Baltimore Orioles Rumors

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

Orioles Designate Nolan Reimold For Assignment

In a series of roster moves, the Orioles announced that they’ve designated outfielder Nolan Reimold for assignment and reinstated infielder/outfielder Steve Pearce from the disabled list. Though getting Pearce back deepens the club, the Orioles took another injury hit in his place, as the team announced that J.J. Hardy has landed on the DL with a groin strain. Right-hander Jorge Rondon has been recalled in his place to give the O’s some extra bullpen depth.

Reimold has spent most of his career either alternating frequently between Triple-A and the Majors or between the active roster and the disabled list. Although he has more than five years of big league service under his belt, Reimold has played in just 354 games at the Major League level. He’s shown on multiple stints in the past that he has the raw talent to be a productive big leaguer, but he’s now 31 years old with a history of neck problems as well as spinal fusion surgery under his belt.

Reimold batted .227/.306/.340 in 108 plate appearances this year and has .214/.276/.361 in 326 PAs dating back to 2013. He’s spent nearly all of his career with the Orioles, although he did briefly appear with the Blue Jays and Diamondbacks in 2014 before returning to Baltimore on a minor league deal this winter.


Injury Notes: Sabathia, Hardy, Wright

An update some some notable players who will be joining or leaving the disabled list…

  • C.C. Sabathia lasted just 2 2/3 innings in today’s start before leaving due to pain in his right knee.  The veteran lefty will at least be shut down for a while, though Yankees GM Brian Cashman told reporters (including MLB.com’s Grace Raynor) that he presumed Sabathia will need a DL stint “just because he walked off the field without even throwing another pitch.”  Sabathia underwent surgery on that same knee in 2014 and has been bothered by pain for much of this season, which could partially explain his rough 5.24 ERA over 135 2/3 innings.  The Yankees had planned to expand to a six-man rotation upon Michael Pineda‘s impending return from the DL, though those plans are on hold with Sabathia sidelined.
  • The Orioles announced that shortstop J.J. Hardy has been placed on the 15-day DL with a left groin injury, and he’ll undergo an MRI on Monday to determine the severity of the injury.  Hardy, who also missed all of April with a strained shoulder, has hit only .220/.251/.313 in 353 plate appearances this season, his first under a three-year, $40MM extension signed last October.  Ryan Flaherty will likely handle shortstop duties while Hardy is out, though the O’s also have Paul Janish at Triple-A.
  • The Mets plan to activate David Wright from the disabled list prior to Monday’s game against the Phillies.  Southpaw Dario Alvarez has been optioned to Triple-A to make room for Wright on the active roster, ESPN’s Adam Rubin reports.  Wright was originally placed on the DL in April with a strained hamstring but he was discovered to have the much more serious condition known as spinal stenosis.

Minor MLB Transactions: 8/23/15

Today’s minor moves, with the newest transactions at the top of the post…



AL East Notes: Dombrowski, Red Sox, Orioles

Now that Dave Dombrowski is on board as the Red Sox‘s chief decision maker, his No. 1 objective will be to acquire an ace for the rotation, Jim Bowden of ESPN.com (Insider subscription required) writes.  Fortunately for Dombrowski, this year’s market for top-end starters will be strong with options such as David Price, Johnny Cueto, and Zack Greinke, if he opts out of his deal with the Dodgers.  Failing that, Bowden wonders if Boston could parlay its young talent into landing an ace like Sonny Gray or Chris Sale.   Here’s more from the AL East..

  • There’s a team interested in working out a trade for recently DFA’d Orioles outfielder David Lough, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com tweets.  There should be a resolution on his situation today, he adds.  If no trade is worked out, Lough will likely be outrighted to Triple-A.  To keep track of Lough and everyone else in DFA limbo, check out MLBTR’s DFA Tracker.
  • Jonah Keri of Grantland reflected on Ben Cherington’s time in Boston and his missteps with the Red Sox.  Cherington whiffed on deals for Hanley Ramirez and Pablo Sandoval this offseason while largely neglecting the team’s pitching needs.  Later, despite his reluctance to give a long-term deal to a pitcher, Cherington locked up hurler Rick Porcello to a sizable contract.  Still, despite his mistakes, Keri gives Cherington a good deal of credit for building the team’s farm system.
  • Ryan Hannable of WEEI.com reflected on Dombrowski’s trade history and wondered if he’ll trade away the Red Sox‘s prospects to win in the here and now.

AL East Notes: Dombrowski, Yankees, Shapiro, Gonzalez

The hiring of Dave Dombrowski puts a new face atop the Red Sox‘ baseball operations hierarchy but does not change the goal and the philosophy of the organization, writes Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald. As Silverman writes, the Red Sox were going to overhaul the roster this winter whether Dombrowski, Ben Cherington or someone else was leading the charge. Chairman Tom Werner and president John Henry both spoke about how the team will still use data and analytics to its advantage, while Dombrowski said he’s not planning to “blow up” Boston’s baseball ops department.

More from the AL East…

  • Tim Britton of the Providence Journal looks at how Dombrowski’s history will tie in with the Red Sox. Dombrowski has a reputation for trading prospects for proven talent after his time in Detroit, but that’s not necessarily a bad thing, he notes. Part of successfully executing that philosophy is trading prospects at peak value and maximizing return — something the Sox failed to do with names like Will Middlebrooks and Anthony Ranaudo. Dombrowski spoke of dealing from a surplus in his introduction to Boston media, Britton writes, and he points out that center field, shortstop and catcher could all be areas of surplus/redundancy for the Sox. The other questions for Dombrowski in Boston will be how aggressively he’ll pursue top-flight free agent pitching this winter and whether or not he can rebuild a bullpen that has been largely problematic in 2015, writes Britton.
  • Praising the Yankees‘ decision to hang onto the likes of Greg Bird, Luis Severino and other top prospects is premature, opines Andy Martino of the New York Daily News. While Bird and Severino have each contributed to the Bombers over the past few weeks, Martino writes that the true wisdom or folly of that decision won’t be known for quite some time. A dominant October run from Severino might speed up the process of proving GM Brian Cashman’s decision to be shrewd, but the possibility also exists that the Yankees’ coveted prospects will go the route of Jesus Montero. Martino doesn’t necessarily make the argument that Cashman should have traded prospects away, but rather just urges onlookers to take a less reactionary approach following a two-homer game from Bird and a trio of solid starts from Severino, as narratives can change quickly when looking at small samples from early in prospects’ careers.
  • On the heels of last night’s report from Ken Rosenthal, Sportsnet’s Shi Davidi writes that he, too, hears the Blue Jays consider Indians president Mark Shapiro a “strong candidate” to replace retiring CEO Paul Beeston. However, Davidi notes that there may yet be others in the mix for the impending vacancy. Notably, Davidi writes that the “assumption” is that GM Alex Anthopoulos will be offered some kind of extension prior to his contract’s expiration on Oct. 31.
  • Miguel Gonzalez‘s struggles with the Orioles are ill-timed, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The organization’s top alternatives at the minor league level — Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright — are both injured at the moment, and there aren’t many other options to give him a break from his troubles. As Encina notes, Gonzalez has struggled quite a bit when ahead in the count — even on 0-2 counts — which has contributed to a 6.48 ERA over his past 11 starts. I’ll add that the struggles are doubly problematic for Gonzalez, who is eligible for arbitration for the second time this winter and due a raise on his $3.275MM salary.

AL East Notes: Red Sox, Cruz, Parra, Orioles

The Yankees fell to the Blue Jays 3-1 today, but the pitching of Luis Severino was definitely a bright spot for the Bombers.  In six innings of work, Severino struck out a career-high nine batters while walking three and surrendering five total hits.  As Brandon Kuty of the Star-Ledger writes, it’s an encouraging sign for the Yankees, who refused to deal the promising youngster at the deadline.  Here’s a look at the other teams in the AL East…

  • David Ortiz lobbied the Red Sox to go out and get slugger Nelson Cruz, but Boston didn’t make a play for him, WEEI’s John Tomase writes.  “He was all in,” Cruz said. “Anytime we played, he reminded me that he wanted me here. It meant a lot. I’m a fan of him, and also a good friend. When a player like him, a future Hall of Famer, requests for you to play with him, it’s definitely something that grabs you.”  The Red Sox might be in a different position today if they went out and got Cruz to play left field instead of Hanley Ramirez, Tomase writes.  Ramirez got a four-year, $88MM deal from the Red Sox while Cruz signed for $57MM over four.
  • The Orioles should try and lock up newly-acquired outfielder Gerardo Parra, Peter Schmuck of The Baltimore Sun opines.  Parra, he writes, gives the O’s the on-base potential and the defensive ability that they lose when Nick Markakis left via free agency.  Parra, who is earning $6MM in 2015, will probably be in line for a pay raise.
  • The Rays shouldn’t wait to promote pitcher Blake Snell, Steve Kinsella of Sports Talk Florida writes.   The 22-year-old former first-round pick has looked great in five Triple-A starts, posting a 1.48 ERA with 12.9 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9.

Orioles Hope To Re-Sign Davis

The Orioles plan to re-sign at least some of their impending free agents, GM Dan Duquette told fans and reporters at an annual event including Rich Dubroff of CSN Baltimore. Duquette highlighted one power hitter by name, saying “we do want to sign some of our key players for the future, and Chris Davis is one of them.” In addition to Davis, Baltimore currently has seven impending free agents including Matt Wieters, Wei-Yin Chen, Gerardo Parra, Darren O’Day, Steve Pearce, and Nolan Reimold. The club probably can’t sign them all, tweets Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.

Specifically regarding Davis, the Orioles may have to compete in a thin market for first baseman. Our free agent tracker lists just eight potential free agents at the position. Of those, Edwin Encarnacion will be retained unless he sustains a major injury. Justin Morneau also has an affordable $9MM option although he has missed most of the 2015 season with injury. Mike Napoli and Pearce are probably the next biggest names at the position.

The lack of free agent first basemen could push Davis’ value north of $100MM, according to Mike Petriello of FanGraphs. The 29-year-old is in the midst of his second best season, slashing .257/.341/.541 with 32 home runs. However, Davis showed last year that there is some downside to his power happy approach. The club may have to weigh whether it makes better sense to commit to Davis or sign multiple other players.

Among the other free agents, Wieters, Chen, and O’Day will be the most difficult to replace. Wieters, 29, missed the early portion of the season recovering from Tommy John surgery. He’s battled a few nagging injuries since his return. He appeared to be breaking out in 2014 prior to sustaining the elbow injury. This season, his strikeout rate has spiked to 24.6 percent – up from a career average of 18.7 percent. It’s worth wondering if that number will regress with full health.

MLBTR’s Jeff Todd wrote about Chen recently in a free agent profile, comparing his potential earnings to Bronson Arroyo, Jason Vargas, and Ricky Nolasco. Including inflation, that would seem to peg him for a two to four year deal worth about $12MM to $14MM per season. The Orioles plan to make Chen a qualifying offer, per CBS’ Jon Heyman. That may affect the market for his services.


Minor MLB Transactions: 8/15/15

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

  • The Orioles have announced that they’re released outfielder Travis Snider, who they designated for assignment last week. When the O’s acquired Snider from the Pirates for a pair of pitching prospects last winter, there was hope that he would provide a bit of left-handed power. He was mostly a disappointment in Baltimore, however, batting .237/.318/.341. He has another year of team control remaining after this one, but his $2.1MM 2015 salary likely made a waiver claim an unattractive proposition.

Orioles Designate David Lough For Assignment

The Orioles announced that they’ve designated outfielder David Lough for assignment and recalled catcher Steve Clevenger from Triple-A Norfolk.

Though defensively gifted, the 29-year-old Lough struggled to a .202/.243/.318 batting line with four homers in 139 plate appearances this season. Lough has posted nice numbers against right-handed pitching in the past, which, paired with his plus glove-work, has made him a nice platoon option in the corner outfield. Unfortunately, he mustered just a .553 OPS against right-handed pitching this season, which contributed to today’s departure from the 40-man roster.

Lough entered the season with one year, 169 days of big league service time and reached two full years just three days into the 2015 campaign. He’s since accrued 128 days of service (he’ll also get service for any time spent in DFA limbo). Any team claiming him off waivers could control him through the 2019 season, but if he ends the season on a big league roster, he’ll probably be arbitration eligible as a Super Two player.

Clevenger, also 29, will return to the Orioles for his second stint this season. He collected five hits in 11 at-bats his first time around with the club and has enjoyed a solid overall season at the Triple-A level. In 301 plate appearances with Norfolk this season, Clevenger has slashed .305/.375/.393 with four home runs and a nearly even strikeout-to-walk ratio. He’ll give the O’s a second healthy catcher on the roster, as Matt Wieters is currently dealing with a hamstring issue, though he’s not on the disabled list at this time.


Heyman’s Latest: Jays, Goldschmidt, Teheran, Chen, Epstein, Gordon, Gray

Jon Heyman of CBS Sports kicks off his weekly Inside Baseball column by chronicling the efforts of Blue Jays GM Alex Anthopoulos leading up to the non-waiver trade deadline. Perhaps most interesting are some of the items about trades the Jays elected not to make. As Heyman notes, the Reds asked for right-hander Marcus Stroman in exchange for Johnny Cueto, but Stroman was a deal-breaker in all trade talks with Toronto. Dating back to the offseason, the Blue Jays considered signing Craig Breslow, Joba Chamberlain, John Axford and Rafael Soriano, as well as some larger names, including David Robertson, whom they considered “closely.” (Toronto never made a firm offer to Robertson, though, Heyman writes.) The Blue Jays’ willingness to include Daniel Norris in a trade for David Price effectively shut every other team out of the market, per Heyman, as others weren’t willing to discuss their absolute top prospects. The Yankees, for instance, wouldn’t part with Luis Severino, while the Dodgers steadfastly refused to part with Corey Seager or Julio Urias.

More highlights from the article (which is worth checking out in its entirety, as there’s far more than can be recapped here with any form of brevity)…

  • Paul Goldschmidt is under team control through 2019, but the D-Backs will attempt to extend him further this offseason, per GM Dave Stewart. “We want to make him a lifetime Diamondback,” Stewart told Heyman. I imagine the price tag there will be extraordinary, as Goldschmidt has gone from rising talent to unequivocal superstardom since signing his initial extension with Arizona. Heyman also reports that the D-Backs will take a shot at extending the arbitration-eligible A.J. Pollock. While not a household name, Pollock probably earns my personal vote as the most underrated player in baseball.
  • The Braves have been making an effort to shed contracts that reach beyond the 2016 season, and Heyman writes to “look for them to take offers on Julio Teheran” this offseason. Clearly, Atlanta would be selling low on a talented arm that comes with a very reasonable contract. Teheran signed a six-year, $32.4MM extension prior to the 2014 season, but he’s logged a 4.57 ERA due in part to diminished control in 2015.
  • The Orioles will make left-hander Wei-Yin Chen a qualifying offer this winter, Heyman reports. Chen might not seem like a prototypical QO candidate, but he’s a lock to turn it down, in my mind, coming off a very nice season at age 30. He should draw pretty significant interest this winter, as MLBTR’s Jeff Todd recently noted in examining Chen’s free agent stock.
  • Cubs president of baseball operations Theo Epstein is up for an extension at an excellent time, as the Cubs’ rebuild looks to be paying tremendous dividends. Epstein has been earning about $4MM per year with the Cubs, but Heyman hears from some in the industry that the expectation is for Epstein to top Andrew Friedman’s reported $7MM annual salary with the Dodgers if and when he signs a new deal.
  • Despite a poor season for the Reds, there’s a sense among some that they may keep manager Bryan Price. The second-year Reds skipper has had to deal with the losses of Devin Mesoraco, Zack Cozart and Homer Bailey, among many injuries to others in 2015.
  • There’s been some buzz about the Tigers trimming payroll, but Heyman spoke to multiple sources close to the situation who say that talk might be overstated. One spoke specifically about the Ilitch family’s continued commitment to winning. Heyman speculatively mentions Justin Upton as a player that has previously piqued Detroit’s interest. He also lists the White Sox as a team that may show interest in Upton.
  • The Royals are serious about trying to make Alex Gordon a lifetime member of the organization. It’ll be tough for Kansas City to do so if he’s seeking something in the vicinity of Shin-Soo Choo money ($130MM), but the increased revenue they’re receiving from the Kansas City baseball renaissance could allow them to spend more than they would’ve in previous seasons.
  • The Dodgers have interest in Johnny Cueto as a free agent, and adding a right-handed arm does intrigue them. Clayton Kershaw, Hyun-jin Ryu and Julio Urias (expected to eventually join the L.A. rotation) are all left-handed, as is fellow offseason target David Price, whom Heyman terms a “more obvious target” for Friedman & Co.
  • The Brewers are serious about trying to emphasize analytics with a new GM hire, as the Attanasio family (the team’s owners) are big believers in the growing statistical trend. Mark Attanasio’s son, a former basketball player, is an MIT grad with a strong foundation in basketball analytics. John Coppolella, Thad Levine, David Forst, Mike Hazen, Billy Eppler, Michael Girsch and Jerry Dipoto are among the names that Heyman feels could be fits in Milwaukee’s GM seat.
  • “Not happening. Not even slightly,” was the response from Athletics general manager Billy Beane when asked by Heyman about the possibility of trading Sonny Gray this winter. That’s a pretty emphatic denial, and while some will recall similar comments made about Josh Donaldson last October, those came from an anonymous executive as opposed to an on-record denial from Oakland’s top decision-maker.