Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman arrived at the Ed Smith Stadium complex Tuesday morning prepared to leave Sarasota for Phoenix to attend his arbitration hearing Wednesday. But just hours later, the club agreed to terms with its final unsigned arbitration-eligible player.
Gausman, the last of seven arbitration-eligible Orioles to come to terms, agreed to a one-yeard, $5.6 million deal for 2018 in his second of four arbitration-eligible seasons as a Super 2 qualifier. He made $3.45 million last season.
He said earlier Tuesday that he hoped his contract would be resolved before the hearing.
“I think there’s definitely a chance of that happening,” Gausman said. “We’ll see in the next couple of hours. If not, I’ll be getting on the plane here soon. We’ll try and get something done.”
The salary figures filed by him and the club were less than $1 million apart, so it appeared likely that a compromise would be made. Gausman, 27, filed for a $6.225 million salary and the team filed at $5.3 million.
“I kind of went through last offseason, too,” Gausman said. “Last offseason, it came down to I think the day before I was going to leave, and just kind of doing the same thing now. I got two more of these, and honestly, I’m kind of happy that it hasn’t been just smooth sailing the whole time. I guess it’s just part of the business, though.”
The Orioles have doled out $17.555 million in raises to their arbitration-eligible players — infielder Manny Machado ($16 million), closer Zach Britton ($12 million), reliever Brad Brach ($5.165 million), infielder Tim Beckham ($3.35 million) and catcher Caleb Joseph ($1.25 million) agreed to deals on the day figures were to be exchanged before second baseman Jonathan Schoop agreed to an $8.5 million deal a week ago.
Garner getting going
Nonroster invitee Perci Garner, who will compete for a bullpen spot in spring training, had offseason surgery to repair a small tear in his left meniscus, but said it shouldn’t prevent him from competing this spring at full strength.
“It’s going really well,” Garner said. “I’m glad I came down here a little early. Got some rehab in. Had a physical therapist back home, but they have more resources here, so recovery has been a lot better.”
Garner had surgery Dec. 7, which delayed his normal offseason throwing routine, but the 29-year-old said he still already has two bullpens under his belt as of Tuesday.
“Usually I would have started throwing like the second week of December, but I didn’t start throwing until like Jan. 17, I believe, so I’m a little bit behind,” he said.
Garner is one of 35 pitchers in big league camp, so he might be a long shot to make the team out of spring training, but he’s looking forward to the opportunity to establish himself with a new organization. Garner — who landed on the disabled list twice last year pitching in the Cleveland Indians organization, was designated for assignment and re-signed to a minor league deal — chose to sign with the Orioles over a minor league offer from the Pittsburgh Pirates. Garner had a 4.82 ERA in 9 1/3 major league innings with the Indians in 2016, but didn’t reach the majors last season.
“It really came down to two teams and the Orioles, they just seemed like they really liked me and wanted me and wanted what was best for me, and not just to sign another guy,” said Garner, the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2010 second-round draft pick. “I was really interested, and the fact that they were interested in me, and I knew some guys here and I’ve heard some things about the organization. I got to speak with Dan Duquette and I liked the way he handled our conversation.”
Around the horn
Among the position players who have already arrived at camp in advance of the team’s first full-squad workout Monday are center fielder Adam Jones, infielder Tim Beckham and outfielder Anthony Santander. … Caleb Joseph assumed the locker given to the team’s starting catcher in the Orioles clubhouse, one that had previously belonged to Matt Wieters and Welington Castillo. … Even though there were several empty lockers next to some veterans’ lockers inside the Orioles clubhouse, some players were assigned to the auxiliary clubhouse, including all three Rule 5 draft picks — pitchers Nestor Cortes Jr., Pedro Araujo and José Mesa — and nonroster invitees Ryan Mountcastle, Éngelb Vielma, Erick Salcedo and Garabez Rosa. … The Orioles will conduct their first pitchers and catchers workout Wednesday afternoon after physicals are completed in the morning.