We could be facing a fairly quiet week if executive vice president Dan Duquette really is finished making changes to the roster before pitchers and catchers report to spring training.
I’m still expecting a trade or two to go down before opening day, with the bullpen surplus a likely selling point to opposing teams.
The last remaining order of business this week could be settling on a contract for center fielder Adam Jones. He’s seeking $7.4 million after making $3.25 million last season, and the Orioles countered at $5 million. His arbitration hearing is scheduled for Friday in St. Petersburg, Fla.
The industry buzz suggests that the Orioles actually could settle before that date, though Duquette is more than willing to go through the process. It’s been suggested that Jones could agree to a one-year deal in the $6 -$6.5 million range. Not a bad raise for last year’s Most Valuable Oriole.
Is he the cleanup hitter in 2012?
The Orioles have projected him as an eventual middle-of-the-order hitter. Where he bats will be one of the story lines in camp.
Former president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail wasn’t as enthusiastic about going to arbitration. You could pretty much guarantee that the two sides would split the difference. That’s one of the primary shifts in organizational philosophy since Duquette moved into the warehouse.
The most striking might be the Orioles’ increased presence in the international market. I’d also include their interest in Manny Ramirez, which wouldn’t have existed a year ago. That ship has sailed, and I haven’t found many fans who teared up while waving goodbye from the dock.
Speaking of fans, they keep asking me for updates on second baseman Brian Roberts. How’s he feeling? Will he be ready for spring training? I’d certainly pass along that information if I had it.
Roberts doesn’t know whether he’ll be ready, so there’s no way for anyone else to provide a definitive answer. He’s literally taking it one day at a time, unable to look too far ahead. It’s stressful and counterproductive for him to do it.
Do I think he’ll be in the lineup on April 6? Not at this point, but my opinion could change in a few weeks. So could my opinion of the lineup.
I fully expected the Orioles to bring in a proven second baseman. Now I’d have to endorse Robert Andino for the job despite his value as a super-utility player.
That’s all I’ve got at the moment. In preparation for my trip to Sarasota, I need to tackle my to-do list, which includes another vehicle emissions inspection. Always a good time.
Note: Kevin Goldstein of Baseball Prospectus published his top 101 prospects list, and it includes Dylan Bundy at No. 6, Manny Machado at No. 8 and Jonathan Schoop at No. 85.
Just imagine how high Bundy will rank once he actually throws a pitch in a professional game.
The Orioles still have a lot of work to do with their farm system, but having two prospects among the top eight is impressive.
Note II: According to multiple reports, Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes has agreed to terms with the Oakland Athletics on a four-year, $36 million contract. I thought the Miami Marlins were on the verge of signing him, so this is surprising news.
I guess the Orioles won’t be scouting him this week.