Before diving into this morning’s blog entry, I’ll quickly chime in on the Tyler Colvin news from last night.
It was obvious that something happened with the physical, since it took place on Jan. 15 and we still hadn’t received an announcement on his signing. The Orioles have refused to acknowledge publicly that they reached agreement with him. They weren’t thrilled that word leaked to the local media.
The Orioles usually wait until the results of a physical come back before confirming an agreement. That’s especially true after the Grant Balfour debacle.
Please don’t suggest that it was a money issue with Colvin. The Orioles were glad to pay Balfour $15 million over two years before concerns arose over his right shoulder, and Colvin wasn’t going to break the bank. But, yes, another issue with a physical does nothing to enhance the Orioles’ reputation in the industry, which is taking a two-fisted beating this winter.
In the long run, losing out on Colvin isn’t going to cripple the organization. I was shocked that the Orioles were willing to put him on the 40-man roster. I suggested yesterday that they may be attempting to sign him to a minor league deal, similar to the Jair Jurrjens negotiations last winter. We shall see.
In the meantime, the Orioles now plan on bringing 11 outfielders to spring training. It used to be 12, including Colvin. Adjust your math.
Also, continue to wonder exactly what happens during these physicals. I’m more than a little curious.
Are players required to win a decathlon?
As for this morning’s entry, I decided to focus on pitcher Josh Stinson. He’s out of minor league options and he’s a strong candidate to serve as a swingman when the Orioles break camp.
I wasn’t sure whether we’d get another look at Stinson after he made one start for the Orioles on April 24, served up four home runs to the Blue Jays in 5 2/3 innings and was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk. One fan on Twitter referred to him as “Homer Stinson.” I’m ashamed to admit that I chuckled - and shared it with a few colleagues in the press box. But he allowed only one earned run (two total) in 10 relief appearances covering 11 1/3 innings after his recall, with five hits allowed, two walks and nine strikeouts, and manager Buck Showalter is planted firmly in his corner.
“I felt like there were other opportunities for me,” said Stinson, 25, who attended last week’s mini-camp in Sarasota. “I’ve always felt like you can make up for what you’ve done. Obviously, that start didn’t go the way I wanted it to, but I knew that I needed to come back up and prove myself when I got that chance. So, I just went back down to Norfolk, kept working.
“What’s funny is, take four pitches away from that start and it’s a good start. I kind of thought of that, limiting my mistakes and seeing what those mistakes were. Obviously, with two of those home runs, it was 0-0 pitches and they were just ambushing fastballs. You have to think about how it was the second or third time around the lineup and they kind of realized I was going first-pitch fastball, so (Edwin) Encarnacion and (Jose) Bautista both jumped on 0-0 fastballs. Bautista’s was just a terrible pitch. So just learning from that, gaining that knowledge that these guys, the second time seeing you, will be sitting on the 0-0 fastball.
“I took that down to Norfolk and made that adjustment that I need to mix in an off-speed pitch at 0-0 just to keep them off-balance. Just knowing the hitters a little more. But I don’t think I ever had that mentality that creeps in your mind like, ‘Oh, no, this is my last time.’ I’ve always felt like I’d get another chance. Just go back to Norfolk and keep working and see what happens.”
Stinson, selected off waivers from the Athletics on April 4, isn’t dwelling on whether his option status works in his favor or will alter how he feels after reporting to camp next month.
“I told my wife this: I try not to think about the out-of-options thing,” he said. “It’s the last thing I want to creep into my head. It’s more or less that I’m trying to make the team, trying to stick. I’ve been up and down for three years. I’ve gotten the taste. Now I want to be here, and just proving that I belong and I can help this team win some games. And I’ll see what happens.”
The Orioles currently have an opening in the rotation, though executive vice president Dan Duquette is trying to fill it from outside the organization. Stinson will compete as a starter in spring training, but he could replace T.J. McFarland as the long reliever.
“We haven’t talked too much about the role, but obviously I’ve done it all,” Stinson said. “I’ve done long relief, I’ve started. But what I’ve told every organization is, whatever you guys want me to do, I’ll do. If that’s starting, I’ll start. If that’s relieving ...
“It’s nice having that experience and knowing what I’ve got to do out of the bullpen, what I need to do starting to get ready. Like last year, when I came out of the bullpen, I started throwing predominantly out of the stretch. I didn’t go to the windup. Just stuff like that, I know, makes me comfortable. Warming up in the bullpen, if you throw out of the stretch, you aren’t going to warm up again out of the windup. Just little stuff like that that’s helped me along the way.
“Whatever role they want me to be in, those little experiences and the knowledge I’ve gained along the way will help.”
Shameless plug alert: I’m back on WBAL Radio tonight for the “Hot Stove Baseball” show from 7 p.m. - 8 p.m.
Ryan Flaherty and Nick Markakis are scheduled to call into the show.
Got any questions for them? Ones that don’t involve Brett Tomko?