Catching up and looking ahead- Notes on prospects, Rodney, starters, Jones

Apologies that the blog has been a little slow the past week as I returned from my final vacation before the season starts. While there hasn’t been much that much news out of Baltimore, and had you covered with some of the smaller announcements, here’s a brief roundup of some recent happenings…

*The Orioles announced yesterday that they signed Aaron Laffey to a Minor League deal, first reported by my colleague Anthony Castrovince, and the left-hander will add organizational depth. Laffey is not expected to be in big league camp. (More on that here.)

*With Grant Balfour off the board –signing a two-year, $12-million deal with the Rays– rumors surfaced yesterday that the Orioles were making progress in adding free agent Fernando Rodney. While it makes sense –Rodney is the best available closer and the O’s have money to spend- most of Thursday’s reports were exaggerated as the O’s interest in Rodney can be categorized as lukewarm right now. Things could change, but the emphasis is on adding rotation help in the final few weeks of the offseason.

Balfour, who was rumored to be filing a grievance against the Orioles after a two-year, $15-million deal fell through, indicated to several Rays reporters that something may still happen there.

“I’m not going to comment on it. We’ll see what happens,” he said. “I’m here to stay. I have a contract with the Rays, and anything else that’s going to happen on that part will be taken care of, and we’ll move forward. That’s not going to affect anything I’ve got going here. I’m moving on. I’m glad to be here, really happy to be here. That stuff is going to be taken care of by other people on my behalf.”

*So, who is left on the free agent starting pitching front? The biggest, and most likely, three names for the O’s are Bronson Arroyo, Ubaldo Jimenez and Ervin Santana. A.J. Burnett is also still out there, although he reportedly isn’t returning the Pirates calls, so it’s looking more and more likely that he will retire.

The Orioles have had rumored interest in all three of those guys and –while they have money to spend– price will be a factor as well as the length of the contract. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said earlier this winter that he would be willing to go three or more years on a free agent arm in the right scenario. Is this that scenario?

Right-hander Matt Garza signed a four-year, $52-million deal with the Brewers yesterday so the rest of the starting market could move quickly. Both Jimenez and Santana would cost the Orioles a  draft pick, due to declining their qualifying offers,  while Arroyo would not.

* released its list of the Top 100 Prospects on Thursday, with the Orioles represented in the trio of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez. You can read the full article here and check out my recent stories on Gausman and Rodriguez, both in the news section of

*Finally, the always-quotable Adam Jones was in New York earlier this week for Tuesday’s “Going to Bat for B.A.T.” Dinner at the Marriott Marquis. Jones talked about the Orioles outlook, football and his competitiveness, below…

(on the O’s offseason so far) “If you know me, my expectations are always high. I know one thing, we’re going to be ready to grind and show up to play every day. You just need 25 men who are ready and willing to reach a common goal.

We’re returning our entire defense, except [Nate] McLouth, we had a great defense last year, that’s what kept us alive. We’ve got to get better on the mound, situational hitting, getting on base. It’s an overall team game, that’s why you have Spring Training, to go back to the drawing board.”

(on the competitive balance in the AL East) “The last two years we had good years. We went to the playoffs and then finished eight games above .500 last year. The last two years have been amazing in the city of Baltimore. Now, you’ve got to get better. I know our fans are happy we put a better team on the field the last couple of years, but our fans are hungrier — they want that ring in the city of Baltimore. As a team, that’s how your fans should be talking. We need that kick in the pants sometimes. We go out and play for them every game.

Mickey Mantle or Joe DiMaggio, I think, said, I play hard every day, because there’s a young kid in the stands and it might be his only chance to see me play. I remember reading that, that’s why I bring it every day.”

(on his Super Bowl pick) “Broncos or Seahawks? I need to see Peyton Manning win his second one. He’s my favorite player, and I think to solidify his career. He’s the greatest regular season QB ever, but to solidify him as a top-five QB ever, I think he needs that second ring.”

(On Richard Sherman’s comments) “That was awesome. Passion. The only thing I probably wouldn’t have done is put your hands to your throat and say [Colin] Kaepernick choked…but I probably would have done that, too, in the heat of the passion. Those are rivals. They don’t like each other. You don’t see New York and Boston shaking hands after a game. That’s the sport we’re getting away from. Nowadays, everyone wants to hug. I don’t want to hug you. After the game, You just kicked the crap out of me. I don’t want to talk to you. And if I kick the crap out of me, I don’t want you to talk to me. That’s old school. That’s the part that we’re losing in all sports, is the old school. Everything is ticky-tack now.

People are friends. But at the end of the day, if my mom was on the mound, I’d take her deep.”


Thank you for you comments last night on Masn TV. I seem to be a lone voice out here in the wilderness seeing the rotation as a One Man Show right now. Beyond Tillman there are nothing but questions. I have been referred to as negative and without patience for the lackluster approach to the Orioles adding to the rotaion some Serious Talent. No I do not think we need to be the Big Spenders and Go Crazy as with Tanaka and some other signings. But as you said and I have been drawing attention to is Chen and Gonzalez have not given us the inspiration we need with injuries and ineffective performances . Gonzalez had a fantastic 1st half of 2012. Since what has he done? Chen cannot show me better than 5 innings with regularity. Burning the bullpen is not going to take us to the end of the rainbow and pot of gold. On Norris I am thinking the decision is still to be made. He did not have enough time to have a final decision made on him.
I will not be painting a bright picture from here. I did not see the Orioles going for Garza. But Arroyo is going to wind up with the Dodgers or Twins. Both are going t be more aggressive. Jiminez is not my choice and I see him going back to KC.
Chris Davis acknowledged in a interview the Orioles need starter additions. I have heard no one ask the other players how they think the winter has gone on improving the club with its pitching.I wonder “IF” any of the media will dare to do this and report it?
My vision of the winter is a RETREAT to 14 years. I do not worry about Jim Johnson and Nate McLouth gone. BUT I do worry about the lack of aggressiveness in improving the rotation with needed talent. I have been on the soap box for a trade with the pitching rich Dodgers and St Louis minors.
You may ask this question too. Why “IF” you are Hardy or Davis would you want to sign an extension with the Orioles???? Do you want to be tied to an organization the Talks the Talk of winning but cannot Walk the Walk?? I do not worry about Matt Wieters. He is gone. He is the one that has opened this door. I would use him and some others in their trade for the pitching. Yes I open the hole for catching but for a serious long term run pitching is what will win with great defense.
At this point I have accepted the Orioles to be in last place in division with approximately 70 wins. Yes the Yankees will be just above us. With all their spending you cannot hide their age (Sabathia, Jeter, BRob, Tex…) and the invisible 3b. So for the Orioles I want to see some major effort to improve via trades now and in July. I am a Realist. I do not like to hide from truth. We are in need of waiting this year for Gausman, Bundy and Rodriguez to develop in the minors. None should be brought up until at least September. Let them be frustrated and bang the door down for 2015.
If I believe this last thoughts above I am now left with this thought. IF we cannot sign extension with Hardy and Davis should we be trading them in July,???? What a mortal sin to think this. BUT the front office may have painted itself into this corner.

Your thought, comments and …. are welcomed.

The yankees “will be above the orioles”. So will the Red Sox and The Rays. Maybe Jays to. The yankees maybe older, but Sabathia and Jeter are still pros who know how to win. The Yankees have at least attempted to make impact moves, while the Orioles tread water. This coming from a Yankee hater. If wieters is traded or leaves so what. Being an Oriole fan since the mid sixties, the great Orioles teams of the late sixties and seventies had catchers such as Andy Etchebarren and Elrod Hendricks. Both had no power but could handle pitchers. Rick Dempsey also was not a power guy but excelled at his position. i agree with you on Hardy and Davis. My final word is that i have no faith in Gm. Dandy Duke. He did nothing to add to the team after a great 2012, and has done zero this off season. Trading Jim Johnson for Jamille weeks, a 27 year old triple a ballplayer was a joke. Billy Beane must have had a good laugh. I guess we can talk all we want, but i doubt anything will change.

I can appreciate your pain.
I was on the corner of 33rd and Charles Sts as the floats brought the St Louis Browns to Baltimore as the Orioles. I still have one of the styrofoam balls with the Oriole emblem on it.

But all that nostalgia is the past.. For 2 years we have been Teased with a team building to a Serious Threat in oyur division and MLB. Now to see the RETREAT is not dismal but Manic in behaviour.

How can any fan be enthused and go to the Fan Fest?

I do not ask as many fans they do the crazy spending. BUT with an extra $25 mil in TV money where is it going for the team? This mystery is solved by FOLLOW THE MONEY?????

Thats great. I was just seven when the Browns moved to Baltimore. I was at Comiskey Park in 1957 with my dad on a Friday nite watching the Sox and Orioles. Tito Francona came to bat with the bases loaded and hit into a double play. He threw his batting helmet in the stands rite into my lap. i received a bat from the Orioles in exchange for the helmet. I have been a fan ever since. agree with all your sentiments.

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