Taking a few wrong turns

Trying to predict moves in an unpredictable world is advised only if you're not putting down money. And I'm really talking about the baseball offseason.

I get my share right. I also get some wrong.

And sometimes I'm just a little surprised.

I thought the Orioles would have no interest in bringing back Jonathan Villar, simply choosing to move on from a player they traded in December 2019, but they've spoken to his agent. A reunion remains a possibility.

Villar-Pointing-White-vs-NYY-Sidebar.jpgVillar obviously could play shortstop with José Iglesias gone and also move to second base, where Yolmer Sánchez is a better defender but lacking with the bat. It sounds like a reverse of the previous arrangement with the Orioles, when Villar played second base but also worked in a platoon with Richie Martin at shortstop.

Or does it only seem backward because I'm looking at its reflection in a mirror?

I thought that I'd be more familiar with the new third base coach, but I'll admit that I knew virtually nothing about Tony Mansolino before his hiring.

Guess I wasn't paying attention to the Indians' reshuffling last year due to manager Terry Francona'a health issues.

Mansolino was a coach and manager in the Indians farm system and had been infield coordinator in 2020. Can you name all of them throughout baseball?

I expected the Orioles to sign a veteran starting pitcher or two to minor league contracts. It could still happen, but they have major league offers on the table to multiple starters.

Kohl Stewart was the only pitcher signed to a major league contract last year, paying him $800,000 if he made the roster.

Time will tell whether I was right or wrong. So far I'm just a little surprised, though no one in the organization stated that only minor league deals would be available for pitching.

I thought the Orioles would protect no more than four players in the Rule 5 draft.

Six was a stunner.

I thought the Orioles would non-tender more than one player (Hanser Alberto) at the deadline.

In fairness to me, they designated Renato Núñez for assignment and released him. I assumed he also would be a non-tender.

Pat Valaika was a strong possibility given his $1.1 million projection as a utility player. His new deal pays $875,000 if he's in the majors and $300,000 if he's in the minors.

I assumed that the Fernando Abad ship sailed after the Orioles' offer was rejected at the 2019 Winter Meetings, but they got him on a minor league deal last month.

He didn't pitch in the majors in 2020. The Orioles will give him a chance to do it in '21.

I tuned into a "Trolls" cartoon early Friday morning while babysitting my granddaughter and thought it would be a show about my Twitter feed.

Imagine my surprise.

I knew that the Orioles hadn't dismissed the idea of selecting two players in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft, but I would have bet on only one.

I thought Jason Bartlett was a superior defensive shortstop to J.J. Hardy when the Orioles were trying to make a trade at the 2010 Winter Meetings. And I kept writing it.

(Sorry, this is an old one.)

I thought the Yasiel Puig rumors would die down after the summer.

What is this, my first offseason?

Schwarber has "chip on my shoulder" as he arrives ...
Notes on Mansolino, shifts and potential shortstop...

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