Results tagged ‘ Felix Pie ’

Down to the wire with Vlad

Where will Vladimir Guerrero sign? It’s February and Spring Training is literally just around the corner, making these next two days very important tweets ESPN’s Buster Olney.
 
“The next 48 hours [are] expected to be pivotal in the Vladimir Guerrero contract talks,” Olney tweeted earlier. “The O’s have their offer on table; Vlad is looking for more.”

Not much here that hasn’t already been talked about, but it seems as if Guerrero will make a decision soon. The Orioles have had an offer on the table since Thursday and as of Wednesday morning have no knowledge of any self-imposed deadline from Guerrero or his camp.

They haven’t threatened to withdraw their offer by a certain date, either.

So, we’re left with Vlad weighing his other options, whatever they may be (an interesting idea floated last night by FoxSports was the Rays. More on that here.)

The O’s offer — believed to reach the $5 million mark with incentives — isn’t changing.  He’s made it no secret that he wants to play for a team with a chance to win and is more comfortable with a clubhouse that has some Latin American players. Neither of those things works in the O’s favor but they can offer Guerrero something most clubs can’t: consistent playing time.

He’d be a full-time DH, with Luke Scott moving to left field and Felix Pie/Nolan Reimold battling it out in Spring. Reimold has an option left so he could start the season in Triple-A.

What the O’s would sacrifice on defense with Scott in left, they’d presumably make up for with a beefed-up lineup.  You’ve heard before that the Rangers and Angels could sign Vlad in a part-time role, and he could put value the chance to play for either of those teams again over coming to Baltimore.

Either way, it looks to be resolved before the week is over.

Arbitration and Non-tender deadlines nearing

The baseball news should pick up this week, starting with tonight’s midnight deadline for free agents to accept arbitration if offered by their club.

The Orioles did not offer arbitration to either Koji Uehara or Kevin Millwood so there’s no decisions on that front. The wonderful website MLB Trade rumors  has done a great job keeping track of the decisions and you can click here for the American League and NL updates.
 
Most big-name free agents are a lock to decline, but there’s always some middle-of-the-pack guys who opt to test the market in hopes of a pay raise and/or better situation. Teams that offer arbitration and are declined get compensation in the form of Draft picks, depending on if the free agent is a “Type A” or “Type B”.

Thursday is is the non-tender date, which has been moved up from recent years. This is the deadline for the Orioles to tender a contract to any arbitration-eligible players. That includes six guys: Matt Albers, Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Felix Pie, Adam Jones and Luke Scott. Albers, who seemed to constantly be in jeopardy of losing his roster spot, has shown he can be an effective Major League reliever at times. The O’s will decide whether he’s a part of their plans for next season.

Any player tendered a contract is considered a signed player; the question becomes whether a deal is worked out or the sides go to an arbitration hearing to decide a salary.

On the flip side of the non-tender deadline, as I noted in today’s Winter Meetings preview Part 1, the Orioles will be monitoring closely who other clubs non tender.  It’s not often a non-tender emerges as a bona fide Major League contributor, but there are certainly bargains to be had.

Talking some 40-man

The Orioles are expected to make a few personnel moves prior to Friday’s midnight deadline for setting rosters in advance of next month’s Rule 5 Draft at the Winter Meetings in Orlando, Fla.

The O’s current 40-man roster is at 32, after a pair cleared waivers yesterday, leaving them with room right now to protect an additional eight, although I don’t think they will use all those spots. Keep in mind that clubs can add players through trades or free-agent signings. They can also continue to remove players, but the rules prevent clubs from adding players to their 40-man roster from within their organization after the deadline until the Rule 5 Draft concludes. That Draft is after the Winter Meetings, so it’s conceivable that the Orioles could leave a few spots open, particularly given that there aren’t a wealth of top prospects that need to be protected.

Players are generally eligible for the Rule 5 Draft if left unprotected after four or five pro seasons – four years for players who were 19 or older when they signed their first pro contract; five years for players who were younger than 19.

Adding top prospect Zach Britton is a near-certainty and fellow pitcher Wynn Pelzer -who the Os got in the deadline trade of Miguel Tejada – is a pretty safe bet as well. You don’t trade for a guy and a few months later leave him exposed, especially since Pelzer -who was listed quite high by Baseball America’s recent ranking of the O’s system – has an arm that projects to be suited to the bullpen, i.e., a quicker route to the Majors.

Others who would need to protected or risk being exposed are: Matt Angle, Ryan Adams, Tyler Henson, Joe Mahoney, Pedro Beato, Billy Rowell, Tim Bascom, Steve Johnson, Pat Egan, Brandon Cooney, Chad Thall, Brandon Waring and Robbie Widlansky.

For more info on the Rule 5 Draft and its potential impact (who could forget the Rays losing Josh Hamilton?) MLB.com’s Jonathan Mayo has a good story up here.

*I’ve gotten a few questions so here’s my completed unsolicited opinion on the Baltimore Sun’s report that the Orioles asking about the Rays shortstop Jason Bartlett. Tampa Bay reportedly countered by asking about David Hernandez. I don’t like the idea at all, and fortunately, it’s highly unlikely at this point. If you are going to trade a young, cheap arm that hits the upper-90s my thought is you better be getting back a bat. It’s all preliminary talks at this point –the Os also reportedly asked about the Twins SS, J.J. Hardy — but in my opinion, Hernandez is too good of a trade chip to waste on a slight upgrade of Cesar Izturis. Get the power bat first. Package Hernandez, or another young arm with a guy like Felix Pie for a middle-of-the-order bat or a true impact shortstop or starter. Not a potential rental. 

Agree? Disagree? Got a better idea? Let’s hear it. Email me or join the fun on Twitter

Is Pie for real?

Felix Pie.jpg

Manager Buck Showalter was posed the question regarding Felix Pie this afternoon, and whether he has finally morphed from a “can’t-miss” prospect into a legitimate player.

Showalter’s response? No. Well, at least, not yet.

“It’s too small a sampling,” Showalter said of Pie, who entered Tuesday’s game hitting .286 and had an RBI double in his first at-bat. “One of things is can you count on him? There’s some unknown there. You see why people are so high on him tool-wise. You see the things that he shows, and I think for the first time in quite a while, he’s shown it fairly consistently. Now can you do it six or seven days a week for seven months? That’s a hard thing to do. It’s a tough place to protect guys so to speak, in the big leagues.

If you have a strength, it’ll show up up here. If you have a weakness, they’ll pound it. So far he’s handled everything we’ve thrown at him. I’m excited about the way he’s gone about his business. Each day passes and we get closer to the finish line, your evaluation period shrinks.”

Pie snapped an 0-for-15 skid with Tuesday’s solo homer and entered Wednesday batting .315 with five doubles, a triple, three homers and 11 RBIs in his last 29 games. But, like Showalter said, it’s a small sample.

“I’m going to wait until we get through the whole season and see where we are with it as we go forward,” Showalter said of his evaluation.

Orioles/Blue Jays lineups and pregame tidbits

*Josh Bell is in the starting lineup today in what will likely be his last game for the O’s. Luke Scott is expected to be activated tomorrow, and Bell is the obvious choice to go in his place.

*Corey Patterson was a late scratch from today’s game with a bruised left heel suffered while trying to beat out a bunt in the fourth inning. Felix Pie is playing instead and Patterson said it won’t be more than a day or two, max. The team may do an X-ray later today on his heel just to make sure.

*Matt Wieters (right hamstring strain) is feeling much better and said that he will be ready to come off the DL as soon as he is eligible. Wieters spent the All-Star break coming in for treatment every morning and is now just getting back into running and other baseball-related activities to test his hammy.

*Kevin Millwood is looking like he will be ready when eligible off the DL as well. Millwood has thrown a side and a bullpen with no pain and pitching coach Rick Kranitz said the team would evaluate Millwood following Sunday’s ‘pen. Millwood can come off the shelf on Wednesday and interim manager Juan Samuel said the team has not talked about going to a six-man rotation. It’s not looking like a favorable option because Samuel doesn’t like to keep “backing guys up”, so someone will have to go. Brad Bergesen is Wednesday’s starter.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Felix Pie LF
Miguel Tejada DH
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Adam Jones CF
Jake Fox C
Scott Moore 2B
Josh Bell 3B
Cesar Izturis SS

Brian Matusz LHP

Is Millwood hurt?

DETROIT – When Felix Pie is activated from the disabled list on Tuesday, there’s a chance he could assume the roster spot vacated by another injured Oriole.

Monday’s starter Kevin Millwood lasted just one-inning in his worst performance of the season, allowing five earned runs to the Tigers and showcasing a dip in velocity that raises questions concerning Millwood’s health.

“There is some concern there,” said interim manager Juan Samuel in speaking of Millwood’s performance on Monday, in which the right-hander threw just four of 45 pitches with a velocity over 90 mph.

“[Pitching coach Rick Kranitz] has noticed that his ball was just not coming out of his hand [with authority] and his velocity was a little bit down. And knowing Kevin he is not going to tell you what’s wrong and what’s not. He is one of those guys that’s going to take the ball anytime you give it to him.”

Samuel met with Kranitz, head athletic trainer Richard Bancells and director of baseball operations Matt Klentak for approximately twenty minutes before talking to the media. After speaking to reporters for less than five minutes, Samuel returned to the room.

When asked if the corresponding roster move for Pie could be putting a player on the DL, Samuel said it’s always a possibility.

“We are trying to still piece some things together and see what is the best decision we need to make,” he said. “And probably keep another arm.”

If Millwood is not injured, his recent struggles are alarming. Including the five earned runs he allowed to the Tigers, his first-inning ERA is 24.00 in his last nine starts, and he has allowed 25 runs in that span to balloon his season ERA to 5.77. In his last seven starts, Millwood has a 10.20 ERA, after posting a respectable 3.38 in his first five starts this season and a 4.29 mark in the six after that.

Millwood said he wasn’t sure his problems were mechanical, and acknowledged that this stretch, performance-wise, has been one of the lowest points of his 14-year career.

“I have tried a lot of different things to come out of it and change things,” Millwood said. “And just haven’t been able to do [it]“.

If Millwood is hurt and the team opts to put him on the shelf, they would only need a spot starter for July 10’s game in Texas before heading into the All-Star break. While reliever Frank Mata looked to be a sure bet to be optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk for Pie, Millwood’s outing overextended the bullpen and puts a premium on arms.

A DL move would allow the Orioles the flexibility of keeping both Mata and rookie third baseman Josh Bell, who is another candidate to be optioned for Pie.

“We have some concern that maybe [Millwood] pitched a bunch early in the season,” Samuel said. “But we’ll see. We are trying to figure out which way we are going to go with him.”
 

Orioles-Tigers lineup

*Felix Pie is expected to arrive tonight and if all goes as planned Frank Mata will be optioned back to Triple-A Norfolk. It could be Josh Bell, but if Kevin Millwood goes the distance the Orioles could get by with one less arm.
*Josh Bell is available. He was dealing with right leg cramps but said it’s not a big deal. He has had knee surgery previously, but that was on the left side. Interim manager Juan Samuel said Bell is available to pinch hit or play the field if necessary.
*Michael Gonzalez won’t return until after the All-Star Break. Gonzalez is scheduled to make three more rehab appearances this week, starting with Tuesday, and then will go back-to-back Friday and Saturday. Pitching coach Rick Kranitz speculated last week that Gonzo might be after the break, and now it looks like that’s a more definite timetable.
*It’s hot, which we know is a problem for Koji.But Samuel said he is available and since he didn’t throw at all during the Boston series, you’d imagine the O’s will use him in one of these first two games.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Jake Fox 1B
Julio Lugo 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Kevin Millwood RHP

TIGERS LINEUP:

Austin Jackson CF
Johnny Damon DH
Magglio Ordonez RF
Miguel Cabrera 1B
Brennan Boesch LF
Carlos Guillen 2B
Brandon Inge 3B
Alex Avila C
Ramon Santiago SS
Andy Oliver LHP

Pie still on for Monday

Outfielder Felix Pie played another full rehab game on Friday -after dealing with hamstring tightness during Thursday’s contest-  and is still on track to be activated for Monday’s series in Detroit.

“[Pie had] no complaints,” Samuel said of the report from Double-A Bowie. “That was good news for us.”

Pie, who has been playing for Bowie since June 29, went 0-for-3 with a walk on Friday and is expected to play another full game for the Baysox on Saturday. He has been on the 60-day disabled list with an upper back strain suffered in mid-April.

If everything goes according to plan, Samuel said the team will fly Pie out on Sunday, and the corresponding roster move, which could be a pitcher or position player, will be decided.

Does Scott to the DL push up Pie?

It’s unclear what the Orioles will do if Luke Scott goes on the disabled list Thursday which is looking pretty likely. Scott noted that it was a pulled left hamstring and those take about two weeks to heal.

When I spoke to Felix Pie after the game, he already knew about Scott’s injury and said he wasn’t sure what was going on. The plan before all this went down was for him to play a few more games in Bowie and rejoin the team probably by Monday in Detroit.

But Scott’s injury changes things. Pie said he planned on going to the field in Bowie Thursday afternoon to work out, but closed our conversation with “I think I might see you tomorrow.”

So, which is it? Working out with Bowie or a trip to Baltimore to rejoin the team and replace Scott?

The Orioles will have to make a roster move to add Pie eventually, and this is a pretty easy swap. But they could chose to go with Jake Fox as a DH to tide them over for a few days.

I won’t know anything officially until tomorrow. Stay tuned.

Os/As lineups and pregame tidbits

*Jim Johnson (slight right elbow tear) has been shut down for 3-5 days.
*Felix Pie won’t join the team until Detroit, most likely.  The Orioles want him to play the field more and get some AB’s so he’s ready to go right when he’s activated and they don’t have to ease him in.
*Michael Gonzalez is having command issues and will throw for Double-A Bowie on Friday and Sunday. Gonzalez is farther behind Pie, and probably won’t rejoin the team until after the All-Star break. “It’s like Spring Training for him,” pitching coach Rick Kranitz said of Gonzalez.

ORIOLES LINEUP:
Corey Patterson LF
Miguel Tejada 3B
Nick Markakis RF
Ty Wigginton 1B
Luke Scott DH
Adam Jones CF
Matt Wieters C
Scott Moore 2B
Cesar Izturis SS
Kevin Millwood RHP

ATHLETICS LINEUP:
Coco Crisp CF
Daric Barton 1B
Conor Jackson LF
Kurt Suzuki C
Kevin Kouzmanoff 3B
Ryan Sweeney RF
Mark Ellis 2B
Gabe Gross DH
Chad Pennington SS
Ben Sheets RHP

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