O's make flurry of roster moves
Two new pitchers and a catcher join 40-man roster
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles made several moves to reinforce their September roster on Friday, when they released Fernando Cabrera and announced the arrival of two new pitchers. Baltimore acquired Brian Bass from Minnesota for a player to be named later or cash considerations, and purchased Alfredo Simon's contract from Triple-A Norfolk.
The Orioles also recalled infielder Brandon Fahey and purchased catcher Omir Santos' contract from Norfolk, fattening out the roster with increased depth in several areas. Both Bass and Simon have starting experience, but manager Dave Trembley said Friday that he's not exactly certain how either arm fits into his immediate roster plans.
"I don't know yet. I have no idea. ... I just want to have guys that can get people out, throw it over the plate," Trembley said. "We'll see how it all plays out. [Bass will] get an opportunity to pitch. Obviously, we got him for a reason. ... I can't say he's going to start. I'm sure it's something that, at some point in time before the season's over, he'll get his chance."
The Orioles made room on the 40-man roster by releasing Cabrera, designating infielder Eider Torres for assignment, and transferring reliever Chris Ray from the 15-day disabled list to the 60-day disabled list.
Bass, a right-hander, went 3-4 with a 4.87 ERA for the Twins this season, and executive Andy MacPhail said he was a key acquisition. MacPhail, the team's president of baseball operations, said that Baltimore's scouts had seen Bass multiple times and that he could help the Orioles either out of the bullpen or by joining the late-September rotation.
"I think we're going to have to attack it with numbers, with pitching," MacPhail said. "That's pretty much the general theory, with the two individuals you asked for. The attractive thing about Brian is that he throws strikes, not unlike a lot of Twins pitchers. He doesn't walk a lot of guys and he keeps the ball on the ground. We have two pretty good scouting reports on him. ... Once Minnesota didn't bring him up, we made the call and said, 'Hey, if you're not going to use him, we could.'
"And they were accomodating on behalf of the player. It's no surprise to me they didn't call him up, because they do have some real pitching depth at their Triple-A club in Rochester."
As for Simon, he took a little bit more legwork. The 27-year-old began this season with the Monterey Sultans of the Mexican League, posting a 7-2 record with a 2.67 ERA. Before that assignment, Simon had put together a 5-16 record and an ERA over 6.00 in each of his two seasons at the Triple-A level, but the Orioles still think he can help.
"Simon is the first product of John Stockstill's international foray," he said, speaking of the team's director of international scouting, who is in his first year in that capacity. "It surprises me that it's Mexico. John has been to Japan, he's been to the Olympics in China, he's been to Mexico, [and] he's been to the Dominican.
"He's been to just about anywhere that one would hope he would be, and one of the pitchers he saw that he liked was Simon. ... It's not a high-profile high expenditure, but we think he was better than what else we have at our disposal."
Those moves were meant to stem the tide in Baltimore's pitching staff, which has seen some rocky results of late. Cabrera, who worked to a 2-1 record with a 5.40 ERA with the Orioles, was cut as part of a disciplinary measure. Cabrera flipped the ball at Trembley after being taken out of a game last Friday, an action that angered the manager on the spot.
Cabrera apologized for his actions after the game, and Trembley acknowledged the dispute on Friday.
"I think you always make evaluations based on performance first," said Trembley. "Not everybody here is a milkshake drinker. They're not all guys that you'd want to bring home and introduce to your daughters. You understand that, but performance is the bottom line. I didn't see Fernando Cabrera fitting in on this club for next year. I think we can do better."
Then again, a few moments later, Trembley briefly mentioned his run-in with the volatile reliever.
"There is no substitute," he said, "at any time, for respect and integrity."
Spencer Fordin is a reporter for MLB.com. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.