The Orioles are talking to free agent third baseman Joe Crede, reports Phil Rogers of the Chicago Tribune.
Crede, who turns 32 in April, is coming off his third back surgery
since 2007, so he’d surely have to accept a modest one-year deal at this point. Limited to just 90 games last season, Crede batted .225/.289/.414 with 15 home runs and 48 RBI. Rogers calls the Orioles’ interest a “curious development” since they already have
two right-handed third baseman in Garrett Atkins and Ty Wigginton, but
according to Dan Connolly and Jeff Zrebiec of the Baltimore Sun, Andy MacPhail would prefer to play Atkins at first base. If that’s the case, it pretty much scratches Hank Blalock off their list.
Whoever the Orioles stick at third would merely be a stopgap until top
prospect Josh Bell is ready for the majors. Best-case scenario is that
Crede is healthy — don’t laugh — and productive enough so that the
Orioles could unload him for a prospect around the trade deadline. At worst, he’ll
barely make enough money for his presence on the roster to even matter.
The Rangers will not sign free agent reliever Seung-hwan Oh after all. Reports from MLB.com’s TR Sullivan indicate that negotiations were brought to a halt after a physical issue was found with the pitcher. While the specifics have yet to be released, Evan Grant of the Dallas Morning News says the issue was revealed on an MRI of the right-hander’s arm.
Oh was thought to be in talks with the Rangers last week, though a deal was never officially announced by the club. The 35-year-old righty is fresh off of a two-year run with the Cardinals, during which he posted a cumulative 39 saves, 2.85 ERA, 2.1 BB/9 and 10.2 SO/9 in 139 innings. He struggled with consistency in his sophomore season, however, and finished 2017 with a disappointing 4.10 ERA and 4.44 FIP in 62 appearances for the team.
While Oh hasn’t experienced any setbacks with his arm in the majors so far, he does have a history of prior injuries during his time in KBO. He sustained a shoulder injury in 2009 and underwent surgery to remove bone spurs from his elbow in 2010. It’s possible that the Rangers saw an entirely different problem on the MRI, but clearly it was enough to give them strong reservations about inking the righty to a $2.75+ million deal. It’s still possible that another of Oh’s suitors will offer him a contract prior to Opening Day; the Giants were rumored to be interested in the veteran reliever, among other teams, though their recent acquisition of lefty reliever Tony Watson will likely take them out of the running now.