SARASOTA, Fla. -- Even though Steve Clevenger was told by Orioles manager Buck Showalter on Monday that he has won the team¿s backup catcher position to open the season, the Pigtown native and Mount St. Joe grad isn¿t taking it for granted that something could still happen to affect the position between now and Opening Day.
Back in October, we asked how many of the Orioles' nine free agents were likely to return in 2014. With less than five weeks until spring training, it could end up that none of them return to Baltimore.
There's no longer a free agency filing period. So all players who are eligible -- they must have, in most cases, accumulated at least six years of major league service time and not be under contract for 2014 -- automatically become free agents at the end of the World Series.
The Orioles have nine pending free agents -- Alexi Casilla, Scott Feldman, Jason Hammel, Nate McLouth, Michael Morse, Brian Roberts, Francisco Rodriguez, Chris Snyder and Tsuyoshi Wada -- and executive vice president Dan Duquette said: ¿We haven¿t moved on any of those free agents yet.¿
Down to their final out, the Orioles finally came though with men on, as Matt Wieters hit a two-out, two-run single in the 10th inning to deliver a 4-3 comeback win in front of an announced 23,653 at Camden Yards.
Often in the past 15 years, the Orioles have used September as a proving ground for the following season, experimenting with what they had in order to get a better idea of what they needed to fortify in the winter. That won't be the case with the team in the playoff chase in 2013.
One of the most disconcerting things about the Orioles¿ recent troubles has been the declining performance of lefty Wei-Yin Chen, who had been such a consistent contributor in his first season-plus with the club.
The Orioles made major switches at the catcher position on the first day of roster expansion Sunday, designating backup Taylor Teagarden for assignment while purchasing the contracts of veteran Chris Snyder and Baltimore native Steve Clevenger from Triple-A Norfolk.
It's hard to argue with the logic of designating backup catcher Taylor Teagarden for assignment at this point in the season, but that doesn't mean it isn't a tough break for a guy who has been a good soldier playing a very difficult role.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he hopes that getting second baseman Ryan Flaherty consistent at-bats at Triple-A Norfolk — while getting the 26-year-old to work on offensive problems away from the major league spotlight — will help him rebound from a tough start to the season.
The Orioles earned a good win in Anaheim on Saturday afternoon. I¿ll admit that given the huge momentum swing that took place in the late innings at Angel Stadium, I thought it would surely end in an Orioles loss.
Orioles left-hander Zach Britton was hoping to get more than one start to show the organization that he had regained the form that made him one of the club's most promising pitchers a few years ago. He is going to have to do that again at Triple-A.