The short answer is “no.”
The longer answer is “definitely no.”
Rodgers, 29, is one of those depth moves that flood the offseason transactions wire. He’s going to be invited to spring training, just like the majority of the players signed to minor league deals. But the Orioles would like to land a veteran and are willing to offer a major league contract.
The money has to be right, of course.
A reunion with Andrew Cashner remains a possibility. He’s one of the free agents under consideration. And the market remains the most likely source for pitching rather than a trade.
An elbow injury that led to Tommy John surgery in May 2017 kept Rodgers off the mound for more than a year. He’s made eight appearances in the majors with the Astros, including one start, and allowed 23 runs and 22 hits with 10 walks and four home runs surrendered over 13 1/3 innings.
The Astros selected Rodgers in the third round of the 2012 draft out of Arizona State University, the latest connection to Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias. He’s averaged only 1.7 walks per nine innings in eight seasons, was 12-4 with a 2.86 ERA and 1.152 WHIP in 22 starts with Triple-A Fresno in 2016 and allowed only two runs with one walk and 11 strikeouts in 16 1/3 innings with the Grizzlies in 2017 prior to his surgery.
Rodgers can compete for a spot in the rotation or make his starts at Triple-A Norfolk, where it might be getting crowded if you factor in Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer, Bruce Zimmermann, Alex Wells, Zac Lowther and perhaps Michael Baumann and Cody Sedlock. And let’s not forget Luis Ortiz, Tom Eshelman, Chandler Shepherd and Ty Blach, who have been outrighted to Norfolk and are expected to be at major league camp.
Can’t keep them all in the International League.
The Orioles tossed another catcher into the mix by signing Taylor Davis, 30, to a minor league deal. Also a crowded position in camp with Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns, Bryan Holaday, Martin Cervenka and Adley Rutschman.
Davis also is depth and provides insurance in case of injury.
The Marlins selected Davis in the 49th round of the 2008 First-Year Player Draft and the Cubs signed him in June 2011, the latest connection to manager Brandon Hyde. And yes, he’s got a knack for finding and staring into the television camera.
I’m guessing that the Orioles are more interested in his positive grades framing pitches and ability to also play the infield corners.
Tommy Birch of the Des Moines Register first reported the agreement with Davis back on Jan. 15. I missed it, but yeah, he was right.
* Elias was the featured speaker last night at the Delmarva Shorebirds Hot Stove Banquet. He confirmed that Rutschman will be invited to major league camp and said the organization hasn’t decided whether to assign him to Delmarva or high Single-A Frederick.
“I think we’re going to see how his spring goes,” Elias said. “You look at high college position-player picks, they typically would start at high A, but we’re going to react to what we see from him in spring training.
“Really excited to see what he looks like. He went through a lot last year with the whole No. 1 pick experience and had mono right after we signed him and he went through three levels and it was a whirlwind. I know he’s been working hard all winter and he’s looking forward to having a full, normal spring training and a full season, so we’re really psyched about seeing what he looks like.”
Elias also said he wouldn’t rule out Yusniel Diaz, the outfield prospect acquired from the Dodgers in the Manny Machado trade, playing in the majors this summer.
Elias said Diaz would have reached Triple-A if not for a quadriceps injury and again will be a “big part” of spring training.
A fan asked whether the Birdland Caravan will stop at the Eastern Shore next year.
“I’m your caravan,” Elias replied, drawing laughter from the crowd.
“I would love to bring it here. This is something we started new. I think it’s a great idea. Instead of you guys coming to us, it’s fun to come to you sometimes, so I will personally make sure we have an Eastern Shore stop next year. How’s that?”
Cue the ovation.