Orioles thoughts and observations on Buck Showalter, Matt Wieters, GM meetings' rumors

Baltimore Sun reporter Eduardo A. Encina talks about Buck Showalter being named as the American League Manager of the Year by the Baseball Writers' Association of America on Tuesday.

On the night he won the American League Manager of the Year award for the third time, Orioles manager Buck Showalter was quick to make sure he didn't relish the honor too much.

While praising every level of the organization -- from the players to the coaches, scouts, baseball operations and player development staffs, and ownership -- Showalter pointed out that while this season was a memorable one, he's not resting on his laurels.


Showalter isn't satisfied with just winning the division or just making it to the AL Championship Series. The bigger goal is still winning the World Series. And when Showalter says that, you believe him. Fans love Showalter for exactly this. He understands Baltimore. He embraces the Orioles' proud history and he knows his role in it.

"It's our responsibility," Showalter said. "It still is every day. We've been doing things today and yesterday to keep this thing going and it's our responsibility. I know that people are counting on us to be as good as we can be next year. We want to sustain this and be something that our fans can count on. I like getting Baltimore. If someone doesn't get it, then that's their loss. We've made a lot of strides in putting a better team on the field, but that's an ongoing challenge. It's an ongoing process."


-- Orioles catcher Matt Wieters saw Showalter from a unique perspective this season. Wieters played just 26 games in 2014 and eventually needed season-ending Tommy John surgery. But being on the bench, he was able to see Showalter in a different light and noticed how well-prepared he is first hand.

"Just how far advanced he's thinking about the moves he's going to make," Wieters said. "I think from being on the bench and being able to watch him, he is sort of moving and itching, and trying to play the game out before it's actually being played out, which is big.

"You can see from the fifth inning on he's kind of figured it out when he is going to make his move and how he is going to be able to affect what the other team does or neutralize some threat the other team has coming off the bench."

As for Wieters, he's continuing the rehabilitation process on his elbow.

"We're really doing good," Wieters said. "It continues to get stronger. We're on the right timetable."

By that timetable, Wieters expects to be able to pick up a ball in late November or early December. He is expected to be ready by spring training.

-- There are many rumors coming out of the general managers' meetings in Phoenix this week. The most interesting is an ESPN report that the Orioles made Nelson Cruz a three-year offer before he officially hit the free-agent market.

As I've written before, Cruz initially was seeking a five-year deal from the Orioles. And we know that at this point, Cruz is seeking at least four years.

Cruz is in Phoenix with his agent, Diego Bentz, and is meeting with teams. According to a Fox Sports report, they met with the Orioles on Tuesday. No word on any progress there.

There was an MLB.com report saying that Billy Butler received a three-year, $30 million offer, and it was believed to be from the Orioles.

That one doesn't make much sense, especially with the organization's top priorities currently being to retain Nick Markakis and Cruz. Granted, Butler mashes at Camden Yards, hitting .318/.371/.561 in Baltimore in his career.

But the Orioles are known to be meticulous this early in the offseason, so throwing a three-year offer at this point in the offseason to a 28-year-old who is coming off his worst offensive season, can't play defense anywhere and would clog the designated hitter spot doesn't make much sense.


As for the rumor that the Orioles are open to moving right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez and the three years remaining on his four-year, $50 million deal, if teams are willing to talk, the Orioles will listen. But Jimenez's contract will be difficult to move.


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