimenez, the Orioles were linked to other veterans like Bronson Arroyo, A.J. Burnett and Ervin Santana, and even after Jimenez's signing were still in on Santana given how the righty's price fell to just a one-year deal. Earlier, Baltimore had explored bringing back Scott Feldman, and were willing to offer him a two-year contract, but Feldman found a longer deal with the Astros.
Fresh off the Jimenez signing, the Orioles then landed another qualifying offer free agent by inking Nelson Cruz signed a one-year, $8MM deal. Signing Jimenez and Cruz cost the Orioles their first- and second-round draft picks, meaning that over 90 players will be off the board before the O's finally pick in June's amateur draft. Some of the club's young international signings help make up the difference, though giving up those picks mean the Orioles are making a bold step towards winning in 2014.
With Johnson gone, Baltimore added some new faces to the relief corps. Free agent right-hander Ryan Webb owns a 3.29 ERA over 276 career innings and his 57.4% career ground ball rate should play well at Camden Yards. The O's took the opposite tack by acquiring live arm Brad Brach, who has had some control issues (a career 5.1 BB/9) but can definitely miss bats, as evidenced by his 117 strikeouts in 104 2/3 career innings. Veterans Alfredo Aceves, Evan Meek and Luis Ayala were signed to minor league deals to provide further depth.
Once Nate McLouth signed with the Nationals, the Orioles filled their need for a left-handed hitting outfielder by dealing Danny Valencia to the Royals in exchange for David Lough. While the 28-year-old Lough only has a career .700 OPS in 323 PA against righty pitching, he brings an outstanding glove (+27.3 UZR/150) to all three outfield positions. Lough will receive regular playing time against right-handers as part of a left field platoon.
Johnson's salary was projected to rise past the $10MM mark in the closer's final year of arbitration eligibility and his price simply got too high for the Orioles to manage, so Johnson was dealt to Oakland. Baltimore seemed to have Grant Balfour all but signed as the club's next stopper, yet after Balfour's physical, the O's found some issues with Balfour's wrist and knee that caused them to back away from the agreement. Balfour went on to sign a two-year contract with the Rays (whose team doctors judged him to be in good fitness) and the incident opened the Orioles up to criticism that they were being too picky.
Though the O's explored signing Fernando Rodney and even discussed acquiring Jonathan Papelbon from the Phillies, they ended up forgoing the proven-closer route and now seem set to use Tommy Hunter in the role. Hunter became a full-time reliever in 2013 and quickly took to the role, posting a 2.81 ERA, 7.1 K/9 and 4.86 K/BB over 86 1/3 innings. As Rotographs' Mike Podhorzer explains, Hunter projects as a solid closer for the coming season, though the Orioles' interest in Rodney indicates that they're not totally set on having a novice stopper. If Hunter falters, Webb or Darren O'Day could be promoted to closer, and the Orioles would likely become a prime trade partner for non-contenders looking to deal their closer at midseason.
Manny Machado will begin the season on the DL, as the star third baseman is still recovering from left knee surgery in October. While Machado has made good progress and was recently cleared for physical activity, he won't see any Major League action until later in April. Ryan Flaherty will fill in at third for now, with waiver claims Cord Phelps and David Adams (or even Rule 5 draft pick Michael Almanzar if the O's can find roster space for him) also available at the hot corner for what Baltimore hopes will be only a few weeks until Machado is healthy.
Flaherty will also be part of the very unsettled mix at second base. The Orioles bought low on Jemile Weeks, who has struggled since his excellent 2011 rookie campaign and also hasn't shown much at the plate during Spring Training. With Weeks not producing and the re-signed Alexi Casilla hobbled by injuries, the newly-acquired Steve Lombardozzi may now be the favorite at second base (in addition to adding depth at third and left field). Duquette only needed to surrender a veteran on a minor league deal in Alex Gonzalez to pick up Lombardozzi, a 25-year-old switch-hitter under team control through 2017.
Top prospect Jonathan Schoop, however, is the big x-factor. The conventional wisdom was that Baltimore would keep Schoop in the minors for more seasoning (he posted only a .697 OPS in 289 Triple-A plate appearances) this year and then look to him in 2015, yet Schoop has enjoyed a tremendous Spring Training. Schoop was already called up for a five-game cup of coffee last September, and given the uninspiring other options at the keystone position, the Orioles could keep Schoop's service clock rolling, at least until Machado returns.
As you can tell, there are a lot of moving parts with Baltimore's bench situation. MLBTR's Tim Dierkes recently predicted that "a trade or two" could be in the offing in his look at the Orioles' many out-of-options players since between the out-of-options guys and the minor league signings, the O's simply have too many players for too few roster spots right now. One small move was already made to bring in Adams, as Kelvin De La Cruz was outrighed to Triple-A four months after he was surprisingly signed to a Major League contract.
While the Orioles made a flurry of moves involving smaller names on their roster this offseason, there wasn't much to report on some of their bigger names, as extension talks with such notables as Chris Davis, Matt Wieters and J.J. Hardy haven't delivered much progress. The Davis and Wieters cases perhaps aren't surprising given that Scott Boras clients usually get to the open market. Since Davis and Wieters aren't free agents until after the 2015 season, the O's might want more information before committing to either player, for differing reasons --- Davis to see if he's truly an elite slugger following his breakout 53-homer season in 2013, and Wieters to see if he can rebound following a disappointing .235/.287/.417 year.
Hardy is a more pressing case since he's only under contract through 2014. Machado's future looms over any decision the Orioles make with Hardy; though Machado was phenomenal at third base last year, it has been assumed that the O's will eventually move him back to his natural position of shortstop. The Orioles' lack of dialogue with Hardy about a position switch has openly frustrated him, as needless to say, he'd prefer to have his future position settled before signing an extension. Hardy turns 32 in August and Machado only 22 in July, so the easy solution for the Orioles could be to extend Hardy for two or three seasons and just leave Machado at third until Hardy's next deal is up.
Deal Of Note
As the cliche goes, there's no such thing as a bad one-year deal. Cruz brings a lot of baggage with him to Baltimore -- a 50-game PED suspension in 2013, his age (he turns 34 in July), declining speed, lots of strikeouts, a below-average outfield glove and career home/away splits (.911 OPS at Globe Life Park, .734 OPS on the road) that raised questions about whether he can produce outside of Arlington. Still, it was this same baggage that allowed the O's to sign the veteran slugger at such a reduced price.
The more important facts for the Orioles might've been Cruz's .266/.327/.506 slash line and 27 homers in 456 PAs last season, numbers that easily surpass the .234/.289/.415 line and 21 homers over 602 PA posted by Baltimore designated hitters in 2013. Seventeen different players appeared at DH for the O's last year and that revolving door has now been firmly slammed shut with Cruz's arrival. Spending most of his time at DH will solve the issue of Cruz's glove, and he should still be able to produce at a hitter-friendly park like Camden Yards.
After turning down a $14.1MM qualifying offer from the Rangers and initially seeking a four-year, $75MM deal, the one-year agreement is certainly not what Cruz and his representatives were expecting from the offseason. Much has been made about how Cruz and other free agents over the last two winters have seen their markets drastically limited with the price of a first-round draft pick compensation hanging over their heads, and Cruz is the first of these free agents to end up with a deal worth less than $14.1MM. It's easy to say in hindsight that Cruz should've accepted the Rangers' offer and tried to rebuild his value in familiar surroundings in Arlington, yet it was hard to predict that his market would so completely dry up. Cruz will no doubt have extra motivation to deliver a big season in 2014, which is just fine for the Orioles.
If things don't work out for the O's this season, Duquette has given himself a lot of flexibility to reload. While a whopping 15 current Orioles are arbitration-eligible next winter, only five players (Adam Jones, Dylan Bundy, Jimenez, Yoon, and Webb) are on guaranteed contracts past this season. By then the young stars will only be a year older and perhaps ready to contribute, so even if Baltimore is again limited to 85 wins by their tough division, there's still plenty of hope for another run in 2015.
But then again, why wait until 2015? With player salaries topping the $100MM mark, the Orioles are spending a bit more freely in order to hang with the other big AL East payrolls. Giving up the two draft picks for Jimenez and Cruz marks a shift in Duquette's strategy, as this is no longer a team that seems unsure about whether it's rebuilding or not --- while Gausman, Schoop, Bundy and company are still on the horizon, the Orioles clearly feel that they enough talent to contend right now. We could still be a year or two away from the "next great Orioles team," or that next great team could have already arrived.
Photo courtesy of Jonathan Dyer/USA Today Sports Images
We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves right here:
- The Diamondbacks signed Aaron Cunningham to a minor league deal earlier this week. The 27-year-old outfielder posted a .628 OPS over 501 PA with the Indians, Padres and A's from 2008-12 and spent last season playing with the Rangers' Triple-A affiliate. Cunningham was released by the Cubs two weeks ago after he signed a minor league contract with them in November.
- The Orioles released veteran right-hander Luis Vizcaino from their minor league camp, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski reports. Vizcaino last appeared in the majors in 2009 and didn't play any professional baseball from 2010-12 before posting a 1.40 ERA over 45 relief innings for Yucatan of the Mexican League in 2013. The O's signed Vizcaino to a minor league deal in January.
- The Astros have released Peter Moylan, the pitcher himself tweets. Last week, it was reported that Moylan had a UCL tear. He was to meet Dr. James Andrews for a second opinion this week. Moylan, 35, pitched 15 1/3 innings for the Dodgers last season. He has a career 2.80 ERA with 6.9 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 in 276 innings, most of them with the Braves.
- The Phillies have released reliever Michael Stutes, the club announced. Already outrighted off of the club's 40-man roster, Philadelphia has now parted with a once-promising arm at just 27 years of age. After a solid 2011 rookie year in which he threw 62 innings of 3.63 ERA ball, Stutes struggled with arm issues. Last year, he posted a 4.58 ERA with 4.6 K/9 and 4.1 BB/9 in 17 2/3 big league innings.
MLBTR's Mark Polishuk and Charlie Wilmoth also contributed to this post.
We'll keep tabs on the day's minor moves here:
- Outfielder Trent Oeltjen tweets (via Rotoworld) that he has signed with the Diamondbacks. Oeltjen, 31, has not appeared in the big leagues since 2011 with the Dodgers, but he has hit well at the Triple-A level, putting up a line of .255/.345/.483 for the Angels' Triple-A Salt Lake affiliate last season.
- The Orioles have released lefty Aaron Laffey, MASNsports.com's Steve Melewski tweets. Laffey pitched just 12 2/3 innings in the big leagues in 2013, spending most of it struggling at Triple-A, but he pitched 100 2/3 innings for the Blue Jays in 2012.
- The Rockies have released pitcher Bobby Cassevah, MLB Daily Dish's Chris Cotillo tweets. Cassevah, who accumulated a 3.20 ERA with 4.7 K/9 and 4.6 BB/9 from 2010-2012 in the Angels bullpen, is currently rehabbing an injury.
- Veteran lefty Randy Wolf has requested, and received, his release from the Mariners, MLB.com's Greg Johns tweets. Wolf was attempting a comeback after missing the entire 2013 season. He last appeared in the big leagues in 2012, when he pitched for the Brewers and Orioles. The Mariners told Wolf he had made the team, but he did not want to sign a 45-day advance consent release, Johns notes.
- The Blue Jays have signed pitcher Shawn Hill from the York Revolution of the Atlantic League, MLive.com's Chris Iott tweets. Hill, 32, last appeared in the big leagues in 2012 with the Jays. He posted a 5.51 ERA with 5.0 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9 in 150 1/3 innings with the Tigers' Triple-A Toledo affiliate in 2013.
- The Padres have acquired catcher Adam Moore from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations, tweets Andy McCullough of the Kansas City Star. The 29-year-old has seen bit action at the MLB level in each of the last five years. In his longest stint, a 2010 run with the Mariners, Moore managed only a .513 OPS in 218 plate appearances.
Charlie Wilmoth contributed to this post.
The Mets have decided to place both Ike Davis and Lucas Duda on their Opening Day roster, Kristie Ackert of New York Daily News writes. GM Sandy Alderson did not confirm which of the two would start at first base. Davis, in particular, has frequently been the subject of trade rumors, and the Pirates have been connected to Davis and have a notably unsettled first-base situation. But it appears Davis may remain a Met for now. Here are more notes from the East divisions.
- The Nationals are one of several teams to touch base with infielder Kevin Frandsen, Adam Kilgore of the Washington Post tweets. Frandsen recently opted for free agency after the Phillies outrighted him. Frandsen hit .234/.296/.341 in 278 plate appearances while playing every infield position but shortstop for Philadelphia last year.
- The trade of Alex Gonzalez to the Tigers was a "gem" from the Orioles' perspective, Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun writes. The move demonstrates one reason it makes sense for organizations to sign lots of players to minor-league deals, Connolly suggests -- the Orioles signed Gonzalez with little risk, then were able to flip him for a potentially useful, versatile, cost-controlled player in Lombardozzi.
Major League Baseball's collective bargaining agreement contains a provision that allows certain free agents who are signed to minor league contracts to receive a $100K retention bonus if they are not on the team's 25-man roster or the Major League disabled list five days prior to the season.
Free agents who qualify for this distinction are those who have at least six years of Major League service time and had a Major League contract expire at the end of the previous season, but signed a minor league deal ten or more days prior to Opening Day.
MLBTR has confirmed with MLB that the deadline for teams to decide on these players is today at 11am central time. By the deadline, teams with these players in camp need to decide whether to:
- Add the player to their 25-man roster or Major League disabled list (or agree to do so in writing).
- Grant the player his outright release from the minor league contract so that he may pursue opportunities with other teams.
- Pay the player a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization beyond the deadline and send him to the minors.
Here's the latest news from around the league on Article XX(B) signees and their roster statuses with their respective teams (newest updates on top).
- Delmon Young receives a $100K bonus from the Orioles, tweets Rich Dubroff of CSNBaltimore.com.
- The Rockies have decided to pay righty Nick Masset a $100K retention bonus to keep him in the organization, rather than releasing him or guaranteeing him an active roster spot, tweets Chris Cotillo of MLBDailyDish.com.
- As posted already, Endy Chavez and Humberto Quintero of the Mariners have been released rather than receiving the roster bonus to be held in the minors.
- The Indians have announced that DH Jason Giambi will be placed on the DL retroactive to March 21, meaning that the team will need to add him to its 40-man roster.
- John McDonald has been added to the Angels' 40-man roster and will be the club's utility infielder on Opening Day, reports Mike DiGiovanna of the Los Angeles Times (via Twitter). The club has already released its three other Article XX(B) free agents.
- The Mets have elected to pay pitcher Daisuke Matsuzaka a $100K retention bonus rather than guaranteeing him an Opening Day roster spot or releasing him, the club announced on Twitter. Matsuzaka, who signed as an Article XX(B) free agent, will apparently compete with Jenrry Mejia for the fifth and final rotation slot right up until the start of the season.
- Zach Duke has been informed that he has made the Brewers, tweets MLB.com's Adam McCalvy. Duke will be the third lefty (and, potentially, long man) in the pen.
- Earlier today we learned that Jason Kubel would make the Twins Opening Day roster.
TUESDAY: De La Cruz has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A, the Orioles announced.
SATURDAY: The Orioles have claimed David Adams from the Indians on outright waivers, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets. The move clears space on the Indians' 40-man roster for infielder Elliot Johnson. The Orioles have announced that, to make room on their roster for Adams, they have designated pitcher Kelvin De La Cruz for assignment. De La Cruz, 25, posted a 2.67 ERA with 11.2 K/9 and 4.7 BB/9 in the high minors of the Dodgers system in 2013. The lefty was out of options.
Adams, 26, hit just .193/.252/.286 in 152 plate appearances with the Yankees in 2013, but more robust .268/.366/.405 in 255 plate appearances at Triple-A Scranton / Wilkes-Barre. The Indians signed him to a big-league deal in December after the Yankees non-tendered him.
Both De La Cruz and Adams were signed to big-league deals this offseason despite a lack of MLB experience (De La Cruz has none). It's a strange coincidence, then, that both would be involved in the same transaction. In January, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes looked at the trend of signing young-ish players with little or no MLB experience to big-league deals.
After a busy transactional day yesterday, here are some American League notes that we did not quite get to:
- The Orioles are trying to decide what to do with Rule 5 pick Michael Almanzar, who looks to be unlikely to make the club's Opening Day roster. One possibility is a trade of the rights to the former Red Sox third base prospect, tweets Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. But that scenario could be complicated by the fact that Almanzar is dealing with a knee problem that will require an MRI, as MLB.com's Adam Berry reports. Of course, if Almanzar were to require a DL trip to start the year, it would offer Baltimore some added time to sort things out. Manager Buck Showalter said the team would not use the injury as pretext, however, emphasizing that Almanzar would only go to the DL if the injury required it.
- The Athletics raised some eyebrows by spending significant cash on relievers this offseason, taking on the salaries of Jim Johnson ($10MM) and Luke Gregerson ($5.065MM) while committing $7MM to Eric O'Flaherty over two years. For the notoriously tight-fisted, analytical ballclub, this spending pattern led to an obvious question: what edge had GM Billy Beane found this time? As Yahoo's Jeff Passan reports, the explanation may be fairly simple. With limited payroll to add to a ready-to-win roster, the club simply got the best "bang for its buck (Beane's words) while avoiding long-term commitments. Of course, as Passan notes, the team also knows that allowing Johnson to rack up the saves will result in arbitration savings on in-house relievers like Ryan Cook and Sean Doolittle.
- With just days remaining until the deadline to settle on an Opening Day roster, the Blue Jays still have several roster battles taking place. As Ben Nicholson-Smith of Sportsnet.ca writes, there still seems to be plenty of wiggle room in the final composition of the Toronto club. The rotation has two spots in play given J.A. Happ's struggles, the middle infield mix could be impacted by the recent injury to Jose Reyes, the backup catching situation is still not finalized, and the fourth outfielding spot is suddenly open to a last-minute competition between Moises Sierra and the newly-added Matt Tuiasosopo. Of course, as Nicholson-Smith notes, options will play a big role in the final determinations and no MLB roster is static throughout the season.
Lombardozzi, 25, hit .259/.278/.338 in 307 plate appearances for the Nationals last year, appearing at second base, left field, and third base. He was traded to the Tigers in December along with Robbie Ray and Ian Krol for Doug Fister. Lombardozzi is a Maryland native whose father spent parts of six seasons in the Majors. The move gives the Orioles added infield depth in light of third baseman Manny Machado starting the season on the DL. The Orioles added Triple-A depth yesterday with their waiver claim of David Adams.
Gonzalez, 37, was in Orioles camp as a non-roster invitee. Gonzalez had signed a minor league deal with Baltimore in January, and put together a strong line in 30 spring plate appearances. Gonzalez provides another option for the Tigers for the injured Jose Iglesias, who will begin the season on the DL and will miss likely significant time with stress fractures in both shins. The Tigers acquired infielder Andrew Romine from the Angels two days ago.
The Tigers' return for Fister, already seen around the game as light, takes a further hit with Lombardozzi being swapped for an expendable player like Gonzalez.
New Red Sox catcher A.J. Pierzynski is virtually the peer of special advisor Jason Varitek -- the two are only four years apart in age. But Pierzynski has still sought out Varitek's advice this spring, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald writes. "He’s one of those guys, he came before me, so you kind of always looked up to him," Pierzynski says. "To be able to be in the same organization and be able to talk to him and learn things from him, it's huge. You can always get better and he was one of the best, so anything he can bring to the table to help me I’m definitely going to take and use." Here are more notes from the American League.
- The Indians have told starting pitcher Aaron Harang, who had been competing for their fifth starter job, that he won't make the team's 25-man roster, MLB.com's Jordan Bastian tweets. Harang has the ability to opt out of minor-league deal on Monday.
- The Yankees are willing to eat part of Ichiro Suzuki's $6.5MM 2014 salary in the right trade, CBS Sports' Jon Heyman writes. No deal appears to be imminent, however. Ichiro, who hit .262/.297/.342 with the Yankees in 2013, does not have a starting role this season.
- Orioles manager Buck Showalter says "vultures" are interested in his team's out-of-options players, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com writes. "I know a lot of vultures are lurking around with our out-of-option guys. We've got quite an attendance here," Showalter says. "I get a list of the scouts every day, and if anything, it's gotten more. We had 17 here the other day." Two weeks ago, MLBTR's Tim Dierkes noted that the Orioles' out-of-options players included Edgmer Escalona, Chris Davis, Tommy Hunter, Troy Patton, Nolan Reimold, Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, David Lough, Brian Matusz, Steve Pearce, Francisco Peguero and Josh Stinson. Obviously, the Orioles are in no danger of losing someone like Davis, and Escalona and Peguero appear likely to start the season on the disabled list. But the Orioles will have to make decisions about players like Pearce and some of the pitchers. The team recently designated another out-of-options player, Kelvin De La Cruz, for assignment.
- "I thought way too short term with the Garza deal last year. That one's got a chance to haunt us and haunt me," Rangers GM Jon Daniels told Zach Buchanan of the Arizona Republic in reference to his trade with the Cubs. Daniels gave up C.J. Edwards, Mike Olt, Justin Grimm and Neil Ramirez for Garza. Olt could soon make an impact in the big leagues, but it's Edwards and Ramirez who might turn out to be the keys to the deal -- Edwards was terrific down the stretch last year for Class A+ Daytona, and Ramirez has pitched well in spring training after posting a terrific strikeout rate in Double-A last season.
Zach Links contributed to this post.
In today's column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe wonders why pitchers seem to be hitting the disabled list at a higher rate throughout the minor and major leagues. Not only are young pitchers including Kris Medlen, Brandon Beachy, Jarrod Parker, and Bruce Rondon undergoing Tommy John surgery this spring, but Medlen and Beachy are actually having the surgery for a second time. “I think pitchers are getting abused at a younger age,” Hall of Famer Tom Glavine told Cafardo. “Most of them are max-effort guys, so it reaches the point where the stress finally causes a breaking point.” More from today's column..
- The Mets do not anticipate a deal involving first baseman Ike Davis. The Mets resumed gauging interest in Davis last week but so far, no inquiries have really blown them away. The Orioles are still among the clubs with interest.
- Joel Hanrahan has shifted his training base to Tampa, moving toward his first showcase for teams, which should happen shortly. The Red Sox have some interest in bringing back Hanrahan, but with teams like the Tigers, Orioles, and Yankees in need of back-end relievers, he probably won't wind up back in Boston.
- Twins pitcher Vance Worley, who is out of options, was placed on waivers Friday, then outrighted to Triple-A when he cleared. Minnesota may still deal Worley and a return to the Phillies would not be out of the question.