NASHVILLE, Tenn. – The Scout of the Year walked around the Gaylord Opryland Hotel unrecognized.
Fred Ferreira, who came to the Orioles with Dan Duquette last year, helped the team enormously. He signed a pitcher who never had pitched in the major leagues, Miguel Gonzalez to a minor league contract last winter.
Gonzalez had been cast aside by the Los Angeles Angels and Boston Red Sox and was pitching in the Mexican winter league.
Ferreira signed Gonzalez, he says, without having met him. In the second half of last season, the unassuming Gonzalez was the Orioles’ most dependable starter.
On Wednesday night, Ferreira was honored at a banquet at the Winter Meetings.
He’s keeping busy in Latin America as the team’s executive director of international recruiting. Ferreira has high hopes for Henry Urrutia, a Cuban defector who the team signed in July.
The Orioles hoped the outfielder would play for Bowie last season, but he’s not yet been allowed into the U.S. Ferreira has been frustrated by it, but thinks Urrutia, who the Orioles signed for $778,500, could play in the major leagues sometime in 2013.
Ferreira remains hopeful that Urrutia will be able to report to Sarasota, Fla. soon.
He’s got a few other recently signed prospects that he thinks will help the Orioles. There are three from the Dominican Republic: third baseman Yendolfo Lizardo, outfielder Carlos Laureano and second baseman Yamel Vargas. His most recent signee is Venezuelan outfielder Carlos Rodriguez.
Ferreira hopes Rodriguez and the others will join Gonzalez, Vladimir Guerrero and Bernie Williams as other discoveries to reach the majors.