Buck Showalter

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Buck Showalter: Fans don’t want to hear MLB players complain about salary cuts

Buck Showalter: Fans don’t want to hear MLB players complain about salary cuts

As Major League Baseball and its players union weigh the league’s proposal for returning to play amid the coronavirus pandemic, several players have spoken out against accepting further pay cuts in order to return to the field.

The two sides agreed to prorate all player salaries in March based on the number of games lost as a result of the outbreak. However, MLB has reportedly asked the union to reconsider that deal after it became increasingly clear the season would have to begin without fans in the stands.

That’s prompted several players, including Tampa Bay Rays starter Blake Snell and Philadelphia Phillies outfielder Bryce Harper, to publicly argue against the idea of sacrificing even more of their salaries.

“Y'all gotta understand, man, for me to go—for me to take a pay cut is not happening, because the risk is through the roof,” Snell said on his Twitch channel last week. “It's a shorter season, less pay.

“No, I gotta get my money. I'm not playing unless I get mine, OK? And that's just the way it is for me. Like, I'm sorry you guys think differently, but the risk is way the hell higher and the amount of money I'm making is way lower. Why would I think about doing that?”

However, league officials aren’t the only ones who disagree with players like Snell. In an interview with 105.7 The Fan on Friday, former Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he wouldn’t be putting up with comments like that from his own players.

“I know one thing, fans don’t want to hear players talking about, ‘I’m not going to play for that type of pay cut,’” Showalter said. “Somebody that’s getting some real bad advice is making those statements. I’d be telling my guys, ‘You need to shut up.’ Fans working at home trying to make ends meet don’t want to hear about you complaining about not getting your full salary.”

Showalter has spent parts of 20 seasons as an MLB skipper, making five playoff appearances and receiving three Manager of the Year awards. He managed the Orioles for nine years before being fired in 2018 following a season in which Baltimore finished 47-115. The 63-year-old is now a contributor for the YES Network and MLB Network.

Known for his stoic attitude and intense approach to the game, Showalter was a member of the “old guard” that pushed against allowing players to show their emotions on the baseball field. With MLB hoping to return this summer and provide fans with a sign of hope amid a global pandemic, the former manager doesn’t want to hear from players who don’t believe they would be receiving their fair share.

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A free agent in 2018, what does Manny Machado's future look like?

A free agent in 2018, what does Manny Machado's future look like?

Manny Machado is arguably one of the best third basemen in the league.

At the tender age of 24, he has won two Gold Gloves and has been voted to three All-Star games. On average, he’s hitting 36 homers and 91 RBIs and is continuing to add to his resume. He hit a crucial home run Friday night against the Yankees and stole a base hit from Blue Jay's Devon Travis Opening Day on an insane catch. He will become a free agent in 2018 and is expected to make at least $300 million, but the third baseman told reporter's he's trying to live in the moment. 

“My future is to play baseball. If I don’t play baseball, I’m not going to do anything, so if I don’t go out there and produce today, I might not have an opportunity to get [a big contract],” Machado said. “So I don’t think that far along. I just try to stay in the moment and stay pitch by pitch. That’s why baseball’s a beauty, because if you start thinking ahead or you start thinking about this, that’s when you go into all these slumps.

Machado showed us last season that he is not just capable of playing third base, but can also cover shortstop. During the 2016 season, Machado played 45 games at shortstop while J.J. Hardy was out with a fractured left foot. This scenario could play out again as Hardy’s contract is up in 2017 and the O’s would have to pay him his $14 million option to keep him on the roster. Machado told FOX Sports that playing shortstop has been on his mind. 

“It’s always been there, I’m not going to lie. It’s always been there. . . I played a little bit there (last year). That was fun. I trained this year to play there just in case anything happened. I wasn’t ready last year to do it. It kind of took a toll on my body. But I came prepared this year for anything. It’s there. [But] I’ve made myself who I am playing third base. Everything I’ve done has been third base. I’ve won my Gold Gloves. I’ve done my thing over there, so why change? That’s the big question people always ask: ‘Why do you want to change when you’re the player who you are now?’ I’ve been thinking a lot about that lately.”

And there is no question that his fellow teammates understand the type of player they have on their team.

“You always wonder what it would feel like to play with one of the greatest of all time — say, a Ken Griffey Jr,” Orioles first baseman Chris Davis says. “I catch myself sometimes saying, ‘Am I in the same infield as one of the all-time great third basemen?'”

Davis went on to say,

“Some of the plays he makes, you can’t even practice ’em. Who practices catching groundballs in the dirt in foul territory and throwing guys out? He has raised the bar for our infield. And he has set the bar so high for himself, he’s expected to make those plays.”

Machado's diverse skill set could come in handy come 2018. Being able to play both positions will make him more marketable to other teams and gives him the opportunity to play whichever position he feels stronger at depending on his age. For Machado, playing his best baseball right now is what's important to him. 

“I don’t set expectations. I’d just like to stay healthy and leave it all on the field. That’s the only thing we can control at the end of the day. We put our hard work in in the offseason and during the year to do the things that we get paid to do so I just don’t expect anything.”


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Despite success, Orioles have great deal of work ahead

Despite success, Orioles have great deal of work ahead

Thursday’s lengthy joint news conference with manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette was full of news, and not one overriding theme. 

Of course, Duquette mentioned the club’s success. After 14 straight losing seasons, the Orioles have now had five straight non-losing seasons for the first time in more than 30 years, and three postseason appearances. 

A year ago when the pair sat down, Duquette said that he didn’t know who would be on the team in Apr. 2016, but it would be a good team. 

This year, he has a much better idea. 

Six of the nine positions are set and barring trades and injuries, nearly all of the 12-man pitching staff is on hand, too. 

But, there are vital decisions to be made. Who will replace pitching coach Dave Wallace whose retirement was announced by Showalter. 

Wallace’s departure isn’t a shock. He’d been away from the club for a few days each month to handle a family issue, but he had done brilliant work. 

Zach Britton tweeted his thanks to Wallace. Before Wallace, Britton had never established himself as either a major league starter or reliever, and now he’s baseball’s best. 

Wallace coaxed a career best season out of Bud Norris in 2014, and helped Brad Brach and Mychal Givens establish themselves as major leaguers. 

He’ll be missed as well by bullpen coach Dom Chiti, who could succeed Wallace, or who may choose not to work with a new pitching coach. 

The guess here is that the new pitching coach will be someone from outside the Orioles organization.

While the Orioles have some internal candidates, Showalter’s seeming reluctance, expressed again on Thursday, to move them out of them present jobs argues for an outsider. 

A name to keep in mind is Andy Hawkins, who the Orioles interviewed along with Wallace three years ago. The onetime bullpen coach of the Texas Rangers, Hawkins spent this year as pitching coach for Kansas City’s Triple-A Omaha team. 

There will be many others mentioned, too. 

Showalter also said he wanted to move Adam Jones out of the leadoff spot. Whether Hyun Soo Kim moves up or an external candidate is brought in, isn’t known. 

The Orioles may have to replace both Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters as well as fill the designated hitter position. 

It’s possible that Trey Mancini could get a shot at DH, but he only played in five major league games, and was only called up because Steve Pearce was hurt. 

Showalter talked of an emotional conversation he had with Wieters, whose talents have often been underappreciated by Orioles fans, but not Showalter. 

Duquette spoke highly of Chance Sisco, who the Orioles drafted three years ago, but Sisco hasn’t had any real experience above Double-A. 

Besides Sisco, Duquette mentioned the organizational depth he believes the team has at catch, citing Caleb Joseph and Francisco Pena as well as Audry Perez, a Triple-A All-Star.

If the Orioles don’t retain Wieters who will be highly sought after by a number of teams, the team could elect to try and sign a placeholder. 

Nick Hundley, who filled in for Wieters through much of 2014, could be a candidate. 

Duquette wouldn’t say if the Orioles planned on qualifying offers for Trumbo and Wieters if that mechanism is still available a month from now. 

Chris Davis’ play was affected by a sore left hand, Showalter acknowledged, and mentioned there were a couple of minor medical issues that needed to be addressed. 

The Orioles aren’t likely to be as active on the free agent market as they were a year ago when they retained Wieters on a qualifying offer, re-signed Davis and Darren O’Day and added Pedro Alvarez and Yovani Gallardo during spring training. 

But, they need to be exploring longer-term possibilities with Manny Machado, Chris Tillman and perhaps Jonathan Schoop. 

Duquette said that he’d explored extensions with Machado and Tillman twice each, but with no success and acknowledged that Schoop, who won’t be a free agent for three years, is worth locking up. 

In his review of the season just past, Duquette opined that the 2016 team was “a personal favorite of mine.” 

His imprint on the team was evident. He made an excellent trade, acquiring Trumbo for Steve Clevenger, signed Kim and brought in useful pieces—Alvarez, Michael Bourn, Joey Rickard and Vance Worley.

Duquette said that despite six starting pitchers and an excellent bullpen, the Orioles would look for more starters in a fallow free agent market and some additional left-handers. 

His most important work this offseason could come by augmenting the bench so that Showalter feels better about resting Davis, Jones, Machado, Schoop and J.J. Hardy without an enormous drop in production.