Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias knows that summer training and the truncated season that follows will be a challenge.
“This is going to be unlike anything that any one of us has ever experienced,” Elias said in a Zoom conference call on Monday.
The Orioles begin reporting to Camden Yards for Covid-19 testing on Wednesday, and the first workouts for the 60-game season will be on Friday.
Elias said that no Oriole players or staff have opted out of the 2020 season.
“We recognize that this will be fluid,” Elias said. “Everyone is entitled to make personal decisions and circumstances may not be fully understood until the season starts.
“So far, we are expecting full participation, but you see in the news around the league that’s not the case everywhere. I wouldn’t be shocked if that ends up happening, but that’s going to be a part of this.”
Elias said that the only positive test for coronavirus came from a young international player who did not show major symptoms, and there weren’t any issues.
On Sunday, the Orioles named 44 of the 60 players the team can use. Elias said it’s no rush to fill those 16 spots.
“It’s easier to add people than take them of that 60,” Elias said. He said a young minor leaguer can’t be removed from that list unless they’re released.
Elias also said that he didn’t want to add a prospect at the expense of possibly losing a player who could help the Orioles during the 2020 season.
“We’re being very cautious at fleshing out that list,” he said. “We don’t need to do it right now.”
He did say those spots will be filled.
“We want to get into Camden Yards, see what this looks like, see how our schedule is unfolding and we’ll fill out that 60 over time.”
Since players will have, at most, three weeks to get ready for the season, Elias wants to concentrate on the players who have a chance to play for the Orioles this year.
“The guys that have no realistic shot to make the Opening Day team, obviously, have got the option of more time,” Elias said. “There’s just no rush to get them up here.
“Everyone wants to get as many players from our organization as we can up here, but we’ve got to be smart of the uncertain nature of what this is going to look like the first week or two, the fact that the rules are kind of a one-way street.”
Elias said that the team hasn’t decided where the alternate camp would be. Aberdeen, Bowie and Frederick have been mentioned as possibilities. It will begin sometime during the three-week training period.
Players from the low minor leagues and perhaps some 2020 draft choices could be there.
“We’ve also got a lot of prospects that aren’t publicly ranked as highly, but they’re closer to the major leagues, and we need to get them to ready for eventual or possible major league debuts this year,” Elias said.
Players such as left-hander Keegan Akin, right-hander Dean Kremer, outfielder/infielder Ryan Mountcastle, outfielder Mason Williams and left-hander Bruce Zimmermann are not on the 44-man list.
“Looking at things and trying to keep these numbers tight as much as possible in this very early period when we only have one facility open and when we’re just kind of unsure of how the days are going to go,” Elias said.
“We don’t want to overwhelm ourselves with numbers, given that we can add at any time … Some of those guys, is there a scenario where they do creep into it, especially if there are injuries and they make the Opening Day team? There’s probably not, but we expect to see them later this year.”
Elias said workouts will be staggered, and that social distancing will be a priority.
“It’s a cozy building to begin with,” Elias said. “We’re not going to be able to have everyone there and everyone hanging out. It’s going to be real scripted plans for who’s working where [and] when.”