The Orioles are interested in a reunion with free-agenty righty Miguel Gonzalez and are one of at least three clubs to show interest in the 33-year-old thus far in the offseason, reports Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Gonzalez, who’ll turn 34 next May, made 27 starts between the White Sox and Rangers last year, logging a rather pedestrian 4.62 ERA with 5.8 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and a 36.7 percent ground-ball rate over the life of 156 innings. Gonzalez spent the first four seasons of his career, 2012-15, as a member of the Orioles’ rotation and has enjoyed the most success of his career wearing an O’s uniform. He’s hardly a high-upside option, but the O’s are looking to add as many as three starters to the rotation this offseason, and Gonzalez could likely be had on a one-year deal, so he could conceivably step into the fifth slot in the Baltimore rotation next year.
A bit more on the O’s…
- The latest column from Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com runs down a number of Orioles topics, including whether left-hander Chris Lee should be viewed as a starter or reliever heading into 2018 and how much time Mark Trumbo should be expected to see in right field (as opposed to at designated hitter). On the topic of the team’s utility infielder, Kubatko cites recently non-tendered Ryan Goins as an option in Baltimore. The Orioles have seen Goins up close with the Blue Jays for years, and while he’s just a career .228/.275/.335 hitter in nearly 1400 plate appearances, he comes with a sterling defensive reputation (despite a season of abnormally poor marks at shortstop in 2017).
- Kubatko also examines whether the Orioles will carry switch-hitting outfielder Anthony Santander on their roster to open the season. The 23-year-old Santander was Baltimore’s pick in the 2016 Rule 5 Draft, but a forearm injury kept him on the disabled list for most of the 2017 campaign. Santander was activated in mid August but still needs another 44 days on the active roster before his Rule 5 status expires, per Kubatko, who notes that the Indians would take Santander back if offered the opportunity. Baltimore plucked Santander out of the Cleveland system despite the fact that he’d never played above Class-A Advanced, but he tore through a 15-game rehab assignment in Double-A last year (.380/.458/.780 with five homers) and is considered one of the better prospects in the Orioles’ system. It seems likely that the O’s will want to hang onto him, and in a worst-case scenario they could simply option him to the minors after the season’s first 44 days, should he prove in need of more development.
- Following the Orioles’ announcement of a new minor league deal with Ruben Tejada, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reported (on Twitter) that the infielder’s deal comes with a $1.35MM base salary and another $600K of available incentives if he makes the Major League roster. Tejada, who turned 28 in October, will be in camp vying for a bench spot after hitting .230/.293/.283 in 124 PAs with the Orioles and .280/.357/.440 in 197 PAs at the Triple-A level in 2017. Luis Sardinas and Steve Wilkerson could be his primary competition right now, though as Kubatko suggests, the O’s could very well add further infield depth in the months to come.