With the lockout of major league players by the owners looming after the expiration of the Collective Bargaining Agreement on Wednesday evening at 11:59 p.m., the Orioles were busy on Tuesday.
They offered contracts to three of their six arbitration-eligible players and signed the other three.
First baseman/designated hitter Trey Mancini and left-handed starter John Means, the two biggest names, were offered contracts, as was left-handed reliever Tanner Scott.
The Orioles were able to sign their other three arbitration-eligible players to one-year contracts — outfielder Anthony Santander, right-hander Jorge López and left-hander Paul Fry.
Mancini, Means and Scott will have to exchange figures and come to an agreement, avoiding arbitration as soon as the lockout ends, unless they’re able to do so by Wednesday night.
Santander, who lost in arbitration a year ago, agreed on a deal, reportedly for $3.1 million. He made $2.1 million in 2021 after he lost his arbitration case.
The beginnings of a 2022 bullpen are on the 40-man roster with Fry, López and Scott rejoining Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate and Tyler Wells. Two recent waiver wire claims, left-hander Cionel Pérez and right-hander Bryan Baker, also will be auditioning.
Right-handers Joey Krehbiel and Isaac Mattson, who combined for nine appearances, are also on the roster.
Besides 40-man roster additions Félix Bautista and Logan Gillaspie, Marcos Diplán, Travis Lakins and Spenser Watkins, all outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, also can challenge for bullpen spots.
When the Rule 5 draft, originally scheduled for December 8th, occurs it’s likely the Orioles will look for additional pitching help, both starting and relief. One possible contender for a bullpen spot, right-hander Brooks Kriske, was released so that he could pursue an international contract.
Adding Odor: The Orioles signed infielder Rougned Odor to a one-year contract on Tuesday night. Fans might remember Odor’s fight with longtime Oriole nemesis, José Bautista.
Odor hit 146 home runs in seven years with the Texas Rangers, but they moved on from him last spring, eating the final two years of his six-year, $49.5 million contract. The New York Yankees paid Odor the minimum salary last season, and that’s all the Orioles would have to pay him.
He’s not known for his defense. His lifetime defensive WAR (Wins Above Replacement) is .7. Odor is also a high strikeout player. Besides his 146 homers, he struck out 799 times in seven years with Texas.
For the first time in his career, Odor played some third base with the Yankees, starting 29 games there. Since the Orioles are thin at third, it’s possible he will play some third as well.
Room was created on the 40-man roster when two infielders, Lucius Fox, who was on the roster for just 11 days, was claimed by the Washington Nationals, and Richie Martin was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles have Jahmai Jones, Jorge Mateo and Ramón Urías as returning middle infield candidates. Terrin Vavra, who played second base at Double-A Bowie but hasn’t yet played at Triple-A Norfolk, has been added to the roster, and the team will likely look at the infielders who weren’t offered contracts by their teams on Tuesday.
Three years ago, Martin was the first overall choice in the Rule 5 draft. After he played the 2019 season with the Orioles, the plan was to send him to Norfolk. However, the pandemic and a broken wrist ended that plan. Martin didn’t play at all in 2020 and missed more than two months because of another broken wrist in 2021.