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Orioles manager Buck Showalter on winter meetings, free agency, new CBA and more

Jon Meoli
Contact ReporterThe Baltimore Sun
Orioles manager Buck Showalter on the Winter Meetings, free agency, and the new CBA.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter shared his thoughts on a number of surface-level issues relating to the offseason Thursday on the team’s Hot Stove radio show on 105.7 The Fan, spanning from the upcoming winter meetings to free agency and some of the impacts of the new CBA.

On the all-important players acquisition front, Showalter reiterated a refrain the team has reverted to often this offseason, whether it be for replacements for their departed free agents or new coaches.

“I’m going to look at the [Trey] Mancinis, the [Chance] Siscos, the Christian Walkers, the Audry Perezes, the people that are coming along before we go look somewhere else and start spending our fans’ money, so to speak, on players we’ve really got in our own backyard,” Showalter said.

"Obviously, we’re going to need some help at the corner in the outfield, at the DH spot and catching, but this can all change. It’s such a moving target. We could still sign a Pedro Alvarez. We can still sign a [Mark] Trumbo. A lot of this stuff, [Dan Duquette's] very astute at judging the market and knowing where it’s going to fall. There are going to be people out there without chairs when this is over, because at some point, somebody’s going to run out of opportunities for these guys. We’d like to keep them all, but it just doesn’t work for us and how we have to do it. We had one of the highest payrolls in Orioles history. Our ownership has been steadfast, since I’ve been here, at every turn. The onus is on us to surround ourselves with people.”

As for the Orioles' trio of major free agents — Alvarez, Trumbo and Matt Wieters — Showalter seemed to indicate the market was all that was keeping them from coming back at this point.

“I don’t want to call it bottom-fishing," Showalter said. "I call it kind of late-fishing. Dan is really good at that. A lot of these guys are going to be sitting around there in January or February, and we know. I don’t think these guys will be, but they’re good players. I know all three of those guys would like to come back, which makes me feel good about the atmosphere we’ve created here in Baltimore. But at some point, they have to make a decision on their lives and what kind of ticket they want to cash.”

On Mancini, Showalter praised his minor league hitting track record and said he’s proven all he can at every available level. Mancini’s natural position is first base, but that’s occupied by Chris Davis for the foreseeable future. Showalter said Davis is open to playing anywhere, but the manager is still apprehensive about moving him for defensive reasons.

One free agent he was asked to address was former San Francisco Giants outfielder Angel Pagan. Showalter called it a “good name.”

“Angel Pagan, I’ve got a big board, I’ve been down here in my office in the locker room and we’ve got it updated when guys leave or show up with a nontender,” Showalter said. “He’s on the list. I like him because he’s a baseball player, but so do a lot of other people. We’re not the only ones who know how to evaluate good people.”

On the new CBA

Showalter said he was disappointed there won’t be a 26th man added to the active roster, a proposal that in some discussions on the new collective bargaining agreement were accompanied by a clause that would reduce the size of expanded rosters in September.

“I was hoping we’d get an extra player and not have nearly as many players up in September,” Showalter said. “I was hoping that would stay below 30 … but they didn’t ask me.”

He was also heartened by giving home-field advantage in the World Series to the team with the best record instead of the league that wins the All-Star Game.

But his favorite feature will probably end up being the reduction of a minimum disabled list trip from 15 days to 10 days.

“I like that,” he said. “We can see who tries to take advantage of some of the loopholes. We would never do that. It makes it a lot different carrying five and six starters, and also with guys who are out of options. So don’t come down with a hangnail. Who knows what we’ll do with you?”

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