We should find out within the next couple of days whether pitcher Jair Jurrjens will officially become an Oriole.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette, calling into yesterday’s “Hot Stove Baseball” show on WBAL Radio, said he hoped that the matter would be resolved “by the start of camp.” Pitchers and catchers report to spring training Tuesday, and the first workout takes place the following day.
Jurrjens has completed his physical, but the Orioles clearly aren’t satisfied with the results. Otherwise, they would have made an announcement.
His right knee is an issue. There isn’t much cartilage in there - I’ve heard the phrase “bone on bone” used to describe it - and it’s possible that the club will attempt to rework the agreement and perhaps reduce the amount of guaranteed money, which currently stands at $1.5 million, with another $2.5 million possible in incentives.
I’m speculating here. I haven’t been told this by anyone in the organization. I’m just throwing it out there. Anything is possible at this point, including the original deal going through or Jurrjens flunking the physical.
“It’s still in process,” Duquette said. “That’s taking a little bit of time, but I’m hopeful that we’ll have that resolved by the start of camp.”
“I hope that it gets resolved and we have another player with us, but I think we have to go through the process and see how things come about,” Duquette said. “Every player’s physical health is paramount to them being successful. And with players not in our organization, sometimes the process takes a little bit longer.”
Left-hander Joe Saunders agreed to terms last week on a one-year deal with the Seattle Mariners. I asked Duquette whether the Orioles made Saunders an offer and if it remained on the table as the veteran decided on a team.
“I knew it was going to be a challenge to re-sign Joe Saunders, and that’s one of the reasons we drafted T.J. McFarland, to have another left-handed starting pitcher, a potential left-handed starting pitcher in camp,” Duquette said.
“Joe did a great job for us - stabilized the team, won some games for us down the stretch, made us very competitive in the playoffs. He won that big game in Texas, especially, to get us to New York, so I really appreciate the work he did for us, and I want to wish him a lot of good luck. But I knew it was going to be a challenge to fit him into our mix for the season.”
I’m still not clear whether that offer was on the table at the end.
Duquette also talked about Todd Redmond, signed off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds.
“He’s very competitive and he’s got excellent control, and he’s gotten really good results in Triple-A across his whole career,” Duquette said. “It’s kind of interesting. He doesn’t have that much time in the big leagues. Just one start with Cincinnati, but he’s been very durable. And when I was looking him up this week, I looked at his record and said to myself, ‘He looks a lot like Zach Clark,’ our local guy we put on the roster who won 15 games for us last year between Double-A and Triple-A. I looked at Zach Clark’s record to see how close they are and they have almost the exact same ERA over the course of, like, seven minor league seasons.
“I’m just impressed with the guy. I like his competitiveness and his control. He should be ready to compete for a role at the major league level.”
To be exact, Redmond has a 3.58 ERA in eight minor league seasons, and Clark has a 3.68 ERA in seven season.
The Orioles designated outfielder Trayvon Robinson for assignment to make room for Redmond.
“I like Trayvon Robinson,” Duquette said. “I still think he can help our ballclub. But when we signed Jason Pridie to a minor league deal, and we also got (Nate) McLouth signed, and particularly when we got Chris Dickerson signed to a minor league deal, I thought that gave us a lot of depth in the outfield. It was going to be tough for Trayvon to make the team out of spring training. And we got a couple other outfielders - Xavier Avery, and of course the local kid, LJ Hoes.
“It was a case of us having the depth we needed, and particularly when we signed Dickerson, who’s a really good left-handed hitter who gets on base and can play every outfield position, I knew it would be tough for Trayvon to make our club. And with him being out of options, I didn’t know how that was going to work out. And you never have enough pitching depth. You know that.”