It’s time for the second part of our monthly mailbag. Again, I appreciate all the questions, which have been edited for clarity, length and style.
Question: I’m a lifetime Orioles fan since (1966), and I was wondering why the Orioles didn’t do anything when Elrod Hendricks passed away. I always thought they should have done something to give Mrs. Hendricks some closure. My idea is to rename the bullpen area after him and put his name on the big wall in center field with the number 44. I think the fans would appreciate it, too. From: Doug Wagstaff via email
Answer: Doug, I was surprised to find out that there’s not a plaque in the bullpen honoring Elrod. There is one marking Jesse Orosco setting a record for most games pitched in the bullpen.
Elrod was an important member of the organization, as you write, for many years, and fans loved his accessibility and community engagement. Along with Cal Ripken Sr. (7) and Mike Flanagan (46), Hendricks’ number is unofficially retired. No one has worn it since he died.
I think he should be honored but since there’s no sign on the center field wall for the retired numbers of Eddie Murray, Jim Palmer, Cal Ripken Jr., Brooks Robinson, Frank Robinson and Earl Weaver, I don’t think that will happen for Elrod.
Question: Rich, it’s great to see fans in the seats during Oriole games, even if it’s in small numbers. If I remember reading correctly earlier this year, the rough number of fans allowed in Orioles Park this season will be around 11,000 per game. So I was wondering this: Are the luxury box counts included in this 11,000? And how are the boxes being sold? Are a majority of them used each game? From: Boog Robinson Robinson via email
Answer: Ken, you are correct, the capacity will be around 11,000 this season. Yes, luxury boxes are included in the count. The Orioles have combined two boxes into one in many cases and, although they don’t release the number that are sold for each game, they advertise the availability of boxes for per-game sale. So, if you want to come up from Texas and bring 10 or 20 of your closest friends, you can buy a box for a game.
Question: Do you plan to do a monthly prospect list similar to previous years where you indicate who is hot and cold? From: cgarcia via BaltimoreBaseball.com
Answer: You’re referring to the “Dean’s Dozen” list compiled by Dean Jones, who wrote about minor leagues for the first few years of our site.
Dean, who is the father of three young boys, decided that he didn’t have time to juggle a full-time job, fatherhood and minor league coverage, so we retired the rankings as well as who was hot and cold.
This year, we have added Todd Karpovich, who will write about the minor leagues each Monday, and I’ll be contributing occasional minor league pieces when I can.
We know there’s intense interest in the minor leagues, and I’ve written stories about nearly all the top prospects, and we’ll keep that coverage coming.
Question: When l saw the Orioles were in the process of hiring a new front office and manager I thought these guys would be fun to root for. I was right.
But I’m getting a little discouraged because any time someone does well people start talking about trading them — John Means, Matt Harvey being the most recent.
I see a young team that has chance to win this year. They have a better-than-average outfield, better-than-average bullpen, an underrated infield, and starting pitching that is just one or two pieces away from being pretty decent. From: California Oriole Fan via email
Answer: Even after Means’ no-hitter, the Orioles were still a game under .500 at 15-16, and heading into Saturday night’s game are 15-17. The AL East is still a difficult division, though the Rays’ and Yankees’ records aren’t as strong as expected.
The Orioles still have holes in the infield, particularly at second base, and they’re eagerly awaiting the arrival of catcher Adley Rutschman. Beyond Means and Harvey, the starting pitching lacks experience, so I would say they’re more than one or two pieces away, but they’re in better shape than they were two years ago, and still another year or two away from contention.
Question: A look at the divisions in MLB shows a lot of mediocrity. I’m not sure any teams are going to run away this season. With that being the case, if the O’s find themselves hovering around .500 in July, do you think there’s any chance they’d make moves to enhance a possible playoff run? I’m talking about either calling up prospects in July or trading some for a potential solid starter. From: Dave Gruber via email
Answer: Dave, if the Orioles are around .500 in July, I don’t think they’ll be buyers. I think that they would be happy with the record but wouldn’t trade away prospects for veterans. That’s for when they’re serious contenders, which I think is a year or two away.
Prospects will be called up along the way, as they’ve already done, but I would be surprised to see Rutschman that soon, though Yusniel Diaz could arrive then.
Question: Could you list the prospects received in trades for front-line ex-Orioles. The latter include Britton, Machado, Schoop, Villar, Bundy, Gausman, Castro, Cobb, Cashner, Givens, Brach, O’Day, Milone, and Bleier. I would be interested in seeing how many of the prospects acquired are on the MLB roster or are on our farm teams. Then we can compare the list to those who have been released, waived, etc. This would be an interesting measure of how the rebuild is going. From: Steve Cohen via email
Answer: Steve, I’m going to divide the rebuild into the July 2018 trades and the ones made by Mike Elias in 2019 and 2020.
In the deals made by Dan Duquette for Zack Britton, Kevin Gausman, Manny Machado, Darren O’Day and Jonathan Schoop, the Orioles acquired 15 players. Brad Brach was traded for international bonus money.
Two of them, Dean Kremer and Dillon Tate, are on the major league roster. Four players — Cody Carroll, Evan Phillips, Josh Rogers and Bruce Zimmermann — have already played for the Orioles and are on Norfolk’s roster. Three others — Rylan Bannon, Brett Cumberland and Yusniel Diaz — are on Norfolk’s roster but haven’t played for the Orioles. JC Encarnacion is on Delmarva’s roster.
Three players — Luis Ortiz, Breyvic Valera and Jonathan Villar — played for the Orioles and are no longer on the roster. Ortiz was released and is with the Texas organization, Valera sold to San Francisco and Villar traded. Jean Carmona, obtained with Ortiz and Villar for Schoop, is no longer with the organization.
One player, Zach Pop, was selected by Miami in the Rule 5 draft and is with the Marlins.
Seventeen players were obtained for Bleier, Bundy, Cashner, Castro, Cobb, Givens, Milone, Villar and José Iglesias, who you didn’t name. These players are all in the Orioles’ system.
One of the four pitchers obtained for Bundy, Isaac Mattson, made his major league debut on Friday night but was sent to Norfolk after the game. Infielder Tyler Nevin, who came in the trade for Givens, is at Norfolk. So is infielder Jahmai Jones from the Cobb deal.
The other most noted prospects, infielder Terrin Vavra (Givens), pitcher Ryan Bradish (Bundy) and Kevin Smith (Castro) are at Bowie.
The others are at Aberdeen, Delmarva, or at camps preparing to play in the Complex League in Sarasota or the Dominican Summer League.