A few notes..
I know, I know: it’s NFL playoffs today. But before I head off to watch some football, I wanted to pass along a few quick notes…
*The Orioles have signed Japanese lefty Yoshihiro Doi to a Minor League contract, according to NPB Tracker’s Patrick Newman. The 35-year-old Doi became eligible for international free agency a year ago, but ended up sitting out the 2011 season due to knee problems. I don’t know much about Doi, and it appears he’s been used in a myriad of roles in his career, but I’d guess he’s more of a bullpen guy than more starting depth. Either way, should be an interesting case to watch this spring.
*I keep getting asked about the Orioles’ and free agent Johnny Damon –first rumored by CBS Sports — and was told they are interested in the veteran. At this point, it’s fair to say they’re kicking the tires of bringing the well-liked Damon aboard. But how much they like him, and whether they are willing to fill the DH role with an aging veteran, remains to be seen.
*Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes told the AP last week that the Orioles are one of the six teams that are most interested in him. The Orioles –who sent a small contingent to watch Cespedes work out last month are staying mum on the topic and their level of interest, but the organization was very impressed with his workout. A source said of Cespedes, who became a YouTube sensation, “Let’s put it this way: that video wasn’t exaggerating.” According to the AP report, the Marlins, Tigers, White Sox, Indians and Cubs are among the other Major League clubs who have shown the most interest in the 27-year-old.
*The next offseason deadline is Tuesday, which is the cutoff for salary figures to be exchanged for arbitration-eligible players. Those players and teams who actually go to hearings will engage in that process from Feb. 1-21 in St. Petersburg, Fla. For more details and explanation, see the full story on Orioles.com here.
It will be interesting to see how executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette handles the team’s arbitration-eligibles. Former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail always prided himself on avoiding having a hearing, and former director of baseball operations Matt Klentak –now the Angels’ assistant GM — played an integral part in helping that process go smoothly.
*Finally, MLB Network has a neat new show going on in Baseball IQ, the Network’s first-ever game show, which premieres Tuesday, January 24 at 9:00 p.m. ET. The show, which began filming this weekend, is a recall-based trivia show featuring two participants, 30 minutes and a chance to win up to $45,000 for charity. Questions will cover all things baseball, from current players and managers to World Series champions, MVPs, Cy Young Award winners, Hall of Famers, milestones and more.
It’s a bracket format that will take place across 31 episodes with one representative from each team. Best of luck to the Orioles participant, coordinator of baseball information Jay Moskowitz. You can find more details on the show here.