07 December 2012

Final Days of the Winter Meetings Recap

So days 3 and 4 of the Winter Meetings came and went with much rumor and little bite. Baltimore agreed with LF Nate McLouth to a very reasonable 1-year $2m contract with another 500k possible in bonuses. The rule 5 draft was also held with Baltimore selecting TJ McFarland from CLE, who is a 23 year old lefty with a good sinker, a good change up and great command. That is pretty much the MO of this front office, as shown during the "cutter-gate" incident last year, that this team's philosophy is that they like guys that can get groundballs, and guys with a FB/CV/CH combo. McFarland doesn't have much of a chance to stick in the pen as currently constructed all season because 6 of those spots are taken up by: Johnson, O'Day, Strop, Hunter, Patton, and Ayala. It would be tough to keep McFarland there all season, but there is an outside shot due to the LHP, and GB%. I'm sure they will give him a good look in ST, and try to work something out with CLE to send him to AAA if he can't make the team.

On day 3 the O's also made some minor league signings:

Lew Ford - Fans already know about Lewwwwwwww.
Conor Jackson - Career .350 OBP, can play 1B and corner OF, could be a sleeper for the 25 man.
Jason Pridie - Another depth OF move like Ford, Buck likes veteran AAA help.

Daniel McCutchen - RHP - Had a couple games in the Pirates pen, replacement level production.
Adam Russell - RHP - Couple games in 4 different MLB pens, had a rough 2012 in the minors.

Allan De San Miguel - C - Organizational C spent last year at 3 levels for the O's.
Jose Gil - C - Organizational C from the Yankees system the past 7 years.
Chris Robinson - C - Backup C for AAA Norfolk last year.

Jan Novak - LHP - 18 years old, out of the MLB academy in Europe, has a decent low 90's FB and some potential with some other pitches. Very raw, but could be a good first step into Europe which the team has indicated that it would like to do.

Trade talks with a few teams were still ongoing according to Duquette who said some things may have to percolate beyond the meetings. They are still on the hunt for a middle of the order bat, but as expected the cost is high and the market is a bit frozen waiting on Grienke and Hamilton to sign and start dominoes falling.

It will probably be quiet for a few days, as it usually is after the meetings, but sometime next week you should see some pieces really start moving around the league.


Matt P said...

I'm not sure you're right about McFarland. If you look at his minor league splits you'll see two contradictory things.

1) He's far better at striking out and not walking lefties than righties. Not only that, he does a very good job against them.

2) Lefties had a .400 BABIP against him last year.

If you think the BABIP is a fluke (highly likely), then he's a very promising LOOGY candidate. If it isn't a fluke then he'll be returned.

He's a perfect fit for the seventh spot in the bullpen. Whether he can stick as the season goes on and the team needs to figure out what to do with Wada, Britton, Matusz, Johnson and Arrieta is another question.

Unknown said...

I confess to being fascinated by all-time franchise leaders, which is why I know that Conor Jackson is #12 on the Diamondbacks all-time career hit list.

Jeremy Strain said...

The way our BP is built we won't waste a spot on a LOOGY, and if we were going to, it would be an established MLer. It's going to be a 13 man pen for the first couple weeks while stretching out the starters, and I could see TJ getting a crack there, but his stuff is kinda pedestrian and he doesn't have any pitch that is particularly effective against lefties. At this level without a sharp tool to dominate them, you are going to have a tough time, whereas in the lower minors just being a lefty is enough to give you an edge. Once they go to a 7 man pen you've got Johnson-O'Day-Strop-Patton-Ayala-Hunter and that last spot will go to S. Johnson, Wada, or Belifore before McFarland I'm pretty sure.

I think the Norfolk rotation will end up Arrieta-Britton-Bundy with some combo of S.Johnson-Matusz-Clark and TBD filling out to start the year, depending on who gets the 5th spot in the ML.