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It’s time for Part 1 of our monthly mailbag. We’ll have Part 2 on Wednesday, and we’ll have another mailbag just before the start of spring training. Questions may be edited for length, style and clarity.
Question: I know the complex in the Dominican Republic will help international efforts moving forward, so can you tell us some of the players we should hopefully be hearing about in the future other than Samuel Basallo? From: Rene Linares via email
Answer: Rene, there are some other international players in the top 30 in the Orioles’ MLB Pipeline rankings. I’d keep an eye on outfielder Braylin Tavera, who’s rated 16th, and a pair of shortstops, Leandro Arias, rated 18th, and Luis Almeyda, rated 25th.
Question: Why haven’t we heard more about the potential sale of the Orioles to investment banker David Rubenstein? From: John Flato, Bradenton via email
Answer: John, every month I get at least one question about the potential sale of the team, and it’s your turn this month.
As far as I know, the Orioles are not for sale. John Angelos has said he would like to keep the team. For tax reasons, the team wouldn’t be sold as long as his father, Peter Angelos, is alive. Sales of sports teams are speculated upon by fans and media, but these talks aren’t leaked, and if there was a sale, we wouldn’t know until it was complete or nearly complete.
Question: How many of the Oriole coaches are in the dugout during the game? How about the trainers? If they aren’t in the dugout or the bullpen, where are they? From: Lauren Baker via email
Answer: Lauren, sometimes coaches are working with hitters or pitchers beyond the dugout, looking at tape or working on swings. Generally, the first and third base coaches, Anthony Sanders and Tony Mansalino, are in the dugout while the team is on the field. Bench coach Fredi González is near manager Brandon Hyde.
The hitting coaches are in the dugout when the team is at bat, and the pitching coaches are there when the team is on the field.
Trainers may be treating players during the game, so the number of people in the dugout isn’t a fixed number.
Question: Do you think the Orioles are going to fork out $500 million or more to lock up players such as Adley Rutschman, Gunnar Henderson, Jackson Holliday and Grayson Rodriguez when the time comes? From: Rusty Potts via Facebook
Answer: Rusty, I think it would be hard for most teams to lock up four players of that quality if they all command large contracts. We don’t know if in a year or two, they’ll be able to ask for huge dollars, and I think four large contracts would be out of reach for most teams, but I’m hopeful they’d be able to sign one or two of them to long-term contracts.
Question: What kind of return would the Orioles expect if they traded Austin Hays or Anthony Santander? From: Vince Celano via Facebook
Answer: Vince, I think if the Orioles traded Hays or Santander, they’d need to get back young pitchers who aren’t far from being major league ready. I don’t think they’ll trade Santander or Hays in the coming weeks, but if they did, they could use more pitching prospects.
Question: Just one question, probably the same as everyone: Do you think the Orioles will trade for, or pick up a top-line free-agent pitcher? From: @2Osfans
Answer: You’re correct, it’s a popular question. Stephen Johnson on Facebook is wondering about the Orioles’ discussions with free-agent pitchers, and Mark Cooper is asking if the Orioles will trade for Dylan Cease or Jesús Luzardo.
I think the Orioles will add to their starting staff, either by trade or by signing a free-agent pitcher, between now and spring training. I’ve long thought they would add to the staff, but the market has moved incredibly slowly. The asking prices for Cease and Luzardo are high.
Question: The team has a surplus of position players in the minors. Is there a timetable as to how many and when we see some of them in the majors? Any insight as to what Mike Elias is willing to do to acquire pitching? If there isn’t a pitching acquisition, how good is our present stock at the major and minor level? From: Julius Silvestri via email
Answer: Julius, I’m sure Mike Elias has a timetable for when he thinks position players may be ready to play in the majors, but he doesn’t share that. There’s been chatter that the Chicago White Sox’s asking price for Dylan Cease is high, and I don’t think Elias wants to trade key prospects the Orioles may need this year or next. The Orioles’ major league pitchers are strong, but they could use a few more top prospects in the minors.
Question: You’re asking a lot for four or five pitchers to all pitch well day-in and day-out. No Oriole pitcher averaged even six innings per start and if that happens again in 2024, I doubt the results will be as pleasant as in 2023. A “quality start” still leaves a big load on a bullpen. Are there strategies or training regimens to increase these guys’ innings? Do the Orioles own a potential 200-inning guy? How do the Kyle Gibson-less Orioles navigate the 1,450 innings or so needed from the pitching staff in 2024? From: Luke Jessup via email
Answer: Luke, as I’ve said before, I think the Orioles will add at least one more pitcher before spring training. I think that Kyle Bradish and Grayson Rodriguez are potentially 200-inning pitchers, but it will be a challenge without Gibson to find those innings. They’re hoping John Means will provide some of them. So perhaps might Tyler Wells and DL Hall, but adding another pitcher from the outside would help.
Question: I have a question about the Orioles’ search for a top-of-the-rotation starter. What do you think about Trevor Bauer? Do you think the Orioles would take a chance and sign Bauer to land in their rotation? From: Ron Gale via email
Answer: Ron, I would be shocked if the Orioles signed Trevor Bauer. I don’t think they should sign him, and I don’t think they will sign him.
Question: Where do you expect Enrique Bradfield Jr. to start this season, and do you think he has a chance to be in Baltimore on Opening Day 2025? From: Dave Gruber via Facebook
Answer: Dave, I think Enrique Bradfield starts this season where he ended last season, in Aberdeen. If he plays well, he’ll be promoted to Bowie, and then perhaps to Norfolk. I would be surprised if he was a contender to begin 2025 with the Orioles after just one full season of minor league ball.
Question: How important is it for Mike Elias to have two or three pitchers in the bullpen who have options so they can keep a fresh relief corps? From: @EricGDorsey
Answer: Eric, it’s very important and one of the reasons I think the Orioles passed on taking a reliever in the Rule 5 draft. Yennier Cano, DL Hall, Dillon Tate and Tyler Wells all have options. So do Keegan Akin, Bryan Baker and Nick Vespi.
Question: Which of the following players do you think makes the biggest impact on the team this year: DL Hall, Heston Kjerstad, or Jordan Westburg? From: @rjtummillo
Answer: I think each of them has a chance to make an impact, though Westburg’s contributions could be the most consistent. If I knew Hall’s role to begin the season, perhaps I could give you a more informed answer. I think Kjerstad’s power could make him the most spectacular, but of the three, I’ll go with Westburg.
Question: What’s the latest on Kevin Brown and the MASN crew? Will they be back? From: Alan Reister via Facebook
Answer: Al, I would expect the broadcast team from last year to largely return intact, though I wouldn’t rule out some additions among television analysts. Last year, they used Brad Brach and Mike Devereaux occasionally, and while I don’t know who they’ll use this year, I wouldn’t be surprised if there were some additions from time to time.
Question: Nice article about spring training. My husband and I are first-time attenders in March. We have our tickets purchased for three games and are wondering if we also have to purchase parking passes ahead of time for the Ed Smith Stadium? From: Rosanna Bollinger via email
Answer: Rosanna, the Orioles say there are more than 1,800 spaces around Ed Smith Stadium, and parking is available for $12. I don’t think you have to purchase them ahead of time. Have a wonderful time. I’ll see you there.
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