Here are some more nuggets from Buck Showalter’s meeting with the media.
On Jim Johnson. Showalter said whether Johnson gets moved to the rotation or stays in the bullpen as a late-inning reliever is still dependent on what moves are made this offseason and “what presents itself that may change that.”
Showalter called Johnson a “key piece” because he allows the club the flexibility to have in either spot. A decision will be made for spring training “I talked to [Johnson], he’s like, ‘Let me know.’ He’s ready to do either one.”
On Nick Markakis. Showalter said Markakis’ deep abdomen bruise has improved with rest and the pain “is just about completely gone. In fact, he’s going in to see a specialist just to make sure we don’t get surprised by something in the spring, but he’s pretty close to being 100 percent.”
On Japanese pitcher Yu Darvish: Although it’s not certain whether the 25-year-old right-hander will be posted, Showalter said he has watched tape on the pitcher and thinks he could succeed on the big-league level.“Repertoire, stuff, good clean delivery, above-average stuff,” Showalter said. “You look at things that will play. I think he has a pitch to put people away with, and the pure stuff and the command. He has a good presentation, something you don’t see all the time.”
If Darvish is posted, it likely will take a package of roughly $100 million (posting fee and contract) to land him. Showalter was asked whether he’d want Darvish.
“I’d take him,” Showalter said smiling. “Is he coming for free? I don’t think so.”
On Kevin Gregg and the potential of him closing if Jim Johnson is a starter: “We are fortunate two guys that have been able to (close) somewhat in the American League East and we’ll see what the offseason presents. I’m not going to get into if he goes there he is going to do this. Just too many bridges to cross and too many possibilities of things that can change from day to day. To say something today that may not come to pass in five o six months.
On Jake Arrieta: Showalter said Arrieta, who had a bone spur removed from his elbow last season, has been amazed with how he can full extend his right arm now.
“It’s going to be like pitching a little bit with a different arm. There’s going to be some adjustments made there.”
On getting an outfielder to backup Adam Jones in center and play some left: “We are looking around, but it is not on the front burner.”
On Demarlo Hale as a third base coach: Hale is the favorite to be the Orioles’ next third base coach, but he is currently still under contract with the Boston Red Sox. Boston’s new manager, Bobby Valentine, has not yet named his coaching staff. Showalter said he talked to Valentine to congratulate him and they talked briefly about Hale. “To say that his name didn’t come up, we discussed it. Both of us want what’s best for our clubs and for Demarlo, because he is a professional and a good human being that any club would love to have.”
On managing against Bobby Valentine, his former ESPN co-worker: “I respect Bobby, I like him. But let me tell you when he’s in the other dugout, it’s on. He knows that, so we are both looking forward to it.”
On interest in Jason Varitek. Showalter said the acquisition of Taylor Teagarden to be Matt Wieters’ backup basically takes them out of pursuing a veteran catcher like Varitek for now. “I think we feel like we are in pretty good there right now. We are still trying to add to that depth … I’m sure somebody will be very happen with Jason … but right now it is not a fit for us, but who knows?”