Dan Duquette was asked by reporters prior to yesterday’s 9-2 win over Pittsburgh about all of the rumors surrounding the Baltimore Orioles and free agent pitcher Ervin Santana. In true Dan Duquette fashion, he said nothing – and Orioles fans should be appreciative of that. I remember when Jim Zorn coached the Washington Redskins a few years ago. Reporters would ask, and ask, and ask more – about the team’s game plan for the coming week’s game. Zorn, who was well meaning, would start off by stonewalling them just as Duquette does. However little by little as the week went on the press would wear him down until he all but telegraphed the Redskins’ play calling.
Duquette said that they’re evaluating who and what they have, and that there’s always room for
depth. What that means is that the O’s would like to have Santana, as that would mean that a guy who was going to be a starter might get pushed to the bullpen (or Norfolk), and that would turn someone else into depth. I’ve said this in the past, however signing Santana would really put the O’s in a great position at some point between now and the trading deadline, as they would have a huge surplus of pitching in the organization that could serve as pieces in a trade. Especially in a year where the Orioles are missing their first and second round draft picks, having the liberty of trading a Zach Britton or a Steve Johnson (just to throw two names out there) and possibly get a prospect or two to help restock the system would really be a blessing.
Santana was rumored to have set a 5 PM deadline on Saturday to make a decision. The Orioles reportedly offered him one year, $13 million (plus incentives), while Toronto offered one year, $14 million. So it sounds to me that’s posturing on the part of an agent trying to scare one of the two teams into paying more money – nobody bit, so the deadline has “been extended.” I will say that I think it behooves Santana to get signed very soon, both financially and from a training perspective. Obviously he needs to be able to train before the season, however if he signs after Opening Day a team wouldn’t have the liberty of making a qualifying offer and potentially recouping a draft pick if he walks next year. It would stand to reason that the guaranteed money might go down as a result. Obviously if Santana signs elsewhere, it’s not as much of a problem for the O’s as it otherwise might have been based on the moves that were made at the beginning of spring training. But signing him would take a decent rotation and turn it into a great rotation.
Wei-Yin Chen allowed one hit and struck out two in three innings of outstanding work. Chris Davis came within a triple of the cycle (in three at-bats) in today’s game, which featured the Orioles cruising to an aforementioned 9-2 win over Pittsburgh in Sarasota. The Birds will travel to Bradenton tomorrow to take on Pittsburgh once again. Adam Jones will leave camp tomorrow to attend the first of his first child. On behalf of all of us here at Birds Watcher, and on that of the Fansided Network, I’d like to offer my heartfelt congratulations to him and his wife.