I’ll open the morning with a quick thought on Japanese pitcher Hisanori Takahashi:
A few readers here are disturbed that the Orioles would bother pursuing Takahashi, but team officials aren’t doing it with the same intensity that marked their negotiations with Koji Uehara and Kenshin Kawakami.
They’re obviously intrigued by him. He’s a lefty with an assortment of pitches, including a screwball. He has experience as a starter and reliever. And he’s friends with Uehara, which might make the right-hander feel more comfortable here.
However, Takahashi wouldn’t be guaranteed a spot on the 25-man roster. He’d be another arm in camp, another bullpen candidate. There’s no harm, and certainly no reason to climb the walls over it. My advice is to save your energy for other criticisms.
MLB.com is reporting that the Colorado Rockies signed former Orioles outfielder Jay Payton to a minor league contract. Payton missed last season after undergoing shoulder surgery.
Payton’s name came up a few weeks ago when I spoke to president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail, but not because I was hinting at a Camden Yards reunion. The Orioles had no interest in bringing him back. We were just discussing how Payton had disappeared from baseball’s landscape, and how he always seemed to have a beef with the club - usually over playing time.
I had a solid relationship with Payton, and I always admired how he stayed in such great physical condition. If a fight broke out, I was standing next to that guy. Or behind him.
The Angels reportedly have reached agreement on a two-year deal with free-agent pitcher Joel Pineiro that’s worth about $16 million.
His agent, Adam Katz, told me at the winter meetings that the Orioles “kicked the tires” on Pineiro. The Angels must have taken him for a spin.
Baseball America came out with its latest minor league transactions. The Orioles signed catcher Phillip Britton, 25, who played for Double-A Mississippi last year before the Atlanta Braves released him in August.
The Orioles are doing more than letting the market play out. They’re trying to corner it on Brittons.
Former Orioles pitcher Chad Paronto signed a minor league deal with the Boston Red Sox, outfielder Luis Terrero signed with the Cincinnati Reds and infielder Eider Torres signed with the Rockies.
During yesterday’s phone interview on MASN and 105.7 The Fan, Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts said he planned to call Miguel Tejada this week and discuss his former teammate’s trip to Haiti. I’m sure that they’ll also talk about a possible reunion this season.
“I certainly have heard a lot about him lately,” Roberts said.
“Miggy loved the city of Baltimore. I believe he still might even own a place in Baltimore. I don’t think he ever sold it, so he’s still got some connections left there. I know he really enjoyed his time in Baltimore. It certainly didn’t turn out the way he wanted it to for a couple of years, but I think we’re a whole different team now than when he was here the first time, and I think if he has the chance to see that, it would certainly be an option for him to come back. I don’t know how far along that process is with any team that he’s been talking to, but I do have a call in to him.
“I love Miggy. He’s a great teammate, he’s a great player, and I’d love to have him back. That’s for sure.”