The Baltimore Orioles have made a free agent signing, although given the mood of the fan base I suspect it’s one that might tick fans off more than please them. The Birds signed journeyman outfielder Quintin Berry to a minor league contract (Berry will also get an invitation to major league spring training). This is far from the big splash in free agency that Orioles fans have been expecting from the team, and in fact it probably doesn’t even qualify as a ripple in a pond. But there’s one aspect about Berry that should excite Orioles fans: in 29 stolen base attempts he’s 29-for-29.
So Berry, who’s capable of playing all three outfield positions, could act as a replacement of sorts for Nate McLouth, who signed with the Nationals awhile back. He’s a career .268 hitter over parts of two seasons at the big league level with Boston and Detroit. Not that it means anything, but Berry is also a former high school teammate and a close friend of Adam Jones.
This is also a move that can add some depth to the outfield, as Berry might act as a late-inning replacement for the aforementioned Jones or Nick Markakis. He might also be able to give one of those guys a day off here and there. Speaking again for myself, I feel that Dan Duquette saw that the likes of Jones, Markakis, Wieters, et al, seemed to wear down a bit at the end of the season. The Orioles had five guys who played 150 games plus, and towards the end of the season their plate coverage wasn’t what it was for most of the way. So by signing guys like Berry and trading for guys like David Lough, Duquette is providing depth for the team to hopefully give these guys breathers when they’re needed. That might not be the type of signing that Orioles fans want to see, but in the long run it could prove to be a big deal. At the very least, Berry should provide some team speed and base stealing capabilities for a team that sorely needs it.