In case you missed my update last night, the Orioles want to keep former bullpen coach Bill Castro in the organization. I’m not sure in what capacity, but there’s apparently a spot for him.
Dom Chiti has been hired as Castro’s replacement, and he’s valued by the Orioles almost as much for his scouting abilities as his work with pitchers. The Orioles will tap that resource.
Chiti must have really wanted to get back in uniform, and back in a teaching mode, to leave a front office position with the Braves.
Chiti and new pitching coach Dave Wallace will attend the Winter Meetings next month in Orlando.
Both men are familiar with left-hander Chris Jones, recently added to the 40-man roster. The Orioles acquired Jones from the Braves in April for veteran reliever Luis Ayala. It can’t hurt his cause to have Wallace and Chiti on board.
I spoke with someone in the industry this weekend who raved about the Orioles coaching staff, giving it extremely high marks.
I spoke with someone in the organization who still can’t believe that Red Sox second baseman Dustin Pedroia beat out Orioles third baseman Manny Machado for the Wilson Defensive Player of the Year in the American League. Nothing against Pedroia, but Machado was in a class by himself.
A conspiracy theorist would point out that Pedroia wears a Wilson glove and Machado does not. I’m not a conspiracy theorist, but if I were...you know ... I’d point it out.
Machado won a Gold Glove, a Platinum Glove, a Fielding Bible Award and the Wilson award as the Orioles best defensive player. Enough talk about moving him to shortstop. It may happen one day, but there’s no reason to rush it.
And no more talk about the possibility of trading shortstop J.J. Hardy. It’s a fine topic for fans and the media to debate, but the Orioles have no intention of dealing him. They’re quite happy with the left side of the infield. They’re not going to tamper with it.
Better to debate whether the Orioles negotiate a contract extension for Hardy, who can become a free agent next winter.
Hardy won a Gold Glove and a Silver Slugger Award, and he placed third in voting for the Platinum Glove. No trade, no move to second or third base.
If Machado isn’t ready for opening day on March 31 and the Orioles don’t add a third baseman, there’s a good chance that Danny Valencia will be manning the hot corner. The Red Sox will be in town and left-hander Jon Lester could be on the mound. And you know what Valencia does to left-handers.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette was honored last night as the Mid-Atlantic Scouts Association’s Executive of the Year. That one flew under the radar.
Henry Urrutia went 3-for-4 with a home run and two RBIs yesterday for the Surprise Saguaros of the Arizona Fall League. He’s batting .410 with three homers and 13 RBIs, and the Orioles are wondering if his bat will play in the majors the same way it does in the minors and the AFL.
Michael Ohlman also homered yesterday. The Orioles are discussing whether to put him on the 40-man roster and protect him in the Rule 5 draft. While fairly confident that he would eventually be returned if selected, considering that he hasn’t played above the high Single-A level, they still seem inclined to put him on it because they have room.
Be sure to look for Adam Jones today if you’re going to the Ravens game at M&T Bank Stadium. He’s hosting a charity tailgate to benefit the Boys and Girls Club of Metropolitan Baltimore, and I’m assuming that the food will be off the hook.
And finally, many thanks to the folks from the Eastern Shore Baseball Foundation for their kindness, generosity and wonderful dinner last night at Salisbury Moose Lodge #654. I had a captive audience as the guest speaker for their Baseball Hall of Fame Induction Banquet, and it was a pleasure to be involved in the annual event.
It also was an educational experience for me. I have a lot to learn about the outstanding baseball tradition down here, which is why I will accept their invitation to visit the Eastern Shore Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum.
The museum entrance is located on the lower level of Arthur W. Perdue Stadium. It opens one hour before Shorebirds games and admission is free.
It’s now on my bucket list. Below Salma Hayek, of course, but it’s there.
If only I were ... never mind.