Because You Asked - Transformania

The Orioles reached their first off day since leaving Sarasota. No games or workouts. An early reset before the Yankees arrive and they get back into division play.

The only way to reset a mailbag is to dump out its contents. Sort through the pile. Wonder how many questions got lost along the way. 

They’re probably scattered in some back room. Hold onto the tracking numbers.

This is the latest sequel to the hit original. You ask, I answer, we promise never to speak of it again. And then we do.

There’s no editing here unless someone catches a typo. Bring your length and style. Don’t worry about clarity. And this is the home of the brevity.

Also, my mailbag rolls out the tarp just as your mailbag walks through the gate. 

What are the players’ reactions to the wall?
Bigger and more room than they imagined. Happy for the pitchers. Not as happy for the hitters. “This is my first experience with a fence being moved,” said manager Brandon Hyde, “so I think we’re all kind of going through this together.” Hyde hopes that feelings of frustration won’t linger or impact how they take at-bats. Don’t let the wall get inside your head. Trey Mancini’s fly ball Tuesday night would have been a home run in past years. “Yeah,” he said, “that ball has got to go.” Sounds like the times that I’ve been asked to leave a party.

The Orioles debut their new left field wall and Pink Floyd releases truly new music for the first time in almost 30 years, all within a couple days of each other. Coincidence?
I’m almost certain of it. Now, if a popup is lost in the dark side of the moon, I’ll really be creeped out.

I still haven’t seen the new dimensions in person.
Wish you were here. And that’s not a question.

It's also the 30-year anniversary of “A Few Good Men.” “You WANT me on that wall! You NEED me on that wall!"
We need to move onto another topic.

Do you think service time is going to keep Adley Rutschman down extra time once he's healed from the triceps?
Don’t know that it would matter. He’s only cleared to take coaches’ batting practice and do light throwing in a progression. He hasn’t played in any games in a long time. He’ll need to get real at-bats before he debuts in the majors.

What prospects debut in 2022 besides Rutschman?
There are so many factors that could prevent it from happening, like injuries and lousy performances. But we’re anticipating pitchers Kyle Bradish, Grayson Rodriguez, DL Hall and maybe Kevin Smith, along with outfielder Kyle Stowers and maybe outfielder Robert Neustrom and infielder Terrin Vavra. Outfielder Yusniel Diaz was barreling toward it until injuring his right hamstring Tuesday night.

Who’s the closer?
I’d say Jorge López is a safe pick based on his early usage and when he’s warmed up. But you should expect, again, to have multiple relievers with saves based on availability, matchups, etc.

Who’s the fifth starter?
What day is it? The spot is open again and the Orioles won’t need one again until, according to my math, the 19th in Oakland. Maybe Spenser Watkins gets another chance after allowing one earned run and four total in three innings. Maybe Alexander Wells is chosen if he’s still on the roster. Hyde like Keegan Akin and Mike Baumann in the bullpen, but maybe that changes based on rotation need. And hey, there’s Bradish at Triple-A. Too soon?

How inept can a team possibly be with RISP? It's hard to be that bad, even doing it on purpose.
I can only say that they aren’t doing it on purpose. I checked with all 13 hitters. Hyde thinks guys are pressing, they’re facing some really good arms, and swing-and-miss tendencies are surfacing again. He also expects better production moving forward. And yes, I know, can’t get much worse. 

Has the Maryland Stadium Authority considered my request for “child-free” sections at Camden Yards?
My former brother-in-law used to make that request in restaurants. Funny guy. I’m not aware of child-free sections being included in the renovations and changes to the ballpark. And before you suggest it, kids won’t be confined to the seats that were removed in left field.

Anything interesting happen to you right before Cedric Mullins’ grand slam?
You mean besides the foul ball that skipped into a dark and empty MASN booth next to the press box, which led me to bolt from my seat and search for it to fulfill a request from a young boy in the front row with a catcher’s mitt? And how Mullins homered on the next pitch, forcing me to race to my laptop and tweet it before heading back to the booth, where I found the ball and handed it over? No, nothing interesting.

Do the pitchers and catchers like the electronic pitch-caller doohickey? It looks really annoying and seems like it never works.
I propose that it be called “pitch-caller doohickey” henceforth instead of the unimaginative “PitchCom.” They like it and it’s worked fine except for Monday’s glitch with the Brewers, which prohibited the Orioles from using it. Like a coach’s headset going out in football. We’ll see just how much it speeds up the game, but the Orioles have voiced their approval. 

Do you wish that you chose a technology education and career instead of journalism?
There are times when I wish I had chosen washing elephants at the circus.

When do you expect to see Kyle Brnovich, Kevin Smith, Isaac Mattson, and Nick Vespi up here? We all know why GRod and Hall will be held down.
It’s just so hard to predict. Again, much of it is based on performance and need. Like, if the Orioles need a left-handed reliever and Vespi is putting up solid numbers. Kyle Brnovich is a good call, though. He belongs on the list of prospects who could debut. Mattson didn’t appear in an exhibition game, so he’s behind the others.

Why aren’t GRod and Hall here?
OK, so not everyone knows why they’ll be held down. Rodriguez just arrived in Triple-A. Give him a little time. Hall is in Sarasota building up his arm before starting in Double-A and working his way up – perhaps quickly.

Why isn’t Kyle Bradish here?
Bradish also stayed back, but not as long as Hall. He made his first start Tuesday night with Norfolk and tossed four scoreless innings with two hits and six strikeouts. Didn’t walk a batter. Don’t know how many starts he gets with the Tides, but he’s doing everything necessary – including in camp – to be the next man up. 

Which players on the active roster are out of options?
Let’s go alphabetically: Anthony Bemboom, Robinson Chirinos, Kelvin Gutiérrez, Jordan Lyles, Jorge López, Trey Mancini, Jorge Mateo, Rougned Odor, Chris Owings, Cionel Pérez and Ramón Urías. 

Where’s Anthony Servideo?
This is a popular one. He should be flattered. Servideo is at extended spring training to get at-bats he lost last summer after undergoing sports hernia surgery in July, and by reporting late to camp. He appeared in only 20 games at low Single-A Delmarva. He didn’t play in 2020 with the cancellation of the minor league season. Servideo is doing well now. He’ll be in A ball later. 

Why Matt Harvey?
Short and to the point. A depth signing, Orioles judging him only on what they experienced with him in the clubhouse. A leader, a guy who kept taking the ball despite a knee injury. A gamer for them. 

Any word on a Rutschman extension?
I’ve heard nothing to suggest one is in the works or it’s a subject that’s been broached at this stage of his professional career. Maybe later. 

Why doesn't the MASN app support Xfinity for streaming? Is that still in the works?
I get asked a lot about the app. The following is how much I know and understand about it:


So, I should ask someone else?
I mean, you’d probably get a better answer. Or any answer. It isn’t in my “department,” just like the guy slicing lunch meat behind the deli counter might not be able to recite profit margins. But I should know more and vow to be a better source of information in 2022. I guess covering the team leaves little time for other areas, if that’s an excuse. More of an explanation. I feel like I’ve failed you. 

What is it about the Rays that gives Paul Fry such trouble?
Fry talked to me about it after the season – prior to the lockout – and suggested that he might be tipping his pitches. Of course, you wonder why other teams wouldn’t pick up on it. The Rays are really good, but so are other teams that he handles.

Is Yusniel Diaz the most injured player of all time?
In my limited research, which just involved me tilting back my head for a few seconds, I do not believe that he’s the most injured player of all time. But man, stuff keeps happening to him. Ankle, shoulder, quadriceps, hamstring, toe. I hear the kids’ song “head, shoulders, knees and toes, knees and toes” and instinctively rush to my laptop. Being on the seven-day injured list might suggest that the hamstring strain isn’t too serious, but we’ve seen in the past how seven days turns into a lot more. A most unfortunate situation either way, considering his past and how good he looked in spring training and at the start of the season. 

Any idea what types of improvements are planned with the $600 million that's designated for Camden Yards?
The Orioles haven’t shared any other information and I’d only be speculating and suggesting. You hear stuff. The media wouldn’t mind if the sound system allowed us to hear everything in the press box. On-field ceremonies get lost on the way up here, unfortunately. Maybe a new scoreboard. Maybe a chocolate fountain next to every seat in the press box. 

Do you think the organization is likely to take a different approach in free agency next offseason?
Giving starter Jordan Lyles $7 million with a chance to earn $17 million with the option felt different to me. I think more money is spent as the Orioles move further away from the rebuild. But they really want to get into a position where they have a surplus of prospects that can be moved in exchange for some missing pieces. That’s the vision. Also, giving Carlos Correa $350 million. 

We’re done here, right?
I think so.

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