On Tuesday afternoon, the Orioles went through the routine step of announcing the agreement to terms of the pre-arbitration players on the roster. This process largely consists of, "Hey, do you want to play baseball this year?" "Yes." "Great! Here's your contract, sign on the dotted line." They agreed to terms with 19 players.
This mundane process became news because the Orioles and Manny Machado did not agree to terms. That means that his contract was unilaterally renewed by the Orioles. Machado will play under that contract because that's the way the system works. The Baltimore Sun reported that Machado's contract was renewed for $519,000. If he repeats as Platinum Glove winner, he will get a bonus of $100,000. The league minimum for this season is $500,000.
Machado told reporters that it was disappointing. I would worry about a player of Machado's caliber who wasn't disappointed to be making about 4% more money than Steve Clevenger. In recent years, the Orioles went through a similar process with Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters. It's not likely to matter. If he keeps playing so well, he will get paid, and the Orioles will look foolish the longer they wait to lock him up long-term.
Much like the jerk treasure hunter tells a young Indiana Jones after besting him at the beginning of Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, "You lost today, kid. But that doesn't mean you have to like it." He does not have to like it, but he does have to go out and play. We know he will do this, because while half of the baseball world seems to be focusing on Machado's "disappointed" comment, he went on to say, "At the end of the day, you just have to go out and play."
Hopefully Machado takes his revenge out on the rest of baseball this year, rather than two decades later in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean. Also, hopefully he goes out and plays before the end of the day too, since baseball games tend to start at 1, 4, and 7 o'clock.
The 19 players who agreed to terms were the rest of the pre-arbitration players on the 40-man roster. They are:
- Right-handed pitchers: Brad Brach, Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez, Steve Johnson, Josh Stinson, and Chris Tillman
- Left-handed pitchers: Mike Belfiore, Tim Berry, Zach Britton, and T.J. McFarland
- Catchers: Steve Clevenger, Johnny Monell, and Michael Ohlman
- Infielders: Michael Almanzar, Ryan Flaherty, Jonathan Schoop, and Jemile Weeks
- Outfielders: David Lough and Henry Urrutia
Several of these players will end up in the minor leagues for most or all of the season, so they'll still get minor league money unless they get called up. Players with some service time will get a slight amount more than the $500k minimum. MLBTR had a great article about this process a couple of weeks ago.
Now for some cheerier news, like the fact that the Orioles have made no progress in extension talks with any of their players:
Orioles have not made any progress on Hardy, Davis or Wietets extension talks.— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) March 11, 2014
That's actually not very cheery at all. It's also not very surprising, especially in the case of the Boras clients, Davis and Wieters. Hardy told Dan Connolly of The Baltimore Sun that it's been 17 days since the Orioles and his agent had any discussions. It only takes one good day to get a deal done, but it's not an encouraging sign so far.
Dan Duquette swung through for a media scrum and offered some of his unique brand of cagey commentary on the Orioles pursuit or lack of pursuit on free agent starter Ervin Santana:
Regarding free agent pitchers (Santana) Duquette said that the market is interesting."club is always looking to improve pitching depth"— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) March 11, 2014
As the so-called Chinese curse goes, "May you live in interesting times."
The Orioles are playing the Red Sox in Grapefruit League action this afternoon. It is neither on TV nor the radio; therefore, the game does not actually exist.