Troy Glaus third base

A third option for the Orioles at first base


The Orioles have a three-year $21 million offer on the table to Adam LaRoche. For reasons that remain unclear, he has not jumped at it yet.  Realizing that maybe going three-years on LaRoche isn’t the best idea, they have reportedly contacted Derrek Lee, who may be amenable to a one-year deal.  Makes sense.

Know what else makes sense? Buster Olney’s fun idea:

The Orioles have also been talking with Derrek Lee, for a deal somewhere in the range of $8 million. If that feels too pricey, here’s an imperfect and much cheaper alternative — but a combination that could result in good production. The Orioles could consider a platoon of sluggers at first base: Troy Glaus from the right side, and Russell Branyan or Jason Giambi from the left side.

Such a thing could be a potential nightmare for roster management because you’d still need to have someone who can cover first base defensively. And because none of those guys could just slot into the DH position with Luke Scott hanging around. And because, you know, they’re all old and potentially fragile.

But the general idea — don’t get locked into Adam LaRoche and try to be creative — is a worthy one.  How about Vlad Guerrero at DH and Scott at first base like Roch Kubatko suggested yesterday?  There have to be better options than offering LaRoche three years. And having to wait around for him to accept it.

MLB games were six minutes shorter this year

Pitch Clock
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According to STATS, INC., the average game in 2015 was 2 hours, 56 minutes. That’s six minutes faster than games in 2014.

The gains came in the first half, when games averaged 2:53. Second half games averaged three hours even. One can probably thank the expanded rosters in September for that, as games then see many more pitching changes. Of course, it’s likely that second half games were faster in 2015 than 2014 as well given the rules changes.

Those changes: agreement to enforce the rule requiring a hitter to keep at least one foot in the batter’s box and the installation of clocks timing pitching changes and between-inning breaks in ever ballpark.

It remains to be seen if MLB stays satisfied with that modest improvement or if chooses to go the way Triple-A and Double-A leagues did. They installed 20-second pitch clocks and started penalizing violators with balls and strikes. Triple-A’s two leagues, the International and Pacific Leagues, saw game-time decreases by 13 and 16 minutes, respectively.

Billy Beane promoted to VP, David Forst named A’s general manager

billy beane getty

I’m so old I remember when general managers used to run baseball operations departments. Now they’re basically assistants.

The latest example: the Oakland Athletics have promoted Billy Beane to vice president of baseball operations and have named David Forst general manager. Forst has been with the A’s for 16 years and has been Beane’s assistant for 12 years, so it’s not exactly a situation in which Forst will be making the final calls. The official move came today, though the move has been in the works for some time, it seems.

Someone with a lot of good front office access is going to write a good story this winter about the title inflation going on in Major League Baseball over the past year. And it’s gonna be great when one of his or her sources breaks the pattern of saying “well, baseball transactions are so much more complex these days . . . ” and admits “hey, if Theo gets a fancy title and La Russa gets a fancy title I WANT A FANCY TITLE TOO.”

Not that it’s much of a secret as it is.