At what point do you concede that it’s time to dispose of the Thanksgiving leftovers?
When the cranberry sauce from the can loses its jiggle? When the white meat begins to resemble the dark meat? When the drumsticks limp to the trash can?
How about when you’re surprised to find yams in the fridge before realizing they’re actually the mashed potatoes? Or when the last slice of pumpkin pie becomes a perfect match for the last slice of key lime pie?
I’m thankful for a strong stomach and the ability to ignore traditional expiration dates.
Here are a few leftover thoughts:
* In case you don’t have a feel for the cost of second-tier free agent pitchers, left-hander J.A. Happ agreed last night to a three-year, $36 million deal with the Blue Jays.
Happ, 33, has a career 4.13 ERA and 1.367 WHIP in nine major league seasons. He’s pitched for five teams, making him a journeyman. His stock apparently soared after he went 7-2 with a 1.85 ERA and 1.026 WHIP in 11 starts for the Pirates after they acquired him from the Mariners on July 31. He was 4-6 with a 4.64 ERA and 1.408 WHIP with Seattle.
They’re both outfielders who play all three positions. They both bat from the right side. They’re both plus-runners with the ability to get on base, though it hasn’t translated as much for Hoes at the major league level. And they’re both out of minor league options.
Could the Orioles carry both of them on opening day? Well, the chances improve immensely if one is anointed a starter in left or right field, which seems more likely for Reimold at the moment, but most certainly could change.
Otherwise, they’d have to be fourth and fifth outfielders, and it’s conceivable that one of the utility infielders could also serve in that role. Ryan Flaherty has played 32 games in the outfield.
It’s way too early to project who’s going to be on the bench, but Reimold’s name popped into my head shortly after news broke that Hoes was acquired from the Astros for cash considerations.
* I figured that infielder Andy Wilkins would be the first player to come off the 40-man roster, and it happened Friday to make room for Hoes on the 40-man roster.
Nothing against Wilkins here, but he was the most vulnerable player after the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Dodgers on Sept. 6. I’m told that he doesn’t really have a position.
The 40-man roster is still full less than two weeks before the Rule 5 draft. At least one player will be removed.
Do the Orioles designate outfielder Junior Lake for assignment? Stay tuned.
* The Athletics have made infielder Danny Valencia available, according to reports, but I’m not anticipating a reunion with the Orioles.
Valencia has played for the Royals, Blue Jays and Athletics since appearing in 52 games with the Orioles in 2013. He’s a career .321/.369/.493 hitter against left-handers and can handle multiple positions.
Seems like a fit in some ways, but don’t count on a return to Camden Yards.
The Orioles traded Valencia to the Royals on Dec. 18, 2013 for outfielder David Lough, who is a non-tender candidate this winter.
Lough is first-year arbitration eligible as a Super Two after making $525,500 this season. He was designated for assignment on Aug. 15, accepted an outright assignment to Triple-A and had his contract purchased on Sept. 24.
Lough batted .201/.241/.313 in 84 games. His value comes in his ability to play all three outfield positions and his speed, though it doesn’t translate into stolen bases.
As the Orioles need to peel players off their 40-man roster, Lough’s spot becomes more tenuous.
* During the last “Wall to Wall Baseball” show on MASN, the panel was asked to predict whether reliever Darren O’Day would sign with anybody before today.
Mark Viviano of WJZ-TV and MASN said O’Day would be unsigned as we gathered again today. I also stated that O’Day would remain a free agent, but he’d sign before the Winter Meetings that officially begin on Dec. 7. Former Orioles pitcher and current MASN analyst Dave Johnson said O’Day would sign during the meetings.
I’ll repeat that my confidence in O’Day returning to the Orioles erodes a little more every day, just like my Thanksgiving leftovers. You could fill a room with people in the industry who predict that he’s going to sign with the Nationals.
* The Orioles don’t appear close to hiring a new assistant hitting coach. They aren’t in a major rush. May as well be thorough and bring in the right guy for the job.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter has a few candidates in mind. Vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson has a few candidates in mind.
As I’ve written, the hire is expected to come from outside the organization.
Shameless plug alert: I’m on “Wall to Wall Baseball” today from 11 a.m.-noon on MASN before we step aside for college football.