-Buck Showalter has been voted Manager of the Year by the Boston chapter of the Baseball Writers Association of America. Good for Buck, he deserves the love and the hardware. It is unfortunate that he came up short in the nationwide vote but Bob Melvin’s team did end up winning the AL West, even if they did get a ton of help from a Rangers team that folded in the last month.
-The Red Sox signed Jonny Gomes to a two-year $10 million deal. The Orioles were linked to Gomes briefly but the Red Sox have picked up the journeyman outfielder as they try to patch together a team from the ruins of 2012. Gomes offers them some power that should play well in Fenway, even though in 31 career games at the Fens he only has three homers. Gomes’ deal does have an impact on the Orioles and their decision surrounding Nate McLouth.
McLouth came to the Orioles midway through last season and quickly became a favorite. He plays a great leftfield and has the ability to play all outfield positions in a pinch. With Nick Markakis returning to the lineup in the Spring, and hopefully for the entire year, McLouth could bat second allowing the Orioles to have a very solid one-two punch of OBP at the top of the order. Allowing JJ Hardy’s bat to be moved down in the order where it will play a lot better. Gomes’ two-year deal will probably be a solid starting point for the Orioles, but it will also depend on how much faith Dan Duquette will put in the, latest, return of Nolan Reimold.
Reimold has recovered from neck surgery and looks primed to, once again, reclaim his spot on the Orioles’ roster. Reimold has always been a fan favorite but, to me, there is simply no way you can rely on him to stay healthy. He is just getting older and has yet to put together a full season of solid play. McLouth also plays a much better outfield and his bat is much better than an occasional back-up player.
-The Orioles dealt Robert Andino to the Mariners for minor league outfielder Trayvon Robinson. It breaks one’s heart a bit to see Bobby go. Of course Andino will be forever etched into Orioles history as the bat the crushed the 2011 Red Sox during the greatest night of regular season baseball ever. Unfortunately Andino had become redundant with the recent acquisition of Alexi Casilla from the Twins and Casilla is a better option at second that Bobby who got exposed a bit as an everyday player. Casilla provides an offensive upgrade and he should be at least as good in the field as Andino was. Still I will miss Bobby and will never forget the way he popped up from under the dog pile at the end of game 162. Thanks for the memories Bobby.