One of my New Year’s resolutions for 2017 – besides being less fat and not needing to double-check the spelling of Welington – is to interact more often with Orioles’ fans as part of this site.
We all try, but sometimes it becomes overwhelming. It’s something I want to do more of, though, and something I hope can make BaltimoreBaseball.com even more relevant this year.
In that spirit, last night I asked my Twitter followers for some questions that they wanted me to answer, and I received a great response. Many of the questions were excellent; some were just silly. I appreciated both.
Here’s a sampling. And, in many cases, an extended answer from me (take that 140 characters):
From @adamgardner_21: What do you think is the team’s biggest need?
Answer: Theoretically, it’s a legitimate ace – a Chris Sale type — that can push every starter down one slot. That would take a middling rotation with upside and make it legitimately strong. But it’s not going to happen. There were no aces available via free agency this year and the Orioles’ farm system does not have the quality or depth to land someone like Sale. So, I’d go back to my old, tired answer: A right fielder with on-base and defensive skills that can lead off. I’d actually like two guys who can get on base, with one serving as a DH at times.
From @joshsadlock: Will there be a six-man rotation next year at some point to limit Dylan Bundy’s innings? Will Bundy’s innings be capped regardless?
Answer: A six-man rotation isn’t out of the question and a cap on Bundy’s innings isn’t unfathomable. But I don’t think they are necessarily connected. If there’s a six-man rotation, it’s because the Orioles have six starters heading into Opening Day that they believe are all better off in the rotation. Orioles manager Buck Showalter has kicked around that idea in the past, but he’s never committed to it. And that tells me he’d prefer not to, if possible. As for Bundy, it is possible that he’d start the year in the bullpen if the other five candidates are healthy and ready to pitch in April. But that’s certainly not ideal, since an argument can be made that Bundy is at least the club’s third best starter. Given his injury history and relative inexperience, an innings-limit surely will be discussed. Bundy threw nearly 30 innings more than his initial cap of 80 heading into 2016. How much more will the Orioles allow the 24-year-old to throw beyond his 109 2/3 last year? Well, I think, ultimately, it will be similar to 2016. The Orioles will have a number in mind, but they’ll adjust depending on need and Bundy’s health/progression. The kid’s a bulldog, but he’s also shown the maturity to adhere to a program despite his own eagerness. Bottom line: The Orioles will be careful, but not too careful.
From @BrianSchubox (among others): Think O’s move Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo or Wade Miley?
Answer: I think the Orioles will entertain offers for those three veteran starters who are in potential walk years. Assuming Bundy does get a spot in the rotation and Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman are healthy, then Jimenez, Gallardo and Miley are in a spring competition for two spots. Because Miley is a left-hander and Jimenez had solid success down the stretch last season, I would think they would be the favorites. However, and I can’t stress this enough, a team never has too much starting pitching (remember when the Orioles did last March and released Miguel Gonzalez only to spend the next three months looking for a viable option when Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson took their lumps?). There have been countless times when a team with “extra” starters ends up having one or more suffer injuries in spring training. Because the three veterans are making hefty salaries and, therefore, aren’t highly coveted trade chips, the Orioles would be smart to hold onto all of them until the competition shakes out in March. If the Orioles remain healthy, some other team will experience injuries and will be looking to add a veteran starter. If the Orioles suffer a rotation injury, they’ll have an obvious option to fill the vacancy. I also was asked to order the trade value of the three. My order: Miley, Jimenez, Gallardo.
From @simplyAJ10: Can you eat more pizza than I? I really want to know your thoughts.
Answer: The Twitter handle may be familiar to some. That’s the Orioles’ wisecracking, food-loving center fielder Adam Jones. The man takes pride in his ability to eat, and so he may be able to out-pizza me. I think the contest would be akin to a Hagler-Hearns fight – some impressive action. But we’d likely have to put this one on hold. As I said in the intro, I’m trying to be less fat (an accent on less). And Jones has made it a point this offseason to take better care of his body. That means, beyond his usual workouts, he’s eating healthier. So, we’ll suspend the challenge until 2018.
From @OriolesHQ (among others): Who is in right field in 2017, Mark Trumbo, a trade or leftovers?
Answer: I’m of the belief the starting right fielder – and leadoff hitter, also – is not on the Orioles’ current roster. I’m also of the belief that if Trumbo re-signs, he’ll see more of his playing time, initially anyway, in the designated hitter role. So, I’m predicting the Orioles find a right fielder from free agency – maybe an Angel Pagan or Michael Saunders or Michael Bourn. If not, I do think they’d pull the trigger on a trade to acquire an outfielder. Final answer: To be determined.
From @mattkremnitzer: Is “Wellington” going to take over for “Weiters” as the most common fan misspelling?
Answer: That’s the obvious front-runner, but I believe in all those fans who like to contact me or write on message boards about Jonathan “Schopp.” And I won’t discount all the Joey “Rickerd” or “Richard” fans out there. As for me, Mr. Castillo will not see a Double-L Welington at BaltimoreBaseball.com in 2017. I hope, anyway.
From @DaveSports25 (among others): What are the chances the Orioles extend Manny Machado’s contract? If they don’t, would they move him by this year’s trade deadline?
Answer: I’m not optimistic the Orioles extend Machado’s contract beyond 2018. He’s likely looking at a contract of $300 million or more (maybe a lot more) on the open market. Sure, it would make sense to lock up the club’s best player, who just happens to be 24. But I don’t see the Orioles spending that kind of money on one player. Then again, I didn’t see the Orioles spending $161 million to retain Chris Davis. So, time will tell. As for trading Machado this July, I don’t see it. The Orioles would have to be buried in the standings and the return package would have to be monumental. So, I’d imagine Machado remains with the Orioles this season.
There were several other questions, but I think this was a good start. If I didn’t include you in this one, well, maybe some other time in 2017. Thanks to everyone that participated, even Jones.