Morning musings

The Red Sox continue to win games by exhibiting tremendous patience at the plate and running the bases better than anyone in baseball.

They steal bases. They take the extra base. They beat out ground balls.

Jacoby Ellsbury went from first to third on a wild pitch in the seventh inning last night and scored the go-ahead run on Shane Victorino's infield hit.

I understand that it's hard for Orioles fans to view the Red Sox in a positive light, but plenty of teams could learn from them. Just saying.

Now if only they'd lose the beards. And David Ortiz.

Too bad the Rays were eliminated, but at least we were spared Fernando Rodney shooting another imaginary arrow into the Tropicana roof. Rodney loaded the bases in the ninth and was replaced by Chris Archer.

Arrow. Archer. Get it?

Is it too early to again link the Orioles with Mariners first baseman/designated hitter Kendrys Morales?

May as well avoid the rush.

Morales reportedly will reject Seattle's qualifying offer and enter the free-agent market in search of a multi-year deal.

The switch-hitting Morales, 30, batted .277/.336/.449 with 34 doubles, 23 home runs and 80 RBIs in 156 games while earning $5.25 million. He'd be a nice fit for the Orioles as a DH and backup first baseman.

If only it were that simple.

Morales is represented by Scott Boras, which presents its own set of challenges. Then again, executive vice president Dan Duquette already is in contact with Boras concerning extensions for catcher Matt Wieters and first baseman Chris Davis. What's one more client?

Boras could price Morales out of Baltimore. And signing Morales would cost the Orioles a draft pick.

Otherwise it sounds like a plan.

Finding a starter to slot behind Chris Tillman should be the No. 1 priority, but the Orioles aren't going to overpay for one or deal their top prospects. They'll bring in at least one hitter, and the emphasis should be placed on improving the club's on-base percentage, which ranked 19th this season at .313.

Duquette is a big proponent of OBP, but the Orioles are still lacking in that department.

Henry Urrutia went 3-for-4 with an RBI yesterday in his Arizona Fall League debut. He played right field for seven innings. Dariel Alvarez pinch-ran for him and took over in right.

Jonathan Schoop went 0-for-4 with two strikeouts as Surprise's shortstop. He also played seven innings.

Jason Gurka picked up the win in relief despite giving up a run on two hits. Manager Gary Kendall said Gurka looked "OK" and located well.

I'd have to figure that Urrutia will get plenty of starts in left field and Schoop will occasionally shift to second base, since he might be competing for that job with the Orioles next spring.

I'm still predicting that the Orioles re-sign Brian Roberts.

Quick, name the two minor leaguers traded by the Orioles to the Rangers for catcher Taylor Teagarden on Dec. 1, 2011.

Too late. It's pitcher Randy Henry and second baseman Greg Miclat.

For no apparent reason, I checked how they did this season. Henry went 2-0 with a 1.07 ERA in 31 relief appearances at Double-A Frisco, with 32 hits, seven walks, 40 strikeouts and one home run in 50 2/3 innings. Miclat batted .238/.329/.279 with 11 doubles and 26 RBIs in 79 games at Triple-A Round Rock.

Miclat was 10-for-15 in stolen base attempts. He went 50-for-53 at Double-A Bowie in 2011.

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