Roch Around The Clock

October 08, 2006|By ROCH KUBATKO | ROCH KUBATKO,SUN REPORTER

Outfielder Eric Byrnes, part of the Baseball Tonight team on ESPN, said he wishes the Orioles had given him a second chance after he batted .192 last year with three homers in 52 games.

The Orioles non-tendered Byrnes, who was eligible for arbitration after making $2.2 million. He signed with the Arizona Diamondbacks, hit 26 home runs and stole 25 bases.

"The mistake that the Orioles made was, they have to realize there's a track record there," said Byrnes, who played for three teams in 2005. "It wasn't like I was breaking the bank."

According to Byrnes, if the Orioles had approached him with an offer before the non-tender date that included a $200,000 pay cut, he would have accepted it. All he wanted was a chance in spring training to be a starter, which he apparently made clear to manager Sam Perlozzo.

Turns out, the Orioles could have used his right-handed bat in the outfield this season. But Byrnes didn't make much of an impression in those 52 games. And it didn't help his cause when the Orioles fired Lee Mazzilli, who told Byrnes that he was a key figure in bringing the outfielder to Baltimore.

It worked out pretty well for Byrnes, who made more money on the free-agent market. He's also more of a West Coast guy, as you can tell by his appearance, though he loved Baltimore and used to skateboard to Camden Yards.

Byrnes is good friends with Oakland Athletics pitcher Barry Zito, a pending free agent and one of the few legitimate No. 1 starters on the market. Byrnes didn't hesitate when asked if the left-hander would consider signing with the Orioles.

"You guys don't have a shot," he said.

Tell us something we don't know.

roch.kubatko@baltsun.com

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