MLB Trade Rumors » » Baltimore Orioles Thu, 18 Jan 2018 15:49:05 +0000 en-US hourly 1 AL Notes: Rangers, Ramirez, Betts, Orioles Wed, 17 Jan 2018 17:50:04 +0000 Rangers GM Jon Daniels cast doubt on the idea of the team making any marquee additions in comments yesterday to the media, including’s TR Sullivan. Daniels called it “unlikely” that the club would end up with a top starter, though he said he also wouldn’t “close the door” on a market that includes former ace Yu Darvish. More likely, it seems, would be a depth addition of some kind, though Daniels also emphasized that the organization is not close to any new deals. Broadly, the organization remains steadfast in its “realistic” assessment of its abilities and needs. While the anticipated roster mix is likely “to create some challenges,” says Daniels, that doesn’t mean it will vary from its strategy entering the winter. The Rangers, he says, were “not going to go all-in, spending big dollars this year, nor were we going to be looking to trade all of our young players.”

More from the American League:

  • The Angels received some promising news on righty J.C. Ramirez, GM Billy Eppler tells Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register (via Twitter). Ramirez is continuing to show healing in his right elbow, where he suffered a season-ending partial UCL tear. Stem cell treatment has been promising to this point, giving the team some renewed confidence that it will receive a contribution again from Ramirez, who agreed to a $1.9MM arbitration salary after turning in 147 1/3 innings of 4.15 ERA ball in 2017.
  • As the Red Sox prepare for an arbitration show-down with star outfielder Mookie Betts, Michael Silverman of the Boston Herald argues the team never should have put itself in this position. The sides have a $3MM gap at present ($10.5MM vs. $7.5MM) and indications are they’ll resolve it in a hearing, meaning the Sox will be put in the position of presenting Betts in a less-than-positive light before an arb panel. With a prior disagreement over his 2017 pre-arb salary, the financial relationship between the sides isn’t exactly off to the most promising start. For what it’s worth, MLBTR contributor and arbitration guru Matt Swartz argued before numbers were exchanged that Betts is likelier to command a first-time arb payday on the lower side of the existing gulf.
  • Speaking of arbitration, the Orioles will evidently not commit to going to trial over their remaining cases, per Roch Kubatko of Rather the club is still willing to engage in negotiations with both infielder Jonathan Schoop ($9MM filing versus $7.5MM counter) and righty Kevin Gausman ($6.225MM filing versus $5.3MM counter). Whether that’ll mean avoiding a hearing isn’t yet known, but the seeming strategic shift will at least leave remaining room for talks on a few players of quite a bit of importance to the organization’s future.
East Notes: Machado, Yankees, Mets Sun, 14 Jan 2018 03:10:22 +0000 While Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription required/highly recommended) doesn’t necessarily expect the Orioles to trade Manny Machado prior to the season, he reports that the Diamondbacks are still pushing to acquire the infielder. D-backs second baseman Brandon Drury continues to be one of the players involved in Machado trade discussions, as Rosenthal first reported last month, and left-handed pitching prospect Anthony Banda has also been part of the teams’ talks. Machado would play shortstop in Arizona, potentially pushing Ketel Marte to second base and Chris Owings to a super-utility/outfield role, Rosenthal adds.

A few other items stemming from baseball organizations on the East coast…

  • Though the Yankees were in on Cole at one point, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports reports that the two sides never actually came close to a deal. The Pirates wanted at least one of Miguel Andujar and Clint Frazier, which may have (in my perspective) provided a reasonable framework to get a deal done. However, the hangup was over the other players involved in the package for Cole; the inability to agree on supplemental players proved an obstacle in getting a deal done.
  • The latest on the Mets’ infield comes from Rosenthal, who writes that they’re more interested in acquiring a second base than a third baseman. However, it doesn’t seem they’ve made any headway with the Pirates regarding Josh Harrison, Rosenthal suggests, while free agent Eduardo Nunez may be too pricey at the moment. A reunion with free agent and ex-Met Neil Walker is possible, but there’s competition from the Brewers and other teams, per Rosenthal. Interestingly, even after signing Jay Bruce this week, the Mets are considering bringing back free agent first baseman Lucas Duda, Rosenthal relays.
  • Elsewhere on the Mets front, suspended reliever Jenrry Mejia is expected to apply for reinstatement “in the near future,” Matt Ehalt of The Record writes. Major League Baseball hit Mejia with a lifetime ban for performance-enhancing drugs back in 2016, but he’s allowed to appeal after two years. That two-year window will expire in February, which will enable Mejia to vie for reinstatement and get a hearing with commissioner Rob Manfred within 30 days of submitting his application, per Ehalt. If Manfred doesn’t rule in Mejia’s favor, he’d have the ability to appeal to an arbitration panel, Ehalt reports. Regardless, odds continue to be against Mejia ever pitching in MLB again, Ehalt suggests.
Minor MLB Transactions: 1/13/18 Sat, 13 Jan 2018 23:18:37 +0000 We’ll use this post to keep track of today’s minor league signings…

  • The Marlins have re-signed southpaw Mike Kickham to a minors deal with an invitation to spring training, according to the Associated Press. Last season was the first in the Miami organization for Kickham, who divided the year between the minors’ two highest levels and posted a 3.65 ERA over 145 2/3 innings (27 appearances, 25 starts). Kickham also logged 7.4 K/9 against just 1.5 BB/9. The 29-year-old brings minimal big league experience, with his most recent stint being a two-inning showing with San Francisco in 2014.
  • The Orioles have signed infielder/outfielder Anderson Feliz to a minors pact without a spring training invite, Roch Kubatko of tweets. The O’s are the third organization for Feliz, who was previously in the minors with the Yankees (2009-14) and Pirates (2015-17). In his first Triple-A action last season, the 25-year-old Feliz batted a meek .209/.257/.328 in 145 plate appearances.

Earlier Updates

  • Angels lefty Nate Smith will remain in the organization after clearing waivers and being outrighted, the club announced. The 26-year-old had earned a 40-man spot in advance of the 2017 Rule 5 draft, but he ended up missing the bulk of the year due to elbow/forearm issues. Things only got worse this winter, as Smith ended up requiring anterior capsule surgery that will cost him all of the coming season. He was designated for assignment recently. Smith has generally been regarded as one of the Halos’ best pitching prospects in recent years, though he had struggled somewhat at Triple-A in 2016 (4.61 ERA in 150 1/3 innings) before the injury bug hit late that season.
  • The Marlins have inked outfielder Scott Van Slyke to a minor league deal which includes an invitation to spring training, Joe Frisaro of tweets. Van Slyke had spent his entire pro baseball career with the Dodgers’ organization, with the small exception of 57 games he played for the Reds’ Triple-A affiliate. The 6’4″ outfielder owns a career slash line of just .230/.308/.390, but his most useful role is as a platoon hitter versus left-handed pitching against. When facing southpaws, he’s posted a .252/.358/.462 line with a 130 wRC+. Van Slyke has seen a performance decline in recent seasons, however; he was roughly average against lefties in 2016 and wasn’t able to muster much offense at all in 29 major league plate appearances last season. He’ll now join a rebuilding Marlins club with whom he has a better chance of earning playing time at the MLB level.
  • Also joining the Marlins is right-hander Javy Guerra, per Tim Healey of the Sun-Sentinel. The 32-year-old gave Miami 21 innings of 3.00 ERA ball in 2017 and has managed to crack the big leagues in each of the pat seven seasons. It has been a while, though, since Guerra held down a regular relief role. Despite his bottom-line success last year, Guerra managed only 5.1 K/9 (on a marginal 5.3% swinging-strike rate) against 3.0 BB/9. That said, he did produce quality groundball (54.4%) and infield fly (21.1%) rates.
Unresolved 2018 Arbitration Cases Sat, 13 Jan 2018 00:02:01 +0000 We’ve covered a whole lot of arbitration deals today, many of them reached before today’s deadline to exchange filing figures. Some other agreements have come together after team and player submitted their numbers. It’s still possible, of course, that these situations will be resolved before an arbitration hearing becomes necessary. (At this point, we seem to lack full clarity on teams’ approaches to negotiations after the filing deadline. And most organizations make exceptions for multi-year deals even if they have a file-and-trial stance.)

Some situations could even be dealt with in short order. As things stand, though, these unresolved arbitration cases could turn into significant hearings. (As always, MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration projections can be found here; you will also want to reference MLBTR’s 2018 arbitration tracker.)

Orioles Avoid Arbitration With Zach Britton, Brad Brach Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:20:16 +0000 3:04pm: Baltimore has also avoided arbitration with righty Brad Brach, Connolly tweets. He’ll earn $5.165MM, just shy of his $5.2MM projection.

Infielder Tim Beckham ($3.35MM) and catcher Caleb Joseph ($1.25MM) also have deals in place, per Connolly (Twitter links). The former lands just over his projected $3.1MM, while the latter falls a bit shy of the $1.4MM that the MLBTR algorithm foresaw.

1:56pm: The Orioles have agreed to a one-year deal with injured closer Zach Britton, thus avoiding arbitration, Dan Connolly of reports (Twitter links). Britton will get a raise from $11.4MM to $12MM under the new contract. Britton caeme with a projected arbitration salary of $12.2MM, via MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz.

It remains to be seen precisely when Britton will be able to take the field for the Orioles in 2018. After a 2o17 season that was truncated by a pair of forearm injuries, Britton saw his run of bad luck continued when he suffered a torn Achilles tendon during his offseason workouts last month. The injury required surgical repair and came with a reported recovery time of four to six months, though certainly the Orioles will hope that the rehab comes in on the short end of that fairly broad range.

Britton, who recently turned 30, was among baseball’s elite relievers from 2014-16, pairing strong stirkeout and walk rates with historically brilliant ground-ball rates. Britton’s mid-90s sinker was so devastating that he set a single-season Major League record for pitchers (min. 60 innings pitched, dating back to 2002 when batted-ball data began being tracked) with a 79.1 percent ground-ball rate in 2015, only to promptly break his own record with an unthinkable 80 percent mark in 2016.

This past season, though, Britton was limited to 37 1/3 frames by injury and didn’t look like himself when healthy. While his 2.89 ERA was better than the league average, he averaged just 7.0 K/9 against 4.3 BB/9 with a still-ridiculous 72.6 percent ground-ball rate. Those strikeout and walk rates were far and away the worst that Britton has posted since converting to a full-time reliever in 2014.

The O’s will be left hoping that Britton can rebound not only from the Achilles injury but also from the forearm woes that hampered him in 2017. If he’s able to return sometime in the first half of the season, he could build himself up to either be a trade candidate or an important piece of the bullpen should the Orioles defy current expectations and find themselves in contention next summer.

Even if he doesn’t emerge as a trade option, a healthy Britton would be a no-brainer to receive a qualifying offer, so the Orioles could still recoup draft compensation in the event that he returns to form, plays out the season in Baltimore, and then hits free agency. And, of course, the possibility remains that the two sides could talk this spring about a potential agreement that would extend his tenure with the club beyond its current end point.

O course, it’s important to recall that arbitration salaries are not fully guaranteed (unless that’s specifically agreed upon). We at MLBTR have been among those to express the view that the Orioles might be best served simply cutting Britton loose and pay him only thirty days of salary for the coming season. But as Connolly points out (Twitter links), such a decision would likely invite a grievance action since Britton injured himself while working out for the coming season after already being tendered a contract.

Orioles Avoid Arbitration With Manny Machado Fri, 12 Jan 2018 21:19:20 +0000 Despite earlier indications to the contrary, the Orioles have agreed to avoid arbitration with third baseman Manny Machado, according to’s Mark Feinsand (via Twitter). A prior report from Feinsand indicated the sides were headed for a hearing, but they have instead settled at $16MM.

Baltimore and Machado had actually exchanged figures earlier this afternoon, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets. But they were evidently able to bridge the gap after each saw the other’s formal position.

The model operated by MLBTR and contributor Matt Swartz projected that Machado would earn $17.3MM in his final trip through the arbitration process. As Swartz went on to write, though, comparables suggested Machado would likely earn a fair bit less.

That’s just what happened, as the 25-year-old was not able to replicate the hefty $6.5MM raise he earned before the 2017 season. Though he still launched over thirty home runs and was a quality all-around performer, Machado’s overall offensive output drooped significantly. He ended the year with a .259/.310/.471 slash line.

It has been an eventful offseason to date for the Orioles and Machado, whose name has appeared consistently in trade rumors. While the O’s are still said to be willing to listen to offers on the pending free agent superstar, the club is also not actively shopping him at this point. That said, there’s little indication to this point that Baltimore will have much of a shot at working out a deal to keep Machado from reaching the open market.

Latest On Orioles’ Arbitration Class Fri, 12 Jan 2018 19:05:49 +0000 1:05pm: The deadline to exchange figures has passed, and the Orioles did not announce deals for any of their seven arb-eligible players. Roch Kubatko of tweets that the two sides will likely continue to work on deals, adding that he doesn’t believe the team will strictly adhere to a “file and trial” strategy.

Note: the O’s have since reportedly agreed to terms with Britton, Brach, Machado, and others.

11:45am: The Orioles and Manny Machado will not agree to a salary prior to today’s deadline to exchange salary arbitration figures, reports Mark Feinsand of (on Twitter). As Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote last year, Baltimore has been a “file and trial” club, meaning that they’ll cease negotiations on a one-year deal once those figures are exchanged and head to an arbitration hearing with Machado’s representatives at the MVP Sports Group. (MLBTR’s Tim Dierkes recently reported that all 30 clubs are employing a file and trial outlook in 2018.)

Machado, who will be a free agent next winter, is in his last offseason of arbitration eligibility and came with a projected arbitration salary of $17.3MM, per MLBTR contributor Matt Swartz. It’s unclear at what level the two sides will file their figures, and it also remains unclear if the O’s will avoid arbitration with any of their group. The deadline to exchange figures is only a few minutes away (1pm ET). In addition to Machado, the Orioles have Zach Britton, Brad Brach, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman, Caleb Joseph and Tim Beckham eligible for the arbitration process.

Machado’s name, of course, has frequently arisen in trade rumblings this offseason, though the lack of an arb agreement before the exchange point shouldn’t have an impact on the likelihood of a deal. At present, the Orioles’ reported asking price remains high, and no team has seemingly been able to find its way into advanced trade discussions with the O’s.

Givens Among Orioles' Untouchables; Showalter Considering Multiple Closing Options Wed, 10 Jan 2018 02:59:36 +0000
  • Right-hander Mychal Givens drew persistent trade interest at the Winter Meetings, writes Roch Kubatko of, but he’s among the players that the Orioles consider to be untouchable. With Zach Britton on the shelf due to a ruptured Achilles tendon, many are expecting Brad Brach to step into the closer’s role, though Kubatko writes that manager Buck Showalter isn’t anointing anyone. Rather, Showalter believes that in Givens, Brach, Darren O’Day and lefty Richard Bleier, he has a number of weapons that can help lock down games, depending on the situation. “In a perfect world you’d be able to spread it around, but I’m not there yet,” says Showalter. “…But I’m confident that we have more than one person capable of doing a good job with it. To think you’re going to have somebody to do it at the level that [Britton] did it, that’s historic. There’s not a guy out there like that.”
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    Tim Beckham Changes Agents Tue, 09 Jan 2018 15:28:54 +0000 Orioles shortstop Tim Beckham has hired new representation, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). His new agency will be the Wasserman Media Group.

    Beckham, who is now closing in on his 28th birthday, entered the professional ranks as the top overall selection in the 2008 draft. Though he has not quite lived up to that billing to this point, Beckham is fresh off of his most promising campaign at the MLB level.

    While his tenure with the Rays came to an end at the 2017 trade deadline, Beckham produced at a roughly league-average rate at the plate during his time with Tampa Bay. And he exploded upon arriving in Baltimore, carrying a robust .306/.348/.523 batting line over 230 plate appearances despite a late-season swoon.

    It’s tough to know just what to expect from Beckham, who has yet to prove he’s an everyday player but will surely be relied upon heavily by the O’s. There’s still some uncertainty as to how the club will line up on the left side of the infield, too, and Beckham has been approached about some potential changes.

    Regardless of what’s to come, the first order of business will be sorting out a 2018 salary. MLBTR projects an arbitration salary of $3.1MM for Beckham, who earned $885K last year as a Super Two player and can be controlled for two additional seasons via arbitration.

    As always, you can find up-to-date player representation information in MLBTR’s Agency Database.

    East Notes: Frandsen, Franco, Machado, Orioles Tue, 09 Jan 2018 05:20:27 +0000 The Phillies announced on Monday that former big leaguers Kevin Frandsen, Kevin Jordan and Kevin Stocker will join their broadcast team. According to the announcement, that trio of former Phillies will rotate through road games and serve as color analysts alongside play-by-play broadcaster Scott Franzke. The 35-year-old Frandsen is the most recent member of the group to have suited up in the Majors, appearing in seven games for the 2015 Giants. Frandsen seemingly never made a formal declaration of his intention to retire as a player, though he has not appeared in a professional game since that 2015 season. It seems fair to assume, then, that he’ll embark upon a new career as he breaks into the media world.

    A couple more notes on the Phillies and some other east coast clubs…

    • In less pleasant news, third baseman Maikel Franco was suspended from his team in the Dominican Winter League for “violating the organization’s discipline code,” per Enrique Rojas of ESPN Deportes. Franco and teammates Moises Sierra, Garabez Rosa and Eduardo de Oleo were photographed partying at a Dominican club as late as 6am on the day of one of the team’s playoff games, per the report. It was a disappointment for both his DWL team and the Phillies alike, prompting an apology from the third baseman: “I apologize to the team, the fans and our sponsors, it’s something that will not happen again,” said Franco. The 25-year-old Franco, who impressed mightily as a rookie in 2015, has regressed in each of the past two seasons and is coming off his worst MLB campaign to date. In 623 plate appearances, Franco slashed just .230/.281/.409 with 24 homers.
    • Orioles skipper Buck Showalter is overseeing what Roch Kubatko of calls a “delicate situation” on the left side of the infield, where Manny Machado has reportedly indicated a desire to move to a shortstop position that would otherwise be occupied by Tim Beckham. While Showalter isn’t tipping his hand, he says there’s been progress in resolving who’ll play where — assuming, at least, that Machado is ultimately retained by the O’s. The manager says he has “positioned us to maneuver regardless of what happens between now and the season starting.”
    • Showalter and Kubatko also cover a variety of other topics of interest to the Baltimore faithful in that as well as another post, focusing in particular on a trio of lefties. Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes has drawn early praise from the skipper, though of course he’ll still need to earn and keep an active roster spot. Elsewhere, the general prognosis on key reliever Zach Britton seems to be positive, though that’s not to say there’s any change to the mid-summer timeline for him to return from his Achilles tear. Kubatko also held an interesting chat with Richard Bleier, who recognizes that his sparkling 1.99 ERA from 2017 doesn’t guarantee him anything entering camp.
    Orioles Notes: Offseason, Castro, Minicamp Mon, 08 Jan 2018 15:27:44 +0000 The Orioles, Rays and Blue Jays are among the teams that face a critical decision this offseason, writes’s Mike Petriello. All three are looking up at a stacked pair of rosters in Boston and New York, and there’s an argument to be made that each of the three should rebuild rather than make an aggressive push to contend in 2018. The Orioles and Jays are set to lose Manny Machado and Josh Donaldson to free agency next winter, while the low-payroll Rays have already been forced to trade Evan Longoria largely for fiscal reasons and have yet to see this core group realize its full potential. What truly matters for bubble teams of this nature, though, is simply making a definitive call, Petriello argues. With so many incentives (in terms of talent acquisition) for teams at the bottom of the league, rebuilding toward a brighter future or aggressively “going for it” are more logical routes for each of these teams than merely executing half-measures that will result in another middle-of-the-pack finish, Petriello posits.

    • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun checks in on some pitchers that’ll have the opportunity to make an impression on the Orioles at this week’s minor league mini-camp. While 40-man players aren’t required to attend the event, some will nonetheless be on hand, including righty Miguel Castro — the reliever-turned-starter that’ll head to Spring Training out of minor league options. Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes, too, is getting a look from coaches and Orioles decision-makers. Meoli notes that Cortes appears headed for a long relief role if he’s able to crack the big league roster out of Spring Training — not uncommon for pitchers selected in the Rule 5 Draft. Others of note include Tanner Scott, Yefry Ramirez and Chris Lee.
    Orioles Notes: Brach, Ellsbury Sun, 07 Jan 2018 22:48:12 +0000 Trade rumblings around Orioles righty Brad Brach have settled down in the wake of Zach Britton’s Achillies injury, as Baltimore will be turning to Brach as closer for at least half of the 2018 season.  As Brach explained in an appearance on 105.7 The Fan’s “Orioles Hot Stove Show” (hat tip to’s Roch Kubatko), however, he doesn’t mind being part of the speculation.

    • “The Orioles actually like (Jacoby) Ellsbury a little,” Joel Sherman of the New York Post writes, though several hurdles stand in the way of the Yankees managing to deal the veteran outfielder.  New York would have to eat the big majority of the $68.5MM remaining on Ellsbury’s contract, and he may prefer to only waive his no-trade protection for a deal that would send him closer to his home in Arizona.  Ellsbury-to-Baltimore was first floated by the Yankees as part of trade talks about Manny Machado, though obviously the O’s would need a lot more than Ellsbury for such a deal given how Ellsbury has struggled in each of the last three seasons.  While the Orioles’ interest in Ellsbury may be muted, his addition would bring more left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup and also perhaps open the door for Adam Jones to shift to right field.
    Orioles Meet With Andrew Cashner Sun, 07 Jan 2018 19:08:20 +0000
  • The Orioles recently met with Andrew Cashner and his representatives.  Baltimore’s interest in Cashner dates back to at least the start of the offseason, and the O’s are still in sore need of arms to bolster their weak rotation.  There hasn’t been a ton of buzz about Cashner on the rumor mill, though he is still reportedly looking for a three-year deal and there seems to be at least some interest between Cashner and the Rangers.

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    Latest On Manny Machado Sun, 07 Jan 2018 05:31:53 +0000
  • The Diamondbacks “doubled back with renewed interest” in Orioles infielder Manny Machado, Roch Kubatko of writes. A deal is not imminent, though, as Kubatko notes that nobody has sent the pitching-needy Orioles an offer good enough to convince them to move Machado. As of December, Arizona reportedly wasn’t willing to part with third baseman Jake Lamb in a Machado package.
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    Poll: Which Of These Players Is Most Likely To Be Traded? Sun, 07 Jan 2018 03:44:42 +0000 We’ve reached January, and the free agent market is still lagging in a big way. The top free agents available seemingly haven’t showed a willingness to lower their asking prices, and with spring training less than two months out, teams may feel a need to complete their offseason shopping lists sooner than later. In some cases, this may cause teams to make stronger pushes for some candidates on the trade market.

    There have certainly been some large scale trades so far this offseason. High-end players such as Giancarlo Stanton, Marcell Ozuna, Evan Longoria, Ian Kinsler and Stephen Piscotty have changed hands already, and there are still plenty of practical matches left between MLB teams. We’ve detailed many of these in the 2017-2018 installment of our “Looking For A Match” series; the players featured in those articles are listed below, with our noted potential fits listed in parentheses.

    • Billy Hamilton, Reds CF (Giants, Dodgers, Royals): Hamilton’s talents as a burner on the basepaths and an elite defender in center field are well-known throughout MLB circles, but in truth, that’s about where his usefulness ends. His .299 OBP was the 11th-lowest among qualified hitters in 2017; that number is about consistent with his career mark. The Giants seem to have shown a strong interest in Hamilton, but Reds owner Bob Castellini’s recently-reported hesitancy to part with the speedster could gum up trade negotiations. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Billy Hamilton Trade]
    • Brad Hand, Padres LHRP (Astros, Dodgers, Cardinals, Twins, Braves): Though our evaluation of Hand’s trade market also included the Rays and Rockies, those teams seem like less likely suitors at this point in the offseason; the former decreased their likelihood of contention by shipping Longoria to San Francisco, while the latter has signed three expensive relief pitchers to pad their bullpen. Hand is one of the elite relief pitchers in all of baseball, and he’s certainly one of the best (if not the undisputed best) bullpen options on the trade market. Of course, the caveat is that it would also require a significant prospect haul to convince San Diego to move him. The lefty has two years of team control remaining, and MLBTR projects him to cost just $3.8MM in 2018. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Brad Hand Trade]
    • Jose Abreu, White Sox 1B (Astros, Indians, Rangers, Red Sox, Rockies): Though the Cuba native has been a mainstay in the White Sox’ lineup since his MLB debut in 2014, his club is unlikely to contend for a pennant before he reaches free agency after the 2019 season. MLBTR’s arbitration projections have him pegged for a $17.9MM salary in 2018, but his expected offensive output makes him well worth that price tag. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Jose Abreu Trade]
    • Avisail Garcia, White Sox OF (Blue Jays, Indians, Rockies, Diamondbacks, Giants, Rangers): Like Abreu, Garcia is a South Sider with two years of team control remaining. However, he comes with a lot more risk; Garcia had played below replacement level over the course of his career prior to a breakout this past season. Still, there are many teams who would benefit from adding a lefty-masher to their outfield corps, and his projected 2018 salary is a reasonable $6.7MM. [LINK: Looking For A Match In An Avisail Garcia Trade]
    • Raisel Iglesias, Reds RHRP (Nationals, Dodgers, Cardinals, Brewers, Twins, Astros): With three full seasons of team control remaining, Iglesias could prove a valuable long-term asset to either a rebuilding club or a current contender. He’s managed to strike out 10.43 batters per nine innings over the course of his career as a reliever while posting a sterling 2.29 ERA. The Twins have reportedly shown interest in Iglesias this winter, though that was nearly two months ago; there haven’t been any new developments in that story since then. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A Raisel Iglesias Trade]
    • J.T. Realmuto, Marlins C (Nationals, Rockies, Diamondbacks): Unlike the other players on this list, Realmuto has gone so far as to request a trade from his current team. While that alone certainly isn’t enough to facilitate a trade, some have taken the stance that Miami ought to trade their catcher (along with fellow Marlin Christian Yelich) at his peak value. Realmuto has accrued more than 7 WAR over the past two seasons alone, but the Marlins don’t feel compelled to trade him unless they’re overwhelmed by an offer. [LINK: Looking For A Match In A J.T. Realmuto Trade]
    • Manny Machado, Orioles 3B (Cardinals, Yankees, Angels, Rockies, Nationals): Rumors surrounding Baltimore’s prized infielder have cooled off a bit recently, but the Orioles could still be prompted to move him for the right offer. They’re reportedly seeking two talented starting pitchers who are controllable for the long term, however, which seems like a sky-high asking price for a player with just one year of team control remaining. Of course, the O’s probably wouldn’t restrict a return to just rotation options. Machado is projected to earn a $17.3MM salary in his final season before hitting the free agent market. [LINK: Trading Manny Machado]

    We’ll open this subject up to reader opinions at this point. Which of the trade candidates we’ve profiled do you think is most likely to be traded before the 2018 season begins? (Link for app users)

    Orioles Notes: Machado, Sisco, Realmuto Fri, 05 Jan 2018 18:33:42 +0000
  • The Yankees checked back in with the Orioles on Manny Machado this week, per FanRag’s Jon Heyman, but the O’s have yet to receive an offer from any team that is close to what they’d hope to receive for Machado. The Yankees remain interested in Machado, though, believing that they have a legitimate chance to sign him long-term (even without an extension window being granted). The O’s reportedly want a pair of MLB-ready pitchers for Machado, though Heyman notes that third base prospect Miguel Andujar intrigues Baltimore to some degree. For now, Andujar is viewed as the Yankees’ starter at third base, though Heyman adds that the Yanks are exploring a number of avenues in the infield; in addition to Machado, they’ve shown interest in the PiratesJosh Harrison and are keeping tabs on the free-agent market in case Todd Frazier’s asking price drops to one year.
  • “Too many people” are assuming that Chance Sisco is a lock to open the year as the Orioles’ starting catcher, reports’s Roch Kubatko. (I’m guilty as charged on that front, having referenced him as the likely starter on multiple occasions.) Per Kubatko, 26-year-old Austin Wynns has a “legitimate” chance to break camp with the team thanks largely to his defensive prowess. If that happens, then the O’s would seemingly take Wynns and Caleb Joseph north to open the year while giving Sisco additional development time in Triple-A Norfolk. The O’s are also still in the market for a veteran catcher, which could prove to be either a starting-caliber option or a backup to vie for a spot alongside Sisco and Wynns. Kubatko notes that some in the organization are intrigued by the MarlinsJ.T. Realmuto, though it’s difficult to imagine the O’s coming up with the type of package that’d beat the field for Realmuto when Miami has been targeting pitching prospects in other trades.
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    Tyler Wilson Signs With KBO’s LG Twins Fri, 05 Jan 2018 14:04:07 +0000 Former Orioles righty Tyler Wilson has signed a one-year deal with the LG Twins of the Korea Baseball Organization, the team announced (via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The Meister Sports Management client will take home $800K on a one-year deal, per Yoo.

    The 28-year-old Wilson has spent parts of the past three seasons with the Orioles, totaling 145 1/3 innings but struggling to a 5.02 ERA with 4.8 K/9, 2.4 BB/9 and an average fastball velocity of 89.9 mph in that time. Wilson showed promising ground-ball tendencies early in his MLB career and was adept at avoiding homers as well, but both of those trends rapidly went in the wrong direction with more exposure to big league hitters.

    Those struggles led to a September DFA for Wilson in Baltimore, after which he was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk. He elected to become a free agent at season’s end following his removal from the 40-man roster.

    Wilson does carry a considerably more successful track record in Triple-A, where he’s logged a 3.99 ERA with 6.5 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 across 302 innings in parts of four seasons. He’ll now earn considerably move overseas than he’d have taken home had he remained in North America on a minor league deal.

    Arbitration Breakdown: Manny Machado Fri, 05 Jan 2018 02:23:33 +0000 Over the next few days, I will be discussing some of the higher profile upcoming arbitration cases. I rely partly on my arbitration model developed exclusively for MLB Trade Rumors, but will also break out some interesting comparables and determine where the model might be wrong. 2018 arbitration projections are available right here.

    Manny Machado had an off year this past season. His .259 average was well below his .284 career number. Unlike many other players this past season, he did not even set his personal home run record. He only had 33, slightly less than his totals for 2015 and 2016. However, with 95 RBI and 9 SB to tack onto his totals, Machado is projected for a $5.8 million raise up to a total salary of $17.3 million.

    Part of the problem with determining the accuracy of the model in Machado’s case is something that will affect a great number of cases this year—the high home run level in the league. This past season set a league record with 6,105 total home runs—this was 26 percent higher than the average from the last five years. So when I look at players with similar totals over the last five years, it is unclear whether an arbitration panel (or teams and agents that are negotiating in the shadow of what an arbitration panel would say) would treat home runs from Machado as similar to other players with the same number as home runs, or as someone with maybe 26 percent fewer home runs. My model does not adjust for league run environment in this way; in general the data has shown that run environment is not a big consideration in arbitration. Hitters in high scoring years benefit from being compared to hitters in lower scoring years, and pitchers in low scoring years benefit from being compared to pitchers in high scoring years.

    For example, Chase Headley in 2013 is probably a decent comparable, even if his case is a little stale. He hit 31 HR with 115 RBI and batted .286, which bests Machado in AVG and RBI, but is similar to his HR total. With a $5.1 million raise, which would probably be somewhere between $6 and $6.5 million if we adjust for salary inflation,  Headley could serve as a solid analog to Machado. However, if we think of Machado’s 33 HR as more like the equivalent of 25 HR in 2013, then Machado should clearly get less than Headley’s inflation-adjusted raise.

    If we want a more recent comparable, we might want to consider Todd Frazier last year, who hit .225/40/98. With the league only experiencing a nine percent increase in HR relative to last year, Frazier might be a more legitimate comparable. He clearly had more HR, but a worse average. He only got a $3.75 million raise, which may suggest that the $5.8 million raise projected for Machado is too high.

    Eric Hosmer hit .266/25/104 last year, so he could be a solid comparable as well. He received a $4 million raise, again far less than Machado’s projection. Of course, Hosmer is probably a floor with similar AVG and RBI and notably fewer HR. So maybe we want to consider Machado getting something north of $4 million.

    I think it makes sense to view Hosmer’s raise as a floor on Machado, especially because of the large difference in defensive skill. While defense does not appear to make a big impact on arbitration at the model level, it obviously can in some cases. I would guess that it helps Machado move towards a raise closer to $5 million. That would still fall short of his projection, but probably puts him in striking distance of somewhere around $16-17 million.

    Orioles Still Eyeing Veteran Catchers Thu, 04 Jan 2018 02:12:33 +0000
  • Rich Dubroff of examines whether the Orioles might roll with young catcher Chance Sisco out of camp. Baltimore is still looking at veterans, though it seems the organization is resolved to rely primarily upon Caleb Joseph if Sisco doesn’t run away with the job. Assuming that any players acquired from outside the organization are mostly reserve/depth options, it could well come down to a camp battle. As Dubroff writes, the MLB coaching staff has not yet had an extended opportunity to see Sisco in action.
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    Orioles Notes: Machado, Free Agent SPs, Schoop Tue, 02 Jan 2018 22:36:37 +0000
  • With the Red Sox still interested in acquiring Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, Ian Browne of weighs in on a potential trade between the AL East rivals. Browne senses that the Red Sox don’t want to trade either shortstop Xander Bogaerts or center fielder Jackie Bradley Jr. this offseason, but he concedes that it wouldn’t be a surprise to see the former head to Baltimore as part of a Machado deal. The Red Sox would be losing two years of Bogaerts for a single season of control over Machado. As such, if Boston acquires Machado, it would make an aggressive push to re-up the superstar in order to prevent him from leaving as a free agent next winter, Browne adds.
  • The Orioles still face a difficult path, all the more so given that the team will evidently be paying Zach Britton a full arbitration salary for what might be little more than a half season of work. Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun writes that, while the rotation market still hasn’t moved much, some of the arms from Baltimore’s potential target demographic are among those that have found new teams. Meanwhile, Steve Melewski of considers the question of whether the team will look to make second baseman Jonathan Schoop a part of a new long-term core — and, if so, how much it might cost to get something done.
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    Orioles Face More Competition Than Usual In Pursuit Of Late Moves Mon, 01 Jan 2018 20:26:27 +0000
  • The Orioles have historically been willing to wait out the free-agent market in search of bargains late in the winter, but they’ll have more company than usual in that regard this year, writes Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette and his staff have had varying degrees of success in that regard, striking gold with a February signing of Nelson Cruz but also issuing regrettable deals to Yovani Gallardo and Ubaldo Jimenez. This time around, the Orioles will be looking to fill multiple spots in their rotation in addition to a left-handed bat. But, with just a handful of the top MLB free agents having agreed to deals, Baltimore’s typically patient approach may not be as fruitful as it has in the past.
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    Orioles Have Reportedly Made Offer To Ji-Man Choi Mon, 01 Jan 2018 15:31:02 +0000
  • First baseman Ji-Man Choi’s agency in Korea recently spoke to the media about their client’s current foray into free agency and revealed that he’s received offers (presumably of the minor league variety) from the Yankees, Angels, Rays, A’s, Brewers, Marlins, Cubs, Reds, Orioles, Twins, Braves, Blue Jays and White Sox (English link via Jee-ho Yoo of South Korea’s Yonhap News Agency). The 26-year-old Choi slugged a pair of homers in 18 plate appearances with the Yankees last year and posted a strong year with their Triple-A affiliate, slashing .288/.373/.538 in 87 games. In parts of five Triple-A campaigns, Choi has posted a robust .298/.390/.479 batting line.
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    Latest On Manny Machado, Orioles' Search For Lefty Bat Sat, 30 Dec 2017 06:10:04 +0000 The Red Sox are “showing continued trade interest” in star Orioles infielder Manny Machado, per MLB Network’s Jon Morosi (via Twitter). That said, it’s unclear just how strong a connection there may be between the division rivals. While not specifically referencing Morosi’s report, Rob Bradford of tweets that interest from Boston has been “overstated.” Overall, it’s hard to assess the current state of the Machado market; while a variety of organizations are no doubt still intrigued at the idea of a deal, there’s no real indication that there have been changes in the offers or the asking price.

    • Regardless of what happens with Machado, the Orioles are still in need of a lefty bat, Roch Kubatko of writes. He explains that it still seems more likely the missing southpaw stick will arrive in the form of a corner outfielder. While the organization has engaged in “internal discussions” regarding Jon Jay, says Kubatko, it does not seem there’s real interest there. At this point, though, it does not seem as if there’s any real indication at all which way the O’s may go.
    Orioles Notes: Machado, Straily Thu, 28 Dec 2017 21:01:23 +0000 The Orioles “continue to hear from multiple teams interested in trading for Manny Machado,” tweets Jon Morosi of MLB Network, who doesn’t believe the club has a firm deadline on trade talks for their star infielder.  As Dan Connolly of wrote six days ago, “These incremental updates are white noise.”  Unfortunately, that’s all we’ve got right now!  Connolly’s best guess at that time: Machado will be traded before Opening Day.  For now, we’ll continue to wait for the hot stove to light.

    •’s Joe Frisaro tackles questions from Marlins fans in his latest inbox.  As of now, Frisaro expects Christian Yelich and J.T. Realmuto to be back with the team next year, though the team is “open to listening on everyone.”  He notes that the Orioles are “known to have interest” in 29-year-old righty Dan Straily, who is under team control through 2020.  Clearly, there is no urgency for the Marlins to deal controllable, affordable players like these.
    Quick Hits: Astros, Machado, Hamilton Wed, 27 Dec 2017 22:28:44 +0000 In a dramatic and suspenseful article, Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic chronicles the recent harrowing life-or-death race to get Astros first base coach Rich Dauer to Houston Methodist Hospital. On the day of the Astros’ championship parade, Dauer was present at the official ceremony to honor the team. He began to stagger as if drunk, and stepped to the back of the stage. From there, a panicked attempt to get Dauer to the hospital amidst a crowd of millions of people unfolded behind the scenes. The piece is incredibly well-written, and thankfully has a happy ending. It’s definitely worth a full read.

    More from around MLB as we approach the end of December…

    • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun wonders if this offseason’s drama surrounding Orioles star Manny Machado could have been avoided. Meoli takes a look at the chances the Orioles had to explore trades or a contract extension with their prized third baseman, but he ultimately comes to the conclusion that there was never a reason to trade him until now. It also seems as though by the time Machado was a safe fixture in the O’s lineup, his value was sky-high, and he was close enough to free agency that an extension didn’t make sense for him (or his agent). While it remains to be seen whether Baltimore will actually end up dealing Machado, Meoli’s piece sheds some light on a tough set of circumstances for the Orioles.
    • The Giants and Reds have remained active in talks about a trade that would send Billy Hamilton to San Francisco, according to Jon Morosi of The Reds have reportedly shown interest in Heliot Ramos, who is largely considered to be the Giants’ best prospect (he credits The Athletic with first report of this news). Hamilton, of course, is regarded as one of the best defenders in the game, and also creates a lot of runs with his speed alone. His career .298 on-base percentage is widely regarded as his achilles heel, but he could still provide plenty of value as an elite center fielder in AT&T Park’s spacious outfield. A couple months back, I wrote about the trade market for Hamilton, noting that the Giants were the best match for his services.
    Kubatko On Alvarez, Hess Wed, 27 Dec 2017 14:51:28 +0000
  • The Orioles are not abandoning the hope that former outfielder Dariel Alvarez can successfully convert to a right-handed pitcher, writes Roch Kubatko of Alvarez, who had Tommy John surgery last April, will be in Orioles minicamp next month, where club officials can get a look at him and better gauge his rehab progress. Kubatko notes that the O’s still believe he can make it to the Majors. Kubatko also writes that there’s somewhat of a split camp, internally, on whether lefty David Hess will ultimately be a starter or reliever in the long run. Hess was added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 Draft after tossing 154 1/3 innings of 3.85 ERA ball with 7.2 K/9, 3.1 BB/9 and a 30.7 percent ground-ball rate. The 24-year-old has been used almost exclusively as a starter to this point in his pro career, and given Baltimore’s utter dearth of rotation options, it seems likely that he’ll at least have the opportunity to continue developing in that capacity.
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    Why A Machado Trade Is Not Off The Table For Orioles Mon, 25 Dec 2017 02:01:28 +0000
  • While the Orioles have stated that they will keeping Manny Machado, Dan Connolly of guesses that the star third baseman will be in another uniform before Opening Day.  A Machado trade is “still under consideration no matter what words trickle out” since the O’s could easily reverse course if another team meets their asking price.  While several complications could certainly prevent a trade from taking place given Machado’s stature, Connolly believes the biggest hurdle was the Orioles’ decision to consider trading Machado whatsoever, and “taking that step tells me that they aren’t going backward.”
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    Latest On Zach Britton Sun, 24 Dec 2017 17:11:31 +0000
  • It’s “probably not even a remote possibility” that the Orioles will cut ties with closer Zach Britton in the wake of his ruptured Achilles, Roch Kubatko of hears. Britton, who’s entering his last year of arbitration eligibility, would receive his full 2018 salary (a projected $12.2MM) even if he’s released, according to Kubatko. So, it’s more likely the Orioles will attempt to extend the Scott Boras client and keep him in the fold beyond next year, Kubatko suggests. Interestingly, there’s a small chance a healthy Britton could eventually return to his original role as a starter. The Orioles approached Britton with the idea earlier this year, and though he expressed a desire to remain in the bullpen, he “wasn’t adamant about resisting the switch,” Kubatko writes. Whether it would make sense to change Britton’s role has drawn mixed opinions in the organization, Kubatko details, and his injury may reduce the likelihood of it happening. Regardless of whether he starts or stays in the bullpen going forward, the O’s are hopeful Britton will return before the All-Star break, Kubatko relays.
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    Latest On Manny Machado Sun, 24 Dec 2017 14:39:57 +0000
  • The Orioles reportedly don’t expect to trade Manny Machado, but they’re still more open than ever to moving him, writes Olney. As such, Olney doesn’t rule out a deal coming together, especially with Machado’s value being higher now than it will be over the summer. At the same time, it “seems a distinct possibility” the O’s will keep Machado through next season because of owner Peter Angelos’ reluctance to rebuild, Olney suggests. In that scenario, Machado would depart as a free agent, presumably after receiving and rejecting a qualifying offer, and the Orioles would only get draft compensation in return.

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    Red Sox, Yankees Still Interested In Manny Machado Sun, 24 Dec 2017 00:46:12 +0000
  • The Red Sox and Yankees remain interested in Orioles third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado, though neither team has “moved the needle” in talks with the O’s, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe reports. Baltimore is reportedly done actively shopping Machado, as it doesn’t believe any other club has put forth a suitable offer for the superstar as he prepares for a contract year. Given that both the Red Sox and Yankees are in the Orioles’ division, it figures to be especially difficult for either to persuade the Orioles to move Machado. The left side of Boston’s infield looks to be in fine shape anyway with Rafael Devers at third and Xander Bogaerts at short. The Yankees, on the other hand, don’t have an obvious third base solution to place next to shortstop Didi Gregorius.
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    Orioles Sign Aquino, Three Others To Minor League Deals Sat, 23 Dec 2017 04:09:21 +0000
  • The Orioles announced minor league pacts with lefties Jayson Aquino and Andrew Faulkner, right-hander Tim Melville and first baseman Aderlin Rodriguez. Aquino, Faulkner and Rodriguez will be returning to the organization, while Melville will be joining the team for the first time. The 25-year-old Aquino has tossed 15 2/3 innings with the O’s over the past two seasons but struggled to a 6.32 ERA in that time. He does have a 4.02 ERA with 7.1 K/9 and 3.1 BB/9 in parts of two Triple-A seasons. Faulkner, 25, logged a 2.79 ERA in 38 1/3 Triple-A innings with 8.1 K/9 last season but also averaged 5.6 walks per nine innings. Rodriguez, meanwhile, hit .279/.341/.471 with 22 homers in Double-A this past season, albeit at the age of 25 (older than much of the competition he was facing). The 28-year-old Melville has just 14 2/3 MLB innings on his resume and has been hit hard in that time. However, he also logged a 2.95 ERA with 8.5 K/9 against 3.9 BB/9 in 12 starts (13 total appearances) with the Triple-A affiliates for the Twins and Padres last year.
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    D-Backs Weren't Willing To Discuss Jake Lamb In Machado Talks Fri, 22 Dec 2017 21:44:57 +0000
  • The Diamondbacks reportedly had real interest in Orioles infielder Manny Machado, but Heyman says the Snakes were not willing to consider moving third bagger Jake Lamb in a deal. That’s not terribly surprising; after all, the 27-year-old Lamb has only just reached arbitration eligibility and posted consecutive solid campaigns in which he has maintained a composite .248/.345/.498 batting line. Though he’s clearly an inferior overall player to Machado, Lamb is the type of affordable, quality regular that a team with Arizona’s payroll can ill afford to part with.
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    Orioles Do Not Expect To Trade Manny Machado Thu, 21 Dec 2017 18:24:30 +0000 With no sufficient bid emerging, the Orioles are now indicating to interested organizations that star third baseman Manny Machado “is staying put,” according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (Twitter links). That could yet change if a big new offer comes in the door, but it seems that Baltimore will no longer actively shop the pending free agent.

    On the one hand, then, this news isn’t that impactful. The club had indicated it was nearing the quitting point on active trade talks after prior reports made clear that the team would move on to other plans if its needs weren’t met. Teams that want to land the youthful star know they need to come with a significant package of talent to get something done. Baltimore has expressed a need to get back two quality, controllable starters to make a deal, and Roch Kubatko of’s report from this morning suggests the asking price remains the same.

    On the other, it’s an important moment for the O’s offseason strategy. With Zach Britton’s Achilles injury also seemingly taking the club’s best relievers (Britton and Brad Brach) out of trade consideration, it seems the organization will largely maintain its existing core and go out looking to add starters in other ways. With at least two rotation pieces still on the wish list, and no interest in chasing the market for the best-available arms, the Orioles front office will need to work hard to find value.

    That said, the rotation market has not moved much at all to this point, so there are plenty of options still out there. Whether or not the slow free agent action will lead to any particular number of bargains remains to be seen, but executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette is certainly no stranger to waiting out late opportunities.

    Barring a big change in the interest levels from other teams, Machado will evidently play out his original control rights in Baltimore before reaching free agency after the 2018 season. The sides will still need to work out a final-season salary — MLBTR projects a hefty $17.3MM arbitration pay-out — but there’s little reason to think at this point that an extension will realistically be considered.

    Still, it’s wise not to rule things out so long as there’s still work to be done in the winter. An extension or trade would surprise at this point, but both are hypothetically just as plausible as ever.

    Interestingly, should trade talks get moving again, Kubatko notes that the Cubs and Orioles discussed a variety of notable names. While there’s no reason to think all three Chicago players would have been included in the same deal, Addison Russell, Albert Almora, and Mike Montgomery all came up in chatter.

    Duquette Suggests Machado Decision Near Wed, 20 Dec 2017 23:56:39 +0000 Indications are that the market for Orioles third baseman Manny Machado could wrap up soon, and team president of baseball operations Dan Duquette seemingly confirmed that is indeed the case. The organization does not intend to “focus on that much more after tomorrow,” Duquette told reporters including Roch Kubatko of (via Twitter). There’s no indication that the injury to Zach Britton will change the club’s plans, though it stands to reason that it could add at least some impetus to the possibility of a trade.

    Zach Britton To Undergo Surgery For Ruptured Achilles Wed, 20 Dec 2017 15:37:33 +0000 10:16am: Britton will undergo surgery tomorrow, per Dan Connolly of (via Twitter). The hope is the nature of the injury will allow for a somewhat shorter-than-typical recovery time, as Ghiroli tweets.

    9:37am: In a stroke of terrible luck for lefty Zach Britton and the Orioles, the closer has suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon during offseason workouts, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (links to Twitter). Britton is expected to be sidelined for at least four to six months — a more precise expectation will only be known after surgery — so it seems the best-case scenario will be a return over the summer.

    As Rosenthal notes, there are several layers of misery to unpack here. Most immediately, Britton was preparing and hoping for a healthy 2018 campaign after dealing with arm issues in the just-completed season. Instead, he’ll need to rehabilitate this unexpected injury — which is to his right Achilles, per’s Britt Ghiroli (via Twitter) — before building back up into pitching form.

    MLBTR projected that Britton would command $12.2MM in his final trip through the arbitration process. While it’s too late for the O’s to pull back their decision to tender him a contract, the club could end up releasing Britton to avoid paying him the full contract value. So long as he’s released before the 16th day of Spring Training, the O’s can avoid all but thirty days worth of salary.

    Of course, the lost cash is only a small part of the problem here from the team’s perspective. Baltimore has toyed with the idea of trading Britton ever since last summer, when the club nearly did just that. The idea was to cash in the former ace closer to address other needs — namely, a still-glaring dearth of starters. Of course, the club was also reluctant to part with a pitcher that had been one of the game’s most dominant relievers in 2015 and 2016.

    Instead of making that tough call, the O’s will seemingly be left with nothing to show for their final season of control over Britton. Perhaps it’s still conceivable the organization will retain him and hope he’s able to return late in the year, though that’d mean dedicating cash that could instead go to filling out the rotation. And it’s somewhat hard to imagine a scenario where Britton returns in time to turn into a trade chip, so there’s not really any downside protection if his recovery is slowed.

    At this point, then, making the best of the situation for the Orioles could mean pursuing some kind of multi-year arrangement with Britton. The southpaw is still reasonably young — he’s just days away from his 30th birthday — so can still hope to find a major free agent payday in the future. And if he goes onto the open market, he’d likely be looking at a two-year rehab deal anyway (such as those signed recently by Drew Smyly and Michael Pineda). Since Baltimore is already on the hook for some cash, perhaps there’s an avenue for the sides to find a mutually agreeable deal that will allow Britton to work back to health with the only organization he has ever played for.

    Even if there’s some lemonade to be crafted from this lemon, the news represents a big hit to the Orioles’ hopes for the coming season. It’ll certainly be interesting to see whether the loss of Britton will increase the organization’s willingness to trade away star third baseman Manny Machado, another key player who’s entering his final season of contract control. Of course, it now seems unlikely that righty Brad Brach will end up on the move, as he’s the obvious replacement for Britton in the ninth inning.

    Meanwhile, teams that had been weighing pursuit of Britton will now need to adjust their strategies. There are some high-end late-inning arms left in free agency, though not top-tier lefties remain. Organizations that wish to add a closing-capable southpaw will now surely turn their gaze to the Padres’ Brad Hand, who already came with a justifiably lofty trade value.

    Latest On Manny Machado Wed, 20 Dec 2017 14:43:23 +0000 Manny Machado has emerged as the most talked-about name on the trade market in the wake of reports that the Orioles are shopping the 25-year-old, who will be a free agent next winter and quite possibly in line for a precedent-setting contract. Here’s the latest on Machado…

    • Jon Heyman of Fan Rag adds some further details to the situation in a follow-up to Encina’s report. The offers for Machado haven’t been sufficient to this point in Baltimore’s eyes, and the organization will take him off the market in the coming days if the asking price isn’t met. Of course, Heyman also notes that there’s no “hard deadline;” rather, the O’s would “shift to other priorities” if there’s no momentum toward a trade. Interestingly, per Heyman, the O’s see the Jason HeywardShelby Miller swap as the kind of arrangement that would pique their interest.

    Earlier Updates

    • Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports that if the Orioles are to trade Machado, they hope to come to an agreement with a team by the end of the week. Baltimore isn’t backing down off its asking price of two starting pitchers that it can control for “at least the next four or five years,” however, which figures to be far too rich a price to pay for many clubs that have interest. High as Machado’s ceiling might be, that amount of team control over MLB-ready starters will very likely be valued more highly around the league. If the O’s don’t find a trade offer they like, Encina writes that they’re content to wait until the summer and revisit the possibility of trading him then.
    • Bruce Levine of CBS Chicago tweets that both the Cubs and the White Sox are still involved in conversations with the Orioles regarding Machado. The Cubs are stacked with infield options, though none of their shortstop options come with a track record as impressive as that of Machado. The White Sox, meanwhile, reportedly declined to include their top-ranked prospects in their initial offer to the Orioles. It doesn’t seem prudent for the rebuilding South Siders to mortgage much of their future to acquire one year of Machado when they’re not expected to contend for the division in 2018.
    • Fangraphs’ Dave Cameron takes a look at Machado’s value on the trade market, opining that suggested packages including MLB assets such as Xander Bogaerts, Eduardo Rodriguez and Addison Russell all represent marked overpays, Machado’s excellence notwithstanding. While Machado himself could be worth as much as $50MM on a one-year deal, Cameron suggests, the long-term value of each of those controllable assets pushes their overall value into comparable territory, and subtracting them from a roster inherently negates some of the upgrade that Machado would bring to the table.
    Athletics Acquire Jake Bray From Orioles Tue, 19 Dec 2017 21:11:38 +0000 The Athletics have acquired righty Jake Bray from the Orioles, per a club announcement. He represents the player to be named later in the deal that sent outfielder Jaycob Brugman to Baltimore earlier in the offseason.

    Bray, 25, has not yet played above the Class A level. In 2017, he pitched to a 3.88 ERA in 51 Sally League frames. That said, he has shown some interesting peripherals at time, never more so than in his just-completed season, when he racked up 82 strikeouts against just 14 walks.

    Market Notes: Red Sox, Hosmer, Royals, Cards, Donaldson, Mets, Kipnis, A-Gon Tue, 19 Dec 2017 04:26:17 +0000 Signing Mitch Moreland doesn’t take the Red Sox out of the market for hitting, president of baseball ops Dave Dombrowski told reporters including Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. And adding another stick wouldn’t necessarily mean trading away from the current roster to create space, the club’s top baseball decisionmaker added. But it surely does not seem that Boston will sign another first baseman; rather, a DH/corner outfield bat seems the likeliest possibility.

    • Boston’s decision seems to take it out of the market for Eric Hosmer, which has raised some eyebrows in Royals country. As Sam Mellinger of the Kansas City Star writes, there are still many barriers remaining to a return to Kansas City for Hosmer, including the possibility that agent Scott Boras will find a way to bring some new suitors into the picture. But keeping Hosmer in Royals blue for the future now seems more plausible than might have been expected when the organization began giving indication it would rebuild. Of course, even if that comes to pass, the general rebuilding plan will remain, the Star’s Rustin Dodd notes on Twitter.
    • The Cardinals appear to be showing more interest in veteran Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson than in Manny Machado of the Orioles, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). Nightengale posits that the club may believe it’s better situated to pursue a long-term deal with Donaldson — who’s much older than Machado, though both will hit the open market at the same time — which would increase his appeal. Of course, it’s important to bear in mind there’s still no real indication that Toronto will move Donaldson and the St. Louis front office has suggested recently that it’s not all that keen on giving up significant assets for a rental.
    • While there has been some chatter recently connecting the Mets to Indians second baseman Jason Kipnis, Ken Davidoff of the New York Post says that possibility is not as likely as it has come to seem. Especially with Carlos Santana moving on, says Davidoff, the Indians are not particularly inclined to part with Kipnis’s contract for a marginal return. New York is trying to thread the needle in finding an upgrade at the position, with the organization concerned with giving up too much in salary or prospect value to make a deal. As the Post’s Joel Sherman writes, the Mets’ lack of top-end, marketable pre-MLB talent has posed an under-appreciated barrier to its winter activity.
    • The Mets, of course, are also eyeing the addition of another option at the first base position. New York had some interest in Moreland, per the above-cited Cafardo piece. And as James Wagner of the New York Times tweets, the Mets intend at least to take a look at the newest entrant onto the open market: Adrian Gonzalez. The veteran will be looking to bounce back after a rough, injury-plagued 2017 season, though he could conceivably bring some upside at a very appealing price.
    O's Have Had Minimal Extension Talks With Schoop Mon, 18 Dec 2017 20:08:34 +0000
  • The Orioles have made surprisingly minimal efforts to extend second baseman Jonathan Schoop, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. If the O’s don’t approach Schoop about a long-term deal prior to the start of the 2018 season, they’ll be in a similar spot with him to the one they face with regard to Manny Machado right now, Encina observes. MLBTR projects Schoop to top $9MM in salary this coming season, so if he enters this year without an extension, there’ll be little cause for him to seriously entertain a long-term deal next winter when he’s just one year removed from hitting free agency in advance of his age-28 season with more than $15MM already in his back pocket. Encina, though, points out that the O’s haven’t brokered an extension with any of their young potential core pieces since Adam Jones in 2012, instead shelling out massive commitments to re-sign Chris Davis and (to a lesser extent) Darren O’Day and Mark Trumbo in free agency. Of course, it’s also worth noting that they likely dodged some bullets by eschewing such contracts for players like Chris Tillman and Matt Wieters.
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    Manny Machado Rumors: Monday Mon, 18 Dec 2017 14:57:42 +0000 Just days after the Giancarlo Stanton trade saga came to an end, the Orioles reportedly made Manny Machado available and began asking teams around the league for offers on the 25-year-old superstar. Here’s the latest chatter on Machado as the Orioles field interest in the best player in recent franchise history…

    • Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic takes a lengthy look at the market for Machado (subscription required and strongly recommended), reporting that trade offers from interested parties improved over the weekend and that a deal could happen this week. Specific details on each club’s offers, of course, aren’t fully known, though Rosenthal reports that the D-backs included young infielder Brandon Drury as part of their package. Rosenthal provides an overview of how seven Machado suitors could make a deal work, though he notes that there’s still a general doubt among his sources that Orioles owner Peter Angelos would green-light a deal sending Machado to the Yankees.
    • Dan Connolly of paints a bit of a different picture regarding Angelos, writing that it’s possible Angelos could be swayed into approving a deal sending Machado the Bronx. Angelos, Connolly writes, solicits opinions from a wide array of trusted confidants and advisors — so many so that there are often conflicting opinions. A lack of consensus among that inner circle may have been what ultimately quashed this past July’s would-be Zach Britton trade to the Astros, per Connolly. However, Connolly hears that there’s a general sense within the organization that a deal will get done, and an organizational consensus could dissuade Angelos from interfering with any agreement, regardless of the trade partner in question. Within that same piece, Connolly also explores how the Machado situation could be slowing Baltimore’s other offseason endeavors.
    • The Cardinals have been oft-linked to Machado, though president of baseball operations John Mozeliak implied in an appearance on KMOX Sports radio in St. Louis this morning that he’d have a hard time making a deal for Machado (Twitter link via KMOX’s Tom Ackerman). Said Mozeliak: “If you’re trading away two to three prospects that have a combined 18 years of control… for one [year]? That doesn’t sit well with me.” That, of course, doesn’t preclude a deal from coming together — Mozeliak did trade four pieces for two years of Marcell Ozuna — but it does seem to suggest that the Cards would have a hard time deciding to outbid the field to secure the rights to Machado’s 2018 season.
    Latest On Manny Machado Sun, 17 Dec 2017 15:10:02 +0000 SUNDAY: The White Sox and Diamondbacks had shown the most interest in Machado as of Saturday morning, Olney heard from AL sources.

    THURSDAY: Trade winds continue to swirl around Manny Machado, as the Orioles’ apparent willingness to consider dealing its star third baseman was one of the major storylines of the Winter Meetings.  The Orioles have received ten “legitimate offers” for Machado, USA Today’s Bob Nightengale reports, though the quality of those offers and the number of teams involved may be hampered by Baltimore’s refusal to allow a 72-hour window for a new team to talk to Machado’s agents about a possible extension.

    The Cardinals didn’t make “a formal offer” due to that lack of negotiating period, and the White Sox (previously thought to have made the strongest of all the offers) apparently didn’t include any of their top prospects in their proposal, Nightengale reports.  Two executives said that Chicago made its offer with the belief that the Sox would only have Machado for the 2018 season.

    One major factor influencing talks is Baltimore owner Peter Angelos’ insistence that Machado not end up with the Yankees in 2018.  This naturally rules out a direct trade with New York, though Angelos also doesn’t want a scenario where Machado is dealt to a team that would flip him to the Yankees for prospects, be it before the July trade deadline or even later this offseason.  These parameters would seem to limit the Orioles’ list of potential trade partners to only contending teams, and maybe even to contenders that would seemingly have no chance of a midseason collapse and subsequent deadline fire sale (though obviously one can’t know for sure what would-be contenders could be in for a nightmare season, a la the 2017 Giants.)

    The White Sox aren’t expected to contend for even a couple of seasons yet, and thus would seem like potential candidates to deal Machado in order to further hasten their rebuild.  The Sox are apparently willing to address Angelos’ concerns, as Nightengale writes that “if the Orioles even wanted it in writing that they’d keep him around until at least mid-summer,” Chicago would be fine with that assurance.  This would be quite an unusual type of trade provisio, of course, and one that Angelos may still not be fine with if he wants to eliminate any chance of Machado wearing Yankee pinstripes in 2018.

    Beyond the teams already reported as having interest in Machado, the Diamondbacks are also in the mix,’s Buster Olney tweets.  Arizona “checked in” on the Machado talks, though it isn’t clear if the D’Backs were just performing due diligence or if they were one of the clubs who made Baltimore an offer.  Machado would seem to be something of an unlikely fit for a D’Backs team that doesn’t have the payroll space to afford Machado’s $17.3 projected salary for 2018, though they could clear some of their own pricier arb-eligible players off the books by sending them back to the O’s.  Patrick Corbin, for instance, would be an upgrade for the Orioles’ rotation, while Jake Lamb would replace Machado at third base and give some much-needed left-handed balance to Baltimore’s lineup.

    MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently took a broad look at the Machado situation, gauging all 29 other teams by how plausible they seem as contenders to actually land the star infielder.  Needless to say, Angelos’ specifications would seem to narrow an already thin market, since there aren’t many teams willing to meet the Orioles’ big asking price (reportedly two controllable starting pitchers) for just a year of Machado’s services.  Adams listed both the White Sox and Diamondbacks as “out of the picture” candidates, so their chances of working out a deal could be even more remote given Angelos’ wariness of any “creative” follow-up trades a Machado suitor could make.

    Orioles Rumors: Schoop, Mancini, Givens, Machado, Cards, Duffy Sun, 17 Dec 2017 14:33:31 +0000 The latest on the Orioles comes in a pair of articles from Roch Kubatko of…

    • It’s unclear how many “untouchable” players the Orioles have, but second baseman Jonathan Schoop, outfielder Trey Mancini and reliever Mychal Givens are among them, an executive from outside the organization told Kubatko at the Winter Meetings. The lone player of those three who’s not under control for the long haul is Schoop, who has two arbitration-eligible years remaining. The Orioles will attempt to extend him sometime soon, Kubatko suggests. Mancini is controllable for the next half-decade, including two pre-arb campaigns, while Givens is under wraps for four more seasons (he’ll be eligible for arbitration in a year).
    • While talking Manny Machado with the Cardinals, the Orioles showed interest in a trio of right-handers – Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks – as well as catcher Carson Kelly, Kubatko relays. In acquiring Weaver and Flaherty, the Orioles would accomplish their goal of getting two major league-ready starters for their top player. Of course, it’s questionable whether the Cardinals would even part with one (let alone both) for a single year of Machado. Weaver held his own across 60 1/3 innings last season for the Cards, who may not be in position to lose another starter with free agent Lance Lynn likely set to depart, while Flaherty ranks as’s 48th-best prospect.
    • The Orioles are reportedly trying to acquire Royals left-hander Danny Duffy, but Kubatko throws cold water on the possibility. Baltimore is indeed interested in Duffy, but it’s unlikely a deal with Kansas City will come together, in part because the Royals aren’t “aggressively shopping” the soon-to-be 29-year-old, Kubatko hears.
    • Although the Orioles are seeking a left-handed hitter, they don’t seem to have interest in free agent Jon Jay, per Kubatko. That differs from previous offseasons when Jay was on the O’s radar, he notes. Conversely, Baltimore could consider Preston Tucker, whom the Astros designated for assignment Friday.
    White Sox Offer For Manny Machado Didn't Include Moncada, Kopech Sun, 17 Dec 2017 01:18:02 +0000
  • The offer the White Sox made to the Orioles for third baseman/shortstop Manny Machado did not include second baseman Yoan Moncada or rightyMichael Kopech, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe writes. It would’ve been a surprise to see the rebuilding White Sox consider parting with either player for only a year of control over Machado. The 22-year-old Moncada and Kopech, 21, were the crown jewels in the package they received last winter for Chris Sale, after all. Moncada, whom the White Sox promoted last July, will be their second baseman from the get-go next year. The flamethrowing Kopech reached Triple-A in 2017 and now ranks as’s 10th-best prospect.
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    Examining The Orioles' Rule 5 Picks Fri, 15 Dec 2017 01:46:38 +0000
  • The Orioles were again aggressive with Rule 5 selections, taking three players (left-hander Nestor Cortes and righties Pedro Araujo and Jose Mesa) in this morning’s draft, though they’ll now face a bit of a roster crunch, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes.  With the O’s in need of southpaws in the pen, Cortes is the likeliest of the trio to actually spend the whole season on the team’s 25-man roster, which is required for Rule 5 picks to fully become property of their new teams.  Araujo and Mesa are longer shots to take up valuable 25-man spots, though it’s possible Baltimore could work out trades with their original teams (the Cubs and Yankees, respectively) to officially acquire their rights.
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    Position Player Rumblings: Red Sox, Machado, White Sox, Cards/Donaldson, Jays/Cain, Mets Thu, 14 Dec 2017 17:43:19 +0000 The Red Sox have designs on adding the two top position players on the free agent market, according to the Boston Herald’s Michael Silverman, with ongoing pursuit of both J.D. Martinez and Eric Hosmer. Interestingly, Silverman notes that Boston would likely look to shed some of its obligations to Hanley Ramirez by dealing him away in the event it can acquire both players.

    That scenario seems to be one of several possibilities still remaining for the Red Sox, who are one of the many teams with plenty of work yet to do in settling their regular lineups. Here’s a look in at the latest notes on bats from around the game:

    • Orioles VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette made clear today that he does not foresee striking a deal involving third baseman Manny Machado that is contingent upon extension negotiations, as Joel Sherman of the New York Post was among those to report on Twitter. In other words, it seems any acquiring team would be gaining just one year of control over over Machado. Sherman also hears that the odds are in favor of a deal at this point, tweeting that the White Sox and Cardinals are the “most aggressive” teams in pursuit of the young superstar.
    • For the White Sox, the interest in Machado does not include an intention to flip him in a later swap, according to Bob Nightengale of USA Today (via Twitter). While Chicago has made an “impressive” bid for Machado, per Mark Gonzales of the Chicago Tribune, Nightengale also says that the belief on the South Side is that others have offered more. Meanwhile, GM Rick Hahn said that the team’s “focus remains on the long term” and says he won’t “make any sort of move that’s aimed at jumping up” into immediate contention. Despite that cold water, he did say the organization is willing to “take some calculated risks along the way.” Just what the team has in mind with this reported pursuit remains a bit of a mystery, but we’ll have to wait and see how things shake out.
    • While evidently maintaining interest in Machado and pursuing other fronts, the Cardinals are also still “pushing” the Blue Jays to offer up their own star third baseman, Josh Donaldson, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (via Twitter). At this point, though, there’s no reason to believe that Toronto will budge from its stance on Donaldson — namely, that it’s not interested in moving him for anything approaching a reasonable return.
    • Far from dangling Donaldson, it seems the Blue Jays are at least weighing a major addition. The club has interest in free agent center fielder Lorenzo Cain, per Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). In theory, Cain could coexist with current center fielder Kevin Pillar, though Cain is also most valuable up the middle. The Jays are interested in committing up to four years, says Heyman, but it seems there are indications Cain will have an opportunity to secure a better deal elsewhere. MLBTR predicted that Cain would land four years in free agency; to this point, we haven’t heard much public discussion of his market, but he’s rather clearly the top available center fielder.
    • While the Mets were able to come away from the Winter Meetings with a relief arm, they have yet to fill their opening at second base. Per Marc Carig of Newsday, Ian Kinsler was not willing to waive his no-trade rights to go to New York. (All links to Twitter.) The club has a variety of other options still in play, Carig explains, adding that the organization was discussing righty Rafael Montero in talks regarding Kinsler.