The Orioles have signed outfielder Quintin Berry to a Minor League deal with an invitation to spring training, reports Roch Kubatko of MASN. If his performance merits it, Berry could land a job on the Orioles’ bench, adding some much-needed speed. Nate McLouth, who stole 30 bases in 2013 for the O’s, signed with the Nationals. Center fielder Adam Jones was second on the team with 14 steals.
Orioles executive VP Dan Duquette likes Berry for a lot of reasons, saying, “He’s a good outfielder, an outstanding basestealer and he’s shown good on-base capability, particularly against right-handed pitching.”
Berry spent the 2013 season with three different clubs, starting with the Tigers, then the Royals, and ultimately ending up with the Red Sox. Overall, in 381 plate appearances at Triple-A, he posted a paltry .566 OPS but he did steal 30 bases in 34 attempts. He only had nine plate appearances in the Majors with the Red Sox, but he proved useful in the post-season, stealing three bases in as many attempts.
Britt Ghiroli suggests that Berry’s competition includes David Lough, Francisco Peguero, and Henry Urrutia.
Every now and then, The Players’ Tribune runs a “five toughest” feature. In 2015, David Ortiz listed the five toughest pitchers he ever faced. Last month, Christian Yelich wrote up the five toughest pitchers in the NL East. Now, it’s Ian Kinsler‘s turn with the five toughest pitchers in the AL Central.
Kinsler goes into detail explaining why each pitcher is difficult to face, so hop over to The Players’ Tribune for his reasoning. His list
Presumably, Kinsler intentionally omitted his Tiger teammates from the list. He has faced Justin Verlander a fair amount earlier in his career, and he has only a .176/.333/.235 batting line in 42 plate appearances against the right-hander. Verlander’s stuff is often described as tough to hit in one phrase or another. Kinsler has also struggled against Indians starter Carlos Carrasco (.590 OPS), but one can understand why he would be omitted from a list of five given who was already listed.
Angels first baseman C.J. Cron hit a grand slam against the Mets on Sunday, but it wasn’t enough to keep his spot on the major league roster as the club announced his demotion to Triple-A Salt Lake on Monday. Infielder Nolan Fantana has been promoted from Salt Lake.
Cron, 27, was hitting a disappointing .232/.281/.305 with one home run and RBI in 90 plate appearances. I guess you can say that wasn’t the kind of Cron job the Angels were expecting. Cron was an above-average hitter in each of his first three seasons, finishing with an OPS+, or adjusted OPS, of 111, 106, and 115 (100 is average).
While Cron is figuring things out in the minors, Luis Valbuena, Jefry Marte, and Albert Pujols could each see some time at first base.