A few notes…
I’m back from vacation and had a few notes/thoughts to pass along while I try to catch back up…
*In terms of the offseason to-do list, first base remains the Orioles top priority. And I don’t think there’s any debate that Adam LaRoche would be the best possible fit right now. He’s got power, is a great clubhouse guy and plays good defense. And manager Buck Showalter has made it no secret that he would prefer to have an above-average glove at first. If the Orioles don’t get LaRoche or Derrek Lee, they’d likely have to settle for more of a DH-type and sacrifice a good glove. Having a young pitching staff places extra emphasis on run prevention and, as much as I like Luke Scott’s bat, it would be less than ideal to have to pencil him at first base every day.
*Reliever, relievers, relievers. The O’s need a few more arms, particularly given the injury history of some of their current bullpen guys. Currently, their roster has three left-handed relievers in Michael Gonzalez, Pedro Viola and Troy Patton. Viola spent last season in Double-A, Gonzalez has a pretty lengthy injury history and the organization has yet to determine Patton’s role going forward. The Orioles will look to add at least one more viable lefty and another arm to help solidify the back-end of the bullpen. They did resign Koji Uehara, but losing David Hernandez –who was a pleasant surprise in the bullpen — is another late-innings hole that needs to be filled.
I have not heard anything regarding an agreement with former Blue Jays closer Kevin Gregg. I did read ESPN Boston’s report, which stated that the Orioles were closing in on a deal with Gregg on Tuesday, but haven’t been able to confirm that. The O’s like Gregg and they do have an offer out to him and several other relievers. Right now, that’s all I got on that.
While we’re on the dispelling rumors track, there were some reports when I was gone that the Orioles signed infielder Nick Green to a Minor League deal with a Spring Training invite. While there was interest, that never went through. The O’s did ink Cesar Izturis to a one-year deal and certainly enter the spring with more infield options than they had a year ago.
*The more I hear about Mark Reynolds, the more I like the Orioles move to trade for him. I was talking to one of his former teammates who said he’s the kind of guy who isn’t afraid to stand by his locker and face the music after a horrible game. He’s not overly vocal, but won’t shy away from what needs to be said. He’s played through multiple injuries and is known to be a real grinder-type. Still, with all that being said, it’ll be interesting to see if last year’s poor performance was an anomaly or the first step in a steady decline.
*The Orioles are holding the Inaugural OriolesREACH Birdland Classic on Thursday, February 17 at the Founders Club in Sarasota, Florida. Golf with the Orioles and help support the Miracle League of Manasota, a new organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for every person to play baseball, regardless of their ability.
Manager Buck Showalter, Brian Roberts, Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, and Matt Wieters are all scheduled to attend the event which includes a silent auction, lunch and a chance to play golf with current and former Orioles. For registration and complete details, call 941-954-4101.
Speaking of Roberts, he was at the Orioles Holiday Party event earlier in the week and told reporters that he was 100 percent healthy. Always good to hear.
*Finally, if you’re curious to read about Cliff Lee’s decision to go to Philly (aren’t we all?), you can read the press conference transcription here, courtesy of MLB.com’s Todd Zolecki.