Notes on Hank Peters, speed-up rules and free agent outfielders

Checking in on a few Orioles and baseball topics this morning:

Hank Peters’ passing: The Orioles lost a treasured family member and team Hall of Famer Sunday when former general manager Hank Peters died Sunday morning. The O’s GM from 1975-87, Peters built the Orioles’ last World Series-winning team in 1983.

A few times over the years, I had a chance to meet Mr. Peters and found him to be every bit the gentleman everyone said he was. What a polite and nice man, who managed to stay that way in a tough business where a calm and relaxed demeanor is not always the norm.

If young Orioles fans can appreciate the team’s current management of Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter, they should take some time to learn of the club’s long and proud past where men like Frank Cashen, Paul Richards, Harry Dalton and Lee MacPhail, to name just a few, joined Mr. Peters over the years to produce a team that Baltimore could be proud of and embrace.

The speed-up rules: According to this story by Jon Paul Morosi of FOXSports.com, Major League Baseball officials will not implement a 20-second pitch clock during the 2015 season. Officials are looking at ways to speed up the game and a pitch clock was used in some Arizona Fall League games. We could still see a pitch clock in the future, however.

Morosi writes that MLB will likely implement a rule that batters must keep one foot in the batter’s box between pitches with a few exceptions and that they will take a further look at the home plate collision rule.

The next outfielder: If - and this is a big if - the O’s decision comes downs to signing free agent outfielder Nori Aoki or Colby Rasmus, it seems like that is a decision between adding on-base capability, which the team lacks, and power, which it doesn’t lack.

Aoki has a three-year big league career batting average of .287 and OBP of .353 but little power. Rasmus has power but a career average of .246 with an OBP of .313.

baseballs-in-bin-sidebar.jpgPerhaps part of a decision, should it come down to it, between these two players, is that Rasmus reportedly could be signed to a one-year deal while Aoki could get a two-year contract.

Does one year really make that much difference?

It could for the Orioles, when you consider the possibility the club could lose as many as 11 pending free agents after the 2015 season. Maybe some fans don’t want to consider this possibility right now, but the club could be in some sort of rebuilding mode after this year if they lose too many players. Plenty of talent should remain, but some retooling and/or rebuilding could be in order. So maybe not going beyond a 2015 contract for an outfielder is a consideration with so much uncertain on the roster after the coming season.

Also perhaps a one-year deal means the club leaves an outfield spot open in 2016 if a minor league prospect like Dariel Alvarez or Mike Yastrzemski proves ready at that point for a big league job.

In this case, the club may be considering more than just what we all can see on the stat sheet.

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