Free agency begins as Orioles outright Severino; Remembering Matte; Call for questions - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Free agency begins as Orioles outright Severino; Remembering Matte; Call for questions

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

As free agency began, the Orioles outrighted catcher Pedro Severino to Triple-A Norfolk. Severino, the Orioles’ regular catcher the past three seasons, could have made $3.1 million in arbitration, according to MLBTradeRumors.com.

Severino, who hit .248 with 11 home runs and 46 RBIs and a .690 OPS, will elect free agency.

The Orioles also outrighted right-handed pitchers Marcos Diplán and Conner Greene. Diplán was 2-0 with a 4.50 ERA, and Greene was 1-3 with a 7.71 ERA. They also cleared outright waivers and can become free agents.

On Wednesday, 160 players, including two Orioles, left-hander Fernando Abad and right-hander Matt Harvey, became free agents.

The moves combined with the loss of right-hander Eric Hanhold on waivers to the Pittsburgh Pirates, that leaves the Orioles with 30 players on their 40-man roster. Hanhold had a 6.97 ERA in 10 games.

Severino, who made $1.825 million in 2021, will likely have multiple suitors eager to use him  as a backup catcher. His departure means the only catcher on the 40-man roster is catcher Nick Ciuffo, who played in only two games for the Orioles

There are many familiar names on the list of free agents. The Atlanta Braves, who won the World Series on Tuesday night, could lose Series Most Valuable Player Jorge Soler, first baseman Freddie Freeman and outfielder Eddie Rosario. The Houston Astros’ most prominent free agent is shortstop Carlos Correa.

Many recent Orioles are on the list: Mychal Givens (Cincinnati), Dylan Bundy, Alex Cobb (Los Angeles Angels), Jonathan Villar (New York Mets), Freddy Galvis (Philadelphia), Wade LeBlanc, T.J. McFarland, Andrew Miller (St. Louis), Kevin Gausman (San Francisco), Nelson Cruz, Tommy Hunter, Chaz Roe (Tampa Bay) and Gerardo Parra (Washington).

More free agents will be added on December 2nd when players who aren’t offered 2022 contracts are announced.

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The Orioles will not pursue big-ticket free agents, and it will be interesting to see if they offer many major league contracts.

There are a number of areas they’d like to shore up. They have a number of internal candidates for starters, but I think that signing a pair of veteran middle-inning relievers would be an excellent investment. If the Orioles retain Paul Fry, Jorge López and Tanner Scott, who are eligible for arbitration, the addition of a couple of experienced relievers could make a difference.

I’m sure they’ll sign at least one, and perhaps two veterans to compete for a starting role. Harvey could be in the picture but, if that happens, I think it would be a signing late in the winter.

With Severino gone, a veteran catcher is going to be needed to back up top prospect Adley Rutschman.

One interesting name is Sandy León. The 33-year-old has played with four teams — Washington, Boston, Cleveland and Miami — in a 10-year career. León has never been a regular and has never played 90 games in a season. He’s not a threat offensively. León has a lifetime average of .212 and, in 2021, hit just .183 with four home runs and 14 RBIs.

But he’s a plus defender with a lifetime 5.2 WAR (Wins Above Replacement) and has thrown out 33 percent of runners attempting to steal.

The Orioles will also be in the market for infielders and perhaps a veteran outfielder. Although the Orioles have plenty of home-grown outfielders and some interesting young players, Robert Neustrom and Kyle Stowers at Triple-A, they could use another veteran presence in the clubhouse.

In 2017 and 2018, the Orioles signed Craig Gentry, who provided solid defense and speed. Perhaps Gentry was an older version of Ryan McKenna, who played well at times last season. If there was a 2021 version of Gentry, perhaps the Orioles would be interested.

Last offseason, the Orioles added Galvis, Maikel Franco and Yolmer Sánchez, who was claimed on waivers. Reuniting with Galvis, who was a solid veteran wouldn’t be a bad idea if he doesn’t return to Philadelphia.

Franco and Sánchez, a 2019 Gold Glove winner at second base, were disappointments, and Sánchez was released late in spring training. Franco was let go in August. Both signed with Atlanta and played with Gwinnett, neither playing well enough to earn a promotion with the Braves.

Remembering Tom Matte: It has been a difficult week for fans of the Baltimore Colts. Longtime middle linebacker and center Dick Szymanski, who served as the team’s general manager, died last week at 89. On Tuesday, Tom Matte, the great halfback, died at his Towson home at 82.

Matte played 12 seasons but was best known as the Colts’ emergency quarterback in 1965. Johnny Unitas and Gary Cuozzo were injured in successive weeks, and Matte, wearing a wristband with the plays on it, stepped in and nearly led the Colts to an NFL title.

For younger fans, Matte was known more as a broadcaster. He called games for the University of Maryland, the Baltimore Stallions of the Canadian Football League, and the Ravens.

Matte was a warm and engaging man who made friends wherever he went.

Great news: Trey Mancini has announced his engagement to Sara Perlman. Best wishes for many years of health and happiness to both.

Call for questions: I’ll be answering Orioles questions early next week. Please put yours in the comments below or email them to: [email protected].

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

28 Comments

28 Comments

  1. Boog Robinson Robinson

    November 4, 2021 at 7:12 am

    So Rich, with this news regarding Severino, what are the odds of Rutschman being on the opening day roster?

    You already know what I think.

    • CalsPals

      November 4, 2021 at 7:36 am

      Sadly you’re right…go O’s…

    • Georgia Oriole

      November 4, 2021 at 8:14 am

      Is the rule still in place that allows a team to get an extra year with a player if they leave him down in the minors for the first few weeks of the season? Assuming so, I would hope the Os leave him in the minors for a few weeks and then bring him up just like they did with Machado years ago.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 4, 2021 at 8:40 am

      Ken, as I’ve written before, there will be a new Collective Bargaining Agreement before Opening Day and if the service time provisions are ironed out, and I hope and expect them to be, there would be no reason to delay his arrival. If they’re not, you’ll have more to comment on.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 4, 2021 at 8:43 am

      Georgia Oriole, Machado was called up
      unexpectedly in August 2012 from Bowie, long after the deadline for granting another year of service.

      • Georgia Oriole

        November 4, 2021 at 10:09 am

        That’s right. Thanks for clarifying.

  2. Birdman

    November 4, 2021 at 7:29 am

    Rich … Do you expect free agent signing activity to begin soon, or will everything be on hold until a new CBA is signed (which could be next March or April) ?

    Sorry to hear the news about Tom Matte and Dick Szymanski … read an article a couple of years ago which indicated that Matte was probably a victim of CTE, brain injury dementia, which unfortunately afflicts so many former pro football players.

  3. Bhoffman1

    November 4, 2021 at 7:54 am

    Nothing to do with your great article this morning but it was sure fun watching the Braves. Buck on MLB last night said the players brought over gave them a heartbeat. I don’t think Freddie leaves. Mancini reminds me of Freeman abs I expect a big season from Trey next year. I don’t believe there will be many clubs looking at Severino for a backup as I’m think they most important thing for a backup is defense and handling pitchers. Severino is weak at both

    • Bhoffman1

      November 4, 2021 at 7:55 am

      Sorry for typos iPhone and early morning

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      November 4, 2021 at 8:18 am

      Severino was rated #1 in 2021 by FanGraphs in CERA so he handled pitchers just fine in 2021. His pitch framing and blocking skills were not too good in 2021.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 4, 2021 at 8:44 am

      Bruce, as a backup Severino would be just fine. Over a long season, his flaws are exposed.

  4. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    November 4, 2021 at 8:09 am

    Sad to hear about Tom Matte passing, he seemed to be super person and great Colt. Read a great article remembering Matte at QB in 1965 “In Case Of Emergency: Running Back Tom Matte’s 3 Games As NFL Quarterback” at wbur dot com.

  5. Bhoffman1

    November 4, 2021 at 8:09 am

    I don’t think the Mets will protect Chance. What’s the chance of bringing him back. No pun intended

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      November 4, 2021 at 8:20 am

      Sisco became a free agent 10/5/21

    • Bman

      November 4, 2021 at 8:40 am

      I really don’t like the rule 5 draft and in general the way mlb rules are structured regarding 40 man rosters. I guess the silver lining is we will have the first pick in the rule 5, correct? Hopefully we’ll be able to replace with the top pick any one we lose. They’ll have to trim anyone deemed not part of the next winning team from the 40 man. Tough choices.

    • Rich Dubroff

      November 4, 2021 at 8:46 am

      Bman, Orioles have the first pick in the Rule 5 draft.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      November 4, 2021 at 9:45 pm

      Are you teasing me Bruce?

  6. Bhoffman1

    November 4, 2021 at 8:11 am

    Nice to see Trey get engaged to a nice Jewish girl. He credited her total support during his recovery for getting thru it.

  7. HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

    November 4, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Time to start the #BringBackSeverino campaign here! Pretty sure the O’s can get him at less than $3.1M for 2022.

  8. Orioles20

    November 4, 2021 at 8:34 am

    Finally we moved on from Severino. Even if Adley isn’t on the roster we needed to get rid of him. He’s a terrible defender and a average hitter. I blame Severino for some of the struggles the pitchers had at time due to his terrible framing skills. Also didn’t look like he has a feel for calling games either. They should go out and get a veteran catcher that can hold it down until Adley is up and be a quality backup after he’s ready.

    • Bhoffman1

      November 4, 2021 at 10:47 am

      Adley is starting the season with the O’s be positive.

    • HmmmImNotSoSureAboutThat

      November 4, 2021 at 2:20 pm

      “Also didn’t like he had a feel for calling games either” Wrong! Severino was rated #1 in Catcher ERA in 2021. The ole eye test is so subjective and when you started from a position of disliking a player, then away go more eye test criticisms.

  9. Buzz1979

    November 4, 2021 at 9:46 am

    Leon with his Caleb bat would be a fine mentor!

  10. Orial

    November 4, 2021 at 11:18 am

    Surprised at Greene/Diplan not being retained. Diplan,a Future’s All Star,showed early flair and Greene when re-signed from LA looked to have strikeout ability. Oh well so much for my judgement. Sandy Leon-YES!! A big-time backup for/when Rutcshman gets here. So sad about Tom Matte. It’s happening too often these days(passings). He was to the Colts what players like Russ Snyder,Curt Blefary,Don Buford were to the Orioles of the 60’s –“lunch pail/gutty”player.

  11. sportscoper

    November 4, 2021 at 5:11 pm

    How could anyone actually believe the Mets have any interest in Sig Mejdal as a potential GM?

  12. Buzz1979

    November 4, 2021 at 9:38 pm

    Pat the bat’s brother named Indians hitting? coach??

  13. WorldlyView

    November 4, 2021 at 11:40 pm

    Rich, I have a question for you that stems from the most gut-wrenching sentence in your post. You say that the Orioles will not pursue big-ticket free agents. I agree. The question is how does a continuation of the acquire-other-teams’-cast-offs-on-the-cheap strategy not make it nearly certain that we will see another 100+ loss season next year?
    This old-timer was saddened by your reference to the death of Tom Matte, may he rest in peace, and his nearly leading the Colts to a title in1965. You youngsters may not know that he might well have done so if not for the horrendous blown call by the officials who ruled Don Chandler’s last minute field goal attempt good. It tied the playoff game, sending it into sudden death overtime where the Packers triumphed. Half a century later, I cannot let go of the fact that subsequent reviews clearly indicated the ball went wide of the uprights. Thus ended the Matte Miracle. Google the Sun article of 11/3/96 if you want confirmation.

    • willmiranda

      November 5, 2021 at 11:15 am

      On the other hand, if I recall correctly, Matte led the Colts to a victory over Cleveland in the short-lived and long-forgotten Runner-Up Bowl, as some revenge for the 1964 Championship Game.

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