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.
You hear a lot about pitchers tipping pitches. It’s often offered up post-facto as an excuse for poor performance by the pitcher himself or his own team. It’s sort of like the “best shape of my life” thing being offered in the offseason to talk about why the player got injured or played badly the previous year. “Smitty’s stuff is still great, he was just tipping his pitches,” said a source close to the player whose stuff is not really great anymore.
Which isn’t to say that pitchers don’t tip pitches. Of course they do. Opposing teams look for it, pick up on it and take advantage of it whenever they can. It’s just that (a) the opposing team has an interest in not talking about it, lest the pitcher STOP tipping its pitches; and (b) the guy actually tipping his pitches doesn’t want to talk specifically about it lest he starts doing it again.
Which is what makes this article at Sports Illustrated so interesting. In it Tom Verducci talks to an anonymous Houston Astros player who explains how Dodgers starter Yu Darvish was tipping his pitches during the World Series, leading to him getting absolutely shellacked in Games 3 and 7. The upshot: the Astros knew when a slider or a cutter was coming, they waited for it and they teed off.
Darvish is a free agent now. I’m guessing, whoever signs him, knows exactly what they’ll gave him work on the first day of spring training.