The Orioles and Marlins may be using the last Spring Training game at Fort Lauderdale Stadium as the backdrop for an intriguing trade. Rumors persist in and around the press box that Baltimore will deal Hayden Penn to Florida after the game for shortstop Robert Andino. Both Penn and Andino are out of options and redundant on their current teams.
Penn, who allowed six earned runs in his most recent start, was ruled out of the rotation picture and would’ve faced an uphill battle to make the club as a reliever. Andino, meanwhile, would provide some depth behind free agent acquisition Cesar Izturis. If the trade goes through, it would seem to clinch that the Orioles will begin the year with 12 pitchers.
The Orioles had another distressing performance from a rotation candidate Saturday, when Adam Eaton allowed five earned runs in five innings of work. Baltimore’s starters have allowed at least five runs in each of their last three games — with starts by Jeremy Guthrie and Hayden Penn included — and they’ve racked up a 9.21 ERA in their last nine outings.
Baltimore has just two assured rotation slots — those belonging to Guthrie and free agent acquisition Koji Uehara — and is attempting to fill the other three from a pool of five candidates. The decision isn’t getting any easier, though, and will likely go down to the wire.
Dave Trembley didn’t even need much of a question to speak at length about his starting rotation on Thursday. Baltimore’s manager felt the need to clarify some of the comments he made Wednesday in an attempt to head future questions off at the pass.
“I’m not in a position to name who the five starters are and I won’t be in a position to name who the No. 3, No. 4 and No. 5 are until later in camp,” he said. “I won’t be in a position until later in camp — right down to the end — to name if I’m going with 12 or 13 pitchers. I just want to say that with all due respect to everyone because I don’t have answers right now. …We’re still in the phase of giving guys opportunities to pitch.”
Trembley wanted to see Alfredo Simon and Hayden Penn on Thursday, and he got positive signs from at least one of them. Simon threw four scoreless innings against Washington, and Penn was scheduled to throw one inning in relief later in the day. Penn will take the ball again as a starter later in the week, giving the Orioles more chance to evaluate him.
The Orioles officially agreed to terms with five prospects on Monday, signing all of them to split contracts. The most prominent of the group, southpaw Troy Patton, will earn $253,500 if he pitches in the Minors and a base of $400,000 if he makes the parent club.
Two other pitchers with big-league experience — Hayden Penn and Bob McCrory — signed similar contracts. Penn inked a deal for $88,335 in the Minors and $400,000 in the Majors, while McCrory will earn $83,825 in the Minors and $400,000 in the Majors.
Finally, David Hernandez and Chorye Spoone both signed split deals for $32,500 at the Minor League level and $400,000 if they happen to make the Majors. Spoone had shoulder surgery last season and is lagging behind the rest of his teammates so far in spring.