Friday is the last date the Orioles have to make a contract offer to players eligible for arbitration. Fourteen are eligible, and most of them will be offered contracts.
Alexi Casilla, Chris Davis, Jason Hammel, Tommy Hunter, Jim Johnson, Brian Matusz, Darren O’Day, Nolan Reimold and Matt Wieters will receive offers. There are some who may not.
Five Orioles who may not be offered contracts for 2013:
1) Mark Reynolds
Reynolds is the most controversial of the bunch. There’s still plenty of time between now and midnight Friday before the team has to offer him a contract, or else he’s a free agent.
It seemed unlikely when the season ended that the Orioles would not offer Reynolds a contract. It was obvious that his $11 million option for next year would be declined, but also apparent the Orioles had few appealing alternatives.
Has Chris Davis suddenly become a competent first baseman in their eyes? Do they think that Davis is wasted as a designated hitter? Does Buck Showalter not want a majority-time DH? Is there another first baseman available in trade or as a free agent that’s better than Reynolds?
The answers should become apparent by Friday. If the Orioles negotiate a deal with Reynolds by then, which seems unlikely, they’ll have one less issue. They don’t seem to want to go to arbitration, but perhaps that might change by then, too.
2) Taylor Teagarden
Instead of acquiring a backup for Matt Wieters in a thin free agent market last year, they got Teagarden in a trade. Then, they waited for half a season while he recuperated from a back injury.
Teagarden played just 22 games and hit .158. He had just nine hits, but most of them were important ones.
Being the caddy to a catcher who plays 130 games a season isn’t an attractive job, and Teagarden is probably an ideal guy for it. The list of free agent catchers who’d embrace the role and the Orioles could afford isn’t great.
Luis Exposito is still on the 40-man roster, but the team looks upon him as an emergency, and there’s no minor league catcher on the horizon.
Teagarden is a favorite of Showalter, and the Orioles could non-tender him, but quickly sign him back.
3) Steve Pearce
The Orioles knocked themselves out to re-acquire Pearce with five days left in the regular season. They had him earlier in the season, but couldn’t get him through waivers when they wanted to send him to Norfolk.
Pearce lasted a month each with the Astros and Yankees. He couldn’t immediately report to the Orioles when they claimed him again because his baby was in intensive care. He was available only for the last three days of the regular season at Tampa Bay, not far from his Lakeland, Fla. home, but he didn’t play.
He wasn’t eligible for the postseason, so he went home.
If he’s not offered a contract, like Lew Ford, later he may well sign a minor league deal and join the fray for a backup outfielder’s job.
4) Omar Quintanilla
It will be surprising if the Orioles offer him a contract. Quintanilla was flavor of the month after he was acquired from the Mets in July. While Robert Andino was on the disabled list, Quintanilla was hot and stayed hot until he finished the season in an 0-for-30 slump.
By early September, Andino, Ryan Flaherty and Steve Tolleson had all eclipsed Quintanilla. Alex Casilla’s addition makes the retention of Quintanilla all the more unlikely.
5) Troy Patton
I don’t think the Orioles will not offer a contract to Patton, but they seemed to do fine with Brian Matusz as the situational left-hander in Patton’s absence.
It was only because Patton turned his ankle that Matusz was converted into a reliever, and he was superb at it.
Patton has a lot of value, but he could be traded to help fill some of the team’s other needs.