One week since the national emergency created by the coronavirus halted Spring Training and upended the baseball world, the Orioles, like many organizations across the world, are at somewhat of a standstill. From baseball to business operations, future concerts planned for Oriole Park at Camden Yards and everything in between, it’s all on hold while the country reckons with the current health crisis.
“We are checking in with our players daily, making sure they are in good condition, checking in on them in the context of this virus but also their general health and well-being. We feel really good about where our players and staff all are in terms of their safety,” general manager and executive vice president Mike Elias said. “We’re focusing on navigating the next several weeks until ultimately we are playing baseball again.”
In the meantime, the Orioles have mandated all employees work from home through at least the end of the month, frozen their on-the-ground scouting operations in accordance with MLB and are awaiting further guidance from the league and health officials. Regarding the coronavirus, Elias said, “We’ve been lucky and haven’t had any cases or suspected cases connected to the organization.”
Here is a look at where several aspects of the club’s baseball operations stand, as Elias explained during a conference call late Thursday afternoon:
On where the players are:
“We have a small group of players who are still in Sarasota. The players were given a choice to remain in Sarasota or return home or return to Baltimore. Many of them elected to go home. Almost all of our Minor League players are home and safe and have been since the baseball season was postponed. The ones that do remain in Sarasota are here safe and sound, and are here because they are from foreign countries they were not wanting to return to at this time, or are undergoing medical treatment and need to be close to the staff.”
On how pitchers are being advised to stay sharp during the shutdown:
“I think the part about it that’s unprecedented is the unknown resumption date. If we knew it, we wouldn’t have to hedge against something shorter than expected or longer than expected or worse. Because of that, it’s uncharted waters. Our pitching staff has been talking since this started and formulating specific protocol, but we must be mindful first of the public health situation going on ... we don’t want our players spending time in public and in groups of people. … This is certainly uncharted waters for everyone and the pitchers in particular.”
On concern level over uncertainty regarding the Draft:
“I am being calm and patient about it. There is so much to work through by MLB and the players union. The list of items is incredibly long, and then you start digging into each of those items and how it affects everything else, the ripple effects, and it’s just hard to wrap your head around. I know those guys are working around the clock to try to come up with an agreement as quickly as possible and one that makes sense for everybody, and I’m sure that they’ll come up with the best solution they can for the Draft one way or another.
“Personally, I hope we have a Draft this year for a number of reasons. I think the league will get around to that when it gets some of these more immediate items off its plate.”
On what this means for signing international players:
"Thankfully, we weren’t in the process of executing any international agreements right now, so we’re not faced with that question. I do believe, as it looks like now, with this freeze, we will remain dormant when it comes to the [signing period], until something changes."
On Trey Mancini’s status [following surgery to remove a malignant tumor in his colon]:
“He’s doing really well. His spirits are great. His physical condition is great. He’s been up walking around and is out of the hospital. He’s doing terrific, and things are going well. But, obviously, it’s a major event he went through and it’s a process. He has more appointments and tests and we’ll update as we go. But we feel really good about the prognosis, and how he came out of surgery and where he is and where he’s going.”