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December 7, 2016

Buck Showalter

National Harbor, Maryland

Q. Buck, who is that Rule V draft pick that's going to change the season?
BUCK SHOWALTER: We've had a couple. Got some, I think Joey is going to be a good one. Got one of the best utility guys in our league Flaherty. We'll see. We've got to down to 12. At some point tomorrow morning, we'll walk down -- I think we'll participate in the Minor League's, too. I don't know if there's a better financial return for your money than the Rule V draft. A club with $650,000 for a guy that -- that's the price you pay for a guy in the draft, and this guy has already played college fastball at Alabama before you put him in the pros, ordinarily.

Q. How do you react when you see deals being made here?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Sometimes we have a selective memory, I try to, but this went on last year to some extent and the year before, whether it's the Yankees or whether it's the Red Sox or the Blue Jays or whoever. It's part of the job description in our division. I was thinking about it today, it's kind of like the tortoise and hare story. We're kind of the tortoise in Winter Meetings. Sometimes they catch up to the hare, and they will pick us to finish last in the division, and we'll take on that role again.

Q. Dan's been pretty clear that you guys aren't going to look to add (indiscernible).
BUCK SHOWALTER: After Batista? He says that tongue-in-cheek. He's a good player.

Q. He's pretty clear starting pitching-wise that you are not going to add outside of the organization. What about some of those guys makes you feel confident going into the spring?
BUCK SHOWALTER: We have six starters that are capable of starting and pitching well in the Major Leagues and have in the past. I hate saying that, we have four guys on the last year of their contracts because it's a reflection that they didn't put as much effort into the first whatever, and that's not the case.

But it's obvious over the track record of people that they have a tendency to do that. We're actually getting calls on our starting pitching because we potentially have a surplus, and you put Mike Wright and Tyler Wilson and some other guys in there -- I was hoping to go to 26, that we might carry that 13th pitcher. We could also entertain going with six starters. We're not going to give them away. We'll see how Dylan is doing in the spring, about where he's going to fit.

We're going to hopefully have a full season with Darren and have Donnie Hart maybe for all year, and those are two things that we didn't have last year. We think Michael's made great strides. He's a guy we can trust. I like where we are pitching. And I know that will probably bring some eye rolls from a lot of people, but you look at Dylan's progress and the way -- probably our best pitcher the last month or so, and Miley finished up strong. A lot of our guys had their best months in September. I know what looks on paper, when you look at what the Red Sox are going to run out there and the Yankees and Blue Jays, but we'll see. We'll see.

Q. You've got six starting pitchers, with the need to watch Dylan's innings, is there a way to use them all in some way, shape or form during the entire season?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'm just going to say it again, I don't see we're going to do anything differently with Dylan that we wouldn't with Gausman or Mike Wright or any of those young pitchers. He's almost two years -- you've got to tell me exactly how long he's removed from that surgery. I was going to say, he's probably healthier than some people who haven't had that surgery yet. So inning-wise, I'm not going to penalize and let him get penalized for that to start in our rotation. I think he's one of our five best.

Q. Are you still set on Mike Wright developing as a starter?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Yes. Yes, I think Mike, he's always got potential to do both, but I want all of these guys to continue down that path because we're going to need them. We're going to need all of them. And a lot of guys that have done well in the Big Leagues have followed the path that Mike has followed where they had some struggles early on. There's a guy pitching for the Cubs right now that had a very similar path to Mike Wright.

Q. (Indiscernible) has really flourished. How much are you going to miss him?
BUCK SHOWALTER: He would have flourished under anybody. Who knows what is going to happen with Matt and Trumbo and Mark and Pedro. A lot of people keep forgetting about Pedro in that whole deal. He's pretty solid for us, one of the better DHs in the American League.

Matt's going to end up a good place, and I haven't turned my back on the fact that he might be with us, because this market, like back to the tortoise and the hare, you have to be good at judging how this thing is going to fall when the chairs stop moving around who has a chair, but Matt's going to have a big chair. He's going to do well.

Q. Trumbo is Colorado, now that's done --
BUCK SHOWALTER: He's already done? He signed today?

Q. He meant Desmond signed.
BUCK SHOWALTER: In today's world they might sign both of them, who knows. I don't think Desmond is going to play first base.

Q. Is the door open for Trumbo, as well?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Oh, sure. It's always been. We made a big point of emphasis to know who we are and who we are not. Trying to stay consistent with that. Every once in a while you do something that might just step out of what that is, but that's not up to me. That's up to ownership. We've got as supportive of owner for our market as any manager could possibly ask for. Been rock solid.

Q. Do you think the current lead-off hitter is on the roster right now?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'm always going to look at it that way and it could be impacted by the Rule V draft tomorrow, I look at it like that, too. Could be -- I could tell you more who it's not going to be.

Q. You told us after the season (indiscernible).
BUCK SHOWALTER: I said I would -- I always leave myself some wiggle room. Y'all know enough and seen enough. I'd really rather strongly not be. I would really rather strongly rather it would have been last year.

Q. You talk about Dan being good and kind of waiting along --
BUCK SHOWALTER: How did you like the tortoise and hare thing? That hit me as I was coming down here.

Q. As far as catcher is concerned, is that a position where you like to kind of have an idea of what you're doing?
BUCK SHOWALTER: That market goes in a hurry. There's times that we can see it, you don't have to strike with it, but a person's got to be there. I'm thinking the right person, you know, currently in-house, without getting into who that might be. We're going to have some maneuverability on our roster. We're only 36 now. We're going to be able to move some things around, unlike a lot of these clubs that aren't.

Q. Is there a scenario where you would move Adam to right field?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I don't see that. The way we're currently constructed, no, I'm not going to put that out there. Adam's our center fielder and does a great job with it.

Q. Last spring obviously started difficultly for Kim. If he does play in the WBC for South Korea, is that good for him, bad for him, given how Spring Training went last year?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'm real sensitive to the pressure those guys are under. I know a little bit more than what I'm going to speak about here about where he is at playing or not playing.

We're going to support all of our guys in the WBC -- I'm going to look out what's best for the Orioles, but also you're trying to bridge that with what pressures. I know it's real important to Korea. And whichever way he decides to go, we're going to be in full support of it.

Would I rather he play, not play, we all have a perfect-world scenario. I think about all the things that challenged him last year that are not going to challenge him this year, and we talk about guys that could go to another level, I think he's got that potential. We saw flashes of it. You know, the left-handed pitching thing just kind of snowballed. He's a lot better than that. I think he's an adequate defender, a guy that I could play right field instead of left field if we needed to, especially in our ballpark. There's a lot of things that we talked about, some other people.

Q. Do you think he has the skill set to lead off?
BUCK SHOWALTER: He's got statistical skills. We were in the meeting today, how much strikeouts are at an all-time high, walks are at an all-time high, stolen bases on the bottom; I think we're seeing the evolution of a lot of things, as we viewed them growing up. So what's the most important attribute of a lead-off guy? Only leading off one time per game, once, and we put so much on this. So I guess it's on base percentage.

Q. How important would it be for you to get somebody who can steal some bases? You had four as your top last year.
BUCK SHOWALTER: You've got to understand who you are, and I understood who we weren't. We've tried a little bit pushing it, trying to make it happen and it just wasn't there. It wasn't in our skill set. It's something that Dan's talked a lot about, but you just can't -- you can take a guy that can steal some of bases and can't hit or you take a guy that can steal a lot of bases in the Minor Leagues but he can't steal in the Big Leagues because the pitchers are faster to the plate and the catchers throw better.

I think that's part of the evolution of stolen bases is how much better pitchers are at holding runners. They are teaching the change-up at Aberdeen and also telling them to be below 1-3 at the plate.

Q. Any other rumors?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You bring up the rumor, I'll shoot it down.

Q. Interest in Chris Carter?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I haven't heard that one time in the room. But that doesn't mean -- Dan does a lot of things stealth, but where I'm concerned, ignorance is bliss.

Q. Seth Smith?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Haven't heard Seth Smith either -- he's from Ole Miss, but I could overlook that.

Q. Michael Saunders?
BUCK SHOWALTER: That's a name. That's a name. Definitely from a notable standpoint, he should be fine. Someone will end up with a good player there.

Q. In this case, Nick (indiscernible)?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Always talk with and about Nick. Good for somebody, obviously he's on our list.

Q. At the end of the year, Michael Bourn was playing a prominent role. Has his name come up again?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Oh, yeah. That's the thing, when Dan is looking at the Rule V guys, if you view guys as a fourth outfielder and they look at themselves as a second or third, and God bless them, they should, but it's what price you're paying -- I don't want to mention names because that doesn't mean they are a fourth outfielder and getting 7 or $8 million and projected not to start for a team, we can't do that.

Talk more about Dariel Alvarez, wouldn't forget about him. Spoke to Bobby an hour ago from the Dominican. He's going to miss Christmas because of the playoffs, and said Rose is doing real well. We're getting toward try to bring him back.

Q. When it comes to speaking of Chris Carter and Trumbo and Pedro Alvarez --

Q. You've had guys who were pretty much strict DHs and you've had guys who maneuver.
BUCK SHOWALTER: We've had some DHs that played right field, too.

Q. Is it your preference to have someone who plays there basically every day, or would you rather have a multitude of guys where you can rest regulars?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You know, I can say, this is what I would rather have, but it just depends on which way we have to go. Last year because we signed Pedro late, it was good for us, especially at that price. Pushed Mark out into the outfield.

But, you know, I don't look at Trey as a DH-only candidate. I'd like for him to not only play first base, I'd like for him to play the outfield. All these people I talk about in the Rule V draft, I say where can we play them, how can we carry them in the American League East for seven months, how can they impact the team. That's why Joey made it through the injury. McFarland was like a utility pitcher. Flaherty, could play him anywhere. Can't just sit over there on the bench and take up place.

What was your original question?

Q. About having a DH.
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'd rather him be able to play. Say it's Trey, I'd rather him go play first base and get Chris off the field for a day to or two, and he will do that.

Q. Is Chris okay with playing some right field?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Chris will do whatever the team needs him to do. But over the long haul, I wouldn't want to do it. I think physically it would be a big toll on him, and before I came here, I kind of weighed into him about, I want to make sure I wasn't saying no and he wants to do it. You don't assume anything.

But Chris will do whatever the team needs him to do for periods of time. Like Manny going over to shortstop. But we tried to create that, what the team needs. But long term, right field, I don't think it's good for our infield defense.

Q. How long does it take for you to normally decompress after a season? Will this one take a little longer?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I think they all do. I think that's why spring is so -- I don't know, I don't want to get too deep, uplifting, whatever the word you want to use. It's a fresh start. It's spring. You know, flowers are blooming, everyone is going to hit .300 that hit .190 last year and some pitcher is magically going to be throwing the ball over the plate and you're going to be playing in late October, and then reality sets in.

The way our season ended, it was a deep cut and abrupt and hurts and still hurts. I'm hoping at some point it goes away, but I think I will abate some, but never completely go away. You wear it real deeply.

Q. I know every day you want to put your best lineup out there that you can, but would you ideally like to have a bench that you are more comfortable playing a little bit more?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Oh, yeah, without a doubt. I wanted to do it last year, and the year before. I really wanted to be able to get -- I don't care, just because a guy is 24, 25, they need some mental days, too. I really want to give Adam -- as much as he'll fight me on it, and we'll talk about how much they want to play every day, and I want them to play every day, but believe me, this is as much their makeup as it is of us writing the lineup that way. I really want to do a better job of giving them some time here.

It's more you're not going to recharge your body over a 162-game season. It's more of a mental and emotional day away from it.

Q. Could you force yourself to play players that like, in other words, Ryan Flaherty, perfectly serviceable Major League player, couldn't he play a little bit more?
BUCK SHOWALTER: That's a matter of debate for some people, but I agree with you. If he can stay on. He had some injury issues last year, but of course. He went down a couple times -- once I believe.

Of course. I'd like to do that more.

Q. How do you toe that fine line, kind of a badge of honor with some of these guys playing 162 games.
BUCK SHOWALTER: They like that. I don't know, maybe it started with Cal. Just something about it. They want to post up and be there and kind of play through some things. It's one of those things, you're not going to get them to come and say, I need a day. You're going to have to take the bull by the horns and just do it.

But then if you do it, first thing is everybody is standing in front of their locker saying, what's wrong with you today, and you're asking me that and rightfully so. So you actually create -- I think they get almost a guilt trip, and I don't want to take that away from them, but it's not. You're actually making our club better because somebody's playing makes him better and it's giving you some time here or there.

So what does that mean that Jonathan Schoop plays 159 instead of 162? How much of a difference is it that going to make? Usually the game makes you take some days off, but we'll see.

Q. You've been kind of handcuffed at times with a short bench, where you sometimes had three guys. If you take a Rule V pick, there's more maneuvering. In a perfect world, if you take one, is it a pitcher or hitter?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'll take the best one that impact us, I know that's cliché. But the offensive player has got to be able to defend and/or run. He's got to bring something. Probably the defensive part of it is going to be big.

Pitcher, you look at a bunch of them, they all have different risks and rewards. Some have performed at higher levels, some of them you roll the dice. For sure, we'll take somebody.

Q. When you do that kind of -- when you do your homework because you have scouts, on those 12, whatever you said you guys have --
BUCK SHOWALTER: 14 this morning for a while.

Q. Have you had eyes on all those 12, not just film?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Yes. Some form or fashion. I was looking at a report from a 15 that's also 16. And then you put the film with the verbal and the eyeballs and the spin rates -- we spend time calling their clubhouse attendant and their high school coach and gym teacher and put the rest of it together, and hopefully you get some people like McFarland and Flaherty, good human beings that are also good players.

Q. Did you see enough from Joey last year for you to be confident that he can be a regular player?
BUCK SHOWALTER: You know, I'd like to say yes, and I should, and I probably will, but there's also a part that I found all of a sudden they show back up and there's a whole different mind-set. Now I've got options. Now is my thumb right. We're going to bring him to mini camp if the union allows us. We have to get permission.

But I can't say for sure who we're getting, but he was in a great -- he had nothing to lose. Tampa didn't protect him. He came in letting it rip, firing on all levels. I don't know what this spring is going to bring. Might be a week in and go, same guy, we're in good shape. I'm open and I'm thinking that's what we're going to see, but I'm cautious that, let's just hold down before we make him third or fourth outfielder.

He was our best lead-off guy. There's three or four that people very conveniently forgot about it.

Q. Did you look at the potential this year of Kim playing five or six times against lefties and righties?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I'd like to. There's nothing statistically in America, but it's too small a sampling, way too small a sampling. I have any ideas, like certain left-handers that Pete hit well last year and certain left-handers that I think Kim will hit well. If you look at his track record in Korea, it's been pretty good.

Like I said, there's going to be a lot of things that are going to be a lot for comfortable for him this year, spring, just everything. It's going to be interesting whether he plays in the WBC. He's getting a lot of pressure, and rightfully so.

Q. What is the biggest difference between Tillman of 2015 and Tillman of 2016?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Healthier, stronger. Went through some periods toward the end, but I just thought he came in, in great shape, great mind-set. A lot of people forget, about two-thirds way through the season, he was in the Top 3 for the Cy Young.

Who is Boston going to pitch on Opening Day? I was thinking about that the other day. Who do they pitch? Who is their opening day pitcher?

Q. If you won the Cy Young, I think you get it.
BUCK SHOWALTER: Just gave up $100 million, I might start that guy.

Q. On the rumor, Brett Gardner?
BUCK SHOWALTER: I haven't heard that one at all. They wouldn't trade with us. Unless it was somebody they wanted to pass off on us. Tried that before.

Q. Anything with Manny's situation that adds emphasis or urgency?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Where is he going? There's a rumor I'll shoot down. We've got control of him, for two, two years? This year and one more. That's when my contract runs out. Timing's everything. (Laughter) and Manny's not going to be here -- there's your answer. (Laughter) that's as deep as I'll go.

Q. Does he get something of a short end of the stick when you talk about the best players in the game?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Does he get the short end?

Q. In terms of MVP talk.
BUCK SHOWALTER: The Gold Glove thing, obviously there's some good ones there, he gets penalized for balls he gets to that people don't even sniff. I know a guy we haven't seen in a while that's foreseen as a great third baseman and you watch him play and Manny play for a three-game series -- I don't know how he can get the short end. He's one of the best players in the game.

Q. In terms of Manny in the rumor mill -- how about Castillo?
BUCK SHOWALTER: Good name. I'll never let you be wrong -- you've got to have a guy on your club named Wellington -- what's the food?

Q. Beef Wellington.
BUCK SHOWALTER: Have they non-tendered him? And now he's been offered a two or three-year deal? He's going to be expensive.

Q. They didn't want to pay.
BUCK SHOWALTER: They could have signed him in a trade.

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