While handing out candy to the trick-or-treaters Thursday, I had a neighbor ask which Red Sox player I’d take if I were in charge of the Orioles. He happened to be wearing a Red Sox jersey, and he wasn’t in costume. He’s a big fan of the World Series champions.
After pausing for a few seconds to consider my options, I chose second baseman Dustin Pedroia. Fills a need, gets on base, has won three Gold Gloves. And who wouldn’t want a player with the nicknames Laser Show and The Muddy Chicken?
Just lose the beard.
I wrote yesterday about the baseball writers from CBSSports.com predicting where certain free agents would land, and how one had Ervin Santana coming to the Orioles and another had Matt Garza doing it. I’ll also mention that Dayn Perry has outfielder Carlos Beltran winding up in Baltimore.
Intriguing idea, for sure, though he’s only played two games in left field (in 2000 with the Royals) and Adam Jones isn’t moving out of center. Same with Nick Markakis in right. And most people think Beltran will return to the Cardinals or sign with the Yankees.
In case you missed it, Felix Pie refused his outright assignment yesterday and became a free agent.
Don’t hold your breath for a reunion with the Orioles unless you like the shade of blue in your face.
The same color will surface if you hold your breath until the Orioles pick up Tsuyoshi Wada’s $5 million option for next season. Also not happening. But it’s always possible that they negotiate a minor league deal and bring him back to spring training.
The Orioles aren’t going to spend another $5 million on him after investing $8.15 million over two years and getting nothing in return.
It’s not Wada’s fault that his elbow blew out, and it’s not his fault that the club kept him in Sarasota after rosters expanded in September. They didn’t want him pitching in important games down the stretch, deeming it unfair to both sides, but the reports on him certainly improved as the year wore on, which leads to the possibility that he stays in the organization.
Wada will be 33 in February, and Japanese pitchers traditionally have a lot of miles on their odometers. In other words, they throw a lot, and it’s risky to sign one past the age of 30. But he was 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA and 1,329 strikeouts in 210 career games (207 starts) over nine seasons with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks of the Japanese Pacific League. In his last 52 starts, he went 33-13 with a 2.29 ERA. In his final year, he was 16-5 with a 1.51 ERA and four complete games.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette continues his search for more starting pitching. He may as well toss Wada into the mix if the price is right.
The Orioles have regarded Wada as strictly a starter, in part because of the amount of time required for him to warm up, but perhaps he could fill the T.J. McFarland role if the former Rule 5 pick enters the rotation here or at Triple-A Norfolk.
I’ve also heard the counter argument that there’s no sense keeping Wada around and reminding ownership of the $8.15 million investment that yielded nothing. Pick up the rest of your chips and move to the next table.
The Orioles also hold a $3 million option on infielder Alexi Casilla, 29, who batted .214/.268/.295 in 62 games. As you’ve heard, they will decline it and allow him to become a free agent.
Manager Buck Showalter was quite complimentary of Casilla before the final game on Sept. 29, saying, “There hasn’t been a better teammate in baseball than Alexi Casilla, from day one. I mean, he’s been a pleasure to be around. I think he’s the one guy I wish I had been able to play more. Whether it’s us or someone else, they’re going to get a good teammate and a good player next year. He’s allowed us to do a lot of things that we couldn’t have done because of his versatility. It may not have always showed up on the field, but he was as consistent a person as you could be. He’s got my respect.”
Casilla also will have a new team next season. Will Wada?