Orioles Think Tank

Orioles Coverage for the Information Age

Orioles Clear More Roster Room

Posted by Mike on March 24, 2006

I had held out some hope for Bottalico, mostly on the stength of his 2004 season with the Mets:

 IP       H    R    ER   HR  BB   SO  HBP  WP   ERA

69.3   54   30   26    3    34   61     4     3    3.38

Unfortunately, even the uncertainty of the O’s pen couldn’t guarantee him a job after the spring he had.  Thinking positively, Bottalico’s travails did inspire what is probably the best line in Nate’s report from Florida.


  • The Orioles also sent Alejandro Freire, Andy Tracy, Brandon Fahey, Val Majewski, Jeff Fiorentino, and Hayden Penn to the minors.  Nothing unexpected.

Freire and Tracy are nice guys to have around in case you want to keep Jeff Conine or Kevin Millar from earning their playing time bonuses in September.  Otherwise, they should do well in the middle of the Ottawa lineup.  Tracy did manage to put up a 105 OPS+ in 192 AB’s with the Expos in 2000 but has shown little since.  Last year, after admittedly raking in AAA (in the most extreme hitter’s park in the hitter-friendly PCL), he only managed to hit .209/.324/.360 in Japan.

Fahey opened up some eyes in spring training, hitting .273/.385/.318.  I suppose it speaks volumes about his defense that his batting line could be seen as a pleasant surprise.  If nothing else, it looks like the O’s will have a solid middle-infield back-up for the league minimum in 2007.  And who knows?  Maybe they’re a little more open to re-assessing Miguel Tejada’s situation when the July trading deadline comes around. 

Rumors swirled that Penn might make the big club out of spring training to help out the depleted bullpen.  Thankfully, he will be kept in a starter’s role and gain some needed additional seasoning in Ottawa.  I see Penn as having some initial problems adjusting to big league hitting, but I’m pretty bullish on his chances to emerge as an even more well-regarded prospect as long as he’s left in Ottawa.  And, of course, it makes sense to keep his arbitration-eligibility clock from ticking as long as possible since he is unlikely to be the difference between contending and not contending in 2006.

Majewski had an understandably disappointing spring, as he continued to shake off the rust after missing 2005 with a torn labrum.  As I’ve said before, I don’t think he’ll have much problem in the contact department, but his early power numbers will be a better indicator of how his recovery is going.  I’ll be interested to see if he continues to get playing time at 1B in Ottawa.  Perhaps the O’s won’t need Freire or Tracy after all.   

Fiorentino will start the year at Bowie, likely as their CF (although scouts see him as a LF long-term).  A strong showing could get him a September cup-of-coffee as well.


  • The Orioles apparently have some interest in Wil Nieves, the future waiver-bait catcher with the New York Yankees.  Since they’re already on the hook for half a million to Geronimo Gil, it makes little sense why they would pursue a similarly awful player like Nieves. 


Really?  It’s his salary that’s the problem?  I could understand if the Pirates were asking for too much in return, and that may yet be the case, but $3.3 million for a guy that would almost certainly hit in the heart of your batting order?  That seems like a bargain to me. 

It’s true that Wilson is not an asset defensively, he missed over half of last season with finger injuries, and he is a free agent after this season.  But this is a guy who has substantial power and has never had an OBP below .354.  He’s had an EQA of .283 or better each of the past three seasons.  Know which Orioles can make that claim?  None.  Even Miguel Tejada’s EQA dipped to .280 in 2003.

  • Rodrigo Lopez has been named the opening day starter.

Sam Perlozzo must be a big believer in patterns.  Over the last four years with the birds, Lopez has alternated good and bad seasons:


2002- 123

2003- 75

2004- 133

2005- 85

If this were a logic test, it looks like Rodrigo is due for a season with a 143 ERA+.  We should be so lucky.  Nevertheless; entering his contract year, Lopez makes an interesting candidate for 2006’s Jarrod Washburn Award.

  • Too many baseball books out there for you to keep track of?  This review of Baseball By the Numbers and The Book may be tragically biased, but the analogies work for me.  I certainly wouldn’t start your journey into sabermetrics with The Book, but both are among the better publications to come out this offseason. 

One Response to “Orioles Clear More Roster Room”

  1. Dave said

    How can you not justify 3 million dollars when Millar nearlky makes that much? Thiss burns me up.

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