Because You Asked - Home Alone 4

‘Tis the season to be jolly and repetitive.

I’m referring, of course, to the hot stove season. Let’s gather around it, warm our hands and hearts, and toast our good fortune. A marshmallow on a skewer wouldn’t be a bad idea, either.

My mailbag is the gift that keeps on giving. Sort of like the Samos burps after the tzatziki and hummus. And I’m not complaining.

Fans ask for updates and opinions. Other fans ask for the same updates and opinions. Some are friendlier than others. The fans, not the updates and opinions.

You’ll notice that my latest sequel title is a homage to bad Christmas movies, including the made-for-television variety. You know how someone will tell you to “say when” to get them to stop pouring? Well, someone should have done that with the Home Alone series.

But I digress ...

Let’s tear into the mailbag before we do the same with the turkey and ham and whatever else is on the dinner table later today. As for gifts, all I’m asking for is your continued support of this blog and any spare change you find in the cushions.

Any news on Mark Trumbo?
Nothing that fans of his return want to hear. The Orioles made an offer, Trumbo’s agent didn’t bite and it’s no longer on the table. But as I’ve written, don’t jump to the conclusion that the Orioles have completely moved on from Trumbo. They pulled their offer to Chris Davis and he hit 38 home runs for them this year. Pulling an offer can be like pulling my finger. It’s unpleasant at first, but ... Well, that’s probably the only similarity. I’m not sure where I was going with that one.

Will the Orioles sign Chris Carter?
If they want a guy who only scores touchdowns.

That’s Cris Carter and an extremely tired joke. Will they sign the free agent slugger?
It’s not out of the question, but their reported interest seems to be exaggerated. He’s the kind of guy who comes into play if still on the market as the Orioles near spring training or are already engaged in popup drills, and they still have a need for a power-hitting designated hitter. Even if it’s in a part-time role. Only if the years and price are right. One of those platform deals that maybe launches him to a bigger deal with another club the following year. Sound familiar?

Do the Orioles still have interest in Michael Saunders?
They do, but they also have some concerns. They’d be much more comfortable giving him a one-year deal. There are some lingering questions about him physically. I’d be more concerned about the career .309 on-base percentage and slippage in his defensive metrics.

Why are the Orioles more focused on Colby Rasmus than Michael Saunders?
They aren’t. I reported that Rasmus’ agent has contacted the Orioles to gauge their interest. The sides came close to an agreement a couple of winters ago. But they’ve had more serious talks regarding Saunders.

Got a favorite Christmas movie?
Not sure how I’d rank them, but I’m a big fan of “Love Actually.” And if I must surrender my man card, so be it. Also, “A Christmas Story” should rank highly on anyone’s list. It never gets old. At least not until the 12th or 13th time in a row.

zach-britton-white-point.jpgWhy not trade Zach Britton now while his value is so high and there’s such a heavy demand for closers?
Because the Orioles are trying to win the 2017 or 2018 World Series and right now they find it harder to envision if they trade the best reliever in baseball. I’d certainly listen to offers and I understand the logic in moving him now while he’s still under team control for two more seasons. The return would be substantial and this team needs to beef up its farm system. He also might enable them to fill the hole in right field. But no matter how many quality relievers reside in the bullpen, the Orioles would be punching a huge hole in it by surrendering Britton.

Any news on ...
Yes, but I’m keeping it a secret.

Never gets old. Any news on Matt Wieters?
There’s really nothing else to report. Signing Welington Castillo provided a pretty clear signal that the Orioles have moved on from Wieters. They weren’t going to make the financial commitment required to keep him and they weren’t going to keep waiting past New Year’s for agent Scott Boras to strike a deal. They’re counting on Chance Sisco to be ready by 2018 at the latest.

What about signing Weiters as a designated hitter/first baseman?
It’s spelled Wieters. We’re back to talking about the financial commitment. This team isn’t expected to hand out any big contracts beyond its attempts to re-sign Trumbo. There’s always the chance that they can work out an extension for one of their guys, with Chris Tillman a priority because he’s a pending free agent. The Orioles would like for their DH to have the ability to rotate to other positions, but I don’t think they mean third catcher. And Wieters has limited exposure to first base. Trust me, a team will sign Wieters and keep him behind the plate. The market will evolve for Boras.

Would the Orioles re-sign Pedro Alvarez?
Yes, if they can get him on a deal similar to the last one. He’s not going to hit the jackpot in Baltimore, but the Orioles would be fine having him again as a left-handed designated hitter. But that idea probably would die if Trumbo re-signed. It’s not like the Orioles are going to platoon them. Alvarez and Trey Mancini might make a nice DH combo. Alvarez is trying to add “outfielder” to his resume, but the Orioles are looking to upgrade defensively. That would seem to be a counter move.

Could the Orioles sign Manny Machado to an extension? It needs to happen soon or he’s gone.
Well, he isn’t a free agent until after the 2018 season, but I understand. He’s going to be harder to extend the closer he gets to the market. The Orioles have engaged in extension talks in the past, but nothing approaching an agreement. And there’s nothing to suggest that they’re starting up again. Tillman is next man up, but there’s a long way to go with him, as well. The conversation between executive vice president Dan Duquette and Tillman’s reps at the Winter Meetings can’t be classified as significant progress. More like opening remarks. Or reopening. But it’s a start.

Got an ugly Christmas sweater?
No, just ugly regular ones.

Will the Orioles get the 2019 All-Star Game and why is it taking so long?
No idea on the first part and only speculation about the second. Having the 2018 All-Star Game at Nats Park may hurt the Orioles’ chances, but again, speculating here. They definitely want it and have bid for it. It’s great for the city. The real question is why does any team have to campaign, or whatever you want to call it, when it should just be rotated? Riddle me that.

Any news?
Oh, come on!

Who’s going to be the next assistant hitting coach?
Someone in the organization asked me, and I assume jokingly, if anyone really cares. Whether this is actually a story. Well, it’s an opening on the major league coaching staff, so there’s some level of importance. I have a shot if the hiring isn’t made in the next few weeks. Only problem is, I’d instruct everyone to just take pitches while I stood behind them, clapped my hands and said, “Good eye, good eye.” I’ll repeat that Lenny Harris and Howie Clark are two confirmed candidates. That’s all I know.

Any new information on a trade for Jarrod Dyson?
I never heard anything beyond speculation and how he’d make a lot of sense as a right fielder and leadoff hitter. Nothing concrete. I’m sure it’s been discussed, but I have no idea what the Royals would want in return and whether the Orioles have the necessary pieces. He’s not the most popular guy in Baltimore after all his chirping in the American League Championship Series, but he isn’t a villain. So he’s got that going for him, which is nice.

Ever cry as a kid when Frosty melted?
Only as a kid? I mean, what?

Is Duquette really going to pass on Jose Bautista just because fans hate him?
It’s an amusing little tale that doesn’t tell the full story. I’m sure there are some concerns about how Bautista would be received, but not just by fans. The clubhouse is a warm and inviting place for all newcomers, but Bautista would really put that reputation to the test. And let’s also consider his age, declining production and whatever he’s asking for in free agency. It isn’t a one-year, club-friendly deal. Fans are only one of the considerations.

Hey baby, how are you? Give me a follow and check out my pics.
OK, this is spam. Sorry.

Are the Orioles showing any interest in Jose Quintana?
Duquette has indicated that he’s more interested in adding a reliever than another starter. And again, it’s doubtful that the Orioles have the pieces to pull off a trade for him.

Any chance that the Orioles get in on Edwin Encarnacion if his market continues to drop?
This is an oldie but a goodie. It needed to plummet and they didn’t anticipate him having to settle for a Nelson Cruz-type of deal. They were right. The Indians are giving Encarnacion a three-year deal with an option that could net him a total of $80 million. The Athletics also reportedly had a multi-year offer on the table. He would have been a tremendous addition at Camden Yards, but it wasn’t going to happen. In the meantime, the Blue Jays probably are wondering what was wrong with their four-year, $80 million offer. Either way, Encarnacion can buy a lot of imaginary parrot food.

Why no Larry Walker on your Hall of Fame ballot?
Only room for 10.

Why no Fred McGriff on your Hall of Fame ballot?
Only room for 10.

Why no Curt Schilling on your ballot?
Only room for 10.

Why no Manny Ramirez on your ballot?
Only room for 10.

Why no Billy Wagner on your Hall of Fame ballot if you’re including Trevor Hoffman and Lee Smith?
Only room for 10. And this is Smith’s final year of eligibility.

Shouldn’t Melvin Mora get into the Hall of Fame just for having quintuplets?
His wife had them. She should be inducted.

Any chance that Mora picks up enough votes?
Yes, if all of his kids get ballots.

Why don’t the Orioles hire Jim Palmer as pitching coach?
Because he has no interest in coaching. The man has a pretty sweet gig and he’s really good at it.

Ever dab?
Only when I cut myself shaving.

Why didn’t Buck use Britton in the wild card game?
This one must have been stuck to the bottom of the mailbag.

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