Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-05-21T22:01:07Z WordPress Steve Adams <![CDATA[Should Hess Remain In Rotation?]]> 2018-05-21T17:12:39Z 2018-05-21T17:12:39Z
  • Despite a pair of rocky starts to begin his MLB career, David Hess should remain in the Orioles’ rotation for the time being, Steve Melewski of opines. Hess finished the 2017 well in Double-A and has solid numbers in Triple-A thus far, but he’s served up four homers and allowed eight runs in 10 2/3 MLB innings thus far. However, Melewski notes that his MLB debut came on three days’ rest while his second start came on seven days’ rest at Fenway Park against one of the toughest lineups in baseball. Hess has earned a lengthier look on regular rest with the chance to settle into his routine, Melewski contends, and the current last-place standing of the Orioles should only further encourage them to earnestly evaluate a potential long-term rotation piece. The 24-year-old Hess notched a 3.85 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 154 1/3 Double-A innings last year and has a 2.12 ERA, 8.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 29 2/3 Triple-A frames in 2018.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Duquette On Trades, Machado, Bullpen]]> 2018-05-21T02:45:58Z 2018-05-21T02:45:58Z
  • Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said his team is “still taking a look at” whether or not to start trading veterans, as he discussed the Orioles’ status in a recent radio appearance on 670 The Score’s “Inside The Clubhouse” show (partial transcript provided by’s Bruce Levine, plus the audio link is included).  While Duquette didn’t firmly indicate that a sell-off was coming, he did admit that “I am not sure we will be in that position” to consider adding pieces come Memorial Day, which is when the O’s and other teams usually take stock in their rosters.
  • Since the trade market has yet to really kick into gear, Duquette said that the Orioles “haven’t had that many calls, frankly” about their impending free agents.  Brad Brach and Zach Britton could end up getting the most attention, as Duquette predicted “a robust market for relief pitchers.”  The market for position players is harder to predict, with Duquette not knowing how things will fare in regards to a Manny Machado trade.  “The issue for the Orioles would be, ’Will the Orioles ultimately trade a player who’s on his way to a Triple Crown or possibly MVP season?’” Duquette said. “That’s an issue for the club. And in the offseason, there were some teams interested in Manny, but there wasn’t a lot of talent coming back. Because teams know it’s going to take a lot of money to re-sign Manny.”
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest On Mariners’ Plans At Second Base]]> 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z In his latest piece for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano has implications that could ripple beyond the 2018 season. Dee Gordon is expected to move from center field to second base in the interim, but could remain there even when Cano comes back, according to Rosenthal. At 35, Cano would soon be tabbed for at least part-time DH duties under normal circumstances. However, one thing that’s reportedly been staving off that possibility thus far is Cano’s goal to break Jeff Kent’s all-time record of 377 homers by a second baseman (he’s 73 bombs shy), while yet another factor is the presence of Nelson Cruz in the team’s full-time designated hitter role.

    Both of those factors may not be of such significant impact next season, Rosenthal writes. Cruz has the potential to depart as a free agent after 2018, and the Mariners may not be so inclined to give Cano room in dictating his position following his violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Program. Cano, as readers probably know by now, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a diuretic used to mask another performance-enhancing drug. That suspension will also prevent him from taking part in the postseason, which is a significant blow to a contending Mariners club.

    Ideally, then, the Mariners’ objective should be to find a full-time center fielder or left fielder they can retain for multiple seasons, says Rosenthal. Such a player would effectively lock Gordon into second base for the foreseeable future, while pushing the aging Cano into a first base/designated hitter role in the latter years of his contract. Rosenthal lists Adam Duvall as a possible target for Seattle, but adds the disclaimer that the club has one of the worst farm systems in baseball and might have a difficult time acquiring the young left-fielder from Cincinnati.

    On the other hand, as Bob Dutton of points out, it might be in the Mariners’ interests as a contender to keep Gordon in center field for the time being, unless the team can find a way to keep him at second even after Cano returns this season; a scenario that seems highly implausible with the presence of Cruz and Ryon Healy on the roster. Still, it’s hard to tell what the Mariners will do after half a season’s worth of games. From my perspective, it’s worth noting that the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline will have already come and gone by the time Cano is eligible to take the field again.

    Following a series of disclaimers (including that guessing GM Jerry Dipoto’s potential targets is a “fool’s game”), Dutton lists some players who might be available at this year’s deadline, according to his sources. One obvious name is Adam Jones, who’s in the final year of his contract with an Orioles club that’s off to a disastrous 14-30 start. Other center fielders mentioned in Dutton’s blog entry include Billy Hamilton, Jon Jay and Denard Span, though on the surface none of those additions would seem worthy of forcing Cano into a role with reduced playing time.

    More interesting is the pair of second baseman mentioned by Dutton. Scooter Gennett looks primed to repeat the surprise power numbers he put up with Cincinnati last season, and is controllable through 2019. Whit Merrifield, who can also play in the outfield, would be a longer-term piece and undoubtedly more difficult to acquire. In fact, I’d add that either target seems far fetched considering the Mariners’ lack of impact talent in the minor leagues.

    Whatever the situation, it will certainly be interesting to see how Cano and the Mariners are impacted in 2018 and beyond. The club’s interest in contending this year and questions surrounding the roles of Gordon and Cano moving forward create an interesting juxtaposition, and it will be fascinating to watch Dipoto and co. attempt to solve the puzzle.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Alex Presley Granted Release By Orioles]]> 2018-05-18T15:21:23Z 2018-05-18T15:20:11Z May 18: The Orioles ultimately decided against adding Presley to the roster, and he is now a free agent after being granted his release, MLBTR has learned.

    May 15: Veteran outfielder Alex Presley, currently in Triple-A with the Orioles, intends to exercise the May 15 out clause on his minor league contract, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). The clause will give the O’s 48 hours to select his contract and add him to the Major League roster. If he’s not added in that window, he’ll be unconditionally released and able to seek a new opportunity elsewhere.

    It’s not clear yet how the O’s will proceed, though it’s not hard to see how they could fit a left-handed option into the outfield mix. Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Joey Rickard and Craig Gentry are all on the big league roster at present, but each hits right-handed. Currently, the only lefty options in the outfield for the O’s would be Jace Peterson, Pedro Alvarez and Chris Davis, though each is primarily an infielder and has only sparse experience playing in the outfield.

    Presley, 32, is off to a .288/.362/.385 start to the season in Norfolk with a 21.5 percent strikeout rate and a 9.4 percent walk rate. While he’s struggled to produce consistently in the Majors across parts of eight seasons, he did turn in a .314/.354/.416 slash in 264 plate appearances with the Tigers last year. In all, he’s a career .263/.306/.388 hitter in the Majors in addition to owning a .296/.362/.426 slash in parts of eight seasons at the Triple-A level.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Badler, Connolly On Orioles' Lack Of International Spending]]> 2018-05-17T02:03:40Z 2018-05-17T02:03:40Z
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America profiles the Orioles’ baffling philosophy on the international prospect market. As Badler notes, Baltimore spent just $535K on prospects in the 2018-19 period and just $260K in the prior period, instead utilizing their pool to acquire fringe minor leaguers (one of whom was even lost in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft just months after being acquired). As Badler explains, the behavior can’t be pinned on the front office, as the neglect of the international market is an ownership-level decision from Peter Angelos that spans multiple iterations of baseball operations personnel. But, by not giving international scouts the resources they need, the O’s annually put themselves at a massive disadvantage in terms of building a farm system. That, as Dan Connolly of examines, forces GM Dan Duquette to rely more heavily on tactics like the Rule 5 Draft, which can have its own detrimental effects on a roster when utilized too heavily — especially for a club with aspirations of contending. Connolly contends that Baltimore’s lack of international signings makes even role players hard to come by within the organization, pushing Duquette to seek options in the Rule 5 and thus creating roster flexibility issues each year.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Josh Edgin Exercises Opt-Out Clause With Orioles]]> 2018-05-16T20:46:58Z 2018-05-16T20:46:58Z Veteran left-handed reliever Josh Edgin has opted out of his minor league contract with the Orioles, tweets David Hall of the Virginian Pilot. Edgin, like outfielders Michael Saunders (link) and Alex Presley (link) before him, triggered a May 15 opt-out date is his contract.

    If Edgin’s clause is the same as that of Presley, Baltimore will have 48 hours to add him to the roster or release him to pursue other opportunities. The organization already announced that Saunders has been released, whereas there’s yet to be a formal announcement regarding either Edgin or Presley.

    The 31-year-old Edgin inked a minor league pact with Baltimore this offseason after previously spending the entirety of his pro career in the Mets organization. Edgin missed the 2015 season and much of the 2016 campaign due to Tommy John surgery but was otherwise a fairly regular fixture in the Mets’ bullpen dating back to his MLB debut in 2012. The lefty has a career 3.49 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate in 129 innings at the big league level.

    Last season, Edgin tossed a career-high 37 innings for the Mets and posted a 3.65 ERA that’s right in line with his career mark, though his strikeout and walk rates weren’t as sharp as they were prior to his surgery. In those 37 frames, he averaged just 6.6 K/9 against an elevated 4.4 BB/9 with an average fastball velocity of 91.3 mph, which checks in more than a full mile per hour south of his peak pre-surgery levels. Those were likely some of the factors the Mets took into consideration when ultimately deciding to non-tender Edgin in the offseason.

    This year with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, he’s pitched 18 2/3 innings with an outstanding 25-to-5 K/BB ratio (with two of those free passes being issued intentionally) and an excellent 59.6 percent ground-ball rate. Given that start and his track record, Edgin should generate interest elsewhere even if he doesn’t ultimately end up in the Baltimore bullpen.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Grant Michael Saunders His Release]]> 2018-05-15T21:28:01Z 2018-05-15T21:28:01Z Veteran outfielder Michael Saunders has asked for and been granted his release by the Orioles, per David Hall of the Virginian Pilot (Twitter link). Saunders had an opt-out clause in his deal, Hall adds.

    The 31-year-old Saunders signed a minor league pact with the Orioles in early April after bouncing from the Pirates to the Royals in Spring Training. He opened the season with Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk but has gotten off to a rough start, hitting just .161/.291/.253 with a homer, three doubles, a triple and two steals in 103 plate appearances. Saunders punched out 23 times but also drew 16 walks in his brief stint with the Tides.

    Saunders enjoyed an All-Star first half with the Blue Jays in 2016 but wore down in the second half of that season before a disastrous 2017 with the Phillies. The former top prospect often showed potential with the Mariners produced in Seattle when on the field, but injuries have been an ongoing issue throughout his career. Most recently, he missed the majority of the 2015 season after suffering a torn meniscus in Spring Training that required surgery. Saunders has also dealt with shoulder injuries and missed time due to an oblique issue in the Majors as well.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Renato Nunez]]> 2018-05-15T19:19:25Z 2018-05-15T19:17:57Z The Orioles announced that they have outrighted Renato Nunez to Triple-A after he cleared waivers. The Baltimore organization had just claimed Nunez itself.

    With the series of moves, the O’s will gain control over Nunez without occupying a 40-man roster spot. Though he does not really fit well on the current roster, it’s certainly possible that Nunez could get a look in the majors if the Orioles undertake some summer trades.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Connolly On Orioles' Roster Plans]]> 2018-05-15T04:32:58Z 2018-05-15T02:22:33Z
  • Dan Connolly of checks in on where things stand for the Orioles roster. Despite a recent uptick in play, argues Connolly, the team must still be preparing to blow things up this summer. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams also argued recently, it’s hard to imagine a path back to contention in 2018 for the O’s. Meanwhile, Connolly wonders just why the Orioles placed a claim on slugging, reputedly poor-fielding corner man Renato Nunez. He suggests the org may simply hope to pass him through waivers once a 40-man spot is needed.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Claim Renato Nunez From Rangers]]> 2018-05-13T18:49:51Z 2018-05-13T18:42:57Z The Orioles have claimed infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez off waivers from the Rangers, Roch Kubatko of tweets. In a corresponding move, Baltimore transferred infielder Tim Beckham to the 60-day DL.

    Nunez lost his spot with the Rangers when they designated him on Friday. The 24-year-old logged 41 appearances with the club prior to then and batted just .167/.244/.278. He offered similar production from 2016-17 in Oakland (.167/.194/.267 in 31 PAs), which jettisoned him in mid-April. Nunez has been far better at Triple-A, where he owns a .242/.301/.460 line in 1,113 PAs, and is capable of lining up in the corners.

    Most of Nunez’s professional action has come at third base, where the Orioles have been without Beckham for a few weeks. Beckham underwent core muscle surgery April 26 and is in the early stages of what will be at least a six-week recovery, making his shift to the 60-day DL a logical move for the Orioles. This has been a year to forget thus far for Beckham, who slashed .179/.247/.262 in 93 PAs before landing on the shelf. Beckham’s fall from grace since last season, when he was an effective piece for Baltimore after it acquired him from Tampa Bay in July, has been one of many clear causes for the Orioles’ 12-28 start.

    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Naquin, Graveman, Buchter, Hendriks, Vielma, Alvarez,]]> 2018-05-12T23:22:32Z 2018-05-12T17:23:04Z The Indians have placed outfielder Tyler Naquin on the DL with a left hamstring strain, Jordan Bastian of writes. Naquin limped into second during yesterday’s game while running out a double, and stayed in the game through the remainder of the inning. He was taken out subsequently, though, and sent to get an MRI. There’s no word yet on the severity of Naquin’s injury, nor how long he’ll be out. It’s surely a disappointing development for the Indians; Naquin’s hitting .333/.367/.453 on the year, albeit with an unsustainable .442 BABIP. In a related move, the Indians activated reliever Tyler Olson from the paternity list for today’s game.

    Other injury notes from around the league…

    • Susan Slusser of the San Francisco Chronicle provided some injury updates on Athletics players with a pair of tweets today. Right-hander Kendall Graveman is “limping around” after taking a liner off his shin last night. While the situation is reportedly better than expected, the A’s aren’t yet certain whether they’ll need to push back Graveman’s next side session. Meanwhile, Ryan Buchter (shoulder strain) will begin a throwing program next week, and Liam Hendriks (groin strain) is scheduled to throw off a mound today.
    • In Orioles injury news, infielder Engelb Vielma is set to have surgery on his knee (according to Rich Dubroff of He sustained the injury after tripping over a mound while running down a fly ball in foul ground during a minors game, and while it’s not thought to be season-ending, some in the Orioles organization have loudly voiced their frustrations about the circumstances surrounding the injury. Meanwhile, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun tweets that Pedro Alvarez’ hamstring tightness will hold him out of today’s lineup, though there’s still hope that he could be called upon to hit if needed.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles To Promote David Hess]]> 2018-05-12T04:29:03Z 2018-05-12T04:06:25Z After placing Chris Tillman on the DL earlier today, the Orioles have announced that they’ll promote David Hess to take the open spot in the rotation, as Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun was among those to report on Twitter. The 24-year-old righty entered the year as a notable, if not particularly heralded prospect. He has impressed thus far in 2018 after being added to the 40-man roster to protect him from the Rule 5 draft last fall. Through 29 2/3 innings over six starts, Hess owns a 2.12 ERA with 8.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9. It remains to be seen how long a run he’ll get in the majors, but it seems there’ll be opportunity available if he throws well.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Place Chris Tillman On 10-Day DL]]> 2018-05-11T22:45:13Z 2018-05-11T22:27:28Z The Orioles have announced that starter Chris Tillman is going on the 10-day DL with what the club is calling a lower back strain. He’ll be replaced on the active roster by right-handed reliever Jimmy Yacabonis.

    There had been no prior indication that Tillman was dealing with a back issue, though certainly something hasn’t been right for the 30-year-old righty. He has been one of the least-effective pitchers in all of baseball, stumbling through 26 2/3 innings of 10.46 ERA pitching in his seven starts on the year.

    Baltimore had promised Tillman $3MM to rejoin the organization after a disastrous 2017 season. The deal included loads of incentives, though they don’t begin to kick in until he reaches 125 innings. Tillman’s performance had already begun to make that number seem steep. It’s not clear how long he’ll be out, but any kind of extended absence would make it all but impossible for Tillman to boost his earnings for the year.

    Of course, those financial considerations aren’t really on anyone’s minds at present. The real question is whether the O’s can somehow find a way to get Tillman back to being a serviceable pitcher. If he is on the shelf long enough, he may end up getting some time in the minors on a rehab assignment to try and sort things out.

    Answers won’t come easy. His average fastball velocity has continued to fall and now sits below 90 mph. Never much of a strikeout pitcher, Tillman is now only generating a career-low 5.2% swinging-strike rate, with a brutal combination of 4.4 K/9 against 5.7 BB/9. Opponents are swatting more than two homers per nine. Statcast calculations suggest Tillman has deserved to be knocked around, as he’s credited with a .458 xwOBA that’s nearly identical to the .455 wOBA rate at which opposing hitters are producing against him.

    As for Yacabonis, he has been starting at Triple-A, so could offer the O’s some length from the pen or a fill-in rotation option. Interestingly, though his, six outings for Norfolk are the first six starts he has ever made as a professional, so odds are he’ll work from the pen. The 26-year-old, who spent some time in the majors last year and has one appearance this season as well, has coughed up 11 earned runs in twenty innings in the highest level of the minors thus far in 2018, with an unfavorable mix of both a dozen walks and strikeouts.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Machado, Brach, O’Day, Vielma]]> 2018-05-10T22:36:09Z 2018-05-10T22:36:09Z In his latest Inside Baseball notes column, Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports writes that while many expect the Orioles to focus on pitching help in the seemingly inevitable event that they shop Manny Machado to contending clubs, some familiar with the team’s thinking also believe they’ll be keen on pursuing additional infield talent. With Machado hitting the market at season’s end and Jonathan Schoop only controlled through 2019, the O’s are set to lose two of the league’s better infielders in a short period of time. Prospect Ryan Mountcastle could conceivably emerge as an option in the infield, though he began the season on the DL with a fractured hand, and there’s been quite a bit of debate as to where he’ll fit on the field. Heyman also notes that he spoke to a scout who said that setup man/closer Brad Brach’s stuff is “a little down” thus far in 2018, though the same scout offered no hesitation in stating that he’d “still take” Brach in his team’s bullpen.

    Here’s more out of Baltimore…

    • Eduardo A. Encina provides some insight into the injury that sent righty Darren O’Day to the 10-day disabled list with a hyperextended right elbow. O’Day explains that a “freak accident” occurred during the middle innings of Tuesday’s game as he began stretching and getting loose. A teammate inadvertently ran into his arm while he was stretching it, hyperextending the right elbow and initially causing O’Day to fear that he’d suffered a serious injury. An MRI revealed no structural damage in O’Day’s right arm, and manager Buck Showalter actually said that the MRI was “remarkably good” for a pitcher in his mid-30s.
    • Showalter also addressed the media about an injury sustained by infielder Engelb Vielma while playing with Triple-A Norfolk (link via Roch Kubatko of Vielma suffered a broken patella when chasing down a foul pop and tripping over a bullpen mound in foul territory, ultimately smashing his knee into a portion of exposed concrete at the Durham Bulls’ field (the Rays’ top affiliate). Showalter was not shy about expressing his anger over the matter calling the injury both “brutal” and suggesting it could have easily been avoided. “It’s hard for me to imagine in today’s game that we can’t make that mandatory, Triple-A and Double-A and the big leagues,” said the skipper. “We have mounds on the playing field. Really? It just infuriates me.” There’s no timeline on Vielma’s return, though Showalter said it’ll be “an extended period.” The 23-year-old defensive whiz made his big league debut with the O’s earlier this season, though he made just eight plate appearances in six games. Both pieces from Encina and Kubatko have additional quotes from a lengthy Showalter rant that expresses his frustration with the circumstances that led to the injury.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Darren O'Day Lands On DL Due To Hyperextended Elbow]]> 2018-05-09T23:59:23Z 2018-05-09T23:59:23Z
  • The Orioles announced on Wednesday that they’ve placed Darren O’Day on the 10-day disabled list due to a hyperextended right elbow. Lefty Tanner Scott was recalled to step into his spot on the active roster and in the Baltimore bullpen. As Roch Kubatko of writes, the team’s hope is that O’Day, who has assumed ninth-inning duties, will be ready to return when he’s eligible. It’s not clear who’ll step into any potential save opportunities for the O’s, though they’ve generally been few and far between for a Baltimore club that still has just eight wins on the season. Mychal Givens could get a look in that role, or Buck Showalter could again turn to Brad Brach, though he’s struggled so far in 2018. Lefty Richard Bleier remains yet another option.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Cubs Expect To Inquire On Manny Machado]]> 2018-05-09T13:37:00Z 2018-05-09T13:24:19Z
  • The summer trade picture is only just starting to take shape, but Manny Machado obviously represents a key component. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams wrote recently, it is hard to imagine the Orioles won’t end up trading him before he reaches free agency at season’s end. And the Cubs are shaping up to be an interesting fit, as Gordon Wittenmyer of the Chicago Sun-Times writes. Indeed, per the report, the Chicago organization has plans to discuss Machado with the O’s once the trade window begins to open. Of course, that’s hardly surprising and hardly suggests that the Cubs are a favorite. As Wittenmyer notes, the club has a relatively diminished upper-level talent pool to draw from in making a deal; while indications are that ownership is willing to green-light an aggressive approach, it’ll still be tough to pull off a deal. And the Cubs surely won’t be alone in pursuing Machado, who could be seen as a difference-maker for numerous rosters around the game.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Activate Jonathan Schoop]]> 2018-05-09T03:41:35Z 2018-05-08T22:09:13Z
  • The Orioles activated Jonathan Schoop from the 10-day disabled list prior to tonight’s contest, optioning infielder Engelb Vielma to Triple-A Norfolk to clear a space for their second baseman. Schoop, 26, missed nearly a month of action after landing on the DL on April 14 due to a strained right oblique muscle. Like much of the Baltimore offense, he’d been struggling prior to landing on the disabled list. In 65 plate appearances this season, he’s batted .230/.266/.344 with a troubling spike in strikeouts (19 — a rate of 29.2 percent) and just one walk on the season (1.5 percent).
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[The Orioles Need A Complete Overhaul]]> 2018-05-08T06:00:48Z 2018-05-08T03:23:19Z The Baltimore Orioles are not good. That’s hardly a bold proclamation or a nuanced piece of analysis, but it’s a fact — likely an understated one. The Orioles’ -72 run differential is the worst in Major League Baseball this season. The team has, somehow, scored the second-fewest runs in MLB this year (topping only the Marlins) while simultaneously yielding the second-most runs in the game (trailing only the Rangers). Orioles hitters, as a collective unit, have a .288 OBP. Their pitchers have a 4.95 ERA with metrics (4.61 FIP, 4.40 xFIP) that largely match. If this were a rebuilding club, perhaps that’d be acceptable or at the very least expected. The Orioles, though, spent $76MM in an effort to bolster their rotation in the offseason.

    It’s rare to be able to say in early May that a club that planned on contending is effectively eliminated from the playoffs, but that’s the case for the Orioles. Both Fangraphs and Baseball Prospectus list Baltimore’s playoff odds at zero percent. They’re one of two teams, along with the Reds, to hold that distinction. Some fans don’t love postseason odds based on projection systems, though, so let’s present the uphill battle they’re facing in another manner.

    In order even to reach the 85-win mark — that was enough for the Twins to sneak into the second Wild Card spot last season — the Orioles would need to go 77-51 through season’s end. (Realistically, it’ll likely take more than 85 wins, but I’ll stick with that for the purposes of this basic exercise.) That 77-51 record would represent a .601 winning percentage. Only three teams in baseball have played above a .600 clip so far in the year, and two of them — the Yankees and Red Sox — are in the Orioles’ division.

    In these circumstances, Baltimore should sell off pieces this summer. That much is clear, and it’s seemed nearly inevitable since before the season even began that the O’s would go down that road. Adding Andrew Cashner and Alex Cobb to a poor rotation picture certainly should’ve improved the Orioles somewhat, but it never seemed likely to make them contenders.

    As summer approaches, Manny Machado could be the most talked-about trade chip in the game. He’ll be joined by the likes of Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Brad Brach — each of whom is a free agent at season’s end. The O’s will probably also field interest in Darren O’Day. Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic suggested as much earlier today. But there’s little reason for the Orioles to stop there.

    Realistically, the O’s aren’t going to get the haul for Machado that many fans would hope. He’s going to be a pure rental, and while he’s an elite hitter who can play two premium positions, he alone will not fetch a franchise-altering return. Machado is a younger player with far more defensive value than J.D. Martinez had last summer, but it’s worth reminding that the best bat on the market last year netted three mid-range prospects — none of whom were even considered to be among the D-backs’ best two or three prospects and none of whom received any top 100 fanfare. Machado will probably fetch one premium prospect and another second- or third-tier piece or two. The ship has sailed on Britton netting an Aroldis Chapman-esque return as well. He wasn’t especially good when he was healthy last season, and he’ll be coming off two major injuries that will have limited him to somewhere around 60 innings dating back to Opening Day 2017. He’s also earning $12MM in 2018.

    If the Orioles want to dramatically remake their farm system — and they should want to do just that — then they need to be more willing to part with longer-term assets. Jonathan Schoop, Mychal Givens, Kevin Gausman and even Dylan Bundy should all be firmly in play for teams willing to part with considerable packages of talent.

    Schoop is a free agent after the 2019 season, so it may be too late for Baltimore to secure an extension at this juncture. Gausman is controlled through 2020, but the chances of Baltimore competing with the Yankees and Red Sox in 2019-20 looks slim with much of their core departing and a bleak farm system. Givens has reportedly been deemed largely untouchable in trade talks, but three and a half years of a setup man with his penchant for missing bats would command serious interest. O’s fans undoubtedly bristle at the notion of dealing Bundy after years of anticipating his arrival and his signs of a potential breakout early this season, but three-plus years of him would be arguably the most coveted asset available in July if he can maintain a K-BB% in the 21 percent range.

    Baltimore’s problems, though, extend beyond the roster at present. Both GM Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are in the final seasons of their respective contracts. Rosenthal and others have reported on the shifting dynamic in the team’s front office, with vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson said to be taking on greater responsibility and Duquette’s influence fading. Similarly, Lou and John Angelos, sons of owner Peter Angelos, are said to be increasingly involved in operations, with the Angelos sons and Anderson reportedly pushing hard to finalize the signing of Cobb.

    Whoever is calling the shots for the O’s, there are multiple organizational philosophies that need an upheaval. Most glaring and baffling is Baltimore’s seeming refusal to spend any money international prospects. Each year, the Orioles routinely trade away their international bonus allotments for fringe prospects and fringe big leaguers. None of those moves have yielded a quality regular to this point, and a large reason that the team’s farm system is in such disrepair is a bizarre decision to sit out one of the primary avenues of amateur talent acquisition.

    Beyond that, the Orioles would be wise to actually make use of the Competitive Balance draft selections they receive on an annual basis. In years past, the O’s have befuddled onlookers by using those picks to help them shed small-scale financial obligations to middle relievers. The Orioles effectively sold their pick in 2015 to the Dodgers in exchange for L.A.’s agreement to take the remaining year and $2.75M on Ryan Webb’s contract. A year later, they “sold” their pick to the Braves in order to shed the remaining total of roughly $3MM on Brian Matusz’s contract. In 2014, the O’s traded their Comp Balance pick to the Astros alongside Josh Hader and L.J. Hoes in order to acquire Bud Norris, although that trade at least netted some immediate big league talent.

    Bottom line: the O’s have had Competitive Balance picks in each of the past five seasons but have only held onto those selections on two occasions. Norris gave them one strong season in 2014, but they’ve received nothing from the other trades involving picks.

    Three years ago on the MLBTR Podcast, Jeff Todd and I discussed how the Reds were in position to rapidly rebuild their farm system by trading not only rental pieces (e.g. Johnny Cueto, Mike Leake) but also several players with additional control remaining. Doing so would’ve meant selling high on assets like Todd Frazier, Jay Bruce and Aroldis Chapman — a tough sell for the fanbase but one that likely would’ve been considerably more beneficial than the route the Reds ultimately took in holding onto those stars and watching their value diminish.

    The Orioles find themselves in a similar spot — buried in a strong division with a weak farm system and little in the way of immediate hope for contending in 2019-20. They have several obvious rental pieces to market in July, but by opening themselves up to shipping off other assets with multiple years of control left on the books, they can stockpile a host of near-MLB assets and potentially avoid the style of lengthy, arduous rebuild that’s happening in Cincinnati at the moment. With an aggressive seller’s mentality this July and newfound commitments to both the international prospect market and the amateur draft, the Orioles should be able to establish the type of prospect pipeline they’ve lacked for years.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Matt Harvey]]> 2018-05-08T01:20:04Z 2018-05-07T22:42:36Z 5:40pm: While the Rangers have discussed pursuit of Harvey, per’s TR Sullivan (via Twitter), the organization won’t trade for him. Indeed, GM Jon Daniels confirmed as much in an appearance on 105.3 The Fan (Twitter link). Of course, it still seems possible the organization could be involved if Harvey reaches the open market.

    2:36pm: The Giants have also discussed taking a flyer on Harvey, tweets ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. San Francisco learned today that Johnny Cueto will miss the next six to eight weeks, and Madison Bumgarner remains on the disabled list until late May. They’ve been plugging in a struggling Derek Holland in the fifth spot in their rotation, though it’s not clear at all if Harvey would represent an upgrade.

    12:51pm: Following one of the most high-profile DFAs in recent memory, the Mets appear to be generating some interest in former ace Matt Harvey. Andy Martino of SNY reports that that the Rangers and Mariners both have some degree of interest in acquiring the righty.’s Jon Morosi wrote this morning that Texas’ interest is “mild,” while Martino indicates that Rangers assistant pitching coach Dan Warthen is pushing the organization to roll the dice on Harvey. Warthen was his pitching coach with the Mets prior to 2018.

    While Morosi speculates about the possibility of the Orioles and Mets lining up on a deal, Martino hears that the O’s don’t have much in the way of interest. Baltimore did check in on Harvey over the winter, but Martino reports that the Mets circled back to the O’s prior to designating Harvey for assignment and found “little interest” despite the disastrous results of the Baltimore rotation thus far in 2018.

    It’s not a huge surprise to see the Rangers connected to Harvey, given not only Warthen’s presence in the organization but also the team’s general approach to adding arms this offseason. The Rangers shopped for volume this winter, stockpiling veteran arms on low-cost deals (in many instances on minor league contracts) in an effort to bolster their organizational depth. Payroll was a factor in Texas’ approach, so it seems unlikely that they’d take on the full chunk of Harvey’s remaining contract — about $4.43MM — but the Mets will almost certainly be willing to include cash in any deal. The alternative, after all, is to release Harvey and simply pay him the money is owed anyway.

    As for the Mariners, they’ve endured plenty of rotation struggles of their own. James Paxton’s 4.19 ERA leads Seattle starters, and their rotation as a whole has pitched to a 5.30 earned run average. There’s likely been some poor fortune at play — both xFIP and SIERA peg Mariners starters at 4.05 as a group — but the bottom-line results have not been encouraging. Erasmo Ramirez just went back on the disabled list as well, prompting the Mariners to move veteran Wade LeBlanc from a long relief role into the fifth starter’s slot.

    It seems decidedly unlikely that the Mets would receive much in the way of a significant return for Harvey, whose struggles date back to Opening Day 2017. He’s earning $5.6MM this season, is a free agent in November and has undergone both Tommy John and thoracic outlet surgery — both of which (especially the latter) have contributed to his rapid decline.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Wilson Garcia from Phillies]]> 2018-05-07T16:48:02Z 2018-05-07T16:48:02Z
  • The Orioles picked up minor league catcher Wilson Garcia from the Phillies in exchange for cash, also via Eddy. The 24-year-old Garcia is a career .281/.314/.386 hitter in the minors, but he’s yet to move past A-ball. Garcia seemingly throws quite well, given a 40 percent caught-stealing mark in his career to date. Baltimore assigned him to their Class-A Advanced affiliate in Frederick.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Orioles' Shifting Leadership Dynamic]]> 2018-05-07T15:49:19Z 2018-05-07T15:49:19Z The Orioles’ ghastly start to the season should leave the club’s decision-makers without any delusion of contending in 2018, writes Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription link). GM Dan Duquette has cited Memorial Day as a “marker” to evaluate teams, Rosenthal notes, but the Orioles’ status is already clear. Duquette thought about dismissing pitching coach Roger McDowell after the 2017 season but held off on doing so, and Rosenthal suggests that McDowell and/or hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh could find himself on the hot seat.

    Moreover, the report further focuses on the shifting power structure in the Orioles’ front office and ownership group. Vice president Brady Anderson is taking on a larger role in baseball operations and ran point on the signings of Alex Cobb, Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, per the report, though none of that group has performed well so far. And while owner Peter Angelos hasn’t been keen on splashy in-season firings or trades, it’s not clear if his sons, John and Lou, each of whom is becoming more active in the club’s operations, will practice the same restraint.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Latest On The Orioles' Front Office]]> 2018-05-07T04:58:44Z 2018-05-07T04:58:44Z
  • With an 8-26 record, it’s seemingly only a matter of time before the Orioles start making some necessary changes, The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal writes (subscription required) in a follow-up to his piece last month about Baltimore’s evolving front office and ownership dynamic.  Since executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette seems to be losing influence within the organization, Rosenthal asks “why would they keep Duquette at all?” as the team approaches some critical long-term decisions at the trade deadline.  Duquette considered firing pitching coach Roger McDowell after last season in the wake of the poor performance of Baltimore’s arms, though it isn’t known whether moves like coaching changes are still under consideration, or if Buck Showalter could step in to prevent firing members of his coaching staff.  Whatever changes are made, fans aren’t buying into the current (lack of) direction, as attendance is way down at Camden Yards.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Injury Notes: Jones, Britton, Mancini]]> 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z 2018-05-07T02:56:45Z X-rays were negative on Adam Jones’ right hand and wrist after the Orioles center fielder was hit by a pitch during Saturday night’s game.  Jones wasn’t in today’s lineup, though it was already a scheduled off-day for the veteran and he told reporters (including Roch Kubatko of that he was feeling fine.  Manager Buck Showalter also spoke to the media about some other Orioles injury situations, including the news that Zach Britton will face live hitters during a batting practice session on May 15.  Outfielder Trey Mancini is also battling minor knee soreness and didn’t start today’s game, though he did appear as a pinch-hitter.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Potential Trade Fits For Manny Machado]]> 2018-05-06T23:00:18Z 2018-05-06T22:59:38Z
  • The Dodgers, Yankees, Braves, Blue Jays, and Phillies could all be potential trade fits for Manny Machado this summer, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo opines in his latest notes column.  The Orioles would obviously want prime prospects in return for their star shortstop, though Cafardo doubts that some of the elite young players on these teams (i.e. Ronald Acuna, Ozzie Albies, Walker Buehler, Vladimir Guerrero Jr.) would be made available, given that Machado would just be a midseason rental.  Then again, there isn’t any guarantee that Machado will be shopped at all, given “the unpredictability of Orioles ownership,” as Cafardo writes.  Owner Peter Angelos has traditionally been resistant about any sort of midseason fire sale, even though Machado looks like a prime trade chip as an impending free agent and the O’s front office explored Machado’s trade value last winter.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jonathan Schoop Could Return Tuesday]]> 2018-05-05T22:03:51Z 2018-05-05T22:03:41Z
  • The Orioles are likely to activate second baseman Jonathan Schoop from the disabled list on Tuesday, Roch Kubatko of suggests. Schoop has been working back from the right oblique strain that sent him to the DL on April 14. Although Schoop got off to a poor start before then, hitting, .230/.266/.344 (64 wRC+) in 65 plate appearances, it’s fair to say his lengthy absence has helped lead to the O’s league-worst 8-24 record. Schoop was one of the best second basemen in the game last year, after all, and no one from the Jace PetersonEngelb VielmaLuis Sardinas trio has performed well in his stead over the past few weeks.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tillman's Struggles Highlighting Lack Of Rotation Depth]]> 2018-05-04T17:20:45Z 2018-05-04T17:20:45Z
  • Chris Tillman’s struggles are putting the Orioles in an increasingly difficult spot, writes Roch Kubatko of, but the organization presently has little in the way of alternatives that are ready to step into the big league rotation. Tillman tossed seven shutout innings and allowed one hit last week, but he was clobbered by the Angels last night and pulled after recording just three outs and watching his ERA balloon to 9.24. Kubatko suggests that Double-A lefty Keegan Akin could eventually be an option, though he’s made just five starts above A-ball. Speculatively, right-hander David Hess is off to a respectable start in Triple-A and is on the 40-man roster. But other options, both on the 40-man and of the non-roster variety, are struggling in the upper minors. Tillman’s struggles could eventually force the team’s hand, but it doesn’t sound likely that he’s on the verge of being cut loose.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Machado On Free Agency, Trade Possibilities]]> 2018-05-03T05:13:16Z 2018-05-03T02:43:24Z
  • In the wake of the Seager injury, Bill Shaikin of the L.A. Times spoke to Manny Machado about the widespread speculation of the Dodgers potentially pursuing him on the trade market. Machado said he’s not had anyone reach out to him about the possibility, and Shaikin writes that the superstar infielder didn’t sound overly amenable to granting a potential trade partner a window to negotiate an extension. “Everyone has waited for the time to become a free agent,” said Machado. “You want to go out there and explore your options.” The 25-year-old did leave the door open a bit, adding that there’s “a price for everything” before stating that he hopes to remain with the Orioles at least through the 2018 season. Of course, as Machado also acknowledged, his future is largely out of his hands; he has no say over whether he’s traded or remains an Oriole. Per Shaikin, the O’s have no plans to accelerate their timeline for a potential Machado deal now that the Dodgers have a glaring need. Certainly, it’s possible that other clubs will join the pursuit later this year, thus driving up the price. And while the O’s had a dreadful start to the season, the organization undoubtedly is still holding out faint hope for a rebound in May and early June before conceding that the season is lost.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jones On Future, Legacy In Baltimore]]> 2018-05-02T04:55:25Z 2018-05-02T04:55:25Z
  • ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick has a lengthy feature on Adam Jones and the possibility of whether he’ll remain with the Orioles beyond the 2018 campaign. Crasnick speaks with Jones, manager Buck Showalter, GM Dan Duquette and Jones’ teammates in highlighting how important Jones has been to the organization and to the city of Baltimore as one of the faces of the franchise for a decade. Jones noted that given his impending free-agent status, he’s “obviously” hoping to put up big numbers but emphasized that his focus is on trying to right the ship in Baltimore after an ugly start to the season for the O’s. Duquette tells Crasnick that the team “absolutely” considers things like charisma, appeal to fans and intangibles such as leadership when placing a valuation on a player and praised Jones’ impact on the organization and Baltimore community. One anonymous GM noted to Crasnick, though, that Jones is the type of player who could be the “type of guy who gets to free agency and is a little disappointed” — a reference to Jones’ questionable OBP skills and declining defensive ratings in center field. O’s fans in particular will want to check out the column, as it gives a terrific look back at Jones’ legacy in the Charm City.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Activate Trumbo, Place Sardinas On DL]]> 2018-05-01T23:12:04Z 2018-05-01T23:12:04Z
  • The Orioles announced that they’ve activated Mark Trumbo from the 10-day DL for his season debut, though they also had to place infielder Luis Sardinas on the DL in his place due to a strained lower back. Sardinas’ DL placement is retroactive to April 29, and defensive specialist Engelb Vielma is up from Triple-A to take over Sardinas’ infield duties for now. Pedro Alvarez’s resurgence at the plate could prompt Trumbo to see some time at the outfield in order to keep Alvarez in the lineup at designated hitter. Jace Peterson figures to get starts at second base until Jonathan Schoop returns.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Poll: What Last-Place AL Team Is Likeliest To Turn Its Season Around?]]> 2018-04-30T03:38:50Z 2018-04-30T03:38:50Z With one day left in April, we’ve already seen a wide gulf emerge within the American League standings.  Three clubs (the Red Sox, Yankees, and Astros) are on pace to surpass 105 wins, while six teams are also currently on pace to win fewer than 70 games.  By comparison, only six teams in all of baseball failed to surpass the 70-win plateau in 2017.

    Obviously, it’s still very early, and there’s plenty of baseball still to be played for these struggling teams.  Three teams, however, will head into May in the basement of their respective divisions, and in those cases, a slower start could be much harder to overcome.  The Rangers, Royals, and Orioles all faced rather tricky paths to contention even in the best of circumstances, and their poor April records may force them to make some hard decisions about how long they’re willing to go before considering selling pieces at the trade deadline.

    Let’s check in on the three last-place teams to see which has the most potential to make April simply a “slow start” en route to a respectable or even a contending season…

    Rangers (11-18): With Adrian Beltre, Elvis Andrus, and Rougned Odor all on the disabled list, Texas fans are beginning to have some unpleasant flashbacks to the team’s disastrously injury-plagued 2014 campaign.  Still, while the injury bug explains the lack of offensive production, the Rangers’ pitching situation has looked as shaky as it appeared to be heading into the season.  Other than the surprise continuation of Bartolo Colon’s late-career renaissance, it’s been mostly bad news for both the rotation and the bullpen, with Martin Perez, Matt Moore, Matt Bush, Alex Claudio, and Kevin Jepsen all getting off to particularly tough starts.

    The team’s big infield trio may not all be back until June, so can the Rangers at least tread water until then?  It doesn’t help that the rest of the AL West teams are all at the .500 mark or better, though the Angels (+5), Mariners (-2), and A’s (+3) are all nothing special in terms of run differential.  (Of course, Texas is a miserable -39 in that department.)  The Rangers will need more arms to step up if they are to turn their season around, plus some internal reinforcements have already come in the form of Delino DeShields and Tony Barnette, who are both back after lengthy DL stints of their own.  Top prospect Willie Calhoun could also provide more help for the lineup, though Calhoun is off to a quiet start at Triple-A this year.

    Orioles (8-20): The Orioles and Rangers share pretty similar tales of woe.  Baltimore has also been hurt by a tough division, a lack of quality starting or relief pitching, plus several key injuries — Zach Britton and Mark Trumbo have yet to play a game, while Jonathan Schoop, Tim Beckham, and Colby Rasmus are all on the DL.  Manny Machado’s individual brilliance has been tempered by a lack of hitting from almost everyone else on roster, with Chris Davis standing out as the single worst position player by fWAR (-0.6) in baseball so far this season.

    Dan Duquette unofficially cited Memorial Day as the date when teams begin to evaluate where they really stand in a season, so the O’s therefore have just under a month to get on track.  That might be enough time to get at least some of the injured parties back, plus it’ll give time for Alex Cobb to hopefully start rounding into form given that the late-to-sign righty has a 13.11 ERA over his first three starts.  On paper, Baltimore has too much hitting talent to be as bad as they are at the plate, so you figure that at least some type of positive correction is in store.

    Royals (7-20): The Royals held off on a full-fledged rebuild over the winter, though their decision about whether to try for another playoff run may have been made for them by their lousy April.  The Royals entered Sunday’s play with the fewest runs in the majors, as only Mike Moustakas and Jorge Soler were putting up good numbers at the plate, and some quality returns by the starting rotation have been undermined by arguably baseball’s worst bullpen.  Even with closer Kelvin Herrera still boasting a perfect 0.00 ERA through 9 2/3 innings, the road to Herrera has been plagued by potholes, as the relief corps is collectively at or near the bottom of the list in just about every major statistic.

    One bright side for the Royals?  Their competition.  The AL Central has been baseball’s worst division through the first month, with the first-place Indians holding just a 14-12 record.  As bad as Kansas City has been, the Royals are still just 4.5 games back of the second-place Tigers.  Since the White Sox and Tigers are rebuilding and the Twins are struggling to recapture their 2017 form, there is some opportunity for the Royals to regain some ground if they can beat up on their division foes.

    Which of the AL’s last-place squads do you think has the best chance of recovering from its shaky April? (Link for app users)

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Mark Trumbo To Return From DL On Tuesday]]> 2018-04-30T15:39:03Z 2018-04-30T00:31:24Z
  • Mark Trumbo is slated to be activated from the DL on Tuesday, with the Orioles already optioning Joey Rickard back to Triple-A today to create roster space.  Trumbo will be making his season debut after missing six weeks with a quad strain, with the slugger looking to personally rebound from a poor 2017 season and also add some pop to an Orioles lineup that has struggled to score runs this year.  The O’s figure to use Trumbo as a right-handed hitting complement at first base, DH, and right field, as those positions are respectively occupied by lefty-swingers Chris Davis and Pedro Alvarez, and switch-hitter Anthony Santander.  Manager Buck Showalter also told media (including’s Dan Connolly) that Luis Sardinas will be placed on the 10-day DL due to a bad back, and Engelb Vielma looks to be the likeliest candidate to replace Sardinas as the utility infielder.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Rosenthal On Manny Machado's Future]]> 2018-04-29T03:19:04Z 2018-04-29T03:18:24Z
  • The Orioles will trade impending free-agent shortstop Manny Machado this year, but it’s not going to happen until closer to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, says FOX Sports’ Ken Rosenthal (video link). Despite Machado’s best efforts, the Orioles are off to a nightmarish start (7-20) and already sit 9.5 games out of a wild-card spot. Nevertheless, they’re not ready to consider dealing key pieces yet, according to Rosenthal. The team just spent a combined $76MM on free-agent pitchers during the offseason, after all, and has been without injured veterans in second baseman Jonathan Schoop, designated hitter Mark Trumbo and closer Zach Britton for most or all of the season. Both Schoop and Trumbo figure to come off the disabled list soon, which should give the O’s a better chance to climb back in the race, though they already looked like playoff long shots even before losing 20 of 27 to open the year.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dan Duquette On Orioles' Early Struggles]]> 2018-04-28T23:38:14Z 2018-04-28T23:22:17Z Things aren’t looking good for the Orioles, who are off to a 7-19 start and stuck in a division with at least two potential World Series contenders in the Red Sox and Yankees. Nevertheless, “it’s a little early” to tear things down, according to general manager Dan Duquette (via Roch Kubatko of “We’ll probably give it a little bit more time. Usually, Memorial Day is the marker to evaluate a ballclub and see where you’re at and see where you want to go,” Duquette continued. “Other clubs have had the same time to evaluate their ballclub and see what they need. So I think that’s probably a good marker.” Assuming the Orioles don’t return to relevance in the next month, they could have the hottest trade commodity of the summer in superstar shortstop Manny Machado, who has been tremendous this year, and other possible trade candidates such as free agents-to-be Adam Jones, Brad Brach and Zach Britton.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Jonathan Schoop Nearing Rehab Assignment]]> 2018-04-28T04:15:48Z 2018-04-28T03:57:36Z
  • Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson is beginning his rehab assignment tomorrow, as the team announced. He’ll open as a DH as he eases back into action, though the real test will come when he puts his throwing back on display at game speed. There’s similarly good news for the division-rival Orioles, who expect to send second baseman Jonathan Schoop on a brief rehab assignment next week, as Roch Kubatko of tweets. He has been out for two weeks with an oblique strain.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hardy Reportedly Happy At Home; Reunion With O's Unlikely]]> 2018-04-27T17:09:00Z 2018-04-27T17:09:00Z
  • Roch Kubatko of tackles a host of Orioles questions from readers in light of the team’s awful start to the season, with topics ranging from the slow starts by Alex Cobb and Chris Tillman to the eventual promotion of Austin Hays. Of note, Kubatko reveals upon being asked about a possible J.J. Hardy reunion that the longtime O’s shortstop “seems quite content at home with his family.” Kubatko notes that he even broached the idea with some within the organization after Tim Beckham’s injury and was told that no one within the org seems to think that Hardy is reconsidering his current situation. The 35-year-old Hardy spent the past seven seasons as Baltimore’s primary shortstop but hit .217/.255/.323 through 73 games in an injury-plagued 2017 season and didn’t sign anywhere as a free agent this winter.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tim Beckham Out At Least Six Weeks Following Core Muscle Surgery]]> 2018-04-26T21:05:58Z 2018-04-26T21:05:58Z Orioles third baseman Tim Beckham will be out of action for at least the next six weeks after undergoing core muscle surgery, the team told reporters (Twitter links via Brittany Ghiroli of Beckham was placed on the DL yesterday and was said at the time to be considering surgery as an option.

    The injury will leave the O’s quite shorthanded in the infield, as Jonathan Schoop is also on the shelf. Ghiroli, though, notes that Schoop is headed to extended Spring Training following the team’s homestand and could begin playing in rehab games next week. Mark Trumbo, too, is nearing a return and could join the team on Tuesday.

    [Related: Baltimore Orioles depth chart]

    It’s been a dismal start to the season for the 28-year-old Beckham, who is hitting just .179/.247/.262 with a 30.1 percent strikeout rate. Baltimore had high hopes for Beckham, who looked like a transformed player after being acquired just prior to the non-waiver trade deadline last season. Beckham batted .394/.417/.646 in the month of August and looked to have altered his approach at the plate, as he also boasted a dramatically reduced 18.9 strikeout percent that month. The punchouts came back in September, though, as Beckham’s production cratered. He’s now carrying a .179/.251/.306 line through 191 PAs dating back to Sept. 1.

    With Beckham and Schoop sidelined, the O’s figure to deploy Danny Valencia at third base, with Luis Sardinas and Jace Peterson on hand as options at second base and also at third when Valencia is out of the lineup.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Should Orioles Begin Marketing Machado?]]> 2018-04-26T17:43:19Z 2018-04-26T17:25:26Z
  • Rosenthal goes on to discuss a few other subjects of note, including some hypothetical trade suitors for Orioles shortstop Manny Machado. As Craig Edwards writes at Fangraphs, Machado seems to be a clear mid-season trade candidate given the O’s putrid start to the season and his pending free agency. Edwards gives the numbers on just how deep a hole the Baltimore club appears to be in, arguing the team ought to begin listening to offers even if it decides to wait and allow bidding to drive up the return for the star infielder.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Tim Beckham Placed On 10-Day DL, Considering Surgery]]> 2018-04-25T21:59:32Z 2018-04-25T21:59:32Z Orioles infielder Tim Beckham is going to the 10-day DL with a groin injury, the Orioles announced. Of perhaps greater concern, he’s considering whether to undergo surgery to address the issue, as’s Britt Ghiroli was among those to tweet.

    The precise nature of the injury and potential procedure aren’t known. It’s also therefore impossible to guess just how long he’ll likely miss whether he does or does not go under the knife.

    Beckham, the former first overall draft pick, turned in a strong second half in 2017 after arriving via trade. Entering the season, he was entrusted with regular duties at third base. Beckham has spent most of his career in the middle infield, making him all the more important to a Baltimore roster that is currently missing Jonathan Schoop.

    Unfortunately, things haven’t gone well for Beckham thus far in 2018. He’s carrying a .179/.247/.262 slash with one home run and 28 strikeouts in his 93 plate appearances. Though he has graded well at third and on the bases, that’s not enough to sugarcoat the struggles at the plate. Indeed, while Beckham has perhaps been a bit unfortunate to carry a .250 batting average on balls in play, Statcast credits him with only a .254 xwOBA, suggesting the poor results have largely been deserved.

    Until Beckham and/or Schoop make it back, they’ll be fairly short-handed in the infield. It seems that Luis Sardinas, Danny Valencia, and Jace Peterson will carry the burden at second and third for the time being. That’s hardly an optimal trio at those two positions.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Claim Jace Peterson]]> 2018-04-24T18:02:17Z 2018-04-24T17:56:27Z The Orioles have claimed infielder Jace Peterson off waivers from the Yankees, per a club announcement. A 40-man roster spot was opened by moving righty Gabriel Ynoa to the 60-day DL.

    Peterson, who’s nearing his 28th birthday, has played very little this year while bouncing on and off of the Yankees’ roster. In need of an additional utility infield option, the O’s took advantage of Peterson’s waiver wire availability to nab him.

    In parts of five seasons in the majors, Peterson is a .234/.319/.331 hitter with 15 home runs and 22 steals. That won’t generate much excitement for a player who is primarily a second baseman. But the former Padres and Braves prospect is capable of playing all over the field; he even lined up briefly in short and center in recent campaigns.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Mark Trumbo To Restart Rehab Assignment]]> 2018-04-22T19:51:19Z 2018-04-22T19:45:10Z
  • Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo hasn’t played this season because of a quad strain he suffered in mid-March. Trumbo previously opened a rehab assignment earlier this month, only to halt it after feeling discomfort. He’ll take another crack at it beginning Monday, Roch Kubatko of was among those to report. The plan is for Trumbo to play three games apiece at the Double-A and Triple-A levels, per manager Buck Showalter.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Warren, Farquhar, Mancini, Rodon]]> 2018-04-21T18:58:30Z 2018-04-21T18:58:30Z The Yankees announced today that they’ve placed right-hander Adam Warren on the 10-day disabled list with a back strain. The move comes in conjunction with the promotion of fellow righty Jonathan Holder, who’s being called upon to reinforce the bullpen. It’s yet another unfortunate development for a Yankees team that’s seeing its disabled list grow larger and larger; notable players among that number already include Tommy Kahnle, Greg Bird, Brandon Drury, Clint Frazier and Jacoby Ellsbury. The club is already facing harsh criticism from its fans and the city’s media outlets for its mediocre start, particularly in comparison to the division rival Red Sox, who are off to a historically hot 17-2 start. The growing list of injuries certainly won’t help their situation.

    More injury-related items from around baseball…

    • In a still-developing situation, Bob Nightengale of USA Today Sports tweets that White Sox reliever Danny Farquhar has been hospitalized and is undergoing a series of tests. According to Nightengale, there’s a possibility that Farquhar has a serious injury following passing out in the club’s dugout. We’ll have more in this unfortunate and scary situation as it continues to develop.
    • James Fegan of The Athletic notes in his latest piece that White Sox right-hander Carlos Rodon is set to begin pitching some games in extended spring training soon. Rodon hasn’t pitched since undergoing an arthroscopic shoulder surgery late last year, but he’s reportedly set to throw a sideline session with pitching coach Don Cooper at some point this weekend before heading back to Arizona. His presence will certainly be a boost to a largely-inexperienced White Sox rotation that’s posted a 5.99 ERA so far this season.
    • According to Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, Orioles slugger Trey Mancini’s knee is still “really swollen” after colliding with the wall in foul ground during yesterday’s game. X-rays and a CT scan came back negative, so Mancini and the Orioles are hopeful that he can avoid a DL stint and return to the lineup in a few days’ time. He’ll sit out today’s contest against the Indians, however.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[ Andrew Cashner Having Early Success For Orioles]]> 2018-04-21T21:46:23Z 2018-04-20T20:39:09Z
  • The story isn’t quite the same in Baltimore, where the Orioles are off to a miserable opening run. One bright spot has been Andrew Cashner, one of several offseason pitching additions. Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun examines whether his 3.00 ERA through 24 innings — which follows a 3.40 mark in 166 2/3 frames last year — could be sustainable despite still-middling peripherals. Skipper Buck Showalter seems to believe that Cashner has matured as a pitcher and “came into his own last year.” He says he’s “hoping that we’re going to reap the benefits of that” over the full course of the current season. Of course, as Meoli explains, there are certainly some reasons not to buy in.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Select Contract Of Luis Sardinas]]> 2018-04-17T20:19:52Z 2018-04-17T20:19:52Z The Orioles have selected the contract of infielder Luis Sardinas, per a club announcement. With the move, the club has filled its 40-man roster.

    Sardinas, 24, spent much of the 2017 season playing at Triple-A with the Orioles. He turned in 331 plate appearances of .319/.348/.419 hitting at Norfolk, which is the best stretch of offensive output in his career.

    Of course, it would not be realistic to expect anything approaching that performance in the majors. Sardinas owns a less-than-ideal .229/.278/.293 slash in his 480 lifetime plate appearances at the game’s highest level. He is, however, held in higher regard for his fielding.

    Baltimore will look to Sardinas to occupy a utility role off of the bench for as long as he’s in the majors. The organization already has another light-hitting, glove-first infielder on hand in Engelb Vielma, but evidently decided to boost its depth with Jonathan Schoop going on the DL.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Could Look For Infield Help]]> 2018-04-17T14:20:47Z 2018-04-17T14:20:47Z
  • Jonathan Schoop’s injury could push the Orioles to look outside the organization for some infield depth, writes Roch Kubatko of Kubatko notes that the O’s have held interest in Erick Aybar in the past, and the longtime Angels shortstop is currently unsigned after spending much of Spring Training with the Twins. Kubatko also indicates that the Orioles had interest in bringing Jace Peterson aboard after his DFA from the Yankees, but the Yanks were able to bring him back on board by offering a more lucrative split contract to the utilityman. “A number of teams” had interest in Peterson, per Kubatko, but he’ll remain in the Bronx for the time being.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Rosenthal’s Latest: Realmuto, Moustakas, Machado, Donaldson]]> 2018-04-16T12:32:53Z 2018-04-16T04:45:35Z The Mets made repeated inquiries on Marlins catcher J.T. Realmuto during the offseason, says Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic in a video tweet. They also asked the Marlins about Starlin Castro. However, at that point in the winter, the club had just traded Christian Yelich to the Brewers, and they had also unloaded the contracts of Dee Gordon, Giancarlo Stanton and Marcell Ozuna; they weren’t looking to cut any more salary at that moment in time. While the Mets are prepared to roll with Tomas Nido and Jose Lobaton for now, Rosenthal suggests that the club could attempt to revisit Realmuto discussions at some point.

    More from Rosenthal…

    • Although it’s early, Rosenthal suggests that Mike Moustakas looks like a hot trade candidate, citing his physical condition and low salary as selling points for the Royals third baseman. According to GM Dayton Moore, Moustakas is “running as well as he ever has.” Rosenthal figures that Kansas city will be among the most active trade deadline sellers in July, and could also dangle southpaw Danny Duffy, second baseman Whit Merrifield and closer Kelvin Herrera.
    • The shifting power structure of Orioles ownership might affect the way the club approaches a potential Manny Machado trade, should they end up willing to deal him. Peter Angelos was always opposed to making trades with the division-rival Yankees, but the younger Angelos’ might not place such a restriction on the concept. There are a number of other reasons to throw cold water on the idea of a Machado-to-Yankees swap, as Rosenthal notes, such as the presence of Brandon Drury and the Yankees’ possible focus on pitching. Still, the idea seems more plausible now that Peter Angelos’ sons are more active in the running of the club.
    • One rival executive estimates that there are “tens of millions” of dollars riding on the health of Blue Jays third baseman Josh Donaldson’s shoulder. Rosenthal posits that the former AL MVP will be much less valuable as a free agent if there are questions surrounding his ability to play third base; much of his value lies in his defensive prowess. Being viewed as a first base/DH type for the bulk of his remaining career could eliminate some NL teams as suitors, and it doesn’t help that Donaldson is about to turn 33.