With the Orioles down to two unsigned arbitration-eligible players, they intend to continue negotiations until the hearing dates next month rather than go “file and trial,” according to a source.
Consider their approach “file and try.”
The club reached agreements on Friday with closer Zach Britton, third baseman Manny Machado, reliever Brad Brach, infielder Tim Beckham and catcher Caleb Joseph. They exchanged salary figures with second baseman Jonathan Schoop and starter Kevin Gausman.
Schoop filed at $9 million and the Orioles countered at $7.5 million. He made $3.475 million last season. Gausman filed at $6.225 million and the Orioles countered at $5.3 million. He made $3.345 million last season.
Both players are represented by The Legacy Agency.
Executive vice president Dan Duquette appeared to take a “file and trial” stance - also known as “file and go” - last winter with three unsigned players. However, Gausman was inked before facing a three-person panel and the Orioles tried to reach a settlement with Joseph on the day of his hearing.
Joseph lost and was paid $700,000 instead of the $1 million he sought. The Orioles were willing to increase their offer and reach the midpoint, according to a source, but couldn’t close the deal.
Brach won his arbitration case, the first victorious Oriole since Ben McDonald in 1995.
The one true “file and trial” in recent years involved outfielder Alejandro De Aza in 2015. The club didn’t resume negotiations with De Aza’s agent after the deadline and beat him in arbitration.
There wasn’t much of a gap in proposals. De Aza filed at $5.65 million and the Orioles offered $5 million.
None of the seven eligible players on Friday signed by the 1 p.m. deadline, but Duquette maintained a dialogue with the respective agents. Machado received $16 million, Britton $12 million, Brach $5.165 million, Beckham $3.35 million and Joseph $1.25 million.
Machado, Britton and Brach are pending free agents. Britton is recovering from Achilles surgery, Machado from the constant speculation about trades and a position change.
The panel will choose one of the proposals if Schoop and Gausman remain unsigned. The Orioles will try to avoid it.
* Reliever Mychal Givens is headlining the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds’ 17th annual Hot Stove Banquet on Thursday, Jan. 25 from 6-9 p.m. at the Wicomico Youth and Civic Center in Salisbury.
Kent Qualls, director of minor league operations, also will speak at the banquet.
Tickets can be purchased in tables of eight for $280 or on an individual basis for $38. All tickets must be purchased in advance and availability is limited. Doors will open at 6 p.m. with the program beginning at 7 p.m.
Attendees will also have the chance to participate in a silent auction and raffle of sports memorabilia to benefit the Shorebirds Fly Together Fund and United Way of the Lower Eastern Shore. Numerous items from professional and minor league franchises, including the Orioles, will be up for grabs.
For more information or to purchase tickets, call 410-219-3112 or visit www.theshorebirds.com. The deadline to purchase tickets is Jan. 19 at 4 p.m.
* Former Orioles pitcher Scott McGregor will be the featured guest speaker at the Zion Lutheran Church’s eighth annual “Hot Stove Baseball Talk” on Jan. 30 beginning at 7 p.m. in the church’s sanctuary at 2215 Brandywine Lane in York, Pa.
McGregor is currently the Orioles’ pitching rehab coordinator. Let’s never forget that he stood on the mound as the final out was recorded in the 1983 World Series.
Other speakers include MASN’s Mel Antonen and BaltimoreBaseball.com’s Dan Connolly.
There’s no admission fee, but a freewill offering will be taken to benefit the church’s youth ministry program. All proceeds this year will assist the church in sending a contingent to the ELCA Youth Gathering in June in Houston.
For more information, contact the church at 717-767-4673.