Mike Pagliarulo, who hit .325 in 33 games for the Orioles last season, could end up in Japan next year, according to his agent, Alan Nero.
Obtained from the Minnesota Twins Aug. 15, Pagliarulo was among the players not offered arbitration by the Orioles last month. The club has expressed interest in bringing the left-handed batter back.
"In the meantime, he [Pagliarulo] is being pursued by several other teams, mostly in Japan," Nero said. "The negotiations there are going very well, and in the next two weeks I expect them to be completed.
"Then, Mike would be forced into a dilemma -- either go to Japan for significantly more money, or wait to see if Baltimore will at least make it difficult for him to say no.
"I find it hard to believe they [the Orioles] let Mike go. I think he's a significant piece to their puzzle. Last year we waited almost all of the off-season for voids to be created.
"That won't happen this year," Nero said, "he'll go to Japan, it's as simple as that. But not because that's what he wants -- he'd really like to stay in Baltimore.
"There's obviously a void -- obviously no one's doing the job there. I know we're not talking about a No. 2 or No. 3 starter, but he [Pagliarulo] is a pretty important corner -- an important part of the defense.
"If you can hit and play as well as Mike does defensively, it's almost silly not to get it done."
Nero said he'd gotten a one-year offer for the free agent from the Orioles and that he was going to fax a counterproposal yesterday. General manager Roland Hemond said he hadn't received it as of yesterday.
Think Bumbry, Flanagan
Melvin met yesterday with Bumbry, who was released last month from his major-league coaching position with the Boston Red Sox. "I told him we had a position and would like to have him," Melvin said.
If Bumbry accepts the job he most likely would go to Double-A Bowie, where he would work with top outfield prospects Alex Ochoa and Curtis Goodwin.
If he's interested, Flanagan might fill the managerial vacancy created by the promotion of Don Buford from Bowie to the major-league coaching staff. Pete Mackanin, who managed Single-A Frederick last year, is expected to be offered the Bowie job, and he could be succeeded by Flanagan at Frederick.