Mike Elias is waiting and wondering when the 2020 baseball season will resume, just like everyone else. The Orioles’ executive vice president/general manager is doing his best to prepare for the restart nontheless.
It’s been a week since spring training was halted because of the coronavirus outbreak and the start of the regular season was delayed. Most players have headed home from Sarasota. A few have remained at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Some have remained to have medical issues addressed; others because they’re from foreign countries.
“Now, we’re focused on navigating the next several weeks until we’re playing baseball again,” Elias said on Thursday in a conference call. “Now, we’re just frozen in time.”
Elias said he has no inside information on whether the first-year draft, which was scheduled for June 10-12, will be delayed or held at all. The Orioles, who chose catcher Adley Rutschman with the top pick last June, have the No. 2 pick.
“We’re basically freezing all scouting activities so that teams aren’t trying to create advantages for themselves during this idle period while there’s a public health crisis going on,” Elias said.
Scouts can evaluate players with video and data.
“I am extremely confident that we will be as prepared or more prepared than any other team, given the way our department is set up and the way that they’ve been working since the summer started that we’ll be in good shape for this draft whenever it takes place and however it takes place,” Elias said.
Elias said the coaching staff, trainers and medical staff have been discussing plans for pitching preparation.
“This is certainly uncharted waters for players, and pitchers, in particular,” Elias said.
The international signing period, which continues through June 15, is also on hold. Elias said the Orioles were not in the process of signing any players. The 2020 period for signing is scheduled to begin on July 2.
Elias said that he doesn’t know if the Orioles would train in Sarasota or Baltimore when the stoppage ends. He does think the training period will be short.
Elias said it was impossible to predict how many games will be played.
“As many as possible,” Elias said. “We know that this is going to go into May, minimum, just based on the federal guidelines that came out.
“As soon as we can go, we all want to go. It can mean a lot to the country when we’re back playing baseball again, too. The sooner, the better. I think that we’ll take what we can get. We just want to play.”
Mancini doing well Elias said that Trey Mancini, who underwent surgery to remove a malignant tumor from his colon on March 12, has been released from the hospital.
“He’s doing really well,” Elias said. “His spirits are great. His physical condition is great. He’s been up, walking around … He’s just doing terrific. Things are going well but, obviously, this was a major event that he went through, and it’s a process and he’s got more appointments and tests.
“We feel really good about the prognosis and how he came out of surgery, and where he is and where he’s going.”
Orioles trim roster: The Orioles optioned right-handed pitcher David Hess, first baseman/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, outfielder Cedric Mullins and infielder Ramón Urias to Triple-A Norfolk. Their roster is now at 50.
“We still have a large camp roster that we’re going to need to whittle down in a hurry,” Elias said.
Hess allowed five runs on seven hits in 7 1/3 spring training innings. Mountcastle, who is learning to play left field, hit .235 with a home run and four RBIs. Mullins hit .211 with two RBIs and three stolen bases, and Urias, who was slowed by shin splints, hit .182 with an RBI.
“I talked to those guys and let them know the player development plans for them, why we’re expecting to start them in Triple-A. They’re all guys that have either played in the big leagues or are really close to the big leagues. They could be back with us quickly, and they’re still part of our plans.”