Notes on Dauer, Sardiñas and Wilkerson

Rich Dauer finally made it back to the World Series.

Dauer is completing his third season as the Astros first base coach and infield instructor. He broke into the majors with the Orioles in 1976 and spent his entire playing career in the organization, retiring after the 1985 season.

The Orioles inducted Dauer into their Hall of Fame in 2012.

Dauer was the starting second baseman on the last championship team in Baltimore in 1983. A much happier ending than the 1979 World Series, which also included Dauer, a career .180 hitter in the postseason.

The average tends to drop when a player goes a combined 2-for-25 in two Championship Series, though Dauer deserves credit for striking out only once. Also, Dauer batted .294 (5-for-17) with a double and home run in the ‘79 Series, when the Orioles blew a 3-1 lead in games and lost to the Pirates.

Dauer was given consideration for the Orioles third base coaching job before they hired Bobby Dickerson on Dec. 13, 2012. Dickerson was promoted from minor league infield coordinator.

Other candidates included Brian Graham, Steve Smith, Don Wakamatsu, Jim Riggleman, Mike Quade and Joey Cora.

Orioles bags.jpgDauer was on an early list of names, but he never heard from the Orioles following his dismissal as Rockies third base coach. He accepted an offer to manage Double-A San Antonio, an affiliate in the Padres organization, as the replacement for John Gibbons, who began his second stint with the Blue Jays.

I talked to Dauer at the Winter Meetings about his interest in rejoining the Orioles. Feel free to check it out here or just take my word for it.

Dauer is a great example of how organizations need to remain patient with their prospects. The 24th overall pick in the 1974 draft and winner of the International League batting title in 1976, Dauer collected only four hits in 39 at-bats after a September call-up and went 1-for-41 to start the 1977 season.

The Orioles kept him on the major league roster, he went 15-for-31 to begin the month of June and a career was born.

Manager Buck Showalter would point out that Dauer’s defense allowed the Orioles to hold onto him. Showalter frequently mentions how rookies can gain trust and more opportunities by fielding their position.

Dauer set American League records in 1978 for consecutive errorless games (86) and chances (425).

* Luis Sardiñas remains a candidate for the utility job in 2018.

The Orioles re-signed Sardiñas, 24, as he was approaching minor league free agency. He stays in the organization.

The Padres and Orioles placed Sardiñas on waivers over the summer. The Orioles claimed him on May 24 and outrighted him two days later. They wanted to improve their infield depth with Ryan Flaherty on the disabled list.

Sardiñas had a 163/.226/.163 slash line in 29 games with the Padres before he changed teams, and he’s a career .229/.278/.293 hitter in parts of four major league seasons. Already in his fifth organization, Sardiñas batted .319/.348/.419 with 10 doubles, three triples, five home runs and 30 RBIs in 83 games with Triple-A Norfolk.

Flaherty is entering free agency and someone needs to fill the utility role. Sardiñas has played all four infield positions, with most of his experience at shortstop, an important consideration for the Orioles. He also has limited exposure to left and center field.

Being a switch-hitter also could work in his favor, though defense matters the most.

Meanwhile, the Red Sox re-signed outfielder Aneury Tavárez, according to the list published by Baseball America. The Orioles selected Tavárez, in the Rule 5 draft, but elected to keep outfielder Anthony Santander.

Tavárez, batted .377/.473/.475 in 18 games with Double-A Portland and .244/.292/.400 in 33 games with Triple-A Pawtucket. The Orioles could use his speed in the system and tried to work out a trade with the Red Sox.

Executive vice president Dan Duquette noted Cedric Mullins’ presence as a primary reason why the Orioles were reluctant to meet the Red Sox’s asking price. They felt that Mullins had a similar skill set to Tavárez.

“Obviously, we liked Tavárez. We drafted him,” Duquette said in April. “I can tell you under different circumstances, we might have given up more in the trade to acquire him, but we were so impressed with Cedric Mullins, coming into spring training and doing what he did, that we have him in Double-A and we can take a look at him. And he might be able to do the job that we had in mind for Aneury Tavárez later in the season. You never know.”

Hamstring injuries kept Mullins in Double-A, but he’s still a highly regarded prospect who could reach the majors next summer. One person in the organization recently said that Mullins is exactly the type of player that the Orioles need on their roster because of the tools that he offers.

* Steve Wilkerson played shortstop yesterday for Salt River in the Arizona Fall League, an important switch from second base as the Orioles evaluate his utility skills.

The bat continues to play.

Wilkerson went 2-for-3 with a double, RBI, walk and two runs scored in an 8-2 win over Scottsdale. He’s gone 8-for-18 with a double and two triples in his last five games to raise his average to .355.

Jesus Liranzo pitched a scoreless inning to lower his ERA to 11.57, but he walked three batters.

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