The Orioles are continuing negotiations with pitcher Yovani Gallardo on a three-year contract. As expected, the talks have moved into the weekend. Don’t say that I didn’t warn you.
More details are being worked out, including the possibility of an option. I’ll repeat that it looks encouraging, but nothing is imminent.
Meanwhile, it’s interesting how the Orioles retain interest in three hitters who aren’t exactly carbon copies.
Dexter Fowler and Jay Bruce would play right field. However, Fowler is a potential leadoff hitter with a career .363 on-base percentage. Bruce has a career .319 on-base percentage, but he averages 30 home runs over a 162-game season and would bat lower in the order.
Where Manny Machado hits would be dictated by the Orioles’ ability to sign Fowler or trade for Bruce.
Agent Scott Boras is convinced that Pedro Alvarez can be a competent first baseman, but the Orioles are set on keeping Chris Davis across the diamond from Machado. They also seem reluctant to make Mark Trumbo the regular right fielder. I’m wondering how Alvarez would fit as the primary designated hitter.
There’s no denying that Alvarez has sick power and could be a beast at Camden Yards. He’s just not an obvious fit with Davis and Trumbo on the roster. I’d need the Orioles to talk me through it.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette talked about Fowler on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan.
“Fowler’s a pretty good ballplayer,” Duquette said. “He’s developed into a good player the last couple years. He’s a really good right-handed hitter and he’s a center fielder by trade, so he’s got the tools. He throws good, he runs good. He hit a home run in the playoffs, too, so he’s got a lot of good qualities.”
Dariel Alvarez may have improved his stock by going 11-for-24 with five RBIs in the Caribbean Series. He’ll get a serious look in right field if the Orioles don’t add another outfielder.
“He’s got that power,” Duquette said. “The key thing for him is the strike zone discipline. If he could get a little more disciplined, he could be a good major league hitter.”
“I think you’re going to see a little calmer, ‘OK, I can do this. It’s a big jump from Triple-A, but I’ve got some skills,’” said manager Buck Showalter. “It’s very easy for us to forget what a quality year that Dariel had at Norfolk last year. I think once the game kind of slows down and his brain slows down with his body, you’re going to see a pretty good player. I’m looking forward to him have a big spring.”
* The Orioles made the hiring of Joe McIlvaine official last night. He’s been named senior advisor of player personnel.
According to the Orioles, McIlvaine will “advise the executive team at the major league level and on scouting, with a strong focus on this year’s draft.”
McIlvaine began his career as a territorial scout for the Orioles from 1974-1976. He served as the Mets executive vice president of baseball operations from July 1993-July 1997. He most recently served as Mariners special assistant to the general manager for four seasons after spending the previous 14 years with the Twins, holding the title of special assistant to the general manager since 2000.
Duquette worked with McIlvaine in Milwaukee.
“He’s a good executive and he can help us educate young scouts. And he’s a good role model for the executives,” Duquette said.
“He’s just a good person and he’s got a lot of experience. Has had a very successful career as a talent evaluator.”
* Former Orioles reliever Tommy Hunter has signed a one-year, $2 million deal with the Indians.
The Orioles never made an effort to sign Hunter after trading him to the Cubs on July 31 for outfielder Junior Lake, who’s no longer in the organization. He was 21-20 with a 4.22 ERA and 15 saves in parts of five seasons with the Orioles.
Hunter certainly was open to a return, but it wasn’t in the cards.
* Triple-A Norfolk and Norfolk State University will play an exhibition game on April 5 at 5:45 p.m. at Harbor Park. Gates will open at 5 p.m.
All advance tickets must be purchased through NSU. Tickets will be available at the NSU Ticket Center on campus or the athletics business office in Joseph Echols Hall beginning Feb. 22. Tickets will also be on sale at the home NSU baseball games beginning Feb. 20.
All seats are general admission, with prices of $7 for adults and $5 for children. All ticket proceeds from the contest benefit the NSU baseball program.
Fans can purchase tickets the day of the game at the Harbor Park ticket office.
Shameless plug alert: I’m appearing on “Wall to Wall Baseball” today from noon-2 p.m. on MASN. I’ll also be taping an episode of “Take Me Out to the Ballgame.”