Rather than dump out the entire mailbag today and try to come up with a fresh sequel title, I’m going to pull out a couple of the heavy repeats and attempt to eliminate whatever confusion lingers in the air like the odor from a hardboiled egg.
Let’s go with a true or false format. As opposed to truth or dare, which could get weird around here.
The Orioles definitely won’t be signing any free agents.
The Orioles don’t have a definite starter for right field, third base or behind the plate, and they might need a shortstop or second baseman, depending on where they play Jonathan Villar. And while they could decide to stay in-house, it’s doubtful that they’d go through spring training without bringing in a veteran or two on short-term deals. They also could attempt to sign an experienced starting pitcher rather than simply open up the competition for the last two spots to a bunch of rookies and second-year types. Trades also are a possibility, of course, but they won’t ignore the free agent market.
It makes no sense for the Orioles to have someone other than the new president of baseball operations or general manager removing players and personnel from various departments.
There are deadlines that must be met. Teams had to decide by Friday, for example, whether to extend qualifying offers to their free agents. Players had to come off the 60-day disabled list. Room had to be made on 40-man rosters. Lots of contracts for employees expired on Oct. 31. The Orioles couldn’t say, “Hold on, we’re not ready yet. Give us more time.” If the argument centers on the delay in making those new hires, I understand the impatience. Trust me, people who interviewed for the jobs are antsy, wondering what’s taking so long. But ownership is quite comfortable with director of player development Brian Graham handling all of these tasks on an interim basis while interviews are held and final decisions are made. Hopefully, sooner rather than later. And I’ll say again that the newbies can fill the vacancies. It would make no sense if they weren’t allowed to do it.
It’s safe to assume that at least one spot will open on the 40-man roster now that it’s full again.
The Orioles will protect pitcher Dillon Tate and catcher Martin Cervenka before the Rule 5 draft, so that’s two spots right there. Left-hander Luis Gonzalez would be a third. They’re going to bring in players from outside the organization. There’s absolutely no way that the 40-man stays as is.
It doesn’t make sense for the Orioles to be so secretive with their front office interviews.
Ownership doesn’t see much benefit in offering play-by-play on the process and sharing every detail with other clubs. Fans and the media would love it, but it doesn’t offer any sort of advantage to the Orioles. We’ve been left to sort through names such as former Dodgers GM Ned Colletti, former Red Sox GM Ben Cherington and Athletics assistant GM Dan Kantrovitz, with the exact levels of interest unknown. John and Louis Angelos are handling the interview process, as I’ve written and stated many times. If you check what’s happening with the Giants, they also seem to be playing it close to the vest. One report had the Giants failing to confirm or deny that Kim Ng interviewed with them. The Mets, meanwhile, were much more transparent.
The Orioles will hire someone to run baseball operations by the Winter Meetings.
The GM meetings likely will conclude with director of player development Brian Graham still handling the duties on an interim basis. He can report back to ownership with the necessary information that’s been gathered. However, I’m not sure that the process of laying the groundwork for possible deals next month can occur without the new hire, which seemingly puts the Orioles behind other teams. It isn’t an ideal situation.
Kim Ng is a leading candidate to become general manager.
As I reported last week, the Orioles haven’t been in contact with Ng, according to sources. That’s one strike, and a huge one, against the “leading candidate” theory. Also, you can’t rank GM finalists without the president - assuming that’s the title - being in place. Again, there’s a specific order here.
The job doesn’t appeal to anyone.
Being in charge of a total rebuild absolutely appeals to certain people. Is it for everyone? No. Running a team with endless funds that’s on the brink of contention or just needs a little push to get deep into the postseason is desirable for all the obvious reasons. However, there are executives champing at the bit to run the Orioles. To put their own stamp on the franchise. To bring in their own people and operate without interference, which is how it’s being presented to them. It’s not like there’s been a delay in announcing a hire because no one is willing to take the job.
Part of the delay in making an upper-level hire is because the World Series just ended.
At least this is the general perception, which I’ve reported in the past. And I’m sticking with that perception. It’s a theory that numerous people have floated to me. There are candidates in front offices whose teams played deep into the postseason.
The Orioles could sign Adam Jones to a one-year deal.
I mean, they technically could do it. There are no rules against it. MLBTradeRumors.com predicted that the Indians will sign Jones to a one-year deal for $8 million. Jones, meanwhile, is anticipating a multi-year contract, without necessarily having a specific team in mind. He just doesn’t believe that he’ll have to settle. But anyway, yes, the Orioles could bring him back but it isn’t expected to happen. That ship really did seem to sail. Did you notice what happened over the final month?
The lack of a president or general manager ruined the chances of signing Victor Victor Mesa, Victor Mesa Jr. or Sandy Gastón.
Not being based in Florida and not sweetening offers are the reasons. Having no presence internationally has put the Orioles behind everyone else and that margin can’t be eliminated overnight. But they had five representatives at the Oct. 5 workout and vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson was heading negotiations, working with a budget based on how they evaluated each player. A new hire would have been operating with the same budget and facing the same geographical disadvantage.