Some random Orioles thoughts
Matt Antonelli is supposed to have his physical today at Camden Yards. If all goes well – and it is expected to, though this is the Orioles' infamous physical – the infielder's signing will become official and he'll be added to the 40-man roster.
That will make the 40-man full, but that's not a real problem. The Orioles have, in my subjective opinion, eight or nine guys that can be taken off, clear waivers and probably would remain in the organization and report to Triple-A.
So they'll have room to add free agents if they choose to go that way.
One thing they can't do is add any from the organization to the 40-man now. That means pitchers like Tim Bascom and Steve Johnson and position players such as Brandon Waring and Orioles' fans' favorite whipping boy, former first-round pick Billy Rowell, could be taken in the Rule 5 draft.
Here's the deal: Most players selected get returned before Opening Day. It's just hard to carry a guy from Single-A or Double-A all season in the majors. Can it be done? Sure. The New York Mets did it last year with Pedro Beato. It normally happens with relievers who can be stashed in the bullpen, yet it's rare when those guys go on to become stars (Joakim Soria and Johan Santana are the exceptions).
I was asked by several people whether I was surprised the Orioles added just one eligible minor leaguer to their 40-man at the deadline Friday (Naval Academy product and right-hander Oliver Drake).
The answer is no. The Orioles don't have much talent in their farm system and most of it is not eligible for the Rule 5 this year (Manny Machado, Jonathan Schoop, etc). The club is obviously rolling the dice that some of their young minor-league pitchers who may be able to contribute eventually are too far away to stick on a big-league roster season. Or they simply aren't considered keepers.
One of the things the Orioles as an organization hasn't done well in the past is evaluating its own talent. So maybe protecting just one eligible minor leaguer is one step in that direction. A second would be cleaning up the 40-man roster. I'm sure that's coming, too.
The Orioles' coaching staff is still incomplete, but I think it will be completed real soon.
The more I talk to people the more I believe Rick Adair will return as pitching coach. You can put his name in that slot with erasable ink – but I think we are beyond pencil now. That would leave a bullpen coach position open, and I'm not sure where manager Buck Showalter goes with it.
I'd still pencil in Mike Bordick to fill the infield/base coach slot with Jose Hernandez as another leading option. I think those are the two leading in-house candidates. The Orioles could also go outside the organization, and here's one name that is intriguing: DeMarlo Hale.
Hale, who was most recently the Boston Red Sox bench coach, currently is without a job after the shakeup in Boston. He is considered a future manage and Showalter takes pride in developing those types. Plus, they were together in Texas.
He has experience coaching third base – meaning Wayne Kirby would stay at first – but he is considered more of an outfield coach, like Kirby. I'm sure Hale will land somewhere for next season. Not sure if it will be Baltimore, but that's at least a consideration.
I still expect the Orioles to go in-house with an infield type and then move Kirby to the third base coach's box, but we'll see.