Because You Asked - Baby Geniuses 2

The Orioles spent their off day in Boston. I can think of much worse places to do it.

For example, the bottom of my mailbag. It’s cramped, the airflow is restricted, and I can’t imagine that the odor is pleasing.

I empty it. I don’t clean it.

You ask a lot of questions and I respond to as many as I can. Many are set on repeat. I try to stay consistent in my answers, but there are limits, which is why this sequel exists.

It also fills space, perhaps its finest quality.

Also, my mailbag licks all the frosting off your mailbag’s cupcakes.

Does Mike Elias feel that the team is currently playing ahead of his rebuild schedule?
Elias never shared a precise timeline for it. Too many variables. For example, he was super-prepared during his job interview, but he probably omitted the part about the impact of a pandemic. I know that he’s fulfilled promises regarding international scouting and an analytics department. He’s proud of the talent pipeline that’s been installed. So much stuff away from the field and public view that needed to be done. And we’re seeing the benefits with a farm system that’s soaring to the top of the rankings. He’s also encouraged by how competitive the team is in 2022. In most games.

Latest update on Matt Harvey’s suspension? Timeline for his return, etc.
Speaking of non-existent timelines. Harvey is serving a 60-game suspension retroactive to April 29. He can pitch in simulated games but isn’t allowed to join a Florida Complex League team. He’ll need to join an affiliate when eligible and go through a rehab-type assignment, though he isn’t returning from an injury. Harvey signed a minor league deal and is assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. We could see him in Baltimore in the second half of the season, certainly if he’s pitching well and the Orioles need a veteran to assist in covering some innings. They seem eager to give him another opportunity based on their positive experience with him last summer.

Given the explanation that the organization wouldn't want to hinder the big league team by calling Grayson Rodriguez up while he's still on a pitch count, will there be serious consideration given to calling up DL Hall, who has thrown significantly less than Grayson and presumably is on a more restrictive pitch count all season?
Hall made his fourth start yesterday with Norfolk and tossed four scoreless innings with just one hit allowed and six strikeouts. He was limited to only seven starts last summer at Double-A Bowie due to a stress reaction in his left elbow. The Orioles are hoping that he debuts in the majors later this summer. They’re stretching him out carefully.  

Have you ever been stretched out carefully?
Define “carefully.”

What feedback do we have from our players about the left field changes?
Pitchers love it and wish it happened years ago. Hitters loathe it. Exactly as you’d expect. But everyone agrees the old dimensions made popups into home runs and that shouldn’t happen, except in your backyard.

Any chance Kyle Stowers finds his debut soon? Kid’s mashing!
I don’t know about “soon,” but we’ll see him. Stowers began last season at high Single-A Aberdeen and played at three levels. He received 93 plate appearances in Triple-A in 2021. The Orioles aren’t rushing him, either. And he was 2-for-21 with nine strikeouts in spring training, though one hit was a home run. But his time is coming.

Why didn't they just lower the field, making all the fences taller?
Probably less expensive and time consuming to move back the wall.

Is not drafting pitchers an organizational strategy or just a byproduct of "best player available" not having been pitchers?
The Orioles believe strongly in the best-player theory, which is why they didn’t discount taking a catcher first in 2021. They’ve just had position players higher on their board, and they clearly have an affinity for advanced college bats – high contact rates, ability to get on base. They can find pitching later and develop it. Seems less risky.

Which position player is most likely to be forced into emergency relief?
Chris Owings was on deck as a reliever for at least one of these extra-inning games.

Who is the emergency catcher?
Again, Owings. But reliever Logan Gillaspie caught in the independent Pecos League. I’d pay to watch him go from the mound to behind the plate in the same game.

Who’s starting in Saturday’s doubleheader in Boston? And don’t say “your mom.”
I’d never! Jordan Lyles starts one game - the veteran gets to choose day or night - and manager Brandon Hyde indicated that the other starter likely comes from Norfolk. Zac Lowther and Mike Baumann pitched yesterday for the Tides in the doubleheader, so they’re definitely out. Denyi Reyes is a possibility, as I’ve written. We’ll see.

Who’s starting the other games in the Red Sox series?
Kyle Bradish vs. Garrett Whitlock tonight, Jordan Lyles/TBA (in whatever order) vs. Nathan Eovaldi/TBA Saturday, Bruce Zimmermann vs. Nick Pivetta Sunday, Tyler Wells vs. Rich Hill Monday.

Whose idea was it for home run chain? And don’t say “your mom’s.”
What the heck? Rougned Odor found it hanging in his locker one day and brought it into the dugout. And a new tradition was born. A fan who’s sort of Wild Bill Hagy Lite - and I don’t mean that in a bad way because his enthusiasm is contagious, and hopefully only his enthusiasm – passed along a new one in Detroit to replace the damaged original. Perhaps you’ve seen him. You’ve definitely heard him. Fun guy. I wanna hang with him. Take my keys now.  

Austin Hays on the trade block?
Is your mom? I’m kidding, I’m kidding! No, he is not. I mean, if a team comes along and makes some outrageous offer to Elias, Hays could go, but he’s way too valuable to this club. You don’t dangle those tools.

Have you ever been dangled?
Define “dangled.”

When are they gonna bring up Adley?
This is why the mailbag has a stale odor.

When are they going to bring up Grayson????
Relax. Man, that was aggressive. I say before the All-Star break. I say it could be well before the break. If he keeps dominating, it’s hard to excuse a lengthy delay to his debut. There’s a stretching-out process that’s going quite well, judging by his last outing. Just be patient and it’s going to happen. Rodriguez and Kyle Bradish in the same rotation. Hall lurking. Good times.

Why is provolone the only cheese that Jimmy John's carries?
They pride themselves on making their sandwiches and subs “freaky fast,” I found out while doing a little research. So, offering only one cheese speeds up the process. It’s science. Apparently, cheddar could be available in some stores if the manager allows it.

Brandon Hyde has a say in how many cheeses they carry?
I just … I can’t.

Obligatory Heston Kjerstad inquiry.
Well, that technically isn’t a question the way it’s phrased, but he’s been getting live at-bats at extended spring training and will play in his first game today. Next should be an assignment in the Florida Complex League and ultimately Single-A Delmarva. Good for him. It’s been a long and frustrating road for the kid. He’s handled it like a pro despite failing so far to make his debut.

Why do people allow raisins in ice cream?
Those aren’t raisins.

What if a team retires too many numbers and does not have enough numbers to give out for the players on the roster?
I’ll pass along the results of that experiment when the Yankees are done.

Who would be a “surprising” choice to be traded (not including Adley)?
There would have to be a much stronger word if it’s Rutschman. Hays would be surprising, Mullins would be surprising right now, though not as much as Hays. Any of the young starters, like Bradish, who finally made it. John Means because of his elbow surgery.

Big Mac, Whopper or Dave's Single?
Yes. Actually, it’s been quite a while since I’ve had a fast food burger. Always loved Big Macs and Whoppers with cheese. Didn’t go to Wendy’s as much. Never been to … brace yourselves … Five Guys. And my one experience with In-N-Out in the ‘80s was so long ago, I only remember the bumper sticker that I took home as a souvenir.

Bring up Gunnar Henderson! And yes, I know that isn’t a question.
I've totally lost control of this mailbag. Henderson is 20 and playing in his first Double-A season beyond five games with Bowie last summer. He’s crushing it, but there’s no way he skips Triple-A and comes to the majors. And spare me the Manny Machado comp, which always is used in these debates. Different front office, different circumstances. The Orioles were contending, they were desperate for a defensive upgrade at third base, and they didn’t care how he hit. He’s also a unique talent. It’s like when people toss out Juan Soto as an example to back their argument.

Is Jorge Mateo OK? He’s 2-for-29 in his last eight games.
It’s a sneaky slump. Not sure if many people noticed. Mateo seems to be healthy. It’s just a rough patch. He’s playing a good shortstop. The Orioles are, and should be, taking a long look at him, no matter how he’s hitting.

Have the O's considered using a bird chirp in the stadium after each strikeout an O's pitcher gets?
Like the annoying whistle at Yankee Stadium? I like it!

Any time changes for home games since the updated schedule was posted?
Yes, to accommodate the Birdland Summer Music Series. June 17, 6:05 p.m., vs. Tampa Bays before Flo Rida; Aug. 6, 5:05 p.m. vs. Pittsburgh before Dru Hill/Sisqó/Smash Mouth; Sept. 10, 5:05 p.m. vs. Boston before The Struts.

Do you mix your wasabi and soy sauce together?
Is there any other way?

Who’s going to be the Orioles’ All-Star representative?
It’s early to be having this discussion. Keegan Akin’s undefined role makes it harder. He isn’t a starter or closer. But he’s been hugely successful. Let’s check the numbers as we get closer to the break. Let’s see what’s happening with Austin Hays, Trey Mancini, and yes, Adley Rutschman. Among others.

Will the Orioles’ pipeline help alleviate high gas prices?
Also part of Mike Elias’ master plan. I hear it was in his power point presentation.

Is a quiche a pie, a custard, or a casserole?
This seems like a good place to stop.

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