The Orioles were fairly busy yesterday. They signed second baseman Alexi Casilla off waivers from the Minnesota Twins, outrighted outfielder Lew Ford, infielder Steve Tolleson and left-hander Zach Phillips to Triple-A Norfolk, and reinstated second baseman Brian Roberts, pitchers Oliver Drake, Stu Pomeranz and Tsuyoshi Wada, and outfielder Nolan Reimold from the 60-day disabled list.
I’ve been asked for my take on the Casilla signing. It’s pretty simple. Executive vice president Dan Duquette wanted to acquire another second baseman because of the uncertainty surrounding Roberts. Casilla is attractive to the Orioles because of his speed, base-stealing ability and defense.
Keep in mind that the Orioles ranked last in the majors with 58 steals. They obviously are addressing that deficiency.
Ryan Flaherty will be given a chance to win the job. Casilla also can play shortstop and third base, making him a possible utility infielder if he isn’t the starter.
How does Casilla’s arrival impact Robert Andino? I’m not sure it really changes much. Andino was a non-tender candidate before yesterday and he’s still a non-tender candidate this morning. But the Orioles could attempt to re-sign him.
Also yesterday, Major League Baseball announced that second baseman Ryan Adams was suspended 25 games after testing positive for an amphetamine in violation of the Joint Drug Prevention and Treatment Program.
Few players need to turn the page on 2012 faster than Adams. He may end up on the disabled list with severe paper cuts.
The Orioles included him in their first round of cuts in spring training on March 11, he went on the minor league disabled list May 15 with a fractured right thumb, he batted .224/.312/.353 with four homers and 20 RBIs in 65 games with Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles designated him for assignment on Sept. 11 and outrighted him three days later, and now he’s facing a 25-game suspension to start 2013.
Adams had a chance to dive into the second base mix, but he didn’t stay healthy, didn’t produce and didn’t score any points with the organization yesterday.
Sounds like he could use a fresh start.
As for the look ahead, the Orioles can begin contacting free agents from outside the organization today, and their exclusive negotiating window with their own free agents has slammed shut. Every team is allowed to initiate talks with anyone.
Duquette indicated yesterday that the Orioles won’t bring in another second baseman after signing Casilla. Jeff Keppinger, formerly of the Tampa Bay Rays, seemed like a potential fit.
First base and left field must be addressed with the uncertainties surrounding Mark Reynolds and Nate McLouth. One is a candidate to be non-tendered, the other is a free agent.
As I’ve written, the free agent market for first basemen is unimpressive. Chris Davis could move back to first, but he’s not on Reynolds’ level with the mitt and the Orioles are emphasizing defense.
Shameless plug alert: I’ll be in studio for “Wall to Wall Baseball” from 11 a.m.-noon on MASN.