Exactly one week from today, I’ll be standing inside the home clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota or staking out the parking lot, jotting down the names of pitchers and catchers as they report on the mandatory date. I’ll make note of any position players that show up early. And I’ll wonder again whether I packed enough socks and underwear.
Where has the winter gone?
It’s fair to assume that the Orioles are done shopping. They’re certainly finished with the heavy lifting after nearly throwing out their backs while hauling in a cleanup hitter.
Vladimir Guerrero’s signing will become official once he passes his physical late this week. According to this tweet on ESPN Deportes, Guerrero won’t be in Baltimore until Friday. Seems like a long wait. And seems like a potential conflict for those of us who will be flying to Sarasota the following afternoon
If the Orioles are planning a press conference at the warehouse next week, well, a few of us will miss it.
I also wonder if Jiwon Bang speaks Spanish, because the Orioles will need another interpreter.
If so, we’ll be getting a lot of quotes that begin with, “He says his arm feels good.”
Scott benefits the most because he’s projected to be the everyday left fielder, and he’d much rather play in the field than serve as the designated hitter - though he told me recently that his perfect world includes two starts per week as the DH to stay fresh over a long season.
Pie could be pushed to fourth outfielder and late-inning defensive replacement for Scott. There are worse gigs out there. And maybe a lighter workload, which also would include backing up Adam Jones in center field, will keep Pie out of the trainer’s room.
Right now, he’s got his own table. And that’s only a good thing if the Orioles start playing their home games in a five-star restaurant.
Reimold has a minor league option remaining, so Guerrero’s signing hits him the hardest. He’ll go into camp competing for the fourth outfielder’s job, but he seems more likely to end up in Triple-A if the Orioles don’t make a trade.
It’s always possible that an outfielder-deficient team comes calling and president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail moves Pie or Reimold. Don’t forget that the Orioles signed veteran Randy Winn to a minor league deal with a spring training invite, and reached agreement with Guerrero like 24 hours later.
My main point - and I know there’s one in here somewhere - is that the Orioles don’t have to make a trade. They can easily move Reimold to Norfolk and keep Pie as the fourth outfielder. He could join a bench that also includes Cesar Izturis and the backup catcher (Craig Tatum or Jake Fox). Manager Buck Showalter might prefer another infielder, such as Fox, Nick Green, Brendan Harris or Robert Andino, over an extra outfielder.
Fox also has some outfield experience. His versatility and occasional pop make him an intriguing candidate.
Going back to Reimold, it’s curious that the Orioles pulled him from trade talks with the Rays during the winter meetings, but he’s basically being squeezed from their opening day picture. Or so it seems. We’re still a week away from pitchers and catchers reporting. A lot can happen between now and that first game in St. Petersburg, Fla., on April 1. (No fooling.)
The Orioles are many things to many people, but you can’t say that they’ve been idle this winter. Guerrero, Harris, Green, Winn, Mark Reynolds, J.J. Hardy, Derrek Lee, Kevin Gregg, Justin Duchscherer, Jeremy Accardo, Rule 5 pick Adrian Rosario. Oh yeah, and they re-signed Izturis and Koji Uehara and found six new coaches.
So, now that MacPhail appears to be done wheeling and dealing, is it time to hand out an offseason grade?