One of the things I always like to do when the World Series rosters come out is to see how many former Orioles will have a chance to play in this year’s October Classic.
The list isn’t very long this time around.
It starts and stops with Kelly Johnson, the New York Mets infielder who played in 19 regular-season games with the Orioles in 2014 and appeared in two playoff games that year.
Good guy, but not exactly a long-time Oriole. Johnson, 33, has been with eight teams in 10 seasons. He’s been to the postseason with four different clubs.
The Mets have one other player with recent Orioles’ connections: rookie pitcher Logan Verrett, who was a Rule 5 pick and spent the spring with the Orioles before being claimed off waivers by the Texas Rangers, and ultimately ending up back with the Mets. He’s on New York’s 40-man roster, but didn’t make the World Series cut.
If you want a real stretch, Mets bullpen coach Ricky Bones pitched for the Orioles in 1999, going 0-3 with a 5.98 ERA in 30 games.
As for Kansas City, the Royals have no ex-Orioles on their World Series roster, though long-time Orioles starter Jeremy Guthrie is on Kansas City’s 40-man. He just didn’t make the cut for the postseason. He was 8-8 with a 5.95 ERA in 30 regular season games this year for the Royals.
There are plenty of guys on both teams that have been connected to the Oriole through offseason rumors over the years, but none that landed besides Johnson.
** Adam Jones has piled up the off-the-field awards in the past couple seasons, but the one that was announced Tuesday is probably toward the top of his list. He was named as the 2015 recipient of the Brooks Robinson Community Service Award presented annually by the Major League Baseball Players Alumni Association.
It is given to a former or current player each year who exemplifies the commitment to community service that Robinson, the Orioles’ Hall of Famer, has demonstrated throughout his life.
I’ve talked to so many people in and out of baseball who have said Robinson is the most genuine, caring professional athlete they have encountered. So it’s pretty cool that a current Oriole gets the award named after arguably the most beloved Oriole.
Jones will be presented the award on November 10 at the 16th Annual Legends For Youth Dinner in New York City. Jones has been heavily involved with myriad charities in Baltimore, many focusing on improving the lives of underprivileged youth.
** The Orioles made a minor league signing announced Tuesday that was sure to go under the radar except that it involves a local guy. They signed 26-year-old lefty Adam Kolarek, a free agent who had been released by the New York Mets organization.
Kolarek is a Catonsville High grad who pitched for the University of Maryland before being drafted in the 11th round by the Mets in 2010. He has a 3.56 ERA in 351 minor league innings, and spent all of 2015 with Double-A Binghamton.
If you know the Orioles, two things won’t surprise you.
Kolarek has a low sidearm delivery from the left side. The Orioles are always intrigued by pitchers with different arm slots, especially lefties that can retire lefties.
Also, Kolarek once pitched for the Maryland Orioles, a summer team of college-aged players, and was managed by Dean Albany, one of the organization’s most trusted scouts. Albany knows this area probably better than anyone, and the club listens to his assessment of players.
Kolarek is viewed as organizational depth – probably at Double-A Bowie. And if he climbs the ladder it probably would be as a lefty specialist. But it’s nice to see the organization give a chance to another local product.