Felix Pie Rumors

Orioles Designate Felix Pie For Assignment

The Orioles designated Felix Pie for assignment to create roster space for Matt Angle, according to Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The Orioles have confirmed the moves and announced that they also selected the contract of Jake Fox.

Pie, who is out of options, is under team control through 2013 and earns $985K this year. The 26-year-old posted a .220/.264/.280 line in 175 plate appearances for Baltimore this year, playing all three outfield positions. Pie, a former top prospect, has a .249/.298/.374 line in 1051 career plate appearances for the Cubs and Orioles. His most productive years came in 2009-10 in Baltimore (.739 OPS).

MLBTR's Tim Dierkes suggested earlier today that Pie was a candidate to lose his roster spot.


Players To Avoid Arbitration: Tuesday

Today is the deadline for players and teams to submit arbitration figures. The sides will then settle on a salary between the team's proposed number and the player's proposed number or go to an arbitration hearing. Arbitration eligible players are under team control, so the clubs don't risk losing them – it's a question of how much the players will earn.

Yesterday, 11 players avoided arbitration. We could see just as many agreements trickle in today and we'll keep you posted on them right here and with our Arb Tracker. The latest updates will be at the top of the post:

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Latin Links: Ruiz, Haitian Players, Ramirez

Links in Spanish, because English is so last season…

  • Jose Julio Ruiz's new agent Mike Maulini tells Jorge Ebro at Nuevo Herald that the Cuban first baseman made the switch from Jorge Luis Toca after realizing that his much-rumored signing with a major league team was "long overdue." Ruiz had a $2MM offer in hand from Tampa Bay in February, but since then, the market has stagnated and the lefty feared he was in danger of missing his opportunity to play stateside.
  • While Haitian baseball prospects exist, don't expect to see any of them signing with Major League teams, writes Juan Mercado in the Dominican newspaper El Dia. He talks with two coaches who complain that the MLB office on the island won't allow promising Haitian players to attend teams' academies because of the difficulty in verifying the players' backgrounds and paperwork. One source tells Mercado that the teams simply "prefer not to waste time" in fruitless investigations, while the two coaches call the policy discriminatory, saying many Cuban and Venezuelan players don't receive the same level of scrutiny. The only current Major Leaguer of Haitian descent is the Orioles' Felix Pie, though he was born in the Dominican.
  • Several veteran players were signed during this offseason under the justification of mentoring developing players. But lost in the circle-of-life storyline is the idea that those veterans are being paid for their blunt critical eye. New White Sox backup shortstop Omar Vizquel brings the point home to Luis Rangel of Nuevo Herald when he says that mentee Alexei Ramirez "needs to move his feet when fielding. He has the tendency to stand still and not move to the ball." Ramirez committed 20 errors in his first full season at short, tying for fourth most among major league shortstops.
  • Who says winter leagues help keep players in shape for the regular season? Yankees reliever Jonathan Albaladejo tells Esteban Pagan Rivera at Primera Hora that he shed 30 pounds this offseason after the team forbade him from playing in his home country of Puerto Rico. At the other end of the scale sits Pablo Sandoval, whose much-ballyhooed "Camp Panda" proved for naught when he came back from the Venezuelan Winter League in January heavier than when he arrived. 
  • The Twins signed one of Sandoval's fellow Navegantes of Magallanes in Venezuela, righty reliever Yoslan Herrera, to a minor league deal, confirms Joe Christensen at the Star Tribune. Herrera, who defected from Cuba in 2005, was a highly touted prospect in the Pirates system but disappointed in his only brief showing with the team in 2008. He showed more promise at the Bucs' Double-A and Triple-A levels in 2009 and will start out at Triple-A Rochester for the Twins. The Cuban blog Terreno de Pelota first reported the signing on Tuesday.


Orioles Rumors: Millwood, Uggla, Atkins, Beltre

WEDNESDAY, 10:02am: Millwood update: Zrebiec says the Rangers originally wanted David Hernandez and a low-level prospect for Millwood, and were willing to pay $3MM of the $12MM owed to the veteran.  Meanwhile Zrebiec's colleague Peter Schmuck says Chris Ray could be involved and the Rangers would pick up most of Millwood's salary, in one scenario.

TUESDAY, 9:36pm: Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun reports that the O's are still exchanging trade proposals with the Rangers for Kevin Millwood. T.R. Sullivan reported that the Rangers wanted Chris Tillman initially, but talks have since developed. The Orioles are among the frontrunners for Millwood.

The O's met with the Marlins about Dan Uggla, but the Marlins want two pitching prospects in return and the Orioles are reluctant to hand that kind of package over. The Marlins have one less suitor for Uggla, according to Andrew Baggarly, who says the Giants aren't serious bidders, so that could lower the asking price for the arbitration-eligible infielder.

Here are even more O's rumors:

  • Kevin Kouzmanoff and Garrett Atkins interest the O's to an extent.
  • Joe Crede and Pedro Feliz remain options for Baltimore, but Adrian Beltre has priced himself out of reach.
  • We heard about their interest in Hank Blalock, Carlos Delgado and Nick Johnson earlier today.
  • They also have "tepid" interest in Russell Branyan.
  • The Orioles aren't particularly intrigued by Joe Blanton and Derek Lowe, who are both available via trade.
  • Vladimir Guerrero, Adam LaRoche, Jose Valverde and Kevin Gregg all interest the O's slightly.
  • They do have interest in Rafael Soriano, and spoke with the Braves about him.
  • They're not interested in J.J. Putz.
  • MLB.com's Spencer Fordin reports that the Royals engaged the O's in Felix Pie trade talks without ever coming close to a deal.

Twitter Rumors: Mulder, Pie, Torrealba, Sheets

Random rumors collected from Twitter…


Orioles Day One Recap

The Baltimore Sun's Jeff Zrebiec takes a look back at Baltimore's first day of the Winter Meetings:

  • The O's targeted pitching heavily, inquiring on Kevin Millwood and attaining the medical record for former Baltimore ace Erik Bedard. The O's would want Texas to eat some of Millwood's $12MM salary. They won't go after Bedard (or any other pitcher) if they're not 100% for Opening Day.
  • Andy MacPhail will meet with Bedard's agent in the next couple of days.
  • The Orioles were interested in Rafael Soriano prior to his decision to accept arbitration from the Braves.
  • Kevin Gregg is an option for relief help, but Baltimore sees him as a 7th or 8th inning guy, not a closer.
  • Felix Pie has drawn a lot of inquiries, but MacPhail points out that none of Pie, Nolan Reimold, and Adam Jones have played a full, healthy season yet, and the depth is probably a good thing for the Orioles when taking that into consideration.
  • Lots of young O's pitching has come up, including Zach Britton and David Hernandez.
  • MacPhail met with Joe Urbon, agent for Mark Hendrickson. Zrebiec says it's only a matter of time before a deal is done.
  • There hasn't been much in the way of talks for Dan Uggla recently.
  • Baltimore won't be bidders for John Lackey, but they like Hank Blalock, Nick Johnson, and Carlos Delgado as options for first base. Luke Scott is not a full-time first base option. Pedro Feliz is their primary third base target.
  • Baltimore isn't in on talks for Edwin Jackson or Matt Lindstrom, but they did meet with the agent for Aroldis Chapman.
  • Baltimore may sign another catcher, but it's not a priority.

Odds & Ends: Reed Johnson, Laynce Nix, Counsell

Links for Monday, the first day of the Winter Meetings in Indianapolis…


Discussion: What’s Next For Baltimore?

The Baltimore Sun's Dan Connolly details the questions facing a Baltimore team with some young offensive talent, some terrific young pitching on the way, and a lot of extra cash.

Connolly writes that while the 64-98 record Baltimore had in 2009 was the third-worst in team history, "there is a sense that the future has promise because of the emergence of young starting pitchers Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen, catcher Matt Wieters and outfielders Nolan Reimold and Felix Pie."

Left unsaid, of course, is the emergence of Adam Jones and Nick Markakis continuing to be a tremendous player.

The good news? The Orioles, according to Connolly, went from roughly $77MM owed in payroll at the start of the 2009 season-including $9MM to Jay Gibbons and Ramon Hernandez- to a $30MM commitment for 2010, not including raises through arbitration.

The bad news is that there aren't many marquee free agents (though there is Jason Marquis), and those that do qualify- Jason Bay, Matt Holliday, John Lackey- aren't great fits, particularly Bay and Holliday in an overcrowded outfield.

Connolly captures the problem of desires vs. realistic options perfectly here:

"The preference is to find a right-handed or switch-hitting first baseman in his prime, like the New York Yankees' Mark Teixeira. But there's no one who fits that profile in this year's class. The best free-agent options might be left-handed-hitting first basemen Russell Branyan and Hank Blalock or right-handed do-it-all Mark DeRosa."

So what's an Oriole to do?


Orioles Explore Deals for Pie, Salazar

According to Jeff Zrebiec at the Baltimore Sun, the Orioles have a roster decision to make when Cesar Izturis returns from the disabled list, and thus have considered dealing Oscar Salazar and Felix Pie. Both players are out of options and are likely to get claimed if put on waivers, so a deal makes sense, Zrebiec says.

Sources say that the Orioles have discussed Pie in a potential deal for Sox corner infielder Josh Fields, who has struggled this season, though it's not clear if the Sox would still agree to such a trade. Salazar reportedly has drawn interest from some NL teams who value his positional flexibility and bat off the bench.


Odds & Ends: Orioles, White Sox, Nady, Indians

Some links to check out while watching game one of the College World Series …

  • MASNsports.com's Roch Kubatko spoke to Orioles mastermind Andy MacPhail about plenty of topics, including the scuffling Felix Pie and fifth overall pick Matt Hobgood.
  • South Side Sox breaks down the White Sox players who won't (or can't) be traded.
  • Xavier Nady is set to begin a rehab assignment, however Buster Olney recently said the Yankees will not look to trade one of their spare outfielders once he returns.
  • Indians president Paul Dolan says he is concerned about the team's direction, but will not make any "rash decisions" according to Paul Hoynes of the Cleveland Plain Dealer. It certainly sounds like Eric Wedge's days are numbered, and his number is coming up.
  • The Dallas Morning News' Kevin Sherrington writes that even though they're in first place, the Rangers aren't in a position to go all out and need to keep focusing on the future.