Spring Training Primer: Gausman's contract and role; Garner's decision; crowded clubhouse - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Spring Training Primer: Gausman’s contract and role; Garner’s decision; crowded clubhouse

What’s happening — Kevin Gausman and the Orioles reached agreement Tuesday on a one-year contract worth $5.6 million plus incentives. Gausman was scheduled for an arbitration hearing Wednesday. He had asked for $6.225 million, and the Orioles countered with $5.3 million.

Gausman was the last of seven arb-eligible Orioles to agree to a contract this year, allowing the club to avoid going to a hearing in 2018.

The agreement saved Gausman and Orioles Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette a flight to Phoenix.

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Gausman and Dylan Bundy are the only two established starters in the Orioles rotation.

Miguel Castro has been penciled in as a possible starter, and the team could still sign one or two others to join the rotation.

With pitchers and catchers beginning their workouts Wednesday morning, Gausman doesn’t know what to make of the Orioles not signing another starter.

“I wouldn’t necessarily say if I’m surprised, but I think everybody’s surprised by the market right now,” Gausman said. “I feel bad for the guys who are trying to get minor league deals and guys who are right there on the cusp because they’re just waiting. They’re waiting for other guys.

“You think about how many guys are still at home is pretty crazy, but I think we’re kind of surrounded by a lot of young guys right now. It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been here for the last couple of days, and got to see some of these guys throw and the ball’s coming out really good. I’m excited about [Jimmy] Yacabonis and [Stefan] Crichton and all these young guys who have really good arms and just need a little more seasoning.”

The full squad reports Sunday, and the first full-squad workout is Feb. 19. The Orioles’ first game is Feb. 23 in Sarasota.

Something to think about – The Orioles are scheduled to have 60 players in camp — 35 of them pitchers. They have so many that they’ve sent a handful to their auxiliary locker room.

The three Rule 5 pitchers, Pedro Araujo, Nestor Cortes and Jose Mesa, and rookie infielder Ryan Mountcastle are among those who don’t have lockers in the main clubhouse.

One familiar pitcher has a new number and a new name, sort of. Mike Wright, who wore No. 59 for his first three seasons, is now wearing No. 28. His nameplate now reads: “Mike Wright, Jr.”

A name to consider – One of those non-roster pitchers in camp is right-handed pitcher Perci Garner.

Garner, 29, has just eight games of major league experience, posting a 4.82 ERA for the Cleveland Indians in 2016.

He had left knee surgery in December, but says he’s only slightly behind schedule. Garner has been throwing since the middle of last month, he said.

When it came to a decision on signing, Garner considered both Pittsburgh and the Orioles.

“The Orioles, they just seemed like they really liked me and wanted me and wanted what was best for me, and not just to sign another guy,” Garner said.

“I was really interested, and the fact that they were interested in me. And I knew some guys here and I’ve heard some things about the organization. I got to speak with Dan Duquette and I liked the way he handled our conversation.”

What they are saying – “If we don’t sign anybody to the rotation, I’ll be the (the most experienced MLB starter) on our team. So that’s kind of weird to think about because I really haven’t been around very long. But I’m excited about that. It’s a new step, something I’ve always done on every team I’ve been on. But, when you’re 22 and get to the big leagues, you are not going to be that guy.” – Kevin Gausman on his role with the Orioles.

Rich Dubroff covers the Orioles for PressBoxOnline.com. You can read his stories here.

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