Orioles right-handed reliever Brad Brach, the team's only remaining arbitration-eligible player whose contract is unsettled, is prepared to go to an arbitration hearing scheduled for Thursday.
Brach enjoyed the best season of his career last year, making his first All-Star Game and posting a 10-4 record with a 2.05 ERA over 79 innings. In his second season of arbitration-eligibility, Brach filed at $3.05 million and the Orioles countered at $2.525 million. He made $1.25 million last season in his first year of arbitration eligibility.
"I think at this point, I just kind of want to get it done with," Brach said. "Obviously, it's either going to be this or that, and at this point it really doesn't matter. I'm lucky enough to play baseball and that's honestly the way I look at it. It's a good salary, regardless of what it is, and I just want it to be done with."
In negotiating with players before the salary-exchange deadline, the Orioles said they were going to use a file-and-trial approach, meaning they prepared to go to arbitration, rather than continue to negotiate, with any cases unsettled at the deadline.
But the Orioles eventually made another offer to catcher Caleb Joseph before he lost his arbitration hearing earlier this month, and they avoided a trial with right-hander Kevin Gausman, who signed for $3.45-million. Joseph will make $700,000 this season.
Brach said there has been no negotiation with the Orioles since figures were exchanged.
"We heard that they talked to Caleb, and they obviously settled with Gausman," Brach said. "So we thought something might happen but we haven't heard from them since then, so I'm pretty sure we'll just probably just go [to trial]."
Orioles waiting on Pena: The Orioles are optimistic that catcher Francisco Pena, who was designated for assignment Friday to make 40-man roster space for right-hander Gabriel Ynoa, will pass through waivers and will be able to rejoin the team later this week. He has never been outrighted, so he has no choice but to accept the assignment if he goes unclaimed by another team.
"We find out Wednesday," manager Buck Showalter said. "I see the waiver wire every day that comes over and there are a lot of catchers who have been put on waivers the last two weeks, and they're all going through, which lends me to think that a lot of people have their catching situation, they think, under control.
"Now, he may get claimed. He doesn't have a prior outright, so he'd be here Thursday if he cleared. So, we'll see. I hope not, for our sake, and I hope so for his sake. Nothing would change here about the competition factor if he clears."
The Orioles would likely bring minor leaguer Stuart Levy to major league camp if Pena gets claimed.
Givens and the WBC: Showalter had previous expressed concern about reliever Mychal Givens taking part in the World Baseball Classic, but said on Monday that he feels better about the situation after new Orioles pitching coach Roger McDowell agreed with Team USA pitching coach Jeff Jones on a limited regimen for Givens during the tournament.
"[McDowell] mapped out exactly what we want him to do and not do," Showalter said. "He's not going to pitch an inning and go out and pitch another inning. It's one up and one inning with X-number of days off in between, so he's protected.
"We wanted to get that out there. Not that they wouldn't protect him, but it's good to get it on paper. It's something Roger and I sat down during the minicamp and wrote it up. He talked to Jeff and Jim to let them know, 'Here's what we'd really like to see happen.'"
Duquette jabs at projections: Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated he doesn't expect any key additions, but said he is still working to add complementary pieces to the club.
"You never know which players yet are going to end up contributing to your team," Duquette said. "We're still looking around. This is a tough division and you look at what some of the other clubs have done in the offseason to beef up their clubs, and we've got to hang in there and slug it out and get our team ready to start this season. I do like the returning pieces of our team."
The Orioles could still add another outfielder and supplement their pitching depth.
Duquette deadpanned that the club still had work to do, especially since Baseball Prospectus' PECOTA projections picked the Orioles for a 73-89 record and last-place finish in the American League East.
"PECOTA picked us last again," Duquette said. "I think this the sixth year they've picked us last, so I know we have more work to do. We've got more work to do. There's no question about that."
Around the horn: Though the hire has yet to be announced, the Orioles have promoted Howie Clark to become the club's assistant hitting coach, replacing Mark Quinn, who spent just one season with the organization. Most recently, Clark was the hitting coach for Double-A Bowie. ...Former Orioles farmhand Buck Britton will be the hitting coach at low Class-A Delmarva, his first coaching job. ...Former Orioles LHP Brian Matusz signed a minor league deal with the Arizona Diamondbacks.