Answers to your Orioles questions, Part 1 - BaltimoreBaseball.com

Rich Dubroff

Answers to your Orioles questions, Part 1

Photo credit: Joy R. Absalon

It’s time for our monthly mailbag. I appreciate all the questions, which have been edited for clarity, length and style. I will answer questions today and tomorrow.

Question: Are you surprised by the composition of the Norfolk roster? Are there players on there you thought would be at Double-A Bowie? From: @robjefferson306

Answer: Rob, the composition of the Norfolk roster is nearly identical to the players who were at the alternate training site at Bowie, so there aren’t many surprises.

I did think that Kevin Smith, the left-handed pitcher the Orioles received from the Mets in the trade for reliever Miguel Castro might be on the Norfolk roster instead of Bowie. I was a little surprised that Brett Cumberland was on the Tides’ roster, but because the injury to Nick Ciuffo, who suffered a hand fracture, and the taxi squad considerations, a third catcher was necessary.

Question: Rich, how does the start of the minor league season impact the taxi squad and having an alternate training site? From: Cedar via BaltimoreBaseball.com

Answer: Cedar, with the start of the minor league season, there is no longer a requirement that teams have a five-man taxi squad. I think some will, especially for longer trips because it’s good to have players available in case of injury. Ryan McKenna was twice added to the roster because he was on the taxi squad. Norfolk will have a five-man taxi squad this season.

Question: Will right-handed pitcher Michael Baumann be added to the rotation after his treatment? From: @Mo10_11

Answer: According to Matt Blood, the Orioles’ director of development, Baumann is in Sarasota because the team is easing him back into action after he suffered a flexor mass strain, and they hope he’s pitching by the end of the month.

I think the Orioles will be conservative with Baumann this season, and it’s possible you may not see him until late this season, if at all. It’s more likely that Baumann pitches in the bullpen, if he’s in the majors. The rotation isn’t a consideration for him in 2021.

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Question: Who are the 60 guys the Orioles have in extended spring training? Are they going to be filling out the rosters in rookie ball? From: Bman via BaltimoreBaseball.com

Answer: That’s correct. The Orioles will have two teams in what was long known as the Gulf Coast League but will be called the Complex League this season. Play starts on June 28th.

Question: My son is graduating from Towson University with a degree in mass communication and he wants to be a sportswriter. Are you hiring? What advice would you give? From: Will Pinder Jr. on Facebook

Answer: Congratulations to your son.Unfortunately, we have a small staff and aren’t hiring.

Hopefully, your son had some valuable internships during his college career, but even those have been impacted by the pandemic.

It’s hard to become a sportswriter these days. There are more major league players than active members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, but many people are able to write sports and cover games while holding jobs that aren’t in journalism.

I would recommend your son start by writing high school or recreational league games for local newspapers or websites and write as often as he can. Best of luck to him.

Question: Rich, I keep hearing about a possible rule change requiring four infielders on infield dirt. Are there any rules stating the dimensions the infield must be besides the 90-foot basepaths? From: Beachdogs via BaltimoreBaseball.com

Answer: Beachdogs, there are no other rules about the infield, other than they’re required to be 90 feet from each other. In Double-A this season, infielders must keep their feet on the infield dirt. In the second half of the season, two infielders must be positioned on either side of second base, and they must keep their feet on the dirt as the pitch is delivered.

Question: I find it odd that no one from the front office or coaching staff will comment on Chris Davis’s supposed back injury. If they are simply trying to hide the guy and keep him off the active roster, why not just finally cut our losses and officially move on? If he is truly injured, why isn’t he rehabbing in Sarasota or at the minor league complex? Why is he rehabbing at home? From: SoFloOsFan

Answer: Our readers faithfully ask about Chris Davis. Along with you, Glenn Fuller of Laurel and Ben Everett had a similar question.

First, SoFloOsFan, the Orioles never said Davis was rehabbing at home. Manager Brandon Hyde said Davis was “just rehabbing,” and wasn’t specific, though a report in The Athletic said that he was rehabbing near his home in Texas.

Some have supposed that the Orioles are not cutting Davis in case there’s a labor dispute next year, resulting in a shortened season. That’s a likely possibility.

For the moment, Davis isn’t close to playing, and he didn’t play much last year (16 games, 55 plate appearances) and isn’t on the 40-man roster. If he’s unable to play for the rest of his contract, which runs through next year, the Orioles can simply keep him off the 40-man roster—except during the offseason.

Question:  Rich, with stadiums opening to fans, why are media still working remotely? Any criteria or timetable for return, to your knowledge? Are the available seats unsuitable for broadcasting or reporting? Just thinking you’d like to be on site.  From: Will Miranda via BaltimoreBaseball.com.

Answer: Will, I have been covering home games and some road games this season, and that was also the case last year. I’ll be covering the Orioles’ two games at Citi Field against the Mets next week and the Orioles’ games in Washington later in the month.

Writers have been free to travel throughout the pandemic but because of health and safety reasons, some outlets and writers have chosen not to. I didn’t attend spring training this year but covered the first two series at Fenway Park and Yankee Stadium.

Local broadcasting continues to be remote because, unlike writers, broadcasters travel with the team and Major League Baseball wants a small traveling party and doesn’t want people other than players, coaches, trainers and a small number of staff members on charter planes.

Hopefully, those restrictions loosen for all soon. Here’s a way to find out if I’m covering a game in person. If I put the city name at the beginning of my story, that means I’m on site.

Follow Rich Dubroff on Twitter @RichDubroffMLB

 

37 Comments

37 Comments

  1. CalsPals

    May 7, 2021 at 7:17 am

    I understand the difference in Pujol’s contract & CD’s, BUT the Angels did release him, he will be a HOF’er unlike CD….Go O’s…

  2. Bhoffman1

    May 7, 2021 at 7:50 am

    What’s the difference in pujols contract. Everybody knows Davis injury is a fake sprains are minor injuries and don’t require months or seasons of rehab especially after two swings. The man has no dignity at all

    • CalsPals

      May 7, 2021 at 7:53 am

      I believe Pujols only has one yr left, CD has two, BUT, Pujols is getting 30 million this yr, they just are choosing to eat it, unlike the O’s….Go O’s….

      • Baltimore Castaway

        May 7, 2021 at 8:22 am

        CP—your point about eating a bad Contract w CD is well taken.

        Arte Moreno is an Owner who has shown to be unafraid to make bold moves, like signing Pujols to that massive Contract, like signing Mike Trout to his massive Contract and DFA’ing a player like Pujols when it’s appropriate. Also think that Pujols was starting to show some displeasure from his reduced playing time–never seemed to bother Chris Davis….

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          May 7, 2021 at 11:14 am

          I think the biggest difference between the two is that the Angels are a Major League Franchise with current asperations for achieving big things, while the O’s … well … I’m not sure I could even call Baltimore Major League in their current state. And they certainly could care less about winning games this year. It’s all about saving the Benjamins right now.

          Now here is what I’d really like to know … is there some sort of insurance policy involved with Chris Davis and his contract? I suspect there may well be. Otherwise why not just cut him if he’s not going to play?

  3. OriolesNumber1Fan

    May 7, 2021 at 8:25 am

    Chris Davis on the 40 man roster during the off-season was THE REASON the Orioles lost Zack Pop in the rule 5 draft. Pop’s last 7 games has a ERA of 3.12; 8.2 innings pitched; 5 hits; 3 ER; 3 BB; 10 SO; 0.92 WHIP. Now that he’s settled in with Miami, you can kiss him goodbye while the Orioles hold on to CD. With all the moves Mike Elias has made, it seems CD is off limits coming from someone over his head. This must have been the only stipulation regarding the roster when he was hired. Since Peter Angelos was the principal reason he was signed to that humongous contract, I believe he’s still the one behind his sons from making the move to moving on. With the Orioles having more prospects being eligible to be at risk of the Rule 5 draft this off-season, they better come to a decision real soon.

    • Baltimore Castaway

      May 7, 2021 at 8:39 am

      Os#1F

      Interesting take on CD being the reason that they lost Zack Pop in the Rule 5 Draft. Very well may be the case. Having CD as an immovable part of the 40 Man Roster will cause issues for the Team through next Season.

      The other “new normal” for the Orioles moving forward is that they now have a larger number of talented and promising prospects than they’ve had in the last 20+ years. They will not be able to protect them all. Some good young players like Pop will be lost to other teams. Also remember that Don Mattingly was likely familiar w Pop from their time in the Dodgers organization. I hated that he was picked-off.

      Having a Farm System that other teams watch closely in the Rule 5 Draft is actually a sure sign of a talented group of players. Haven’t lost anyone of note before this year in my memory….

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        May 7, 2021 at 1:38 pm

        BC – No doubt Don Mattingly may have been the reason, since his ties watching Zach Pop pitch during spring training when he was the manager of the Dodgers. He may have recommended it. But the Orioles having a top 5 farm system regarding their talented minor league players is going to be the reason ALL teams will be watching what the Orioles will do going forward. I realize that they won’t keep them all but trading away a few for missing pieces on the Major League roster or moving them to different positions to play at the Major League level like they did with Manny Machado and Trey Mancini or trading away someone on the Major League roster to make room for them should be ALL the reasons. Not losing them for nearly nothing, I believe it went up from $50,000 to $100,000 claim, should not be the reason!

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2021 at 9:06 am

      Mike, as I said, if the Orioles retain Davis, it would only be in the off-season. A player can be moved to the 60-day injured list during spring training.

      • Baltimore Castaway

        May 7, 2021 at 9:11 am

        Thanks for that Clarification Rich.

        Moving forward, Davis won’t be the only reason that this Team loses fine young prospects. They have a lot more than they used to have…a good problem to have.

        Thank you for your excellent coverage of all things Orioles..

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 7, 2021 at 11:19 am

      Number One … I agree with you. Go figure.

    • willmiranda

      May 7, 2021 at 11:44 am

      Not so obvious. Maybe CD’s being on the 40-man was the reason Gray Fenter was exposed to Rule 5, and we got him back. You can’t blame him for everyone who was left unprotected. The last roster spot represents the worst active player; however you slice it, Davis is not depriving the O’s of a Hall of Famer or even a game-changer, unless the evaluation of all the other players is wildly askew.

      • OriolesNumber1Fan

        May 7, 2021 at 12:58 pm

        Gary Fenter was exposed to the Rule 5 Draft the year before as well. So with him, he doesn’t count. The Orioles stated earlier this year that they would have protected Pop by adding him to the 40 man roster but they counted on no taking him because he was 1 year removed from Tommy John surgery. Their words not mine!

        • willmiranda

          May 7, 2021 at 2:01 pm

          That Fenter was exposed the year before is irrelevant; every year new choices have to be made. The team’s explanation, if you accept it, signifies that the decision on Pop had nothing to do with keeping anyone else on the 40-man, but was based on how the O’s felt that other teams would evaluate the player’s medical condition. I think we’re in the area of speculation. You may be right, but I am not convinced that cutting Davis from the roster last fall would have resulted in protecting Pop or anyone else in particular, although obviously someone else would have been on the roster. Of course, if Miami returns Pop –he of the 6.90 ERA– during the season, this will all be moot..

          • OriolesNumber1Fan

            May 7, 2021 at 8:53 pm

            Grey Fenter being exposed the year before IS relevant. Tells you for two plus years the Orioles didn’t care if someone took him or not! No injuries, just someone they considered not in their plans. And when someone did take him they returned him after seeing him up close. And you are wrong in regards to Zack Pop. The ONLY reason the Orioles exposed him to the Rule 5 Draft WAS because he was coming off Tommy John surgery and there was also no minor league season last year. So he wouldn’t have pitched and shown he recovered and they figured no team would risk all that by keeping him on their roster all season which is the rule of the Rule 5 Draft. They gambled and now knowingly admitted they lost! They even admitted such when the subject came up and stated they hoped he would be returned. They stated if he wasn’t coming off Tommy John and was healthy THEY WOULD HAVE PROTECTED HIM AND PUT HIM ON THE 40 MAN ROSTER. I don’t care if you believe it or not. Makes no difference to me. Doesn’t change the facts. And no one was talking about last fall in regards to CD. Over the winter is when I’m talking about. This is when all teams have to put players on the 40 man roster for the up coming year. All Major League players on the 60 day injured list HAVE to come off and be added to the 40 man or be released. The 40 man also includes minor league players they like to keep with 3 plus years in their system or risk losing them. This is done right before the Rule 5 Draft. This is when they kept CD and didn’t release him and lost a roster spot for Pop to be added and what I’m talking about.

    • DcOsfan

      May 8, 2021 at 12:10 am

      They gambled on Pop based on the recent surgery. Even if they had released CD, they still might have used that spot on another player. Not saying it would have worked out that way, but we just don’t know.

  4. VICTORTEE

    May 7, 2021 at 8:36 am

    I was listening to the Braves on Sirius yesterday and the announcers were saying how hard it is to do play by play on road games because all they have to watch the game is the TV feed. They said they can only see about 5% of the field and can only guess what is happening “off screen”.

  5. Bhoffman1

    May 7, 2021 at 8:52 am

    I didn’t know about the Pop situation. Besides his great name you know the Dodgers are the best for finding pitching talent and along with Kremer I was looking forward to him in a O’s uniform. I really believe no matter what happens the rest of the season. means no no brought dignity and name recognition back to this sorry franchise. Cutting ties with Davis would take it one step further

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 7, 2021 at 11:24 am

      BHoff…normally I agree with most of what you offer, but in this case I believe Means’ no-n o will be forgotten outside Bal’more within a month. Until the team starts winning, their “dignity” is shot. The left side of that infield is bush.

  6. Orioles20

    May 7, 2021 at 9:00 am

    At this point as far as Davis is concerned I think he’s fine with sitting at home collecting a check just so he doesn’t have to go out there and embarrassing himself. And the team only cares about the roster spot.

    • Icterus fan

      May 7, 2021 at 9:51 am

      The CD situation is very strange. I’m clearly no GM, but it just seems likes it been handled poorly. From a fan perspective it seems like an embarrassment and has almost reached the conspiracy/coverup stage. It’s quite apparent he’s done.
      Put a positive spin on it, do a press release highlighting his community involvement, and cut ties. Eat contract, lose money and move on.
      He and Pujols can start a slow pitch softball league.
      Bye bye.

      • Boog Robinson Robinson

        May 7, 2021 at 11:26 am

        “Handled Poorly” … that may be the understatement of the year.

    • Icterus fan

      May 7, 2021 at 11:59 am

      CD is getting “crushed” on Twitter following the Pujols announcement. Funny, but ouch at the same time.
      Sigh…

  7. Phil770

    May 7, 2021 at 9:57 am

    Rich, thanks for taking questions, CD has been a source of many. If there is an expired CBA, will there be a Rule 5 after the season?

    Agree with your conclusion, that CD is not taking up a roster spot now, nor blocking any prospect. Two key differences between Pujhos and CD. AP’s signing is viewed by many as among the poorest decisions made by any owner of a FA. AP has not provided anywhere near the contributions he delivered in StL. The owner defends the hiring based on community contributions and clubhouse presence, especially for younger players.

    Of course, CD’s signing will be rightly considered the worst in FA history.

    • Rich Dubroff

      May 7, 2021 at 10:38 am

      Phil, I would have thought that if there’s no CBA, and it ends a few days before the Rule 5 draft, there would be none, but I checked and saw that during the 1994 work stoppage, the draft was held that December. I’m hoping we won’t find the answer to this one.

    • dlgruber1

      May 7, 2021 at 12:01 pm

      Phil, I thought I remember reading after AP signed that tix sales skyrocketed so much the contract was deemed successful before he ever even played a game for them. I gotta say I’d love to know if he had to do it over again would AP have left St. Louis or not. I’d think he’d have rather stayed with a perennial playoff contender, but maybe I’m wrong.

      • Phil770

        May 7, 2021 at 6:02 pm

        Wasn’t aware of that point, which is a good one. Strictly from performance view, substantially underperformed expectations. I was in StL for AP’s hey-day and he was a beast. The Cards offered $200M for 7 or 8 years, and AP felt “disrespected” , they were concerned that he would not perform well by the end of the contract. The Angels are being criticized by their loyal fans for sticking with AP too long and the owner using the cable money to buy success and failed. They have spent a lot of money, have the best player in the game and have finished near last in their division (considered weaker than AL East) for a number of years. The account that I read yesterday with AP’s DFA was a mutual decision, as he did not want to be a bench player. Critics believe the money for AP would have been better spent on building infrastructure, including a stronger minor league development system. BTW, Bundy is 0-3 w/ERA of 4+, Cobb 1-2 with ERA near 6.

  8. AR-Watch-2021

    May 7, 2021 at 12:52 pm

    Oh good! BRR is talking unsubstantiated negative nonsense again. Orioles are 1 game under 0.500, Angels are 4 games under, but the Angels are a major league club while the Orioles aren’t!?!?! Okay then. And the left side of the Orioles infield is bush, yup! No doubt! Oh Mr. Cranky Pants – be amazed at what the Orioles have done on a limited budget and let your mind wonder what they will do when the budget is expanded a bit.

    • Mr. Cranky Pants

      May 7, 2021 at 3:15 pm

      Be amazed that they’re only one under .500? Moi? Au Contraire … I believe that I’m on record as saying that I thought that they would post a winning record this year way back in Feb or March. And I was guffawed by seeming 90% off BB.com nation then … as I usually am.

      So no … I’m not amazed. But then again, you don’t read much do you Mr. Silly Pants.

      • AR-Watch-2021

        May 7, 2021 at 5:48 pm

        Ah Mr. Cranky Pants I do read! I read “I’m not sure I could even call Baltimore Major League I’m their current state.” You sir are inconsistent!

        • Boog Robinson Robinson

          May 7, 2021 at 6:01 pm

          Yup caught another typo of mine. Not sure how that’s inconsistent, but then again, you don’t always make a lot of sense.

          I, and most others around here would consider the nonsense I post as only one idiot’s opinion. You called it “unsubstantiated”. Mighty big word there son. But how exactly, am I supposed to substantiate an opinion? Let me know, and I’ll start substantiating.

          And I can’t let this go …. can you access that database of yours and let me know how that “all-telling” OPS of Ramon Urias’ is trending? I think I can substantiate that it’s trending down. Watch the game guy. You don’t need numbers to see who can play, and who can’t.

          And no, MLB Game Day on the phone isn’t cutting it.

    • CalsPals

      May 7, 2021 at 3:42 pm

      LOL…go O’s…

  9. dlgruber1

    May 7, 2021 at 3:15 pm

    This team just has to learn how to win at home. Only Tampa, at 11-5, had a better record on the road than the O’s 11-6 in all MLB. No team in all MLB is worse at home than the O’s 4-10.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 7, 2021 at 3:25 pm

      Pitching in massive parks like Oakland and Seattle seems to have a calming influence on the boys ‘eh?

      Case in point … and I’m not trying to minimize Means effort in any way … he was marvelous… BUT … that fly ball out to the base of the left field wall during the 8th inning of his No Hitter …. Would that have been an out in Orioles Park?

      I’m not saying ….just posing the question.

  10. OriolesNumber1Fan

    May 7, 2021 at 9:21 pm

    It’s funny that you mentioned that fly ball on the warning track to the base of the wall. Means himself said that ball would have left the park at Camden Yards. This isn’t me saying this so I’m not looking to start anything here or critique his performance because I stated earlier Means was dealing and outstanding. Also MLB Network also stated the ball lined in the hole between short and third in the 5th inning that Urias grabbed on the short hop, showed to the 3rd base umpire then threw to first ala Derek Jeter style was another outstanding play as well.

    • Boog Robinson Robinson

      May 8, 2021 at 10:23 am

      I’m thinking that most no hitters are blessed with a great defensive play or fortuitous bounce of the ball or other such lucky break type thing. I was just trying to make a point that maybe our pitchers like to throw in other / larger ball parks some times, and maybe that’s why the team has a better record on the road. Not saying … just suggesting.

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