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November 8, 2010

Orioles notes: Dunn, Gillick, Sarfate, Iwakuma

Former Orioles bullpen coach Alan Dunn has agreed to take a newly created minor league pitching coordinator position within the organization.

Dunn, who spent three years with the big league club, will be one of two organizational pitching coordinators, along with Dave Schmidt, who has held the post since 2008. Dunn’s responsibilities will center more on relating the major league pitching philosophies to the organization’s higher-level minor league affiliates with some occasional work at the lower levels.

“I’m definitely looking forward to that position,” Dunn said. “I think it is going to be a good situation for the organization, giving me an opportunity to work with the minor league levels from A ball to Triple-A and tie it in with what we did at the big league level.”

Like the other members of last year’s staff, Dunn, 48, was not rehired as an Orioles coach when his contract expired at the end of October. But the Orioles wanted to keep the highly respected instructor within the organization. However, the Orioles will not stand in his way if he is offered a big league coaching job by another organization this offseason.

“Obviously, I’m very grateful that they thought enough of me to give me this opportunity to stay in the organization. I’m excited about that,” Dunn said. “I think a lot of good things are happening in organization, and I am glad I am a part of that. We’ll go forward from here and look for better things in 2011.”

Dunn is the second member of last year’s Orioles coaching staff to accept a minor league job in the organization. Longtime hitting coach Terry Crowley will be a hitting evaluator throughout the system. Also, third base coach Gary Allenson has been offered the Triple-A manager’s job he held in the first half of 2010. Allenson has not yet accepted it, waiting to see what happens with the Orioles’ third base coaching position.

Juan Samuel has been in negotiations with the Orioles for the post, but no agreement has been reached and, if that ends in an impasse, Allenson could remain in the majors.

Gillick with a Hall of Fame shot

Former Orioles general manager Pat Gillick has a chance to make the National Baseball Hall of Fame in July.

Gillick is one of 12 candidates on the Hall’s Expansion Era (1973 to present) Committee to Consider Managers, Umpires, Executives and Long-Retired Players.

The candidates must receive at least 12 votes from a 16-person committee made up of former players, executives and writers.

Besides Gillick, the other 11 candidates are: players Vida Blue, Dave Concepcion, Steve Garvey, Ron Guidry, Tommy John, Al Oliver, Ted Simmons and Rusty Staub; manager Billy Martin; team owner George Steinbrenner; and players association executive Marvin Miller.

Gillick won World Series championships with the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies and led the Orioles to the American League Championship Series in 1996 and 1997. He left in 1998, and the Orioles are still searching for their next .500 or better season.

The voting panel has a significant Orioles flavor. Among those on the committee are former Orioles greats Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer and Frank Robinson, Orioles president of baseball operations Andy MacPhail and current ESPN analyst and former Baltimore Sun writer Tim Kurkjian.

The result of the vote will be announced Dec. 6 during the baseball’s winter meetings in Florida.

Minor league free agents

When the Orioles placed pitcher Jim Hoey on the 40-man roster Saturday, they also allowed a number of players to become minor league free agents. The most notable include former Orioles Dennis Sarfate and Scott Moore as well as former major leaguers Joel Guzman, Chris George and Mike Hinckley.

The players are free to sign elsewhere or could return to the Orioles on minor league deals.

Orioles did not bid for Iwakuma

Major League Baseball announced Monday that the Oakland Athletics had submitted the winning posting bid for Rakuten Golden Eagles pitcher Hisashi Iwakuma and will have 30 days to negotiate exclusively with the 29-year-old right hander.

The Orioles were not among the teams to offer a bid for Iwakuma, who had a 2.82 ERA in Japan this season.

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Posted by Dan Connolly at 6:02 PM | | Comments (11)
        

Comments

Dan,

A two part question for you:

1) Do you think Juan is waiting to see what else is out there or do you think he's having 2nd thoughts?

I thought Allenson did a good job in the 2nd half plus he's very familiar with the young guys so I am hoping Juan passes.

2) Any idea who might be the bench coach?

Do you think Buck looks for an ex Oriole player like BJ Surhoff?

Thanks,

Todd


---

1. I think Juan and the Orioles are trying to hash out an agreeable contract to both sides. They are apart on terms and my guess is Juan is confident he has another opportunity if this falls through. But his No. 1 choice is to return to the Orioles.

2. My sense is he is going to go outside the organization for a bench coach, simply because I assume he'd want a bench coach with managerial experience. And that's lacking from an inside choice. I'm sure he has plenty of ideas -- and plenty of people willing to come on board under him.

And don't forget that Gillick also led Seattle to the best regular season record in MLB history. He's the greatest executive of his era and should be a first-ballot Hall-of-Famer.

Anyone have any information on whether the O's would be interested in Tsuyoshi Nishioka? He's another Japanese infielder that will be posted, according to this MLBtraderumors post: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/11/top-japanese-infielder-to-be-posted.html

Maybe this is why there was no bid on Ikwamura

Story about the ongoing renovation of the Orioles' new Spring Training home:

http://www.heraldtribune.com/article/20101109/COLUMNIST/11091075/2416/NEWS?Title=Baseball-lovers-will-have-more-to-love-when-spring-comes&tc=ar

FWIW, we are really thankful that the Orioles chose Sarasota as their new Spring Training home - we are greatly looking forward to being "Baltimore South" this March..

Sarfate and Guzman had their best year ever in the minors. Suppose Orioles management can't bring back Uehara or Wigginton. Suppose they can't get a free agent right-handed power hitter without overpaying. Then Sarfate and Guzman would be good insurance to have on the roster. Why not get something for them in a trade?

For some reason this org soured on Sarfate, who in 2008 (wow, is it that long ago already?) was one of the best relievers in the AL. He was hurt in 2009 and they kept him at AAA all of last year. He has electric stuff (just ask his former team mate Troy Patton). He'll be in somebodies major league bullpen next year, making a positive contribution. Good luck Dennis.

Vince,

Please explain to all of us how a 4.74 ERA and 1.55 ERA and 7, repeat, SEVEN, walks per nine translates to "one of the best relievers in the AL".

I really hope George Steinbrenner does not get voted in to the Hall. That would be a travesty.

Dan, do you have the full list of minor league free agents? Not just for the Orioles, but for all teams? Thanks!

--
Wow. JP, I don't. If I find a link for it, I'll pass it on.

Both Moore and Guzman had a better minor league season than Hughes. Both are younger although not much younger. And both have more at bats in the majors.

Lebron has never pitched above AA. Lebron is coming off Tommy John surgery. Is there really a need to protect him from the the Rule V draft?

--
The Oiroles have always loved Lebron's arm. As for Hughes, and some other guys, the 40-man roster isn't set yet. Changes can still be made.

Here you go JP: http://www.mlbtraderumors.com/2010/11/minor-league-free-agents.html

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About the bloggers
A Baltimore native, Dan Connolly has been covering sports for 14 years, and baseball and the Orioles for 10 seasons, including the past six with The Sun. His first year covering baseball on a daily basis was Cal Ripken Jr.'s final season as a player. It's believed that is just a coincidence.

Steve Gould is an assistant sports editor for The Sun, overseeing Orioles coverage. The Columbia native joined The Sun as a sports copy editor in 2006 after graduating from the University of Maryland.

Peter Schmuck has been covering baseball for a lot longer than Steve Gould has been on this earth. He is now a general sports columnist, but has been a beat writer covering three major league teams (the Dodgers, Angels and Orioles) and also spent a decade as the Sun's national baseball writer. If you want more of his insight on the Orioles and other sports issues, check out his personal blog -- The Schmuck Stops Here.


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