A few offseason and coaching tidbits….
*The Orioles Major League coaching staff is set, and Gary Allenson will return to manage Triple-A Norfolk. Bobby Dickerson will continue to have an roving Minor League instructor role and Alan Dunn will also have a Minor League pitching instructor role. The rest of the Orioles Minor League staffs shouldn’t take long to become official, as the organization was operating with several “what-if” scenarios.”
*In discussing hitting philosophies manager Buck Showalter praised new hitting coach Jim Presley, who was unavailable on Wednesday’s conference call. The Orioles believe they will benefit immensely from shifting longtime hitting coach Terry Crowley into a newly-created evaluator role and adding Presley’s expertise.
“We thank [owner Peter Angelos] and [president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail] for doing that. It worked out real well for us. It makes us better,” Showalter said.
“Terry is an outstanding evaluator of hitting talent. I’ve know Jim for a long time. Every coach is different. You look at what you think your needs are. It’s something that Jim and I have talked about, what we can get better at. But the bottom line is players are going to have to embrace it.”
*Of course, the real bottom line is the Orioles need a big hitter and losing Victor Martinez to the Tigers feels like a big blow. As most of you know, this is my first season covering the O’s but it didn’t take long to realize the pain and suffering of the very loyal fanbase here. It’s a stark difference from the two previous cities (Tampa Bay and New York) I’ve been in, and one that I understand given what Orioles fans have suffered through.
If I’m the O’s, I’m going after two guys now — Adrian Beltre and Paul Konerko — with all I’ve got. The chances are slim they come here, and even slimmer that you land them both, but surely Showalter’s presence and the Orioles money has to equate to something. Personally, I like Konerko. The rumors are that he’ll end up in Arizona or back in Chicago. But that can change. Make him come here.
*I was driving home for the holidays when the Koji arbitration news broke and I wanted to reiterate that this doesn’t mean the Orioles don’t want him. But they feel they can sign him cheaper than what arbitration would have cost. He made $5 million each of the past two seasons.
It’s a gamble, because he’s free to negotiate with other teams instead of –if he accepted arbitration — returning to Baltimore on a one-year deal. But given his injury history perhaps other teams will take a flier and make it easier for the O’s to resign him for less. I don’t like the move, but it could still work in the Orioles favor.
*Finally, I wanted to wish everyone a happy and hearty Thanksgiving. I’ve got a lot to be grateful for and, hopefully, you do too…