Orioles News and Notes-12/13

Orioles pick up Eveland from Dodgers and send 2B Greg Miclat to Texas.

The Orioles joined in the party on the final day of baseball's winter meetings.

Only, the Orioles' keynote acquisition paled in comparison to those of some other clubs.

While the Angels made headlines by adding both Albert Pujols and C.J. Wilson, the Orioles nabbed journeyman left-hander Dana Eveland in a minor trade with the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Angels -- and general manager Jerry Dipoto, who spurned the Orioles in favor of L.A. -- made the big splash of the meetings. The Orioles' trickle was barely heard.

Still, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette views the club as a potential .500 ballclub. That was his goal, stated earlier in the week in an interview session with the local media.

The Orioles haven't posted a winning record since 1997 -- the last time the franchise reached the playoffs.

Dipoto praised Angels owner Arte Moreno for his aggressiveness and hunger to win, while the Orioles -- under much-maligned owner Peter Angelos -- operated quietly.

Granted, Eveland, 28, provides some depth to the club's pitching staff -- which was depleted by injuries and youthful ineffectiveness for much of the 2011 season. Eveland is 19-24 with a 5.52 ERA in seven big league seasons.

Other than picking up Eveland -- and the earlier addition of backup catcher Taylor Teagarden -- the Orioles' roster could look much like the one on the field last season. Barring a major trade, the Orioles run at a .500 record will depend heavily on the improvement of the club's young pitchers.

NOTES, QUOTES

--INF Ryan Flaherty was the Orioles' Rule 5 Draft selection, chosen fourth from the Chicago Cubs roster. Flaherty, 25, was a sandwich round pick in 2008. He's a career .278 hitter in the minors and split 2011 between the Class-AA and Class-AAA levels with the Cubs. Orioles president Dan Duquette likes Flaherty's bat, and said the lefty hitter will get a shot to win a big league job in spring training.

--OF Yoenis Cespedes could be the Orioles' solution in left field. The Orioles are interested, and club representatives were planning to attend a group workout for the Cuban slugger, as well as a private workout. Cespedes, 26, is a right-handed hitter who defected in 2011. A number of clubs are interested in Cespedes, who could be considered among the top outfielders in an otherwise thin free agent crop.

--RHP Jim Johnson gives the Orioles some flexibility in forming the 2012 roster. Johnson, who was a lockdown reliever in 2011, can also start, and Manager Buck Showalter called him "a luxury" in an interview with reporters in Dallas. If the Orioles find enough starting pitching, Johnson is likely to remain in his eighth inning role -- or perhaps compete for the closer's job. Otherwise, he could be in line for his first extended opportunity to start in the majors.

--RF Nick Markakis is close to 100 percent after sustaining a deep bruise in his lower abdomen. The injury took place in early September, and got worse as the season aged. Markakis left the final game of the season due to the injury.

--LF Nolan Reimold would enter spring training as the regular left fielder if the club fails to acquire an alternative. The ideal move for the Orioles would be to find a left-handed hitting outfielder to platoon with Reimold in left, and spell CF Adam Jones on occasion.

BY THE NUMBERS: 2 -- New coaches for 2012, including third-base coach Demarlo Hale and bullpen coach Bill Castro

QUOTE TO NOTE: "No. Leave that to the big boys." -- Manager Buck Showalter on the potential that the Orioles would pursue free agent 1B Prince Fielder.

ROSTER REPORT

The Orioles headed into the offseason needing many of the same items they have for the past handful of winters: a power-hitting corner infielder, an everyday left fielder and at least one veteran starter. The club has some versatility in the current roster, and a number of players under club control for a few years. However, the first move is likely to be the hiring of a general manager to replace Andy MacPhail.

ARRIVALS: RHP Darren O'Day (waiver claim from Rangers), INF Matt Antonelli (free agent from Nationals), C Taylor Teagarden (trade with Rangers), LHP Dana Eveland (trade, from Los Angeles Dodgers).

DEPARTURES: RHP Chris Jakubauskas (free agent, signed with Diamondbacks), C Craig Tatum (waiver claim by Astros), C/INF Jake Fox (free agent, signed minor league deal with Pirates).

BIGGEST NEEDS: The Orioles could use a corner infielder and an everyday left fielder. 1B/3B Mark Reynolds has versatility, enabling the club to look at both positions. OF Nolan Reimold and 1B/3B Chris Davis provide depth at both positions and at designated hitter. The club could use one or two veteran starting pitchers.

FREE AGENTS: DH Vladimir Guerrero, SS Cesar Izturis, OF Luke Scott, LHP Jo-Jo Reyes, RHP Willie Eyre.

None of the three is expected to return. Guerrero and Izturis were praised for their clubhouse roles. Izturis has next to no role on the club, particularly with the emergence of INF Robert Andino in 2011. Guerrero didn't put up the numbers the club expected from him in 2011, and could sign elsewhere. Scott, Reyes and Eyre were non-tendered.

ARBITRATION-ELIGIBLE: RHP Jeremy Guthrie.

Guthrie is likely to return and could command a long-term deal.

IN LIMBO: RHP Chris Tillman.

Tillman, a former top pitching prospect, could be dealt after another lost season split between Class AAA Norfolk and Baltimore.

MEDICAL WATCH:

--RF Nick Markakis (pelvic bone bruise) planned to begin offseason workouts in late November. He was close to 100 percent in early December.

--2B Brian Roberts (concussion-related headaches) is expected to return for the start of spring training. He said in October he had been headache-free for the first time in six months.

--OF Luke Scott (right shoulder surgery in July 2011) said he could be cleared for light baseball activity by mid-November.

--INF Ryan Adams (sports hernia) was scheduled to have offseason surgery.

--1B/3B Chris Davis (sports hernia) will rest and rehab the injury instead of undergoing surgery.

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