The Washington Nationals have announced their minor league managers, coaches and instructors. Meanwhile, the Orioles might not make their final decisions for at least another week.
Quick review: Ron Johnson (Triple-A Norfolk), Gary Kendall (Double-A Bowie) and Gary Allenson (short-season Single-A Aberdeen) are expected to manage at three of the affiliates. And former major league pitching coach Rick Peterson is the heavy favorite to be named minor league pitching coordinator, the job that Alan Dunn held last year before heading to LSU.
I first wrote about Peterson, who’s interviewed twice for the job, back on Dec. 1.
As for the roster, executive vice president Dan Duquette still is looking to add a veteran starting pitching. He could bring in a second baseman and return Robert Andino to a utility role. A corner infielder also is a possibility.
I’ll concentrate a little more on the rotation.
We keep hearing that free agent starters won’t sign here. The Orioles won’t give them more than three years. Many of them want to avoid the American League East - along with a team that hasn’t posted a winning record since 1997.
Roy Oswalt is seeking a three-year deal. There doesn’t seem to be a mad rush to give it to him.
The Nationals were viewed as an early favorite to sign him, but MLB.com’s Bill Ladson, calling into “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” yesterday, said they’re only willing to hand over a one-year deal with an option for 2013.
It’s not my money, but I’d go two years. Heck, I might consider a vesting option for a third year, which offers the club protection in case he doesn’t hold up physically.
It would be nice if the Orioles could bring Matt Garza back to the American League East, but what do they have to offer the Chicago Cubs? We’re back to that same dilemma.
More bad news for the Orioles: The Toronto Blue Jays are expected to make a strong push for Garza after losing out on Yu Darvish.
Here’s the list of free-agent starters, courtesy of MLBTradeRumors:
Wei-Yin Chen (26)
Bartolo Colon (39)
Aaron Cook (33)
Kyle Davies (28)
Doug Davis (36)
Zach Duke (29)
Jeff Francis (30)
Armando Galarraga (30)
Jon Garland (32)
Aaron Harang (34)
Rich Harden (30)
Livan Hernandez (37)
Hisashi Iwakuma (31)
Edwin Jackson (28)
Hiroki Kuroda (37)
Rodrigo Lopez (36)
Paul Maholm (30)
Jason Marquis (33)
Kevin Millwood (37)
Sergio Mitre (31)
Ross Ohlendorf (29)
Roy Oswalt (34)
Brad Penny (34)
Joel Pineiro (33)
Jo-Jo Reyes (27)
Joe Saunders (31)
Mitch Talbot (28)
Javier Vazquez (35)
Tim Wakefield (45)
Brandon Webb (33)
Chris Young (33)
Either the Orioles bring in another veteran to assist Jeremy Guthrie at the front end of the rotation, or they just pick five starters out of a group that includes Guthrie, Tsuyoshi Wada, Tommy Hunter, Jake Arrieta, Dana Eveland, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Chris Tillman and Brad Bergesen, and hope for the best.
You’ll notice that I didn’t include Jim Johnson, but he hasn’t officially been eliminated from rotation consideration. I just get the sense that the Orioles would prefer leaving him in the bullpen. And he seems to work as a closer.
You’ll find plenty of people in baseball who doubt that Wada, a soft-tossing lefty, will survive in the AL East. The Orioles are trying to prove them wrong.
Guthrie remains one of the Orioles’ biggest trade chips, but they’ll need to get pitching in return for him. And they’ll need to replace the innings that they’d lose without him.