Mailbag leftovers for breakfast

The mailbag wasn’t emptied on the first attempt. Passionate fans have questions, and there’s never a shortage.

Let’s get to a few more before tonight’s game against the Guardians that begins the latest homestand.

Same rules apply. There are none except for the ban on profanity. Stop trying.

Where would you, Mr. Kubatko, rate Gunnar as an all-time Oriole already? (And yes, I’m asking you to project.)
No need to be so formal but thank you. Yeah, that’s some serious projecting so early in his career, but if we’re talking about where he winds up, he absolutely should be one of the best for everything he brings to the plate and at shortstop. Helps to know whether we’re talking best Orioles or best players to wear the uniform. This isn’t an issue with Henderson, but I think about Frank Robinson. Maybe the best player to wear the uniform but he only spent six seasons in Baltimore. Roberto Alomar spent three but he’s in the Hall of Fame and played the best second base that I’ve ever seen. We’re safe going with Jim Palmer, Brooks Robinson, Eddie Murray and Cal Ripken Jr. Henderson has the talent to be talked about in the same sentence.

Hey Roch, any plans to get an interview or article with Terry Crowley or Nick Markakis for their O’s Hall Of Fame inductions?
The team will make them available to the media and I assume that I’ll be in the scrum. Haven’t seen Crowley in many years and I look forward to it. His induction is long overdue. Markakis will be a man of few words but I enjoyed covering him.

Is Mike Elias a “hard pass” on signing Trevor Bauer?
This is a popular question. He probably wouldn’t discuss it publicly. The team does its homework on every player and reaches its own decisions. There wasn’t interest in Domingo German despite some reports to the contrary. I wouldn’t expect the Orioles to sign Bauer, and there isn’t a line forming or he’d be in the majors. But I’m working largely on an assumption.

How important will years of control be for a starter we might acquire before the deadline?
That’s a bonus. Rentals are OK for a team that’s trying to win the World Series this season. The cost in prospects should be lower.

Would you like to come visit me in Kuwait?
The winter home I’m having built there is still under construction. I’ll let you know when it’s finished.

Roch, were you at the game 45 years ago on June 22nd, 1979 for the beginning of Orioles Magic?
I wasn’t, but I can practically recite the call on radio with Bill O’Donnell, Chuck Thompson and Charlie Eckman. Listened to it with my mom, and my dad made it home from a late work meeting just in time to hear the replay on the postgame show. That was as good as it gets. “Every Oriole is at the plate, every Oriole is at the plate!” I taped it and still have the cassette in one of the boxes at my house. And don’t tell anyone, but I did it without the express written consent of Major League Baseball. I was a rebel.

Human or Robo Umps? Which would you want to see?
I want to see transformers calling balls and strikes. Is that possible? Then again, I’d rather have a Billy Goat working the plate than the crews we’re forced to watch every night. “Ba-ah-ah-ah- ahl one!”

When can we get the ABS? The umps stink.
They do. Worse than IBS.

Who do the Orioles land to strengthen the rotation? How about the bullpen?
A starter and a reliever.

Why must you do that?
Why are you having a conversation with me? This is a mailbag. The Marlins’ Jesús Luzardo is hurt again and on the 60-day injured list, so we won’t talk about him. The White Sox should be sellers and they have Erick Fedde and Garrett Crochet. The Angels could part with Tyler Anderson. There’s also the Rockies’ Cal Quantrill. Before you say Kyle Gibson, the Cardinals are in the playoff race. Why would they part with him? Unless they fall out of it. It's only June and we're talking about trade partners. He's a great leader in the clubhouse and he’d eat some innings. Any of these names excite you? I’d be surprised if the Orioles gave up a prospect haul to get Athletics closer Mason Miller. Tanner Scott’s name is linked to his former club as a rental. The Orioles just need better command than the first time he pitched for them.

When traveling to cover the O's, which is your favorite city?
I’m all about convenience on work trips. I don’t do much sightseeing. Give me the super-short flight to Cleveland and a hotel within walking distance of the ballpark. Give me St. Petersburg (except for having to rent a car), with the best working environment for media. Always 72 degrees inside the dome with no weather delays. Easy parking and access to the media entrance. Spacious press box. Easy to get down to the clubhouse, which also is spacious, and the field. Philadelphia and Pittsburgh also are simple, non-stress trips. The latter is a very underrated city, as I was reminded earlier this season. West Coast flights are the worst. And don’t get me started with Canada.

When is Dean Kremer expected back in rotation?
He made his second injury rehab start Saturday with Triple-A Norfolk and gave up five runs in two-thirds of an inning. He threw 39 pitches, 25 for strikes. The Orioles could say “that’s enough,” and he’d be on regular rest Thursday against the Rangers at Camden Yards. Or maybe the results matter enough to keep him in the minors for another turn. Their plans for him aren’t confirmed.

If the season ended tomorrow (thankfully it doesn't, barring a meteor that wipes all life from the planet) where should Gunnar Henderson finish in the MVP voting? He plays a premium defensive position like a Gold Glover, hits like a man possessed, steals bases and doesn't take days off because he gets hit by pitches. That's all gotta count for something, right?
It sure does. Henderson would be top three. We shouldn’t ignore Adley Rutschman, which amazingly tends to happen because of Henderson and the hype. Juan Soto, Aaron Judge and Bobby Witt Jr. are in the conversation. Steven Kwan, back in Cleveland’s lineup after missing four weeks with a strained hamstring, is an elite left fielder who might hit .400.

Roch, have you ever caught a foul ball in the press box during a game? And did you save your laptop in the process?
I haven’t made a clean grab, but I’ve retrieved a few. I reached with one hand for a foul ball at Tropicana Field on the last trip and it slammed off my index finger and knocked the handset off the PR phone next to me. A friend at the game texted me, “Nice catch Edward Scissorhands.” Another one sent, “Never underestimate the elements at The Trop.” I reached for a screaming line drive at Camden Yards back when I sat in the second row, and it predictably crashed into my hand and kept going. Got a nice bruise out of it.

During your time covering the O’s, is there another example even remotely close to the loss of three starters from the rotation before the All-Star break?
That’s a great question. I don’t recall it happening, and definitely not three surgeries within 17 days. I’m gonna say that’s a first.

Have you voted for Jorge Mateo, Colton Cowser, Cedric Mullins and the rest of our Orioles for the All-Star Game today?
Sorry, I don’t vote except for Most Valuable Oriole, postseason awards with the Baseball Writers’ Association of America, and the Hall of Fame. Gunnar Henderson, Adley Rutschman and Corbin Burnes should be locks. And you can make arguments for a few others. Henderson seems guaranteed to participate in the Home Run Derby. He wants to do it.

Now that the O's are solidly into the Rubenstein Ownership Group Era, is there any inkling of long-term contract extensions for our Young Gunns (see what I did there)?
I don’t get it. But anyway, Rubenstein certainly understands the logic in locking down his own young players. Probably a bit early for him to be plotting the payroll down the line and green-lighting negotiations, but there’s a better chance of it happening now that he’s in control.

The rebuild is over, right? After a 100-plus win season and what’s been accomplished thus far in 2024, we can load up by trading prospects?
The rebuild is so far behind us, it’s a speck in the rearview. Having so many prospects in the system makes it possible to swing deals at the deadline that could strengthen the push toward a championship. But Mike Elias won’t go crazy and surrender a bunch of top 10s.

Would you be interested in learning more about your vehicle's extended warranty?
No thanks. And this is probably a good place to stop.

What Life Saver flavor is Suárez?
This is definitely a good place to stop.

O's look to regroup after lost weekend in Houston
Source: Orioles will recall Heston Kjerstad

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