The Orioles were the team of opportunity last year — and that has not changed this winter.
According to a club source, this week the team worked out two ex-Orioles to see if they have anything left in the tank: lefty reliever Arthur Rhodes and infielder-outfielder Fernando Tatis. At this point, no final decision has been made on either player.
The 43-year-old Rhodes, who still lives in Baltimore, worked out at Camden Yards on Thursday. Once a hard-throwing starter who made his major league debut with the Orioles in 1991 at age 21, Rhodes became a reliever full-time in 1997. He stayed in that relief role throughout the rest of his career and pitched until 2011, when he won a championship with the St. Louis Cardinals. It was his first World Series appearance in a 20-season career.
Rhodes, who spent his first nine seasons with the Orioles, was always popular with fans and attended last month’s FanFest as an alumnus.
Earlier this week, while executive vice president Dan Duquette and other members of the front office were checking out the club’s facilities and personnel in the Dominican, the group took a look at the 38-year-old Tatis.
He played winter ball in the Dominican this year and had some key hits, so the Orioles decided to see if the 11-year veteran — who played 28 games for the Orioles in 2006 after a three-year layoff — would be worthy of a spring training invite.
He hasn’t played in the majors since July 2010 with the New York Mets. In his career, the right-handed hitting corner infielder and outfielder has batted .265 with a .344 on-base percentage. He is a career .271 hitter against lefties.
Rhodes and Tatis are not the only ex-Orioles who have worked out for the Orioles this winter. The club intends to offer a spring training, non-roster invite to 38-year-old lefty reliever Mark Hendrickson, who is attempting to reinvent himself as a sidearmer.
As for players under 30, right-hander Jair Jurrjens, 27, began the process of a lengthy team physical on Thursday. It is expected to continue into Friday and likely will not be completed Friday.
Jurrjens, who was non-tendered by the Atlanta Braves this offseason, saw his effectiveness dwindle during the past season and a half because of a surgically repaired right knee.