Elias says Sisco needs more time in minors; Cobb won't make opener - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Elias says Sisco needs more time in minors; Cobb won’t make opener

SARASOTA, Fla.—The Orioles’ roster is nearly set, and Chance Sisco won’t be on it. For most of spring training, Sisco looked as if he’d be the starting catcher, hitting .382 during Grapefruit League games.

That didn’t stop the Orioles from sending the 24-year-old to Triple-A Norfolk on Sunday, just after he’d gone 3-for-3 against the Pittsburgh Pirates.

General manager Mike Elias said that Sisco hadn’t been a disappointment to the Orioles, not at all.

“We were thrilled with the way he looked all spring,” Elias said. “I think it was a big step forward for him defensively. He had a great spring. One lesson that those of us who have been in player development have learned is minor league stats in the regular season have a lot more predictive power than spring training stats.”

Sisco had a rough 2018 with the Orioles, offensively and defensively. There were two trips to Norfolk, and things didn’t go well there, either.

With the Orioles, he hit .188 with two home runs and 16 RBIs. With the Tides, hit .242, though he did manage a .344 on-base percentage.

“The situation that we’re in, we want to err on having the correct development path for these guys, and some of them, [Austin] Hays and Sisco in particular, they came up here really fast at really young ages and didn’t have the normal sort of…graduation progression that a prospect normally needs to have and if we provide that for him, I think it’ll be for their long-term benefit and our long-term benefit, but as it pertains to Chance and really any of these guys, we have a 40-man roster.”

Manager Brandon Hyde said that he didn’t relish giving Sisco the news, which became more likely once catcher Pedro Severino was acquired on waivers from the Nationals on Saturday.

“It was not easy,” Hyde said. “You don’t want a player to be happy about it. You want guys to be competitive and guys to have confidence, so for a player to be sent out and not be pleased with it, for me is OK, is probably the right thing. We’ve got the right type of makeup guy. I know he, I’m sure, was disappointed, and that’s OK.”


Elias also said that Alex Cobb’s sore right groin would prevent him from making the Opening Day start at Yankee Stadium on Thursday.

Cobb is expected to replaced by Andrew Cashner, but Cobb’s injury appears mild enough that he could go on the 10-day injured list and return to start the opener at Oriole Park on April 4.

Designated hitter Mark Trumbo (right knee) and catcher Austin Wynns (oblique) will begin the season on the injured list. Trumbo might be placed on the 60-day IL to create a roster spot for catcher Jesus Sucre, who originally signed a minor league contract.

Sucre and Severino will be the team’s catchers, and they’re two of a likely eight new players on the roster. Four are infielders: Rule 5 picks Drew Jackson and Richie Martin, and  as Hanser Alberto and Rio Ruiz. Right-handed pitcher Nate Karns and outfielder Dwight Smith are also new to the organization.

Besides Alberto, who the Orioles lost on waivers in February but was reclaimed on March 1, perhaps the biggest surprise to make the team is left-handed pitcher John Means.

“I don’t think the roster’s officially set, but I’m still here,” Means said on Monday morning. “If you had asked me at the beginning of camp if I was going to be here the last day, I probably would have told you ‘no.’”

Means, who’s been in the organization since 2014, pitched in one game for the Orioles late last season when the team ran short of pitchers.

Elias said the team was encouraged by the report on outfielder Austin Hays, who injured his left thumb when he slid headfirst into second base in a minor league game on Saturday.

“We got good news on Hays yesterday,” Elias said. ”I think he’s got a mild sprain of his thumb and it’s going to be more weeks than months in terms of him getting back on the field, so that’s good news. Obviously, that can always evolve, but it was about as good of news as we could have hoped for and it was a weight off his shoulders and ours.”

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB




  1. Hallbe62

    March 25, 2019 at 2:43 pm

    I like his use of the term “predictive power” when talking about Chance. He had a fantastic Spring Training and some would argue that alone should have punched his ticket to the bigs.

    But I’m not a player development guru. He is. It makes sense that he should have the same success (or something close) over a long hot summer & fall in Norfolk before being deemed ready.

  2. Bhoffman1

    March 25, 2019 at 2:47 pm

    The old staying have a good spring and play your way on to the club I guess doesn’t play out in Elias head. The guys with bad springs , rule 5 guys and castoff catchers who can catch but not hit made there way on the club. Now get me wrong Elias is a bright guy and leaps and bounds over DD but what maybe he fails to realize is that this is a business too and fans won’t shell out big bucks to see guys who really are just mediocre and not exciting to watch


      March 26, 2019 at 9:11 am

      I agree with what you said until you said Elias is “leaps and bounds” over Dan. We do NOT know that. Elias has never been the top guy and has never been the decisionmaker. We will see how he does running the show.

  3. Mikepete73

    March 25, 2019 at 2:50 pm

    i was so excited by the Elias Hyde hirings. but they have crushed any excitement I had for the season. hays diaz Stewart now sisco and Scott. mountcastle I’m sure is next. the Orioles r gonna lose a lot this year why can’t the young kids learn on the job. I guess if u do bad in spring training they say the guys not ready. If u do great (sisco and hays) they say spring training doesn’t matter. completely bummed out for the season. Plus hays gets hurt in a minor league and will be out weeks.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      March 25, 2019 at 5:49 pm


      They’re doing a rebuild. He is trying to bring up and bring along a bolus of legitimate players for the future around the same time. His point about these young players getting their “wheel time” in Norfolk isn’t a bad one.

      The jumping off point under Duquette has been Bowie. I like that these kids will now also need to demonstrate their abilities in Norfolk.

      And regardless, whether he brought up Diaz, Hays, Stewart, Mountcastle, Cisco, Hall and Harvey all now wouldn’t change the outcome of this year’s standings–except imbed some lasting memories of extended losing..

      A painful re-build is inevitable and will not be pretty..

      My 2 cents brother..

      • SpinMaster

        March 26, 2019 at 8:50 am

        BaltiCast: I totally agree. This year won’t be pretty, but I will still watch and root for our team. I will follow Norfolk much more closely than in the past and hope that Norfolk is very competitve in their league so that our prospects can feel what it is like to be winning and then bring that to B-more when it is their time.

  4. Mikepete73

    March 25, 2019 at 2:58 pm

    Pedro severino 2018 .168avg .255 obp .247 slg .502 ops. I’m so excited we have him and that sisco gets to rot in aaa.

  5. jimcarter

    March 25, 2019 at 3:32 pm

    So many media members/fans were including one Elias pick on their opening day roster predictions. This should be a wakeup call that the new sheriff in town doesn’t agree with the Duquette/Showalter choices. It’s refreshing to see the kind of tear down this team so desperately needed. As time wears on, I like the new management more and more!

  6. Camden Brooks

    March 25, 2019 at 4:29 pm

    I just hope we don’t go to nameless jerseys, because I’ll have to keep an updated roster next to my remote. I’m also still waiting to see if Cleveland cuts Jake Taylor, because we could use his veteran presence in the clubhouse…

  7. CalsPals

    March 25, 2019 at 4:32 pm

    Not very excited to hear much of this….oh well, can you say tanking…

  8. PA Bird Lover

    March 25, 2019 at 4:57 pm

    Call it tanking or any other adjective one could dream up. What part of “rebuild” isn’t understood by most O’s fans? It’s clear that DD’s kids aren’t ready for the big league. Now that we are at the point of ST where teams are playing their mlb players, the O’s have been losing. Sisco and the others who were sent down aren’t ready. Get a grip. If the Orioles win only two dozen games it’s no skin of any fans butt. Rebuilds hurt, but not as much as watching old timers trying to hang on. Show some patience.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      March 25, 2019 at 5:52 pm

      Very well said Pa. Ornithologist..

    • Bhoffman1

      March 25, 2019 at 6:20 pm

      Why isn’t Sisco ready because he hit around 390 this spring and improved his defense. You rather see a guy who never hit above 200 and another guy Tampa cast off. Give me a break

    • CalsPals

      March 25, 2019 at 6:24 pm

      I’ve got a grip, on my money, doubt if my family goes to any O’s games until they try winning games, after 38 years of coaching, I find it difficult to not see a program put their best foot forward ALL the time, maybe we’ll start watching minor league games of the O’s, they’ll have better talent than the majors…

    • CalsPals

      March 25, 2019 at 6:26 pm

      FYI, I believe Sisco went 3-3 in his last game vs those MLB starters, just saying….

    • Bhoffman1

      March 25, 2019 at 7:15 pm

      Agree CalsPals. Norfolk has a much more exciting team. It’s gonna be real ugly


      March 26, 2019 at 9:17 am

      It is NOT clear that DD’s kids ( Sisco, Hays, Santander and Stewart) aren’t ready. How much will it hurt watching the nobodies filling the O’s roster this year? I would much rather let kids earn jobs in spring training and give them a chance in the bigs. If they aren’t ready, send them down. Don’t assume they are not ready and send them down when they are hot.

  9. Lee

    March 25, 2019 at 11:15 pm

    I applaud what the Os are doing. They are doing it right. I’m enamored with the up and coming talent as much as anyone but in so many ways not being shortsighted is the best. Has any of the guys sent down actually had AAA success? Stewart a little but the rest either have no AAA time or did not do well. This includes Sisco. And yes, AAA will be an exciting team but it is a long year and they will be back up and be better for it. As far as tanking, our opening day lineup will include a team that is much better than the horrible defensive team we sent out OD last year, it will put the ball in play more and has the appearance of a team that will play hard every day. By June this team could really change. The AAA guys will be ready and will mix with the ones seizing their opportunity. I wouldn’t be shocked if we see a team giving contenders fits by the end of the year. And by next year, I see us as one of the surprise teams that might contend for a WC. Be patient and enjoy the transition.


      March 26, 2019 at 9:20 am

      Sure the pathetic O’s opening day roster is better than last year’s with Machado, Schoop and Jones. HA! HA! HA!

      And yes they will play hard. Scrubs with no talent always do.

  10. Fdog3

    March 26, 2019 at 7:51 am

    He is simply letting the 2021 World Champion Orioles to play together in the minors first…..

  11. Orial

    March 26, 2019 at 11:27 am

    Hey anybody ever thought that maybe Sisco isn’t a major league catcher at this point?

    • Ekim

      March 26, 2019 at 12:49 pm

      … and neither is Mullins a major league hitter… just sayin…

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