Mailbag leftovers for breakfast

My mailbag is the gift that keeps on giving. And that’s never truer than when I find some questions stuck to the bottom and share them with you.

I won’t share what caused them to stick. Not everything is your business.

I’m bringing you the old schtick before the New Year. You ask, I answer, you keep asking as if you lost a bet, I keep answering as if I have nothing else going on in my life.

These are just leftovers, but the same rules apply to the editing. I don’t do it.

Also, my mailbag can drink an entire punch bowl of eggnog and your mailbag is lactose intolerant and unable to search the internet for alternative recipes.

Who wins Rookie of the Year, Grayson Rodriguez or Gunnar Henderson? Obviously, not the field.
I’ll say Henderson based on what I saw after his promotion and his everyday presence.

Three-part question: Do you think there are any free agent starting pitchers left on the market worth signing? Are they worth giving up a draft pick? Would you give up talent for a starter in a trade if you're the GM?
Yes to all three. Nathan Eovaldi covers the first two. And the best way to get a legit No. 1 is through a trade. It’s never comfortable parting with prospects, but that’s why you keep pumping talent through the pipeline and piling it up like firewood. My hot take.

The draft choice we would have to give up for signing a tendered free agent (Nathan Eovaldi) would be at worse the 82nd pick in the draft. Can you identify any Oriole or any outstanding major leaguer chosen with that pick?
I lack the stamina for that kind of research. Or anything, really. I’ll just toss out a few names of major leaguers, including Alex Ochoa by the Orioles in 1991: Kyle Seager by the Mariners in 2009. Mike Morse by the White Sox in 2000. Catcher Chris Widger by the Mariners in 1992. Phil Nevin by the Dodgers in 1989 (before he went to college and the Astros chose him first overall in 1992.) David Weathers by the Blue Jays in 1988. Thad Bosley by the Angels in 1974. I can’t believe I made it that far before losing interest and the feeling in my left side.

What do you, Mr. Roch Kubatko, want for Christmas?
All I wanted for Christmas was one front tooth, but it came early. It may sound corny, but good health throughout my family. We’ve had a few scares this year. Who hasn’t? I wish for kindness, tolerance, a way to coexist within contrasting viewpoints. But I’ll also accept cash.

What is the most awkward place you ever were when Orioles news broke? And what was the news?
I was in bed after an early departure from 2017 spring training workouts. I did a quick Twitter scroll and saw that the Orioles traded for pitcher Vidal Nuño. And that’s all you get on that story. Here’s one more: On a flight to San Diego for the 2014 Winter Meetings when a report surfaced that the Blue Jays wanted to hire Dan Duquette as their president. Duquette was on the flight. He grinned as he walked off the plane and zipped past media that lingered at the gate.

Do you ever get a sense from the front office as to what rumors are legit? Like, you verified that they've spoken with Rich Hill or plan to. Did someone on the inside confirm that for you? Does someone on the inside ever confirm rumors for you? You can tell me, Roch. This is just between us.
Confirmation can come from inside and outside the organization. There are occasions when it’s both, beginning with outside. I’ve found some team people over the years to be more willing to share on certain pieces of news than others. There are plenty of ways to dig for it. Don’t carry just one shovel. Also, don’t feel the need to blow up every little item by over-playing the whole “source” thing in reports. Especially if it’s obvious or already out there.

Give me a rumor that wasn't legit?
Just one? That the Orioles were "strong on" Carlos Rodón. Really? The guy seeking six or seven years? The Orioles checked in for sure. That was legit. Beyond that, as I've said, be careful where you're getting your "news." Not all blue checks are created equally.

Does Adley Rutschman's statue portray him as a catcher or batter?
The one I erected in my house has him in catching gear. I mean … what?

Early favorite for the 2023 Jake Fox award?
Ah, what a fun game to play. Who’s gonna hit a bunch of spring training home runs that prove meaningless in the big picture? Though, to be fair, Fox made the club as the backup catcher in 2011 based on his seven home runs that led the majors. He was designated for assignment on June 1. So, meaningless except for being on the Opening Day roster. Anyway, we’ll need the full camp roster, but maybe Nomar Mazara goes off. He hit 20 home runs in each of his first three seasons in Texas and once launched a ball 500 feet. Or does this eliminate him from consideration? Crap, I don’t know all the rules.  

This is going to be so random, but while we’ve been talking about catchers, any idea whatever happened to Ramón Hernández? One of my favorites when he played for the Orioles.
That’s so random. The Athletics just hired him as major league staff assistant/interpreter.

Seems like just an excuse to pass along the news.
That isn’t a question.

Still no chance that Trey Mancini resigns?
He isn’t quitting. You mean re-signs. And no chance. Wasn't after the final out of 2022 and wasn't in the ensuing weeks and months.

Why protect Seth Johnson in the Rule 5 draft when he’s recovering from Tommy John surgery?
Because the Orioles think he can be an impact starting pitcher when healthy and another team might have selected him. Just have to put him on the 60-day injured list to begin 2023. Not much downside to taking him. Better for the Orioles to protect a guy they think was a steal at the deadline.

Ever steal anything?
This seems like a good place to stop.

What might be still to come for the Orioles
Catching up on a few recent moves

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