There’s a guessing game attached to the bits of information that filter out of the Orioles organization in the winter. We know the areas of need. We just don’t always know the players under consideration.
Manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president Dan Duquette met for more than an hour Thursday and a specific right fielder was a topic of conversation. The name remains a secret.
“Dan’s already been talking to him about offers and physicals,” Showalter said. “We’re down the road real deep on a lot of guys.”
The Orioles want a left-handed bat to at least platoon in right, ideally someone who can back up Adam Jones in center. How it impacts Austin Hays, Joey Rickard and Anthony Santander would play out in spring training.
Jarrod Dyson remains a possibility for the Orioles, according to sources. They’ve checked his medicals and he’s still in the picture.
Dyson, 33, underwent season-ending sports hernia surgery in September after the Mariners placed him on the disabled list a month earlier with a right groin strain. He appeared in 111 games and batted .251/.324/.350 with 13 doubles, three triples, five home runs, 30 RBIs and 28 stolen bases in 35 attempts.
Four seasons of 30-plus steals with the Royals bring an obvious appeal to a team that routinely ranks last in the majors. He plays all three outfield spots, though he’s made only 38 appearances and 36 starts in right. And there’s a sense within the industry that he isn’t necessarily pushing for an everyday role.
He’s never appeared in more than 120 games. Coming off the bench isn’t an issue.
With a career .267 average against right-handers and a .215 average against lefties, Dyson would fit in a platoon and also enable Showalter to provide more rest for Jones. Dyson received only 63 plate appearances versus left-handers in 2017 and batted .145/.230/.145. He hit .271/.342/.388 in 327 plate appearances against right-handers.
MLBTradeRumors.com projected in early November that Dyson would receive a two-year, $12 million contract from the Pirates. They don’t seem to be in buyer’s mode at the moment.
Duquette spoke to the Royals about Dyson last winter before he was traded to the Mariners, who needed a replacement for Seth Smith. In one of those interesting baseball twists, the Orioles had acquired Smith for pitcher Yovani Gallardo.
The Orioles got to know Dyson a little during the 2014 American League Championship Series, his chirping at their dugout becoming an irritant. The four-game sweep didn’t improve their collective mood.
Dyson’s defense and speed make it easier to move past those hard feelings. He would be a useful player if they’re sold on his health.
The Royals drafted Dyson in the 50th round in 2006 out of Southwest Mississippi Community College.
Rickard will be challenged to make the club out of spring training because he bats from the right side and Santander, a switch-hitter, retains Rule 5 status for the first 44 days of the season. He played in 111 games last summer and posted a .241/.276/.345 slash line. The Orioles can option him if they don’t have room.
“He’s very much in the picture,” Showalter said last week on 105.7 The Fan. “Joey’s a guy who’s always found a way to work into the picture and he’s a trustworthy guy.”