Now that I’ve managed to slow my heart rate after the excitement of the Orioles exchanging salary figures with their four arbitration-eligible players - it can’t be over-written enough - it’s time to move onto another topic.
Let’s go back to former shortstop Mike Bordick, who will serve as a MASN analyst on 81 Orioles games this season. He accepted the job last Thursday, as first reported here.
Bordick expressed some concerns over finding enough time to handle his on-field duties with the club. An initial proposal from the Orioles included infield coordination and baserunning instruction.
They were under the impression that Bordick would work 40 games for MASN, but they’ll attempt to maneuver around a fuller broadcast schedule.
“Mike is somebody I’ve admired since his days in Oakland when I lived out there and he was with that club,” said John Stockstill, the Orioles’ director of player development. “He’s really unlimited in what he can do. Now I believe he’s going to do 81 games, so there will be an adjustment on just how much he can do for us.
“My experience has been, once a player or coach leaves for the broadcast booth, they tend to like that and they put a lot of time and effort into learning how to do it. There’s a lot of adjustments, almost like playing in the minor leagues before you go to the big leagues. So he’ll have some adjustments as to his time frame that he can spend with us.
“I would anticipate that he’ll spend most all of spring training in either major leagues or minor leagues, so if you say that’s approximately 50 days, take 10 of it out for MASN. Then it’s a matter of when do the 81 games come into play? If some of the 81 are in September and if he needs time in addition to that, then that will limit what he does for us.”
Stockstill said the Orioles can expand Bordick’s role, “but our initial thought was that it was likely to be 40 games. The fact that it’s 81 now, he will be heavy into baserunning, heavy into infield. At the same time, he may now specialize with certain players that we need his advanced skills.”
Manny Machado? Jonathan Schoop?
“Any of those guys,” Stockstill said. “Mike has a unique ability to take a player to the next level. There are a lot of infield guys and coaches that can teach needed generic reps. Mike can take you from one level to the next, and especially with the mental part of the game, how tough it is to compete up here.”
“It’s a great opportunity for him,” Stockstill said of the MASN job, “but Mike is someone who I think will be a great major league coach. He can be a farm director. He can be anything. He’s capable of doing anything.”
It may be another three or four weeks before the Orioles settle on an exact job description for Bordick.
Here are some leftover quotes from executive vice president Dan Duquette regarding Taiwanese left-hander Wei-Yin Chen and the rotation.
“I think that Chen has the stuff and the competitiveness to be a No. 3 starter on a winning team in the big leagues,” Duquette said during an interview that aired yesterday on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” on MASN. “When you have the stuff, it doesn’t matter where you play. Pitches are what get hitters out, right? This kid has the pitches. And if everything goes well, he could be a winning pitcher for us.”
As for the rotation depth, Duquette said, “We have more depth to our rotation. We need more quality from that rotation, and I’m talking about more quality innings. And we need our pitches to be more dependable so they can go deeper in the ballgames. We need starting pitchers who can handle the workload and give us a good effort.
“We had one pitcher, (Jeremy) Guthrie, who pitched 200 innings. My goal is to get five pitchers who are capable of pitching 200 innings. And I think we have the start of a foundation with the depth that we’ve added.”
If Chen is a No. 3 on a winning team, where does he slot with the Orioles?
By the way, the contracts for Chen and Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada include incentives if they reach 200 innings. Wada really needs to avoid a move to the bullpen.
“It’s important for the team’s success to have a number of pitchers go 200 innings,” Duquette said. “Can the kids coming over here from Japan do it? I’m not sure they can do it. But we can help them train more intelligently, we can help them by appropriating the workload intelligently, and we can help them as they mature and learn what it takes to train effectively to withstand the stress of 200 innings. These are all things these young pitchers need to learn.”
Random transition: Former Orioles pitcher Brian Bass has signed with the Hanwha Eagles of the Korean Baseball Organization. One of his teammates will be another former Orioles pitcher, Denny Bautista. Former Orioles pitcher Radhames Liz is with the LG Twins of the KBO.
I also wanted to make sure that you read this item that ran yesterday morning in Orioles Buzz regarding the adjusted FanFest autograph schedule. Brian Roberts, Josh Bell, Kyle Hudson and Bill Swaggerty are unable to attend.
Hudson isn’t in the organization at the moment, which would have made for an awkward day at the Convention Center.
Update: The Orioles announced a series of promotions for 2012. Here’s a sample:
* The highlight of this year’s schedule includes giveaways of replicas of each of the sculptures of the six Hall of Famers who will be honored as part of the Orioles Legends Celebration Series. All fans in attendance at the game in which each sculpture is revealed will receive an exact miniature replica sculpture of Frank Robinson, Brooks Robinson, Earl Weaver, Jim Palmer, Eddie Murray or Cal Ripken on the night he is honored. The larger-than-life bronze sculptures will be unveiled each month during the season in the order in which each player’s number was retired by the Orioles - Frank Robinson on Saturday, April 28; Brooks Robinson on Saturday, May 12; Earl Weaver on Saturday, June 30; Jim Palmer on Saturday, July 14; Eddie Murray on Saturday, Aug. 11; and Cal Ripken on Thursday, Sept. 6. At each of these games, all fans in attendance will receive the seven to eight inch replica sculpture of the Orioles player being recognized.
* During the early stages of the 2012 season, for the first time in Orioles history, fans will be able to select the player they want to be immortalized in a bobblehead giveaway, scheduled to be distributed during Fan Appreciation Weekend. The Fans’ Choice Bobblehead presented by AT&T will be given away to the first 20,000 fans 15 and over on Saturday, Sept. 29. More details on the voting process will be announced in the coming weeks.
* Two Birdland favorites return this summer, both featuring the new cartoon bird. First, on Sunday, July 15, the first 15,000 fans 15 and over will receive a Cartoon Bird Home Cap. Then on Friday, July 27, the first 20,000 fans 21 and over will receive an Orioles Maryland Flag Floppy Hat, featuring the cartoon bird logo on the front and a Maryland flag design on the top panel, courtesy of Miller Lite.
* The 2012 promotions schedule also includes several additional apparel giveaways. For Memorial Day weekend on Sunday, May 27, the first 10,000 fans 15 and older will receive an Orioles Camouflage Script T-Shirt. The first 15,000 fans 15 and over will receive a Matt Wieters orange replica jersey on Friday, July 13. And T-Shirt Thursdays will return each month of the season in 2012, with the first 10,000 fans 15 and over attending the games on April 26, May 10, June 28, July 26, Aug. 9 and Sept. 13 receiving an Orioles t-shirt, with a different design revealed each month.
* On Wednesday, August 15, the first 10,000 fans 14 and under will receive an Orioles Collectible Truck, presented by W.B. Mason. Other promotions designed specifically for younger fans include two post-game Kids Run the Bases events on Sunday, June 24 and Sunday, Aug. 12; Little League Days on Sunday, April 29 and Sunday, May 27; Boy Scout Night on Saturday, May 12; Girl Scout Day on Sunday, June 24; and Day Camper Day on Thursday, July 26. A popular attraction for school groups over the last several years, Field Trip Day presented by MASN and WJZ returns for pre-registered school groups on Wednesday, May 23.
* Other giveaways scheduled for the upcoming season include a 2012 Schedule and Car Magnet, featuring the cartoon bird, for all fans at Opening Day on Friday, April 6; a Mother’s Day Sun Hat for the first 10,000 women 18 and over on Sunday, May 13; a Drawstring Bag presented by MLB Network for the first 10,000 fans on Wednesday, June 13; and an Oriole Park 20th Anniversary Tumbler for the first 10,000 fans 15 and over on Saturday, June 23.
* The family-friendly, post-game Fireworks Nights return on five Friday nights this season - May 25, June 29, July 27, Aug. 24 and Sept. 28. Fireworks will begin shortly after the completion of the 7:05 p.m. games.
* The club’s annual Fan Appreciation Weekend is scheduled for the final home series of the season, Sept. 28-30 against the Boston Red Sox.