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No. 5 in the Top 9 and some free agent talk

Once again, I find myself promoting the MLB Network’s Prime 9 program that airs tonight at 8 p.m., but only because of another Orioles connection. The top 9 third basemen in baseball history will be featured, and yes, Brooks Robinson is included. As if he could possibly be omitted. I don’t know where he’s ranked, but he’ll be joined by Mike Schmidt, George Brett and

Allenson’s return to Norfolk

Is Gary Allenson disappointed that he’s not part of manager Buck Showalter’s coaching staff? “That’s an understatement,” he says. Allenson was bypassed for the job of third base coach and catching instructor, losing out to former Pirates manager John Russell. He accepted the offer to return to Triple-A Norfolk as manager, assuring that he’ll remain in the organization for one more season. Allenson contacted new

Raffy on HOF ballot

The 2011 Hall of Fame ballot has been released, and former Orioles first baseman Rafael Palmeiro is on it. Working in his favor: Palmeiro, Hank Aaron, Willie Mays and Eddie Murray are the only players in baseball history with 3,000 hits and 500 home runs. Aaron, Mays and Murray are in the Hall of Fame. Working against him: That failed test for performance-enhancing drugs in

Minor matters

The Orioles might announce their minor league coaching staffs this week. See, I just copied a past entry and inserted the words “minor league.” No heavy lifting. It appears that they’re waiting to hire a manager at short-season Single-A Aberdeen, with Gary Kendall moving up to Double-A Bowie. Former Baysox manager Brad Komminsk will serve as hitting coach at Triple-A Norfolk, where Gary Allenson will

Leading you on

Who bats leadoff if Brian Roberts is injured again? It’s a question that keeps popping up here, and I’ve been responding that the Orioles could turn to whichever player is acquired as a backup. Felix Pie also would be an option if his anger management classes let out early enough. It’s impossible to know for sure in late November, but the Orioles need to find

Pie’s tantrum on tape

Video of Felix Pie’s meltdown in a Dominican Winter League game is surfacing all over the place, so I may as well join the party and post it here, in case you’ve missed it. Pie was called out at first base on a pickoff and had to be restrained by an Estrellas coach as he attempted to jump into the umpire’s chest and take up

J.J. Hardy remains SS option for O’s

Major League Baseball announced today that the Chiba Lotte Marines accepted the Minnesota Twins’ bid for middle infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka. Various reports place the Twins’ bid at $5 to $5.3 million. The Orioles scouted Nishioka and had some interest, but decided against bidding on him because of the cost. The Twins have 30 days to sign Nishioka. The millions currently invested only give them the

Reynolds vs. Bartlett

The bad part about cooking up a steak for dinner yesterday is I don’t have any leftovers this morning. Cold stuffing is one of my favorites. I hope everyone has recovered from their food binge and enjoyed their time with family and friends. If your ears are chilled, it’s from sticking your head in the refrigerator one too many times. I’ve been there, done that.

Thanksgiving appetizers

I want to wish everyone a Happy Thanksgiving. Please be safe if you’re traveling or reaching for another drumstick. Those candles can burn pretty hot. Let me know if, about three-fourths of the way through your meal, someone at your table blurts out, “The cranberry sauce!” and races for the kitchen. I’ve seen it happen. I’m thankful for my loving and supportive family, a daughter

Orioles could add another coach

Major League Baseball places a limit on the number of uniformed coaches that each team can carry, but manager Buck Showalter indicated that the club might add someone who could assist in breaking down any potential language barriers. Showalter wouldn’t specify whether this coach would be an eye-in-the-sky, saying that he didn’t want to get ahead of himself. “That’s one of the things we talked

Showalter time

The Orioles made manager Buck Showalter available on a conference call earlier this morning. Now he can change his phone number. Showalter conceded that the process of building his staff took much longer than anticipated. It’s the elephant in the room. You can’t ignore it. At least you don’t have to clean up after this one. “I think ‘process’ is a good word,” he said.

The Koji decision

I’ll begin my morning with my annual rant about how this business has changed for the worse, and how it becomes most evident this time of the year. Multiple reports state that the Yankees made an offer to free-agent Cliff Lee. Someone else tweets that it’s not true. One person can’t confirm it, but still runs with it. Someone else tweets that it’s not true.

Orioles won’t offer Koji arbitration (and coaches are done)

The Orioles have decided not to offer arbitration to reliever Koji Uehara, and they’re leaning toward the same outcome with starter Kevin Millwood. The club can still negotiate with both pitchers and attempt to re-sign them at a later date. Part of this process for the Orioles is figuring out whether a player will decline the offer, which would allow the club to receive a

Martinez coming off the board?

Reports have surfaced that the Tigers are close to inking catcher/first baseman Victor Martinez to a four-year, $50 million deal. Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports tweets - ugh - his confirmation right here. The Orioles, according to Ignacio Serrano of El Nacional, offered Martinez $48 million over four years. I just got confirmation on it from an industry source, but not someone within the organization.

Arbitration deadline looming

So, does anyone else think that Brian Billick is the obvious choice to replace Brad Childress in Minnesota? He was the Vikings’ offensive coordinator from 1992 to 1998. They set the NFL record for most points scored in one season in ‘98. He’s got a history there. Billick isn’t good at developing quarterbacks, but that’s fine. The Vikings don’t have one. I won 10 games

Two former O’s in NL MVP Top 10

Giants first baseman Aubrey Huff, who didn’t have a lot of suitors when he filed for free agency last year, placed seventh in the voting for the National League’s Most Valuable Player. Reds first baseman Joey Votto received 31 of a possible 32 first-place votes to easily win the award. One writer gave Cardinals first baseman Albert Pujols the other first-place vote and chose Votto

The impact of Boras on Britton

I’m not expecting much to happen this week because of the Thanksgiving holiday. Not that our heads have been spinning from all the activity up to this point. We might get an announcement on the coaching staff, but how many times can I pull back the football and watch you flip in the air and land on your back before I start to feel the

Make-or-break for Mickolio?

It’s a sleepy Sunday in the Kubatko household, mainly because I didn’t get home from the Maryland-FSU game until 2 a.m. That tailgate traffic leaving the stadium is brutal, and I wasn’t even tailgating. Maryland officials wouldn’t let me fire up the grill in the press box. I’m not going to reveal my breakout spring training player at this early date, but you have to

O’s in the AFL

The Scottsdale Scorpions defeated the Peoria Javelinas, 3-2, for the Arizona Fall League championship. Please don’t overturn any cars. The Orioles didn’t contribute much to the win. Kam Mickolio had the most value to Scottsdale with a scoreless fifth inning. He allowed one hit. Greg Miclat was a late replacement at second base and didn’t bat. Caleb Joseph struck out in his only at-bat after

This, that and the other

Before heading to the gym and, later, the Maryland-Florida State football game... It’s become a yearly tradition that the Orioles consider pursuing free-agent pitcher Jon Garland. I think we’re up to three straight where his name comes up and talks are held at the winter meetings. Garland priced himself out of Baltimore two winters ago. He went 14-12 with a 3.47 ERA for San Diego

Quick coaching update (and 40-man update)

There’s a good chance that the Orioles will finalize their coaching staff by Monday or Tuesday. The club has four of the coaches under contract: Jim Presley, Mark Connor, Wayne Kirby and Rick Adair. John Russell is close. It’s just a matter of completing some paperwork. It still hasn’t been determined whether Russell will serve as bench coach or third base coach. Again, it depends

Addressing a few rumors

I’m typing this entry over the sound of my dishwasher, which seems to run for hours on the normal cycle. I can’t imagine how long it would go on “heavy wash.” I’m thinking days. The Orioles aren’t likely to bid on Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka, despite reports coming out of Japan. Don’t believe everything you read - and that includes the translated stuff. Again, the

Cleaning out my notebook

Did I really take Miami - 1 ½ with Tyler Thigpen at quarterback? There must be a gas leak in my house. That could explain the chirping smoke detectors. I was hoping to clean out my notebook this morning, but there isn’t much left that we haven’t already discussed. I was told late Monday night that the coaching situation could be resolved by the end

Gabino, Hughes come off 40-man

Reliever Armando Gabino and first baseman Rhyne Hughes cleared waivers and were outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. Gabino appeared in five games for the Orioles, allowing seven earned runs in 4 2/3 innings. He went 7-0 with a 2.37 ERA and two saves at Norfolk. Hughes hit .213 with four RBIs in 14 games with the Orioles, and .258 with 10 homers and 39 RBIs in

An update and the 40-man

At this hour, the Orioles still don’t have a signed contract from John Russell, who would serve as bench coach or third base coach, but they don’t anticipate any snags that would still leave two vacancies. This one should get done. Willie Randolph and Bobby Dickerson remain two of the strongest candidates to fill the final spot. The last I heard, Randolph was regarded as

Interest in De la Rosa and Beltre

These mornings roll around much too fast in my household. The Thanksgiving holiday can’t come soon enough. School’s are closed for the entire week. I shall rejoice. Reports keep surfacing that the Orioles are actively pursuing Rockies left-hander Jorge de la Rosa. Troy Renck uses the word “aggressive” in his tweet. I’m aggressively trying to avoid using the word “tweet,” but it’s unavoidable. As so

Showalter shut out

Ron Gardenhire has been named the American League’s Manager of the Year, finishing ahead of Ron Washington by 27 points. Buck Showalter didn’t receive a single vote. He was a little late jumping into the pool. Here are the results: Ron Gardenhire, Minnesota Twins 108 Ron Washington, Texas Rangers 81 Joe Maddon, Tampa Bay Rays 44 Terry Francona, Boston Red Sox 13 Cito Gaston, Toronto

Showalter’s chances in Manager of Year voting

If you play Japanese Fantasy Baseball, former Orioles pitcher Hayden Penn remains eligible for your draft. He re-signed with the Chiba Lotte Marines. Penn was victimized by more bizarre physical setbacks than any player I’ve covered. Three immediately come to mind: Sprained ankle while carrying boxes down steps at spring training, appendectomy, impaled by piece of broken bat. He wasn’t attacked by sharks on Fort

Sarfate headed to Japan?

Former Orioles reliever Dennis Sarfate is currently in negotiations with the Hiroshima Toyo Carp of the Nippon Professional Baseball League and could be taking his professional career in a new direction - one that leads outside the U.S. No deal has been reached, but he’s considering a move to Japan and a fresh start. Sarfate became a minor league free agent and declined a chance

Odds and ends

Earlier today, Phillies right-hander Roy Halladay became the fifth pitcher to win the Cy Young Award in each league, and the 16th multiple winner. Here’s the final voting: Roy Halladay, Philadelphia Phillies 224 Adam Wainwright, St. Louis Cardinals 122 Ubaldo Jimenez, Colorado Rockies 90 Tim Hudson, Atlanta Braves 39 Josh Johnson, Florida Marlins 34 Roy Oswalt, Houston Astros/Philadelphia Phillies 14 Brian Wilson, San Francisco Giants

More on the coaching staff

The National League’s Cy Young winner will be announced this afternoon, so collect the rest of the money in your office pools and get ready. The AL and NL Managers of the Year will be announced tomorrow, followed by the AL Cy Young winner on Thursday, the NL Most Valuable Player on Monday and the AL MVP next Tuesday. Plan accordingly. Following up on yesterday’s

T-Bone joining Brewers

John “T-Bone” Shelby has joined the Milwaukee Brewers organization as an outfield instructor/eye in the sky, according to a team press release. You can read more right here. Shelby was the Orioles’ first base and outfield coach for the last three seasons, but he’ll be replaced by Wayne Kirby. Shelby won’t be in uniform for games. The eye-in-the-sky title, similar to the one Brian Graham

Is Randolph the final coaching piece?

It looks like John Russell is the choice as bench coach, according to a few people I’ve contacted in the organization. But he hasn’t signed a contract, so nothing is official at this point. That would be too simple. The Sun posted a report on its web site earlier this afternoon that manager Buck Showalter had selected Russell after meeting with him Friday at Camden

Feliz top AL rookie

Rangers closer Neftali Feliz was named the American League’s Rookie of the year today in voting conducted by members of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Feliz saved 40 games for the Rangers, a major league record for a rookie. He received 20 first place votes, seven second and one third for a total of 122 points. Tigers outfielder Austin Jackson finished second, followed by

Will Matusz be the AL’s top rookie?

We’ll find out later today whether left-hander Brian Matusz has been voted as the American League’s Rookie of the Year. If baseball handed out second-half awards, he’d be a slam dunk. Matusz finished 10-12 with a 4.30 ERA and led AL rookies with 32 starts, 143 strikeouts and 175 2/3 innings. He ranked second in opponents’ average at .255 and was tied for second in

Burning your fingers on the hot corner

I’m packed and getting ready to head back home after a nice, relaxing, food-filled weekend in Ocean Pines. The general manager meetings - not to be confused with the organizational, owners and winter meetings - take place Tuesday and Wednesday in Orlando. They’re regarded as a primer for the winter meetings. Parameters of deals are discussed and executives vow to resume talks next month. They

More ‘penned up emotions

I’ve emerged from my food coma, though I sense that another one is on the way. These weekends in Ocean Pines don’t come without certain risks. The Sun is reporting that former Pirates manager John Russell interviewed with Buck Showalter yesterday. He could fill the role of bench or third base coach, and he’s a former catcher. It’s another name to toss into the pile.

Showalter still searching

I was checking stats and results from the Dominican Winter League yesterday and noticed that Nerio Rodriguez allowed one unearned run and one hit over six innings in Leones del Escogido’s victory on Wednesday. Yes, that Nerio Rodriguez. There couldn’t possibly be two. Oscar Salazar homered Wednesday for La Guaira of the Venezuelan Winter League. The irony would have come if he connected off Cla

Could two coaching vacancies become three?

The Orioles thought their coaching staff was completed with Juan Samuel returning to third base and Don Wakamatsu taking a seat in the dugout beside manager Buck Showalter, and you know how that scenario turned out. Wakamatsu agreed to become the Blue Jays’ bench coach and Samuel was hired as the Phillies’ third base coach and outfield instructor. Four slots are currently filled, but there

Samuel joins Phillies

The MLB Network just ran a scroll informing viewers that the Phillies have hired Juan Samuel as third base coach and outfield instructor. Outfield? Let me explain. Former Orioles coach and manager Sam Perlozzo will move to the first base box. He’s one of baseball’s most respected infield instructors, which explains why Samuel will be assigned to the outfielders. Samuel was expected to stay in

This, that and the other

I don’t like the Ravens on the road in a short week. I’m just saying... The Mets reportedly are hoping to name a new manager by the winter meetings. The winter meetings? Other teams are making their hires and moving forward, and the Mets keep dragging their feet. Such an embarrassment. Why can’t they be like other organizations. This is Metland! OK, sorry. Actually, frustrated

O’s minor league free agents

You can always count on Baseball America’s Matt Eddy to provide the latest minor league transactions. He compiled a list of all the free agents, which includes 22 members of the Orioles’ organization in 2010: RHP: Jose Diaz (AA), Jose Duran (A), Frank Mata (AAA), Bob McCrory (AA), Jim Miller (AAA), Andy Mitchell (AAA), Josh Perrault (AA), Bruno Sanchez (SS), Dennis Sarfate (AAA) LHP: Chris

Bordick’s waiting like everyone else

I just got off the phone with former shortstop Mike Bordick, one of my all-time favorite players that I’ve covered on the Orioles’ beat. They don’t come much better than him, and you’d be hard-pressed to find a teammate or reporter who would disagree. Would Cal Ripken move to third base for just anyone? Not so fast, Mr. Alexander. Back of the line, Mr. Bell.

Honey, I shrunk the ballpark (updated)

Update: According to a press release, the Orioles and Delaware North Companies Sportservice today announced a 12-year partnership in which the global hospitality management company will provide food, beverage and retail merchandise services at Camden Yards. Sportservice will manage all concessions, catering, dining operations and retail stores and kiosks within the ballpark, including Eutaw St. The Orioles and Sportservice will collaborate on an $11 million

AL Gold Glove winners

You already know that the Orioles were shut out this year. Here are the American League winners: P - Mark Buehrle, Chicago, (2) C - Joe Mauer, Minnesota, (3) 1B - Mark Teixeira, N.Y. (4) 2B - Robinson Cano, N.Y. (1) 3B - Evan Longoria, Tampa Bay, (2) SS - Derek Jeter, N.Y., (5) OF - Carl Crawford, Tampa Bay, (1) OF - Franklin Gutierrez,

Answering the Nishioka question

Or at least trying. Do the Orioles have interest in Japanese infielder Tsuyoshi Nishioka if he’s posted? Yes, they do. Is there a strong chance that they’ll get him? It doesn’t look that way. I guess that counts as two questions. The Chiba Lotte Marines haven’t committed to posting Nishioka, so it could be a moot point, but he wants to come to the U.S.

Will Markakis be a golden newbie? (updated)

Update: I’ll answer my own question right here. No. The Orioles were shut out in the Gold Glove voting. Jason Garrett finally got a head coaching job in the NFL. I guess it was worth passing on the Ravens’ offer. Special thanks to the Bengals receiver who dropped that fourth-down pass last night and ensured that his team would lose by more than 4 ½

No interest in Iwakuma

The Orioles didn’t bid on Japanese pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma, who could end up with the Oakland Athletics. The A’s submitted the winning posting bid, according to an MLB release issued earlier today. They have 30 days to negotiate exclusively with him. Iwakuma had a 2.82 ERA in 201 innings this year. The Orioles scouted him, but the reports apparently weren’t favorable enough for the club

Wakamatsu headed to Toronto

So much for Don Wakamatsu joining manager Buck Showalter’s staff as bench coach. The search continues. Wakamatsu has accepted a job as Toronto’s bench coach, according to a press release issued by the Blue Jays less than an hour ago. You can read it right here. Wakamatsu has pretty much been the only candidate we’ve heard about, so it feels like we’re back to Square

Allenson still in limbo

Former third base coach Gary Allenson still hasn’t decided on his next move. He’s got a standing offer to manage at Triple-A Norfolk, but obviously would prefer a major league job. Allenson has been a first base, third base and bullpen coach in the majors. He’s managed in the minors and worked as a catching coordinator. He’ll benefit whichever organization ends up with him. My

To market, to market...

I woke up this morning and the Orioles still hadn’t signed any free agents. I knew this process would drag along. It’s been more than 24 hours since the market opened...and nothing. Here’s that list again, in case you need a quick refresher. The Orioles’ needs haven’t changed. A big bat for the middle of the order is their No. 1 priority - wherever it

Starting vs. relieving

My interview with Jason Berken last week rekindled the debate over whether a pitcher experiences more strain on his injured or surgically repaired shoulder as a starter or reliever. Berken bypassed surgery and is rehabbing his torn labrum, just as Matt Albers did a few years ago. Troy Patton underwent the surgery. Berken and Albers have been working out of the bullpen. Patton was a

Hoey added to 40-man (updated)

The Orioles made an interesting personnel move today, placing reliever Jim Hoey on the 40-man roster. Gone, but not forgotten. Hoey appeared in 12 games with the Orioles in 2006 and 23 in 2007, going a combined 3-5 with an 8.13 ERA, 23 walks and 24 strikeouts in 34 1/3 innings. He didn’t pitch in 2008 because of a shoulder injury that required an arthroscopic

More reminders of 2010

As I continue to flip through the Orioles’ season-in-review and wonder why, in this version, Nolan Reimold has the bad back and Felix Pie injures his Achilles... (OK, not really) • The Orioles were 29-21 in one-run games, including 12-5 under manager Buck Showalter and an astounding 22-6 at Camden Yards. Minnesota led the AL with 31 one-run victories. Texas had 30. • The Orioles

Reminders about the season

My Orioles postseason media guide just arrived in the mail. Spoiler alert: In this version, they make the playoffs. Flipping through the pages, provided by the Orioles’ first-rate PR staff, I’m reminded that: • The Orioles won 34 games from the start of August through the end of the season, the most since 1996, when they won 35 games on their way to the Division

J.J.’s a Super Two (updated)

Bodog has made the New York Yankees a 4/1 favorite to win the World Series next year. The Giants are 10/1 to repeat. The Orioles are 75/1, but that’s better than five other teams. Of course, you can’t get a true read on a team until Opening Day. Rosters are a long way from being set. New York Yankees 4/1 Philadelphia Phillies 6/1 Boston Red

Mata clears waivers; this and that (updated)

I have a few items to pass along on this rainy day, starting with the sad news that Hall of Fame manager Sparky Anderson died today as a result of complications from dementia. He was 76. RIP Captain Hook. Reliever Frank Mata cleared waivers and was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. He’s taken off the 40-man roster to make room for pitcher Jason Berken, who was

Another chance at LaRoche

Did anyone watch “Modern Family” last night? The smoke detector kept chirping. The guy finally destroys them all with a baton. I could relate. The Orioles are in the market for a first baseman and a bat that can launch baseballs onto the flagcourt. They were interested in Adam LaRoche last winter and made an offer comparable to the one he accepted from the Arizona

Kirby joining staff

An industry source confirmed that Wayne Kirby has agreed to become the Orioles’ first base coach, nearly completing manager Buck Showalter’s staff for 2011. It’s been later rather than sooner, but it’s almost done. The Sun cited a source earlier today while reporting that the Orioles came to terms with Kirby, who also will work with the outfielders. I sought out former manager Mike Hargrove’s

Sad news about Sparky

I’m not sure if anyone saw this story about former manager Sparky Anderson, who’s been placed in hospice care at his Thousand Oaks, Calif. home for complications resulting from dementia. It’s sad to know that Anderson’s life is winding down in this manner. Though he never managed the Orioles, he’s also a vivid part of my childhood sports memories. How many times have we seen

Berken is workin’ on his shoulder

Orioles reliever Jason Berken and his wife, Emily, spent a week in Aruba before returning to their Atlanta home a few days ago. Now the work begins. Berken started an exercise program on Monday as part of his rehab from a torn labrum that ended his season on Aug. 12. He’s strengthening the shoulder in preparation for a throwing program that will begin, as it

Hendrickson’s officially a free agent

That didn’t take long. The Orioles declined to pick up reliever Mark Hendrickson’s option for 2011, which officially makes him their seventh free agent. Hendrickson went 1-6 with a 5.26 ERA in 52 games covering 75 1/3 innings. Hendrickson, 36, wants to return next season. He’s a York, Pa. resident who likes pitching close to home. I won’t say the ship has sailed because I’ve

Next up: free agency

About 12 seconds after the final out was recorded in Game 5 of the World Series, officially ending the 2010 season, the Major League Baseball Players Association released the names of 142 players who had become free agents. Why the holdup? Glaus, Troy 1B AT Hinske, Eric OF AT Lee, Derrek 1B AT Benson, Kris SP AZ Hampton, Mike SP AZ Heilman, Aaron RP AZ

Kranitz officially gone

It’s been rumored and speculated for weeks that Mark Connor would replace Rick Kranitz as pitching coach. The Orioles haven’t made any announcements, but Kranitz today was hired as the Houston Astros’ minor league pitching coordinator. You can check out an article about Kranitz’s new job right here. Kranitz appeared to be a candidate to join Joe Girardi’s staff in New York, but it’s not

Naka...Naka...not gonna be fooled again

That’s it. The joke has finally run its course. As a few readers pointed out - and thanks for the heads-up - Japanese shortstop Hiroyuki Nakajima isn’t being posted, so he can’t come to the U.S. That’s twice that the Seibu Lions’ ownership nixed the idea. I think we can finally end the dance. NPB Tracker sent out another tweet earlier this afternoon that read:

Projected lineup for 2014

As Steve Melewski mentioned in his blog earlier today, Baseball America came out with its Top 10 list of Orioles prospects, and it may or may not surprise you that shortstop Manny Machado is No. 1 without playing a full season of professional ball. Did he play a full week? The rest of the list reads as follows: 1. Manny Machado, ss 2. Zach Britton,

Hargrove offers his opinion on Kirby

I woke up shivering this morning and noticed that my thermostat read 62 degrees. But I will not turn on the heat. I will, however, start wearing a little more clothing to bed. But you don’t really need to know that, do you? Did anyone pick the Giants back in spring training to win the World Series this year? The starting pitching was impressive, but

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