By the end of the week, the Orioles will be required to make further adjustments to their 40-man roster in order to protect players in the Rule 5 draft.
Teams now pay $100,000 to select a player in the major league phase, and he can be offered back to his former organization for half the fee.
I remember when it was $50,000 and $25,000, but the last collective bargaining agreement upped the cost.
Could also explain my increased alcohol consumption, unless that’s COVID related.
The Orioles have seven eligible prospects from MLBPipeline.com’s top 30 organizational rankings:
No. 8: outfielder Yusniel Diaz
No. 9: right-hander Michael Baumann
No. 11: left-hander Zac Lowther
No. 19: left-hander Alexander Wells
No. 25: infielder Rylan Bannon
No. 26: right-hander Cody Sedlock
No. 27: right-hander Brenan Hanifee
The 40-man roster is holding 35 players and more room can be created, but the Orioles aren’t going to protect everyone from the above list. And there are others outside the Top 30, including relievers Isaac Mattson and Zach Pop and infielder Mason McCoy, who must be considered.
Let’s work under the assumption that Diaz, Baumann and Lowther are locks. Maybe we shouldn’t read too much into the exclusion of Wells and Sedlock from the 60-man player pool and fall instructional league, but they’re certainly on the protection bubble.
Sedlock was the 27th overall pick in the 2016 draft, but the previous regime made that call.
If Bannon stays in the organization, he has a chance to compete for a spot on the opening day roster with his ability to play second and third base. The Orioles placed him at the alternate camp site in the first week of September.
The loss of a minor league season complicates the evaluation process for teams considering picks in the Rule 5. However, the possibility of an expanded roster could make it easier to stash a player.
* Shortstop AJ Graffanino squeezed onto MLBPipeline’s rankings as the No. 30 prospect in the Orioles system.
Graffanino was one of the players to be named later in the Tommy Milone trade, and his arrival bumped left-hander Luiz Ortiz to No. 29.
Shortstop Cadyn Grenier, the 37th overall pick in 2018, is no longer ranked.
Hall also plays second base and the Orioles are curious about his outfield skills.
* Left-hander Brian Gonzalez never reached expectations after the Orioles selected him in the third round of the 2014 First-Year Player Draft, and now he’s in the Rockies organization on a minor league deal.
Gonzalez didn’t make it past Double-A and there was some criticism within the Orioles organization after former executive Dan Duquette pushed for the left-hander’s promotion to the Bowie Baysox in the summer of 2018. As if the only purpose was to improve the farm system’s grades by elevating a high draft pick.
Unable to silence the critics, Gonzalez made 18 appearances with the Baysox and registered a 5.69 ERA and 1.636 WHIP in 91 2/3 innings. The Orioles moved him to the bullpen the following year and his WHIP dropped to 1.056 in 41 2/3 innings. Opponents batted .209.
The new regime appeared to have plans for Gonzalez by adding him to the 60-man player pool on Aug. 7. Reliever Richard Bleier was traded to the Marlins. Maybe Gonzalez was viewed as a potential third left-hander in the bullpen.
Or maybe he’d never make it out of the alternate camp site and ultimately sign with the Rockies.
I hear the name “Brian Gonzalez” and immediately think of Ubaldo Jiménez and Nelson Cruz, both signed as free agents and costing the Orioles their first two selections in the 2014 draft. Gonzalez began their first pick out of Archbishop McCarthy (Fla.) High School.
* I finally got around to watching “The Cobra at Twilight,” the MLB Network documentary on former slugger Dave Parker. It only took me a year.
A few things jumped out at me, including how I had no recollection of Parker playing for the Brewers in 1990 - a total brain cramp considering that he made the All-Star team and won a Silver Slugger Award.
(The documentary gives the impression that the Angels were his last team in 1991, but he appeared in 13 games with the Blue Jays in September before retiring.)
There’s the story of a fan at Three Rivers Stadium throwing a battery at Parker, whose five-year, $5 million contract and outspoken nature made him a target. He was subjected to racial slurs and vandalism of his car and home.
There’s also coverage of Parker’s role in the Pittsburgh drug trials and his current battle with Parkinson’s disease. But what really stood out to me involved something that I hadn’t heard about and provided an Orioles angle.
The Pirates were furious at outfielder Pat Kelly for his “little dance” during introductions before Game 5 of the 1979 World Series in Pittsburgh.
We see a smiling Kelly take a step forward and tip his cap. That’s it. Maybe there were a few moves that didn’t make the broadcast. Maybe you’re supposed to be more stoic in a visiting ballpark. But the Pirates actually used it as motivation while battling back from a 3-1 deficit in games.
Parker talked about it. Reliever Kent Tekulve talked about it.
Players even ripped Kelly for arriving at Memorial Stadium for Game 6 wearing a fancy coat and hat. It’s so ridiculous.
“That was just another reason to want to put them in their place,” Tekulve said.
(It’s also a bad look when a Black man is bashed for his clothing, with special emphasis on the hat. A cringe-worthy moment in the documentary.)
Kelly flied out to end the Series and Parker joked about wanting to call him and ask whether he felt like dancing. I never heard about this until now.
I feel strongly that Parker belongs in the Hall of Fame, and that “We Are Family” hasn’t become any less annoying.
* The Orioles have partnered with All Faiths Food Bank to host a turkey distribution at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. on Tuesday beginning at 4 p.m.
The distribution, which includes Thanksgiving groceries and a turkey for each household, will take place in the East Lot and continues while supplies last.
To donate or to learn more about the event, visit AllFaithsFoodBank.org.