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It’s time for Part 1 of our monthly mailbag, the final one of 2024. Thanks to everyone for excellent questions, some of which have been edited for clarity, length and grammar. Part 2 will appear next week.
Question: With the Orioles’ deep farm system, which ace would best fit in their rotation — Corbin Burnes, Dylan Cease or Jesús Luzardo? From: Chris A.A. Riehl via Facebook
Answer: Chris, I think Miami’s Luzardo would be attractive because he has three seasons until free agency and the price for him is likely to be quite high.
Milwaukee’s Burnes has just one, and there seems to be great competition for him. I’ll say the White Sox’s Cease, who has two years of club control left.
The chatter is that after the slow-moving free-agency markets speeds up, clubs may get Chicago better offers for Cease next month.
Question: What are your thoughts on a trade with the Guardians for Shane Bieber and/or Emmanuel Clase? From: Michael Shifler via Facebook
Answer: Michael, I think there would be lots of competition for Bieber, who, like Burnes, has just one year before free agency. I’d be fine with Bieber, Burnes, Cease or Luzardo. I’m not sure what the Orioles would have to give up.
With the signing of closer Craig Kimbrel, I think there’s little chance of trading for Clase, of whom I’m a big fan of. He has three years before free agency, and the Orioles are hoping Kimbrel can be a bridge until Félix Bautista returns in 2025.
Question: How can the Orioles make up the 192 innings they lost with Kyle Gibson’s departure. I’m thinking John Means is not a sure thing, and they need to sign or trade for another starter. What do you think? From: Mark Cooper via email
Answer: Mark, I think your concern is legitimate, and the guess here is that the Orioles will sign or trade for another starter before spring training begins.
Question: The Orioles have said they want to add a top-end starter. Based on what I have read, they are more likely to do this via the trade route. I don’t understand why they would want to trade top prospects for a pitcher who will be a free agent in a year or so who they aren’t likely to re-sign. Why not spend some bucks on a Jordan Montgomery or Yoshinobu Yamamoto, have control of them for five years or so and keep the prospects? From: Greg Fuchs via email
Answer: Greg, according to MLBTradeRumors, they expect Yamamoto to sign a nine-year deal for $225 million. Others think it will be higher. They estimate that Montgomery will get a six-year, $150 million contract.
I can’t imagine the Orioles signing a pitcher to that sort of deal, and I think they’ll concentrate on developing or trading for pitchers. If there are big-money contracts signed, they’d be to players who are already on the team.
Question: Do you believe there are any quality starting pitchers on the market who would be interested in a one-year and option-year deal in a price range like Craig Kimbrel just signed? From: Glenn Fuller, Laurel
Answer: Glenn, I think there are some free-agent starters who could fit. I wouldn’t rule out a two-year deal for the right pitcher. Some of the starters who might fit into that category are Lucas Giolito, Michael Lorenzen, Frankie Montas and Hyun Jin Ryu.
Question: Do you see Chris Holt being moved out as pitching coach as a demotion? Do you expect that he will move on to another organization? From: Bill Connor via email
Answer: Bill, Mike Elias said last week at the Winter Meetings that he thought it was best to let Holt concentrate on developing the minor league pitchers’ development and let Drew French provide a new voice for the young Oriole pitchers.
Most major league coaching staffs are already set, so I expect Holt to remain with the organization for 2024, at least.
Question: Some years ago then-general manager Syd Thrift said it was so hard to get players to sign that it was if he were offering contracts in confederate money. Is that now mitigated by other factors, new management, a great core, and a deeper left field? From: Kevin Whitaker via email
Answer: Kevin, in 5 ½ years of writing here, this is my first opportunity to mention Syd Thrift, and I thank you for it.
I think that winning teams with good management and a deeper left field for pitchers make the Orioles a more attractive.
Question: Is there any chance that the team is sold and moved? From: Timothy Fowler via email
Answer: Every month, I get a few of these questions, Timothy. Mike Beale wants to know if the team will be sold to an owner who will keep the team in Baltimore.
The Orioles are not moving. They will sign a long-term lease. Major League Baseball does not want them to move. John Angelos doesn’t want to move the team.
As for selling, there have again been reports about the team being for sale. I can’t imagine the team would be sold as long as Peter Angelos is alive because of capital gains tax considerations.
John Angelos has said he wants to keep the team, and unless we hear otherwise, I think he’ll remain.
Question: How do you think John Angelos will respond to Maryland State Senate president Bill Ferguson’s killing the tentative stadium lease that was apparently agreed to last week? From: Lee Kennedy via email
Answer: Lee, not surprisingly the lease is a popular question around here. Among those who have questions are Steve Michael and Randy Holter, both on Facebook.
I think the lease will get signed soon. I realize I’ve been saying that for months, but I think that Senator Ferguson’s concerns will be addressed by John Angelos and Governor Moore and that the long-term lease and the desire to develop the Warehouse and the one-time Maryland Sports Legends museum will move ahead.
As reported Thursday night, the Maryland Stadium Authority has scheduled a meeting to discuss the lease on Monday, and hopefully that’s good news.
It’s not only John Angelos who would like to develop land around a stadium or arena. This week, Ted Leonsis, the owner of the Washington Wizards and Capitals, agreed to move his teams from Washington to Alexandria, Virginia as part of a plan that’s a lot more ambitious than the Orioles’ plan, which seems fairly modest.
Question: Who do you think will make up the Orioles’ starting rotation? From: Heidi Tennyson Bertaux via Facebook
Answer: Heidi, that’s another popular question. Jim Pittaro wants to know if I think the 2024 rotation could be Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, John Means, Dean Kremer and TBD.
I think Jim has the right idea. I think Bradish, based on last season, could be the Opening Day starter, and I’d slot the others as he does. We’ll wait on that to-be-determined guy.
Question: Have the Orioles given any indication they plan to re-sign Anthony Santander and/or Cedric Mullins to a long-term deal? If they don’t plan to, have they discussed any possible trades involving these players? From: @slumpbusters191
Answer: I haven’t heard anything about possible extensions for either Santander or Mullins. It’s possible they’ve discussed Santander in trade talks because he’ll be a free agent a year from now, but I can’t see them trading Cedric Mullins because they don’t have a major league-ready centerfielder in the system.
Note: The Orioles have scheduled their Birdland Caravan for January 25th-28th.
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