SARASOTA, FLA. — Spring training is finally here.
Today is the day when Orioles pitchers and catchers officially report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota.
It's actually rather anticlimactic, because even though today marks the unofficial start of spring training, it's simply the day everyone circles on their calendar to signify that baseball is back.
Pitchers and catchers only need to check in at some point today, but most have already arrived.
Even though position players aren't required to report until Tuesday, expect most Orioles players to be in Sarasota over the next few days. In fact, I've heard that most players have already reported to the Ed Smith Stadium complex. That's become the norm here in Sarasota.
Players have already begun working out at the Ed Smith complex on their own. Expect the Orioles clubhouse to be pretty full when the team holds its first official pitchers and catchers workout Friday. The first official full-squad workout isn't until Wednesday.
The Orioles held their first staff meeting Tuesday, with manager Buck Showalter leading a discussion of every player in camp, mapping out every day of the spring training calendar.
So even though today is the first day of spring training, the work has already begun.
We don't expect to see either right-hander Yovani Gallardo or outfielder Dexter Fowler in camp Thursday. While the Orioles are still pursuing both and the team expects to sign both free agents, deals aren't finalized.
According to an ESPN report, the Orioles are looking at a two- or three-year deal for Fowler worth $12 million to $13 million annually. Just last week, there was word that the Orioles were heading toward a two-year, $20 million deal with Fowler.
Fowler was still looking for a four-year deal recently, and while he's not likely to get that, he was still looking for more than a three-year, $45 million deal, according to a source.
There's quite a gap there, but nothing that can't be solved.
Negotiations seemed to have slowed with Gallardo, but the Orioles still see the right-hander as a much-needed rotation piece.
There doesn't appear to be much of a market for either player at the moment. And while there's no way to predict whether there are other potential suitors other than the Orioles, they don't seem to be in a rush to get a deal done.