Whether it was a concerted effort to do so or not, not long after Andy MacPhail announced the acquisition of Mark Reynolds on Monday at the Winter Meetings, the O’s had plenty of praise for young Josh Bell.
They wanted everyone to know they still like Bell -- a lot, they say -- and still think he could have a future in Baltimore.
Bell hit .214-3-12 in 53 O’s games in 2010. He fanned 53 times in 159 at bats, but it was his first time in the majors and the O’s say they are not giving up on Bell at all.
The O’s brass was happy to float the notion that, at some point in the future, Bell could possibly play at first base, and that remains an option with Bell.
“We were really impressed with how Josh played third base,” O’s manager Buck Showalter told reporters just a few moments after the press conference announcing Reynolds’ addition. “I talked about the what ifs and depth, but we know Josh could go either place (first or third base) when we got to that point. Believe me, if you’ve been in Andy’s spot the last few weeks, a lot of people like Josh Bell as much as we do.”
No one is saying Bell is changing positions, but the O’s at least acknowledge they feel he can play either corner infield position.
“It would be a shame to waste that arm at first,” MacPhail added. “That is one of his assets. But Buck is right: I don’t think it’s a surprise that our won-loss record improved (late in the year). I think the defense at third was one of the reasons why when Josh was over there.”
By the way, I certainly wish nothing but the best to David Hernandez and Kam Mickolio, two good guys with good arms.
When the O’s drafted Hernandez in the 16th round in 2005, I quickly heard about this JuCo pitcher with the good arm that the O’s really wanted to sign. They did, giving him a bonus worthy of a much higher pick and Hernandez rewarded them by making the majors.
I was the broadcaster at Aberdeen that year. and met him and liked him right away.
Losing him could come back to haunt the O’s. I see this guy continuing to thrive in a late-inning role. He has guts that sometimes you don’t see on the outside, not to mention a mid 90’s and sometimes even above fastball.
But the O’s could not get that power bat without giving up some quality in return. David is one of the good guys and he’ll be missed in that clubhouse. I hope he has a great career.
So Day 2 at the winter meetings arrives and Ty Wigginton is headed for a two-year deal with Colorado. There is another guy that will be missed in that clubhouse and every fan, by now, should know how much of a gamer that guy was and is.
Check back often today and we’ll keep cranking out the blogs from here.