Myriad O’s thoughts: Trumbo’s QO; Peterson’s departure; coaching vacancies; awards talk
Free agents who received the qualifying offer from their 2016 clubs must make a decision today to take it or reject.
There are 10 players who were presented the QO, but only one 2016 Oriole: right fielder Mark Trumbo.
As of Sunday, the Orioles hadn’t received official word from Trumbo’s camp as to what the slugger planned to do.
Unlike last year, though, when there was drama surrounding catcher Matt Wieters (who, ultimately, accepted it), there’s really no mystery involving Trumbo.
It would be absolutely, positively shocking if he accepted the one-year, $17.2 million deal from the Orioles. It just doesn’t make sense for him. And though I’ve heard from some optimistic fans who aren’t giving up hope until they hear official word, Trumbo’s not going to settle for a one-year pact. That’s the obvious reality.
He led the majors with a career-high 47 homers. He’s 30 years old – still in his prime – and this is his one big bite at the free-agent apple. It’s possible his stock never gets higher, so he owes it to himself and his family to test the market.
There are plenty of teams that covet Trumbo’s prodigious power and his reputation as an excellent teammate. There’s no reason Trumbo doesn’t land at least the four-year, $57 million deal Nelson Cruz agreed to with the Seattle Mariners after the 2014 season. And there is reason to believe Trumbo should exceed that.
Trumbo is younger, had more homers and has more defensive flexibility than Cruz did in 2014 – and there have been two more years since that deal for free-agent salaries to escalate.
Now, that doesn’t mean Trumbo is definitely gone from Baltimore. I think that’s the likely scenario, but the Orioles are going to make a run at him. And he genuinely enjoyed his time here.
So maybe he sticks around, but it won’t be for a one-year deal. I’d bet the house on that one. The good news: if the Orioles don’t re-sign Trumbo, they’ll now at least get a supplemental first-rounder in return. They’ll get nothing to soften the blow of Wieters leaving if the catcher signs elsewhere this offseason.
Thoughts on Peterson’s departure
It’s pretty stunning that Rick Peterson had been with the Orioles for five years as their director of pitching development. Time flies. Peterson was once a giant on the MLB pitching scene, but he was significantly under the radar while working with the Orioles minor leaguers.
Peterson, 62, will not be back for a sixth season, as first reported by MASNsports.com over the weekend.
I cover the major-league team, and like to think I have a pretty good sense of the strengths and weaknesses of the Orioles. But it’s impossible to really know what happens within the minor-league organization, who is excellent at their jobs and who isn’t.
Peterson has always been a polarizing figure because his pitching theories and use of biomechanics are not universally accepted, but he’s certainly had a successful career.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has always been a fan of Peterson’s out-of-the-box methods. But Orioles manager Buck Showalter never seemed to be on board with Peterson’s pitching philosophies.
That’s why you’ve never seen Peterson, a big-league pitching or bullpen coach with five other major league teams, be considered a serious candidate any time the Orioles had openings for those spots.
Peterson has often been Exhibit A when stories about a disconnect between Duquette and Showalter arise. Frankly, it’s not unusual for managers to have their guys and general managers to have theirs. I’m not sure how much of a problem it was – again, it’s really hard to gauge from where we sit — but now Peterson is moving on.
Pitching and bullpen coaches to be filled soon?
The sense is that the Orioles will fill their major-league coaching positions this week. Although nothing is official, you have to figure the odds-on favorites are former Atlanta Braves pitching coach Roger McDowell to replace pitching coach Dave Wallace and former Oriole Alan Mills to get the nod as bullpen coach, replacing Dom Chiti.
McDowell, 55, spent 11 years as the Braves’ pitching coach before the team did not exercise his option this offseason. He seems like a good fit since he was mentored by Wallace, is a former Oriole (he ended his 12-year, big-league career as a reliever with the Orioles in 1996), and because Showalter has always hired MLB-experienced pitching coaches in Baltimore.
Mills, 50, has never coached in the majors, but has spent five years tutoring in the Orioles’ system, the last two as pitching coach at Double-A Bowie. He spent nine of his 12 seasons in the majors as a reliever for the Orioles; he was a bullpenmate of McDowell’s in 1996.
So, there’s a local flavor, a familiarity between the two men and plenty of experience. That certainly would be a solid start in replacing the respected duo of Wallace and Chiti.
BBWAA Awards week begins
We’ve been inundated with awards announcements recently, but the biggies are presented this week. The Baseball Writers Association of America Awards kick off with the rookies tonight, the managers on Tuesday, the Cy Youngs on Wednesday and the MVPs on Thursday.
I voted for AL MVP, so I’ll break down my voting once the winner is announced. Showalter is a finalist for AL Manager of the Year, but the vote that really intrigues me is Cy Young. We’ll soon know how many voters left Orioles closer Zach Britton off their Top 5.
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