After three years off due to the coronavirus pandemic, the Orioles kicked off their first Birdland Caravan, a alternative for FanFest, since 2020 on Thursday with a fan rally at Bel Air High School.
During the query and reply section with followers, government vp and normal supervisor Mike Elias mentioned that the Orioles are nonetheless out there so as to add to their main league roster earlier than or throughout spring coaching. So far this offseason, Elias has added beginning pitchers Kyle Gibson and Cole Irvin, reliever Mychal Givens, catcher James McCann and second baseman Adam Frazier.
“We’re still working on stuff. I can’t predict, and there’s not a ton of free agents left, especially premier ones,” Elias mentioned. “It’s very possible that we sign another major league free agent before we head to camp. We also might do things during camp.”
Elias and supervisor Brandon Hyde took a number of questions from followers throughout the kickoff occasion on subjects starting from the staff’s top-ranked farm system to pitching prospect Grayson Rodriguez to the league’s new balanced schedule.
Here are probably the most attention-grabbing subjects Elias and Hyde mentioned throughout Thursday’s Q&A:
Elias was requested concerning the Orioles’ stockpile of center infield prospects, and he mentioned the staff having “too many shortstops” is the “least of his worries.”
“I think we’ve got three great middle infield prospects right now in Triple-A: Connor Norby, who’s primarily a second baseman; Jordan Westburg, who could play really all of the spots; and Joey Ortiz, who is a defensive wizard kind of shortstop,” Elias mentioned. “We’re really excited about all of them. It’s a great problem to have too many shortstops or too many middle infielders.”
In January, the Orioles traded from that infield depth within the farm system to accumulate left-handed beginning pitcher Cole Irvin from the Oakland Athletics in change for 21-year-old shortstop prospect Darell Hernaiz.
Elias has mentioned a number of instances this offseason that he expects Rodriguez to interrupt camp within the Orioles’ beginning rotation, and he reiterated that sentiment Thursday.
“We can’t wait to see him in spring training,” Elias mentioned. “… It will be really exciting for us to see him out there in Sarasota. I’m really pulling for him to be in the rotation when we break camp.”
But might the staff’s high pitching prospect begin the Orioles’ first sport of the season on March 30 in opposition to the Red Sox?
“Will Grayson be our opening day starter? We’ll have to wait and see,” Hyde mentioned. “It’s nice with this year we have a lot of guys to choose from. We have some veteran guys, Dean Kremer had a nice year last year, [Kyle] Bradish has really good stuff, Tyler Wells pitched extremely well. I think we’re going to let Grayson kind of pitch in spring training, and we’re going to make the decision with what we’re going to do with him when camp breaks.”
A fan requested Elias whether or not the staff was contemplating signing beginning pitcher Trevor Bauer.
Bauer, who hasn’t pitched within the majors since June 2021, is a free agent after being reinstated by the league’s unbiased arbitrator this offseason. The 32-year-old right-hander was placed on administrative depart for the final half of the 2021 season after which suspended for all of 2022 for violating the league’s home violence and sexual assault coverage after a San Diego girl accused him of sexually abusing her. Bauer has denied the allegation.
“You know, I’m actually not able to answer that,” Elias mentioned. “It’s against major league rules to talk about whether or not we’re interested in any free agent, and he’s no different. So I can’t answer.”
The Orioles will play fewer video games in opposition to American League East opponents in 2023 due to the league’s new balanced schedule. All 30 groups will play one another this season, that means the Orioles will play solely 52 video games in opposition to the Yankees, Red Sox, Blue Jays and Rays as an alternative of the 76 instances they performed these groups in earlier seasons.
Does Hyde just like the change?
“I think we’re excited to have that balanced schedule,” Hyde mentioned. “Our division is extremely challenging, four really good other clubs that are extremely talented. But to be able to play everybody, I’m really looking forward to that. To be able to see everybody, I think it’s going to be valuable for fans as well as for us.”