Can we please start the offseason again?
Seven weeks from today, pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota, Fla. It’s been a long three months since the 2013 season ended, and even the worst pessimists couldn’t have imagined anything this bad.
Even though there are still six days left in 2013, let’s look back on this wacky three months and perhaps the seven weeks between now and Feb. 13 will produce some better news for Orioles fans.
Oct. 10-Manny Machado to undergo surgery on his left knee.
Machado hurt the knee on Sept. 21 in Tampa Bay. At first, the worst was feared, but a day later came the news that surgery could be avoided, but shortly into the offseason Machado sought another opinion, and his surgery took place on Oct. 14.
A recovery period of four-six months was forecast putting his availability for Opening Day in question.
Besides announcing Machado’s surgery, the Orioles said that Wei-Yin Chen had undergone a procedure to remove bone spurs from his right knee, and he should be ready for spring training.
Oct. 18-Rick Adair leaves team
Two months after taking a leave of absence to resolve personal issues, Adair’s departure is officially announced. Eleven days later, he is replaced as pitching coach by Dave Wallace, who has an impressive resume.
Bullpen coach Bill Castro, who had taken over for Adair, leaves, too.
Dec. 2-Jim Johnson traded to Oakland
At the end of the season, Dan Duquette said that Jim Johnson was a core player and that he would be offered a contract.
Shortly before the deadline for offering contracts, the Orioles traded Johnson to the Athletics for second baseman Jemile Weeks and minor league catcher David Freitas.
The Orioles were afraid that Johnson could be awarded more than $10 million in arbitration, and unable to work out a club friendly two-year contract, he was traded.
Immediately afterward, speculation on who would replace Johnson began.
Dec. 6-Scott Feldman and Nate McLouth sign elsewhere
Feldman was a credible starter for half a season, but he was able to command a three-year, $30 million contract with Houston. (The Orioles wanted him for two years.)
McLouth got a two-year, $10.75 million deal with a $6.25 million option with the Nationals. (The Orioles didn’t want a multi-year deal with him.)
Earlier in the day, the Orioles agreed to terms with Ryan Webb, who projects as a sixth or seventh inning reliever, but that news is overshadowed.
Dec. 11-Scott Boras says he’d talk Davis, Wieters extension
During the winter meetings, uberagent Scott Boras had his annual scrum with reporters. He said he’d be happy to talk with Orioles owner Peter Angelos about extensions for the two in the future.
A day earlier, Duquette said those talks would happen in the new year, but not now.
Boras says he’s relationship with Duquette is a good one, and compliments the team exec.
“He’s got great hair, too.”
Dec. 16-Brian Roberts leaves Orioles for Yankees
Shortly after Justin Tucker kicked a 61-yard field goal to help the Ravens beat the Detroit Lions, Orioles fans receive the news that Brian Roberts is leaving the team after 13 years.
Roberts whose four-year, $40 million contract had expired, was taking his act to Yankee Stadium.
His final four years with the Orioles were full of injuries, and his departure doesn’t engender the same reaction that Johnson’s did.
Dec. 17-Orioles agree to terms with Grant Balfour
After a frantic two weeks of negotiations, the Orioles agree on a two-year contract with Balfour.
Dec. 20-Orioles announce Balfour deal is off
Even though the team never officially announced the Balfour deal, Duquette says the team is “moving on from this situation.”
After a medical exam, the team is dubious that Balfour could make it through two years without further damage to his right shoulder.
Later, Balfour calls Duquette to tell him the team is making a mistake.
An hour before Duquette talked about the Balfour mess, reliever Troy Patton is suspended by Major League Baseball for 25 games. Patton tested positive for amphetamine use.
On any other day, that would be the bad news. On this day, it’s lost.
Outfielder David Lough, who was acquired from Kansas City in a trade for Danny Valencia is added to the Duquette conference call, but sadly for him, reporters’ attention is elsewhere.
Orioles fans are hoping the rest of the offseason isn’t as newsworthy.