Baltimore Orioles Rumors

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

Orioles Designate Delmon Young For Assignment, Will Seek Trade Partner

5:44pm: Kubatko says that GM Dan Duquette sounded confident that he’ll be able to trade Young, though a deal won’t be completed today (Twitter link).

5:20pm: The Orioles announced (Twitter link) that they have designated outfielder Delmon Young for assignment. A little more than an hour ago, manager Buck Showalter indicated to reporters that a move was coming soon in order to clear a spot on the roster for right-hander Tyler Wilson. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that the O’s will try to trade Young, and GM Dan Duquette has spoken to execs in both the AL and the NL about him.

The 29-year-old Young is in the midst of his second season with the Orioles after signing a one-year, $2.25MM contract this offseason to return to Baltimore. However, after enjoying a nice run as a part-time player with the Orioles in 2014 when he batted .302/.337/.442 in 255 plate appearances, Young has struggled to a .270/.289/.339 batting line in 2015. Though he has a strong throwing arm, Young’s range is limited in the corner outfield spots. He is still owed $1.19MM through season’s end and would earn $125K bonuses for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, with another $100K kicking in for every 50 PAs beyond that point — up to 600 PAs.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun reported earlier today that the Orioles have been exploring trade possibilities for Young, and he again tweets that one NL club has shown some definite interest in Young. It’s not known at this time which team is showing the most interest, but from a speculative standpoint, I’d think that both the Giants and Pirates make some sense. San Francisco recently lost both Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to the disabled list, and over in Pittsburgh, Gregory Polanco has looked overmatched by left-handed pitching all season. Young, for all of his flaws, is a weapon against lefties; he’s batted .302/.337/.461 in his career when holding the platoon advantage.


Orioles Likely To Part With Outfielder Soon

Right-hander Tyler Wilson is with the Orioles and will be activated today, according to multiple reporters, including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter links). The Orioles have not announced a corresponding move, but Ghiroli says that the team will likely part with an outfielder, possibly via trade. Manager Buck Showalter told the Baltimore media that GM Dan Duquette “is working on some things” in regards to a corresponding move.

Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun feels that Delmon Young, Steve Pearce, David Lough and Nolan Reimold are the candidates (Twitter links), and an industry source has told him that the Orioles have recently been gauging interest in Young, in particular. Duquette has been in talks with at least one team in the NL regarding Young, he says adding that a DFA is also possible. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko tweets that Reimold will be remaining with the team, and he feels that Pearce’s versatility is valued by the Orioles, seemingly making him unlikely to be moved.

It seems that Young is possibly on the outside looking in. The 29-year-old had a nice first season with the Orioles in 2014, but he’s struggled in 2015, slashing just .270/.289/.339 in 180 plate appearances. The return of Reimold, who rejoined the team earlier this month, has perhaps made Young expendable. A right-handed bat that’s primarily limited to the corner outfield, Reimold possesses a similar skill set to Young but has been much more productive of late. Since June 9, Reimold is hitting .257/.366/.514 in an admittedly small sample of 41 plate appearances.

Young is earning $2.25MM this season, of which approximately $1.19MM remains. His current deal calls for him to earn an additional $125K for reaching 250 and 300 plate appearances, plus an additional $100K for reaching 400, 450, 500, 550 and 600. Obviously, some of those are out of reach at this point, given his limited playing time to date.

Many clubs are on the lookout for offensive upgrades. The Giants recently lost Hunter Pence and Nori Aoki to injury, and the Pirates could certainly use a platoon partner for Gregory Polanco in right field. The Angels have received little production from left field, although it seems unlikely that they’d be swinging any trades at the moment given the tumultuous state of their front office. The Mariners didn’t get any production out of Rickie Weeks as a platoon option in left field and could look for upgrades. Michael Cuddyer is currently injured for the Mets and hasn’t been terribly productive even when healthy.


AL East Notes: Buchholz, Donaldson, Warren, Norris

Though Clay Buchholz figures to draw plenty of interest on this year’s trade market, Scott Lauber of the Boston Herald opines that the Red Sox should be steadfast in their refusal to trade him. Lauber notes that Buchholz, earning $12MM in 2015, is slated to earn $13MM and $13.5MM via club options over the next two seasons — bargain rates for a pitcher with his talent, even if it comes with inconsistency and injury risk. Meanwhile, Brian MacPherson of the Providence Journal takes a different approach, opining that the Red Sox owe it to themselves to at least entertain offers for Buchholz. MacPherson looks back to last year’s return for 1.5 years of Jeff Samardzija and notes that 2.5 years of Buchholz could bring a similarly strong return. Though the team will need pitching in 2015, MacPherson writes that Buchholz’s value is unlikely to ever be higher, and a team willing to pay for the type of pitching he’s been doing over his past 10 starts (2.33 ERA) may very well make too good of an offer to refuse. MacPherson wonders if old friends Theo Epstein and Jed Hoyer, now with the Cubs, would be interested in parting with some premium young talent to acquire Buchholz.

A few more notes from the AL East…

  • Prior to the Red Sox‘ signing of Pablo Sandoval last year, the team inquired with the Athletics about Josh Donaldson but were told he was not available, reports Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald. That would seem to line up, to some extent, with comments from A’s officials early last winter indicating that little consideration would be given to moving Donaldson. (“That would be stupid,” one official told the San Francisco Chronicle’s Susan Slusser last October.) Donaldson, of course, wound up with the division-rival Blue Jays and is enjoying a monster season.
  • With Ivan Nova now healthy and back in the Yankees‘ rotation, Adam Warren will shift into the team’s bullpen, the right-hander tells Mark Feinsand of the New York Daily News. As Feinsand notes, Warren was the likeliest candidate to do so, given his recent success in the bullpen and the fact that he’s already exceeded last year’s innings total while working as a starter.
  • Bud Norris has struggled a good deal for the Orioles this season, but there’s no current talk of removing him from Baltimore’s rotation, writes Dan Connolly of the Baltimore Sun. Some have speculated that Norris is pressing in light of his upcoming free agency, and as Connolly writes, Norris indirectly touched on that topic following another rough start Monday. “I don’t know where my future’s gonna take me,” he said. “All know is I can handle what’s in front of me right now and trying to work through this is the No. 1 priority and getting back out there and helping my team win games.” Norris said he’s not worried about the possibility of losing a starting spot to Kevin Gausman, Mike Wright or Tyler Wilson, but Connolly wonders how long the club will stick with the struggling veteran.
  • Manager Buck Showalter told reporters, including MLB.com’s Britt Ghiroli, that the Orioles are trying to get Norris on a roll. “That’s what we’re trying to do,” said Showalter. “He has some periods where he’s pitched well, but not as consistent as he did for a long period of time last year, and will again. I try to keep in mind we haven’t even played half the season yet and Bud will do some good things for us.”


Which Rule 5 Picks Are Still With Their New Teams?

There were 13 players selected in the Major League phase of the 2014 Rule 5 Draft, and nearly halfway through the year, a surprising percentage remain with their new clubs. Here’s a look at each of the Rule 5 picks, where they’re currently playing and if they have a chance to remain with their team…

  • Oscar Hernandez, C, Diamondbacks: Selected out of the Rays organization despite never having appeared above Class-A, Hernandez broke his hamate bone in Spring Training and has been on the DL all season.  As MLBTR’s Jeff Todd noted at the time, that actually made it a bit easier to get some time to evaluate Hernandez, as the D-Backs can see him on a Minor League rehab assignment and don’t have to roster such an inexperienced bat all season. Hernandez is on his rehab assignment now, and the early returns at the plate aren’t good (.200/.259/.280 in nine games). Jarrod Saltalamacchia‘s hit poorly, though, so perhaps the team will prefer Hernandez’s big arm for that spot.
  • Mark Canha, 1B/OF, Athletics: Selected by Rockies out of the Marlins organization, Canha was immediately traded to Oakland for right-hander Austin House and cash. Canha hasn’t been great for the A’s, but he’s provided league-average production at the plate to go along with passable corner defense. At this point, it would be a surprise if Canha didn’t finish the season with the team.
  • Delino DeShields, Jr., OF, Rangers: The Rangers plucked the former No. 8 overall pick out of the Astros organization, perhaps hoping that DeShields could be a speedy bench piece. DeShields, like the Rangers club as a whole, has been far better than most expected, hitting .269/.358/.386 and going 13-for-15 in stolen base attempts. A hamstring injury has had him on the DL for much of June, but he’s on a rehab assignment right now and should return to the team in short order. DeShields’ .368 BABIP will likely regress, but he’s been the game’s second most-valuable baserunner, per Fangraphs, despite his limited playing time. He certainly seems likely to remain with the Rangers.
  • Jason Garcia, RHP, Orioles: The Astros were the team to technically select Garcia out of the Red Sox organization, but Houston quickly traded him to Baltimore for cash. Garcia pitched poorly in 13 innings to open the season before landing on the disabled list with a shoulder injury that has since seen him transferred to the 60-day DL.
  • J.R. Graham, RHP, Twins: A former top prospect with the Braves, Graham was selected by the Twins on the heels of an injury-shortened 2014 season. He’s seen a lot of time in mop-up duty, but Graham has delivered a solid ERA, albeit with less encouraging peripherals. In 35 2/3 innings, hs has a 3.03 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 2.8 BB/9 and a 39.1 percent ground-ball rate. The Twins have said they plan to retain Graham, who’s averaging better than 95 mph on his fastball.
  • Jandel Gustave, RHP: Gustave was selected by the Red Sox out of the Astros organization, then traded to the Royals. Kansas City tried to put him through waivers this spring but lost him to the Padres, who ultimately returned him to Houston. He has a 2.54 ERA but a 17-to-13 K/BB ratio in 28 1/3 innings with Houston’s Double-A affiliate.
  • Taylor Featherston, INF, Angels: The Angels acquired Featherston for cash considerations after the Cubs selected him from the Rockies. The Halos seem committed to keeping Featherston, as he’s still on their roster despite just 60 plate appearances this season. The 25-year-old hasn’t hit — .127/.169/.218 — but he’s provided sound defense at three positions late in games and in his rare starts.
  • Odubel Herrera, CF, Phillies: The Phillies nabbed Herrera out of the Rangers’ organization after a strong Double-A showing in 2014, and the infielder-turned-outfielder has seen the bulk of time in center for the Phils. He’s hitting just .251/.282/.359, but the Phillies are the exact kind of team that can afford to give a Rule 5 pick regular at-bats as opposed to costing him valuable reps via limited usage. He’ll remain with the team.
  • Andrew McKirahan, LHP, Braves: The Marlins were the team to select McKirahan, but the Braves claimed him off waivers in Spring Training. McKirahan cracked the Opening Day roster with the Braves, but he pitched just 4 1/3 innings before being suspended 80 games for a positive PED test. The Braves will get a second look at him on a rehab stint in the minors before they have to make a call. He’s eligible to be activated on July 20.
  • Sean Gilmartin, LHP, Mets: The Mets took Gilmartin out of the Twins organization and converted the former first-round pick (Braves, 2011) from a starter into a reliever. The result has been a 1.88 ERA with 6.8 K/9, 3.8 B/9 and a 50 percent ground-ball rate in 24 innings. Curiously, Gilmartin has significant reverse platoon splits in his first taste of big league action.
  • Daniel Winkler, RHP, Braves: Winkler was the Braves’ actual selection out of the Rule 5. Winkler is recovering from 2014 Tommy John surgery and has yet to pitch in 2015 at any level. He’s on Atlanta’s 60-day DL.
  • David Rollins, LHP, Mariners: Seattle took Rollins out of the Astros organization, and the lefty made a strong case in Spring Training to break camp with the team’s bullpen. However, he was suspended 80 games for PED usage and wound up on the restricted list. Rollins is on a rehab assignment now and could still pitch with the Mariners in 2015. Rollins has tossed 7 1/3 innings of scoreless ball in rehab and will have served his suspension after four more games.
  • Logan Verrett, RHP: The only other player to be returned to his team at this point, Verrett was selected by the Orioles out of the Mets organization. Baltimore lost him on waivers to the Rangers, who carried him on the roster briefly before eventually returning him to the Mets. Since being returned, Verrett has debuted with his original organization at the big league level.

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.