Orioles Stockpiling Farm System To Improve Big League Depth
The Orioles continue to stockpile minor league depth, re-signing a pair of pitchers with previous ties to the club.
Mark Hendrickson, a towering 6-foot-9 left-hander, appeared in 113 games for the Orioles from 2009-11. The 38-year-old's big league career appeared to be finished after he struggled through eight games in 2011 and sat out the 2012 season, but he's now trying to reinvent himself as a side-arming relief specialist.
Hendrickson, who has been with five teams, has appeared in 328 big league games during 10 seasons with almost a 50-50 split between starts and relief appearances (166 games started, 162 in relief) and a career 5.03 ERA. He's a long shot to crack the Orioles' Opening Day roster, but his attempted conversion will be something to keep an eye on during spring training.
The O's also re-upped veteran right-hander Joel Pineiro, 34, who toiled in the Orioles' minor league system last season. Pineiro made two starts for Triple-A Norfolk in 2012 before missing the rest of the season with right labrum surgery. Pineiro, a 12-year major league veteran, has a 104-93 career record and 4.41 ERA with the Mariners, Red Sox, Cardinals and Angels.
It appears that Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, as he did last year, is aggressively signing veterans to minor league deals with an eye on boosting major league depth. When injuries and/or ineffectiveness inevitably strike the big league club, it's useful to have a collection of able-bodied replacements a phone call away. Perhaps the Orioles will find another diamond in the rough, as they did last year with outfielder Nate McLouth.
As it stands now, the Norfolk roster is shaping up to be fairly impressive on paper. The lineup could include major league veterans Conor Jackson, Travis Ishikawa, Chris Dickerson, Lew Ford, Steve Pearce and Ryan Flaherty. The starting rotation will consist of some combination of young hurlers Jake Arrieta, Zach Britton, Brian Matusz, Steve Johnson and Zach Clark (whichever ones of the group don't make the big league club), with veterans such as Hendrickson, Pineiro, Zach Braddock and Daniel Schlereth in the bullpen. And don't rule out appearances by top prospects Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop.
Posted Feb. 5, 2013