A few afternoon notes

The Orioles still haven't decided whether to sign veteran hitter Jack Cust to a minor league deal. Discussions continue on whether to bring him to spring training as one of the invites.

"It's still under consideration," said executive vice president Dan Duquette.

Cust worked out for three days this week at the mini-camp in Sarasota. He left the complex unsure if he would land a job.

The feeling here is that the Orioles will sign Cust as long as he's willing to begin the 2014 season at Triple-A Norfolk, but nothing has been decided.

Cust hasn't played in the majors since 2011 and he sat out the 2013 season after the Rays released him in March. His agent contacted the Orioles again this winter to gauge their interest, which led to the tryout.

There were enough batting practice turns to go around.

As for outfielder Tyler Colvin, there doesn't appear to be anything imminent regarding a major league deal. The Orioles aren't commenting on him publicly, since they never announced an agreement.

Colvin took his physical on Wednesday, according to sources, but there's no point in adding his name to the list of outfielders reporting to spring training next month. That appears to be a bit premature.

Let's see how this plays out.

The Orioles are still trying to sign another starter to place near the top of their rotation. Their focus hasn't shifted. But they haven't determined whether A.J Burnett is interested in pitching this year.

Bronson Arroyo remains a target, though they aren't likely to hand out a three-year deal.

It becomes more apparent by the day that Tommy Hunter will go to camp as the favorite to close, though manager Buck Showalter refused to handicap the field this week. He only referred to Hunter as a candidate.

Asked today whether the Orioles are in the market for another bullpen arm, Duquette replied, "We did sign (Alfredo) Aceves and we'll get a chance to take a look at him this spring. He's a qualified veteran and he's had some really good years.

"We're starting to get some depth. Ideally, we'd like to add a starting pitcher."

More than a closer at this juncture.

"A lot of these closers come from dependable relievers, as we learned from Jim Johnson two years ago," Duquette said. "He showed he was a dependable reliever. We have some dependable relievers. Aceves has some experience at the end of games, too. He had one year with 25 saves. We have some candidates in-house."

Duquette is pleased to have only one unsigned arbitration-eligible player, catcher Matt Wieters, who filed yesterday at $8.75 million. The Orioles countered at $6.5 million.

"We have a window to work on the Wieters thing," Duquette said. "There's time to get that resolved . If we can't, we can't, but there's time to get an agreement."

"We were working on getting them all done yesterday and it became clear during the process that we had more work to do on Wieters. I don't really handicap these things, but there's time to try to reach an agreement."

The Orioles settled yesterday with Hunter, Chris Davis, Brian Matusz and Troy Patton, and did the same on Thursday with Bud Norris.

Davis' salary jumped from $3.3 million to $10.35 million.

"He got a big raise, but Chris had a great year. He earned it, and we're happy to sign him," Duquette said.

"The other guys in the process, we're glad to get them signed, too. Tommy Hunter had a good year and he should be excited about his opportunity this year. Matusz had a good year. Norris had 10 wins, right? And we got an agreement with Patton.

"Chris Davis got a big raise, but he had a huge year. We were glad that everybody else signed."

Duquette is in Los Angeles today to attend the Professional Baseball Scouts Federation dinner. Ray Poitevint, the Orioles' executive director of international baseball, is receiving an award for meritorious service.

Poitevint is in his sixth decade of baseball scouting. He recommended that the Orioles sign future Hall of Famer Eddie Murray and pitcher Dennis Martinez, and he signed pitcher Wei-Yin Chen in January 2012.


blog comments powered by Disqus


Rocket Fuel