Since there’s still no real news coming out of the warehouse - just non-update updates and more names being chucked against the wall - I’ll pass along a few leftover quotes. Maybe I’ll try to make up something later, just to keep it interesting around here.
When did the Orioles realize that they were legit this year?
“In spring training, we all believed we had a good team and we would be able to be competitive,” said shortstop J.J. Hardy. “I’d say sometime after the All-Star break, we really started to go, ‘Holy cow, this really could happen.’ We were right in the mix the whole season. Everybody was doubting us. They didn’t think we’d be able to hold on, but in the clubhouse, we all felt like we had a good team and that we would be able to hold on.”
So what about the people who now doubt that the Orioles can duplicate or exceed their successful season because of all those one-run and extra-inning wins?
“We’re all aware of what happened last season with all the extra-inning wins and one-run wins,” Hardy said. “We all believe we have a good team. We had a great team last year and we have pretty much the same group coming in. We have a lot of depth, starting pitching, the same bullpen out there. We all believe we have a good team. We haven’t done a whole lot this offseason, but it’s kind of hard to get better when we did what we did last year. We haven’t made any bad moves.”
That last part seems to be a theme with the Orioles. One person in the organization said they’ve had the best offseason so far because they haven’t handed out any bad contracts. They haven’t done anything stupid.
Yes, it’s open to argument. I know many of you just want the Orioles to make a move, any move, to avoid giving the appearance of standing pat.
“You’ve got to have somebody who views your players, and views the players you want, the same way, and it doesn’t always match up,” said manager Buck Showalter. “A lot of factors play into it. Obviously, there’s money. The bottom line for us is, if somebody doesn’t value our players the way we do, then we’re going to keep them. I like our club. I’ve got to tell you. I told Dan (Duquette) this the other day. I know my job is to manage the team and this and that, but I like where we are. I like the depth we have. And we’re going to be careful about taking away from that. But there’s a lot of things going on between now and spring training. Trust me.
“You get into panic mode and sign a few of these contacts that have been signed. Just to have action for the sake of action, you’ll make a lot of mistakes. I like where we are right now. I like our club and I like our people and I like our prospects of getting something done between now and spring. And there’s obviously a couple things we’d like to get better at.”
In other words, Showalter expects Duquette to swing a trade and/or sign a free agent, but his world won’t come crashing down around him if nothing happens.
Something will happen.
The Orioles voted Triple-A Norfolk manager Ron Johnson and pitching coach Mike Griffin playoff shares.
“It’s the morale of our organization and knowing that the job they’re doing is important, and we want them to know it,” Showalter said. “I got a text from Ron saying, ‘Boy, I just got a Christmas thing here and I know you might have something to do with it.’ I said, ‘Don’t thank me, thank the players.’
“J.J. Hardy’s sister is getting married on FanFest day, so he can’t come. Instead of just blowing it off, he called and said, ‘What else can I do to make it up to the organization and fans?’ So he came for the Christmas party. Those little things make you feel good about the team and who we are. Does it mean we’ll hit more home runs and strike out more hitters? I don’t know. I know traveling around this country for seven months with people you want to be around and you know care about doing it the right way gives me a quiet confidence. I like where we are.”