Baltimore Orioles Rumors

Baltimore Orioles trade and free agent rumors from MLBTradeRumors.com.

AL West Notes: Angels, Astros, L.J. Hoes, Athletics

As the Angels continue to hover around the .500 mark, internal tensions have arisen, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports. It appears that the particular issue that has led to some discord involves the respective roles of the front office and field staff regarding the use of data in on-field decisionmaking. Of course, GM Jerry Dipoto and manager Mike Scioscia have had some well-publicized differences of opinion in the past, and Rosenthal suggests that there are signs of a new rift.

Here’s more from the AL West:

  • The Astros have a variety of difficult 40-man decisions upcoming, as they did last year when they ultimately left Delino DeShields Jr. unprotected in the Rule 5 draft, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle writes (in a piece we cited yesterday regarding the club’s pitching needs). That could seemingly drive a deal or two this summer or in the future. GM Jeff Luhnow acknowledges the roster pressure, but rejects the idea that he’ll move valuable assets solely for that reason. “Yeah, I mean, you could argue that we have a lot of guys to protect, and we’re going to leave some unprotected, so why not turn that into something we can use right now? It’s a fair argument,” Luhnow said. “At the same time, we’re looking for the best 25 players, and we never know if that’s going to come from those guys that need to be added to the 40-man (roster) down the road or now. You have to balance the short term and the long term. We’re certainly going to be open to trading players. Whether they’re already on the 40-man or have to be added to the 40-man this offseason to ease the logjam a little bit, we wouldn’t trade someone just to ease it.”
  • Per Drellich, one Astros 40-man occupant who could conceivably be dealt is L.J. Hoes, who is currently playing at Triple-A. The Orioles have some interest in Hoes — who they shipped to Houston as part of the Bud Norris deal a while back — as well as Alex Presley, who is not on the 40-man. Likewise, the Angels are “thought” to be giving some consideration to Hoes, Chris Cotillo of SB Nation tweets. The 25-year-old Hoes has slashed an excellent .335/.417/.466 over 255 plate appearances at Fresno this year, with eleven stolen bases and three long balls.
  • Athletics GM Billy Beane is still considering his trade deadline options, as Joe Stiglich of CSNBayArea.com reports. Oakland had been on a nice run before being swept by the Royals over the weekend. “Time will tell, it’s an important time period,” said Beane. “Despite having played better in the last couple weeks, we’re still in quite a hole. Any definitive direction would be decided by how we do moving forward.” If the club does ultimately pull the trigger on a sell-off, Beane suggested that he may be inclined to seek younger assets to bolster the club’s prospect pool. “At some point, if we consider going another direction,” he said, “we’re probably best served to take a [look at] depth and rebuild our farm system. That’s the currency for us. We fully expected [the farm system] i not to be at its peak because we’ve traded a lot of players.”

Dylan Bundy Shut Down Indefinitely

Highly-regarded Orioles pitching prospect Dylan Bundy has been shut down indefinitely as he continues to deal with shoulder issues, manager Buck Showalter told reporters (press conference video and story via the Baltimore Sun). There is currently no schedule for the former fourth overall draft pick to return to action.

Bundy reached the majors briefly in his first full season as a pro at just 19 years of age, and entered the 2013 campaign rated as the game’s second best overall prospect. But he never threw a competitive pitch that season and ultimately required Tommy John surgery.

More recently, elbow issues have given way to shoulder concerns for the 22-year-old. Bundy experienced soreness about a month ago while working at Double-A and has not pitched since.

As the Sun’s Dan Connolly reports (links to Twitter), famed surgeon Dr. James Andrews found evidence of calcification in the back area of the shoulder. The incomparably experienced Andrews indicated to Bundy that he’d never before observed that type of calcium buildup in that area. Per the report, the calcium accumulation should at some point no longer cause pain, but Bundy will need to wait until then to get back on the mound.

That makes for an uncertain timeline. “Dylan throwing again is not imminent,” said Showalter. Details of Bundy’s path back to action remain sketchy, as Showalter explained that he’ll be “just kind of shut down for the near future, for a while, [to] kind of let everything calm down [and] see where we are. … He won’t be throwing for a little while, we’ll see how long that is.”

The latest medical evaluations may actually not be entirely negative, the skipper suggested, as he noted that he has not “heard surgery mentioned” as a possibility. Bundy himself added that there is no current thought that a surgical procedure will be necessary, as Connolly tweets. While Bundy says he hopes to be able to pitch again this year, he adds that a return that swift seems unlikely.

Notably, because Bundy signed a major league deal out of the draft (as is no longer permitted), he has already burned through all of his option years despite just one big league call-up, Connolly notes on Twitter. That obviously could complicate the team’s ability to retain him if he is not ready to contribute at the big league level come next spring.

Meanwhile, Showalter also noted that former first-round pick Matt Hobgood will need shoulder surgery. Hobgood, 24, went fifth overall back in 2009, but has never been able to harness his potential. He owns a 4.98 ERA over 325 career innings in the minors and has been working as a reliever over recent seasons.

Baltimore did get somewhat more promising news on another young arm, Hunter Harvey. Showalter said that the 20-year-old right-hander will soon begin a throwing program after being diagnosed with a flexor mass strain in his forearm earlier in the year. Harvey entered the season as a consensus top-100 prospect.


Orioles Sign First-Round Pick DJ Stewart

The Orioles announced that they have signed first-round pick DJ Stewart. The outfielder was selected with the No. 25 overall pick.  Stewart’s deal calls for him to earn $2,064,500, full slot for his draft position, according to Jim Callis of MLB.com (on Twitter).  Callis adds that he considers Stewart to be one of the best bats in the 2015 class.

Stewart, an FSU product, slashed .318/.500/.593 with 15 homers in 64 games last season. As a sophomore, the 21-year old was the ACC Player of the Year and an All-ACC First Team selection after leading the conference in batting average, slugging percentage, and on-base percentage.

Stewart was ranked No. 26 by Fangraphs’ Kiley McDaniel, No. 30 by of Baseball America, No. 36 by and Jonathan Mayo/Jim Callis of MLB.com, and No. 70 by Keith Law of ESPN.com.  Originally chosen by the Yankees in the 28th round of the 2012 draft, Stewart has improved his stock tremendously over the last three years.  In their scouting report, BA was highly complimentary of Stewart’s quick swing and plate discipline.  With an adjustment to his stance, some scouts believe that he’ll be able to hit for more power going forward.



Cafardo On Buchholz, Samardzija, Cueto, Hamels

In today’s column, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe pit Red Sox shortstop Xander Bogaerts against Tigers shorstop Jose Iglesias.  Of course, Boston once had both, but Iglesias was shipped out in 2013 in a three-team deal that brought Jake Peavy to Fenway.  Bogaerts offers more potential as a hitter, but Iglesias clearly has the superior glove.  That difference in the field never made Bogaerts doubt himself, however.

No, that’s just a guy who’s really gifted beyond anyone else,” Bogaerts said. “I just paid attention to trying to get better. I never compared myself to him because you can’t compare anyone to him. He’s a great defensive player and flashy.”

More from today’s column..

  • The same teams that are pursuing Red Sox pitcher Clay Buchholz are going after White Sox hurler Jeff Samardzija.  That list of teams includes the Royals, Tigers, Twins, Blue Jays, Yankees, Cardinals, Orioles, Angels, and Dodgers, according to Cafardo.  Late last week, Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reported that the Astros are also interested in Samardzija.  Meanwhile, at this time, the Red Sox reportedly are not interested in moving Buchholz.
  • The Astros are a team to watch in July as they could get very aggressive in their pursuit of a starter.  Cafardo hears that the Astros have been evaluating Reds pitchers Johnny Cueto and Mike Leake quite a bit.  Cole Hamels obviously stands as one of the biggest prizes out there, but Cafardo feels he likely wouldn’t sign off on a trade to Houston.  Over the weekend, Hamels indicated that he would be “open-minded” to being traded to any team.
  • Giants GM Bobby Evans told Cafardo that his club is out of the starting pitching market for now thanks to the upcoming returns of Matt Cain and Jake Peavy.
  • The Phillies would like to sell off their pieces little by little rather than make a ton of deals right at the deadline.  However, Cafardo hears that teams aren’t coming to the table with actual offers yet, leaving the Phillies frustrated.
  • Baseball execs who spoke with Cafardo say the Mets are still the best match for Rockies shortstop Troy Tulowitzki.  A package for Tulo could start with left-hander Steven Matz, who makes his big league debut today.
  • Even at his advanced age, one NL evaluator feels that Phillies veteran Carlos Ruiz is still “a better option than “more than 50 percent of the catchers in the league.”
  • Some teams are concerned with Hamels’ poor performance in interleague play while others see it just as a fluky thing.  Hamels has a career 4.73 ERA across 31 interleague starts.

Orioles Sign First-Rounder DJ Stewart

JUNE 27: Stewart himself announced today (via Instagram) that he has officially signed with the Orioles.

JUNE 26: The Orioles are nearing an at-slot deal with first-round selection DJ Stewart, Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com reports (Twitter links). Stewart is in Baltimore for his physical, so it appears that the finishing touches will be in place shortly.

Stewart, an outfielder from Florida State, was taken 25th overall. That slot came with a $2,064,500 allocation, and Melewski says that he’s expected to receive that amount for signing.

The industry consensus had Stewart as a first-round talent, with Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs rating him the 26th-best available prospect. Baseball America (30th) and MLB.com (36th) also placed him in that range, while ESPN.com’s Keith Law valued the overall package somewhat lower, rating Stewart 70th on his board.

Stewart’s best attributes are featured at the plate, where he presents strong hit and power tools, as evidenced by a lengthy track record of major college success. Though Stewart has yet to tap into his full power potential, he is said to deliver an advanced approach that made him a reliable on-base threat at FSU.

In spite of his stocky build, Stewart is considered a good athlete with average speed. Scouts say he possesses below-average arm strength, but he figures to be a reasonable option in left.

Baltimore is still juggling its draft spending after handing seventh-rounder Gray Fenter a well-above-slot $1MM bonus that will require the club to come up with over $800K in extra pool space. However, in addition to some other savings from later selections, the O’s freed $411,900 in capacity in agreeing to terms with 36th-overall selection Ryan Mountcastle. The club has agreed to terms with all of the selections from the top ten rounds except for second-round pick Jonathan Hughes, a high school righty.


Minor Moves: Noesi, Dykstra, Velez, De La Rosa

We’ll track the day’s minor moves in this post:

  • White Sox righty Hector Noesi has accepted an outright assignment with the club, Dan Hayes of CSNChicago.com reports on Twitter. The 28-year-old was designated for assignment recently after posting a 6.89 ERA over 32 2/3 frames to start the year. Working both as a starter and from the pen, Noesi has struck out 6.1 and walked 4.7 batters per nine on the season. He has permitted 5.30 earned runs per nine in his 395 1/3 career MLB innings.
  • The Rays have released first baseman Allan Dykstra and utilityman Eugenio Velez, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. Dykstra, 28, saw his first big league action this year, but has spent most of his time in recent seasons in the upper minors. Though he carries a strong .261/.411/.457 line in his 606 total plate appearances at Triple-A, with similar numbers over exactly twice as many career turns at bat at Double-A, Dykstra has scuffled to a .705 OPS this year at Durham. The 33-year-old Velez has not seen big league action since 2011. He has generally hit well at Triple-A in the years since, but slipped to a .272/.336/.371 slash in 236 plate appearances this season at that level.
  • Orioles righty Dane De La Rosa has retired, David Hall of the Virginia Pilot reports on Twitter. The big, 32-year-old reliever had worked to a 4.35 ERA in 10 1/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk, striking out 6.1 but walking 7.0 batters per nine innings. De La Rosa had seen big league time in each of the last four years, and was quite a productive pen option for the Angels in 2013, when he delivered 72 1/3 innings of 2.86 ERA ball. But he’s struggled badly with command since that time while dealing with shoulder, forearm, and knee issues.

Orioles Acquire Richard Rodriguez From Astros

The Orioles have acquired minor league righty Richard Rodriguez from the Astros, Evan Drellich of the Houston Chronicle reports on Twitter. Cash considerations will head back to Houston, Baltimore stated in announcing the agreement.

Rodriguez, 25, has worked almost exclusively as a reliever in the minor leagues. He’s spent his entire career in the Astros farm system, reaching Triple-A last year. Over 70 1/3 frames at the highest level of the minors over 2014-15, Rodriguez owns a 2.94 ERA with 7.5 K/9 against 2.0 BB/9.

As Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com reports, Baltimore has fairly high regard for both Rodriguez’s fastball and curve. The Orioles see Rodriguez as pen depth for the club’s top affiliate as well as a potential call-up option down the line. Because he has a full slate of options remaining and is not yet on the 40-man roster — he was left off despite being Rule 5-eligible — Rodriguez does come with plenty of flexibility.


Draft Signings: Hale, Red Sox, Cleavinger

Here are some of the latest notable signings from the amateur draft.  All slot value information is courtesy of Baseball America…

  • Mariners ninth-rounder Conner Hale has announced he has signed with the club via his Twitter page.  The M’s have their other nine picks from the first 10 rounds of the draft already signed at a total cost of just over $4.113MM according to MLB.com’s draft bonus tracker.  This leaves $73.8K remaining in their draft bonus pool (which was slightly less than $4.187MM) and Hale’s 275th overall draft placement carries a slot value of $158.3K.  Since he’s a senior, it’s perhaps unlikely he signed for full slot, giving Seattle a bit of breathing room should they spend extra on any of their post-10th round draftees.
  • The Red Sox announced the signings of Ben Taylor (7th round), Tucker Tubbs (9th) and Mitchell Gunsolus (10th) last week, and according to the MLB.com bonus tracker, all three college seniors signed for well below their assigned slot values.  Taylor signed for $10K despite a $212.5K slot value for the 201st overall pick, Tubbs for $5K ($163.5K as 261st overall) and Gunsolus for $10K ($152.7K as 291st overall).
  • This combined $503.7K in savings helped the Red Sox ink eighth-rounder Logan Allen, whose signing was officially announced today by the club.  Allen said last week that he had verbally agreed to a bonus worth over four times more than his $175.1K slot value as the 231st overall pick, and MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports that Allen received $725K.
  • The Red Sox also announced the signings of three other draft picks today, including outfielders Tate Matheny (4th round) and Jagger Rusconi (5th).  Callis reports that Rusconi signed for a full-slot value of $384K.  It isn’t yet known what Matheny (son of Cardinals manager Mike Matheny) signed for, though his draft placement carries a $512.7K slot value.
  • The Orioles announced that they have signed third-round pick Garrett Cleavinger.  MLB.com’s Jim Callis reports that Cleavinger will receive a $500K bonus, less than the $559.3K slot value assigned to the 102nd overall pick.  The Oregon left-hander was ranked as the No. 185 prospect in the country by Baseball America prior to the draft.  If Cleavinger continues to strike out batters as he has in college, BA says that he might need much minor league time.
  • The O’s also confirmed the signing of seventh-rounder Gray Fenter, and surely Cleavinger’s below-slot deal helped Baltimore to sign Fenter to an above-slot $1MM deal while remaining within the limits of its bonus pool.

AL Notes: Martinez, Luhnow, Chen, Schafer

The Mariners have named former franchise star Edgar Martinez their new hitting coach, writes Ryan Divish of the Seattle Times. Martinez will replace Howard Johnson who has been reassigned elsewhere in the organization. Seattle’s offense has struggled despite the notable additions of Nelson Cruz over the offseason and Mark Trumbo earlier this month. The team has the lowest batting average in the league. Only the Phillies, Brewers, and White Sox are worse by on base percentage. The Mariners will hope Martinez can teach some of the skills that helped him to a .312/.418/.515 line over 7,213 plate appearances.

  • While Astros GM Jeff Luhnow claims to be on good terms with his former St. Louis co-workers, a top player agent tells MLBTR’s Zach Links that it’s not entirely true (via Twitter). No elaboration was provided, but Links did mention (tweet) that the agent called Luhnow “very smart.” While it may seem like little more than gossip, there could be an undercurrent of motive if Luhnow had made some enemies in his former organization.
  • Orioles starter Wei-Yin Chen was understandably unhappy about being optioned to Class-A despite good numbers. However, he isn’t worried about the incident affecting his relationship with the Orioles, reports Steve Melewski of MASN.com. Baltimore’s decision to option Chen will have no obvious financial implications for the lefty since he’ll return to the rotation next week. The club was simply looking to activate Chris Parmelee, and Chen had options.
  • The Twins released Jordan Schafer on Thursday in part because he would have declined an attempt to reassign him to the minors, tweets Darren Wolfson of 1500ESPN. As a player with more than five years of service time, Schafer could refuse reassignment without forfeiting pay. Wolfson adds that Schafer is healthy.

Minor Moves: Marcum, Givens, Loe

Here are today’s minor moves from around the league.

  • The Indians have announced that righty Shaun Marcum has cleared waivers and been assigned to Triple-A Columbus. The 33-year-old Marcum has pitched 35 innings for the Indians this season, posting a 5.40 ERA with 7.7 K/9 and 2.8 BB/9. The team designated him for assignment earlier this week.
  • The Orioles have announced that they’ve selected the contract of righty Mychal Givens. In addition, the Orioles activated Kevin Gausman (shoulder tendinitis from the 15-day DL, optioned righties Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright to Triple-A Norfolk, and transferred righty Jason Garcia (also with shoulder tendinitis) to the 60-day DL. The Orioles drafted Givens in the second round in 2009 as an infielder, but he transitioned to pitching for the 2013 season. He struggled with control during his first two seasons on the mound (perhaps understandably, given his background), but he’s blossomed in the Double-A Bowie bullpen this season, posting a 1.60 ERA, 12.4 K/9 and 2.5 BB/9 in 39 1/3 innings there.
  • The Bridgeport Bluefish of the independent Atlantic League have announced that they’ve signed righty Kameron Loe. The 33-year-old pitched for three Triple-A teams in 2014, posting a 7.51 ERA, 6.6 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in 38 1/3 innings of relief. He has a 4.49 ERA, 5.6 K/9 and 2.9 BB/9 in parts of nine big-league seasons with the Rangers, Brewers, Mariners, Cubs and Braves, last appearing in the Majors in 2013.