On Roberts’ birthday, Orioles still wish they could redo 1999 draft (updated)

Orioles second baseman Brian Roberts is celebrating his 36th birthday today, which probably includes changing diapers and grabbing naps while his baby boy sleeps.

Veteran move.

Roberts is a pending free agent, his four-year, $40 million contract running out in 2013. The Orioles will give serious consideration to re-signing him.

Both sides are open to it. Roberts is really hoping for it.

Roberts has been in the organization since the 1999 First-Year Player draft, when the Orioles chose him with a supplemental pick between the first two rounds.

You remember that draft. The Orioles had seven of the first 50 picks. It should have set up the franchise for years, instead of setting it back. The recovery was a slow and painful process.

It started with Clemson right-hander Mike Paradis, the 13th overall selection, and continued with the following:

18th: LHP Rich Stahl, Newton (Ga.) High School
21st: OF Larry Bigbie, Ball State University
23rd: OF Keith Reed, Providence College
34th: LHP Josh Cenate, Jefferson (W. Va.) High School
44th: LHP Scott Rice, Royal (Calif.) High School
50th: INF Brian Roberts, University of South Carolina

The Orioles didn’t choose again until the third round, taking Ball State catcher Jon Kessick with the 104th overall selection.

A lot of misses in that draft.

Roberts easily was the pick of the litter. Injuries ruined Stahl and Cenate. Bigbie showed flashes, but never reached his potential and mostly is remembered for appearing in the Mitchell Report on Dec. 13, 2007. Reed was a project who appeared in six games in 2005.

Rice finally reached the majors with the Mets in 2013.

The Orioles did select Norwalk (Conn.) Community College left-hander Erik Bedard in the sixth round. And who could forget Bakersfield (Calif.) College catcher Octavio Martinez in the 10th round?

Kennesaw State (Ga.) University infielder Willie Harris, taken in the 24th round, later was named the Orioles’ minor league Player of the Year before being traded to the White Sox for outfielder Chris Singleton. He spent parts of 12 seasons in the majors with seven organizations, most recently the Reds in 2012.

Aaron Rakers, chosen one round ahead of Harris out of Southern Illinois University, appeared in 13 games with the Orioles over the 2004 and 2005 seasons, and one with the Padres in 2007.

Stahl was the Orioles’ compensation pick from the Cardinals for free agent Eric Davis. Bigbie was a compensation pick from the Rangers for free agent Rafael Palmeiro. Reed was compensation for Alomar. Cenate was a supplemental pick for Alomar. Rice was a supplemental pick for Davis. Roberts was a supplemental pick for Palmeiro. And Kessick was compensation from the Dodgers for free agent Alan Mills.

Mills returned to the organization last year as pitching coach at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.

Will Roberts return as the second baseman in 2014?

Mills currently is serving as a pitching coach for Surprise in the Arizona Fall League. Eduardo Rodriguez is starting today, and the lineup includes Jonathan Schoop batting second as the shortstop, Michael Ohlman batting eighth as the designated hitter and Dariel Alvarez batting ninth as the right fielder.

AFL update: Rodriguez allowed two runs and three hits in three innings, with no walks, three strikeouts and a balk. He threw 52 pitches, 35 for strikes.

All the damage off Rodriguez occurred in the second inning.

According to various tweets, Rodriguez’s fastball was 91-94 mph and he mixed in three other pitches.

Ohlman is 1-for-2 with a double.

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