Buck Showalter Didn’t Feel the MLB Free Agent Market was Good Enough this Year, Understands the Temptation to Take PEDs

February 12, 2013 – 7:20 am by Steven Cuce

The Baltimore Orioles shocked the baseball world last year by finishing the season at 93-69 and earning a Wild Card berth into the postseason. After winning the play-in game against the Oakland Athletics, the Orioles took the New York Yankees to five games in the American League Division Series. It was an impressive run for the O’s. Buck Showalter inspired confidence in his team and it showed Baltimore was for real.

Coming into spring training expectations are set even higher for the Orioles. There’s not a single team that will be caught off guard by Baltimore this time around. Showalter likes the young core he is building this spring.

Buck Showalter joined 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore with Norris & Davis to discuss the Baltimore Orioles reporting to spring training, the World Baseball Classic affecting spring training, the Orioles’ quiet offseason and his views on the Miami clinic PEDs list.

What are guys doing right now at spring training?

“We got about 27-28 guys down here. We got some guys that live down here. Our pitchers and catchers report tomorrow and we have physicals Wednesday morning. We don’t put anybody on the field until they pass the physical. They’ll have a little late start on Wednesday and the full squad reports on Friday and they have their physicals Saturday. We’ll have everyone in camp by Saturday.”

You have spring training games starting early due to the World Baseball Classic. How concerned are you about your players participating in the World Baseball Classic?

“Well everyone has that challenge unless they don’t have anybody playing in it. We’ve had some guys make some decisions, unprompted by us, whether it be Matt Wieters to not participate because of where they feel they need to be physically. We’ve got inter-squad games on the 26th and 27th [of February] because this thing starts so early. I always get those letters from MLB about not taking a representative team or five starters on the road and I asked them last year, ‘Well how do you know who our starters are?’ Who are you to tell me what is a representative club? Last year we played a lot of young people that nobody knew that ended up coming up and helping us. I’m going to tell some of the fans right now a lot of our team is not on the roster and I am not going to just put them out there until March because it’s just too much. I am not going to waste a bullet down here in Sarasota, Fla. The World Baseball Classic has put a different challenge for managers in spring training and our pitching coach and I have talked a lot about what we are going to do. Some guys are not going to get on the field for a game until a lot later.”

What is your take on Orioles fans not being happy with a lack of offseason moves?

“I understand where people are coming from with the way it is conveniently looked at. I don’t think we did anything with that last year. … I could sit here if we had time and give you 30 or 40 moves we made in the offseason that may not be particularly front-page, $25 million dollar moves, but keeping our arbitration guys and that mentality we spent $20 million in arbitration. Our payroll is going up and I gotta tell you guys I didn’t think it was a particularly good free-agent market. I thought there was going to be a lot of bad investments made necessarily. There’s people you’d like to have, but not at what they were able to get. I am more about our guys. You spend too much time coddling someone else’s players. They all got vents and warts just like me, and I like our guys. I am sorry if I trust our players. With Nolan Reimold and Nate McLouth in left field, I like that. I like Adam Jones in center field, Nick Markakis in right. Manny Machado has got a chance to make the club at third base. Jonathan Schoop at short and Brian Roberts back at second base. Chris Davis and Matt Wieters behind the plate. What do you want us to do? I kind of like the competition and the depth and the maneuverability on our pitching staff. So many clubs are caught having to pitch that guy because of their obligation. We’ve got some ways to go and if a guy is struggling we’ll just send him to the minors to get it straightened out, and more times than not he got it straightened out and came back healthy. There’s a great morale and mentality that you are going to do it from within to keep that all possible.”

Your thoughts on players in baseball always looking to get an edge and taking steroids/PEDs? How about the Miami clinic PEDs list?

“Well what I’d like to see examined is somewhat why people feel sensed to do it? I’m sure it’s got something to do with competition. We all have to make decisions in our lives somewhere where no one is watching. That really defines, for the most part, who we are. I am not naive guys. I understand and I told someone if you’re a kid over in the Dominican Republic when you get a chance to cut sugar cane for a dollar an hour for the rest of your life or maybe taking something that might enhance your chances to play in the big leagues. I get the temptation. I do. It’s tough for me to see if a person’s name is mentioned being in the area or walking in the building. It’s going to all shake out and trust me — trust me — I want to take care of our own house and our medical people, our strength and conditioning guys, our trainers like we do every year. But to make sure instead of talking about PEDs being something that is terrible, but instead look in our own backyard. Let’s take care of our business. I’m sure there will be some challenges along the way. The testing has been in a better position than it ever has been. I just want our fans to be able to trust our game. That’s the bottom line. I want our fans to walk in and know we are all playing on an even-level playing field.”

Listen to Buck Showalter on 105.7 The Fan in Baltimore

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