If you missed it last night, you woke up to some pretty exciting news.
Rodrigo Lopez signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.
Also, the Orioles reached agreement with closer Mike Gonzalez and corner infielder Garrett Atkins.
These things can happen quickly - and while you’re wearing a coat a tie and filling a small plate with appetizers. But I did find it convenient that the MASN WebStudio was two floors below me. And hey, who doesn’t love rushing out of a holiday party (twice) to do more work?
I’m trying to find another one tonight so the Orioles sign Matt Holliday. (More on that rumor later). It would be my first Holliday party, but as long as it includes an open bar, I’m good.
I’m fine with both acquisitions, which are still pending the completion of physicals. Neither one is going to raise goosebumps, but they’re pretty solid and fill two needs.
Gonzalez is a lefty who can bring nasty stuff into the ninth innings, and he still holds value at the backend of the bullpen if he’s eventually bumped from the closers role.
Atkins has some pop, though we’ll find out how much after a down year in Colorado and declining numbers over the past four.
Atkins also plays first base, giving president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and manager Dave Trembley some flexibility.
And he could be moved at the non-waiver trade deadline if Josh Bell (or Brandon Snyder, depending on where Atkins starts) is ready to be promoted.
Gonzalez will cost the Orioles their second-round selection in next year’s draft, but they don’t care. The scouting department had no issues with surrendering that pick to sign a Type A free agent, and the Orioles can pay over slot for a lower-round selection with second-round talent.
We haven’t exchanged Christmas presents yet, and the Orioles have their No. 1 starter, a closer and a corner infielder. They’ll want to add at least one more bullpen arm, another corner infielder (again, depending on where they envision Atkins) and perhaps another starting pitcher.
As for Holliday, FOXSports reported that the Orioles jumped into the bidding for him. But the story is quick to include the following: though both the seriousness of their efforts and Holliday’s desire to play in Baltimore are in question, major-league sources say.
Scott Boras represents Holliday. He also represents Gonzalez, so the Orioles have held lengthy discussions with him. I’m sure Holliday’s name has come up, and MacPhail obviously is trying to determine what it would cost to bring him here.
As the article states, the Orioles are a longshot. I’d say an extreme longshot. But it makes sense for them to inquire about Holliday and anyone else on the market who could lift them out of last place and start filling seats at Camden Yards.
The same goes for Adrian Gonzalez. Gordon Edes tweeted - and again, I can’t believe I’m using that word - that the Orioles made a run at the Padres’ first baseman during the Winter Meetings. I hadn’t seen this reported anywhere else, and the Baltimore media was given the opposite impression.
MacPhail’s rules in this matter haven’t changed. He’s not giving up his best young pitching and he’s not renting a player for two years, so I’m not sure how far he ran.
I’ll naturally place another call to him later today and see if he’ll confirm any of these reports.
Also, I apologize for not answering your questions last night. There was too much going on and I’d still be in that WebStudio if I hadn’t just approved them. But to quickly respond to a few of them: