Candidates to join Rutschman in Sarasota; Quiz answers; Caleb Joseph to Toronto -

Rich Dubroff

Candidates to join Rutschman in Sarasota; Quiz answers; Caleb Joseph to Toronto

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

At December’s Winter Meetings, Orioles general manager Mike Elias said that last year’s overall No. 1 draft choice, Adley Rutschman, would attend major league spring training in Sarasota, Florida.

What Elias didn’t say was that Rutschman would be officially invited. Though it was assumed Rutschman would get an invitation, the Orioles have yet to make it official, although reported on Monday that he would. An industry source confirmed the news.

Rutschman will be the most heavily scrutinized of the non-roster invites. The Orioles have yet to release a list of those invitations.

He’ll be able to catch some of the many pitchers who will be in spring training, get to know them, and learn from the big league staff.

Manager Brandon Hyde and coaches Tim Cossins and Fredi Gonzalez are former catchers who will be eager to watch Rutschman work for the first time when pitchers and catchers report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex on February 11.

Grapefruit League games begin February 22, and the Orioles’ first home game in Sarasota is the 23rd. Rutschman will likely play in some early games.

Those February games aren’t usually heavily attended, and his presence could attract attention. He’ll head to minor league camp after a few weeks and begin preparing for his 2020 season, most likely at High-A Frederick.

Elias made clear in San Diego that Rutschman wouldn’t be playing for the Orioles in 2020, and that he expected him to spend time at each minor league level.

Minor league invitations: Rutschman will be one of perhaps three catchers not on the 40-man roster to get invitations.


Martin Cervenka, whose re-signing was announced in early December, and Bryan Holaday, signed last week, will join him. The Orioles need at least six catchers for the large number of pitchers they’re likely to bring to camp.

Cesar Valdez, who was signed to a minor league contract on January 10, will likely join a number of fringe starting rotation candidates — Ty Blach, Tom Eshelman, Luis Ortiz and Chandler Shepherd, all of whom started for the Orioles at some point last season.

Rob Zastryzny, who was one of the 12 players signed to minor league contracts in December, could get an invitation, too.

Eric Hanhold, who passed through waivers earlier this month, should be in camp, and it’s possible that Marcos Díplan, who also was outrighted, could come. Left-hander Hunter Cervenka has a good chance to receive an invitation, too.

The Orioles already have 21 pitchers on the major league roster and could sign more, even though there are a limited number of innings in intrasquad and Grapefruit League games,

There are split-squad games on February 25, when a large squad could come in handy.

Having 30 or more pitchers in camp probably means that some of the non-roster pitchers likely to start the season at Triple-A Norfolk or Double-A Bowie — Michael Baumann, DL Hall, Zac Lowther, Alex Wells and Bruce Zimmermann — won’t get major league looks this spring.

A year ago, Keegan Akin didn’t get a major league invitation and while Hyde was intrigued by him, there weren’t enough innings. For the hopefuls other than Akin,  it looks to be the same this year.

Infielder Dilson Herrera will get a call, and it’s possible that Jose Rondon, who was re-signed in December, comes, too.

Jesmuel Valentin, who has big league experience with Philadelphia and played for Bowie last year, could come to camp, as could Malquin Canelo and Angelo Mora. Those three and Rondon were re-signed in December.

Outfielder Mason Williams, the biggest name of those re-signed last month, and Yusniel Diaz also will be in camp.

Answers to Monday’s Great Orioles Quiz

1)- Joe Nolan, 2)-C, 3) Steve Carlton, Joe Morgan, Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Tony Perez, Cal Ripken Jr., Mike Schmidt, 4) John Denny, Scott McGregor, 5) Detroit Tigers, 6) C, 7) Tommy Hunter, 8) Luis Exposito, 9) Matt Albers, Rich Hill, Darnell McDonald, Andrew Miller, 10) C, 11) Dick Hall, 12) Paul Bako, 13) They all caught for the 2007 Orioles, 14) Daniel Cabrera, Brian Burres, Rob Bell, Paul Shuey, 15) Ryan Flaherty, 16) A, 17) Billy Hunter, Bob Kennedy, Sam Mele, Les Moss, 18) Bob Turley, 19) 40, 6, 34, 20) George Kell, 21) Bullpen coach, 22) Ottawa, 23) Ken Levine, 24) A, 25) Kyle Hudson, 26) Frank Wren, 27) Mark Wiley, 28) “River of Dreams” by Billy Joel, 29) Gary Allenson, Terry Crowley, Jeff Datz, Alan Dunn, Rick Kranitz, John Shelby, 30) D

More on Valdez: Valdez’s signing earlier this month was not announced by the club, but it appeared on’s transactions page. He’s 34 and is 2-3 with a 7.64 ERA in 20 games, six of them starts. Valdez pitched in 2010 for Arizona, and in 2017 for Oakland and Toronto.

Last season, Valdez went 15-2 with a 2.26 ERA for Yucatan in the Mexican League.

Former Oriole update: Caleb Joseph, who wanted to return to the Orioles, has signed a minor league contract with the Toronto Blue Jays.

Arnie Beyeler, who coached first base last season, will manage Double-A Erie in the Detroit Tigers organization. Beyeler was one of three coaches not retained on manager Brandon Hyde’s staff.

Assistant hitting coach Howie Clark will be the hitting coach for Triple-A Charlotte in the Chicago White Sox organization. There’s no word on former bullpen coach John Wasdin’s plans for 2020.

Orioles Talk: Former Orioles pitcher and current MASN broadcaster Dave Johnson joins co-founder and senior writer for The Athletic Baltimore, Dan Connolly, for the 10th annual Hot Stove Talk on Thursday at 7 p.m. at Zion Lutheran Church 2215 Brandywine Lane, York, Pennsylvania.

There is no admission fee for the event, but a freewill offering will be taken to assist the church’s youth ministry in fundraising for the 2021 National Youth Gathering in Minneapolis.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB



  1. ZantiGM

    January 21, 2020 at 9:01 am

    correction Howie Clark

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 21, 2020 at 9:16 am

      Thank you, Phil!

  2. jimcarter

    January 21, 2020 at 9:25 am

    Elias is very consistent in one respect. He doesn’t have warm, fuzzy feelings about former Orioles. Hopefully a time will come when the current team gets 100% of the focus and the past will stay in the past.


      January 21, 2020 at 9:39 am

      Caleb Joseph isn’t better than some of the other DUD catchers he is bringing in?

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        January 21, 2020 at 10:33 am

        Not sure of the numbers, but my 1st thought regarding that is that Elias couldn’t afford what Caleb’s experience would command. And by “afford”, I really mean “didn’t want to” pay the difference he’d cost.

        • Eastern Sho Joe

          January 21, 2020 at 2:51 pm

          He made a little over $1 million last year, his Toronto contract isn’t public yet.

          How much value does a 34 year old catcher with a .223 BA have?

          Apparently only enough to play 30 some games last year and only given a minor league contract this year.

          What should Elias have offered?

          • Boog Robinson Robinson

            January 21, 2020 at 8:44 pm

            ESJoe … like I said, I wasn’t sure of the numbers, and I’m surprised that he made that little last year. My guess is that this years catchers will both/all be under the million $ mark by a substantial percentage. Again sir, this is only a guess. Frankly, I think I’d rather hang with Sisco and Severino if we’re limiting ourselves to 2 on the 40 man roster … if not …I’d gladly pay Caleb and let Wynns go.

            But to answer your question, I believe a catcher of Caleb’s experience & skill is worth a paltry million in today’s market … even at .223.

            Sorry if I offended.

          • Eastern Sho Joe

            January 21, 2020 at 8:56 pm

            Mr Boog, no offense taken. Thanks for the reply and your always thought provoking comments. Even though I don’t always agree with them, I still greatly enjoy reading them. 🙂


      January 21, 2020 at 9:46 am

      The “Boy Wonder” is totally opposite Buck. Buck wanted the current O’s to feel a link to the great Oriole teams of the past. Elias says NOPE.

      Obviously the great Earl Weaver O’s teams could not play today. Frank, Brooks, Boog, Palmer, etc were not picked by analytics geeks so Elias
      would not want them on his team. And as far as I know, none of them cheated like the most wonderful smartest organization EVER, the Houston Astros.

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        January 21, 2020 at 3:41 pm

        Are you implying that Caleb Joseph would’ve provided a link to the “great Orioles teams of the past?”

        Does winning the AL East only once, not making the World Series and not winning over 100 games a single time during Buck’s tenure make those teams great?

        If I’m missing something, and you’re referring to something else, please enlighten me.

        How could have Elias kept a link to the past? Maybe he could have retained some of the former Os players who were coaches and working in the front office when he got there?

        Who cares if those people contributed to the O’s having the worst minor league system, or having the worst season record in the team’s history. Elias should’ve kept them to have a link to the past. Surely no one would think this would’ve been rational.

        As for Elias only wanting players picked by “analytic geeks,” I guess we shouldn’t expect to see any of the minor league players make it to the Os who were picked before he was hired? This is absurd.

        Lastly, has there been any evidence put forth, or even any mention of Elias being connected to the Astros cheating? This is like saying Buck is a cheater because Chris Davis took PEDs while he was playing for him.

        If I had as much animosity towards Elias as you clearly do, I would stop following the O’s until he left the team.

    • ClayDal

      January 21, 2020 at 4:08 pm

      During the Non Fan Fest, Elias actually mentioned Joseph by name. So there was interest on the Orioles part. Usually if they aren’t interested, most GM’s will go into GM talk, “due diligence, explore all options, etc”. So the Orioles were interested. Best guess as to why it didn’t happen is that Joseph was waiting to see if he could get a major league contract. Orioles would only offer minor league deal. The Orioles couldn’t wait forever, so they signed Holoday. Joseph figured there was no big league deal coming, so with Spring Training approaching took the minor league deal in Toronto. In the end, everybody did what they had to do. A 54-108 team signing a 4th string catcher isn’t going to move the needle much

      • Eastern Sho Joe

        January 21, 2020 at 4:34 pm

        Thanks for the insight ClayDal.

  3. Frank Howard LF-1B

    January 21, 2020 at 10:45 am

    I’m looking forward to seeing all these new Baby Birds and young-buck current Orioles on the field.
    Without a huge injury breakout, O’s talent level should be good for 72 wins.

  4. willmiranda

    January 21, 2020 at 10:53 am

    Thanks for the info, Rich. A couple times you mentioned that the O’s had not officially announced some things, yet they were public knowledge via other sources. Is this intentional for some reason, or are they just lax? You may have mentioned this before, but are the two Cervenkas related?

    • Rich Dubroff

      January 21, 2020 at 11:20 am

      They are waiting to announce all the minor league invitees en masse. The Cervenkas are not related.

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