At some point today, we’ll find out whether the Orioles have tendered contracts to the following arbitration-eligible players: pitchers Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Brad Bergesen and Jo-Jo Reyes, infielder Robert Andino, and outfielders Adam Jones and Luke Scott.
Update: I omitted left-hander Dana Eveland, who is arbitration-eligible for the first time.
Players who are non-tendered become free agents, but they can sign with their former teams. It’s not necessarily a divorce. It could be viewed in some instances as a trial separation.
Guthrie, Johnson, Andino, Jones and Eveland will be offered contracts. The only drama centers on how large, and it’s not worth chewing your nails to your knuckles. Most fans only care that players remain under team control. The size of the raise is mostly insignificant.
The non-tender candidates are Scott, Bergesen and Reyes.
Scott is an intriguing case because he was voted Most Valuable Oriole in 2010, but he appeared in only 64 games this year before undergoing surgery on his right shoulder. He batted .220/.301/.402 with 11 doubles, nine homers and 22 RBIs after his salary jumped to $6.4 million.
I wrote about the positive medical reports on Scott’s shoulder here and here after interviewing him over the phone back on Nov. 20. However, the Orioles can’t be certain that Scott will make a full recovery. They have reason to be encouraged, but there are no guarantees.
Scott said he’d be willing to re-sign with the Orioles if they non-tender him, and I could see that scenario unfolding.
I wrote about Bergesen’s situation on Saturday. He has no idea whether the Orioles will offer him a contract after he made $434,000 this year. He went 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA in 34 games, including 12 starts.
Reyes went 5-8 with a 5.40 ERA in 20 starts with the Blue Jays and 2-3 with a 6.16 ERA in nine games (five starts) with the Orioles after they claimed him off waivers. He made $439,100 last season.
I don’t have any inside information, but I’d be surprised if the Orioles offer Reyes a contract.
Andino will be an interesting case because he figures to get a nice raise from his $421,500 salary after batting .263/.327/.344 with 22 doubles, five homers and 36 RBIs in 139 games. He pretty much became the starting second baseman in Brian Roberts’ absence - and a popular figure in trade talks at the Winter Meetings - though the Orioles would prefer using him in a utility role next season.
Let’s not forget that the Orioles still need to announce their minor league managers and coaches for 2012. They also need a minor league pitching coordinator.
Ron Johnson will manage Triple-A Norfolk, which means Gary Allenson will be reassigned. Some coaches also will be shuffled to other affiliates.
Update II: I’ve heard that Allenson will run extended spring training in Sarasota and manage short-season Single-A Aberdeen.
Another leftover from the Winter Meetings: I had a brief phone conversation with former Orioles reliever Alan Mills during my stay in Dallas, and he still hadn’t heard whether he’s been hired as a coach.
“I’d love to come back to the organization,” he said. “If I had my choice of anywhere to go, that would be it.”
Mills is currently coaching his high school team in Lakeland, Fla.