I’ve been awake since 5 a.m. May as well fire up the blog again and go back to bed later, where I’ll do a little more tossing and turning. That’ll be my cardio workout for the day.
I’m still waiting for the Orioles to announce their minor league coaching staffs, but manager Gary Kendall is definitely moving up from short-season Single-A Aberdeen to Double-A Bowie, where he’ll be joined by pitching coach Kennie Steenstra and new hitting coach Denny Hocking. Gary Allenson is back at Triple-A Norfolk, as you know, where he’ll be joined by pitching coach Mike Griffin and new hitting coach (and former Bowie manager) Brad Komminsk.
Both affiliates will add an extra coach.
Midnight is the deadline for teams to tender contracts to players facing arbitration. Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Luke Scott, Adam Jones and Felix Pie are slam dunks. And once again, Matt Albers sits uncomfortably on the bubble.
Albers went 5-3 with a 4.52 ERA, 34 walks and 49 strikeouts in 75 2/3 innings. He’s out of minor league options and seemed on the verge of being outrighted multiple times, only to get hot and save his job. He could have been the Orioles’ in-season Comeback Player of the Year.
The right-hander registered a 0.68 ERA during a 12-game stretch from Aug. 7 to Sept. 7. He allowed four of his six home runs in a seven-game stretch from May 21 to June 8, then didn’t surrender another one the rest of the season.
Albers posted a 1.93 ERA in July, with four earned runs allowed and 16 strikeouts in 18 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .185 against him. His ERA jumped to 5.40 in August, with five earned runs allowed in 8 1/3 innings. Opponents batted .314 against him.
And so it goes.
Albers posted an ERA of 5.40 or higher in four different months, including his one October appearance. But there are times when his stuff is just plain nasty and hitters are beating the ball into the ground.
More Albers fun-facts: His 75 2/3 relief innings ranked third in the American League. He went 5-1 with a 4.34 ERA in 33 home games and 0-2 with a 4.70 ERA in 29 road games. He posted a 3.88 ERA against teams with a winning record, and an 8.44 ERA against teams below .500.
Anyway, he’s the one guy to keep an eye on today and tonight. President of baseball operations Andy MacPhail wasn’t ready to make any statements regarding his arbitration-eligible players when I contacted him for the first time yesterday. (He also wasn’t ready to confirm an offer to Paul Konerko later in the day. I was a bit of a nuisance.)
The Orioles tweak or overhaul their bullpen every winter. It’s a tradition at Camden Yards - sort of like Boog’s and the “O” during the anthem. They’re expected to sign at least one reliever and have already been linked to Jesse Crain and Kevin Gregg. They’re still interested in re-signing Koji Uehara.
Maybe Albers gets pushed out this time. I’ve written him off before.
You’d think that I would have learned by now.