Minor leagues: O's ink Cust, Meek; add scouts

Jared Wickerham

In the Warehouse's seemingly tireless search for bullpen depth, the O's announced the signing of right handed reliever Evan Meek. You may (or may not) remember Meek from his modestly successful run with the Pirates in which he was selected to the National League All Star team in the midst of a season which saw him ultimately post a fairly studly fWAR of 2.4. At his best, Meek has shown the ability to induce his fair share of grounders, and strike out over 20% of batters faced, while walking less than 10%. Perhaps owing to the 80 innings he pitched out of the bullpen in 2010, Meek experienced shoulder issues in 2011 and 2012. He walked 17 and struck out 19 out of the bullpen for the Rangers' Round Rock affiliate last year, but also made a few starts.

Jack Cust, the one time darling of sabermetricians, is probably best known in these parts for his stumbling, bumbling pratfalls as a member of the otherwise forgettable 2003 Orioles. Of course, in ensuing years, Cust went on to hit over 100 home runs and walk over 400 times. He did not play organized ball last year and after a tryout in minicamp is just happy to be here and hopes he can help the ballclub.

Does either Cust or Meek have anything useful left? Probably not, but time will tell.

Sort of pivoting to the future, the Orioles also announced the addition of three new members to their scouting team. Chief among the announced hirings is Dave Machemer, a former Baysox manager who has over 1600 career wins to his name. The fiery Machemer most recently served as manager of the Richmond Flying Squirrels in the Giants organization and will be serving as a special assignment scout.

Amateur scout Jeff Stevens, who pitched in the bigs as recently as 2011, will cover Nevada and Northern California while Dan Durst will scout the upper Midwest. Stevens is a former Olympian and has the distinction of being the PTBNL in the trade that sent Brandon Philips to the Reds from the Indians. He also pitched locally for the Southern Maryland Blue Crabs of the Independent Atlantic League. In addition to scouting Duquette favorite poaching ground the Northwoods League, Dan Durst is notable for signing former O's reliever Latroy Hawkins.

Also, following the January hiring of Marco Gentile as VP of corporate sponsorships, the club bolstered Gentile's department with three new additions, including another former colleague from the Leonsis Monumental organization and a member of the Ravens front office.

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