Winter Meetings press conferences are full of deep questions to thoughtful managers. Is Chris Davis going to be the Orioles' first baseman? "I've told him he's going to get an opportunity, potentially." Buck Showalter expanded on that calculatedly non-answer answer. The team is still hopeful that Mark Reynolds can be retained. "I think Chris is capable of being a good defender at a lot of places. He's very athletic for a big, strong guy. I think the big thing is that he wants to be a good defender. He doesn't want to be in the DH spot unless that's the way it takes our lineup that night."
Davis is also an option at third base if Manny Machado doesn't make the team out of spring training ("He's going to have to earn it"). Showalter would prefer not to have an everyday designated hitter. "There are exceptions; if David Ortiz has come to us (we didn't offer anything), but I would prefer to be able to move it around. It allowed us to keep some people healthy last year, and [with] Chris's versatility -- Chris played some very good right field for us last year. And left field. He's capable of a lot better at first base, I really believe that in my heart. And third base for that matter."
Thus we have learned that Chris Davis is versatile. Chris Davis can play all the corners. He might be the first baseman, he might not be, he could also be the third baseman if other people don't earn things, and Showalter met his wife while playing here in Nashville, though Chris Davis doesn't seem to have had much to do with that.
- "No one was satisfied," with last year's finish. "There wasn't some celebration after Game 5 against the Yankees. We felt there was an opportunity we let slip away."
- Showalter compared having Manny Machado on the playoff roster to the way he brought a non-eligible Derek Jeter to the 1995 playoffs. One imagines Jeter learning a lot about the bitterest of losses to the Seattle Mariners and really not wanting to do that again. "You hope [a young player] soaks that in."
- "We make a mistake in the American League East thinking we have a corner on competition. The American League West I thought was as good, the Central, Detroit came out of it ... It is what it is. It's the best players in the world and the competition only gets better when you come to this level ... We're going to have to keep grinding [to keep up with the AL East]."
- Now that the Orioles are having success, they've seen a change in player interest in coming to the club. "I haven't seen any discounts yet," Showalter said, but there has been some manifestation of the team's new-found attractiveness in the way minor league free agents have approached the team.
- Showalter is "very excited" about Nolan Reimold's offseason progress. "I think he can be a big contributor for us." Elsewhere on the injury front, Tsuyoshi Wada "is doing great." Showalter thinks he will be healthy and effective sooner than had been previously projected.
- Brian Matusz will get yet another chance to pitch his way into the starting rotation. If at first you don't succeed ...
- Showalter acknowledged "non-closer relievers are very cyclical over history," but doesn't believe that that applies to his relief staff. "I have a group that I'm very confident that I feel real comfortable that last year is [not] something they're not capable of doing again. But that will be up to our starters again, Our bullpen will not be good if we're really struggling with our starters."
- "I had a lot of managers tell me they were impressed with how proactive our front office was" in terms of bringing up relievers to maintain the health of the bullpen.
- Asked if he thought there was a better time to hold the WBC, the manager deadpanned, "Yes. I do" and ceased speaking. After a pregnant pause, he suggested the All-Star break be expanded to accommodate the event.