O's expected to take deliberate approach

Club makes no offers on first day of free agency

catcher Tatum claimed off waivers

November 21, 2009|By Dan Connolly | dan.connolly@baltsun.com

On Friday, the first day that players were able to sign with new teams, the Orioles made no contract offers to any available free agents.

Andy MacPhail, the club's president of baseball operations, said he spent more than an hour Friday with owner Peter Angelos. MacPhail would not offer specifics but said it was a "regular meeting" in which he updated Angelos on the front office's plan for the offseason.

Although no formal offers have been made, MacPhail said the Orioles touched base with representatives for nearly all the club's targets before Friday to express interest. Those who have been contacted include ace pitcher John Lackey and third basemen Adrian Beltre, Pedro Feliz and Chone Figgins.

Avoiding a first-day strike at a coveted free agent is typical of MacPhail's regime. The longtime executive believes that initial offers are often, if not always, shopped around to competing clubs.

The Orioles will likely wait for the market to develop in the next few weeks. The club is looking to fill holes at the corner infield positions, in the starting rotation, in the bullpen and on the bench, and has money to spend.

O's claim catcher, designate Waters
In pursuit of catching depth behind Matt Wieters, the Orioles claimed Craig Tatum off waivers from the Cincinnati Reds and placed him on their 40-man roster.

Tatum, 26, a third-round draft pick of the Reds in 2004, is considered strong defensively but hasn't shown much with the bat. The right-handed batter hit .162 in 26 games with the Reds this season and .239 in 64 games at Triple-A Louisville.

"He's a good defensive catcher that, depending upon his performance in the spring, could possibly be in Baltimore or Norfolk," MacPhail said.

To make room for Tatum, the Orioles designated left-handed pitcher Chris Waters for assignment. Waters, 29, appeared in five games (one start) for the Orioles last season, going 1-0 with a 5.40 ERA in 11 2/3 innings.

Watching Delgado
Free-agent first baseman Carlos Delgado, who had hip surgery in May, will begin playing for Carolina of the Puerto Rican Winter League on Dec. 15, according to his agent, David Sloane.

At some point, the Orioles will be one of the teams in attendance to watch the 37-year-old slugger, who played in just 26 major league games last season.

"We'll be there," MacPhail said. "We'll have representatives watch him play over the course of the winter."

Around the horn
If Waters passes through waivers, the Orioles will attempt to sign him to a minor league deal. ... The Orioles have not made a formal offer to Cuban pitcher Aroldis Chapman but continue to monitor the 21-year-old lefty, who is now living in New York.

Baltimore Sun Articles
|
|
|
Please note the green-lined linked article text has been applied commercially without any involvement from our newsroom editors, reporters or any other editorial staff.