With a month to go before spring training, much to do

With a month to go before spring training, much to do
January 13, 2014, 1:15 pm
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Selected players have gathered at the Ed Smith Stadium complex for a four-day mini-camp. Perhaps 60 of them will be there exactly a month from now when spring training begins in earnest.

There are separate report dates for pitchers and catchers and position players. Pitchers and catchers report on Feb. 13, but should be joined quickly by position players.

Between now and then, the Orioles could add a few players, principally another starting pitcher and another hitter.

Masahiro Tanaka, the sought-after Japanese free agent pitcher, will be available for signing on Jan. 24. That’s been holding up the market for free agent pitchers. Even though the Orioles aren’t in the Tanaka sweepstakes, some of the pitchers they’re looking at may want to see what he signs for before they commit.

It seems unusual to see so many free agent pitchers still available. Grant Balfour, whose deal with the Orioles fell apart last month, remains unsigned, and earlier Monday, ESPN’s Buster Onley reported that there were concerns not with his shoulder, but with his wrist and knee.

The Orioles seem prepared to move on with Tommy Hunter the closer—for now.

Expect another starting pitcher signed before spring training begins, and the hitter is more likely to be acquired by a trade. Kendrys Morales is an attractive DH candidate, but it doesn’t seem the Orioles want to surrender the first-round draft choice he’d require to be signed.