The first “Hot Stove Show” of the offseason aired tonight on 105.7 The Fan, with Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias addressing topics related to both the majors and minors.
I’ll go into more depth in the morning, but here are a few items:
* Elias obviously wouldn’t go into specifics related to the seven arbitration-eligible players, but he conceded that the budget could lead the club to make some difficult decisions.
Jonathan Villar with his projected $10.4 million salary per MLBTradeRumors.com is the expensive elephant in the room.
“We have a large arbitration class,” Elias said. “There’s seven guys and they’re good players, but there is money involved. You’ve got to take it into consideration and it may influence the decision whether or not to tender a contract in the first place. But also your threshold for trading those guys if there’s interest elsewhere. That’s part of running any business and it’s part of reality.
“Money and budgets are a huge part of our business.”
Elias mentioned the one year of club control remaining before Villar can test free agency.
“Whether he ends up staying beyond that, I don’t know,” Elias said. “But certainly with where we’re at as an organization, we’ve got to entertain things with all these guys and take the long-term view of the club.”
* No players are untouchable in trade talks and Elias will listen on anyone. He isn’t screening calls and noted that it’s only newsworthy if a player is being shopped, but he handled a question about Trey Mancini by replying, “We expect him to stay here.”
* Three new coaches will be hired with three vacancies on the staff. However, Elias left open the possibility that some returning coaches could change roles on the staff.
* Elias said he anticipates that the Orioles will protect “four or five players” prior to the Rule 5 draft. He didn’t offer up names, but Ryan Mountcastle, Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer are three obvious inclusions.
* The team is making pitching its top priority this winter, but also wants to obtain a veteran middle infielder with plus skills at shortstop.
Meanwhile, the Orioles are continuing efforts to fill out their international and analytics departments and also are bringing in new area scouts. The latest hires include Trent Friedrich, who’s responsible for the Great Lakes/Ohio Valley region, and Logan Schuemann, whose Four Corners territory covers Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Colorado, along with Las Vegas and El Paso.
Friedrich comes from the Indians organization and Schuemann from the Tigers.
* Baseball America released the list of minor league free agents this morning and it includes 17 players from the Orioles organization, including pitchers Jimmy Yacabonis, Pedro Araujo, Ryan Eades, Gabriel Ynoa and Tayler Scott, and infielders Chris Bostick, Jack Reinheimer and Engelb Vielma.
Yacabonis was outrighted after making 29 appearances, including four starts, and posting a 6.80 ERA and 1.829 WHIP in 41 innings. Araujo, the former Rule 5 pick, made one relief appearance and allowed two runs in two-thirds of an inning. Eades allowed three runs in 7 2/3 innings in six relief appearances after the Orioles claimed him off waivers from the Twins on Aug. 14.
Ynoa declined his outright assignment on Nov. 4 and elected free agency. Scott was outrighted on Oct. 30, the same day as Eades.
Here’s the list:
Catcher: Carlos Pérez
Outfielder: Ademar Rifaela
The Orioles are interested in re-signing Ynoa and Mason Williams to minor league deals, as well as a few other pitchers.