How important is playing “at home” for a free agent? It’s not very important at all.
For years, the Orioles have chased after A.J. Burnett and Gavin Floyd without any success. Burnett lives in Monkton, Md., and Floyd is from Severna Park.
They made a spirited, but unsuccessful effort at Mark Teixeira when he was a free agent seven years ago.
Of course, Cal Ripken was a lifetime Marylander, and it would have been hard to conceive of him playing anywhere else.
During the offseason, the Orioles, who truly want to have local players have jettisoned three: Steve Clevenger, L.J. Hoes and Steve Johnson.
Clevenger was traded to Seattle for Mark Trumbo, and that could be a terrific deal for the Orioles.
Hoes, who was originally signed by the team, but traded in the Bud Norris deal in July 2013, was reacquired from Houston in late November, but designated for assignment last week when the team acquired Efren Navarro from the Angels. He could still be Orioles property if he isn’t traded and passes through waivers.
Johnson was let go in early December and last week agreed to a minor league deal with Texas.
Comfort is an important factor in deciding on whether to sign somewhere. In fact, Darren O’Day, who lives in Maryland, but isn’t from here, feels comfortable with the Orioles.
But, it doesn’t seem “going home” is terribly important.
None of the players on the Orioles’ 40-man roster is from Maryland, and I believe O’Day is the only one who’s a full-time resident.
The Orioles have an intense commitment to Maryland. Four minor league affiliates are here, and that’s important. It saves time and money.
They’ve drafted several local products recently and have a talented scout, Dean Albany, overseeing the area.
NOTES: The Orioles will hold tryouts for ballgirls and ballboys at Oriole Park on March 5 beginning at noon. Applicants must be 18, and in the words of the Orioles be “outgoing and athletic.” They should bring their own gloves and can park in Lot A.
-The Babe Ruth Museum will hold its annual Birthday Bash at Pickles Pub on Friday from 5:30-9 p.m. Tickets are $45 each for museum members and $50 for the general public. For more information, visit www.baberuthmuseum.org or call 410-727-1539 ext. 3033.