The Orioles aren’t exactly coasting into the Thanksgiving holiday.
It’s already been a busy week. No, they haven’t reached agreement with a big-name free agent. They haven’t swung a major trade. But they haven’t been idle.
They signed infielder Matt Antonelli, who has a legitimate shot at making the club. They reached agreement on two more six-year minor league free agents. And the most intriguing piece of news is the pending arrival of Korean reliever Chong Tae-Hyon, who is expected to take his physical and sign a major league contract as early as tomorrow.
Or maybe you’re more intrigued by the reported trade talks with the Rockies involving closer Huston Street.
Chong will serve as a late-inning reliever, assuming that he makes the club out of spring training. And that seems like a pretty safe bet.
Indians outfielder Shin-Soo Choo is the only South Korean player in the majors. Chong is hoping to join him.
So who will serve as his interpreter? I doubt that the Orioles have someone in the organization who’s equipped to handle that task. And will Chong bring his own trainer, as Koji Uehara did when he signed out of Japan? And will Chong be in better shape and not melt in the heat?
Signing Chong also will necessitate another 40-man roster move. Somebody has to come off. Maybe it will be one of the 22 pitchers who currently reside on it.
In case you need a reminder, here’s the roster:
The Orioles also are trying to complete their coaching staff. I’ve heard that their attempts to bring in a few new hires from outside the organization were thwarted when teams gave the candidates substantial raises to prevent them from jumping ship.
As one member of the organization pointed out, at least it shows that the Orioles keep choosing the right people.
Always look for the silver lining.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter is in Baltimore, and he’s supposed to meet today with pitching coach Rick Adair to discuss more bullpen candidates. There are two or three still being considered, and Adair’s opinion is valued.
It still hasn’t been decided whether Wayne Kirby will stay at first base or move to third.
Mike Bordick remains a possibility, and it’s not guaranteed that he would coach first if he joined the staff. Bordick coached third in the fall instructional league, and yes, Showalter flew down there to check him out. Showalter wasn’t in Sarasota simply to watch the minor leaguers.
Single-A Delmarva coach Jose Hernandez also remains in contention. As I wrote a while back, he’s expected to join Double-A Bowie’s staff if he doesn’t land a major league gig. The Orioles want him with the Baysox when Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop eventually move up.
I’ve also heard from a few people that the Orioles are prepared to reassign Triple-A manager Gary Allenson. One possibility is having him run extended spring training in Sarasota and making him the manager at short-season Single-A Aberdeen, where his experience and teaching skills would greatly benefit the draft picks routinely assigned to the IronBirds.
I’m fairly certain that the new Triple-A manager would come from outside the organization.
Nothing has been finalized, but look for lots of changes in the farm system between all the new hires and guys being shuffled to different affiliates.
Anyway, that’s all I’ve got this morning. Stay tuned for updates on Chong and more rumors.
NOTE: According to Baseball America’s Matt Eddy, the Mets signed Adam Loewen to a minor league deal, and the Pirates did the same with Jake Fox.