Free agency begins the day after the World Series. There are some players who were key to the Orioles’ success who’ll be free agents. ‘
Fifty-two played for the Orioles this season. Seven have already moved on: Jason Berken, Dana Eveland, Kevin Gregg, Matt Lindstrom, Ronny Paulino, J.C. Romero and Miguel Socolovich,
An eighth, Randy Wolf, won’t be back next season. He hasn’t undergone a second Tommy John surgery on his left elbow, and an inquiry about his future plans was not answered on Monday by his agent.
Here are five more who won’t be back with the Orioles in 2013:
1) Endy Chavez
Chavez’s acquisition was trumpeted endlessly by manager Buck Showalter during spring training. “We had a lot of competition for his services,” Showalter would say, or: “He was highly coveted.”
He batted just .203 in 64 games, and was taken off the 40-man roster. After a disappointing month at Norfolk, his Orioles career seemed over. Then, Nick Markakis was hurt, his season over, and a call was put into Chavez.
Chavez was on the active roster for the postseason, but he’ll be 35 in February, and showed little punch. He was also hurt for much of the season. Not a good combination.
2) Omar Quintanilla
Quintanilla was acquired in July after Robert Andino was placed on the disabled list. It turned out that Andino’s shoulder injury wasn’t as serious as feared and he returned in the minimum 15 days.
By then, “Q” as the Orioles liked to call him, had supplanted Andino at second. Quintanilla was on an uncharacteristic hot streak, which ended in mid-August.
Quintanilla presumably concluded his Orioles career with an 0-for-35 nosedive.
The team prefers Andino, Ryan Flaherty, Steve Tolleson and whoever might be available in free agency to Quintanilla.
3) Lew Ford
Everyone loves real life Rocky stories, and that’s what Ford is. As Ray Frager pointed out, Ford will be receiving a championship ring from the Long Island Ducks of the Independent League for his contributions to their franchise.
Ford played himself back to the major leagues last season for the first time in nearly five years. His career took him to Korea and to Central Islip, New York before the Orioles signed him to a minor league contract.
He began so attached to Long Island that the Texan is now living there in the winter.
Ford had a strong stint in Norfolk, but batted just .183 in 25 games. He had three home runs, but just four RBIs.
Like Chavez, he was on the postseason roster, but if Nate McLouth returns and Markakis and Nolan Reimold are healthy, there’s little use for Ford.
Those Le-wwwwwwwwwwwwwwwww chants were kind of cool.
4) Bill Hall
What was a guy who once hit 35 home runs for the Milwaukee Brewers doing in Norfolk?
Dan Duquette stockpiled veterans at Norfolk just in case the Orioles needed him.
For a few days in May, they needed Hall.
He hit a key home run in his first game, but was soon back in the minors. Hall scooped the Orioles by tweeting his own purchase, and returned for a day in June until Duquette picked up Steve Pearce.
A disappointed Hall went back to Norfolk where he finished the season. He reported to Sarasota, Fla. to keep in shape after the Tides’ season ended and was surprisingly called up for the last week of the season, but didn’t play.
According to baseballreference.com., Hall has made more than $27 million in his career. Hopefully, he’s still playing because he loves playing, not because he needs the money.
Hall was last heard on Monday night, tweeting about the presidential debate.
5) Nick Johnson
He stole more bases than Nick Markakis, Mark Reynolds and Brian Roberts. Two steals aren’t going to make him an attractive free agent.
Johnson somehow made the team in April and shockingly lasted until late June before his right wrist gave out.
Showalter played him regularly in the spring to see how sturdy he was. He was OK then, but the rigors of the season caught up with him.
Like others on the list, he had his moments: a two home run game, a double steal and all around good guy.
Johnson mentored rookie Ryan Flaherty and volunteered to drive to the first game in Washington. As a joke, he tried to drop Flaherty off at RFK Stadium, where Johnson played with the Nationals.
He had a nice, but injury-riddled major league career.