Robinson hopes to be rare Marylander to play for Orioles - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Rich Dubroff

Robinson hopes to be rare Marylander to play for Orioles

Photo Credit: Syndication: The Enquirer

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For the second time in less than a week, the Orioles announced the signing of a native Marylander to a minor league contract. On Wednesday, they signed infielder Errol Robinson, a 29-year-old native of Boyds, which is in Montgomery County.

On January 4th, they signed right-handed pitcher Dominic Freeberger, who’s from Baltimore.

The Orioles haven’t had many native Marylanders, just 28 in their 69-year history. Freeberger and Robinson will attempt to buck the odds.

Robinson attended St. John’s College High School in Washington, which has a former Oriole as an alumnus. Outfielder L.J. Hoes, who was born in D.C. but grew up in Prince George’s County, went there.

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He was a sixth-round pick by the Los Angeles Dodgers in 2016, and in seven seasons in the Dodgers, Reds and Cardinals organizations, Robinson has hit .251. Last season, he hit .228 with two home runs and 26 RBIs in 80 games with St. Louis’ Double-A Springfield and Triple-A Memphis teams.

The Orioles have plenty of minor league infield prospects, and Terrin Vavra who was taken off the 40-man roster in the offseason is still in the organization, but Robinson, who went to the University of Mississippi, is the only local among them.

Freeberger, a Baltimore native and graduate of Calvert Hall College High School, was the Big East Player of the Year at the University of Connecticut last year, and while he’s played the infield and outfield, the Orioles are interested in him as a pitcher.

Dave Boswell, one of three Calvert Hall grads to play in the majors, concluded his major league career with the Orioles in 1971, going 1-2 with a 4.38 ERA.

Freeberger was 3-4 with a 6.29 ERA in 35 games in the bullpen, and hit .315 with an .821 OPS in college. He played his first four seasons at University of North Carolina-Asheville before transferring to UConn, where he hit .346 with seven homers and 61 RBIs and a .913 OPS last year.

The Orioles have one native Marylander on their roster, left-handed pitcher Bruce Zimmermann, who went to Loyola-Blakefield.

Zimmerman is 8-10 with a 5.57 ERA in 38 games with the Orioles in the last four seasons. He started the team’s home opener in 2022, the fourth native Marylander to do so.

Steve Barber (1964-65), Tom Phoebus (1968) and Dave Johnson (1990) were the others.

Johnson and his son Steve, who pitched in 43 games for the team from 2012-2016, both were native Baltimoreans who  pitched for the team.

The most famous Marylander to play for the Orioles was Cal Ripken Jr. Not only did the Iron Man play for the Orioles, but his brother Billy did, and their dad, Cal Ripken Sr., was one of three native Marylanders to manage the team. Ray Miller and Sam Perlozzo were the others.

Hall of Famer Harold Baines, a lifelong resident of St. Michaels had three iterations with the team, but others only resided in Maryland briefly. Brady Anderson was born in Silver Spring but grew up in Southern California, and Evan Phillips, who came to the Orioles along with Zimmermann from Atlanta in 2018, was born in Salisbury but moved to North Carolina when he was 2.

With 95 wins, Barber has the ninth most in team history and the most by a Marylander. He also was the Orioles’ first 20-game winner.

Perhaps Robinson will get a spring training invitation. The local angle is always a good one.

Besides Zimmermann and Phillips, the local angle was often used with catcher Steve Clevenger, who played 69 games with the Orioles from 2013-2015 was often referred to as “The Pride of Pigtown.” Reliever Branden Kline, a Frederick native who pitched in 37 games for the Orioles in 2019 and 2020, also got plenty of attention because of his local ties.

Change in arbitration deadline: The deadline for submitting figures for arbitration-eligible players, which was originally Friday, was changed to Thursday at 8 p.m.

The Orioles have 13 arbitration-eligible players: right-handed pitchers Dillon Tate, Jacob Webb and Tyler Wells, left-handers Danny Coulombe, Cole Irvin, Cionel Pérez and John Means, infielders Ryan Mountcastle, Ryan O’Hearn and Ramón Urias and outfielders Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and Anthony Santander.

If players don’t agree to a 2024 contract by the deadline, the club and players must exchange figures in advance of a possible arbitration hearing.

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