O's will wait on Hendrickson negotiations

Team will wait until free agency to resume talks with reliever

November 19, 2009|By Jeff Zrebiec | jeff.zrebiec@baltsun.com

While the Orioles remain interested in re-signing pitcher Mark Hendrickson, a deal will not get done during the team's exclusive negotiating window.

The Orioles have until the end of today before other teams are allowed to make contract offers to Hendrickson, who went 6-5 with a 4.37 ERA and was one of manager Dave Trembley's most trusted bullpen options in his first season with the club.

Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail spoke this week to Hendrickson's agent, Joe Urbon, and said there is mutual interest in finalizing a deal, but both sides will wait until free agency begins Friday before intensifying the talks.

Hendrickson, 35, who was used as a starter, left-handed specialist and long man during the 2009 season, now has the opportunity to seek multiyear offers in free agency. The Orioles want a one-year deal.

If the Orioles had signed Hendrickson during the exclusive negotiating window, they would have had one less spot on the 40-man roster to protect a prospect from the Rule 5 Draft on Dec. 10, the final day of the winter meetings.

The Orioles said Wednesday that they have added right-handed pitchers Brandon Erbe (McDonogh) and Luis Lebron, and infielders Josh Bell, Pedro Florimon, Rhyne Hughes and Brandon Snyder to the 40-man major league roster, filling it.

That means pitchers Steve Johnson (St. Paul's), Jim Hoey and Pedro Beato, and infielders Ryan Adams, Blake Davis, Miguel Abreu and Mike Constanzo, are among the Orioles' farmhands who could be lost during the major league portion of the Rule 5 Draft.

Johnson was acquired along with Bell from the Los Angeles Dodgers for closer George Sherrill in July. Beato, Adams and Davis were the Orioles' second, third and fourth selections in the 2006 draft, while Hoey pitched 35 games for the Orioles from 2006 to 2008, but has been derailed by injuries.

By virtue of their placement on the 40-man roster, Erbe, Lebron, Bell, Florimon, Hughes and Snyder will be at major league spring training.

Bell, considered the Orioles' future third baseman, hit .275 with 20 homers and 76 RBIs in 127 games at Double-A Chattanooga and Double-A Bowie. Snyder, the Orioles first-round pick in 2005, had a strong 2008 minor league season, batting .289 with 37 doubles, 12 homers and 88 RBIs in 131 games. The first baseman is expected to make his big league debut during the 2010 season.

Erbe, 21, was 5-4 with a 2.70 ERA in 18 starts between Rookie-level Aberdeen and Bowie in an injury-plagued 2009. Lebron, a 24-year-old reliever, was 3-3 with 20 saves and a 2.54 ERA in 52 games at Single-A Frederick and Bowie.

Florimon was the starting shortstop in the 2009 Carolina League All-Star Game and batted .267 with nine homers and 68 RBIs in 115 games for Frederick. Hughes, acquired in August from the Tampa Bay Rays in exchange for catcher Gregg Zaun, batted .279 with 25 homers and 79 RBIs in 134 games at Triple-A Norfolk and Double-A Montgomery.


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