Trying to answer a few more Orioles questions

My mailbag initiated negotiations with me this weekend and we reached an agreement that I’d respond to a few more questions rather than wait until it’s overflowing.

I need to find something else to do in my spare time.

There’s no editing for clarity, length, brevity, style or Harry Styles. We roll like the tide.

Also, my small mailbag knocks down your giant mailbag with a slingshot.

Why Jordan Lyles?
I got this one a lot and tried to bounce some theories off you. I should have aimed a little lower.

No one in the organization is allowed to talk about 40-man players during the lockout and Lyles hasn’t signed his contract. Strikes one and two. While I’ll admit that I never expected the Orioles to spend $7 million on a starting pitcher, figuring maybe they’d venture into the $2-3 million range, they also could be getting a head start on a potential clause in the new collective bargaining agreement that forces an increase in payrolls. That’s a popular, unproven theory. Or they just adhered to the cost of a durable, innings-consuming starting pitcher.

They need a workhorse in front of a stable of young, unproven prospects. Lyles completed six innings in 18 starts this year and seven innings in seven games. His 180 innings would have led the club. Yes, I know how that sounds. Jim Palmer must be turning over on his treadmill. But you don’t find 300-inning guys anymore and the bar really has been lowered.

And let’s be honest, the Orioles aren’t an easy sell with their hitter-friendly ballpark and 100-loss projections. So Lyles won’t dazzle you with his stats, but he had a strong finish with the Rangers and can aid a vulnerable rotation and exhausted bullpen. He also could become a trade chip. And it’s not your money.

Are players allowed to be inside the facility during the lockout or are they ... locked out?
Players who are rehabbing from baseball injuries are allowed to use the facilities as long as they were hurt while playing for that team. Austin Hays, for example, should be permitted to leave his new home batting cage and take some swings in Baltimore or Sarasota, Fla., following his core surgery. Keegan Akin didn’t strain his left adductor while competing in a WWE event, so he can throw on team property.

ed smith stadium.jpgWhy Rougned Odor?
Well, again, we can’t ask Mike Elias because Odor is on the 40-man roster, but the Orioles did their homework on him earlier this year before the Rangers traded him to the Yankees. There was a level of interest that drove them to the research and internal discussions.

They like the power and his propensity for hitting the ball hard, though the results need to get better. They can work on it. He was a Gold Glove finalist in 2018. He throws a nasty right cross. The Orioles are paying only the league minimum. They need a second baseman, and Odor also was used at third this summer. He, too, could become a trade chip. He also could be released late in camp, which happened last spring to Yolmer Sánchez.

Infield placeholders are common on this team and more could be on the way with the left side unsettled.

What is the league minimum salary?
We must wait for the new CBA. The 2021 minimum salary was set at $570,500 and is going to undergo another increase.

Did you hear that Chipotle is selling a cilantro soap and it’s actually quite popular?
I did. But I don’t recommend the salsa shampoo. I also hear that Dairy Queen offers facial mud packs made from an Oreo Mocha Fudge Blizzard. Though omitted in its ad campaigns, pretty much anything on Taco Bell’s value menu can be used for colonoscopy preps. But please, let’s stick to baseball questions.

Does the cancellation of the Rule 5 draft help the Orioles because they might have lost Nick Vespi or Robert Neustrom, or could they still be picked in the minor league phase?
I believe it’s now called the Triple-A phase, if you bring it up to friends. The Rule 5 draft hasn’t been canceled. It’s just postponed indefinitely. The canceled/postponed distinction also is important with rainouts, but I digress ... Vespi and Neustrom are exposed to the major league phase and the assumption is that the Rule 5 eventually will be held.

What will you be doing during the lockout?
Asking my wife what I did to make her this mad.

Baseball’s lockout.
Oh. Maybe checking Twitter a little less frequently each day, feeling slightly more confident that Orioles news won’t break at midnight, like it did with the Lyles agreement as the CBA expired like old milk. But minor league business can be conducted as usual, including signings and the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft.

I’ll be writing each day as usual. I’m not leaving the country, which probably isn’t advisable anyway. It’s just harder to come up with copy when the sport shuts down. I can’t even compare it to the 2020 pandemic shutdown because there was access to just about every player, plus no restrictions with team employees. Basically, it was like restarting the offseason.

Not this time.

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