There's nothing quite like getting the opportunity to add an integral player from a recent World Series champion onto the team's roster. The Orioles will never take that opportunity even if they get it, so they have to settle for a guy who appeared in three postseason games, batted zero times, and stole three bases. That player is outfielder Quintin Berry, who has been inked to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training.
Berry, who is 29, was a high school teammate of Adam Jones. Former Orioles Sam Horn and Mark McLemore also attended Morse High School in San Diego, once upon a time.
The journeyman outfielder did not break into the major leagues until the 2012 season, when he appeared in 94 games for the Tigers. In that time, he batted .258/.330/.354 and stole 21 bases without being caught. Berry is left-handed and has better numbers against right-handed pitching - such as they are, with a .721 career OPS - which probably means the O's envision him as a potential part of that nebulous left field platoon that they've been stocking up for all off-season.
It's almost like the Orioles are so enamored with finding the next Nate McLouth that all they want to do is sign marginal left fielders.
Between the regular season and postseason, he's 29-for-29 on stolen bases. That could give him an edge in the competition if he brings additional value as a pinch runner. After watching Alexi Casilla blunder along the basepaths in the designated pinch runner role in 2013, I can get behind a guy who actually knows how to steal bases, and hopefully also knows how to not get doubled off of first base because he ran all the way to third base on a routine fly ball.
There are also the standard Duquettian platitudes:
More Duquette on Berry: "He’s a capable player. And he has a lot of energy that he brings to a ballclub." #orioles— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) January 3, 2014
This is not the strongest praise that can be offered. Perhaps in Duquette's eyes, Berry is not a qualified major leaguer, or perhaps he just felt like saying something different about a player today.
Berry just won a World Series, so he has that going for him. He appeared in a total of 15 games for the Red Sox between the regular season and postseason. He was waived by the Tigers in June, claimed by the Royals, then traded to the Red Sox at the end of August.
He ended up in the right place at the right time and now he has a championship ring. We should all be so lucky.