Pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota, Fla., on Thursday; their first official workout is Friday.
The Orioles will have roughly 60 players in camp. It’s possible they could have a few more; there are still some intriguing free agents available and executive vice president Dan Duquette still has room in the budget for some decent purchases.
But when I talked to Orioles manager Buck Showalter last week, he told me has moved on from all the speculation. He is concentrating on the guys who he knows will be in an Orioles uniform this month.
So let’s take a breather from the incessant rumors -- which usually end by mid-January but just won’t die this year due to the bizarre free-agent market -- grab a cold one, jump on a bar stool and take a page from Showalter.
Concentrate on what the Orioles have right now.
Tell me who you think will be the talk of camp this spring. It can be either someone who really establishes himself on the way to a great season or someone you didn’t anticipate making the 25-man roster.
Last year, it was Chris Tillman who was out of options but kept his strong 2012 second half going through the spring and into a breakout 2013. And there was T.J. McFarland, who battled his butt off to stay on the roster and was pretty effective in the bullpen for a rookie.
Here are my thoughts: I have been on the Zach Britton train for years, and it has derailed several times. This is his last chance to make it with the Orioles -- he’s a free agent at season’s end -- and I’m banking on Britton’s competitiveness that we’ve seen in the past will rise to the surface again.
Britton has dealt with injuries and a tremor in his confidence that pushed him away from being the pitcher of which he is capable. He’s 26 now. There are no excuses left. I say he takes that next step in 2014.
I also believe outfielder David Lough has the ability to raise some eyebrows in camp. He has the talent and determination. Now he has an opportunity. Let’s see if he can seize it.
OK, your turn. Pick the guy you really see breaking out this spring and thriving perhaps all season. Could it be Ryan Flaherty? Or Tommy Hunter as the new closer? Steve Johnson? Jemile Weeks? Are you banking on Kevin Gausman building on last year’s taste in the majors and really flourishing in 2014?
Daily Think Special: Who is your pick to make a statement with the Orioles this spring?Copyright © 2015, The Baltimore Sun