The past two days have been productive for the Orioles and media covering the team.
An announcement was made Saturday afternoon on the signings of draft picks Jordan Westburg, their Competitive Balance Round A selection and the 30th overall pick, and outfielder Hudson Haskin, their second-rounder and the 39th overall. And yesterday brought confirmation on 44 of the 60 players who will be tossed in the pool for spring training 2.0.
More players will be announced later in the week. The Orioles used the term “in the coming days” in their news release. But they didn’t say the remaining 16 would be revealed that quickly.
The most interesting point for me regarding the signings is how both players received bonuses at full slot value - Westburg at $2,365,500 and Haskin at $1,906,800, according to a source. The two prep selections, Coby Mayo and Carter Baumler, agreed to bonuses well beyond their slots.
Just how far below slot is outfielder Heston Kjerstad going to fall as the second overall pick? I could hear the hand wringing from some fans worrying that he won’t sign.
As for the player pool announcement, there were no surprises regarding the catchers. Pedro Severino, Chance Sisco, Austin Wynns and Bryan Holaday were locks to be in camp and resume the competition. Taylor Davis, however, seemed like a strong candidate for the alternate camp and that’s where he’s headed.
The Orioles are still working out some final details before revealing the site of the other camp.
Outfielder Yusniel Diaz wasn’t going to make the club, so his absence didn’t send shock waves through my living room couch while I wrote my story. Utility candidates Richard Ureña and José Rondón also disappeared from the camp roster, but Pat Valaika, Andrew Velazquez, Richie Martin and Dilson Herrera remain.
Outfielder/infielder Ryan Mountcastle and pitcher Bruce Zimmermann were long shots to open the season with the Orioles and they’re expected to be assigned to the alternate camp. Zimmermann had remained on the Sarasota camp roster.
David Hess’ return to the roster was unexpected after the Orioles optioned him on March 19, along with Mountcastle, Mullins and infielder Ramón Urías. Expansion to 30 players for the first two weeks of the season works in Hess’ favor because pitchers with the ability to cover multiple innings are valuable commodities.
We knew that outfielder Trey Mancini was headed to the 45-day injured list, though it’s 60 days in its present form. Reliever Evan Phillips has avoided it while recovering from his elbow injury, but he’s also expected to appear at the alternate site.
Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias is going to speak with the media later today on a Zoom conference call, where he can explain some of the roster decisions and the plan for it moving forward.
Elias also can address the draft signings and where the club stands with its other picks, including third-rounder Anthony Servideo.
Baseball America’s non-drafted free agent tracker still includes seven names for the Orioles - Auburn pitcher Ryan Watson, Radford first baseman J.D. Mundy, Louisiana-Lafayette pitcher Brandon Young, Duke pitcher Thomas Girard, Central Connecticut State infielder TT Bowens, Pittsburgh-Johnstown pitcher Isaiah Kearns and North Carolina outfielder Dylan Harris.