Now that the Orioles have reached agreement on a one-year deal with pitcher Justin Duchscherer and a minor league deal with left-hander Mark Hendrickson, the 25-man roster comes a little more into focus. However, there are still some fuzzy patches.
It's sort of like looking at the flash on a camera. I'm still seeing spots.
The 12-man pitching staff is much clearer. Though it isn't a certainly, it's likely that the rotation will consist of Duchscherer, Jeremy Guthrie, Brian Matusz, Brad Bergesen and Jake Arrieta - though not in that order. The bullpen will probably consist of Hendrickson, Kevin Gregg, Koji Uehara, Michael Gonzalez, Jim Johnson, Jeremy Accardo and Jason Berken.
You already know the other pitchers who will be thrown into this battle royal - Chris Tillman, Zach Britton, Rick VandenHurk, Clay Rapada, Pedro Viola and Troy Patton, to name a half-dozen.
As for the position players, we'll exclude Vladimir Guerrero on Feb. 1 and go with Derrek Lee, Brian Roberts, J.J. Hardy, Mark Reynolds, Matt Wieters, Luke Scott, Nick Markakis, Adam Jones, Felix Pie, Nolan Reimold, Cesar Izturis and Craig Tatum. That leaves one bench spot for Jake Fox, Brendan Harris, Robert Andino or Nick Green, to name four.
One alternative would be to keep Fox as the backup catcher and corner infielder, leaving room for another candidate.
Add Guerrero and it becomes more complicated.
I'm guessing most of you could live with that complication.
Reimold could be optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, which would cause the Orioles to tilt heavily to the left with their outfielders (Markakis, Scott and Pie). And yes, feel free to make a joke. Pie is out of options and he can back up in center, so the club might not have a choice.
This is all fun and games with the roster if we're including Guerrero, because the Orioles have made their offer and they're just waiting for the veteran to make up his mind. As I've written, they're not tweaking it.
As long as I'm mentioning Duchscherer, I'm told by his agent that his name is pronounced "Duke-sharer." You can call him "Duke."
As long as I'm mentioning Guerrero, I'm told that the Orioles could clear room on the 40-man roster by placing reliever Alfredo Simon on the restricted list. He'd technically remain on the 40-man, but he wouldn't count against the roster limit. Sort of like the 60-day disabled list. You come off the 40, but you can go right back on it.
I hope that makes sense.
Simon remains in a Dominican jail. No word on the final ballistics report.
As long as I'm mentioning Hendrickson, here's another quote from him that I didn't use yesterday:
"I played with Kevin Gregg in Florida and I know what he brings to the table. Mike (Gonzalez) and Jim (Johnson) getting hurt early last season wasn't good, and I think (Jason) Berken realized how strenuous a big league bullpen can be when you get into August and September. I think the pitching staff as a whole, if we can be more consistent early like we were at the end, it will help everybody else. Guys fall into place."
I've heard a few of Berken's teammates, while impressed by his substantial weight loss this winter, question whether he'll lose stamina and velocity. He'll look better poolside, but how will he look on a mound?
We'll begin to find out when pitchers and catchers hold their first spring training workout on Feb. 14.
In case you missed it, the Braves signed former Oriole Rodrigo Lopez to a minor league contract with a spring training invite.
I never heard Lopez's name connected to the Orioles this winter. Duchscherer was on their radar. Lopez was in their rearview mirror.
The Yankees reportedly have signed Freddy Garcia, who drew some interest from the Orioles, to a minor league deal.
Didn't the Yankees also sign Mark Prior, Bartolo Colon and Andruw Jones?
This hasn't been a typical winter in the Bronx.
A reminder that "Babe's Birthday Bash," an event celebrating the 116th anniversary of Babe Ruth's birth in Baltimore, will take place on Feb. 11 from 5:30.-9 p.m. at Sports Legends Museum. Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and new Maryland football coach Randy Edsall have been added to the guest list.
The museum also will present the Cal Ripken Sr., Foundation with the 2011 Babe Ruth Museum Community Service Award.
Tickets to the event are $45 each for members of the Babe Ruth Museum, $55 apiece for the general public when purchased in advance and $60 each at the door on the night of the event. Ten or more tickets purchased together are discounted at $40 each.
The evening will include admission to Sports Legends Museum's galleries, unlimited food and beverages, a silent auction, appearances by local professional and amateur athletes and free parking at Camden Yards. Tickets are available by calling 410-727-1539 or visiting www.BabeRuthMuseum.com.
It's always a good time, though I haven't been able to attend the event in years. There's usually a conflict for me involving spring training. In this case, I fly out the next day and need to be home.
I'm always reminded of the night that minor league pitcher Steve Bechler teased me because he spotted me with a cup of beer in each hand (I was taking them to friends. I swear.) We joked about it again inside the Fort Lauderdale Stadium clubhouse on the first day of spring training.
You know the rest of the tragic story.
His death really hit close to home for me.