Winter Meetings this, that and the other

NASHVILLE – Major League Baseball’s annual charity auction at the Winter Meetings to support “Stand Up to Cancer” is honoring executives Billy Beane and Catalina Villegas, who are undergoing treatments following their diagnoses.

Beane, a former outfielder, is MLB's senior vice president of diversity, equity and inclusion. Villegas is director of diversity, equity and inclusion.

Beane needs a bone marrow transplant as he battles acute myeloid leukemia, as reported earlier in USA Today. Villegas underwent breast cancer surgery and six aggressive rounds of chemotherapy.

The auction is live at until Thursday at 10 p.m. Items and experiences have been donated by all 30 clubs, more than a dozen minor league teams, the office of the commissioner, MLB Network and the Baseball Hall of Fame & Museum.

The Orioles are offering four complimentary tickets to a game in 2024, and an opportunity to watch batting practice and meet executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, and an autographed baseball from manager Brandon Hyde.

Since its inception in 2012, the Winter Meetings charity auction has raised nearly $2 million toward a variety of causes, including lung cancer research in honor and memory of Orioles public relations director Monica Barlow, a youth baseball and softball field in memory of Mets public relations director Shannon Forde, a scholarship fund in memory of late baseball executive Katy Feeney, the Jackie Robinson Foundation and Negro Leagues Baseball Museum, and for five organizations leading the fight against Amyotrophic Lateral Sclerosis (ALS).

* Hyde appeared on MLB Network this morning, introduced of course as the American League’s Manager of the Year.

No interview is done without a question about No. 1 prospect Jackson Holliday.

“We're going to take a long look at him in spring training," Hyde said.

Holliday is celebrating his 20th birthday today.

My prediction remains that Holliday doesn’t break camp with the team but is called up later. His Triple-A experience is a grand total of 18 games and 91 plate appearances, his fourth affiliate in 2023 after beginning at Single-A Delmarva.

Holliday hit a combined .323/.442/.499 in 125 games and 581 plate appearances, with 30 doubles, nine triples, 12 home runs, 75 RBIs, 101 walks and 24 stolen bases.

He’s got a shot.

* Shintaro Fujinami is more open to signing with a team that uses him in a relief role, according to people who have spoken to agent Scott Boras.

Fujinami had expressed a preference to start, his original role after the Athletics gave him a $3.25 million deal in January. He moved to the bullpen in April, including three appearances as an opener, and stayed there after the Orioles acquired him July 19 for minor league pitcher Easton Lucas.

Free agency followed after Fujinami posted a 4.85 ERA and 1.213 WHIP in 30 games with the Orioles. He walked 15 batters and struck out 32 in 29 2/3 innings.

The Orioles left Fujinami off their Division Series roster and aren’t expected to pursue him.

* Start times for Orioles exhibition games at Ed Smith Stadium were announced this morning.

Feb. 24 vs. Red Sox: 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 26 (split squad) vs. Rays: 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 27 vs. Tigers: 1:05 p.m.
Feb. 29 vs. Pirates: 1:05 p.m.
March 2 vs. Yankees: 1:05 p.m.
March 4 vs. Twins: 1:05 p.m.
March 6 vs. Pirates: 6:05 p.m.
March 8 vs. Tigers: 6:05 p.m.
March 10 (split squad) vs. Blue Jays: 1:05 p.m.
March 12 vs. Rays: 1:05 p.m.
March 13 vs. Braves: 6:05 p.m.
March 16 vs. Red Sox: 1:05 p.m.
March 17 (split squad) vs. Braves: 1:05 p.m.
March 20 vs. Phillies: 6:05 p.m.
March 22 vs. Pirates: 6:05 p.m.
March 23 (split squad) vs. Blue Jays: 6:05 p.m.

Individual tickets go on sale Tuesday beginning at 10 a.m.


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