Arbitration hearing dates and Davis leftovers

Catcher Caleb Joseph’s arbitration hearing will be held today in St. Petersburg, Fla. He’s seeking $1 million and the Orioles countered at $700,000. He made $523,500 last season.

Pitcher Kevin Gausman’s hearing is set for Feb. 7 and reliever Brad Brach’s hearing is Feb. 16.

You’ve probably memorized the figures, or at least have them hanging on your fridge.

Gausman made $532,000 last season and is seeking $3.55 million, and the Orioles countered at $3.15 million. Brach made $1.250 million last season and is seeking $3.05 million, and the Orioles countered at $2.525 million.

I’m wondering whether the Orioles offered Joseph $800,000 before the sides exchanged figures. That’s the number I heard earlier in the day, but sources confirmed later that the team submitted $700,000.

The world may never know. Or I could ask around, though it doesn’t make much difference now that they’ve reached this point.

The blockbuster trade at the Winter Meetings that brought Chris Sale to the Red Sox further complicated the Orioles’ efforts against left-handed pitching. And that’s putting it mildly.

The Orioles batted .234 against southpaws in 2016, last in the American League and ahead of only the Dodgers in the majors. Sale joined a rotation that already included David Price and Eduardo Rodriguez, and Drew Pomeranz could make it four, though it’s pretty crowded with right-handers Rick Porcello and Steven Wright.

chris-davis-overhead-orange-swing.jpg“I feel like whether you’re left-handed or right-handed, for the past few years we’re always seeing guys’ No. 1 and No. 2 starters,” first baseman Chris Davis said at FanFest. “That’s just the way it is. I mean, our offense is no secret. There’s nothing that we’re going to throw out there that’s going to surprise anybody.

“This is an extremely competitive division. There were three teams last year just from this division that were in the postseason. That’s saying a lot. But that’s kind of what you come to expect from Boston, from New York, from Toronto. That’s where we’re at.”

The Orioles traded for Seth Smith, but he’s a career .202 hitter against left-handers. Mark Trumbo batted .173 against lefties last season, but he owns a career .251 average and they’re counting on him returning to previous form.

Catcher Welington Castillo is the biggest splits upgrade with a career .287 average against lefties. Joey Rickard hit .313 against them in 90 plate appearances before the thumb injury.

Rickard was 3-for-5 with a double against Rodriguez, the former Orioles farmhand, 2-for-6 with a double and walk against Price and 1-for-2 with a walk against Sale.

Castillo is 9-for-23 lifetime against the Red Sox. He’s 2-for-4 with a home run against Pomeranz and 6-for-14 against right-hander Joe Kelly.

Meanwhile, Davis was the latest player to state that being competitive isn’t enough anymore.

“I think that’s really that attitude and the mentality of everybody in the clubhouse,” he said. “We’re not out there to just kind of slide in there at the last minute. Obviously, if we have to play a wild card game, we’ll do it, but we want to win the division and we expect to be in the postseason every year. That’s just kind of the way we look at things. I feel like that’s where the bar is right now.

“Fortunately, since I’ve been here we’ve had some pretty productive seasons and we’ve been a winning team every year and I expect that to continue.”

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