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Orioles Sign Hennessey, Murphy

The Orioles signed two players to minor league contracts today, though one looks significantly more likely to have an impact on the major league level than the other.

First reported by MASN Online's Roch Kubato, the birds inked pitcher Brad Hennessey and infielder Donnie Murphy to minor league deals, both including an invitation to spring training. Murphy will probably be a long shot to make the roster in one of the infield spots, but Hennessey might stand a chance.

Though he's 28, Hennessey has played in the bigs for all or parts of five seasons, all in San Francisco. The Youngstown State product is 17-23 overall, but took a turn for the worse in 2008, finishing 1-2 with a 7.83 ERA. That's a significant inflation over his 11-15 career major league record when he starts, during which he's put up a more reasonable 4.72 ERA.

Bottom line? Hennessey's probably more of an insurance policy for Baltimore, a guy who can start or be a long reliever if the team loses pieces they're counting on or their prospects have particularly rough spring trainings. Injuries obviously play into that, too.

Murphy, on the other hand, has some proving to do. Yes, he's appeared in 221 MLB games with Oakland and Kansas City, but he hit only .184 with three homers in 2008. Granted, he only played 48 times, but those numbers make David Newhan look like Joe DiMaggio.

Sure, Murphy could get lucky and end up with a spot ... if he proves he can hit big league pitching. So far, it looks like he can't. He's only 25, but so far his best batting average year was 2007, when he hit a meager .220, the only time he's broken the Mendoza Line.

What do people think? Any chance either one of these guys sticks on the Orioles' big league roster? Could Hennessey get lucky and earn a rotation spot in spring training? Is it crazy to even put that out for public debate as a possibility?

By Cameron Smith  |  November 17, 2008; 7:26 PM ET
Categories:  Orioles  
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