Between now and February 16th, when spring training is scheduled to begin in Sarasota, Florida, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said there’s some areas he’d like to address and some where he thinks the Orioles are adequately equipped.
“I think pitching-wise, we’re going to keep adding,” Elias said in a video conference call on Wednesday. “There will definitely be some minor league signings prior to camp. We may have a major league signing prior to camp. I don’t really know that, yet. We’re going to be adding some more pitchers.”
With the signing of shortstop Freddy Galvis, Elias said he’s happier with the Orioles’ infield.
“The infield picture is now coming into focus with Galvis in the fold,” Elias said. “We may look to supplement there as well and add a little bit more depth and competition with somebody who can back up around the diamond. We want to see what happens there. We’re working on some things.”
Even though he’s pleased with the team’s outfield depth, Elias said the team might add another candidate on a minor league contract.
“I think we’re pretty content with the outfield competition going into the year,” he said.
Deliberately not mentioning the team’s top prospect, Adley Rutschman, the overall top draft pick in 2019, Elias said he’s satisfied with the Orioles’ catching depth.
“We feel very good about our catching situation,” Elias said. “We’ve got [Pedro] Severino and [Chance] Sisco as primaries, Austin Wynns and [Nick] Ciuffo, who we signed. Taylor Davis is back in the organization, so we’ve got a good bit of upper-level depth there.”
Severino and Sisco are the only catchers on the 40-man roster. Ciuffo, Davis and Wynns will be in major league camp on minor league deals.
As his third season with the Orioles approaches, Elias said the team’s goal remains the same.
“We feel that the competition is there,” he said. “I think we’re very clear and consistent and transparent about the fact that this team is still prioritizing development of our talent infrastructure, our pipeline up and down the system. We’ve done a lot of work to elevate ourselves into having one of the most talented organizations, top to bottom, young talent across the league at the minor league level.
“But we want to have open competition in camp. We want to have interesting players in camp. We’ve got playing time and opportunity to offer, and we want to make sure that those opportunities are going to guys that it makes sense.
“Defense, up-the-middle defense, center field, shortstop in particular, we’ve also been careful every year to try to have guys that are helping our young pitchers get the support that they deserve. That’s a big part of the Galvis signing.”
What’s up with Mancini?: Elias was asked about a report that first baseman/outfielder Trey Mancini, who missed last season after colon cancer surgery, was drawing interest in the trade market.
Mancini and the Orioles agreed on a $4.75 million contract for 2021, the same figure he signed for in 2020, his first year of arbitration eligibility.
“I think what figures into our evaluation with Trey is that he’s one of the better hitters in baseball,” Elias said. “He missed a year last year. That was obviously a horrible surprise that we all got in spring training, but we got him the best medical care on earth, took it on like Trey Mancini.
“He’s 100 percent. He’s looking great. We’re just super excited to see him in Sarasota, and I think he’s going to go right back to hitting in the middle of our the lineup and being one of the better hitters in baseball this year, and we’re talking to him now about defensive playing time.”
Although Mancini can play the outfield, the Orioles have depth in Anthony Santander, Austin Hays, Ryan Mountcastle, Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart. Elias said Mancini is likely to play first base most often, and that designated hitter is also an option
“To be sitting here January 27th with where he was in March, and where he’s at right now, we’re at the top outcome we could have had. I’m so proud of him and our medical staff,” Elias said.
He cited that manager Brandon Hyde said that “Chris Davis is going to have to compete for playing time in the sense [that if] his production remains the way it’s been, it’s going to be difficult to play him every day by default, but we’re going to look for matchups.
“Trey is a first baseman from birth,” Elias said. “I expect to see Trey there a lot more there than since he broke [into] the big leagues. A lot of that mix is going to be up to Chris and Trey and Mountcastle and DJ Stewart and Santander to perform, too. There’s just a lot of competition and moving parts, too, but we’ve got options.”
Galvis eager to join Orioles: Freddy Galvis was upbeat in his introductory Zoom call. It didn’t hurt that Galvis was outdoors in Miami with palm trees in the background.
Galvis said that he’s looking forward to being a veteran on the Orioles and mentoring younger players.
“For me, that comes natural,” he said. “I just like to talk about baseball. I like to play the game. I like to talk with my teammates all the time. My teammates are going to be young guys, guys getting to the league.
“It’s like [they’re] brothers to me. After I get to know those, I’ll try to help those guys and get them to the league.”
At 31, Galvis is the fourth-oldest player on the 40-man roster. Reliever César Valdez, who’s 35, Davis (34) and starter Alex Cobb (33) are the only ones older.
In 2017 and 2018, Galvis played 162 games for the Philadelphia Phillies and San Diego Padres.
“I think it’s really important,” he said. “That’s the way it should be for every single player. For me, especially, I love to be on the field. Every time I go to the field, I expect to play.”
Galvis has played most of his career in the National League. He’s played only nine games in Baltimore, two in 2015 with the Phillies and seven in 2019 with Toronto.
“I love to play in Camden Yards,” Galvis said. “It’s a good infield. It’s a good place to hit. It’s a really good division. You have to play against the Yankees. You have to play against Boston. That’s really good. It’s a big challenge, and I love those challenges.”