MASN’s Orioles insider Roch Kubatko and O’s broadcaster Jim Hunter team up on the new home for the Baltimore Orioles, 105.7 The Fan for the Orioles Hot Stove Show.

The guys are joined by Orioles VP of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette.

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The guys talk about the acquisition of Snider and Parmalee in the past week.

Travis Snider was picked up in a trade with the Pirates for Stephen Tarpley and another player to be named at a later date. Snider is the type of player who could play right field for the Orioles on a daily basis if they can get consistent at-bats from him. Dan says, “We had to replace Markakis’ on-base capability which I think we can do with the addition of De Aza. Snider is interesting because he’s a real patient hitter. He probably sees more pitches than anyone else we have; I’d have to say he’s our most patient hitter. His addition gives us a good outfielder, possible DH candidate against right handed pitching, and I think he’s a good solid right handed power hitter who can play in the field and he’s just about ready to come into his own…. Another first round pick with a good powerful swing.”

Parmalee is a former number one pick as well with 2 full years in the majors who can play first base and right field. Thus far in his career he’s been an average hitter but he could turn the corner to hit for power as he matures. He’s a left-handed hitter but he hits lefties better than righties.

When looking at players, Dan looks at a lot of former first round players. “The industry does a good job of screening players when they come into the business. The first time they put them on a preferential listing is through the draft. That’s really an industry wide screening. To go in the first round, you’ve got to show pretty good abilities. Generally, if you’re in the first round, clubs have a good idea of what your capabilities are and then sometimes it’s just a matter of being in the right place at the right time or being able to develop those skills. All players face a bunch of challenges. I just think the industry does a pretty good job when kids come into professional baseball and they’re ranked based upon their potential future value in the draft. I usually put some weight on that, even after the player has been in the league for a while.”

As for the depth of the Orioles roster, Dan said “We did a good job last year having players available when we had injuries. Every team has injuries and I expect we’ll have our share. We’ll have some players behind them to step up. Hopefully we’ll get Wieters back. That was a big injury we overcame last year but he should be back this year, we’re getting some good reports on him. Manny looks good… Those two guys coming back, that should give us some more depth to our lineup and of course they’re both good defensive players.” Dan also talks about some potential additions to the roster to continue to add depth, “Ideally, you like to have some more infielders with some major league experience so that’s something we’ve got to keep an eye on as we continue to build out our team. I like this kid we signed, {Rey] Navarro, from Puerto Rico. He had a good year last year at double A and triple A with the bat. He’s a switch hitter and a pretty good left handed hitter. He’s got some excellent power. Second base is probably his best position so we’re going to get a chance to take a look at him. Ideally, I’d like to see us add another infielder or two.”

Starting pitching is an interesting topic as well with the Orioles. The rotation already has 6 starters for 5 positions, not including prospects like Wright or Gamboa. One intriguing player on the market is James Shields. “I think you have to give up a draft pick to sign him,” Duquette said. “He’s in the same class that [Nelson] Cruz was in last year, and Jimenez, so that may have something to do with his market right now.

“We looked at all the players on the market to see if there’s a fit. That’s something that we looked at and we’ll continue to look at. There are some other pitchers that are available, too. There are some pretty good relievers with some pretty good success in the big leagues who are still out there, too.”

Dan seems very smitten with Rule 5 pitcher Logan Verrett and also interested to see Jason Garcia. The O’s have solid depth at starting pitching not to mention Dylan Bundy who will probably be able to help out the Orioles later on in the season. It sounded like Dan has noticed some interest in Mike Wright as a possible trade option. He’s a scout’s favorite but the Orioles have managed to hang on to him this far to take a look at him for their own club.

Orioles closer Zach Britton was next up on the show. Zach is currently one of the O’s three remaining unsigned arbitration players. (Alejandro De Aza and Miguel Gonzalez being the other two)

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In 2014, Zach Britton came into spring training not knowing exactly what his role with the team would be. He was hoping to make the starting rotation but remained in the bullpen uncertain what his place was until he was called upon for the final 3 outs of game after Tommy Hunter struggled to close out tight contests. Cut to 2015, where Zach has become one of the top closers in the majors.

Zach talks about his transformation and development as a bullpen pitcher, “I think from the very first week of spring training I kinda had the sense I would be in the bullpen just from all my talks with Dave [Wallace] and Dom [Chiti]. So I tried to prepare for that. I asked questions to everybody who’s ever been in the bullpen; Darren, Brian Matusz -who was a starter that got transitioned into the bullpen– and just talked to those guys about what to expect. One thing they all said was you’re going to have to figure it out on your own. It’s hard to explain how you physically feel from going from a guy who is throwing once every fifth day to a guy could throw three or four days in a row. I think that was the biggest transition. Once I got in there, I just focused on going and getting 3 outs at a time. That was my mindset. Get one out. Get two outs. Get three outs. I didn’t know what my role was so I was comfortable going multiple innings if need be and I felt like I just got confident again. I think that was the big thing, just getting back to the big leagues and being successful and being confident again in my ability. I think that’s what happened and I think that’s why they run away with that closer role when I got the opportunity.”

He talks about how it is to work with two different pitching coaches in pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti. “They call themselves co-pitching coaches. And it’s true, what you hear from Dom you can expect to hear from Dave. That’s not always the case in situations where you have two guys that are teaching pitching. These guys are on the same page… Which is huge for any pitcher because you’re not getting two different types of pitching advice coming at you. Everyone’s on the same page.”

Zach also talks about Brady Anderson and how the camp that he holds with the guys on the west coast has helped with his confidence and development as a closer.

After losing Andrew Miller in the bullpen, many were concerned with how to replace that type of arm in the pen. “I think we have a better bullpen now than we did at the end of last season, with Andrew Miller. Now Andrew, I think it’s going to be very hard for someone to step in and do what he did and I understand that. You’ve got a guy, Brad Brach, coming back last year there was a moment in Pittsburgh he threw three or four shut out innings. Me, Dave and Dom were talking the next day and we said something clicked in Brad Brach in that game and his stuff is just as good if not better than anybody’s in that bullpen. I think you’re going to see a guy who’s confident, that knows he can get big league hitters out consistently. He’s going to come back and be better than he was last year. At least that’s how I feel.

“Tommy Hunter has outstanding stuff in the bullpen, can do multiple things. I think he’s going to be better. I think he’s going to get off to a hot start kind of a little differently than last year. He struggled a little bit at the beginning, that happens. At the end, he was one of our best guys, if not the best guy. Same thing with Brian Matusz. I think we have the pieces in play. Darren is ‘Mr. Consistent.’ If you look at his career, he just does what he does, that’s the only way I can put it.

“I think we’ve got some guys in the minors too that can step up. Mike Wright and Tim Berry are two guys that I’m actually really interested in seeing in spring training. They’re not going to be guys that can make the team in the rotation, let’s face it. We’ve got a pretty good rotation. We’ve already got I think seven or eight guys going for 5 spots to fill. That will be interesting. I think if Mike Wright and Tim Berry are given the chance to maybe see if they can make the team out of the bullpen role I think you’d be surprised. Especially Mike Wright, I know he throws really hard, maybe going one or two innings at a time, maybe even harder and he’s got a really good sinker. Maybe he needs some big league experience but I know from a personal stand point when you’ve got good movement on a pitch and you can throw hard, you can get away with more stuff. I think Mike Wright could be an interesting guy to really help out a bullpen.”

Next up on the show is the O’s hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh.



“A moving bat is a dangerous bat.”

That appears to be the motto of the new Orioles hitting coach. He stresses on-base percentage as well as scoring runs. He may be new to Baltimore but he’s clearly familiar with the Earl Weaver 3-run homer, “if you play for one run, that’s all you’ll get” mentality. This is a ball club that has no problem swinging the bat. Chris Davis, who he has worked with in the past, is a perennial strike out leader and Adam Jones is one of the most aggressive hitters out there but both of their numbers wouldn’t be what they are without that dynamic approach.

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Be sure to tune in and catch Roch and Jim next Monday night from 6pm – 7pm right here on The Fan!