The important offseason dates keep falling off the baseball calendar, leaving it almost as bare as an oak tree in the winter.
The Orioles have moved past the arbitration period, the upcoming hearing dates not applying to a team that reached agreements with all of its eligible players.
Hall of Fame voting results will be announced Jan. 21 on MLB Network, revealing whether Yankees shortstop Derek Jeter is a unanimous pick.
The local angle for Orioles fans is reduced to whether Curt Schilling is elected. Nothing that’s going to elicit much excitement. I doubt that many people will be ordering deli trays for parties.
(We’ll also find out whether Brian Roberts drops off the ballot from a lack of support, which again is no reason to contract Chipotle for catering ideas.)
The most important date on the horizon is Feb. 11, when pitchers and catchers report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, Fla. The place won’t be empty in the days leading to it, but that’s the official report date.
Position players are due Feb. 16, with the first full-squad workout held the following day. But there will be lots of activity leading up to it because of the early arrivals who take their physicals and hit the fields.
There won’t be a shortage of competitions. The roster is far from set, and not only because more players are going to be signed or acquired in trades.
Severino was claimed off waivers March 23 and made the club with Jesús Sucre. The Orioles could check the wire again if unsatisfied with the current group, but they know who they’re bringing to Sarasota next month.
Akin and Dean Kremer are more likely to begin the season at Triple-A Norfolk, but the former has an outside shot based on his experience last year with the highest affiliate.
The Orioles aren’t done checking the free agent and trade markets for pitching. Someone else could jump into the competition.
The same applies to the bullpen, which won’t be set until the Orioles get much closer to opening day. And manager Brandon Hyde might drop a few hints about his vision for the bench on a 26-man roster, which is going to impact the infield and outfielder.
It would be an upset if Richard Ureña failed to make the team in a utility role, especially because he’s out of minor league options. Stevie Wilkerson’s ability to play everywhere keeps him in the discussion.
Someone has to back up in center field, and Wilkerson led the club in starts last year. Cedric Mullins was the opening day center fielder and could make the club with a strong spring.
A little too soon for Ryan McKenna, who hasn’t played above Double-A.
Note: Trey Mancini can be heard today from 3-4 p.m. on MLB Network Radio as part of the channel’s “Players Week” promotion.
Mancini joins SiriusXM’s Ryan Spilborghs and Casey Stern for the hour.