One of the bright spots for me every winter is heading out early on a Saturday morning to drive into Baltimore for FanFest. I hate winter. And I’ve driven through snow and everything else to get to the Baltimore Convention Center and begin to look forward to spring and summer and God’s good gift to mankind – baseball.
I would love to meet and talk with some of you. I’ll be the white-haired guy in a black Orioles sweatshirt with a laptop at a table to the right-hand side of the seated audience. I am going to be speaking with people and taking some informal polls on varied issues – looking for fan opinions and expectations. So stop and talk!
Alex Gonzalez signed with Baltimore Orioles – Yes, the veteran shortstop of the Florida Marlins and a few others (Red Sox, Braves, Reds, Brewers). This is one of those minor league deals with invite to spring training. He was batting .259 for the first 24 games of 2012, but a knee injury ended that campaign. Last year he hit but .177 in 41 games.
It will be interesting during spring training to see if there are ANY other teams in MLB with more players in the major league camp than the Orioles will have.
Jason Hammel – He is reported today to have agreed to terms with the Chicago Cubs. So, for the small group of you who were invested in Hammel, he’s gone to pitch in rotation with Jake Arrieta. So do you think the Cubs (who also have Pedro Strop, and had Kevin Gregg) will be getting the reputation of taking Orioles cast-offs the way the Birds have that with Rangers surpluses?
Wilson Betemit Off The Table – Yes, more sad news. The Rays have signed Betemit. Now he’ll probably make the team, hit 10 home runs this year, eight of which will be against the Orioles. (Don’t read into this that I was hoping to see him in orange and black.)
$100 Million Plus Payroll! – Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sports tweeted that the Orioles expect their payroll to exceed 100 million bucks. Ken – from your mouth to God’s ears! At the moment it is under $85 million. He further claims that the Birds continue in contacts with Fernando Rodney, Nelson Cruz, and A.J. Burnett … saying that Jimenez and Santana could be turned to if Burnett falls through.
To Dan Duquette – Let me speak to you on behalf of everyone. Though we’d be glad to hear your thoughts on all things “Orioles,” feel free to skip FanFest and stay in your office and get one of these starters on board. Just sayin’ …