If you happen to be craving incremental updates on the showcase in Miami, you’ve again come to the right place.
The Orioles’ five-man contingent met yesterday with Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. and pitcher Sandy Gastón, their families and representatives from Magnus Sports, which arranged for the workouts to be closed to the media.
Bits and pieces have flowed out of them - the workouts, not the agents.
Gastón flashed a fastball clocked at 96-97 mph. I’ve heard that Victor Victor Mesa, the top international prospect on the board, appeared a bit rusty but impressed nonetheless. And his younger brother, also an outfielder, is steadily improving and has a high ceiling.
The brothers are viewed within the industry as a package deal and the Orioles certainly have interest in signing both of them. But they also really like Gastón, whose agreement with the Marlins over the summer fell through due to a failed test for performance-enhancing drugs.
Marlins CEO Derek Jeter attended the showcase.
MLB.com ranked Gastón as the fourth-best available pitcher during the 2018-2019 international signing period. The 6-foot-3, 205-pound right-hander began playing in Cuba’s 18U league at age 15 in 2017.
No one’s slick as Gastón
No one’s quick as Gastón
No one’s neck’s as incredibly thick as Gastón’s
The Orioles have around $6.7 million in international signing bonus money, compared to $4.3 million for the Marlins before they received a bump yesterday from the Reds in a trade for pitcher Ryan Lille, but Baltimore could be at a disadvantage with the showcase held in Miami. The Marlins reportedly had personalized lockers set up with uniforms for the trio and tried to sell them on the proximity to Cuba, the environment and comforts they won’t find anywhere else.
Yesterday’s meeting offered the brothers and Gastón a chance to get acquainted with the Orioles, whose new commitment to the international market is supposed to be one of their major rebuilding blocks. They need to figure out a way to loosen the Miami vice grip.
* If we’re floating names as possible candidates to replace Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette, Tyrone Brooks is someone else who checks a lot of the boxes. I’m curious whether he’ll be called in for an interview.
Brooks, who turns 45 next week, is a Glen Burnie native and graduate of North County High School and the University of Maryland who’s been Major League Baseball’s senior director of the front office and field staff diversity pipeline program since 2016. He spent the previous 20 seasons with the Braves, Indians and Pirates and was a finalist for the Brewers’ GM job in 2015.
Prior to joining the commissioner’s office, Brooks had been in the Pirates’ front office since 2009 as director of baseball operations and director of player personnel. He broke into the sport as an intern with the Braves, where he worked from 1996-2006 and rose to director of baseball operations, becoming part of two World Series teams.
Brooks has served under John Schuerholz, Dayton Moore, Frank Wren, Mark Shapiro, Chris Antonetti, Mike Chernoff and Neal Huntington. He has experience with total rebuilds from his time with the Pirates, who followed 20 consecutive losing seasons with three straight playoff appearances, and working the Orioles would have to be a dream job.
If you’re familiar at all with LinkedIn, Brooks is the founder of the Baseball Industry Network with a membership exceeding 34,000. The networking group, which he started in 2009, is designed to assist individuals working in or connected to the game.
* I’ll leave you with a leftover from the final game of the season:
The 4-0 win over the Astros marked the 41st one-hitter in club history and the eighth combined one-hitter.
The last one-hitter came from Dylan Bundy on Aug. 29, 2017 against the Mariners.
The last combined one-hitter? Chris Tillman and Zach Britton on July 18, 2015 in Detroit.