Home Scott German: Holding back Jackson Holliday is the right decision for the O’s

Scott German: Holding back Jackson Holliday is the right decision for the O’s

Scott German
baltimore orioles
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I was a bit upset to read that Jackson Holliday would not be opening the season in Baltimore.

I’m not alone in being disappointed that Holliday will instead make his 2024 season debut in another port city – Norfolk, home of the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate.

My initial thought was the Orioles were just being the Orioles, holding back Holliday just long enough to gain another year of team control, per the guidelines of Major League Baseball collective bargaining agreement.

Or even if this were a few seasons ago when the Orioles needed every young star they had in the system to get people out to Camden Yards.

But this isn’t 2022. Plenty has changed in two years.

First, the Orioles don’t need him, right now, at least.

There’s absolutely no need to rush him to Baltimore. He’s had just a little over a month of Triple-A experience.

Baltimore used Norfolk effectively last season; sending pitcher Grayson Rodriguez to Norfolk was just what Rodriguez needed.

Second, with new ownership the Orioles isn’t going to be looking to cut corners anymore.

David Rubenstein, who is now majority owner of the club, made it clear a week ago that he’s prepared to invest whatever is needed to keep the club competitive in the AL East, regarded as the toughest in MLB.

In short, the Orioles won’t be shopping at the discount stores any more.

Holliday will have plenty of talent around him to begin the season.

Coby Mayo, Connor Norby, Kyle Stowers and Heston Kjerstad, all top 100 MLB prospects, will be in Norfolk as well.

There’s simply no room for them in Baltimore on Thursday.

That’s something I didn’t expect to be writing about for much of the last 20 years – too much talent at the big-league level.

According to Orioles GM Mike Elias, the decision not to bring Holliday to Baltimore to start the season came down to the fact that Holliday wasn’t quite ready to face elite left-handed pitching.

My first reaction to this was, “So, where’s the elite left-handed pitching he will face in Norfolk?”

The answer is, he won’t.

But he will see some solid prospects and some seasoned veterans desperately trying to get back to the Majors.

I won’t be surprised to see Holliday in Baltimore the first time an infielder pulls a muscle or goes hitless for a week.

The irony of this is that Holliday and the other budding young stars are victims of an incredibly productive spring training for Baltimore that created a bottleneck at the top.

Only by holding back a few players could the bottleneck be reduced.

Just to think, a few seasons ago this team lost 110 games.

Makes that bottleneck tolerable.

Scott German

Scott German

Scott German covers UVA Athletics for AFP, and is the co-host of “Street Knowledge” podcasts focusing on UVA Athletics with AFP editor Chris Graham. Scott has been around the ‘Hoos his whole life. As a reporter, he was on site for UVA basketball’s Final Fours, in 1981 and 1984, and has covered UVA football in bowl games dating back to its first, the 1984 Peach Bowl.