Inbox: O's have high expectations for Mullins?

Beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions from Baltimore fans

August 13th, 2018

Do you see any more big moves before the end of the year?
-- Ryan S., Norfolk, Va.

Probably not. The promotion of Cedric Mullins, the Orioles' ninth-ranked prospect, was probably the last bit of "bigger" news this year, though I do the club will end up calling up more guys (even if it's only for September's roster expansion). We know big changes are coming this offseason. It's not overstating things to call this an organization in flux, as both manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette have contracts that run out this season. At this point in the year, with a month and a half to go, it's almost a certainty that ownership will wait for this season to play out and then make a decision about which way to go.
I know it's early, but what do you think of Mullins? And what are the chances we sign to hold down right field?
-- Martin G., Columbia, Md.

Mullins obviously had an impressive debut, becoming the first Oriole to collect three hits in his first game. So his offense has clearly been as advertised. But the little things -- the ability to bunt, his respect for veterans, speed -- are also there. There's a lot of expectations with this 23-year-old, as the O's hope Mullins can man center field for years to come. It's started off well, but really you need to give it this season (and beyond) before you can really draw a conclusion one way or another. We've seen countless guys come up and perform well in short stints before big league pitchers figure them out. I'm not saying that will happen here, I'm just saying it's impossible to say what Mullins will do after a few days.
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Clearly, Jones would like to stay. But there are some mixed messages right now as the organization starts a rebuild, and Duquette has referenced wanting to see younger players. Ultimately, it's going to come down to what kind of offer the Orioles make to keep Jones. Yes, he has ties in the area and has made a serious impact in the community. But it still has to fit into Baltimore's on-field plans and a reduced payroll for next season.
What are the club's realistic expectations for Chris Davis? And what can be done about that contract?
-- Tim R., Astoria, N.Y.

There's not a whole lot of leverage involved with Davis' contract, which is how the Orioles got into this mess. Ownership thought they were buying a big bat who could stabilize the lineup for years to come, but obviously that hasn't worked out at all. They tried benching him and letting him work stuff out on the side. That worked briefly, but nothing seems to do the trick long term. The O's are likely going to have to eat that record contract. So there aren't many other options for Baltimore -- the club has to play Davis and acknowledge that his pricey contract will very much factor into this rebuild.
When will return to the starting lineup? I know games don't really matter, but he's been our hottest hitter.
-- Michael F., Richmond, Va.

Trumbo did pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Sunday's game, but I know what you mean. The plan was for him to get an injection into that cranky right knee, with the hope that he could return for the Mets series this week. No one is 100 percent this time of year, but the Orioles are hoping they can get Trumbo back to where he's OK playing on that knee. This is something that's hampered him before and just needs to be managed.
What other players may fans expect to come up soon?
-- John B., Washington

Ryan Mountcastle and D.J. Stewart are two names that have circulated a lot, though the team may wait until September callups. Mullins was the big name, but when you look at the Orioles' current roster, there are already a ton of unproven guys. Still, I know people in the organization would like a look at Moutcastle and Stewart, and I'd be surprised if we don't see them at some point before this season ends.