Yesterday’s trade for Jai Miller further crowds the Orioles’ outfield and make it impossible to craft a 25-man roster from the current crop of contenders.
Who’s starting in left field? Who’s on the bench besides backup catcher Taylor Teagarden? Is there room for both Miller and outfielder Endy Chavez? Could Nolan Reimold get most of his at-bats as the designated hitter, with Miller and Chavez sharing left?
Is Adam Jones really going to be traded?
Executive vice president Dan Duquette’s comments to me yesterday left the impression that he’s looking for a second baseman/leadoff hitter with a high on-base percentage.
Atlanta’s Martin Prado has a career .341 on-base percentage in parts of six major league seasons, though it dipped to .302 last year. He’s a career .297/.339/.462 hitter in 582 at-bats atop the order.
Going back to yesterday’s roster activity, I predicted on Sept. 29 that Brandon Snyder eventually would come off the 40-man roster (next-to-last paragraph.)
The Orioles were going to take high school outfielder Jay Bruce with the 13th overall pick in the 2005 draft, but the Reds grabbed him at No. 12. The Orioles settled for Snyder, a high school catcher who later moved to third base and first.
Snyder didn’t hit enough in Triple-A to force the Orioles into giving him an extended look. He also didn’t hit enough to allow them to overlook his defensive shortcomings, but yesterday’s trade gives him a fresh start.
It also had been days since the Orioles and Rangers consummated a deal. They were overdue.
Miller needs to work on making better contact. He struck out 23 times in 55 at-bats with the Royals in 2010 and five times in 12 at-bats with the Athletics in 2011.
His minor league strikeout totals since 2004 read as follows:
2004: 163 strikeouts in 390 at-bats
2005: 139 strikeouts in 415 at-bats
2006: 115 strikeouts in 344 at-bats
2007: 127 strikeouts in 406 at-bats
2008: 133 strikeouts in 434 at-bats
2009: 106 strikeouts in 343 at-bats
2010: 132 strikeouts in 345 at-bats
2011: 179 strikeouts in 410 at-bats
So Coco Crisp is getting at least $14 million over two years from the A’s? I’d offer a different grade on that contract.
Japanese pitcher HIsashi Iwakuma, who’s drawn interest from the Orioles, reportedly is favoring the Mariners and could soon sign with them.
When I asked Duquette yesterday if the Orioles could further tap into the international market for a pitcher, and I mentioned Iwakuma and Taiwanese left-hander Chen Wei-Yin, he replied, “We’re still looking for pitching.”
Joe Saunders remains on their radar. Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy works out with Saunders in Arizona, and the subject apparently came up.
Hardy, calling into The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report yesterday, said Saunders told him that the Orioles had recent discussions with the left-hander’s agent.
“I said, ‘Listen, are the Orioles even talking to you? I know we’re trying to get some starting pitching,’ and he said, ‘Yeah, we actually just spoke recently.’ And that was really all he said. But that’s some positive news that I heard.”
Hardy also reiterated that he has no interest in batting leadoff next season.
“No, not at all. I don’t like it at all,” Hardy said with a chuckle.
“I’ll do whatever Buck (Showalter) wants me to do. We’ve talked about it. It’s not a great spot for me. I’m definitely not like a base-stealing threat. I’m not fast when it comes to that. My on-base percentage isn’t great like a good leadoff hitter. I’ll do whatever the team asks me to do, but it’s definitely not my favorite spot to hit.”
Showalter doesn’t want him batting leadoff.
Hardy and Prince Fielder were teammates in Milwaukee. What does he think of the first baseman’s defense?
“I feel like he’s definitely better than people think,” Hardy replied. “He’s definitely not a Derrek Lee or even a Mark Reynolds. I mean, Mark Reynolds was unbelievable for us. But he’s definitely better than you’d think and I wouldn’t mind if he were to change his mind, if he is planning on going to Washington, if he would come over to Baltimore. I think he’d help our team out a lot.”
Hardy really grew to love the city of Baltimore last summer, with one exception.
“We stayed down there in the Inner Harbor and we were a mile from the field and I really liked it,” he said. “The weather was tough, even for me growing up in Arizona. That humidity was crazy for me. There were games when I’d lose nine or 10 pounds in three hours. But a ton of nice restaurants and a great ballpark. I liked playing there. A lot.”
Luke Scott is back in the U.S. after spending three weeks doing missionary work and visiting friends in Venezuela.
“It’s not all bad there,” he said. “If you know where to go, it’s a great experience. I had a great time. No trouble at all. I do my research. I study my maps. I’ve got my landmarks - what areas i can go into, what areas to stay away from.”
Scott, who underwent labrum surgery on July 26, is working out and hitting off a tee back home in Oklahoma. He’s using a 33 1/2-ounce bat and says it “feels hollow, which is a good thing this time of the year.”
“I’m heavier, more muscled up, then when I started last January,” he said. “That’s a good sign, because I got real lean and down to the lightest I’ve been in four or five years. I was down to 197 pounds. Really lean and cut. I put on about 11 pounds of mass. And my range of motion is really good.
“I’ve had extra time to lift and work on my forearm strength. I’m excited where I am. I’ll spend six weeks now with my physical therapist in Oklahoma. That’s really where I’ll make gains.”
In case you missed it, the Pirates signed left-hander Jo-Jo Reyes to a minor league deal. The Orioles non-tendered him last month.
Former Orioles outfielder Brady Anderson has a new Web site. If you want to check it out, go to www.bradyanderson9.com.