SARASOTA, Fla. - Center fielder Adam Jones, infielder Tim Beckham and outfielder Anthony Santander are counted among the position players who reported early to camp. Only pitchers and catchers are required to show up today at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. The first full-squad workout is Monday morning.
Beckham has inherited J.J. Hardy’s old locker at the end of a row. They no longer play the same position.
The rest of the roll call, as observed by media allowed inside the clubhouse from 8-9 a.m, included pitchers Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens, Hunter Harvey, Jimmy Yacabonis, Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier, Tanner Scott, Donnie Hart, Jeff Ferrell, Perci Garner, Josh Edgin, Mike Wright, Jhan Mariñez, Andrew Faulkner, Alec Asher, David Hess, Asher Wojciechowski, Stefan Crichton and Tim Melville, and catchers Caleb Joseph, Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and Andrew Susac.
Other players have lockers set up in the auxiliary clubhouse, across the hallway and out of the media’s view. Rule 5 picks Nestor Cortes Jr., José Mesa and Pedro Araujo could be here and we wouldn’t know it. Same goes for infielders Ryan Mountcastle, Erick Salcedo and Garabez Rosa.
The camp roster is up to 60 players, including 35 pitchers.
If anyone cares about uniform numbers, Gausman is wearing 34 to honor Roy Halladay, the two-time Cy Young winner who died in a plane crash in Florida, and Harvey has inherited 39. Wright is wearing 28 and his nameplate now reads “Mike Wright Jr.” Jaycob Brugman is wearing 38, Luis Sardiñas 3, Cedric Mullins 70, Jayson Aquino 64, Mariñez 52, Edgin 55, Susac 27, Wynns 29 and Garner 68.
Pick up your jerseys.
Gausman, 27, is getting ready to leave camp and board a flight to Phoenix, Ariz., for an arbitration hearing that’s scheduled for Wednesday while his teammates engage in the first workout. The sides could reach an agreement and avoid the process.
“I think there’s definitely a chance of that happening,” he said. “We’ll see in the next couple of hours. If not, I’ll be getting on the plane here soon. We’ll try and get something done.”
Gausman is seeking $6.225 million and the team filed at $5.3 million. He made $3.45 million last season.
“Not the best thing to fly there and have to come right back and miss the first couple of days of camp,” Gausman said. “Never want to do that, but it’s part of the business.”
Gausman avoided a hearing last winter, though he was on the verge before signing. The Orioles again refused to go file and trial and maintained negotiations.
“I kind of went through last offseason, too,” he said. “Last offseason, it came down to I think the day before I was going to leave and just kind of doing the same thing now. I got two more of these and honestly I’m kind of happy that it hasn’t been just smooth sailing the whole time. I guess it’s just part of the business, though.”
Update: The Orioles announced this morning that they reached agreement with Gausman on a contract for 2018. All seven of their arbitration-eligible players are under contract.
Update II: Gausman is guaranteed $5.6 million and can earn around $200,000 in bonuses and incentives.
Gausman and Bundy are the only confirmed starters as camp gets underway. The need for starters still exists, whether via free agency or trade. The Orioles continue to explore both avenues.
“I wouldn’t necessarily say if I’m surprised, but I think everybody’s surprised by the market right now,” Gausman said. “I feel bad for the guys who are trying to get minor league deals and guys who are right there on the cusp, because they’re just waiting. They’re waiting for other guys.
“First day of pitchers and catchers is tomorrow. You think about how many guys are still at home is pretty crazy, but I think we’re kind of surrounded by a lot of young guys right now. It’s pretty exciting. I’ve been here for the last couple of days and got to see some of these guys throw and the ball’s coming out really good. I’m excited about Yacabonis and Crichton and all these young guys who have really good arms and just need a little more seasoning.”
Gausman’s locker is set up between Yacabonis and Crichton. He’s taking on a leadership role, the former first-round pick becoming an elder statesman.
“I used to be the one asking everyone where I was going. Now they’re asking me,” he said. “But, yeah, they gave Hunter Harvey my old locker and my old number. I don’t know what that’s about. But just trying to be a leader and do things the right way and hold everybody accountable. That’s how you run a really good camp. I think Darren O’Day does a good job and Brad Brach is kind of that silent leader.
“It’s definitely a little weird and kind of different. If we don’t sign anybody to the rotation, I’ll be the longest tenured pitcher on our team. So that’s kind of weird to think about, because I really haven’t been around very long. But I’m excited about that. It’s a new step, something I’ve always done on every team I’ve been on, but when you’re 22 and get to the big leagues you’re not going to be that guy. Not yet. I’m looking forward to it.”
Gausman announced in December that he was honoring Halladay, also a native of Colorado, by wearing No. 34. Baseball Almanac lists only 93 players who have hailed from the state. Gausman grew up in Centennial, a Denver suburb. Halladay was born in Denver and attended Arvada West High School.
“He was awesome,” Gausman said. “He was a guy who kind of laid the groundwork for Colorado. I’d always watch all these guys from the big leagues pitch and they were from Texas, Florida or California. I would always wonder, ‘Man, I don’t know if I could do this’. He was the guy I would look at and say, ‘OK, one, I can do it and two, he’s one of the best.’
“He was one guy I watched a lot. Sad that I didn’t get to meet him before he passed. It’s an unfortunate tragedy, but I think he did a lot for the game of baseball and state of Colorado.”