The Orioles acquired a left-handed hitting outfielder today as the Winter Meetings approach, though it involves a minor league deal.
The club announced that it signed Logan Schafer, 30, to a minor league contract. He will receive an invitation to spring training.
Schafer is a career .214/.292/.318 hitter in 318 games over parts of six major league seasons, the first five spent with the Brewers. He batted .238/.342/.317 this year in 26 games with the Twins.
A former third-round pick, Schafer appeared in 17 games with Lancaster in the independent Atlantic League before signing with the Twins. He hit .264/.340/.361 in 64 games with Triple-A Rochester. He plays all three outfield positions, with most of his experience in center.
Schafer, who also was drafted by the Red Sox and Rockies without signing, joined the Nationals organization as a free agent in November 2015. They released him in March and he signed with the Twins three months later.
* One of the toughest spring training cuts in recent years came in 2015 when the Orioles placed right-hander Logan Verrett on waivers. They couldn't keep two Rule 5 picks on their roster and they wanted to hold onto Jason Garcia, the younger and less experienced of the two pitchers, but deemed to have the higher ceiling.
You know the rest of the story. The Rangers claimed Verrett, news that broke while the local beat crew was driving to Lake Buena Vista, Fla., for the exhibition game against the Braves, and he eventually was returned to the Mets.
Baseball's circle of life strikes again, with the Orioles acquiring Verrett from the Mets yesterday in a cash transaction.
Verrett posted a 1.93 ERA and struck out 12 batters in 14 innings. Multiple teams put in a waiver claim and the Rangers got him.
"He's a strike-thrower, he's (gutsy), he has command," said manager Buck Showalter, who flew into Baltimore last night and will appear tonight at Dempsey's Brew Pub & Restaurant for the "Hot Stove Show" on 105.7 The Fan.
"He's a nice guy to add with an option. He would have been in the big leagues for us probably the last two years if we had kept him. You're always looking for a guy like him."
Verrett was 3-8 with a 5.20 ERA and 1.560 WHIP this year in 35 games (12 starts) over 91 2/3 innings with the Mets, and he averaged 4.2 walks per nine innings. However, he registered a 2.84 ERA in 23 games out of the bullpen. He was 1-6 with a 6.45 ERA and 1.617 WHIP in 12 starts.
Verrett's most difficult stretch came in August, when he posted a 13.50 ERA and 2.206 WHIP in three starts. He allowed 17 runs and 17 hits in 11 1/3 innings, with eight walks and four home runs.
* Of all the changes made in the new Collective Bargaining Agreement, Showalter figures to especially approve of the 10-day disabled list. He's often cited how he wishes Major League Baseball had the same seven-day DL as the minors. He'll gladly take 10.
It's been a source of frustration for Showalter that some of his pitchers and position players have been forced onto the 15-day DL despite projections that they'd be available sooner, the moves made because the Orioles couldn't keep going day-to-day with a short roster.
Showalter also has opposed the All-Star Game determining home field advantage in the World Series, so he'll approve of the switch back to best regular season record between the pennant winners. Unfortunately, the rosters will remain at 25 players before September expansion. Showalter would have celebrated an increase to 26.
* The Orioles haven't started to interview candidates for assistant hitting coach and minor league pitching coordinator, but they're getting closer as lists are finalized.
Showalter said there are "three to four" candidates lined up for Mark Quinn's replacement and "three to five" for Rick Peterson's replacement.
"Nothing's imminent," Showalter said, "but we're moving."
* The Orioles announced this morning that FanFest tickets went on sale today. Autograph vouchers go on sale Jan. 18, with the annual event held Jan. 28 at the Convention Center.
Tickets are available online at www.orioles.com/fanfest, via phone at 1-888-848-BIRD, at the Camden Yards box office and at the Official Team Store at the York Galleria in York, Pa. Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children 14 and under, and adults 60 and over. On the day of the event, FanFest tickets will be sold at the Convention Center and the Camden Yards box office, depending on availability.
All 2016 Season Plan Members will receive an offer for complimentary FanFest tickets via email, which can be redeemed through their online My Orioles Tickets Account.
The Orioles' autograph policy for FanFest will duplicate the policy of the last several years and is designed to support youth charitable endeavors through OriolesREACH, as well as enhance the fan experience with shortened wait times. Children 4-14 will have a specially designated Kids Only player autograph station which is free of charge and will operate continuously throughout the day. All other autograph stations will require the advance purchase of autograph vouchers.
Complimentary parking is available in Lot B/C at Camden Yards.
FanFest will be held from 11 a.m.-6 p.m. on Jan. 28, with early entry for Orioles Season Plan Members beginning at 10 a.m. as part of the Orange Carpet Program.