Extra Orioles mailbag questions

Leftovers aren’t just for the days after Thanksgiving.

I had some extra questions in last week’s mailbag. I’d prefer green bean casserole, but maybe later.

The portion is modest, unlike your server. Just a couple handfuls of inquiries that didn’t make the first one.

Also, my mailbag serves homemade stuffing and your mailbag uses a box that expired three years ago.

Who will be the top two Orioles in stolen bases in 2024 and who will get the most innings at third base?
Two questions packed into one. Sort of like a casserole. I can’t make bold predictions without knowing the Opening Day roster. Jorge Mateo and Cedric Mullins were 1-2 this season, but Mateo appeared in 116 games. I wouldn’t expect the same in 2024. The second part is easier because I can just choose between Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg. I’ll get back to you.

Remember when you wrote that the Orioles wouldn't tender contracts to all 17 of their arbitration-eligible players? I'm sure I can find the quote somewhere around here.
Don't bother. And this doesn't feel like a leftover.

It's been a full season of the Camden Canyon. When will the team upgrade Ed Smith Stadium to replicate the playing dimensions?
I’ve heard no talk of moving back and raising the left field fence. Can’t mess with the pavilion area behind it. It also would be hard to alter the Camden Yards replica field. The fence would be pushed into the middle of the road.

Will Baltimore ever get the All-Star Game again?
They had it in 1993. Don't be greedy. Seriously, it won't be 2025, either. Atlanta is the host after Major League Baseball moved it in 2021 in response to a new Georgia law that has civil rights groups concerned about its potential to restrict voting access for people of color. The last All-Star Game in Atlanta was 2000. Yeah, seven years after Baltimore. Maybe after a new lease and renovations. Texas is the host next season, right before the Orioles open the second half with a road series in Arlington. Philadelphia is the host in 2026.

It appears safe to say that Heston Kjerstad does not have triskaidekaphobia based on his uniform number. How far does he take this fixation? Does he ask for a room on the 13th floor of the team hotel when the O’s are on the road? Does he always order a baker’s dozen of doughnuts? Is “Apollo 13” his favorite movie?
I thought triskaidekaphobia was a center for the Dallas Mavericks until I looked it up. Not many hotels have a 13th floor. I’m not sure about his favorite movie, but rumor has it that Kjerstad met Paul Simon years ago and told him there were only 13 ways to leave your lover.

With mediocrity the theme of the 2023 NFL season, how many losses will the Super Bowl winner have this year? More than five?
I think the Eagles win it and they won’t have five losses. They might not have two.

Should Kirk Cousins retire after blowing out his Achilles?
More football? No. I don’t think he’s built to lead a team to the Super Bowl – and as a Vikings fan I should know – but he’s better than a lot of the guys taking snaps. He’s poised for another big contract and a two-yard pass on fourth-and-nine with the season on the line.

If Mike Elias could convince John Angelos that pitcher Yoshinobu Yamamoto would be the 2024 Rookie of the Year, would Angelos spend the $200 million to get him signed for the next seven or eight seasons?
Times change, but I still can’t envision the Orioles spending that kind of money. And MLBTradeRumors offers a projection of nine years at $225 million. Venturing outside your comfort zone is one thing. This is changing planets. The Orioles want a starter for the upper part of their rotation. Not necessarily a No. 1, but not the back end. They can get him without shattering the bank.

Will there be more than the usual four or five spring training games televised by MASN this spring?
The television and radio schedules haven’t been released.

Which taste better with mini marshmallows, yams or sweet potatoes? And is there a difference?
I don’t eat either one. Sweet potatoes tend to be sweeter. Hence, the name. And they’re different species. A yam is a tuber, a sweet potato is a root. Soft sweet potatoes are recommended for Thanksgiving dishes. So go ahead and dump your mini marshmallows on them. Just don’t force them on me. That’s a hard pass.

Roch, us older fans do not understand the analytic terms you use in some of your columns. fWAR is fine for Sig to evaluate in technical terms, but the typical fan is let`s say confused. I don`t speak Chinese nor do I "speak" analytics. Would it be possible to write what that means then maybe (fWAR) for those who like math? Would I need to know fWAR to know Micky Mantle passed muster?
I've heard he also passed the mustard. A team player even in their dining room. WAR is “wins above replacement.” It measures a player's value in all facets of the game by deciphering how many more wins he's worth than a replacement-level player at his same position. It’s a useful tool but I wouldn’t base my entire evaluation on it. There are other metrics. There’s also your own eyes and knowledge of the game. fWAR is Fangraph’s version and bWAR is Baseball-Reference’s version. That alone should tell you it ain't an exact science. Don't let anyone tell you otherwise while treating the sport like a math problem.

Who are some lower-ranked prospects in the Orioles system who could jump up the rankings in 2024 the way Samuel Basallo did in 2023? I mean besides "your mom."
You’d never! Wait, you just did. MLB Pipeline ranks Billy Cook 27th in the system. The former 10th-round draft pick had 24 home runs and 81 RBIs this season in 120 games with Double-A Bowie. He had five doubles and four home runs in 20 games in the Arizona Fall League. Watch this guy. Carter Baumler, at No. 22, had Tommy John surgery after the Orioles drafted him in 2020 and shoulder surgery prior to the 2023 season. He struck out 21 batters in 17 innings between the Florida Complex League Orioles and Single-A Delmarva, and he fanned 15 in 10 innings in the AFL. Watch him, too.

If you could not cover the Orioles, which major league team would you want to cover? I have already thrown out the Blue Jays.
Yeah, the whole Canada thing. I don’t know. Maybe the Phillies because they’re close to Baltimore and their media dining serves gallons of Turkey Hill ice cream with “Frankie Two Scoops” behind the counter. He’s a legend at Citizens Bank Park. But let’s get real here. I’m not leaving the area. It’s O’s or bust.  

What's the sense of the O's most likely pitching prospects in Double-A or Triple-A to get a start next year?
Right-hander Chayce McDermott and left-hander Cade Povich, ranked 10th and 11th by MLB Pipeline, are on the doorstep. Right-hander Seth Johnson, at No. 15, is recovered from Tommy John surgery and pitching again. And don’t sleep on right-hander Justin Armbruester, who’s ranked 19th. Seriously, don’t sleep on him, you weirdos.

Did you ever meet Julia Louis-Dreyfus during the four years “VEEP” was filmed in Baltimore?
“Veep” was filmed in Baltimore? Never saw it but heard good things. Loved her in “Seinfeld.” And I’d understand if she thought I wasn’t sponge worthy.

Will the Orioles make a selection in the Rule 5 draft? Maybe being good again, with a deeper and more talented roster, plus picking much lower, will lead them to pass?
It didn't stop them in the past. They'll make one, and maybe two, selections. I'll predict a reliever is in there.

Why are the Orioles so secretive about Mike Elias's and Sig Mejdal's contracts? Why the mystery? And since we are going down this road, what is the difference between UFOs and UAPs?
The club doesn’t see any benefit in sharing that type of information or potential contract negotiations with agents. They like to keep it internal. We also never received details on manager Brandon Hyde’s contract, but we know he received an extension because he’s still here. Now, about your last question, unidentified aerial phenomena describe unexplainable sights in the sky, not just unidentified flying objects.

Is this a good place to stop?

Keeping with the mail theme and the revival of “Frasier,” what are the odds Cliff Clavin makes an appearance?
It’s a little-known fact that the tan became popular in what is known as the Bronze Age. Also, there’s no rule against postal workers not dating women. It just works out that way. And that’s as close as you’re gonna get. Sorry.

Is this definitely a good place to stop.

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