xml:space="preserve">

According to the latest list of minor league signings on the Baseball America Web site, the Colorado Rockies and Toronto Blue Jays have agreed to terms with four former Orioles minor leaguers – two with each team.

The biggest name on the list, from an Orioles perspective, is Brandon Fahey. The 28-year-old middle infielder hit .224 with two home runs and 36 RBIs in 189 games, spanning three seasons, in the major leagues. Last season, he batted .226 with no home runs and 12 RBIs in 58 games for the Orioles. Fahey signed a minor league contract with the Blue Jays. He also received an invitation to spring training.

Advertisement

In the discussion about Fahey's signing, Baseball America talks about the different shortstops that the Orioles used in 2008:

Not a team afraid to take chances on discarded shortstops -- think Royce Clayton, Pedro Lopez, Hector Luna, Ray Olmedo, Danny Sandoval, Jason Smith and Jorge Velandia just from the past two seasons -- the Blue Jays now have signed Fahey, part of the '08 Orioles' five-headed monster at shortstop. The other four: Freddie Bynum, Juan Castro, Alex Cintron and Luis Hernandez. (Just think about that the next time you pity your favorite team's assembled depth at a particular position.)

The Blue Jays also agreed to terms on a minor league deal with left-handed pitcher Rommie Lewis Jr., who pitched for the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2008. Lewis was 1-6 with a 3.41 ERA in 38 appearances (five starts) for the Baysox last season. He had 63 strikeouts and 26 walks in 66 innings.

The Orioles selected the 26-year-old left-hander in the fourth round of the 2001 MLB draft. Lewis pitched in the Orioles' minor league system for the first seven seasons of his professional career. He didn't pitch in 2005, and spent three years with the Single-A Frederick Keys – 2003, 2004 and 2006.

Overall, Lewis was 13-30 with a 3.64 ERA in 252 games (37 starts) in the Orioles' minor league system. I was always impressed with the 6-foot-6, 203-pound pitcher's stuff, but it's probably best that he hooked on with another organization. Lewis is getting older, and the Orioles have an influx of young pitchers who are ready to take his spot.

The Rockies agreed to minor league deals with two players who played for a brief period in the Orioles' minor league system.

Mike McCoy, who the St. Louis Cardinals selected in the 34th round of the 2002 MLB draft, played in 53 games for the Triple-A Norfolk Tides last season. The 27-year-old utility player hit .276 with two home runs and 16 RBIs for the Tides. He had six stolen bases and 25 runs scored.

Ruddy Yan split time between the Tides and Baysox during the 2007 season. He batted .149 in 14 games for the Tides before being demoted to Double-A. In 98 games for the Baysox, the 27-year-old outfielder hit .263 with three home runs and 22 RBIs. Yan played in nine games with Veracruz in the Mexican League last season.

The biggest non-Orioles name on Baseball America's latest list of transactions, in my opinion, is former Tampa Bay Rays outfielder Jonny Gomes, who recently agreed to a minor league deal with the Cincinnati Reds. I'll never forget watching the 28-year-old outfielder hit one of the longest home runs that I've ever seen in person at Camden Yards against the Orioles on Opening Day in 2006.

His best season was in 2005, when the 6-foot-1, 205-pound right-handed hitter batted .282 with 21 home runs and 54 RBIs. The Reds are a little thin in the outfield, so don't be surprised if Gomes rejuvenates his career in the National League Central.

Advertisement
Advertisement
Advertisement