Deep depth thoughts (and more)

We should find out today whether Brad Bergesen was declared the winner in his arbitration hearing, which would represent the Orioles’ first defeat since 1995 with former pitcher Ben McDonald.

Don’t feel bad if it happens. The money isn’t coming out of your checking account.

Either way, Bergesen will receive a healthy raise. In this economy, that’s reason to celebrate.

Also, the Orioles could announce that they’ve reached agreement on a minor league deal with first baseman Nick Johnson. As I wrote yesterday, the two sides are close to an agreement. Johnson was waiting to hear from his agent. It’s going to happen.

Don’t forget that executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated at his introductory news conference that the Orioles wouldn’t bring home any big-ticket items in free agency. There’s no reason to be shocked by this development.

Duquette vowed to improve the Orioles’ on-base capabilities. Say what you will about Johnson, but the guy does get on base. Well, once he’s off the disabled list.

Johnson has a career OBP of .401. Nick Markakis led the Orioles’ regulars last season at .351.

I’m not trying to sell you on Johnson. These transactions won’t blow back your hair. He might not play in Baltimore all season. He didn’t make it out of Triple-A in 2011. He’s fragile insurance at first base in case Chris Davis can’t cut it or Joe Mahoney suffers another injury (Yes, I see the irony.)

Mahoney is expected to be assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Ideally, he blows up - instead of blowing out a hamstring - and takes over first base at some point. He’s got power and can run. And I want to keep writing “The Big Irish,” which is much easier if he’s in the games I’m covering.

The Yankees signed Russell Branyan to a minor league deal. I like his power and wonder if the Orioles considered him, but it would have been viewed as another low-budget, low-excitement move. Depth signings rarely excite the masses.

If there’s anything to feel good about right now, it’s the improved depth. It had to be done. It’s been an issue for years. But it’s not sexy and it’s not going to put the Orioles in the wild card chase.

I’m in full agreement that the Orioles need better pitching before they get better results. That’s got to be the focus. But the entire organization is pretty much under construction. Upper management, player development, scouting, the major league and minor league rosters. But while fans and media cry out “pitching, pitching, pitching,” I chime in with, “spend, spend, spend.”

Money will speed up the rebuilding process. And I think we can all agree that it’s dragged on long enough.

These depth moves are necessary. They’re just not quick fixes. And nobody here promised a quick fix in 2012.

Also, you might want to check out this story, which explains that the South Korean governing body of baseball has banned Orioles scouts from attending local games after the team signed 17-year-old Kim Seong-Min for $550,000.

I didn’t realize that the Orioles threw a sack over the kid and forced him to leave Korea.

Seriously, this is a lot of fuss over a pitcher who wasn’t even deemed a prospect by everyone in the industry. It’s also more negative attention that the Orioles certainly do not need.

The Orioles are accused of violating this MLB/KBO agreement, which was passed along by @MyKBO.

So, how’s your morning?

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