To answer a few readers, the Orioles are in the process of working through a number of candidates to replace Bobby Dickerson as minor league infield coordinator. They are considering members of the organization and also are exploring options outside of it.
Dickerson was hired as third base coach, which forces him to surrender his previous duties.
The club routinely waits to announce all of its minor league staffs, including managers, coaches and instructors. We may not get official word until after the holidays.
The Orioles’ bullpen doesn’t seem to have any room for outsiders, especially if they need to make room for Rule 5 pick T.J. McFarland, but that didn’t stop executive vice president Dan Duquette from checking on available right-handers and left-handers. He had interest in Koji Uehara, but not at $4.25 million for one season, which the Red Sox were willing to spend. Not for another one-inning reliever.
The bullpen posted a 3.00 ERA this year that ranked fifth in the majors. Jim Johnson garnered most of the attention, but set-up man Pedro Strop was sensational in the first half, proving to be a sturdy bridge to the closer. He registered a 1.67 ERA before the break and held opponents to a .192/.307/.254 line. He deserved consideration for the All-Star Game.
Then came the second half and a gradual erosion of his effectiveness.
Strop posted a 3.45 ERA after the break and opponents batted .245/.357/.318. They hit .333/.469/.538 in 13 games in September and October, when Strop’s ERA was 6.48. He allowed six runs and 13 hits in 8 1/3 innings, with 10 walks, nine strikeouts and a 2.760 WHIP.
So which Strop will show up at spring training? He’s going to attract a lot of attention from the media, as Johnson did last spring when his velocity was down. And as Kevin Gregg did when his stock was down.
Darren O’Day took over the set-up duties while Strop slumped and manager Buck Showalter sought less-pressurized situations for him. The arrangement worked, but the Orioles are a better team, and their bullpen is deeper, if O’Day isn’t forced into extra duty and Strop isn’t avoided with games on the line.
Strop has posted a 3.52 ERA in six appearances in the Dominican Winter League, allowing three runs and four hits in 7 2/3 innings. He issued both of his walks yesterday in 1 2/3 innings while blowing his second save.
Shameless plug alert: I’m appearing with Tom Davis today on “The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report” from 5-7 p.m. on MASN.
The “Pick 6” segment will require us to each choose three of the top sports stories of 2012. Spoiler alert: The Orioles are on my list.
Got any other suggestions?
Notes: The Orioles have purchased the contract of another Frontier League player, right-hander Mike Recchia, a former Yankees farmhand who went 11-3 with a 2.51 ERA in 24 games (20 starts) with the Windy City ThunderBolts.
Recchia, 23, won the Brian Tollberg Award, given to the league’s top pitcher, after he set records with five shutouts and 177 strikeouts. He also had two scoreless streaks of 26 innings.
Recchia also led the league with six complete games and 150 1/3 innings. He walked 56 and struck out 177.
Read more here.
Also, MASN has reached an affiliate agreement with Cape Charles, Va., cable provider Bay Creek, which will carry MASN on channel 60, MASN HD on channel 660, MASN2 on channel 61 and MASN2 HD on channel 661.