Baltimore Orioles’ pitchers and catchers report to Sarasota on Wednesday. Those who haven’t already reported, that is. All position players are to have reported by next week, and Opening Day for the Florida Grapefruit League is one week from this coming Saturday.
This off season has been all but void of big free agent signings. The likes of Adam Jones are the least of the free agents still out there (obviously Machado and Harper are the big ones). However this week is the final opportunity for players to sign with a team and still have a semi-normal spring training. I say semi-normal because any guy who signs this week is going to have to make travel arrangements to either Florida or Arizona, lodging arrangements for the next 5-6 weeks, etc. That normally happens over the course of the off season – assuming that guys know where they’re going.
However keep in mind also that these spring games aren’t just a dog and pony show. They don’t count towards the season standings, however they do mean something. Players need them to get into game shape. I’m talking timing at the plate, routes to get to balls on defense, and in some cases guys literally having to “get in shape.” In sum, there’s more of an emphasis on fundamentals as opposed to during the regular season.
I’ll point out the likes of Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner, who both signed during spring training last year with the O’s. Between the two of them, they had one spring start. And that was Cashner’s, which came late in spring training. Both pitchers struggled in the first month of the season. So arguing that these games don’t have meaning isn’t really fair, because that in and of itself should prove that they do. What players will do in spring training in the next few weeks will make a difference when the season starts.
So to me it stands to reason that we’ll see some signings this week. Will any of those be by the Orioles? That remains to be seen.