Orioles News and Notes- 12/16

Orioles News and Notes- 12/16

Orioles' latest eastern push lands left-handed pitcher Tsuyoshi Wada.

INSIDE PITCH

When signing right-hander Koji Uehara before the 2009 season, the Orioles promised to be a player on the international market.

However, the club didn't sign an impact international player over the next two years.

This winter, the Orioles have declared themselves relevant in Asia by signing Japanese lefty Tsuyoshi Wada and making a push for Korean pitcher Chong Tae-Hyon before he decided to remain in his home country.

The club pondered making a run at Japanese righty Yu Darvish before balking at what it would take financially and backing down. Darvish would have required the Orioles to make a hefty posting fee simply to negotiate for his rights.

Wada, 30, signed a two-year, $8.14 million deal. The contract also has a $5 million option for 2014. He has drawn comparisons to former Orioles and Phillies lefty Jamie Moyer for his soft-tossing, high-results style. In his career, Wada is 107-61 with a 3.13 ERA.

"I would like to thank the Baltimore Orioles organization for giving me this opportunity," he said Dec. 15 during his introductory news conference. "I was dreaming to play major league baseball since I was in college."

The Orioles seem willing to take mild risks on the Asian free agent front, and they also sent scouts to the Dominican Republic to watch Cuban outfielder Yoenis Cespedes.

New executive vice president Dan Duquette seems intent upon upping the club's presence in both hotbeds.

For Orioles fans, it may sound like a repeat of the same promises made by president Andy MacPhail after he was hired in 2007. However, the positive might be the hope to find a diamond in the rough, rather than to signing a retread veteran big-leaguer.

NOTES, QUOTES

--2B Brian Roberts is taking a day-by-day approach to his recovery, according to MASNsports.com. Roberts, who didn't play after mid-May due to headaches that sprung up as a result of a concussion, wasn't hitting in mid-December when he spoke with reporters at a public appearance in the Baltimore area. Roberts was vague about how he felt about his chances to play in 2012, and MASNsports.com reported the club is making its plans for next year with an assumption that Roberts will be unavailable.

--RHP Jeremy Guthrie told MASNsports.com he isn't listening to speculation about his future with the Orioles. The Angels have reportedly shown interest in the veteran leader of Baltimore's rotation. Guthrie said he goes about his daily routine with the assumption that he'll remain in Baltimore, though he told reporters recently that he hasn't entered into contract-extension talks. Guthrie will be a free agent after the 2012 season.

--RHP Brad Bergesen will return to the Orioles in 2012 after the club tendered him a contract. The inconsistent righty was used as both a starter and reliever in 2011, and he showed both flashes of brilliance and head-scratching struggles. Bergesen was 2-7 with a 5.70 ERA in 34 games -- 12 starts -- and he enters 2012 in an unknown role. Executive vice president Dan Duquette said he likes Bergesen.

--OF/DH Luke Scott could return to the Orioles, though it likely would be on a minor league or incentive-laden contract. Scott, the Orioles' MVP in 2010, was not tendered a contract, making him a free agent. He underwent shoulder surgery earlier this year, but he is expected to be healthy for spring training. Scott reportedly has a half-dozen teams interested in his bat.

--RHP Jake Arrieta is ready for the 2012 season after his 2011 season ended early due to a bone spur in his pitching elbow. Arrieta, who underwent a procedure Aug. 12 to have the spur removed, told MASNsports.com he is "healed up and ready to go." Arrieta said he was throwing from 120 feet. He went 10-8 with a 5.05 ERA in 2011, going 1-4 with a 6.61 ERA in July.

BY THE NUMBERS: $8.14 million -- Reported value of LHP Tsuyoshi Wada's two-year contract, which also has a $5 million option for 2014.

QUOTE TO NOTE: "The only rumors I see really are tweets, and they're so broad and general that they don't hold quite as much weight as maybe a full-fledged story." -- RHP Jeremy Guthrie, on rumors that the Orioles might trade him this offseason.

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), LHP Tsuyoshi Wada (free agent from Japan).

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 (bruised pelvic bone) was close to 100 percent in early December.

--2B Brian Roberts (concussion-related headaches) still wasn't hitting as of mid-December. His status for 2012 is uncertain.

--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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