Matt Harvey joins Orioles; Means likes pitching coaches; Armstrong likes bullpen - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Spring Training

Matt Harvey joins Orioles; Means likes pitching coaches; Armstrong likes bullpen

What’s happening? –Oriole pitchers and catchers will work out for the second day at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Florida on Thursday. Matt Harvey, whose minor league contract became official on Wednesday, becomes the 37th pitcher in camp.

Harvey will compete with veterans Felix Hernández and Wade LeBlanc, who also signed minor league contracts, for a spot in the starting rotation.

Manager Brandon Hyde said that with the exception of Harvey, who was completing his physical during Wednesday’s workout, that everyone was in attendance.

What’s happened?—Pitchers threw their first bullpen sessions of the spring, and Chris Holt, who has become the team’s pitching coach in addition to the director of pitching, was watching closely along with Darren Holmes, the bullpen coach who is the assistant pitching coach.

“Chris Holt has been here for a couple of years, so guys are very familiar with him, and Holmesy,” starting pitcher John Means said on a Zoom call. “I think it’s going to be a really good dynamic. Holt knows both sides of the ball, he knows the analytics, and he knows the pitching side, too, the execution part.

“That’s a key now, especially in the times nowadays, it’s so analytically driven that sometimes you start to lose the feel for where it’s going, and I think he has a good feel for both. He’s able to build good relationships with guys, and guys can go to him for anything. His door is wide open.”

What’s up with? Shawn Armstrong and Means are taking on leadership roles.

“I think I do a pretty good job of it,” said Armstrong, who’s mentoring relief pitchers. “John Means does a really good job of it. I think collectively as our core group that was here last year, we’re going to rely on one another … We have a lot of hungry young players that want to get to the big leagues. We have a lot of talent in that room right now. It’s going to be a very exciting spring training, and I can’t wait to get going.”

Armstrong said he’s impressed with the talent among the Orioles’ relievers.

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“I think numbers-wise what we did last year in the short stint with the guys we had in the bullpen kind of speaks for itself,” he said about the 60-game 2020 season. “We did a really good job, in my opinion, out of the bullpen. We have a few of those core guys back … We also have a lot of young talent that’s coming up through the system that has some really electric stuff so I’m excited to see what it’s going to be like this spring.”

What’s what? It’s an unusual spring training for the media, because it can’t attend the early workouts and won’t have access beyond Zoom interviews  because of the pandemic.

Normally, a handful of writers chat with new players during the first hour-long clubhouse availability. Hernández, a former Cy Young Award winner, would have been a go-to guy. Means said that he hadn’t had a chance to talk pitching with Hernandez.

One of the many advantages to being there for those early days is to see which pitchers were held out of bullpen sessions. Another is the opportunity to meet new players.

Hyde said that he’s unable to address the full team in the clubhouse because of the need for social distancing. Last week, executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias said some players will have to work at the minor league complex at Twin Lakes.

What’s the word? “It’s three guys that have pitched a lot of innings in the big leagues. It’s fun to have them in camp … We don’t have a ton of veterans on this team. To have two guys or more that have pitched in big games and done this for a long time, I think it’s really, really important. I think it’s huge for our younger players, to lean on somebody that’s done it. The little I know Felix, he’s a great guy to be around and we all know Wade from last year, and what a quality person and a veteran presence he is, so excited to have those guys in camp. I’m a believer that veterans can help young players, and I think they have every opportunity to make this club, and we’ll see where it goes.”-Hyde on having Harvey, Hernández and LeBlanc in camp

What’s the number? 96 is catcher Adley Rutschman’s uniform number this spring. Last spring, he was assigned 76. It’s safe to guess that when he makes his major league debut, the top pick in 2019 will be given a number much lower.

With 73 players plus coaches in camp, many high numbers were assigned. Cody Carroll, who wore 49 in his 18 major league games in 2018 and 2020, saw his number double to 98 as a camp reserve.

Ryan Ripken wasn’t assigned his father’s No. 8 nor his uncle Bill’s No. 3 nor his grandfather Cal Sr.’s No. 7. He’ll wear No. 99 when he reports with the rest of the position players on Sunday.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

21 Comments

21 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    February 18, 2021 at 7:19 am

    At least do Adley the courtesy of giving him 35, Smith ain’t here anymore…go O’s…

  2. Boog Robinson Robinson

    February 18, 2021 at 9:59 am

    Meansy likes Holmesy.

    Sounds like a hockey team.

  3. mmcmillan1123

    February 18, 2021 at 10:43 am

    As I look out the window and watch it snow, I wish I was in Florida. Glad spring training has started and I know warmer weather is around the corner. Go O’s!

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 18, 2021 at 10:53 am

      I’m in Texas looking out the window looking at snow. 2020 IS over isnt it?

  4. willmiranda

    February 18, 2021 at 10:56 am

    Anybody for triple digits? Or do we go to 1A? If Rutschman turns out to be what we hope for, that number 96 will be a collector’s item.

  5. Bancells Moustache

    February 18, 2021 at 1:24 pm

    And now that Tatis Jr has set the market, if the stars align and number 96, presumably wearing number 35, reaches his potential in his first 2 years and looks like the transcendent superstar we are all praying for, do the Orioles have the guts and cash to pay 340 mil over 14 years? Or will we hear a bunch of crap about “player value” and sell him off to LA, Boston or New York for a “prospect package” when free agency approaches?

    • CalsPals

      February 18, 2021 at 2:22 pm

      Current leadership, I’d say no…go O’s…

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      February 18, 2021 at 2:30 pm

      Frankly, I’m just hoping that we have that problem.

    • CalsPals

      February 18, 2021 at 6:36 pm

      More reason why MLB needs a salary cap…go O’s…

      • Rich Dubroff

        February 18, 2021 at 8:32 pm

        Ray, you’ve often raised support for a salary cap in baseball, which will never happen–and it shouldn’t. Teams are already heavily taxed if they go over a certain amount, and the Dodgers have shown that the tax won’t slow them down. If you have a cap, you’re just restricting the number of good players on a team and artificially holding down their salaries, which the players will never and should never agree to.

        Many fans believe that the salary cap works in the NFL. The NFL, unlike baseball, doesn’t have guaranteed contracts, and their long-term contracts are basically fraudulent. Players are cut before the end of it. In baseball, if you sign Bryce Harper, Mookie Betts, Manny Machado or Fernando Tatis Jr. to a contract, you–or more likely–your successor as GM has to live with it.

        How would a salary cap encourage competition? In the last 20 years, more different teams have played in the World Series than the Super Bowl. A salary cap hasn’t gotten the Cleveland Browns or Detroit Lions to the Super Bowl. The Browns or Lions haven’t been managed well enough to do so.

        In baseball, players are signed at 16 from Latin America, drafted at 18 or 21 from high school or college and develop at various ages. In the NFL, they’re basically all 21 or 22, and if a player doesn’t produce within two or three years, there’s no minor league system. They’re discarded.

        I love the NFL and NBA, which also has a cap. Both leagues also have a salary floor, but that’s no panacea, either. Because of the draft, they can cheaply replace players they’re cutting. In baseball, no player enters the major leagues directly from the draft.

    • CalsPals

      February 19, 2021 at 8:36 am

      Rich, then we’ll have to agree to disagree, if their going to have the tiered pay levels, which is determined by ownership, then my loved O’s should be considered a JV organization at best, hurts me to say, but it’s reality…go O’s…

    • CalsPals

      February 19, 2021 at 8:37 am

      They’re, damn spellcheck…go O’s…

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 19, 2021 at 5:34 pm

        Spell checks and auto-completes … their the worste

    • CalsPals

      February 19, 2021 at 6:04 pm

      LOL…go O’s…

  6. Phil770

    February 18, 2021 at 6:15 pm

    I wouldn’t sign any player for 14 years. Trout was signed early in the good old days when $120M was a lot. Trout re-upped for $480M for the rest of his career. The Angels finished 1-game better than the O’s last year. As with Davis, these huge long-term contracts will not end well.

    • BirdsCaps

      February 18, 2021 at 6:33 pm

      It is a little unfair to compare most long term contracts to crush. Crush was older and probably past his prime when the contract started. The shift absolutely killed him. Trout will not be worth his contract at the end, but the contract will still likely be good for most of its length. It takes a very dumb front office move to sign Davis or a Ryan Howard to big money for a long contract.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 18, 2021 at 7:23 pm

        Davis was a mess WELL before people started using the shift. Davis simply can’t put the wood on the ball anymore.

    • BarstoolSleeper

      February 19, 2021 at 9:53 am

      Take Davis out of the mix and Phil’s point still holds true. Look at Cabrera in Detroit and Pujols in LA. These guys are a shell of themselves on the backend of these long term deals and they’re making huge amounts of money and can’t produce. They were paid much like Tatis, in their prime and with their team poised to win a championship. It didn’t happen for them and now they’re stuck with these big contracts that make no sense for where these teams are and what they’re trying to do moving forward.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        February 19, 2021 at 5:48 pm

        Ummm … bit of a difference when comparing Tatis and Pujols ….Tatis hasn’t even reached his prime as of yet and is way younger … and while Pujols wasn’t an exaclty old man when the Angels signed, he was older (pushing 30?) having already played 10 years, and was certainly on the back half of his prime.

        I think the Angels knew they would be eating it towards the end, but they paid the price of doing business with him at the time anyway and took a shot at the best hitter in the game at the time.

        I think the big contracts will always be around, unless a miracle somehow happens, and spending limits are put in place in whatever form that may be..

    • CalsPals

      February 19, 2021 at 6:05 pm

      JV MLB tiered levels…go O’s…

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