Boldly and often foolishly does a player take on the Orioles in a salary arbitration hearing. Alejandro De Aza went all the way to the three-person panel for a hearing on Friday over a difference of $650,000. In fairness, we don't know which side was unwilling to meet in the middle, though it may have been both. The team, offering $5 million, won the hearing against De Aza, who requested $5.65 million.
That was the first Orioles arbitration hearing since 2012, when they beat Brad Bergesen. The last time the Orioles lost an arbitration hearing, Ben McDonald was the player who beat them, so you know it has been a while.
It's not a bad deal for De Aza in any case. He still gets the $5 million in his final year before free agency, and if he has a solid season he should have a modest multi-year contract waiting for him next winter.
As snow continues to fall in Baltimore, we could use all of the warm-looking pictures that we could get. Fortunately for us, there's a group of souls whose job it is to toil away in Florida during the last month of winter, take pictures and write things about Orioles spring training.
Baltimore Sun beat writer Eduardo Encina got this one of 2013 first round pick Hunter Harvey, who looks like he put on weight in a good way over the offseason:
If you're interested in seeing a man who throws a baseball very fast, Brittany Ghiroli of MLB.com obliged in taking some video of Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia:
Rule 5 pick Jason Garcia throws hard. pic.twitter.com/hcKvoEN5YO— Brittany Ghiroli (@Britt_Ghiroli) February 21, 2015
Maybe I'm imagining things because I'm looking for them, but it sure seems like you can see how he's throwing faster than the two other guys in that bullpen session with him. Garcia's live arm is why the O's picked him in the first place. He's got long odds to make the team, but it's not impossible, especially if one of the relievers returning from last year suffers an injury.
(EDIT: Commenter O'sFan21, who knows much more about pitching than me, notes that Garcia looks to be throwing curveballs, so let's pretend that's what I meant all along, okay? He also says he likes Garcia's arm speed.)
Encina noted that it was Matt Wieters who caught Garcia's bullpen session. Is that a possibly significant fact or is it trying to read too much into nothing?
MASN's Roch Kubatko caught the grim-faced determination of Chris Tillman as he moved from station to station:
That may have been a slight exaggeration, but hey, it's snowing, and here it looks more like spring! So that counts for something.
Remaining with the contingent who write for a company that is 85% owned by the Orioles, let's take a look at two different ways to communicate the same thought and see who was more successful:
Buck loves how the veteran pitchers stick around to watch younger guys throw. Tillman and Britton shook Hunter Harvey's hand after session.— Roch Kubatko (@masnRoch) February 21, 2015
Notice how Roch expresses knowledge that he has based on familiarity with Buck Showalter, and relays information about something that happened, with a couple of guys who know what it's like to be a top prospect in the organization sticking around to watch Harvey.
Now here's another way:
Pretty cool per @masnroch that guys like Tillman/Britton watched a kid like Hunter Harvey throw today. Can't put a sabermetric stat on that.— Steve Melewski (@masnSteve) February 21, 2015
Here we have a completely unnecessary shot at the abstract concept of "stats" and anyone who finds value in them. Melewski is getting mocked by assorted Internet baseball writing personalities as I am writing this post and will probably continue to be mocked through the afternoon and evening.
To be sure, it is a cool tidbit that Tillman and Britton were interested in watching Harvey. Both struggled significantly compared to the high expectations that were placed on them before ultimately emerging as successful in their present roles.
No doubt they have some insight that they could impart upon Harvey as guys who have been in his shoes. It's also cool that they are taking an interest in a player who will help the franchise in the future. Just leave sabermetrics out of it! There is no relevance to mentioning it.
Back to business, you might recall that Ubaldo Jimenez was not with the team during the ALCS last year. He was left off the roster and returned to the Dominican Republic. He addressed that with the media today:
Jimenez said it was a difficult decision to leave #Orioles during ALCS but said he also has some personal business to take care of.— Eduardo A. Encina (@EddieInTheYard) February 21, 2015
"Everything is OK now," he told reporters. "It wasn't at that time." Here's hoping that everything stays OK for Jimenez. He was also resolute that O's fans have not seen his best. Well, that's encouraging. He does seem like a guy who is driven to succeed - as Buck would say, he has the "want to". Translating that onto the mound, well, that's a different story.
I leave you with some more video, in this case Manny Machado running and not requiring knee surgery afterwards:
Those metallic-colored pants he's wearing kinda make it look like he has robotic legs. Better for us if he does.
That's the rundown for spring training day 2. Position players aren't required to report until Tuesday, with the first full squad workout set for Wednesday. The first Grapefruit League game is set for a week from Tuesday - March 3. Maybe this snow will be melted in Baltimore by then.