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It’s time for the first part of our monthly mailbag. The second part will run on Tuesday. Questions may be edited for style, length and grammar.
Question: Fans are clamoring for Colton Cowser and Jordan Westburg to be called up, and I get it, but defense is very important. Where do these prospects stand in that department? Would the Orioles be sacrificing in that category just to bring their bats up? From: Alan Reister via Facebook
Answer: Alan, according to a scout who has seen them both play, Cowser is an average to above average centerfielder. He thinks Westburg’s best positions are second base and third base.
I don’t think their defense is standing in the way of their promotions, and that their defense would hurt the team.
Question: What does Westburg have to do to get called up? From: Alan Reynolds via Facebook
Answer: David and Damon Stout asked this question. I think the Orioles would need to have a place to have Westburg play regularly. While he’s fine at second or third base, the Orioles would have to have an opening where he could play every day or nearly every day.
Question: When Cedric Mullins comes off the injured list, do you think Aaron Hicks or Ryan McKenna will come off the 26-man roster? From: Bill Connor via email
Answer: Bill, a similar question was asked by Dennis Littleton. It’s not one I’m going to speculate on because I don’t know when Mullins will return and what moves may occur in the interim.
There is a scenario in which they could keep Hicks and McKenna and make the cut elsewhere.
Question: What’s your projection on the number of Orioles wins. Will they make the playoffs ,and who will make the All-Star team? From: Glenn Fuller via email
Answer: Glenn, my guess is the Orioles will win 91 games and make the postseason. I think Adley Rutschman will be the starting catcher and Félix Bautista will be selected as a reliever. Yennier Cano, Austin Hays and Tyler Wells all seem deserving but because of the rule requiring all teams to be represented, they may not make it.
Question: What might the lineup look like when Cedric Mullins comes back? With Gunnar Henderson batting leadoff, could they drop Mullins to ninth, creating a second leadoff hitter? From: @BillSundheim
Answer: Bill, I haven’t given the lineup when Mullins returns much thought. I think they like the qualities that Mullins has as a leadoff hitter against right-handers and think he’ll probably return there.
Question: Do you know what Bryan Baker writes in the dirt at the back of the mound when he comes into a game? From: Lary Beasley via Facebook
Answer: Lary, Bryan writes his grandfather’s initials on the back of the mound.
Question: It seems like they’re dragging the stadium extension out. What’s going on? Speaking of extensions, what’s going on with Adley? From: Ray Kowatch via Facebook
Answer: Ray, the issue with the stadium lease is not the stadium but the financing for the area around the stadium. We don’t know the plans for the area around the ballpark, only that both John Angelos and Governor Moore are eager for the development to occur.
As for Rutschman, Mike Elias refuses to talk publicly about a possible extension, and I’m not sure if Rutschman is eager for one. Many agents prefer not to have their clients sign extensions so early in their careers.
Question: This team seems to be well-balanced, but I’m wondering if you’ve seen any lineup combinations that are more of less successful? From: Rick Staley via Facebook
Answer: Rick, including Saturday’s game, the Orioles have started 65 batting orders in their 70 games. No combination has started more than two games, so it’s hard to answer that one.
Question: How long do the Orioles have control over Henderson and Rutschsman before they are free agents? Same for Jordan Westburg and the other prospects in the minors. More generally, how does the signing to arbitration to free agency process basically work in terms of years. From: Burt Levin via Facebook
Answer: Burt, Adley Rutschman is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2027 season. Because he finished second in the voting for American League Rookie of the Year, he was given an extra year of service time. Henderson is scheduled to be a free agent after the 2028 season.
A player is eligible for arbitration after their third season, though some players called “Super Two’s” are eligible after their second season. Free agency is granted after six seasons. Westburg and other players who have yet to debut wouldn’t be free agents until after they’ve played at least six full seasons.
Question: What’s your best guess on the Orioles’ position players in 2025? From: Michael Steinberg via Facebook
Answer: Michael, here’s an answer that has little likelihood of being correct because I don’t know what trades the Orioles will make or which free agents they’ll add, but here’s my guess:
Catcher: Adley Rutschman, First Base: Heston Kjerstad, Second Base: Jordan Westburg, Shortstop: Jackson Holliday, Third Base: Gunnar Henderson, Left field: Connor Norby, Center Field: Cedric Mullins Right Field: Colton Cowser
Question: Are there any more Triple-A pitchers set to come up? From: John Miller
Answer: John, I expect the Orioles will again call up Drew Rom, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see left-handers Easton Lucas and Nick Vespi by the end of the season. Vespi has been called up twice before, but I think he could help the team, and Lucas had excellent numbers at Bowie before a recent callup to Norfolk.
Question: I’ve noticed Ryan Mountcastle wearing a “Chris Davis” first baseman’s mitt. If there a story behind it? Please let it be funny. From: Sean via email
Answer: Sean, sorry to disappoint you, but it’s not funny. Chris gave Mountcastle a model of his glove a few years and ago, and Ryan liked it so he kept using it and says it’s the most comfortable glove he’s ever used. Reportedly, Davis gave some of his gloves to players on other teams, too.
Question: What are the Orioles’ long-term plans for Mark Kolozsvary? From: John Kaiser via email
Answer: John, Kolozsvary elected free agency when the Orioles tried to outright him to Norfolk. Because they have a few other catchers at Norfolk and Bowie they like, I think Kolozsvary thought his chances of returning to the major leagues are greater elsewhere, so he’s looking at opportunities with other organizations. If he can’t find a suitable fit, it’s possible he rejoins the organization.
Question: What is the status of reliever Noah Denoyer? From: Dean Wilyman via email
Answer: Dean, Denoyer was designated for assignment on Tuesday, so they have until June 20th to trade or place him on waivers. If Denoyer passes through waivers he can be outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk.
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