What is going on in the "minds" of the Orioles front office? Nice work by J.P., who is conducting a pre-emptive raid on selected free agents, to sign Howie Clark, a career .300 hitter in the big leagues. That's .302, to be precise, over 53 AB in a 14-game callup to Baltimore last year, 26 points better than any of their regulars. How's his batting eye? Try 41 walks and just 28 strikeouts in AAA Rochester, where he hit .309 in 418 AB, with "only" 7 HR and 43 RBI, but 21 doubles and 4 triples.
Only 28, and capable of filling in as a corner infielder or outfielder, Clark gives the Jays a decent lefty bat off the bench if he makes the club, and makes Syracuse more competitive if he doesn't, getting on base in front of Gabe Gross. Howie will go to Dunedin, out-hit Werth and Wise and see what happens. He can't be any worse than Shannon Stewart in LF, and could find himself in the DH mix if they ever let Josh Phelps carry a glove. My idea about Orlando Palmiero and Jordan's about Matt Stairs just lost a little urgency, unless (until?) Ricciardi trades Jose Cruz. Pedro Swann is the only one I can think of who shouldn't be pleased about this development.
Also signing a minor-league deal was Rob Ryan, ex-Sacramento River Cat (A's) who had a couple of cups of coffee with the Diamondbacks, and is almost certainly ticketed for Syracuse. Another lefty-swinging OF, he hit just .249 in the PCL last year. Just wondering; does J.P. ever take a day off?