I’ve learned my lesson. No longer will I scoff at Orioles’ minor league signings.
On Wednesday, Baseball America reported that the team signed outfielder George Barber to a minor league deal. Barber’s entire professional resume consists of seven games for the Los Angeles’ Angels Rookie League team in Arizona in 2010.
Barber was released in March 2011. That’s all we know about him—for now.
Last winter, the Orioles signed minor league free agents by the truckload. They don’t announce these signings, but usually leak out later.
In late January, they did announce a large group of invitees to major league camp who were signed to minor league contracts, but some of those were recognizable names. Ronny Paulino, Steve Tolleson and Miguel Socolovich, all of who played for the team, were on that list.
Barber is presumably one of the many players who will report to minor league spring training, which is held about 15 minutes away from Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla.
Two of those minor league signees played for the Orioles. One made a huge impact on the team.
Miguel Gonzalez was signed to a minor league deal just after spring training began. Eyebrows were raised when he signed. There was no announcement made, but his 2011 minor league numbers (0-7, 5.40 ERA with three Red Sox minor league teams) were glanced at, Gonzalez was quickly forgotten.
He didn’t even join the handful of extra players that were sent over from minor league camp each day in case the Orioles needed a few extra players.
Gonzalez is now a mainstay of the staff.
The other minor league signing was reliever Stu Pomeranz, who finally made it to the big leagues after years of battling with alcohol. He was signed last January, and his minor league numbers were as unimpressive as Gonzalez’s
Pomeranz pitched in three games before suffering a season-ending oblique strain.
George Barber may have a great backstory like Gonzalez and Pomeranz do. He may turn out to be like most of the minor league signees, numberless and faceless.
I’m just not going to dismiss any of the minor league signings this winter.