NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Fred Ferreira, the Orioles' executive director of international recruiting, has signed 61 players who reached the majors. Pitcher Miguel Gonzalez was the latest.
Who will be the 62nd?
"Probably (Henry) Urrutia," he said earlier today, referencing the Cuban outfielder who signed with the Orioles in July.
Urrutia remains in Haiti, awaiting a visa that will allow him to join a team in the Dominican Winter League. The Orioles eventually would move him to Sarasota. The process is just dragging.
I've heard that 27 teams are in the same holding pattern. It's not exclusively an Orioles inconvenience.
Urrutia, who received a $778,500 bonus, played for Las Tunas in the Cuban League from 2006 to 2010 and batted .350 with 72 doubles, nine triples, 33 home runs, 219 RBIs and 209 runs. He also represented Cuba in the 2010 World Championships.
Urrutia batted .397/.461/.597 with 12 homers, 32 walks and 23 strikeouts in 305 at-bats in his final season in Cuba. The 6-foot-5, 195-pound switch-hitter didn't play in 2011 due to a suspension after an unsuccessful attempt at defection.
Ferreira said he's signed 21 international players this year. He secured Gonzalez in early March, and the right-hander became a key component of a rotation that took on many looks in 2012.
"You never really know," Ferreira said. "Sometimes you get a good feeling. I had a good feeling on him. That's why I recommended him. But a lot of them surprise you, too, down the road."
Ferreira, who has over four decades of experience in professional baseball operations, was honored at a luncheon yesterday after Major League Baseball named him "International Scout of the Year."
"It meant a lot," said Ferreira, whose list of signees includes Vladimir Guerrero, Bernie Williams, Jose Vidro, Orlando Cabrera, Roberto Kelly and Javier Vazquez.
"I've been in it so many years and you wonder if something like that will happen, and it happened. I was really excited about it."
OK, back to the hot stove. FOXSports.com is reporting that the Mariners are one of the teams interested in free-agent outfielder Nate McLouth. The Orioles would like to re-sign him, but McLouth is in no rush to decide and will continue to let the market develop.