Another day, another candidate drops out out the running for the Orioles’ general manager job. Nice to know you can still count on something in this cruel, cruel world.
Earlier this morning we learned that the Orioles planned to ask permission to interview Red Sox vice president of player personnel and pro scouting Allard Baird. Well, Jon Heyman of SI.com reports that while the former Royals’ GM was “tempted by the idea” of joining forces with O’s manager Buck Showalter, he didn’t want to leave new Red Sox general manager Ben Cherington.
Just to bring us up to date, that means the O’s have been turned down by Baird, Jerry Dipoto, Tony LaCava and DeJon Watson.
Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun brings word that former Expos and Red Sox general manager Dan Duquette did interview for the job today, most likely under his own free will, and the Orioles have received permission to speak with Yankees scouting director Damon Oppenheimer. Meanwhile, Phillies assistant general manager Scott Proefrock and Orioles director of player development John Stockstill remain in the mix.
For what it’s worth, Connolly speculates that Duquette must be considered the favorite for the gig based on what the Orioles were originally seeking (a warm and willing body?) in a candidate. Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com hears that the Orioles were hoping to make a decision by Monday, though that seems a little on the quick side now.
The San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser reports that Athletics’ right-hander Sonny Gray will not pitch in the World Baseball Classic after failing to meet the necessary criteria for insurance coverage. He missed 70 days on the disabled list with forearm tightness and a back strain in 2016.
According to Oakland GM David Forst, Major League Baseball tried to persuade the insurance carrier to waive the requirements for Gray to pitch for Team USA, but the request was ultimately refused. Without coverage, Gray will be unable to participate in the competition, though Forst adds that the 27-year-old is still in perfect health as Opening Day approaches and should benefit from a slower spring training schedule without the added commitment on his plate.
Injuries complicated a down year for Gray, who pitched to a career-worst 5.69 ERA, 3.2 BB/9 and 7.2 SO/9 rate through 117 innings in 2016. His 1.4 HR/9 and 17.8% HR/FB rates suggested that he felt the effects of the home run spike more than most, capping a disappointing follow-up to his All-Star campaign during 2015.
While Gray works up to a healthy and productive start to the 2017 season, the Athletics will still see two players on WBC rosters next month: right-handed reliever Santiago Casilla, who is scheduled to pitch for the Dominican Republic, and fellow righty John Axford, for Team Canada.
Rangers’ outfielder Josh Hamilton is scheduled for another knee exam on Monday, according to Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram. Hamilton left camp last week after feeling some pain in his left knee and received a PRP injection to alleviate the symptoms. Wilson notes that both Dr. Walt Lowe and Rangers’ assistant general manager Mike Daly noticed little improvement in the days following the injection.
More drastic measures could be necessary if the 35-year-old intends to return to the field this year. MLB.com’s TR Sullivan adds that the Rangers are considering arthroscopic surgery for Hamilton, which would set him back at least 4-6 weeks and eliminate any real chance of his making the Opening Day roster in April. Until they see the results of the surgery, however, the Rangers won’t rule out Hamilton’s potential return to the big leagues in 2017.
Hamilton is looking at his third major procedure since the end of the 2015 season. He missed all of the Rangers’ 2016 campaign after undergoing reconstructive knee surgery last spring and has not seen a full workload in the majors since his 2013 run with the Angels. Should he make a full recovery this season, he figures to see some time at first base/DH or the corner outfield.