Answers to your Orioles questions - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Answers to your Orioles questions

Photo Credit: Joy R. Absalon

Spring training is just over a week away, and it’s time for our monthly mailbag. Questions have been edited for length and clarity.

Question: Hi, Rich, was wondering if you could explain how team control works and when a player is no longer under team control in terms of service? I believe Trey Mancini is still under team control even though he has been with the team for a number of years. From Michael Fleetwood via email

Answer: Michael, a player has at least six seasons under club control. Mancini first came to the Orioles in September 2016, but partial seasons aren’t counted.

Mancini is also credited with a year’s service time despite missing last season because of colon cancer surgery and chemotherapy.

He’s entering his fifth full season with the Orioles and will be eligible for free agency after next season.

After a player’s first three seasons, they’re eligible for arbitration. Mancini is in his second season of arbitration eligibility.

Question: Rich, with all he’s been through this past year and the fact that he’s beloved in Baltimore, do you believe the O’s would trade Mancini this season if they felt the right offer came along? From: David Gruber via email

Answer: David, a healthy and productive Mancini, which I think we’ll see in the first few months of 2021, would certainly make him a more attractive trade commodity.

Along with Anthony Santander, who lost his arbitration case on Friday and will receive $2.1 million, Mancini is a valuable player, and I think they would trade him if the right offer came along.

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Question: Is there a reason we’re not getting more pitching in these trades? From: Woodrow Rodgers via Facebook

Answer: Since Andrew Cashner was dealt in July 2019,  the Orioles have gotten seven pitchers in their trades involving major league players. They got left-hander Kevin Smith from the New York Mets in the Miguel Castro trade last August and two right-handers from the Los Angeles Angels, Jean Pinto and Garrett Stallings, for José Iglesias in December.

In December 2019, they got four right-handers — Kyle Bradish, Kyle Brnovich, Isaac Mattson and Zach Peek from the Angels for Dylan Bundy.

The Orioles received 11 position players and seven pitchers in these trades. On a conventional 26-man roster, 13 players are pitchers, and 13 are position players.

I don’t think the percentage is terribly distorted, Woodrow.

Question: Where will the O’s be drafting in this year’s amateur draft? Thanks. From: Timothy Stahm via Facebook

Answer: The Orioles, who tied with Arizona with a 25-35 record last season, will pick fifth in the draft, which will be held in July for the first time.

And, Timothy, I don’t know who the Orioles will pick.

Question: Who will be the player that forces his way onto the Opening Day roster? Are fans being allowed to attend spring training games? Will there be a time this season that the starting rotation will be Means, Akin, Kremer and two other young pitchers? From: Tom Duffy via Facebook

Answer: Those are all good questions, Tom. With regard to the Opening Day roster, my guess is that it would be one of the two Rule 5 pitchers, Mac Sceroler or Tyler Wells.

I’m thinking that fans will be allowed at spring training games. My guess is that somewhere between 1,500 and 2,000 fans will be allowed at home games in Sarasota.

Later in the season, it’s entirely possible that the Orioles’ starting rotation consists of John Means, Keegan Akin, Dean Kremer and perhaps a mix of Michael Baumann, Zac Lowther, Alexander Wells and Bruce Zimmermann.

Question: I ask again about the number of minor league contract signings that you have reported. Given the under-performance of this group, do you have any insights as to how many of these guys declined offers from other teams to join the O’s? Are we the team of last resort? Also, do you have any info on how many free agents seeking to sign with us were rejected for lack of potential? From: Worldly View via BaltimoreBaseball.com comments

Answer: Steve, there’s no way of telling how many minor league free agents signed with the Orioles after declining offers from other teams. Nor do I know how many free agents were rejected by the Orioles. Offers aren’t recorded.

I do know that Freddy Galvis said in his Zoom call that he had other offers, but those teams wanted him as a utility player, and the Orioles offered him the opportunity to play every day.

Many of the minor league players who sign with the Orioles are attracted by the opportunity to play regularly because it’s there with the Orioles and isn’t with other teams.

Players are signing for the 2021 season, but they’re also playing for a contract, in Baltimore or elsewhere for 2022 and beyond, and playing time is a key reason they sign with the Orioles.

Even during the good times, 2012-2016, it was hard to attract free-agent pitchers to Baltimore because the AL East is difficult and Oriole Park is a difficult place to pitch.

Question: Hey, Rich, I’ve got an Orioles question for you. Recently O’s signed [shortstop] Maikol Hernandez out of Venezuela. How soon do you see him joining our top 30 prospect list? Maybe [catcher Samuel] Basallo joins him too? Thanks. From: Tommy Walters via email

Answer: Tommy, both Hernández and Basallo were highly coveted prospects signed by the Orioles last month, and it wouldn’t surprise me if both made either the MLB Pipeline or Baseball America Top 30 prospect lists relatively soon.

Question: For what season will they field a major league-caliber team? From: Curtis Dalpra via Facebook When do you see the Orioles contending? From: Christian Evans via email

Answer:  Curtis and Christian, I think the loss of a minor league season definitely set the Orioles back. But I think 2022, when some of the top pitching prospects and players such as Adley Rutschman and Yusniel Diaz could be on the team, the Orioles will show some definite improvement.

Question: Any update on a new lease at Camden Yards? From: Vince Celano via Facebook

Answer:  No, Vince, but I think there should be news on an extension soon.

Question: Going on the assumption that there’s not a trade or an injury, the Orioles look to be pretty set on what should be the starting outfield to start the season with Ryan Mountcastle in left, Austin Hays in center and Anthony Santander in right. Of the other outfielders, who’s likely to take the biggest step forward? Cedric Mullins, DJ Stewart, Ryan McKenna, Yusniel Diaz, or someone I’m forgetting? From: Jeff Hobson via Facebook

Answer: Jeff, the Orioles appear to have some depth in the outfield, but an injury or two could challenge that depth. Mullins and Stewart have a good chance to break with the team.

I think the Orioles would like to see Diaz and McKenna play some in Triple-A before they come up to the big leagues. Two non-roster players, Steve Wilkerson and Chris Shaw, could get some playing time later in the season.

I think Diaz might have the most impact, and the Orioles would like to see him get regular playing time when he’s called up.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. Vince C

    February 8, 2021 at 7:11 am

    Thanks for the lease info, many people I know insist the O’s will be moving……looking forward to a lease extension so I can stop hearing them complain……lol

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2021 at 8:33 am

      I knew that’s where you were heading, Vince, but I don’t want to lend credence to that absurd theory. Teams in sports move because of inadequate stadiums and arenas with the promise of a better one elsewhere, which is definitively not the case here.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 8, 2021 at 8:54 am

        C’mon Rich. Moving the team isn’t THAT absurd. Teams would also move for a lack of revenue … ie lack of fannies in that stands. And Baltimore’s attendance figures have been lacking since the Nats arrived. It’s all about the Benjamin. The promise of a town as large as Nashville along with it’s TV market, isn’t anything to be sneezed at.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2021 at 9:07 am

      Come on, Ken, moving the team is absurd. There’s no major league ready stadium
      built or planned in Nashville or anywhere else. Teams move when there is one.

      Two teams, Oakland and Tampa Bay, have dire stadium issues, and for a variety of reasons, they haven’t moved.

      Moving a team is not something that is taken lightly in baseball, once in 50 years.

      Nashville may get a team at some point. So might Charlotte or Portland. They’re all worthy cities, but not until the Oakland and Tampa Bay situations are resolved.

      If they built stadiums hoping to lure teams, that could happen, but it isn’t happening in Covid times.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 8, 2021 at 10:24 am

        I don’t think absurd applies. The Nats? They moved to DC and played in JFK for a few years before the new stadium was built. Was JFK multipurpose? Not sure, but I attended more than a couple of games there, and I wasn’t impressed.

        Although it’s been a while, during my lifetime, in addition to the Nats moving, and in no particular order …. the Senators ver. 2.0 moved to Texas, the Pilots to Milwaukee, the original Senators became the Minnesota Twins, the KC A’s moved to Oakland, and the Braves moved from Milwaukee to Atlanta.

        The 1950s accounted for 5 teams moving including the O’s, the Braves, Dodgers, Giants and Philadelpha Athletics.

        So yes, moving is not taken lightly but to say once in 50 years is a bit misleading, if not even quite true. (it’s been 2 moves in the past 50, and 11 during what I’d call the modern era. (traveling by plane not train)

        And the way the team is being run and salary’s slashed, lends itself to the belief that it’s be set up to be sold. Hopefully the new buy is a local, but I wouldn’t bet on it.

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          February 8, 2021 at 10:30 am

          And yes … I plan on firing my editor after all those typos snuck through.

      • WorldlyView

        February 8, 2021 at 4:01 pm

        How come Indianapolis hasn’t been mentioned as a potential new home for the O’s? A move there would create the Symmetry from Hell. We should keep a close eye on that fair city lest they start planning a new baseball stadium. It would easily fit in the parking lot next to the Colts’ home field.

        • Rich Dubroff

          February 8, 2021 at 4:42 pm

          Indianapolis has only been mentioned in passing, in the past, as a possible expansion site. Las Vegas, Nashville, Portland, Charlotte and Montreal are the cities most often tossed around as cities for possible expansion, Steve.

      • Phil770

        February 8, 2021 at 7:17 pm

        Thanks, Rich, for your patience and response regarding the stadium lease, absurdity and even reality. You correctly know that the value of the O’s is heavily tied to the stadium and to MASN – relocation would take away both. You also know that MLB owners can make a lot more money from two expansion franchises, especially with multiple cities interested. You also correctly know that, especially because of COVID, that Maryland Stadium Authority would not be able to fund the changes the O’s would expect with a long-term extension. Last, you know that MLB actually owned the Expos prior to selling the team to Lerner for $650M. RFK was used as a baseball stadium before the Senators moved to Arlington. RFK was acceptable for for interim use, and therefore a completely different situation than the current O’s situation. Fans will return when the product on the field turns positive.

    • CalsPals

      February 8, 2021 at 10:14 am

      Unfortunately in baseball today nothing is absurd…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 8, 2021 at 10:28 am

        I’d suggest that the manner in which the O’s are being run IS absurd.

    • CalsPals

      February 8, 2021 at 12:15 pm

      That didn’t read correctly, everything in baseball is absurd is what I meant…go O’s…

    • whiterose

      February 8, 2021 at 1:02 pm

      what info? “news” does not mean extension.
      Any move would be with a sale.
      If Peter passes without lease extension all hell breaks loose.

    • dlgruber1

      February 8, 2021 at 8:30 pm

      Rich? You mention Portland as a potential expansion city. After what has become of that city in this past year if ANYBODY moves ANY team or even any business to that hellhole they’d have to be nuts. Just picturing taking a family to a game there and being attacked by AntiFa and BLM mobs. Yeh, that’ll work.

  2. Orial

    February 8, 2021 at 11:04 am

    Yes when a team finds a $2 million contract out of it’s price range or when a lease signing keeps getting pushed to the back burner red flags and a tendency to worry do pop into the picture. On another subject–it is nice Spring Training and an impending season do have a good feeling BUT if Minor League baseball continues to stall and/or delay itself Orioles baseball may be a mute point. All the marbles lie in the minors–make it happen.

  3. ClayDal

    February 8, 2021 at 11:35 am

    A few observations on any Orioles move to Nashville ( or any other city). Nashville doesn’t have an MLB ready ballpark and there isn’t a proposal to build one. The Nats had a stadium being built when they moved here in 2005. In the middle of a pandemic, good luck getting the taxpayers of Tennessee to approve funding for a new stadium. And the Angelos’s aren’t building one themselves. Plus the MASN issue. The Orioles through MASN own 75-80% of the television rights to the Washington Nationals. Their TV market extends from York, PA to the Carolinas. Moving to Nashville would abrogate the MASN agreement which despite recent court losses is a very good deal for the Orioles. Moving to Nashville would also infringe on the Atlanta Braves television market and would force any team moving there to compensate the Braves. If the Orioles were serious about relocating, we would be hearing about breakdowns in negotiations. Can’t see the Orioles relocating. Selling maybe, but not moving

  4. Bman

    February 8, 2021 at 12:43 pm

    It will be interesting to see if Felix has a juice left and if his last stint was real or a mirage. It looks like Elias is going for one more veteran dump at mid-season to collect some more prospects, and high draft picks this year. Agreed, 2022 looks to be the year to go for winning again when some of the young studs presumably arrive.

  5. cedar

    February 8, 2021 at 6:02 pm

    Rich, I just want to thank you for the Q&A sessions. They are always one of my favorite features.

    • Rich Dubroff

      February 8, 2021 at 10:55 pm

      Thank you, Cedar. I enjoy them and I’m glad you and others do.

    • Raymo

      February 9, 2021 at 9:01 pm

      I second that emotion.

  6. nightowl1224

    February 8, 2021 at 7:11 pm

    DJ Stewart is most definitely NOT an outfielder, just another of the many DH/1B. Unless he can put up substantial offensive numbers, which seems unlikely, he’s just taking up a roster spot. Would be best to just trade or release.

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