Baltimore Orioles: It’s beginning to look a lot like… Spring Training

BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 15: Manager Buck Showalter
BRADENTON, FL - MARCH 15: Manager Buck Showalter /

After a four-and-a-half month wait, today is the day pitchers, and catchers report to Spring Training. Today, you should be happy baseball is back. But, if you’ve followed the Baltimore Orioles this offseason, it’s a day to continue asking questions.

Every offseason, each team faces questions about how they’re going to improve. For the Baltimore Orioles, it’s no different. The constant reminder of how the team has two guaranteed starting pitchers is thrown around more than a baseball in Spring Training.

The repetitive questions about what the front office does on a daily basis are mentioned a lot too.

There’s no way to steer clear of those asking about the Orioles and free-agent starters. Or, the Orioles and Manny Machado. Or even, if Dan Duquette is doing his job.

I’m not a team spokesperson, but I’m pretty sure he is.

So, I wanted to do my best to answer as many of your questions as physically possible. Call me crazy, but I enjoy giving my opinion on many different things.

Let’s get it started like the Black Eyed Peas.

Without any real moves, where do the Orioles finish?

Now I’m contradicting myself, but I don’t like predicting where the team will finish before the exhibition season gets started. So much could happen. I could say right now the team doesn’t improve from the 75-win 2017 season but could go out and land two veteran starters. Or, I could predict a 90-win season, and potentially marred by injuries, they finish with 69 wins.

But, I will admit they haven’t done much – as of February 13 – to improve over last season.

Take that as you will.

Who are the most realistic starting pitchers the Orioles will acquire via a trade or free agency?

Well, they don’t have much to trade at the moment. Zach Britton is out until at least May. Manny Machado is now the starting Shortstop. The future lies within the minor leagues, and Chris Davis has too many years left on a contract that the Orioles probably won’t pay off. That said, there are a few starters I could see pitching in Baltimore in 2018. As I wrote on Sunday, I could see the rotation improving with lefty Jason Vargas or Andrew Cashner. I think the most likely acquisition though, is a reunion with Chris Tillman.

BALTIMORE, MD – SEPTEMBER 24: Chris Tillman /

What are the odds of Austin Hays winning the starting job in RF?

The Orioles still have Rule-5 pick, Anthony Santander on the roster and he has to remain there for 44 days. I wrote about that over the weekend. Santander will make the team, starter or bench role to be determined. But, Austin Hays is a different story. It’s honestly going to come down to how well he performs in the field during the spring. The Orioles haven’t had the best luck since losing Nick Markakis to free agency. Hays is one of 19 players that have started a game in right field since the start of the 2015 season. I’d say the team can sacrifice a big bat – although hitting for contact – for a good glove in the field.

Do you think [Craig] Gentry will be a bench player? Is [Anthony] Santander the new utility player.

First off, these are two questions. You’re not playing by the rules.

More from Orioles News

The organization likes Craig Gentry‘s speed and his ability to play the field. He may not break camp with the team, but you’ll probably see him at some point during the season. Santander, if anything, will be the fourth outfielder. That’s at the very least. See above Rule-5 status comment.

With [Manny] Machado at SS, how will they set up the infield?

I don’t think the player at a position matters much. The infield will be set up the same way. I assume you’re asking about a shift? Tim Beckham would be in the 6-hole, Machado slightly shaded to the left side of second base, Jonathan Schoop in shallow right field and Davis behind the bag at first.

That about covers it.

What are the odds of {the Orioles} signing Lance Lynn?

If Lance Lynn wants a four-year deal, the odds are slim-to-none. If he drops a year on the desired contract, the chances are better, but not a sure thing. There’s no doubt signing Lynn would be a HUGE help for the rotation, but I see other teams offering him four years before he cuts it to three.

What do you think of the Orioles not re-signing [Ryan] Flaherty?

You could ask this same question to a room full of 20 people and get two different answers. But, since you’re asking me, I’ll give you my answer. Ryan Flaherty is a dependable position player that can fill in anywhere on the diamond. If you need him at third base, he’s there. At shortstop, he’s there too. Even if you’re getting shelled and are out of pitchers, he can pitch. Flaherty isn’t flashy with the bat, but “Flash” can play wherever he’s needed, and that’s what’ll be missed most about him.

Will Mark Trumbo finally drop the pie hate?

Adam Jones said, “no mas pies,” and all of the sudden Mark Trumbo


hates pies. Although it is EXTREMELY coincidental, I don’t think he’s the “go cry to daddy Buck,” kind of guy.

What are the Orioles goals as a team for 2018?

This is probably the easiest of any question I’ve ever answered. It has to be to win. It has to be to be better than 2017. There’s no doubt in my mind it’s anything short of those.

Do you think {the Orioles} are in the running for Mike Moustakas or Jake Arrieta?

Let me give the short answer on Jake Arrieta.


Mike Moustakas though would make a lot of sense for a team that just shifted their All-Star third baseman to Shortstop. Moustakas would bring a bit more comfort to the hot corner as he’s had 2,143 more chances than Tim Beckham.

Next: Baltimore Orioles Minors Monday: Re-signing Craig Gentry

Answering your questions has been a lot of fun. I hope we have as much fun watching Spring Training this season. Who knows, maybe they’ll have signed a few more players by the time I do another Q&A blog.