Yesterday, we linked to a story out of Baltimore that centred around pitcher Dontrelle Willis, with the Orioles on a Minor League deal, curiously being placed on the restricted list after pitching only three and two third innings for Triple A Norfolk.
When reached for comment, Willis was dumbfounded as to why he would have remained under the organization’s umbrella after requesting his release.
I don’t understand what’s really going on. I don’t know if there’s been a miscommunication there. I talked to my agent and we talked about it, I talked to the proper representation, I talked to Dan [Duquette] personally. It was face-to-face. I don’t know what’s going on. And now if I want to sign with another team, I can’t.
The latest report from MLBTR has the Orioles refusing to grant the Minor League pitcher his release after the pitcher left the Minor League team without permission.
According to agent Matt Sosnick:
My understanding is that the Orioles people involved in telling Dontrelle he could have his release reiterated that commitment to Dan Duquette. Yet Duquette refused to honor that and instead put Dontrelle on the restricted list. We ended up reading about him being put on the restricted list in the news. It’s the craziest thing. Our expectation is that Dontrelle will be removed from the restricted list today.
Earlier today, Jon Heyman of CBS Sports reported that the Orioles still intended to hang on to Willis, as they believed that they could use him in a relief role once he gained more experience coming out of the bullpen.
You know how right after you learn a new word, you suddenly hear and read that word everywhere you go? It makes you wonder whether the sources that you follow just learned it to or if your ignorance to the word meant that you merely ignored it all this time.
I feel similarly about the Baltimore Orioles incompetence.
Has it always been there? Did the disastrous general manager search this off season merely bring my attention to it?
Or is this a relatively new thing? Have the missteps involving attempts to poach middling Korean pitchers and bad public relations resulting from laying off or reorganizing their scouting staff been the embarrassing result of the new regime?
I mean, sure, the OriLOLes of old made mistakes. Under Andy McPhail, the team gave inexplicably unjustifiable contracts the previous off season to players like Jeremy Accardo, Kevin Gregg and Vladimir Guerrero. That’s laughable, but it pales in comparison to losing an exhibition game against a junior college, even if it was merely a scrimmage.
In Toronto, Blue Jays general manager Alex Anthopoulos speaks rather frequently about what it takes to be a first class organization. Most of what he says is vague with little definition, but at the very least, it seems as though the franchise’s reputation is important to the person at the helm.
This doesn’t seem to be the case for the Orioles front office who continue to make themselves look more and more foolish. At best the scenario involving Willis is a communications break down, although Duquette’s comments to Heyman make that seem unlikely. At worst, this entire ordeal is the refusal of management to let a scrap heap player do what he wants.
Acquiring these types of players is a rite of the late Winter/early Spring as teams view the final remaining spots on their roster as something of a target to aim shit at and hope something sticks. It usually doesn’t, but Baltimore is doing themselves no favours if they ever want to be able to play this type of acquisition game again.