The outfield and more on Steve Johnson

If you’re a fan of FanGraphs, you might be interested in this piece about the Orioles’ potential logjam in the outfield - which doesn’t seem to concern the Orioles, considering they were ready to coax Al Bumbry and Ken Singleton out of retirement back in September as they began to run short of healthy bodies.

I’d like to add a few key points:

Luke Scott might approve a move to first base, but the Orioles certainly do not. Manager Dave Trembley dropped a pretty strong hint about Scott’s “priorities” during the winter meetings, and first base was way down on the list. And there’s room for Scott on the roster if the Orioles don’t sign a full-time designated hitter.

Also, any discussions about Felix Pie’s defensive superiority must be confined to center field. The guy was atrocious in left.

I’m not saying Nolan Reimold is ready to win a Gold Glove over there, but Pie hardly represents a significant upgrade. He’s much more comfortable in center. And before anyone asks, I haven’t heard any talk of Adam Jones moving to left. The Orioles regard him as their center fielder of the present and future.

Scott is a trade chip, and it’s conceivable that he’s moved later this winter, but the front office isn’t stressing over the crowd that’s forming in the outfield. Maybe later, but not right now.

We’ll see if a team in need of a left-handed bat for the outfield steps up and makes an enticing offer.

Before heading back home today, I wanted to provide a small update on the behind-the-scenes maneuvering that led the San Francisco Giants to claim pitcher Steve Johnson in the Rule 5 draft.

I already told you about Giants assistant general manager John Barr drafting Johnson while he worked as the East Coast supervisor for the Los Angeles Dodgers. In addition, former reliever Dick Tidrow, the Giants’ vice president of player personnel, saw Johnson pitch against San Jose earlier this year, when the right-hander allowed three hits and struck out 10 in 8 2/3 innings. Johnson gave up a leadoff double, but didn’t surrender another hit until the ninth inning. He left the game after Buster Posey’s RBI single with two outs.

San Jose won 93 games and was named baseball’s top advanced Single-A team, so Johnson’s performance especially stood out.

Also, a Giants scout filed a positive report on Johnson after a game against Chattanooga. And some members of their front office have been quoted as saying that Johnson has a nice delivery and throws four average pitches for strikes.

In short, the Giants have been scouting Johnson and targeted him in the Rule 5. That doesn’t mean he’ll stick on their 25-man roster, but they really like him.

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