SARASOTA, Florida—Orioles starter John Means wished he could have avoided going to an arbitration hearing. However, the Orioles and Means disagree on what the left-hander should be paid for this season.
Means, who was 6-9 with a 3.62 ERA in 26 starts, including a no-hitter, asked for $2.1 million as the team’s ace. The Orioles offer was $1.7 million. Because the Orioles have a policy for not negotiatiating after figures are exchanged, there will be a hearing, with a mediator ruling for either Means or the Orioles.
“I’d say I’m disappointed,” Means said. “I’m pretty confident that’s what I’m worth. I guess I’m looking forward to it.”
On Wednesday, Orioles manager Brandon Hyde said that Means and designated hitter/first baseman Trey Mancini won’t be distracted by the process. Mancini asked for $8 million; the Orioles offered $7.375 million.
“Definitely, I’m not going to be distracted,” Means said. “I’m not worried about it.”
Means is in the first year of arbitration eligibility and won’t be able to be a free agent until after the 2024 season. The Orioles haven’t engaged in any extension talks.
“No, never had a conversation about it,” Means said.
Hand bruise for Stewart: Orioles outfielder DJ Stewart, who was the designated hitter against the New York Yankees in Tampa on Wednesday, was hit by a pitch while swinging in the sixth inning. Stewart left the game but got positive news when an X-Ray revealed a bruise on the third finger of his left hand.
“It’s all clean. It’s just a contusion,” Hyde said. “He’s really lucky. He’s just day-to-day. He’s really sore today. He’s going to get treatment on it. Hopefully, it’s just three or four days and he is able to go, but it is on the knuckle, pretty painful. We’re lucky it’s no fracture.”
Beau for backup: With catcher Adley Rutschman doubtful for Opening Day because of a strained right triceps muscle, veteran Robinson Chirinos is the favorite to start. There are five other catchers still in camp. Three — Anthony Bemboom, Jacob Nottingham and Beau Taylor — have major league experience.
Taylor, who signed a minor league contract with the Orioles on March 18th, has played 25 major league games from 2018-2020 with Oakland, Cleveland and Toronto. He was a free agent over the winter and couldn’t sign with a team. After the lockout ended, he was eager to join the Orioles because he trains with Jacob Teter, a 13th-round draft pick of the team in 2021.
“It felt like a good fit because I was already doing all the different hitting stuff that they’re doing,” Taylor said. “It was funny. It was like, ‘I’m going to be an Oriole.’ I called my buddy and he was ecstatic because we kept talking about it all offseason, how funny it would be because we played together.”
Taylor wasn’t eligible to sign during the lockout.
“It was a little stressful at the end because you think about it,” he said. “’Am I going to land on a team? What other options do I have?’ As soon as I got the call from them, I was so excited. For me to have a good season and get it going, I’ve got to play. I was fortunate enough to get a call from them.”
The 32-year-old Taylor has had non-baseball jobs in the offseason but not during the most recent one. He played winter ball in the Dominican Republic.
In past offseasons, he’s been an UPS driver and he has cleaned houses.
“It was getting up early to get my baseball stuff done, be at work by 8 o’clock in the morning and then on the weekends, I’d clean houses. It wasn’t fun, but it as a way to feed the family.”
Hall getting a look: Pitching prospect DL Hall, who hasn’t been in a game yet, will get to pitch in a Grapefruit League game in the coming days, Hyde said.
“It will be out of the ‘pen,” Hyde said. “That doesn’t mean he’s a reliever. Don’t read too much into it.”
Hall, the Orioles’ top draft pick in 2017, missed most of last season because of an elbow injury and hasn’t pitched above Double-A Bowie. He was put on the 40-man roster in November.
“It’s to get his feet wet in a major league spring training game,” Hyde said.