LAKE BUENVA VISTA, Fla. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter is aware the subject of the team's budget has been a big topic over the last few days.
During a video interview today with MASNSports.com, Showalter was asked about the club's 2014 payroll.
"I without doubt think we have plenty of budget," Showalter said. "I don't even think about that at all. That's not my job. A lot of teams have eliminated that excuse. That excuse will not creep into this organization. It's not one and shouldn't be. We have everything we need to be competitive.
"This is hard. Boston is good. New York is good, Tampa and Toronto are good. It's hard, but I wouldn't sell us short. We have some people we need to replace. We spend so much time looking in everybody's backyard, my job is stay in our own yard. I love what some of our guys did this offseason. I'm going to make what we have as good as can be."
Showalter is aware of that, as usual, the Orioles have been rumored to be pursuing several players through free agency and/or trades here at the Winter Meetings. A lot of rumors are swirling.
"We know they are mostly wrong," Showalter said. "That's another reason why I don't watch it or listen to it. You know I'm glad people are reporting on it because people care.
"But I think we get so bogged down in this three or four days. They did this or didn't do that. I think we were having similar conversations the last two years down here. So, we're a long way from the finished product."
During his press conference earlier with a group of reporters today, Showalter was asked about Nick Markakis. He hit .271 with 10 homers and 59 RBIs last season, setting career lows in batting average, slugging and OPS. He hit just three homers in the season's last four months.
What will be the key for him to have a bounce-back season in 2014?
"Just being healthy," Showalter said. "Nick is not one of those guys that broadcasts ... as my Mom used to say, 'He enjoys ill health.' You get some people who always want you to know what is wrong with them. With Nick, probably half the things we don't even know. Someone told me the other day, that is about as good as he's felt and looked in a long time.
"We'll see. Most of it is health. He is such an internal guy with things like that. Through the years guys with his approach and makeup, you make a big mistake counting them out."
Video to come.