This is typically a big week in Major League Baseball, right after the winter meetings and right before Christmas. Free agents like to have their situations figured out before the holidays; for personal reasons, not baseball ones.
So, even though there has already been a lot of action throughout the sport this month, it wouldn't be surprising to see some more moves made this week.
As for the Orioles, well, I don't exact a blockbuster before the holidays. I never really expect a blockbuster at all with this group. But they definitely have moves to make, and so I wouldn't be surprised if they add a player or two – and a hitting coach – in the next 10 days.
Here are some various thoughts to consider today:
** The Los Angeles Dodgers designated catcher-first baseman Ryan Lavarnway for assignment last week. They had just picked him up off of waivers from the Boston Red Sox but needed to make room on their roster.
I was told the Orioles made a claim for him when the Red Sox waived the 27-year-old right-handed hitter, but the Dodgers are just ahead of the Orioles on the waiver order. With one spot open on their 40-man roster, I wouldn't be surprised if executive vice president Dan Duquette makes a claim again.
Lavarnway is a Yale product and a former Red Sox player, and we all know Duquette's New England connections. Lavarnway has hit just .201 in parts of four seasons in the majors – including a 0-for-10 stint last year – but he was once a highly regarded prospect in Boston's system and has a .375 on-base percentage in his minor league career.
His ability behind the plate is limited, but he could see time in the majors at DH and as a reserve first baseman as well (especially if Steve Pearce has to play a lot of right field). And the Orioles are interested in more catching depth.
** When the Chicago White Sox signed Melky Cabrera to a three-year deal worth roughly $42 million, it left Colby Rasmus as the best outfielder on the free-agent market. And the Orioles immediately were linked to him on a potential one-year deal. Rasmus had a bad year in 2014 (.225 average, .287 on-base percentage, 124 strikeouts in 346 at-bats.). Still, he had 18 homers and he's only 28. Older players such as Nick Markakis and Cabrera received multi-year deals already this offseason.
So I find it hard to believe that Rasmus will settle for a one-year deal, especially in December. Maybe in February if he has no other options -- but not now. And, for what it's worth, Rasmus isn't a good fit for the Orioles. He is an undisciplined hitter who hasn't played corner outfield and there have been whispers in the past about his commitment to being a team player.
I'm not saying the Orioles couldn't make it work with Rasmus, I just don't see it right now.
** Cabrera's signing, however, should make another outfielder potentially available. The sense is that White Sox corner outfielder Dayan Viciedo is now the odd man out on the south side of Chicago. He was a ballyhooed player when he defected from Cuba but has been a bit of a disappointment. Still, he is only 25, is in his first year of arbitration, can play both corner outfield spots and has power (60 homers in the past three seasons). The White Sox could use help at the back end of their rotation, and the Orioles have a surplus there – so this one could be a fit.