Archive for January, 2010

Spring Training Invites

January 28, 2010

The Orioles have invited LHP’s Chris George and Mike Hinckley, RHP’s Jake Arrieta, Frank Mata, Josh Perrault, Alfredo Simon, and Ross Wolf, C’s Michel Hernandez, Caleb Joseph, Chad Moeller, Luis Bernardo, and Adam Donachie, OF’s Jeff Salazar, Matt Angle and Jonathon Tucker, and INF’s Scott Moore, Miguel Abreu and Blake Davis to spring training as non roster invitees.

Most of these players are being invited for depth in the beginning of camp and the exhibition season, but there are a couple that could surprise and earn a roster spot. Jake Arrieta could make the bullpen or rotation if he dominates and there are some injuries. Josh Perrault could make the bullpen with some luck, but should at least see some MLB time at some point in 2010. Chad Moeller goes into spring training as the favorite to be the backup catcher. Blake Davis and Scott Moore have a slim outside chance of being the 25th man on the roster if all goes right for them. Caleb Joseph doesn’t have a chance to make the team, but it should be an invaluable experience for the O’s 2nd best catching prospect behind Matt Wieters.

Hendrickson Re-Signed

January 28, 2010

The Orioles have signed LHP Mark Hendrickson to a 1 year contract for $1.2 million and an option for 2011.

Grade: C+

This was only a matter of time and the only thing that comes as a surprise is that it took this long for it to happen. Hendrickson was mostly a failure out of the rotation in 2009, but he was really effective coming out of the bullpen. You could argue that he was the best relief pitcher we had last year. In 2010 he will be used strictly as a reliever unless theres some kind of emergency and we need a spot start on little notice. He was 6-5 with a 4.37 ERA with 61 strikeouts and 33 walks in 2009, but was 2-5 with a 5.40 ERA as a starter and 4-0 with a 3.44 ERA as a reliever. Hes not much of a “left handed specialist” as lefties and righties hit him pretty similarly, but it seems it takes hitters a second time through the lineup to get a read on him. He’ll be a nice complement to our improved bullpen.

Sarfate DFA’d

January 28, 2010

The Orioles designated RHP Dennis Sarfate for assignment, clearing room on the 40 man roster for 3B Miguel Tejada.

Grade: C

Not much of a loss here. I might’ve gotten rid of RHP Armando Gabino instead, but Sarfate wasn’t going to make the team out of spring training. He was hurt in 2009 and pitched to a 5.09 ERA over 23 innings, striking out 20 and walking 14. His velocity had lowered substantially when he returned from the DL. Thats not good when your fastball doesn’t have much movement. He might get claimed, but he should at least end up in AAA for some team.

Tejada Returns

January 23, 2010

The Orioles have signed 3B/SS Miguel Tejada to a one year contract worth $6 million plus performance incentives.

Grade: C+

The return of Miguel Tejada comes at a bit of a surprise. When he was traded to Houston before the 2008 season for OF Luke Scott, LHP Troy Patton, RHP Matt Albers, RHP Dennis Sarfate, and CI Mike Constanzo the team and the fans seemed to be sick of the shortstop. His range was diminishing, his attitude was bad because he couldn’t deal with the losing, and he stopped running out groundballs. It was revealed after the trade that he had used steroids and was actually two years older than he had reported throughout his career. He had a down year in 2008 with the Astros, batting .283/.314/.415 with 38 doubles, 3 triples, and 13 homeruns. He bounced back in 2009 with a .313/.340/.455 line and led the league in doubles with 46 while hitting 14 homeruns.

The Orioles have signed Tejada to be the everyday third baseman with newly signed Garrett Atkins moving to first base despite the fact that hes never played the position in his MLB career, although he has played it in winter ball and the World Baseball Classic. He has the tools to be a good fielder on the hot corner but its going to take some time for him to adjust. The reason he isn’t seen as a shortstop is because he doesn’t have the range anymore, but he still has sure hands and a strong arm which are tools for a good third baseman. He’ll be used as a stopgap until Josh Bell is deemed ready, so the one year contract makes sense and $6 million is a fair deal – maybe even cheap. Tejada doesn’t have the power that he did from 2000 – 2006, but he still has the ability to hit the ball on a consistent basis and hit it hard. Hes another doubles hitter added to the lineup to go with Brian Roberts and Nick Markakis. Miggy doesn’t walk very much either with his on base percentage greatly dependent on his batting average. His walks have gone down as his power has diminished, hinting that pitchers don’t fear him as much as they used to.

I like the signing in general. It gives us a solid contact hitter to fill the void until Bell arrives and it also gives us some versatility. We don’t need to carry SS Robert Andino and his terrible hitting on the roster anymore because Tejada can move over to shortstop on the days Cesar Izturis needs a rest with Atkins or Ty Wigginton playing third and the other manning first. Its up to Dave Trembley to use this to the teams advantage, but it could provide us the opportunity to keep an extra hitter (Lou Montanez, Rhyne Hughes, etc.) for pinch hitting late in games as opposed to a guy that plays once a week. Spring Training should be interesting to see how Tejada’s glove comes along at his new position. The only thing remaining on Andy MacPhail’s offseason to do list would be picking up a left handed pitcher or two. I think theres a good chance Erik Bedard could be brought back. Mark Hendrickson and Japanese import Hisanori Takahashi are also options.

Scott Avoids Arbitration

January 19, 2010

The Orioles reached a one year agreement with OF/DH Luke Scott for $4.05 million, avoiding arbitration.

Grade: C

Its been a very slow offseason since the Orioles traded for RHP Kevin Millwood and signedLHP  Mike Gonzalez and 3B/1B Garrett Atkins in mid December. Today was the last day for teams and players eligible for arbitration to exchange contract proposals. If the parties can’t come to a mutual agreement someone in between the case would be heard before a judge, with either the teams or players proposal being rewarded. Fortunately Scott and Andy MacPhail were able to avoid that scenario. Four million is a fair deal for both sides. Scott is under the Orioles control for two more seasons following 2010. Jeremy Guthrie is the only arbitration eligible player left for the Orioles to sign.