Minor matters

Major League Baseball will announce its Managers of the Year in the AL and NL later today. I'm predicting that Minnesota's Ron Gardenhire is honored after leading the Twins to the Central Division title, with Texas' Ron Washington and Seattle's Don Wakamatsu also collecting votes.

The Twins looked like toast after Justin Morneau was shut down, but they made the playoffs. And it's not like they loaded up on pricey free agents over the winter.

After revealing the Orioles' interest in Billy Wagner a few days ago, FOXSports.com also is linking them to John Smoltz, with the assumption being that they're considering him as their closer.

Does anyone know what Lee Smith is doing these days? Is Bruce Sutter still in shape? How many Rollie Fingers am I holding up?

Baseball America's Matt Eddy has posted a list of players eligible for minor league free agency. You can read it HERE.

His roll call of players in the Orioles' organization includes:

RHP: Scott Chiasson (AAA), Fredy Deza (AA), Bob McCrory (AAA), Andy Mitchell (AAA), David Pauley (AAA), Alfredo Simon (AAA), Ross Wolf (AAA).
LHP: Ryan Rodriguez (AA).
C: Victor Castillo (A), Robby Hammock (AAA), Billy Killian (A), Steve Torrealba (AA).
1B: Eric Crozier (AA).
2B: Melvin Dorta (AAA).
3B: Jolbert Cabrera (AAA), Dick Guanipa (DSL), Brandon Pinckney (AAA).
SS: Donnie Murphy (AAA).
OF: Justin Christian (AAA), Ambiorix Concepcion (AAA), Victor Diaz (AAA), Dave Krynzel (AAA).

I'll admit to being confused about Simon's inclusion, since he accepted his outright assignment to Triple-A Norfolk. But I'm frequently confused and have learned to cope.

It's interesting to look back at all the fuss we made in spring training over guys like Pauley, Murphy, Cabrera and Hammock. How many words were burned on those four? My fingers are still singed. But they never made it to Baltimore.

If you'd like Eider Torres back, he can be plucked from the White Sox. And as long as we're talking about former Orioles, how did Jorge Julio end up with the Pirates? It's like the old shell game. I took my eyes off him for a second and lost him.

If you check out the list of Rockies, you'll find Damian Moss and Sal Fasano. You also might recognize a few Orioles farmhands with the Marlins.

J.R. House and Tim Raines Jr. finished up the season in the Royals' organization, and Val Majewski was tucked away in the Angels' system. The last I heard, he was playing independent ball.

Jon Knott was in the Brewers' system. Cody Ransom also is a free agent, and I only mention this so I can say "Give me back my son!" one more time.

The list of Phillies includes David Newhan, Andy Tracy, Mike Cervenak and Terry Tiffee. Rocky Cherry finished up in the Padres' system, which also includes Jesse Orosco Jr.

Other familiar names include Alex Cintron (Seattle), Winston Abreu (Tampa Bay), Howie Clark (Toronto) and Freddie Bynum (Washington).

Why does Ryan Freel (Texas) sound familiar to me?

Also, it didn't take long for Dave Jauss to find another job. He's reportedly been hired as the Mets' bench coach.

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