Dec 10, 2013; Orlando, FL, USA; Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter talks with reporters during the MLB Winter Meetings at the Walt Disney World Swan and Dolphin Resort. Mandatory Credit: David Manning-USA TODAY Sports

Baltimore Orioles: Offseason Woes / Meet David Freitas


Baltimore Orioles fans have been very disappointed with the offseason – to say the least! The comment boards on popular Orioles sites are smoking! The tweets are nasty and cutting. And even here on our one-month-old Baltimore sports site, we have heard some of the rumblings.

I’m not there, at least not yet. But maybe I could get there someday. And maybe not before long.

The phrase that has been used around the media is one to effect of “the Orioles were the least active team at the winter meetings.”  I cannot put forward something that presents them as active, but if you look team by team on the popular MLB Trade Rumors site, there is not actually that much activity anywhere. The bigger stuff happened earlier; and truthfully, there is more to come and many free agents who are going to end up playing somewhere.

To sort of summarize a few of the feelings that are out there, here is a quote about the Orioles from an ESPN article by Jason Stark entitled “Offseason Winners and Losers, So Far”

“They’d spent two years rebuilding an era of good vibes and repairing much of the damage of the lost decade that preceded it. But the vibes emanating from the Orioles’ offseason so far have been anything but euphoric. The dumping of Johnson sent shock waves through their organization. Their free-agent targets have been mostly low-budget. And their biggest offseason acquisition so far has been a reliever (Ryan Webb) who got non-tendered by the Marlins. ‘They look like a team that’s caught in between,’ said one exec. ‘They act like they don’t have any money, although I’m not sure why.’”

David Freitas – The Player to be Named Later

Let’s be more cheerful and get into the Christmas spirit. I suppose we’ve all had that experience of getting more and more of the same gift over and over; and for men, that’s how we end up with a closet full of ties or sweaters.

For the Orioles organization, it is like, “Oh cool, another catcher! Just what we wanted!”

The timeless question is no longer “How many angels can dance on the head of a pin?”  It is now “How many catchers can be on the roster at AAA Norfolk?”

The PTBNL in the Jim Johnson trade is David Freitas … a catcher. He already has some Maryland connections and experiences, having been a 15th-round selection by the Washington Nationals in 2010 from the University of Hawaii at Manoa (sounds like a rough college gig!).

His second season of pro ball (and first full-season play) was at the Nationals’ South Atlantic League affiliate in Hagerstown, MD – my town! The interesting feature relative to this is that he was a teammate for Bryce Harper’s first experience in professional baseball. In fact, Freitas most often hit behind Harper during Harper’s short time at this level.

In one memorable game on the 5th of May that year, the two of them combined to drive in seven of the eight Suns’ run in an 8-2 victory over the Lexington Legends. Harper was intentionally walked in the 7th inning to load the bases and get to Freitas – who hit a slam to end that foolishness.

I asked my friend and local beat writer for the Suns (Herald-Mail of Hagerstown), Bob Parasiliti to comment on his memories of Freitas, and he said,

“In his year at Hagerstown, David Freitas worked himself into the second best hitter on the team next to Blake Kelso. He was an all-star and made his mark as a quiet leader that the Suns followed because he did things by example and not voice.”

Charting his minor league stats, the primary item that stands out is the fantastic on-base percentage of .377 …

Year

Age

Tm

Lev

Aff

G

AB

R

H

2B

3B

HR

RBI

BB

SO

BA

OBP

SLG

OPS

2010

21

Vermont A- WSN

62

218

32

67

19

0

4

40

34

47

.307

.408

.450

.857

2011

22

Hagerstown A WSN

123

427

67

123

30

0

13

73

82

87

.288

.409

.450

.859

2012

23

Potomac A+ WSN

78

273

37

74

22

0

5

46

39

52

.271

.374

.407

.780

2012

23

Midland AA OAK

20

63

12

21

6

0

2

11

6

15

.333

.392

.524

.916

2013

24

Midland AA OAK

61

224

34

48

6

0

9

21

20

39

.214

.285

.362

.646

2013

24

Sacramento AAA OAK

29

97

13

26

8

0

1

9

11

14

.268

.355

.381

.736

4 Seasons

373

1302

195

359

91

0

34

200

192

254

.276

.377

.424

.801

Freitas was traded by the Nationals to the A’s on August 3, 2012 for Kurt Suzuki, to provide greater defensive catching capacity in the Nats’ run at the end of the 2012 season.

The Orioles have a bunch of catchers – Matt Wieters, Steve Clevenger, Michael Ohlman, Jonny Monell, Frietas (AAA), Zach Booker (AAA), Brian Ward (AAA), Caleb Joseph (AA – who might have been assumed at the time of the Johnson trade to get taken in the Rule 5 Draft), Joel Polanco (AA), Scott Thomas (AA), Zane Chavez (A), Kyle Moore (A), and highly-touted draft pick Chance Sisco (who has a high chance of playing in Baltimore someday).  This is going to be interesting to watch over the next several years.

Tags: Baltimore Orioles David Freitas