Former Orioles feel the effects of baseball's youth movement -

Rich Dubroff

Former Orioles feel the effects of baseball’s youth movement

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

In the rush to sign free agents before Major League Baseball’s lockout began on Thursday, the attention was focused on the big names. Overlooked were second- and third-tier players.

In most free-agent markets, it’s generally the bigger names who sign first and set the market, and the lesser-known players find new teams afterward.

The rush to sign free agents before the lockout left many players wondering when teams will get around to signing them.

If in a normal market, the names that aren’t the biggest would start signing later this month and during January. That won’t be the case this month, and if the lockout drags on until late next month or early February, there will be little time between the time the deal is agreed upon and spring training begins.

Major league teams can’t sign players to major league deals during the lockout, but they can sign them to minor league contracts.

Over the weekend, two players with Oriole connections signed with new teams — infielder Drew Jackson, who was taken in the December 2018 Rule 5 draft and played in three games in 2019 before he was returned to the Los Angeles Dodgers, and right-handed pitcher Gray Fenter, who was selected in the Rule 5 draft last year by the Chicago Cubs, and returned to the Orioles.

Jackson, whose three at-bats remain his only major league action, spent 2021 with Triple-A Syracuse in the New York Mets organization, signed with Oakland.

Fenter, who became a six-year minor league free agent, is in the San Francisco Giants organization after he went 6-4 with a 5.47 ERA in 21 games with Double-A Bowie.

Those signings will continue, but it will be interesting to see if players who normally would sign major league contracts opt for minor league ones because they can’t sign big league deals.


Another former Oriole, shortstop Freddy Galvis, was reported to be close to an agreement to play in Japan with the Fukuoka SoftBank Hawks. Galvis signed with the Orioles on January 26th and was paid $1.5 million plus a $250,000 bonus he collected when the Orioles traded him to the Philadelphia Phillies at the July 30th trading deadline.

Galvis received high marks for being a good teammate. In 72 games, he hit .249 with nine home runs and 26 RBIs and a .720 OPS. His time with the Orioles ended on June 26th when he injured his quadriceps muscle running to first base. He missed two months of major league time and didn’t play as well with the Phillies, hitting .224 with five home runs and 14 RBIs with a .684 OPS in 32 games.

When Galvis was hurt, Ramón Urías took over at shortstop and played well, and he could return. Two other recent Orioles shortstops José Iglesias and Jonathan Villar, are on the short list of free-agent shortstops available.

Perhaps the offer to play in Japan was too good to pass up for Galvis, or he could have been uneasy about his 2022 location. There probably won’t be many more like Galvis because the number of foreign players in Japan and South Korea is limited.

When Adam Jones became a free agent after an outstanding career with the Orioles, he should have been coveted by multiple teams but, at 33, he wasn’t. Instead, Jones, who made $17.33 million in the final year of a six-year contract with the Orioles, accepted a one-year contract for $3 million with the Arizona Diamondbacks. He played the last two seasons in Japan.

Galvis is 32 and, after a season in Japan and a settled labor environment, he could return to major league baseball. It’s players like Galvis and Jones who seem to have lost out as baseball has gotten younger.

Jones’ six-year, $85.5 million contract with the Orioles was an excellent investment. He played well and the team did well—at least for the first six seasons of the deal. However, by 2018 the game had changed, and the Orioles and other teams were seeking younger and more inexpensive players they thought could be just as productive.

Jones was one of the most popular players in club history. While Galvis isn’t in that category, he was well liked and helpful to his teammates.

The players know they can’t change trends in the game, and that’s one of the reasons they’re trying to get players qualified for arbitration and free agency sooner. It’s just too bad that players like Freddy Galvis and Adam Jones saw their value drop.

Call for questions:  In a few days, I’ll be answering Orioles questions. Please leave them in the comment box below or email them to: [email protected]

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB







  1. CalsPals

    December 6, 2021 at 7:57 am

    I would bring Jones back as a coach, I think he has potential as a manager…go O’s …

    • Bmoreravens3

      December 6, 2021 at 8:16 am

      We should have kept him along just to mentor the youngsters

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 6, 2021 at 5:04 pm

        Should have kept him as a player.

    • JerseyO

      December 6, 2021 at 4:38 pm

      You know that bringing Jones back would also bring back the pies.
      I wasn’t a pie fan.

    • Icterus fan

      December 6, 2021 at 7:20 pm

      You kidding, man? I love pie; just didn’t like THAT pie. Stay away from any Urrutias, too.
      Smile intended………

  2. Orial

    December 6, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Kinda like Harbaugh having Ray Lewis looking over his shoulder Adam Jones in the same dugout as Brandon Hyde might make for “uncomfortable” times. A clean slate down the road?–possibly. Like Frank Robinson and Cal Sr how do you fire a legacy without repercussions? In other words-Jones goes to the broadcast booth or front office. Field–highly unlikely.

    • Buzz1979

      December 6, 2021 at 11:12 am

      Standing there with his gun….

    • Bancells Moustache

      December 6, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      I love the idea of Jones in the booth. He seems perfect for that job, though I’m not sure he has a whole lot of love for the current regime in the warehouse. I’m not sure the Harbaugh/Ray Lewis analogy is the best though. That “uncomfortable” pairing netted 5 playoff berths, 2 title game appearances and a World Championship. Doesn’t seem like a bad deal to me.

    • BenSch

      December 8, 2021 at 9:40 pm

      Adam Jones does a pretty cool podcast called “Heckle Deez. “

  3. Boog Robinson Robinson

    December 6, 2021 at 11:06 am

    Winter is coming.

    • Bancells Moustache

      December 6, 2021 at 12:25 pm

      You been asleep the last 4 years Boogster? Eutaw Street may as well have been in the Arctic circle that whole time.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 6, 2021 at 2:03 pm

        Tru dat BanMo, but I was more referring to the coming dearth of anything Orioles/Baseball to talk during this workstoppage and all. Poor Mr. Dubroff is already pulling out stories of players ske-dattlin’ to Japan for crying out loud. What’s he possibly going to have to write about 3 weeks from now and until they settle?

        Winter is coming.

        Drink Pepsi Boys!
        (and Welcome back BanMo …the site misses your input and wit)

    • Icterus fan

      December 6, 2021 at 7:33 pm

      Boogster (may I call you that?), winter ‘round here seems like the time to sharpen one’s skills of cyber warfare. Nestled comfortably in our slit trenches or pill boxes, poised behind our keyboard or iPhone, we can idly pass the days in our hibernaculam by hurling vituperative comments at fellow posters.
      While drinking our highly sugared carbonated beverage of choice, of course.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 6, 2021 at 8:21 pm

        You sir, send me to the dictionary at a higher rate than tamales send me to …. forget it.

        And I keep trying to honor a pledge I made to Rich last year to be nicer …. but it’s sooo hard sometimes! Prevarications and plain old stupidity annoy me so.

        Maybe my new years resolution should be to be a kinder gentler Boogster…..again.

        And yes …Boogster is fine.

    • dlgruber1

      December 6, 2021 at 8:15 pm

      BRR, I rarely disagree with you but I gotta say this could be the best time of year for Rich to write about Orioles baseball. He can think up any O’s topic he’d like to dig up and go to town researching and writing about it, as opposed to having to write about loss after loss after loss after…….you get my point. He’s never had a winning team to write about since joining BB. Think about that, and next season promises to be no different. Even if AR plays all season and is RoY and GR joins the team and does great, they’ll still finish dead last and looking up at .500. That division is too brutal and those clubs are only gonna get better this off season.
      Now before anyone jumps in and says those teams are only that good because they play the O’s 19 times, I don’t wanna hear it. They also play each other 57 times. When 57 of your 162 games are against very good teams, and that’s just in your own division, you’re playing the toughest schedule in MLB.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        December 7, 2021 at 8:43 am

        Hope you’re right DL….he’ll have to get creative that’s for sure.

  4. willmiranda

    December 6, 2021 at 11:25 am

    Enjoyable column. Comment and a question. San Francisco seems to like picking up players the O’s think are on the periphery. How much does a Japanese team pay someone like Galvis?

  5. Buzz1979

    December 6, 2021 at 11:44 am

    Story originally said something like a million and a half.

    • Rich Dubroff

      December 6, 2021 at 12:24 pm

      Will was submitting a question to be answered in the mailbag, Buzz.

  6. Buzz1979

    December 6, 2021 at 1:04 pm

    Ok, another question. What players are eligible for the minor league portion of the Rule 5 draft?

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