The World Series is three games deep, stalled a bit after Monday night’s postponement in Philadelphia. The real offseason also is on hold, with some teams making smaller 40-man roster moves until the heavy lifting commences.
For example, the Orioles must decide five days after the World Series whether to exercise Jordan Lyles’ $11 million option. That’s a big one.
They can keep him, they can put him back on the free agent market with a $1 million buyout and move on, or they can decline it and attempt to re-sign him to a lesser deal.
There's also the pick up and trade possibility, which happened with shortstop José Iglesias. Probably not, but it has to be mentioned.
Players on the 60-day injured list will return to the 40-man roster. John Means is the last Oriole after Chris Ellis’ outright to Triple-A Norfolk. Other players who are pending free agents finally can hit the market after the World Series.
Another important date on baseball’s calendar is the start of the General Managers Meetings on Tuesday in Las Vegas. They run for two days, a watered-down version of the Winter Meetings held Dec. 4-7 in San Diego.
(The Rule 5 draft moves up to Wednesday afternoon instead of the usual Thursday morning, and I don't think anyone is complaining.)
This is your yearly reminder that the GM gathering is more of a feeling-out period for executives trying to lay the groundwork for future deals. It provides an opportunity to discuss issues around the league. Trades and signings obviously can occur, but it’s more common between the GM and Winter meetings, during the latter or afterward.
A tweet from MLB News Network was posted this week stating that the Orioles are “open to moving” center fielder Cedric Mullins. And that brings us to another reminder.
Open to moving isn’t the same as actively shopping, though it tends to elicit the same response from fans and followers.
You won’t find many Orioles who are labeled as untouchable. And the outfield surplus is bound to attract teams facing a shortage or seeking to upgrade, especially those who can offer starting pitching in return.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias will do his due diligence – another popular offseason term – and check the market. Not just for Mullins, of course. And he’ll do so with the understanding that he doesn’t have to make a move. There’s no urgency.
It would be foolish not to listen. Everyone does. And then you're free to pass.
The Marlins always are a logical partner and they have the pitching, with Pablo López and Jesús Luzardo frequent targets. They still have the same offensive deficiencies as last winter.
These dots aren’t hard to connect, but they haven’t led to anything substantial in the past. Rumors fly and that’s it.
Expect more of the same in the coming months. The rumors and reports, some of them legit. As always, be careful where you get your news.
I know that the Marlins have liked Anthony Santander in the past. I also know that the Orioles have kept him, and now he’s a 33-home run hitter. He’s a better version of the player they refused to part with, including an approach at the plate that leads to more walks.
You'll see Santander's name come up a lot because of the trade chip perception. Proceed with caution. The Orioles like him, too, and are ready for liftoff.
A starter and a bat are priorities for the Orioles. Elias said last month that he doesn’t have a specific position in mind, just the need to upgrade the lineup, which opens many avenues. Where a hitter fits besides DH/backup first baseman is one of baseball life’s many mysteries.
Second base is an option except that one of the young infielders could occupy it. Jordan Westburg comes to mind. And as I’ve written, Ramón Urías could shift to more of a utility role. He’s like the patron at a crowded bar who can’t get to the front and order his drink.
Talking from experience here.
Urías won a Rawlings Gold Glove last night at third base, so I don't know how hard it is to move him somewhere else. Gunnar Henderson needs to play somewhere.
The infield surplus also is going to link the Orioles to other teams able to offer pitching or that impact bat. The GM meetings are a starting point for any discussions.
The Players Choice Award winners were supposed to be announced Thursday at 6 p.m. on ESPN, but they’re pushed back until Friday.
Catcher Adley Rutschman, who won’t be linked to any trade rumors, Seattle’s Julio Rodriguez and Kansas City’s Bobby Witt Jr. are the three finalists for American League Outstanding Rookie. Players do the voting.
Ryan Mountcastle won it last year, but he wasn’t a finalist in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America voting.
Hall of Famer Brooks Robinson is a finalist for the Curt Flood Award, which recognizes a former player who “demonstrated a selfless, longtime devotion to the Players Association and advancement of players' rights.” Buck Martinez and Steve Rogers provide his competition.
Seems like No. 5 should have won it a long time ago.
The Dodgers’ Justin Turner was chosen Monday as winner of the Roberto Clemente Award. Reliever Dillon Tate was the Orioles’ nominee.