Five things that won’t happen in 2021

I don’t know much, but I’ve got a pretty firm grasp on what won’t happen with the Orioles.

Predictions can work that way, too.

I’ll avoid the painfully obvious stuff like, “The Orioles won’t carry one catcher on their opening day roster.” Or, “The Orioles won’t replace the warehouse with LEGO blocks.” Or, “The Orioles won’t move to Nashville at the All-Star break.”

My insults won’t be aimed at your intelligence.

Since every sportswriter list apparently has to contain five items and I’m in the fraternity, I’ll be careful and avoid stopping at four or getting reckless and offering six. There will be no running with scissors here.

* The Orioles won’t stay in-house to construct their rotation.

There’s a better chance of them signing two veteran starters than none.

A major league deal won’t exceed one guaranteed year. Minor league deals always appeal to this organization, which is how they landed Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone.

The expectation is for one spot to be open. John Means, Alex Cobb, Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer should break camp in the rotation. But a veteran could be slotted in the middle or at the end.

* Catcher Adley Rutschman won’t make the opening day roster.

Rutschman hasn’t played above the low Single-A level, and that was only 12 games with Delmarva in 2019. There was no minor league season in 2020. The Orioles are adamant about not rushing their prospects.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias has indicated that Rutschman will be playing for Double-A Bowie. A nice jump from Delmarva that’s based on his work at the alternate camp site and fall instructional site.

Rutschman also could make a stop at Triple-A Norfolk before his major league debut. Try to be patient. He should be worth the wait.

Mancini-Hatless-White-ST-sidebar.jpg* Trey Mancini won’t report to spring training with the expectation that he’ll make most of his starts in right field.

Anthony Santander is penciled into right field, where he was a finalist for a Gold Glove in the American League. Ryan Mountcastle is an outfielder who also can play first base, with no thought of putting him on the left side of the infield.

Mancini could get lots of at-bats as the designated hitter with Renato Núñez gone and if the club believes it’s less taxing on him. No one really knows how Mancini’s body is going to react to a full spring training after the chemotherapy treatments. There’s more hope than hard facts.

Elias said last month that Mancini is “primarily a first baseman.” That perception won’t change when position players arrive at camp.

* The Orioles won’t release Chris Davis in a shortened season with prorated salaries.

Davis wants to keep playing. His team won’t stand in his way with two years remaining on his contract.

I’ve explained how it works. The Orioles are on the hook for the remaining $46 million if he’s released. Other teams were burned last offseason, obviously unaware that the sport would shut down in spring training.

An expanded roster also factors into it. There’s room for Davis. He isn’t blocking a prospect who’s considered ready for the majors, though some fans keep arguing it.

* Manager Brandon Hyde won’t be fired if the Orioles get off to a slow start.

This may feel like an intelligence insult, but multiple sites publish “hot seat” lists annually and I found Hyde’s name in 2020. As if ownership ordered a contender and forgot about the rebuild.

Hyde isn’t judged on wins and losses. There would have to be a player revolt, a complete loss of the clubhouse, for Hyde to possibly lose his job and that’s not happening.

The Orioles didn’t announce the terms of Hyde’s contract, but he’s entering the final guaranteed year unless they already picked up his option.

If the rebuild is supposed to cover at least three years - and I’d advise you to take the over - it makes no sense for Hyde to be on any seat other than the one in his office.

OK, I lied. My list won’t be restricted to five items.

I know that Cedric Mullins won’t abandon switch-hitting, instead working to be more productive from the right side.

I know that I won’t be drinking any sour beers.

I know that the 40-man roster won’t remain the same as it is today.

I know that I won’t be pleased with anyone who tosses their pizza crust in the box and reaches for another slice.

I know that Means won’t be denied his first opening day assignment if he gets through camp healthy.

I know that I won’t truly appreciate moving 12 minutes from the airport until I’m actually able to travel again.

I know that Chris Holt was pegged as a future pitching coach before he arrived in Baltimore.

I know that I won’t pretend virtual Winter Meetings shattered my world.

I know that Bruce Zimmermann won’t make it through the year without having his last name misspelled as “Zimmerman.”

I know that I won’t try to tell my fiancée that Cheez-Its are the same as Cheese Nips.

I know that the media is braced for the same access restrictions at least early in 2021.

I know that I won’t change out of sweatpants if I’m stuck on Zoom calls again.

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