Because You Asked - Next Friday

The Orioles’ season is over, a walk-off home run pushing them out the playoff door, but the repetitive questions keep coming to me.

I refuse to walk away from them.

You ask, I answer. You ask again, I answer again. The sarcasm comes at no additional cost. All in good fun, of course.

It’s my spin on the traditional mailbag. The biggest challenge is not repeating a movie sequel in the title. I’ve done so many of them. And you really can’t top “Electric Boogaloo.” I peaked too soon.

Do you think the Orioles will make Matt Weiters a qualifying offer?
It’s still spelled “Wieters.”

Sorry Rock. Do you think the Orioles will make Wieters a qualifying offer?
It’s ... never mind. Assuming that the offer still exists, and reported that it’s increasing to $17.2 million, the Orioles aren’t expected to extend it to Wieters. Executive vice president Dan Duquette said no decision has been made, but right now the assumption is they won’t do it. The New York Post is reporting that adjustments could be made to the current setup that include a team being unable to extend it to the same player two years in a row.

Would you offer it to him?
I don’t have that kind of money, but yes. He’d reject it. Take the draft pick. Getting a multi-year deal shouldn’t be difficult for Wieters. And heck, if by some miracle he actually accepted it, there’s your placeholder until Chance Sisco is deemed ready. OK, a really expensive one. I get it. And it likely would impact other moves by taking a large chunk out of the budget. Not good at all. But I just can’t see any way that Wieters would accept it now that he’s so far removed from his elbow surgery. I’m a gambler.

trumbo-jones-high-fives-wild-card.jpgWould you make a qualifying offer to Mark Trumbo?
In a heartbeat. To me, that’s the no-brainer. It’s a win-win. Trumbo also will be fielding multi-year offers after leading the majors in home runs. He’s 30. Nelson Cruz was 34 when he signed a four-year, $57 million deal with the Mariners. I’m not letting him walk away and getting nothing in return.

Why didn’t Buck use Zach Britton in the wild card game?
He didn’t? I must have missed that. Something about the other relievers ahead of Britton pitching so well, tie game on the road, the roof being open, the price of poutine. OK, I’m making up the last two. I still wonder if there’s more to the story than we’ve been told.

Is Buck’s job in jeopardy?
No. I checked despite already knowing the answer and it’s still no. I get the criticism over using Ubaldo Jimenez, a slow starter, in the 11th inning, but this team was picked to finish in last place and it made the wild card game. It’s great that the bar has been raised. A .500 record or better no longer is cause for a wild celebration. But fire the manager? Seems like an extreme reaction and it’s not happening.

Have the Orioles announced a FanFest date and will it be in December again?
No and no.

What do you know about Jed Bradley?
Just the stats that the Orioles provided, plus the others that I looked up, after they claimed him off waivers from the Braves. Left-handed relief depth for now, but also a prime candidate to come off the 40-man roster when the Orioles need a spot.

Why did Dave Wallace keep leaving the team during the season?
The same reason that he’s retiring from coaching. It’s a family matter that he prefers to keep private. I respect his wishes and don’t write about it. He’s needed more at home and Showalter got him to return in 2016 by promising these short trips during the season. An instructor type of position would be ideal. Feeds his craving to work with young pitchers while also giving him more time with his family.

Who’s going to be the new pitching coach?
I’d just be guessing, since we’re so early in the process. Bullpen coach Dom Chiti probably is the leading in-house candidate. Roger McDowell will be interviewed after the Braves let him go, but the reviews are mixed. Depends on the person you ask. He has a good reputation for working with veterans. The Orioles, of course, want to make sure they get someone who’s equally good with the younger arms. Maybe it’s McDowell. Again, depends on who’s providing the scouting report. But I know it won’t be Rick Adair.

Who’s going to the World Series?
Anyone who can afford to pay the same amount as the qualifying offer for one ticket.

Of the teams that are left, who’s going to the World Series?
I’d be more confident in the Indians if they could squeeze four innings out of Andrew Miller in every game. I’m going with the Blue Jays and Cubs, but I’m guessing that most fans would like to see the Indians get in there because they haven’t won the World Series since 1948. I’m pretty sure it’s been longer for the Cubs.

Why was attendance down at Camden Yards?
It’s important to note that the Orioles drew more than two million fans this year, so we’re not talking about a major drop. But, yes, it was down. People have different reasons. Cost, kids, weather, the “unrest” last summer that I still think qualified as rioting, the delay in sending out season ticket invoices, the team down the road. Pick your favorite(s).

Binge-watching any shows now that you have some time off?
Define “time off.”

Binge-watching any shows now that you’re not covering games most nights and traveling all over the country?
I made it to Season 3 of “The Good Wife,” but lost my momentum. Not because I wasn’t enjoying it. Same with “The Wire” earlier. Now, I’m all about “Broad City,” which apparently airs on Comedy Central, though I never heard of it. In Season 3 now and it’s really funny. Quirky would be an understatement.

If Paul Janish wants the Orioles to pursue him as a free agent, why did he refuse their outright assignment?
Because he can. Janish earned the right after a previous designation and he may as well check the market. What does he have to lose? I’m sure that the Orioles will take him back on another minor league contract. In the meantime, his agent can attempt to find a better deal. He loves his time in Baltimore, though it isn’t sustained, so his refusal doesn’t reflect his opinion of the organization.

Any chance that Chris Lee breaks camp with the team next spring?
I would have liked the left-hander’s chances if he hadn’t be limited to eight games at Double-A Bowie due to a lat injury or strained shoulder or whatever we’re calling it. He continued to rehab in the fall instructional league. The Orioles just want to get him healthy and pitching again, most likely with the Baysox. But we could see him in 2017.

Trey-Mancini-watches-white-sidebar.jpgCould Trey Mancini move to the outfield with Chris Davis blocking him at first base?
It would be a drastic shift in organizational thinking. The Orioles were willing to experiment with Christian Walker because they thought he could make the switch. They viewed Mancini only as a first baseman. But I see nothing wrong with Wayne Kirby hitting him fly balls in spring training. I’d get an earlier start and invite him to minicamp. Worst that can happen is he looks like Billy Rowell and moves back to first base.

Who’s the next Cruz/Trumbo for the Orioles?
You mean the next guy signed or acquired in a trade who leads the majors in home runs as a pending free agent? That’s probably asking a lot. Maybe Edwin Encarnacion would be kind enough to accept a one-year, team-friendly deal in March and use it as a platform for a bigger contract. Couldn’t hurt to ask. Maybe give him a real parrot to rest on his arm as he circles the bases.

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