Orioles manager Buck Showalter flew into Baltimore yesterday, in case you’re tracking his every move.
Maybe he missed the snow.
As I wrote earlier this week, Showalter is going to meet with managing partner Peter G. Angelos about a variety of topics. He’s not making a special trip to discuss executive vice president Dan Duquette. However, the Blue Jays’ continued interest in Duquette will come up.
The word “compensation” figures to be used during their conversation. It would make a good drinking game.
I’ll say again that the Orioles’ failure to sign Colby Rasmus had nothing to do with Duquette’s interest in the Blue Jays’ job. They weren’t going to pay him more than $7 million and it appeared for a while that Rasmus was agreeable to those terms.
He changed his mind. It happens. You can criticize the Orioles for not upping their offer if you think he’s worth it, but it’s misguided to bring up the Blue Jays. You can’t connect those dots.
As for Nori Aoki, the Orioles didn’t like him as much as Rasmus. Aoki reportedly turned down better offers to sign with the Giants. Period.
I reported the Orioles’ “limited” interest in Aoki before news broke of the Blue Jays’ pursuit of Duquette. I reported on the Orioles’ concerns about Aoki and the Dodgers’ Andre Ethier after talking to sources. Duquette wasn’t one of them.
Duquette receives input from others in the organization. He isn’t flying solo. Always keep that in mind.
I’m not excusing the Orioles’ relative inactivity this winter, just explaining that not every single failure is tied to Duquette and the Blue Jays. It certainly wasn’t a factor last winter when Ryan Webb qualified as the boldest move heading into the minicamp.
We’re back to perception. Just the fact that fans and some people in the industry keep connecting those dots is an issue.
I’ve never been a proponent of making a move just for the sake of doing something, but I’m reaching that point. Unfortunately for the Orioles, there isn’t a Nelson Cruz waiting to fall into their laps this spring. That strategy won’t work.
I’d push hard to make a trade because the remaining free agents don’t look like major upgrades. For example, Nate Schierholtz has been on the Orioles’ radar for the past few years, but he’s got a career .302 on-base percentage and batted .195/.243/.309 last season in a combined 122 games with the Cubs and Nationals.
The 21 home runs with the Cubs in 2013 jump out at you, but he’s never hit more than nine in any other season.
Stop me if you’ve heard this one: The Orioles want a left-handed hitter who can play the outfield corners and rotate into the DH slot. I’m not completely dismissing Schierholtz - the Orioles haven’t because I know some level of interest remains in the warehouse and his appeal grew yesterday after the Rasmus signing - but how many at-bats would you want him receiving as the DH?
Delmon Young really could have a bigger role in 2015, as Duquette indicated after the Orioles re-signed him earlier this month.
It may not make Orioles fans feel any better about the offseason, but the buzz over outfielder Dariel Alvarez seems to grow louder every day. There really are people in the organization who would be fine waiting a little longer and giving him a shot in right field this summer.
The Orioles won’t make a panic move. They’re fully prepared to stand pat before spring training if they can’t find the right deal.
For the sake of their fans, and perception, here’s hoping that they find the right deal.