I can’t let 2018 pass without emptying out my mailbag. Especially since it passes for cardio exercise in my household.
No need for a treadmill that would only collect dust anyway, or be used to hang wet clothes.
I can work my biceps by lifting all of the duplicate questions. You ask ‘em, I answer ‘em and someone else asks the same ones. It’s a tradition unlike any other.
Let’s get started on the latest sequel to the “Because You Asked” series, which will garner more award nominations than “Mary Poppins Returns.”
Are the Orioles interested in re-signing Adam Jones?
Executive vice president and general manager Mike Elias didn’t slam the door on the possibility when asked about Jones at the Winter Meetings, but I think it was based mostly on showing him the proper respect. The Orioles really want to move forward and stop living in the past - unless it’s to bring back Hall of Famers like Brooks Robinson and Eddie Murray. Jones on a team-friendly contract to be a placeholder in right field isn’t the worst idea, but he should command a better deal on the free agent market. Perhaps not at the level he’s anticipating, but more than the Orioles would give him.
Which coaches could return from the 2018 staff?
I’ve written about Scott Coolbaugh taking a job as the hitting coach at Triple-A Oklahoma City, Alan Mills and Howie Clark having minor league contracts with their assignments pending and Einar Díaz taking job as a fourth coach at Triple-A Gwinnett. That leaves John Russell, Bobby Dickerson, Wayne Kirby and Roger McDowell detached from baseball. Kirby isn’t taking a minor league position, and will slip into retirement if unable to latch on with a major league club. Manager Brandon Hyde said he isn’t eliminating anyone from consideration for his staff, and that’s all that I can provide on the topic.
Who are the Orioles taking with the first pick in the draft?
Not the Rule 5 draft. Who are the Orioles taking with the first pick in the June First-Year Player Draft?
The choice appears to come down to Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman and prep shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. The latter was the early favorite but Rutschman has passed him in some mock drafts. It can be argued that catcher is a more pressing need and the Orioles should take a college player who’s closer to the majors, but Witt also is a special talent. We can agree on one thing: The Orioles can’t mess up this selection. Granted, the Rays and Astros didn’t bat 1.000 while holding the first pick, but the first draft under the new regime in the infant stages of the rebuild needs to be impactful. It just does.
Any chance that the Orioles trade Alex Cobb?
There’s certainly a chance after they discussed him with other teams at the Winter Meetings. It was made known that he’s available and the Orioles are willing to absorb a portion of the $43 million left on his contract. Not a straight salary dump. They want prospects in return, or a player who can be plugged into their lineup. I’ve heard that at least one outfielder came up in discussions. So yes, he could be traded.
Any chance that the Orioles trade Dylan Bundy?
Bundy isn’t untouchable. You won’t find anyone on the roster wearing that label. It’s just harder to part with some of them. I don’t find it newsworthy that teams have inquired about Bundy’s availability. Or anyone else’s availability for that matter. It’s only newsy if the Orioles initiate talks. Is it headline-worthy if the Orioles contact the Yankees and say, “Hey, you still holding onto Aaron Judge?”
Any chance that the Orioles trade Trey Mancini?
Is the Mychal Givens question coming up next? They’re all in play, but the Orioles are less likely to move someone under team control for a few more years. Less likely, but still a possibility if the right offer is made. This is especially true if it’s obvious that the club won’t be in contention by the time these players reach free agency. So, in conclusion, there are possibilities scattered throughout the organization. But with differing odds.
What about trading Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis?
Trumbo is recovering from knee surgery, and teams likely will want to see how he performs in the first half. He’s definitely a non-waiver possibility. No team is going to trade for Chris Davis unless there’s some insanely outside-the-box proposal. Some way to balance out the money. Moving that contract would have been more realistic if Davis hadn’t struggled so badly. The Tigers were able to trade Prince Fielder, and that’s just one example. It does happen.
Who’s going to manage Triple-A Norfolk?
There are a few scenarios in play, including moving up Double-A Bowie manager Gary Kendall. Hyde is more preoccupied with the major league coaching staff, but the Orioles will get around to filling the vacancies in the system, including Single-A Frederick pitching coach and short-season Single-A Aberdeen hitting coach.
Your Hall of Fame ballot sucks.
That’s not a question.
Bonds and Clemens cheated!
Still not a question.
Could Trey Mancini play first base?
I know he can do it. He played the position his entire life before the Orioles made him an outfielder.
Could he do it in 2019?
Maybe on a part-time basis. He also could DH on occasion.
Why isn’t Elias working over the holidays? I understand that Hyde went to Maui, but Elias is the one who needs to be working the trade and free agent markets.
Elias didn’t flush his phone down the toilet. He can still make and receive calls. But he’s also entitled to some family time at Christmas. And that goes for executives and agents who also might be taking a short break. But Elias has a lot on his plate besides turkey, ham and his favorite sides. I’m sure he hasn’t become completely detached. He’s in contact with Hyde as coaches are hired, with Tim Cossins and José Flores coming over from the Cubs and Phillies, respectively, according to industry sources.
Was Hyde the first managerial candidate to interview?
No. I don’t know which candidate was first in line, but it wasn’t Hyde.
Did the Angelos family make the decision to hire Hyde?
I’m sure ownership signed off on it, as it would in any organization, but Elias and assistant Sig Mejdal handled the interviews and the head of baseball operations made the final decision. John and Louis Angelos interviewed Elias, but weren’t involved in the process to find a new manager.
Got a final score of the First Responders Bowl?
It was cancelled due to lightning after Boston College took a 7-0 lead over Boise State in the first quarter. I didn’t watch it, but I made sure to record the Cheez-It Bowl, which is much better than the Cheese Nips Bowl, so don’t be fooled. There’s also the Quick Lane Bowl, the Breathe Right Nasal Strips Bowl and the Underarm Sweat Pads Bowl. I have big bucks riding on the Poo-Pourri Toilet Spray Bowl. Wish me luck.
Why did the beat crew keep denying the offer made to Hyde at the Winter Meetings when the national media was reporting that it was done?
We didn’t deny it, we relayed Elias’ response. Questions were asked and rephrased. The deal wasn’t completely done. Anyone saying otherwise was wrong. But Hyde did appear to be the choice, with some details to be worked out. The beat crew met with Elias each day and passed along his comments.
Does Brady Anderson still work for the Orioles?
Any chance that the Orioles bring back Jonathan Schoop?
Sorry, this letter got stuck to the bottom of the mailbag. Schoop signed a one-year deal with the Twins that guarantees $7.5 million and includes incentives.
What was your best Christmas gift?
The love of family and friends.
Seriously, what was your best Christmas gift?
Well, there was a tripod for my phone to make it easier to do FaceTime segments on MLB Network and MASN. Beats propping it up on a stack of books. And it has a Bluetooth remote for photos.
Are the Orioles going to stay out of the free agent market?
No. They’re just going to walk in later. And they won’t be grabbing items on the top shelf. There are enough needs on this club to keep Elias busy in free agency and on the trade front.
Are you really on the Keto diet?
For the most part. Not every single day, but most of the time. I eat my weight in meat and cheese in under a week. It’s impressive to watch.
Will the Orioles be impressive to watch in 2019?
Depends on your expectations. Keep them low and appreciate the direction that they’re headed and the attempts to stay competitive while also going through a total rebuild. Fans were screaming for it prior to last season and certainly in the midst of it. Well, here it is, in all its glory.
Any truth to the rumor that Jay-Z is now part-owner of the Orioles?
I haven’t gotten any confirmation on that, but I hear Snoop Dogg is a high ranking official.