SARASOTA–What’s happening?—Position players are scheduled to report on Monday, but as of Sunday morning, only rookie infielder Jordan Westburg hadn’t arrived. Outfielders Austin Hays and Nomar Mazara, who signed a minor league contract, arrived on Sunday.
The first full-squad workout is scheduled for Tuesday, and the first Grapefruit League game is Saturday against Minnesota.
“We haven’t had many normal springs since I’ve been here,” manager Brandon Hyde said. “We’ve had more guys here early than we’ve ever had since I’ve been here. Guys showed up ready to go, and it’s great.”
What’s happened?—Orioles Chairman and CEO John Angelos spoke to reporters on Sunday, and discussed the economic position the team was in. He pointed out that since 2018, the Orioles have spent on international signings, constructing a new facility in the Dominican Republic and on technology.
“We’re going to make all these capital investments and stay the course and we’ll see where the payroll goes,” Angelos said. “You’ve got examples like Tampa. You’ve got examples like Cleveland. You’ve got examples like Milwaukee.
“If you’re asking me if we have the resources, we absolutely have the resources and we plan to keep moving the payroll up, but we’ve got to keep making these long-term capital investments. We do think they’re working. We do think the full rebuild was the right thing and is working and we’re going to keep investing in that R&D, so not only where we are today but over the next five to eight years, we can keep this going, and I think we can keep it going, not just a five-year cycle but hopefully a self-sustaining more than five years, five, eight, 10. That’s the goal.”
Angelos was reminded of his pledge last month to share the team’s financials with reporters.
“I intend to do that while we’re here in spring training,” he said. “I am going to do what I said I would do with our conversation and sit down with you and all of you.
“I’m not going to be able to pull out the payrolls and show you everything financially, but I can give you a full picture for the business. I can certainly give you a picture of what our objectives are.”
Angelos believes another East Division team, the Tampa Bay Rays, are a good team for the Orioles to pattern themselves after.
“We’re aiming for sustained success, and I think what you see in a place like Tampa, they have had sustained success,” he said. “I am encouraged that Tampa’s done what they’ve done. That’s a great thing to aspire to … I would be disappointed if we’re not the next Tampa, which means being sustainably competitive, relevant.
“I’d like to be thought of as competent and capable and professional as, I think, all of us view an organization like Tampa. That’s an aspiration, and I think we’re going to get there.
“I don’t expect payroll to model any particular team. I was giving you guys a range of small and middle-market teams. Could payroll be double or triple what it is or could it be over $100 million? We’re not there yet. We have a very young team that’s over achieved and over performed because of the great work of our baseball folk. It’s not my job to predict payroll. My job is to make sure that the community partnerships are sustained.”
What’s up with? Mark Koloszvary was claimed off waivers from Cincinnati on October 14th, the same day as another Reds catcher, Aramis Garcia, was claimed. Koloszvary, who hit .200 (4-for-20) with a home run and three RBIs in 10 games with the Reds last year, was later outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.
“It was a lot of fun. Me and Aramis were good friends, so when we got moved over together, we both texted each other and said, ‘we’re still together,’” Koloszvary said.
Koloszvary joins non-roster catchers Anthony Bemboom, Maverick Handley and Ramon Rodriguez in camp.
“Everything I’ve seen so far has been great,” Koloszvary said. “A lot of young guys. That’s really cool to see, everybody pulling for each other. It’s really cool.”
What’s what? Angelos was asked about MASN televising just four spring training games.
“Spring training games are relatively low-rated games, very low-rated games,” Angelos said. “Most of them are in the afternoons on weekdays.”
What Angelos didn’t say is that if the Orioles increased the number of games they televised to 10, MASN is contractually obligated to show the same number of Washington Nationals games, and with the Nationals’ poor record last year and unfavorable outlook this year, ratings of those games would be even lower than the Orioles.
The Orioles are missing a good opportunity this spring. With an exciting young team, they should televise a few more games despite the high costs and the obligation to show an equal number of Nats games. It would be a nice way of showing off the team and potentially building interest.
The first game is scheduled for March 6th against Philadelphia.
What’s the word? “My goal is to never be around any litigation again. You don’t need litigation to solve problems. You just need good partners. We can sort that out and solve that very quickly.”-John Angelos on solving the long-standing MASN lawsuit.
What’s the number? 37. In one of his rare media availabilities, John Angelos spoke to the media for 37 minutes.