Orioles Fanfest notes: Machado's and Schoop's absences loom large - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Paul Folkemer

Orioles Fanfest notes: Machado’s and Schoop’s absences loom large

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

As members of the Orioles greeted fans at the club’s 2018 Fanfest, much of the focus was on the players who weren’t there.

Third baseman Manny Machado and second baseman (and 2017 Most Valuable Oriole) Jonathan Schoop dropped out of the event just days earlier, leaving Orioles’ management disappointed by their absences.

“Obviously we’d like to have all of our players here,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said. “We’ve had communication with our guys, and we tell them the importance of being here. The fans would like to see them. And Jon, in particular, he was our player of the year. So we encourage our guys to be here, and we’d like for them to be here.”

Neither Duquette nor manager Buck Showalter offered a specific reason why Machado and Schoop didn’t attend. Showalter suggested that Schoop, in particular, had no legitimate excuse — and that he may have been advised by his representatives, the Legacy Agency, not to participate.

“I’ve gotten a feel for what Manny’s absence is about,” Showalter said. “I have a pretty good understanding of that. Jon’s, I don’t. The reason I’m being given is not very good.

“I talked to his agent. He made me aware of the advice he gave Jon. … I’m disappointed that Jon’s not here. I think that we all get advice along the way. We heed some of it, some we don’t. I think he got some bad advice. It’s one of those things. We’ll move on. It’s unfortunate.”

For Adam Jones, the absences of two of the team’s biggest stars didn’t put a damper on the festivities.

“It’s still a great turnout,” Jones said. “There’s still a lot of people here excited to see their favorite players still. I know that Manny and Schoop aren’t here due to family emergencies or whatever’s going on. I personally don’t know. But it’s something that’s important to them, so I respect their decision. But there’s still a lot of people with a lot of eagerness to see a lot of their favorite players. So I don’t think it’s being a Debbie Downer type of scenario.”

Jones weighs in on contract status, Orioles’ inactivity

Jones, the vocal leader of the Orioles, is always one of the most thoughtful and opinionated interviews at Fanfest. This year was no exception, as he responded to the criticism of the Orioles’ slow offseason.

“I think that same question can be asked for every player in every organization right now, besides the Yankees,” Jones said. “You see there’s still over 100 free agents. … You can see it’s happening slowly this offseason. So I hope a lot of guys can come to deals with their respective teams.”

Jones acknowledged that the Orioles have holes to fill, but added that it’s sometimes easier said than done.

“I just want guys that come in ready to compete,” he said. “I understand now as I’ve gotten older, you just can’t throw X amount of dollars at certain people. You just can’t do it. And certain markets can’t do it. I get that. So just give me some guys that’s going to go out and compete their heart out, and I’ll be happy.

“There’s still a lot of things that have to be done. But starting the first day of spring training, everybody’s 0-0, and starting March 29 this year, everybody’s 0-0. Everybody has a chance. Obviously you can put pen and paper down and write names down. Some teams look better than others. But not always that team wins the World Series. I always give myself a chance.”

Jones is eligible for free agency after 2018 season, but said the Orioles haven’t approached him about an extension.

“They haven’t come in to talk to me,” Jones said. “Go ask Mr. Duquette. You have to ask their side. The player’s the guy who just wants to go out there and play, no matter what. And as you’ve seen, I just want to be in the environment of winning.”

“The money is great. It’s phenomenal. We’re able to take care of our families and our extended families and so on. But the individual and the competitiveness inside the individual wants to win. You can’t just say, ‘Here’s a lot of money just to lose.’ I’m not going to be selfish like, ‘Here, I’ll take all this money, but I know that it’s going to debilitate every other area.’ … If I’m in a winning environment, I’ll be happy. If I’m not, I won’t be.”

Beckham on board for move to third

After Showalter broke the news earlier in the day that Manny Machado will be moving to shortstop, the man he displaced — Tim Beckham — was on board with Showalter’s plan to shift him to third base.

“It’s exciting, man,” Beckham said. “It’s a new position for me, so I’m ready to go over and have some fun.

“I’m open to it, especially if it helps the team and is a better fit for the team. The end goal is to win ballgames. We don’t want to lose sight of that. I don’t want to make this a big deal. I’ll just transition over there and continue to make the plays and be consistent.”

Beckham, who has started just five games at third base in his major league career — and none in the minors — plans to report early to spring training to work at the position with infield coach Bobby Dickerson.

“I’m going to get down to Sarasota early, around Feb. 11, and we’re going to iron everything out,” he said. “Either way it goes, it’s baseball. You’ve got to catch the ball and throw the ball. So I want to keep it simple and just embrace it. I’m looking forward to it, so let’s go.”

26 Comments

26 Comments

  1. Wade Warren

    January 27, 2018 at 5:21 pm

    if it was my decision Manny and Schoop just found their way out of Baltimore. there is no excuse to do that to the fans who pay money to see those guys play. it leaves a sour taste in my mouth. my opinion only but Orioles don’t need attitudes like that

    • Delsym

      January 27, 2018 at 6:00 pm

      I would echo that…classless!! they should be playing for the fans, trade their asses for whatever we can get and tell em not to let the door hit them on the way out. This cannot be without consequence…put Manny back at third and tell him to shut up and play. Maybe suggest to Jonathan that he take a few weeks of Spring training off so we can take a better look for and at his replacement and that perhaps he’ll start the year as a DH!! Unacceptable and beyond immature…and for Adam not to call them out on it suggests to me tat it’s time for him to play rift or left field for a while, while we replace him in center. If he’s not going to be a leader then he needs to move on to and stop whining about wanting faster outfielders, he’s past his prime, overrated as a defender and won’t be worth what he thinks he is, particularly as a corner outfielder!!

    • westsidecharlie

      January 28, 2018 at 8:35 am

      I understand Machado not attending. The fact is he may be traded at some point this season or is walking away at the end of it. He was going to get a bunch of questions about contract status or trades and I think the uncomfortable truth that the team is trying to shield us from is that Manny does not want to sign long-term with Baltimore for any number of reasons.

      I think they could offer him $30 or $35 million a year and he would still walk away. So let’s just enjoy what we had and there is no reason to make this any more painful than it is.

      Schoop makes zero sense.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:24 pm

      I get the animosity. I don’t know Machado’s excuse. But the Orioles seem to think it was a legitimate one. As for Schoop, I’m assuming he was told to avoid the event with the arbitration stuff in the air. Bad idea. Or as Buck said, bad advice. As for Jones, I think he said handled this one well. He said enough to give the impression he doesn’t think it should have been skipped but he also said he didn’t know exact reasons. I would have said the same.

  2. Xavier

    January 27, 2018 at 6:23 pm

    I totally agree with what was written. I wish baseball would adopt the payment system the NFL uses. Get rid of this luxury tax non sense. Let’s level the playing field, by stop
    making all the contract fully guaranteed. Sports in general is ridiculous with the money being thrown around. I know it’s not going to change anytime soon, but I can still post my comments.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Yes X you can. And I’m glad you did. But, like you said adeptly, it’s not gonna change. The union is too strong and the concessions have been made. No going back on guaranteed contracts now.

  3. weams

    January 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Nice write up Paul. Thanks.

  4. weams

    January 27, 2018 at 6:28 pm

    Nice write up Paul. Thanks.

  5. Ben1

    January 27, 2018 at 9:23 pm

    Beckham should move to 2b and Schoop to SS. Schoop came up as a SS and Beckham’s errors were mostly throwing.
    Just my 2 cents. Keep Machado at 3b – why make him more valuable as a free agent?

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:26 pm

      Well, you also could be making him more valuable in July. That’s an unsaid component here.

  6. bigdaddydk

    January 28, 2018 at 7:12 am

    I have a couple of questions about Machado and Schoop not being at FanFest.

    First, is attendance in their contracts? If not, why? These are public outreach opportunities and the fans want to connect with the players, especially the big stars. I know there are some who argue that they don’t personally need fans (say, the way an actor does to draw at the box office) if their numbers stay consistently good, but the team needs the fans and the players represent the team.

    I also read elsewhere that Schoop told the team a week earlier that he wasn’t going to attend but that the team didn’t release that information to the public until the last minute. If that is true, why did the team wait to inform the public? Was it about hoping the fans were locked into their weekend plans (hotels rooms and such) such that they would be hard to modify without costing money?

    Finally, if these players had legitimate reasons to miss — rumor is that a member of the media (no idea who, this is third hand information, so take it with a grain of salt) at FanFest was circulating the idea that neither had a valid reason — why did they not give some form of public statement to the fans? I realize that some things are personal, and I agree that the public should respect privacy when public figures deal with personal situations, but you can try to act like you give a rip about the public and at least issue a statement saying you regret that you can’t attend due to unforeseen circumstances and you’re looking forward to getting down to Sarasota in a few weeks.

    What this all did was add more drama to a team that has plenty of drama and an increasingly disgruntled fan base. Most of us pretty well figure Manny is gone, and despite all of the “I bleed black and orange”, “this is the only organization I’ve ever known”, “I want to help the Orioles win a championship” talk, the handwriting is on the wall. Schoop seems determined to push the team to arbitration for an even bigger raise, and that’s ongoing, so the timing is suspect for his absence is suspect as well. Then, the fact that they’re BFFs adds fuel to the fire. I hate to assume things, and I hope I’m not reading more into this than is really here, but the optics on this really suck. A lack of real information to the public will only add more fuel to the fire. And how will this impact team chemistry as the players come back? Not sure I’m too crazy about how this is all playing out.

    • thebookdoc

      January 28, 2018 at 12:50 pm

      Nice reminder about the arbitration issue. I get that he may be upset, but go blame his agency for giving him crappy PR advice. That’s the more disgusting part. Agents are inherently disgusting. I said it elsewhere…for the money these guys make there is no reason to miss an event like this. If this was a bargaining chip, it was a childish one. Go the other way, and do what Jones did…Speak about it. Then the evil becomes the front office. In too many cases they are doing too little in discussions with current stars from the way it sounds. What’s the goal in that? But no announcements to quell the fanbase, ‘no good reason’ to paraphrase Showalter, a guy who was beginning to grow on me suddenly took a sharp turn the other way. And maybe the players also feel the front office is playing against them. All parties should learn to play nice.

      Several of these guys are already making more in adjusted dollars than Cal Ripken did in his ‘record breaking’ contract. In fact if Schoop gets 7.5 that the Os offered…He’s making what Cal Ripken did for what is essentially one good year.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:30 pm

      I don’t think you can write Fanfest in as part of a contract. Things happen. Weddings, deaths, births etc. They are all expected to be there. And they are all expected to do reasonable charity and promotional work on behalf of the club. And they all do it. I get the disappointment but I’m not sure the specific event will ever be a contractual mandate.

  7. Orial

    January 28, 2018 at 11:29 am

    Very curious as to why Schoop’s agent told him not to attend. Almost sounds like another one of the “solidarity” stances that pro athletes love to use. Schoop standing in “solidarity” to Manny’s situation. I sure hope that’s not the cause.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:32 pm

      I would assume — and I don’t know for sure — that the arbitration stuff looming and the financial negotiations continuing were at the center of the decision. But he has the same agent as Gausman, who is also in the arb negotiation process and was there.

  8. GSISDANNO

    January 28, 2018 at 12:18 pm

    Remember the good old days? That’s when the agents worked for the players and not the other way around.
    I am not surprised at Manny Machados decision. He doesn’t want to be here. That is very clear.
    Jonathan Schoop disappoints me.
    These guys don’t understand that playing in Baltimore is good for players. The fans are very supportive and they rarely hear any good from the stands.
    Go to New York or Boston and go 0 for 25 and see what happens.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      Again, the sense from management — specifically Showalter — is that Machado’s reasoning had merit.

  9. Thisguy416

    January 28, 2018 at 1:58 pm

    My guess… the move to SS was negotiated in his contract extension. This will only make him more valuable.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:33 pm

      What? No. Never the case. I promise you that.

  10. Grand Strand Bird Fan

    January 28, 2018 at 3:00 pm

    I wasnt surprised that Manny did not attend, especially with his pending free
    agency and trade rumours. I am sure he didnt want to talk publicly about it which is fine. Schoop on the other hand showed a lack maturity – childish if you will. If his agent advised him not to attend, which I find hard to believe. Because not attending offers no real contract leverage.

    He really owed it to the fans to attend. Especially with the team coming off a disappointing season and since several key players maybe playing their final season here. Baseball fans of all ages really look forward to this event. An opportunity to see their favorite players up close. It comes off as being disrepectful to the fans who are passionate about their team.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      I get the sentiment.

  11. Birdman

    January 28, 2018 at 3:08 pm

    This franchise appears to be in disarray – both on and off the field.

    • Mau

      January 28, 2018 at 8:31 pm

      It IS in disarray. Clearly.

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:34 pm

      I will say this tho: it always seems in disarray. And things pass.

  12. mike3764

    January 29, 2018 at 11:14 am

    So I looked up Schoop’s agent, The Legacy Agency. Other clients are Joey Rickard and Kevin Gausman…is it a coincidence that Schoop and Gausman are both the only ones that haven’t settled. Here I thought Boras was the only pain in the arse…

    • Dan Connolly

      January 29, 2018 at 12:35 pm

      The head of Legacy — Greg Genske — has been around a long time and is one of the most influential agents in the business.

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