Orioles: Sunday morning Q-and-A

BALTIMORE, MD - SEPTEMBER 01: Manny Machado /

As noted yesterday, each Sunday morning, I will be answering as many of your Baltimore Orioles-related questions as possible. Submit your questions for a chance to be featured in my weekly blog.

Today marks the first edition of my weekly Baltimore Orioles question-and-answer blog. I’ve always been a big fan of interacting with my readers, so what better way to communicate than to feature some of your most inquired about topics?

If you want in one of my upcoming blogs, send me your questions, and I’ll include them in next weeks post!

This week, I’ll be answering seven questions that came to me throughout various social media sites.

Here we go.

What do you think happens with Manny Machado? – JC Smith

There is no bigger story coming out of Baltimore than what happens with Manny Machado. His arrival at the Ed Smith Stadium complex yesterday was highly publicized, and he’ll be asked about trade rumors all season long. With that said, I genuinely believe the Orioles will hang on to Machado for the entire season.

There’s too much talent on the roster to be so far out-of-contention that they part ways at the trade deadline. Although, it’ll be difficult to define “out-of-contention.” However, I do see him hitting the free agent market after the season and getting multiple nine-figure offers. None of which, coming from the Orioles.

Enjoy Machado now; you may not have that opportunity this time next year.

Do you think Kevin Gausman will live up to his potential this year? – Ryan Montgomery

Last week, Kevin Gausman and the Orioles came to terms on a one-year deal, avoiding arbitration. That said, the only incentives included are a $50K bonus if he makes 30 starts and another $50K for 33 starts.

If you’ve followed Gausman’s career with the Orioles, you’ll notice a pattern in his performance. Every other year, an even-numbered year, he seems to have better numbers.

ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 24: Kevin Gausman
ST. PETERSBURG, FL – JULY 24: Kevin Gausman /

For example, in 2014, he started 20 games and finished with a record of 7-and-7 and an ERA of 3.57. Then, in 2016, he reached the 30-start plateau for the first time, recording an ERA of 3.61 while going 9-and-12.

He’s the ace of the pitching staff and the longest tenured Orioles starter. I think we’re going to see him start 30-35 times and keep his ERA under 4.00 this season.

Remember the following statement. The Orioles starting rotation isn’t successful if Kevin Gausman isn’t successful.

[What are] your thoughts on the open rotation spots? – James Slaugh, Jr.

With two rotation spots left to fill, I think one will come from outside of the organization. The other is going to be an internal candidate. They have 30+ pitchers in camp right now, one of them is more than likely going to be your fifth starter.

Immediately, I jump right to Chris Tillman. If you read my first blog yesterday, you’d have learned that Tillman was expected to make a decision this weekend. Whether or not that happens isn’t up to me, but I do believe Tillman re-signs with the Orioles.

One of the teams said to be interested in him was the Minnesota Twins. Now that they’ve traded for former Tampa Bay Rays starter Jake Odorizzi, the door may have closed on Tillman. The Orioles, however, haven’t made Tillman an offer yet. They love waiting out the market, don’t they?

As for the fifth starter, they need to have a left-handed pitcher in that rotation. Rule-5 pick Nestor Cortes is my guess. With the way he tore it up in the New York Yankees organization, I’d be surprised if Cortes weren’t a finalist for the final spot in the rotation.

Do you have reason to believe that the Orioles will sign another starter not named Tillman? – Allen Sturgill

Yes. They aren’t going to pay big money to a starting pitcher. The last big contract they handed out – worth four years and $50MM – to a starter, flopped in their face. The front office probably won’t have that happen again.

More from Orioles News

In the unlikely event that Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn bring their asking prices down, you may see the Orioles put an offer on the table. It could be a proposal that’ll be something considered, but nothing that comes to terms.

Call me crazy, but I think we can move on from the Cobb/Lynn show.

Could Corey Dickerson be that left-handed outfielder the Orioles are searching for? – Ed Brause

Executive Vice President Dan Duquette has said multiple times that the team is still searching for a left-handed hitting outfielder. Just last evening, the Tampa Bay Rays designated Corey Dickerson for assignment.

Dickerson, 28, was an All-Star in 2017, which makes this a very odd DFA.

He’s a proven outfielder who hits right-handed pitching extremely well (.284 in 1,627 PA’s) and is beginning to smack the ball around the park.

He hit 27 home runs last season, the most of his career and third on their team last season.

As I said, it’s a very strange DFA, and he could fit in right field. Although, his strikeouts are up from 2016, as was his first pitch swinging percentage.

Would it be a good option? Absolutely.

Is it going to be what happens? In the words of Adam Jones, “ask Mr. Duquette.”

Who do you think ends up taking the Ryan Flaherty role of playing most everywhere in the infield? – Bill Minor

Simply put, nobody is going to replace Ryan Flaherty.

It wasn’t his bat that garnered him almost a cult following throughout most of the fan base. He could play any position.

Luis Sardinas has played every infield position and left field. He most likely wins the utility infield job for that reason, plus, he’s a switch-hitter.

What do you think lies ahead for Alex Wells? – Britt Marie

If there were one pitcher I’d love to see this season, it would be Alex Wells.

A native of Newcastle, Austrailia, Wells made his presence felt with the class-A Delmarva Shorebirds last season. In 25 starts, he posted a record of 11-and-5, with an ERA of 2.38. In 140 innings, he struck out 113 batters and walked just ten.

I see Wells starting the 2018 season with High-A Frederick, and only progressing from there.

One thing to watch with Wells is going to be the velocity on his Fastball. If he can add one or two MPH to it, while complimenting it with a 12-6 breaking ball and a change-up, he could be a useful starter in the big leagues.

Depending on his 2018 campaign, he could receive a non-roster invitation to Spring Training next season.

It may be a few more seasons though before we see Wells in an Orioles uniform. You’re more likely to see pitchers Tanner Scott and Hunter Harvey in the big leagues, before Alex Wells.

Next: Orioles: Breaking down Manny Machado's quotes

To those that sent me questions, hopefully, I’ve given you the answer you wanted. Thank you for participating. And remember, if anyone has a question they want to be answered, shoot me a message via Facebook or Twitter, and I’ll try to feature you in an upcoming blog!