Showalter on the AL East big boys: “They can be beaten”

LAKE BUENA VISTA, Fla. - To no one’s surprise, Orioles manager Buck Showalter is conceding nothing in the American League East - even after the rival New York Yankees added Giancarlo Stanton.

When Showalter was our guest on “MASN All Access” yesterday, we discussed the fact that some fans are saying they are discouraged right now. They know the Orioles are coming off a last-place finish, still have to fill out a rotation and then have to beat out Boston and New York to win the division. Oh, yeah, Tampa Bay and Toronto still plan to show up next season, too.

buck-showalter-mlb-network.jpg“They can be beaten,” Showalter said. “We can do it. We’ve got plenty of support from our ownership and fan base. That is an excuse if you want to use it.

“I’m not discouraged about knowing who we are and how we are going to do it and continue to be competitive. But it’s more than being competitive. We want to be the last team standing. We want to get back to winning the division.

“But I understand. If you care about something - and on paper in December, you don’t see it all coming to fruition in the standings - you get discouraged. You get, you know, I don’t know about discouraged, but frustrated. You want to it to happen right now. Believe me, I share that. But every day, I know we’re grinding. The finished product is a long way off. This year, it is late March. So try to keep that in mind.”

The skipper is still a believer that his 2018 team - with a roster that is still a big work in progress - will be good enough to win the division.

“Sure, sure (we can). I like our guys and what we’re going to be able to do,” he said. “I know there are some people that are grinding through our minor leagues that would really like to see us doing nothing. There are so many guys that emerged last year throughout baseball that nobody knew anything about at this point. I spend a lot of time grinding our minor leagues and going out to the Arizona Fall League. The morale in our system is great because they know we’re going to look there first. We are an organization of opportunity.”

The 72-hour window: If the Orioles and any team reach a trade agreement for Manny Machado, the clubs could then work with Major League Baseball to provide a 72-hour window for the new team to try and sign Machado to a long-term deal. It probably is a long shot that a team could get that done. But it is possible.

During our interview with ESPN’s Keith Law here Monday, I asked how that happens.

“They (the two teams) would have to agree on the parameters of a trade first, and then they go to Major League Baseball,” Law said. “And then MLB would sort of supervise the window and make sure the rules are followed. Because without that window, it is tampering. There are strict limits of what can be discussed in such a conversation and once that 72 hours is up, it’s over. It is really out of the Orioles’ hands at that point. It would be between Manny and his agents and whatever team they are trying to trade him to.

“If I were in Dan Duquette’s shoes, I wouldn’t be running out there saying, ‘We’re going to trade Manny Machado.’ That strategy did not work for the Marlins. They told everyone who they were going to trade and they traded him for not that much. But you have to listen. Let somebody come and blow you away. Maybe somebody pays you twice what you thought you could get and maybe you would be a better franchise for the trade.”

The Machado situation is a bit different than Stanton’s. The Marlins were desperate to get out of that contract and very motivated to make a deal. The Orioles are not moving Machado as a salary dump and if they don’t get what they want in a deal, they keep Machado. They could always revisit the trade route again in July.

From yesterday: Showalter spoke with reporters during a scheduled Winter Meetings press conference and addressed a variety of topics. O’s vice president Dan Duquette said the Orioles are getting some trade buzz about their young outfielders. MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds had several comments on the Machado situation. Teams are trying to pry Mychal Givens away from the Orioles, but that is unlikely to happen.

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