When executive vice president Dan Duquette promised a greater commitment to international scouting and signings, he wasn’t fooling around.
Yu Darvish isn’t coming here. Yoenis Cespedes probably isn’t coming here. You have to walk before you can run. And the Orioles are making some positive strides.
Later today, they could announce the signing of Taiwanese left-hander Chen Wei-Yin (or Wei-Yin Chen if you’d prefer the last name at the end, which is probably how I’ll start writing it to avoid further confusion.)
The early reviews within the industry indicate that the Orioles made a smart move here. I’d say that the reaction is more favorable than the one which accompanied the signing of Japanese left-hander Tsuyoshi Wada and the agreement with Korean right-hander Chong Tae-Hyon, who took his physical in Baltimore and signed a four-year, $3.1 million contract with the Lotte Giants.
The Orioles also continue to beef up the international side of their front office. They’ve given David Stockstill lots of company.
Stockstill is the club’s director of international operations. Ray Poitevint was hired yesterday as executive director of international baseball, which apparently is different than director of international operations. Last month, we were introduced to Fred Ferreira, whose title of executive director of international recruiting isn’t the same as director of international operations or executive director of international baseball.
I’m reminded again of how Duquette surveyed the landscape here and proclaimed that there was a lot of work to be done. He’s tackling amateur and international scouting. He’s fortifying the front office. And he’s apparently going to give manager Buck Showalter plenty of candidates for the rotation.
I don’t know how the Orioles could fit another starter on their roster without making a trade. They might be arranging a steel-cage match for FanFest. The five survivors will make up the rotation.
I’ll be bold enough to predict that Chen, Jeremy Guthrie and Tommy Hunter comprise three-fifths of it. Everyone else gets tossed in the cage.
I like Jake Arrieta’s chances, but he’s not guaranteed a spot. Neither is Zach Britton, who also appeared to be a virtual slam dunk a month ago. They’ll have to earn it in spring training or they can report to the minor league complex in Twin Lakes Park and wait for their respective assignments to Triple-A Norfolk. Same with Brian Matusz and Chris Tillman.
Nothing wrong with a little competition.
Could the Triple-A rotation actually include Arrieta, Britton, Matusz and Tillman? I wouldn’t bet on it - Arrieta really would have to fall apart to be left behind - but I took LSU last night because they have a better kicker. What do I know?
If Wada and Eveland go to the bullpen, what happens to Troy Patton? Is there room for all three left-handers? And what about Zach Phillips and Clay Rapada? Also lefies.
Brad Bergesen is out of options. He’s supposed to go to the bullpen if he doesn’t make the rotation, but how many long relievers can this team carry?
Jason Berken fits the description of long reliever. What about him?
Notice how few people mention Alfredo Simon? He’s done it all - start, long relief, set-up, closer
I smell a trade.