MLB Trade Rumors » » Baltimore Orioles 2017-09-25T02:00:07Z Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Orioles Unlikely To Exercise Wade Miley's Option]]> 2017-09-24T23:25:13Z 2017-09-24T22:46:59Z
  • The Orioles aren’t likely to exercise lefty Wade Miley’s $12MM option, Cafardo writes. That means they’d pay him a $500K buyout. It’s unclear to what extent Cafardo is reporting on Miley’s status based on sources from within Miley’s camp or the Orioles organization, but either way, it does seem likely the Orioles will go in another direction — Miley has posted a 5.52 ERA, 8.0 K/9 and 5.2 BB/9 in what’s been a very rough 2017 season.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Welington Castillo Undecided On Player Option, Wants To Remain With Orioles]]> 2017-09-23T21:58:45Z 2017-09-23T21:58:45Z
  • Welington Castillo is concentrating on playing and tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun that he has yet to consider the player option decision facing him after the season.  The catcher did say, however, that he enjoys playing in Baltimore and wants to remain with the Orioles.  Castillo controls his own fate in the form of his $7MM option for 2018, though given his impressive numbers this year, he is likely to find a much richer long-term deal by testing the free agent market.  From the perspective of Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette, the team would be happy to have Castillo back but the O’s also have catching depth in the form of Caleb Joseph and top prospect Chance Sisco.  “Either way is helpful to the club,” Duquette said.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[After Ubaldo, Will The Orioles Spend On Pitching?]]> 2017-09-23T19:00:35Z 2017-09-23T18:38:57Z With Ubaldo Jimenez making what was very likely his final home start in an Orioles uniform last night, Dan Connolly of wonders if the right-hander will influence how the O’s approach free agent pitching decisions in the future.  The Orioles have been notoriously hesitant about committing big money to (or even acquiring) pitchers, making their four-year, $50MM investment in Jimenez in the 2013-14 offseason a particular risk for Dan Duquette, who had to talk ownership into the signing.  In the wake of Jimenez’s struggles, Connolly wonders if the Orioles will now totally shy away from big-money deals for veteran arms.  This would, of course, complicate Duquette’s offseason work, as the O’s are known to be looking to add two starters to help their beleaguered rotation.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Reds Asked Orioles For Hays In Cozart Talks]]> 2017-09-22T17:36:06Z 2017-09-22T17:36:06Z
  • Heyman also reports that the Reds may try to retain Zack Cozart in 2018 and beyond after holding onto him in July and August. Per Heyman, the Reds set an extremely high asking price on Cozart, asking the Orioles at one point for top outfield prospect Austin Hays in return. That’s a steep ask for a Cozart rental, considering Hays broke out with a .329/.365/.593 slash and 32 homers in 128 games between Double-A and Triple-A this season before making his MLB debut in September.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Looking To Add Two Starters In Offseason]]> 2017-09-22T14:46:28Z 2017-09-22T14:46:28Z Yesterday, FanRag’s Jon Heyman wrote that the Orioles have “no intention” of shopping Manny Machado with just a year on his contract before free agency and a potential record-setting deal, and today’s Jon Morosi reports that Baltimore is aiming to add two starting pitchers from outside the organization. (Morosi, like Heyman, hears that shopping Machado is not in the cards for the O’s this winter.)

    Starting pitching was always likely to be a need for the Orioles, though depending on the caliber of arms that is targeted, adding two starters from outside the organization would be the Orioles’ most aggressive pursuit of starting pitching in recent history.

    Despite the longstanding need, the Orioles’ rotation additions last offseason consisted of depth pickups Gabriel Ynoa, Alec Asher, Logan Verrett, Richard Bleier and Vidal Nuno (many of whom have wound up working in relief this year). One winter prior, the O’s additions via both trade and free agency included Yovani Gallardo and Odrisamer Despaigne. A year prior, Eddie Gamboa was the most notable rotation possibility added, and Ubaldo Jimenez was the most noteworthy add in the 2013-14 offseason. The O’s did also add multiple years of Wade Miley at the 2016 trade deadline, though that swap hasn’t paid dividends.

    Orioles GM Dan Duquette and his staff will have no shortage of options on the free-agent market this winter. While a pursuit of the market’s top-tier arms may not be likely, the second tier of free agency will feature names like Alex Cobb, Lance Lynn, Tyler Chatwood, Andrew Cashner, Jason Vargas and Jaime Garcia.

    Starting pitching is an acute need for the Orioles, to say the least, as the team’s 5.60 ERA, 5.18 FIP and total of just 811 2/3 innings from its rotation all rank among the bottom three in Major League Baseball. While a struggling rotation isn’t exactly new for Baltimore, the Orioles have been more in the bottom third of the league in each of those categories over the past few years than the bottom tenth as they are in 2017.

    Chris Tillman has endured a stunningly precipitous decline this year, while Ubaldo Jimenez is having the worst season of his ill-fated four-year deal. Miley, too, is having a career-worst year, and Jeremy Hellickson has a 7.29 ERA with peripherals to match through nine starts since being traded. Most puzzling of all, righty Kevin Gausman was one of baseball’s least-effective starters in the first half.

    The Orioles will no doubt show continued faith in Gausman, given his much-improved second half and relative youth (27 in January). Right-hander Dylan Bundy, too, figures to factor prominently into the Baltimore starting five next year. However, beyond that duo, there’s little in the way of certainty. It’s possible that the O’s could look to bring back either Tillman or Miley at a reduced rate, and aforementioned depth options like Ynoa, Asher and Bleier are all still on the 40-man roster. The Orioles are typically active in the Rule 5 Draft and could certainly look to add another option there as well.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tillman Discusses 2017 Struggles]]> 2017-09-22T03:30:32Z 2017-09-22T03:30:32Z
  • Chris Tillman isn’t making excuses about his poor season and is maintaining that he’s 100 percent healthy, writes Peter Schmuck of the Baltimore Sun. Schmuck spoke with Tillman for a lengthy and candid interview that readers will want to check out in full, as it’s rife with frank, harsh self analysis from Tillman, who is his perhaps his own biggest critic. “I’ve been here before,” said the longtime Orioles right-hander. “Before 2012, I was god-awful. I was just as bad as I was this year, if not worse. We were able to figure it out.” Tillman attributes his early-career struggles to a “horrible” delivery and states that he’s had significant difficulty in repeating his delivery in 2017 as well. He also speaks fondly of the Orioles’ clubhouse and suggests that he’d be open to a return, though as Schmuck notes, the Orioles figure to be seeking some certainty in their rotation this winter.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Zach Britton Unlikely To Return In 2017 After Knee Injection]]> 2017-09-22T23:19:24Z 2017-09-21T18:58:42Z
  • It’s not clear whether Zach Britton will pitch again for the Orioles this year. He’ll sit for at least three to five days after receiving an injection in his balky knee, as Roch Kubatko of was among those to tweet. With the O’s all but mathematically eliminated from the postseason race, there’s little reason to push a pitcher who has struggled all year long to gain traction. Instead, it seems likely the club will allow Britton to begin the healing process in hopes of a healthier and more productive 2018 season.
  • While the Orioles can control lefty Wade Miley through a club option, and certainly need arms in the rotation, Dan Connolly of writes that it’s time to bid adieu. The 30-year-old has struggled for the bulk of the season, making the $12MM price tag seem steep. Instead, Connolly urges, the O’s ought to pay him a $500K buyout and go looking for alternatives.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Do Not Intend To Trade Manny Machado This Offseason]]> 2017-09-21T16:45:39Z 2017-09-21T16:45:39Z It has long been wondered just how long the Orioles would manage to keep their best player, superstar third baseman Manny Machado. As the team begins looking ahead to the offseason, his long-term status in Baltimore remains an open question. What’s clear, though, according to a report from Jon Heyman of Fan Rag, is that the O’s won’t look to deal Machado in advance of the 2018 season.

    That’s not all that surprising to hear at this point, as all signs from Baltimore have been that the organization will try to regroup and contend next year. But it’s nevertheless notable, as it would appear to take Machado out of serious trade consideration and also position the Orioles as a team that will look to add veteran talent over the offseason.

    The Orioles will face quite a few roster questions. In particular, a dreadful performance from the bulk of the rotation will leave the club scrambling to fill a few openings. Doing so in a financially feasible way looks like quite the challenge.

    While the organization has only $64MM or so in dedicated payroll for the coming season, that doesn’t include the massive arbitration outlay — Machado, Jonathan Schoop, Kevin Gausman, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach will be expensive — that will surely push the club past $100MM. That probably leaves room to add some salary for starters, but the team will surely be wary of commitments that extend past 2018. Machado, Britton, Brach, and Adam Jones will be free agents and the O’s have already committed quite a lot of cash to underperforming sluggers Mark Trumbo and Chris Davis.

    So, could the club look to keep its core intact for a longer stretch by pursuing a new deal with Machado? Per Heyman, it’s not yet clear whether the Orioles will make such an attempt in earnest. The sides were fairly close in prior extension talks, though clearly the situation is quite a bit different now. Machado, who only just turned 25, is one of the game’s very best players and will be just one year away from a potential open-market bonanza. From an outside perspective, it remains difficult to imagine a deal coming together.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Minor League Affiliates, Bundy]]> 2017-09-19T22:02:44Z 2017-09-19T22:02:44Z Roch Kubatko of analyzes the Orioles’ use of their minor-league system in recent years. The club has increasingly drawn upon players right out of Double-A Bowie, notes Kubatko, and it seems that’s somewhat by design. Skipper Buck Showalter says that top affiliates are increasingly utilized “almost like major-league taxi squads,” not as steps on the ladder to the majors. While every player’s situation must be handled on its own merits, says Showalter, the club is obviously generally comfortable with moving talented players right past the Triple-A level.

    • The Orioles, like other teams, have plenty of players on hand. But the club doesn’t seem to have much inclination to back off of righty Dylan Bundy, as Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Though he has had significant past health problems and is already 60 innings past his prior career-high from a year ago, Showalter says the key hurler is feeling good and throwing well. Though Bundy’s last two starts have ended poorly and the O’s are all but buried in the postseason race, the skipper says it’s “not at that point yet” where Bundy needs to be shut down for the rest of the year.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Orioles’ Minor-Leaguer Miguel Elias Gonzalez Dies In Car Accident]]> 2017-09-18T23:18:04Z 2017-09-18T23:18:04Z Miguel Elias Gonzalez, a minor-league pitcher in the Baltimore Orioles’ farm system, died in a car accident this past Saturday in the Dominican Republic, according to a press release from the organization. Gonzalez has no relation to the Rangers pitcher of the same first and last name who once pitched with the Baltimore organization.

    The Orioles held a moment of silence to honor Gonzalez before tonight’s game against the Boston Red Sox. Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, gave a somber statement on the passing of the 21 year-old:

    “Our organization is deeply saddened by the tragic passing of Miguel Gonzalez. Miguel was beloved by his teammates and coaches in the Dominican Republic. Our thoughts are with his family and friends during this very difficult time.”

    Gonzalez was signed as an international free agent in 2014. He had pitched exclusively in the Dominican Summer League in his young career, showing some potential with a fastball that reached the mid-90s on the radar gun.

    The tragic passing of Gonzalez is, unfortunately, not the first to occur on the roads of the Dominican Republic. In recent years, prominent Dominican players Yordano VenturaOscar Taveras, and Andy Marte have all perished in traffic accidents in their home country.

    MLBTR joins those around the game in extending its condolences to Gonzalez’s family, friends, and teammates.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Richard Rodriguez, Select Tanner Scott]]> 2017-09-17T18:13:51Z 2017-09-17T18:13:13Z 1:13pm: Rodriguez has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Norfolk, per an announcement from Baltimore.

    10:22am: The Orioles announced that they’ve designated right-hander Richard Rodriguez for assignment. The team selected left-hander Tanner Scott from Double-A Bowie in a corresponding move.

    The 27-year-old Rodriguez, who’s in his third season with the Baltimore organization, got his first taste of major league action in 2017. It didn’t go well, as Rodriguez allowed nine earned runs on 12 hits and three walks, with three strikeouts, over 5 2/3 innings. He was far better across 70 2/3 frames this year at Triple-A Norfolk, where he pitched to a sparkling 2.42 ERA and logged 10.19 K/9 against 2.29 BB/9. Rodriguez was similarly effective at the Triple-A level in each of the previous two seasons.

    A sixth-round pick in 2014, the hard-throwing Scott has developed into one of the Orioles’ top prospects. ranks the 23-year-old sixth among Baltimore’s farmhands and suggests that he has the potential to become an excellent major league reliever. Scott worked out of the rotation with Bowie this season, but with just 69 innings in 24 starts, he averaged fewer than three frames per appearance. Along the way, Scott overcame a bloated walk rate (6.00 BB/9) with an 11.17 K/9, to go with a 52.1 percent groundball rate, en route to a 2.22 ERA.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Orioles Will Be Interested In Alex Cobb]]> 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z 2017-09-16T18:03:51Z
  • The OriolesYankees and Blue Jays have seen Rays righty Alex Cobb up close in recent seasons, and they’ll be interested when he hits the market this winter, writes Cafardo. Cobb will also attract plenty of interest from outside the AL East as well, as he’ll be a good and more affordable alternative to a free agent ace.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[2017 Rule 5 Roundup]]> 2017-09-14T16:14:45Z 2017-09-14T14:15:17Z With just a few weeks left in the season, we have a pretty clear idea of which Rule 5 draft picks will stick with their drafting teams. At this point, having already carried the player this far and with expanded rosters easing any pressures, teams are quite likely to stay the course. Here’s how this season’s Rule 5 group has shaken out thus far:


    It isn’t official yet, but these

    • Miguel Diaz, RHP, kept by Padres (via Twins) from Brewers: As part of the Pads’ unusually bold Rule 5 strategy, the club kept three youngsters this year. Diaz, 22, has managed only a 6.21 ERA with a 31:22 K/BB ratio over 37 2/3 innings. But he is showing a 96 mph heater and will remain with the organization, quite likely heading back to the minors next season to continue his development.
    • Luis Torrens, C, kept by Padres (via Reds) from Yankees: The youthful backstop — he’s just 21 — has struggled badly on offense in limited action. Through 133 plate appearances, he’s slashing just.169/.246/.212 — with just four extra-base hits, none of them home runs.
    • Allen Cordoba, INF, kept by Padres from Cardinals: And then there’s Cordoba, who’s also just 21 years of age. He faded after a hot start at the plate, but on the whole his output — a .209/.284/.304 batting line and four home runs over 215 plate appearances — is fairly impressive given that he had never before played above Rookie ball.
    • Dylan Covey, RHP, kept by White Sox from Athletics: Technically, owing to a DL stint, Covey has only compiled 83 of the minimum 90 days of active roster time required to be kept. But he’s going to make it there before the season is up, meaning that the Sox will be able to hold onto his rights and option him back to the minors in 2018. Covey, 26, has struggled to a 7.90 ERA with 4.9 K/9 against 4.4 BB/9 over 54 2/3 innings, allowing 18 long balls in that span.
    • Stuart Turner, C, kept by Reds from Twins: Turner has seen minimal action, appearing in just 33 games and taking only 77 trips to the plate. And he’s hitting just .141/.184/.268 in that sporadic action. Clearly, though, the Reds have seen enough to believe he’s worth the trouble to hang onto.

    Still In Limbo

    • Kevin Gadea, RHP, selected by Rays from Mariners: Gadea has not pitched at any level this year owing to an elbow injury. He’ll remain with the Tampa Bay organization for the time being, but will still need to be carried on the 40-man roster over the offseason and then on the active roster for at least ninety days for his rights to permanently transfer.
    • Armando Rivero, RHP, selected by Braves from Cubs: It’s the exact same situation for Rivero as for Gadea, though he has had shoulder problems.
    • Josh Rutledge, INF, selected by Red Sox from Rockies: This was not your typical Rule 5 move. Boston snagged the veteran infielder after he signed a minors deal with Colorado. He ended up seeing minimal MLB time owing to injuries and his season ended recently with hip surgery. Rutledge is eligible for arbitration this fall and isn’t likely to be kept on the 40-man roster regardless.
    • Anthony Santander, OF, selected by Orioles from Indians: Since he only made it off of the DL late in the summer, Santander can accrue only 45 days on the active roster. If Baltimore wants to keep him, then, it’ll need to put him on the Opening Day roster next year. Santander has seen minimal playing time thus far, recording two hits in twelve trips to the plate, though he put up impressive numbers on his rehab assignment.

    Kept By Other Means

    • Daniel Stumpf, LHP, signed with Tigers after electing free agency upon return to Royals: This is another unusual situation. As a previous Rule 5 returnee, Stumpf was eligible to elect free agency upon being returned to his original organization. That’s just what happened when Detroit sent him back to Kansas City; the southpaw then turned around and re-signed a MLB deal with the Tigers. He has ended up turning in a rather productive year, posting 32 1/3 innings of 2.78 ERA ball with 8.6 K/9 and 3.9 BB/9 at the major-league level and showing even more impressive numbers during his time at Triple-A.

    Already Returned

    • Tyler Jones, RHP, returned to Yankees by Diamondbacks: Jones has thrown rather well at Triple-A since going back to the New York organization, posting 10.7 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9 in 63 2/3 innings, though he has also allowed 4.38 earned per nine.
    • Caleb Smith, LHP, returned to Yankees by Brewers: Smith ended up earning a 40-man roster spot and spending some time in the majors after showing quite well as a starter in the minors. But he has been knocked around in his 18 2/3 MLB frames on the year.
    • Justin Haley, RHP, returned to Red Sox by Twins (via Angels): The 26-year-old didn’t stick with Minnesota, allowing a dozen earned runs in 18 innings before being returned to Boston. But he has thrown well since landing back at Triple-A Pawtucket, posting a 2.66 ERA with 7.2 K/9 and 1.4 BB/9 in 44 innings over seven starts.
    • Tyler Webb, LHP, returned to Yankees by Pirates: Webb also gained a 40-man spot with the Yankees after showing some intriguing K/BB numbers at Triple-A. He was ultimately dealt to the Brewers.
    • Aneury Tavarez, OF, returned to Red Sox by Orioles: Tavarez played his way back up to Triple-A upon his return to his former organization, but has hit just .244/.292/.400 in 145 plate appearances there.
    • Glenn Sparkman, RHP, returned to Royals by Blue Jays: Sparkman was bombed in his one MLB appearance and has been limited to just 30 1/3 minor-league frames due to injury.
    • Hoby Milner, LHP, returned to Phillies by Indians: Another player who has risen to the majors with the organization that originally let them leave via the Rule 5, Milner has turned in 24 1/3 frames of 1.85 ERA ball in Philadelphia. Of course, he has also managed just 15 strikeouts against ten walks in that span.
    • Mike Hauschild, RHP, returned to Astros by Rangers: The 27-year-old righty struggled badly in his eight MLB frames. Upon returning to the rotation for Houston’s top affiliate, Hauschild has uncharacteristically struggled with free passes (5.3 per nine).
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Showalter: Orioles Still Weighing Castro's Future Role]]> 2017-09-14T03:14:00Z 2017-09-14T03:14:00Z
  • Orioles manager Buck Showalter tells Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun that he’s spoken at length with pitching coach Roger McDowell to develop a plan for young right-hander Miguel Castro. While Castro has delivered solid run-prevention numbers in a multi-inning relief role, Showalter acknowledged that there’s been “a lot” of thought put into the possibility of Castro starting. “Like all of young pitchers, they are precious commodities and we want to make good decisions about them,” said Showalter. “Because we don’t have many to pick from right now.” Since a scoreless six-inning relief appearance on Aug. 3, Castro has posted a pristine 2.37 ERA through 30 1/3 innings. He’s limited opponents to a meager 18.8 percent hard-contact rate in that time but has also logged an ugly 19-to-15 K/BB ratio.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 9/13/17]]> 2017-09-13T18:51:34Z 2017-09-13T18:51:34Z We’ll track the day’s minor MLB transactions here:

    • The Orioles have announced that lefty Andrew Faulkner has been outrighted to Triple-A after clearing waivers. Faulkner, who turned 25 yesterday, was set to participate in the Arizona Fall League for the O’s before he was designated for assignment recently. He threw 38 2/3 frames on the year at the Triple-A level, posting a 2.79 ERA but also coughing up 5.6 BB/9 to go with 8.1 K/9. The southpaw previously appeared at the MLB level with the Rangers in the prior two campaigns, carrying a 4.41 ERA in twenty appearances, but didn’t crack the bigs this year with Baltimore.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Jayson Aquino To Triple-A]]> 2017-09-11T02:36:45Z 2017-09-11T02:36:09Z
  • The Diamondbacks selected the contract of infielder/outfielder Christian Walker, the team announced.  Right-hander Randall Delgado was moved to the 60-day DL in order to create a 40-man roster spot.  Walker was named MVP of the Pacific Coast League this season, getting back on the map as a prospect after two average seasons in Baltimore’s farm system.  Walker has a .283/.350/.479 slash line over 2866 career PA in the minor leagues, and he’ll be making his first trip to MLB since appearing in 13 games for the Orioles in 2014-15.
  • The Orioles outrighted Jayson Aquino to Triple-A yesterday after the southpaw cleared waivers, according to’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter link).  Aquino was designated for assignment on Tuesday.  The 24-year-old has posted some solid numbers over eight career seasons in the minors, though he has a 6.32 ERA in his brief time (15 2/3 IP) in the big leagues.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Have Attempted To Extend Manny Machado]]> 2017-09-09T17:23:27Z 2017-09-09T17:23:27Z The Orioles may have to shop superstar third baseman Manny Machado in the offseason if there’s no hope of reaching a long-term deal with the 25-year-old, Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe contends. General manager Dan Duquette revealed that the Orioles have made at least two attempts to lock up Machado and will likely try again, per Cafardo. However, given that a historic payday could await Machado in free agency after next season, it’s difficult to imagine him eschewing a chance to shop his services around the league. While Machado’s numbers this year aren’t quite up to par with his spectacular 2015-16 output, he has gone on a second-half tear and is enjoying his third straight 30-home run season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Designate Andrew Faulkner For Assignment]]> 2017-09-08T19:20:47Z 2017-09-08T19:09:09Z The Orioles announced that they’ve activated shortstop J.J. Hardy from the 60-day disabled list. To clear space on the 40-man roster, the club designated left-hander Andrew Faulkner for assignment.

    Hardy has been out since fracturing his wrist in mid-June, with that absence eliminating any possibility that his 2018 option would vest. He has also struggled to a .211/.248/.308 slash line with just three home runs this year, so Baltimore surely will pay Hardy a $2MM buyout rather than picking up the option at $14MM.

    Indeed, Hardy will also return to quite a different situation for the present season. The O’s struck gold when they picked up Tim Beckham from the division-rival Rays at the trade deadline, and he figures to continue taking primary duties at short this year and in the future. Hardy will presumably function mostly as a utility infielder.

    The O’s will run the risk of losing Faulkner, who had been slated to join the team’s contingent of players going to the Arizona Fall League. He saw action at the major-league level in each of the prior two seasons with the Rangers, but had not been called up since joining the Orioles organization at the end of camp this year. In 38 2/3 innings at Triple-A Norfolk, the southpaw worked to a 2.79 ERA with 8.1 K/9 and 5.6 BB/9.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Tillman Moving Back To Bullpen]]> 2017-09-08T04:42:48Z 2017-09-08T04:42:48Z The Orioles are pushing right-hander Chris Tillman back to the bullpen, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun writes. It’s the second move to the ’pen for Tillman this season, as he’ll be replaced by right-hander Gabriel Ynoa on Sunday. As Encina notes, the Orioles’ rotation is devolving into a veritable game of musical chairs, with the struggles of Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez and Jeremy Hellickson all creating uncertainty as the team tries to hang around in a tight AL Wild Card race. It’s certainly possible that Tillman finds his way back into the rotation mix; Jimenez was only just recently bumped to the bullpen but will now return to start on Monday. Tillman has been dealing with soreness in his right wrist, per Encina, though he said the apparently minor issue hasn’t impacted him on the mound. It’s been a nightmarish season for Tillman, who has long been the most consistent member of the Orioles’ staff. His free-agent stock has already taken a massive hit in 2017, and a move to the ’pen doesn’t do him any favors, as it minimizes his chances to demonstrate improvement in the final few weeks.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rockies Acquire Jon Keller To Complete Miguel Castro Trade]]> 2017-09-07T17:09:47Z 2017-09-07T17:09:47Z The Rockies have acquired minor-league righty Jon Keller from the Orioles, per an official announcement. He’ll become the player to be named later in the April swap that sent right-hander Miguel Castro to Baltimore.

    Keller, 25, has yet to move past the Double-A level through five seasons in the minors. Though he has had some intriguing moments at times in the lower minors, he has stalled out with command issues at Bowie. Over 53 total frames there since 2015, Keller owns a 7.13 ERA with 41 strikeouts and 51 walks.

    Meanwhile, Castro — once seen as an intriguing prospect — has produced for the O’s this year. The 22-year-old carries a 2.65 ERA through 54 1/3 innings spread over 33 appearances. Those innings alone make the deal worthwhile and Castro won’t reach arbitration eligibility until at least 2020.

    Of course, while he’s averaging 96 mph with his fastball and generating swings and misses at a solid 10.1% rate, Castro is also averaging just 4.8 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 on the year. There’s little chance that he will sustain his current .201 BABIP moving forward, so he’ll need to find a way to put away big league hitters to keep his earned run average anywhere near its current levels.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Tyler Wilson, Logan Verrett]]> 2017-09-06T04:33:45Z 2017-09-05T23:00:55Z
  • The Orioles announced that right-handers Tyler Wilson and Logan Verrett have both cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk. The O’s exposed both players to waivers as a means of opening 40-man spots for Pedro Alvarez and top catching prospect Chance Sisco. Wilson, 27, has logged a 5.02 ERA over 145 1/3 innings with the Orioles from 2015-17, and his numbers at Triple-A have taken a step back in the past two years as well. Verrett, also 27, saw just 10 2/3 innings with the Orioles this year after coming over from the Mets organization this past spring. He’s struggled to a 5.10 ERA with below-average K/BB numbers in Triple-A as well.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Designate Jayson Aquino, Promote Austin Hays]]> 2017-09-05T22:46:04Z 2017-09-05T22:26:28Z The Orioles announced that they’ve promoted outfield prospect Austin Hays to the Majors and designated left-hander Jayson Aquino to clear space on the 40-man roster. Hays will be making his Major League debut the first time he enters a game for the O’s.

    The 22-year-old Hays has ridden a monster season in the minors to the No. 97 slot on’s list of the game’s top 100 prospects and to his first MLB promotion. The 2016 third-rounder opened the year in Class-A Advanced and slashed .328/.364/.592 with 16 homers through 280 plate appearances before being bumped to Double-A Bowie. Remarkably, Hays posted a near-identical .330/.367/.594 batting line with, again, 16 home runs in 283 PAs following that promotion.

    Aquino, 24, has spent the past two seasons in the Orioles organization but has totaled just 15 2/3 frames in the Majors. He’s logged a disappointing 6.32 ERA in that time to go along with a 16-to-6 K/BB ratio. Aquino has posted more appealing numbers in Triple-A, though, working to a 4.24 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9 in 114 2/3 innings out of the Norfolk rotation in 2017.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Castillo Justifying Contract, Likely Positioned For Raise]]> 2017-09-04T14:28:12Z 2017-09-04T14:26:16Z
  • Welington Castillo’s scorching bat is helping to keep the Orioles in the Wild Card race, and manager Buck Showalter spoke to reporters about how the backstop has met, if not exceeded expectations this past spring (via’s Brittany Ghiroli). “He had that potential,” said Showalter. “I told you from the first day. I wasn’t that knowledgeable other than talking to people, people who I respect their opinion, watching some tape. Until you get someone, especially a catcher, he’s been so easy to work with. … He’s getting a good return for the way he’s approached this season, and so are we.” Castillo is hitting a ridiculous .376/.410/.688 with 10 homers since the All-Star break.
  • Of course, Castillo could also be playing himself either out of the long-term picture for the Orioles or at least into a considerably larger contract with them. Given his recent surge at the plate, his cumulative .300/.339/.512 batting line and his career-best/league-leading 50 percent caught-stealing rate (22-for-44), I find it difficult to imagine Castillo exercising his $7MM player option for the 2018 season. Rather, it seems likely that he’ll enter free agency in search of a considerably larger payday and be able to find just that.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Designate Tyler Wilson, Logan Verrett]]> 2017-09-01T19:34:00Z 2017-09-01T19:06:20Z The Orioles announced that they’ve designated right-handers Tyler Wilson and Logan Verrett for assignment on Friday. That pair of DFAs will open enough room on the 40-man roster to formally select the contracts of catcher Chance Sisco, first baseman Pedro Alvarez and right-hander Richard Rodriguez — all of whom are being brought to the Majors as September call-ups. Baltimore has also recalled outfielder Joey Rickard and right-hander Jimmy Yacabonis from Triple-A Norfolk.

    Wilson and Verrett have each taken the ball a few times this year for the O’s at the major-league level. But both have primarily operated at Triple-A — the former as a starter and the latter as a reliever.

    Through twenty outings at Norfolk, Wilson worked to a 4.74 ERA over 114 innings, with 5.4 K/9 against 2.8 BB/9. The University of Virginia product has pitched in the Orioles organization since being taken in the tenth round of the 2011 draft, and could remain there if he ends up clearing waivers.

    As for Verrett, he allowed 5.10 earned per nine in sixty frames while striking out 7.4 and walking 3.3 batters per regulation affair. The former Mets swingman, a 2011 third-rounder, has also not previously been outrighted and thus would not have the right to refuse a minor-league assignment if no other team decides to give him a 40-man spot.

    While Baltimore did not end up making any outside acquisitions in August, leaving room for the team to use those two hurlers for depth in September, the organization obviously decided it would rather see some other players. We previously discussed Sisco and Alvarez, but the O’s will also have a look at two new pitchers that have little experience between them at the game’s highest level.

    Yacabonis, 25, struggled in his first, brief taste of the majors earlier this year. He has managed a 1.32 ERA in 61 1/3 outings at Triple-A though that has come with just 7.0 K/9 against 4.1 BB/9. Rodriguez will make his MLB debut at 27 years of age after eight minor-league campaigns. He has pitched to a 2.42 ERA with 10.2 K/9 and 2.3 BB/9 over 70 2/3 frames at the highest level of the minors this year.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Rangers Acquire Miguel Gonzalez]]> 2017-09-01T03:17:09Z 2017-09-01T03:05:19Z The Rangers have struck a deal to add righty Miguel Gonzalez from the White Sox, as Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun first reported (Twitter link). Per the report, the Orioles were also attempting to bring back the veteran starter, but weren’t willing to meet the asking price. Infielder Ti’Quan Forbes will go to Chicago in return. The Rangers have designated righty Anthony Bass to open a roster spot.

    Aug 31, 2017; Minneapolis, MN, USA; Chicago White Sox starting pitcher Miguel Gonzalez (58) throws a pitch against the Minnesota Twins during the third inning at Target Field. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

    Though Texas isn’t exactly in prime position to snag a Wild Card berth — the team entered play today three games out and dropped its contest — it seems the club is at least interested in keeping that possibility open. Gonzalez will help bolster a rotation that no longer features Yu Darvish and has seen numerous other pitchers struggle. If they can crack the postseason, the Rangers will be able to utilize Gonzalez on their roster.

    The White Sox have been quite aggressive in moving veterans, and Gonzalez now becomes the latest to go. The 33-year-old has been a steady presence since coming to Chicago after a four-year run in Baltimore. He’s earning $5.9MM this year — about $1MM of which remains to be paid — and will be a free agent at season’s end.

    On the season, Gonzalez owns a 4.30 ERA with 5.6 K/9 and 3.2 BB/9 to go with a 38.1% groundball rate over 127 2/3 innings. He has been quite good since returning from a mid-summer DL stint, spinning 49 frames of 2.94 ERA ball — albeit still with just 35 strikeouts against 19 walks.

    Despite the underwhelming peripherals, Gonzalez has typically managed to limit hard contact and suppress batting average on balls in play; opposing hitters carry a .278 BABIP against him over his six-year career. He doesn’t work with much velocity, but mixes five pitches and has managed to post a lifetime 3.88 ERA over 843 MLB frames.

    Forbes only just turned 21 and was a second-round pick in 2014. But he has not really shown much yet as a professional. While playing mostly at third base this season, which he has split between the Class A and High-A levels, Forbes carries a meager .234/.281/.344 batting line with 11 home runs through 517 plate appearances.

    The 29-year-old Bass has seen action in six MLB campaigns, but was bombed in two appearances this year with Texas. He has pitched to a 4.17 ERA in 84 1/3 Triple-A innings, though, with 10.2 K/9 against 3.2 BB/9.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles To Promote Chance Sisco, Pedro Alvarez]]> 2017-09-01T18:06:29Z 2017-09-01T03:04:06Z We’ll see a number of promotions beginning tomorrow, as active rosters will expand to include any and all players on the 40-man. The Orioles have some particularly notable players slated to come up, per David Hall of the Virginian-Pilot (Twitter links): Baltimore will call up top catching prospect Chance Sisco along with veteran slugger Pedro Alvarez.

    Chance Sisco | Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY SportsSisco, 22, was seen as a consensus top-100 prospect league-wide entering the season. He hasn’t hit a ton this year at Triple-A, his first full season at that level, but does own a solid .267/.340/.395 batting line with seven home runs through 388 plate appearances.

    Despite that modest slash line, Baseball America still rated him as the game’s No. 29 overall prospect on their midseason top 100. Jim Callis and Jonathan Mayo of ranked Sisco as baseball’s No. 50 prospect on their own summer top 100, while Fangraphs’ Eric Longenhagen pegs him 83rd.

    For the time being, Sisco will likely see only limited duty behind Welington Castillo and Caleb Joseph. But with Castillo facing an opt-out decision after the season — one which he seems fairly likely to take in the affirmative — the O’s could end up relying on Sisco quite a bit next year.

    As for Alvarez, he’ll function as a bench bat against right-handed pitching for the O’s. He has swatted 26 homers in his 590 plate appearances at Norfolk on the season, though he does carry only a .293 on-base percentage.

    Baltimore is also bringing up outfielder Joey Rickard and righty Jimmy Yacabonis for September, according to Hall. For now, at least, the team doesn’t plan to promote veteran third baseman Chris Johnson. He has slashed .307/.336/.517 over 253 trips to the plate, but would (like Alvarez) require the opening of a 40-man roster spot.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[More Details On Failed Britton-To-Astros Trade]]> 2017-08-31T17:40:07Z 2017-08-31T16:19:45Z The trade that would have sent Zach Britton from the Orioles to the Astros included third baseman Colin Moran, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports, but medical issues ultimately sank the deal. Moran was already on the disabled list after having suffered a concussion and a facial fracture when he fouled a ball off his face in mid-July, per Heyman, but there were also medical issues with one of the prospects that would have gone to Baltimore. That issue was found as the O’s sifted through medical paperwork, and though Houston tried to resurrect the deal in the final hours leading up to the non-waiver deadline, the two sides were ultimately unable to find a common ground. None of Kyle Tucker, Derek Fisher, Francis Martes, Forrest Whitley or Yordan Alvarez were offered in either iteration of the deal, he adds.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Could Promote Pedro Alvarez]]> 2017-08-30T18:46:45Z 2017-08-30T17:53:02Z
  • The Orioles intend to consider calling up veteran Pedro Alvarez when rosters expand in September, manager Buck Showalter told reporters including Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. While his experiment with playing the outfield has failed, Alvarez has put up fairly typical numbers at Triple-A, with a .241/.296/.446 batting line and 26 long balls over 584 plate appearances. Unsurprisingly, he has been more effective against right-handed pitching and might provide the O’s with a boost off the bench — if the team can manage to find a 40-man opening.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Johnny Giavotella Undergoes Hip Procedure]]> 2017-08-26T17:12:18Z 2017-08-26T17:02:47Z
  • Johnny Giavotella underwent arthroscopic surgery on his right hip, the veteran infielder announced via his own Twitter feed.  The procedure will, in Giavotella’s words, “relieve the chronic pain I’ve been playing with for a considerable time,” and he predicts that he’ll be recovered in time for Spring Training.  Giavotella signed a minor league deal with the Orioles last winter that ended up paying him $1.1MM when his contract was selected by the team in July.  Giavotella appeared in just seven games for the O’s before being outrighted off the 40-man roster and down to Triple-A.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Britton, Sedlock]]> 2017-08-28T22:37:37Z 2017-08-26T04:04:51Z
  • Orioles closer Zach Britton gave some details on the positive outlook surrounding his bothersome left knee, as Roch Kubato of writes. In the near term, Britton says, he ought to be able to continue pitching as he has since the problem first arose back in 2014. Looking ahead, he doesn’t believe he’ll need even minor offseason surgery.
  • The Orioles will be exercising added caution with another pitcher, prospect Cody Sedlock, Kubatko further explains. Sedlock, 22, is dealing with a forearm strain, though executive VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette says it “sounds like it’s a muscle strain.” Still, Sedlock has already missed time with an elbow issue and the organization is understandably taking care. The 2016 first-rounder owns a 5.90 ERA through ninety frames at the High-A level this year, with 6.9 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Britton, Castro, Tillman]]> 2017-08-24T21:01:56Z 2017-08-24T21:01:56Z The Orioles received good news on the troublesome left knee of closer Zach Britton today, per’s Roch Kubatko and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Both reported that the Orioles came away with good news from an MRI, with Encina specifically noting that there’s no structural damage in the knee. The joint has given Britton some on-and-off discomfort for the past few years and flared up last night, with Encina noting that there is still some swelling. Both reporters suggest that the team is still weighing whether to place Britton on the 10-day disabled list to give him a bit of an extended break.

    A few more notes out of Charm City…

    • Rich Dubroff of writes that manager Buck Showalter has indicated that the organization has some level of interest in looking at right-hander Miguel Castro as a starter next year. Castro was originally a starting pitcher in the Blue Jays’ minor league ranks but has pitched exclusively out of the ’pen with the Jays, Rockies and O’s. However, Baltimore has been impressed by multiple long-relief stints from the 22-year-old Castro this season, including a career-high six innings of one-hit ball on Aug. 3 and a 3 2/3-inning performance in last night’s extra-inning affair. Castro hasn’t started a game since pitching for Toronto’s Triple-A affiliate in 2015. In 46 innings with the Orioles this year, he has a sterling 2.74 ERA with 2.4 BB/9 and a respectable 42.3 percent ground-ball rate. His 4.9 K/9, however, is considerably below the league average, leading metrics like FIP (4.59), xFIP (5.09) and SIERA (4.85) to paint a far less optimistic picture — though it’s fair to note that Castro has missed bats at an approximately league-average 10.9% clip.
    • Chris Tillman’s struggles haven’t been the result of being distracted with free agency on the horizon, the right-hander tells Kubatko. “I haven’t really thought about it, to tell you the truth,” said Tillman. “Everyone knows it is what it is. It’s out there, but I’ve got bigger things to focus on and that’s pitching better and trying to help this team get to where we want to be.” Tillman notes that he never heard anything from his representatives at Beverly Hills Sports Council about serious extension talks with Baltimore following the Winter Meetings this year. It’s been a nightmarish walk year for Tillman, who opened the season on the disabled list due to shoulder issues and has posted a 7.75 ERA with 6.7 K/9, 4.8 BB/9, a 40.5 percent ground-ball rate and a diminished 90.7 mph average fastball.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Britton Headed For MRI On Left Knee]]> 2017-08-24T14:07:08Z 2017-08-24T14:00:06Z
  • Orioles closer Zach Britton saw his incredible saves streak come to an end yesterday, and he’s now headed for an MRI on his left knee, writes’s Mandy Bell. The O’s called the MRI a precautionary measure and noted that Britton, who has dealt with on-and-off knee issues for years, would have had one before season’s end even without the blown save. “Gosh, I probably had [the injury] since like 2014,” said Britton. “I got my cleats stuck one time in Toronto on their turf, and it’s something that was kind of bothering me.” Britton said he’s pitched through the issue for three years and plans to travel with the team after today’s off-day.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Outrighted: Vidal Nuno, Javy Guerra]]> 2017-08-23T18:16:11Z 2017-08-23T18:16:11Z Two relievers have cleared outright waivers, today, according to announcements from their respective organizations:

    • Orioles lefty Vidal Nuno has been assigned to Triple-A after clearing waivers. The 30-year-old struggled badly in a dozen appearances earlier this year with the O’s, but hadn’t been in the majors since a mid-June stint. Nuno, who was acquired as camp opened this spring, has had more success this year at the highest level of the minors. Over 22 1/3 innings at Norfolk, he owns a 2.82 ERA with 10.5 K/9 and 1.6 BB/9.
    • The Marlins have sent righty Javy Guerra back to Triple-A New Orleans. He was designated for assignment yesterday and cleared waivers since. Guerra, 31, has posted three MLB seasons with at least forty innings of sub-3.00 ERA ball. But the last of those came in 2014 and he has largely struggled in the upper minors ever since. Thus far in 2017, Guerra has scuffled through four MLB appearances and carries a 4.99 ERA with 7.6 K/9 against 3.7 BB/9 in his 48 2/3 innings at Triple-A.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Paul Janish To Retire, Join Rice University Coaching Staff]]> 2017-08-21T23:54:48Z 2017-08-21T23:54:48Z Veteran utility infielder Paul Janish has been granted his release from the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate and “has left the club with plans to retire,” reports David Hall of the Virginian Pilot (on Twitter). Roch Kubatko of tweets that O’s skipper Buck Showalter confirmed the release, and Kubatko adds that Janish will join the coaching staff at his alma mater, Rice University.

    The 34-year-old Janish was a fifth-round selection out of Rice by the Reds back in the 2004 draft. He debuted with the Reds just under four years later, appearing in 38 games as a rookie. While he never fully cemented himself as a regular with the Reds, Janish spent parts of the next four seasons in Cincinnati before joining the Braves for the 2012-13 seasons. He’s appeared in 14 games with the Orioles in each of the past three seasons, including the current campaign.

    All told, the light-hitting Janish will wrap up his career as a .212/.280/.284 batter over the life of 473 Major League games and 1305 Major League plate appearances. Despite that lack of offensive production, though, Janish’s superlative glovework allowed him to spend parts of nine seasons in the Majors. Primarily a shortstop, Janish graded out at 21 runs above average, per Defensive Runs Saved, and 17.3 runs above average, per Ultimate Zone Rating. He also logged 140 innings at second base and 262 innings at third base.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles May Have Claimed Marco Estrada]]> 2017-08-19T22:33:55Z 2017-08-19T22:32:08Z
  • It was either the Yankees or the Orioles who claimed right-hander Marco Estrada off waivers from the division-rival Blue Jays earlier this week, according to Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe. Regardless, Estrada isn’t going anywhere because the Jays were unable to agree to a trade with the claiming team within the 48-hour window.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Ruben Tejada]]> 2017-08-17T18:23:28Z 2017-08-17T18:23:28Z The Orioles announced that infielder Ruben Tejada has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk. Tejada’s removal from the roster clears way for Ryan Flaherty, who has been reinstated from the disabled list, according to the team.

    Injuries to Flaherty and J.J. Hardy created an opening for Tejada on Baltimore’s big league roster, but the longtime Mets infielder struggled at the plate through 41 games in an Orioles uniform. In 124 trips to the plate, Tejada batted just .230/.293/.283 with six doubles prior to being outrighted back to Triple-A. Those struggles are similar to the ones Tejada experienced in limited action with the Cardinals and Giants in 2016. His last reasonably productive season came with the 2015 Mets, when he hit .261/.338/.350 in 116 games (407 plate appearances).

    The 31-year-old Flaherty has been on the disabled list since late May due to a shoulder strain. He carries a mere .216/.285/.356 batting line in 1261 career plate appearances, though he gives manager Buck Showalter plenty of versatility off the bench. Flaherty has more than 390 innings at each of shortstop, second base and third base under his belt in his career, and he’s also capable of handling corner outfield duties on occasion.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Connolly On Potential For Orioles' Trades In August]]> 2017-08-16T19:09:14Z 2017-08-16T03:48:37Z
  • Dan Connolly of writes that Orioles GM Dan Duquette has a long history of making August deals — six in the past five years — but opines that there’s not much worth pursuing for the O’s this summer. Baltimore’s greatest need is starting pitching, but the remaining available arms are mostly fringe fifth starters that don’t represent a clear upgrade over the Orioles’ current options. Nonetheless, Connolly states that he does find it likely that Duquette and his staff make some kind of move, noting that the Orioles have “always had a little interest in” Derek Holland and are quite familiar with Miguel Gonzalez — both currently pitching for the rebuilding White Sox. I’d agree with Connolly that neither seems to represent an upgrade, though the O’s could probably acquire either pitcher primarily in exchange for salary relief.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2017 Opt-Out Clause Update]]> 2017-08-14T20:55:49Z 2017-08-14T19:41:13Z The last look we took at the handful of players with opt-out clauses following the 2017 season was more than a month ago, and a few of their situations may have changed since that early July check-in. Here’s an update on this group of potential free agents…

    [Related: MLBTR Free Agent Power Rankings: August Edition]

    Trending Up

    • Justin Upton, Tigers ($88.5MM from 2018-21): There have been plenty of suggestions that there’s no way Upton will walk away from that contract, but we’re not really sold on that notion. Upton was terrible in his first three months with the Tigers but is hitting .274/.352/.542 (137 wRC+) with 45 homers dating back to July 1, 2016. Over the past calendar year, he’s hitting .281/.366/.571 (148 wRC+) with 40 homers in 631 PAs. He’s been seven to nine runs above average in left field, per UZR and DRS, as well. Upton will play next year at the age of 30 and needs only to feel he can top Hanley Ramirez’s guarantee to opt out. Beyond that, he may simply like the idea of moving to a team that isn’t openly trying to pare back its payroll and retool for the future.
    • Masahiro Tanaka, Yankees ($67MM from 2018-20): Tanaka’s home-run woes are an unequivocally troubling issue, but his numbers since the summer began are encouraging. Since May 26, Tanaka has a 3.99 ERA with 10.7 K/9, 1.9 BB/9 and a 47.6 percent ground-ball rate — good for a 3.12 xFIP and a 3.17 SIERA. The numbers are even better if you look at his past nine starts (3.00 ERA, 65 K, 12 BB, 57 innings). The health concerns are well known. Tanaka had a partial UCL tear in his rookie season but was able to avoid Tommy John, and he’s currently on the DL with what is reportedly some minor shoulder fatigue. The righty has averaged 2.2 HR/9 this year, but he’s also going to be just 29 years old next year. An opt-out looked highly unlikely two months ago but now looks entirely plausible, as long as this latest DL trip proves minor.
    • Welington Castillo, Orioles ($7MM player option): Since last check, Castillo has absolutely raked. He’s batted .308/.345/.500 with four homers and three doubles in his past 84 PAs, and his overall batting line it up to .283/.319/.457 (103 wRC+). Castillo’s framing marks have improved from some of the worst in the league to roughly average (per Baseball Prospectus), and he’s halted an incredible 46 percent of stolen-base attempts against him in 2017. He should be able to top a one-year, $7MM deal with ease this winter.

    Trending Down

    • Greg Holland, Rockies ($15MM player option): Since our last check, Holland has reminded everyone that he is indeed mortal. In his past 11 2/3 frames, he’s coughed up eight runs on a dozen hits and six walks with 14 strikeouts. Six of those runs have come in his past two outings, but as long as that proves to be a blip on the radar, Holland still seems a safe bet to opt out. If he significantly fades in his first year back from Tommy John or lands on the disabled list, though, there’s at least a chance that he takes the option. Assuming he remains healthy, though, Holland will likely look to top Mark Melancon’s four-year, $62MM deal this winter.
    • Johnny Cueto, Giants ($84MM from 2018-21): It’s been almost a month since Cueto last set foot on a Major League mound, as he’s been sidelined with a forearm issue that has significantly clouded his chances of opting out. Reports earlier in the summer suggested that a slow start wasn’t going to deter Cueto from opting out, but a month-long injury scare and an ERA in the upper-4.00s certainly might. Cueto, 32 in February, has a 4.59 ERA with 8.0 K/9, 3.2 BB/9 and the second worst ground-ball rate of his career (39.2 percent). FIP, xFIP and SIERA all peg him at 4.41 or worse.

    Unchanged Since Last Check

    • Matt Wieters, Nationals ($10.5MM player option): Wieters wasn’t hitting in early July, and he’s hitting even less now. His defensive reputation limited him to a two-year, $21MM deal with a player option after year one on the 2016-17 open market, and that was coming off a much better offensive season. Wieters seems extremely likely to take the $10.5MM in 2018.
    • Ian Kennedy, Royals ($49MM from 2018-20): Kennedy’s results have improved slightly since the last opt-out update, but it’s hardly enough to make it likely that he’ll opt out of that significant guarantee. Through 120 innings in 2017, Kennedy has averaged 1.65 HR/9, tying a career-worst mark, while both his strikeout and walk rates have gone the wrong direction. He’s also missed a couple of weeks with a hamstring injury, and he’ll turn 33 this December.
    • Wei-Yin Chen, Marlins ($52MM from 2018-20): No change here. Chen has scarcely been able to pitch in 2017 due to a reported partial tear of his ulnar collateral ligament. He’s reportedly still aiming for a late comeback, but that won’t be enough to give him the earning power to top his remaining guarantee.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Hardy, Janish]]> 2017-08-11T02:14:37Z 2017-08-11T02:14:37Z
  • Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy sees the writing on the wall in Baltimore after it acquired his likely replacement, Tim Beckham, at last month’s non-waiver trade deadline, details Rich Dubroff of PressBoxOnline. But Hardy, who has been on the disabled list with a broken wrist since June 18, has still served as a mentor to Beckham. Asked if having Beckham around has been awkward, Hardy replied: “To be honest, no. I’m really, really aware of what’s going on around me, maybe to a fault. I’ve seen it. I know what’s going on. There’s really nothing that I can do. You just have to remember the business part of it.” Hardy struggled mightily this season before the injury, and the O’s are sure to decline his $14MM club option for 2018 in favor of a $2MM buyout, but the soon-to-be 35-year-old isn’t ready to retire. “I’m not saying that I’m done playing. I just know what’s going on in this organization,” said Hardy, who has been an Oriole since 2011.
  • Unlike Hardy, fellow Orioles shortstop Paul Janish is seemingly on the verge of ending his playing career. Janish is likely to join Rice University’s coaching staff next season, reports Mark Berman of FOX 26 (on Twitter). The defensively gifted Janish played at Rice before the Reds chose him in the fifth round of the 2004 draft. The 34-year-old has been with the Baltimore organization since 2015 and has worked almost exclusively at the Triple-A level with the franchise. Janish has only amassed 99 plate appearances with the Orioles, including 28 this year.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 8/9/17]]> 2017-08-10T00:10:01Z 2017-08-10T00:10:01Z Here are the day’s minor moves:

    • The White Sox have added righty Steve Johnson from the Orioles, per an announcement from the latter organization. Cash considerations are heading back in return. Johnson, 29, becomes the latest pitcher added to the Triple-A roster by the South Siders, who are lining up options for the MLB roster down the stretch. He has 76 major league frames of 4.26 ERA pitching on his ledger, with 10.2 K/9 but also 5.6 BB/9 in that stretch. The free passes have never been quite as much of an issue for Johnson in the minors, though, where he has been excellent at times. Things haven’t gone quite as well this year, though, as Johnson owns a 5.30 ERA in his 37 1/3 frames — though he has still managed more than a strikeout per inning.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Bridwell Discusses Trade From Orioles To Angels]]> 2017-08-09T14:18:08Z 2017-08-09T14:12:29Z
  • Angels righty Parker Bridwell, who came up through the Orioles’ system, spoke at length with Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun about the feeling of being designated for assignment earlier this season and his subsequent trade to the Halos. “It was the weirdest three days of my life,” Bridwell explained. “I felt like I was never going to have a job again when I got DFA’d. … I wanted to check my phone every five seconds, but I just put my phone away and let whatever was going to take place take place.” Bridwell’s interview with Encina is a fantastic read, especially for those who follow the trade and waiver circuit closely, as the right-hander provides a great deal of candid insight into the human element that we often take for granted when looking at seemingly minor transactions. Bridwell discusses the process of being traded, the feeling of facing friends in his former organization and the differences between the coaching staffs in Baltimore and Anaheim, and I strongly recommend reading it in full. As for the Angels, they’re undoubtedly thrilled with the decision to acquire Bridwell from Baltimore for cash. In 66 innings this season, he’s posted a 3.00 ERA with 5.7 K/9, 2.2 BB/9 and a 37.7 percent ground-ball rate.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Tillmans, International Money]]> 2017-08-06T00:00:14Z 2017-08-06T00:00:14Z Orioles right-hander Chris Tillman has functioned as a starter in all 194 of his major league appearances, but he’ll come out of the bullpen next time he takes the ball. Tillman has been the weakest link in an awful Orioles staff this year, having logged an 8.10 ERA over 66 2/3 innings, leading them to shift the impending free agent to a relief role, Roch Kubatko of was among those to report. The once-quality starter may be in his last weeks with the Orioles, but Dan Connolly of argues that they should re-sign him now in a buy-low maneuver. Connolly’s reasoning: Baltimore will be desperate for starting pitching in the offseason, and the team’s unlikely to bid for big fish such as ex-Oriole Jake Arrieta or Yu Darvish, so re-upping Tillman on a one-year, $6MM-$8MM deal with a club option for 2019 would be a worthwhile gamble.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Players That Have Cleared Revocable Waivers]]> 2017-08-29T13:05:28Z 2017-08-05T21:20:46Z We’ll use this post to keep track of players that have reportedly cleared revocable waivers. Before diving into the names, a few items bear repeating. The majority of Major League players will be placed on trade waivers this month, with most instances going unreported. There are undoubtedly players (quite a few of them, most likely) who have already cleared waivers but have not been reported to have done so. Players can be traded into September, as well, but only those traded on or before Aug. 31 will be eligible for the postseason with their new teams, so there’s some urgency for contending clubs to complete deals by month’s end. And, of course, for those who aren’t familiar with the inner-workings of waiver trades, MLBTR published a full explanation of how August trades work earlier this month.

    Here’s the current list (last updated Aug. 29):

    • Jeff Samardzija, SP, Giants (link): While he hasn’t produced great results this year and is owed another $54MM over the following three seasons, Samardzija has put up compelling peripherals and has long been a scout’s favorite. Still, the Giants may not be all that inclined to move him and Samardzija has broad no-trade protection, so a deal seems unlikely.
    • Nicholas Castellanos, 3B, Tigers (link): The 25-year-old hasn’t produced at the plate this year after a quality 2016 season. But he is still hitting the ball hard and could be an interesting bounceback target for other organizations — with an offseason deal seeming more likely than a late-August swap. Castellanos is playing this year on a $3MM salary and can be controlled for two more campaigns via arbitration.
    • R.A. Dickey, RHP, Braves (link): Dickey has been just what Atlanta thought it was getting: a solid innings eater with plenty of durability but limited upside. He could fill in the fifth slot in a contender’s rotation, but teams might be reluctant to force one of their catchers to learn to catch a knuckleball this late in the year. He’s averaging six innings per start, and Atlanta may just keep him around in 2018.
    • Brad Ziegler, RHP, Marlins (link): Ziegler has been stellar since returning from the disabled list and could certainly help a contending club’s bullpen. However, he’s owed $9MM in 2018, and the Marlins now find themselves back in Wild Card contention — both of which make a trade before the end of August unlikely. He could be an offseason trade candidate.
    • Miguel Gonzalez, RHP, White Sox (link): Gonzalez is earning $5.9MM in 2017 and has been a serviceable, if unspectacular source of innings for the ChiSox. He won’t be a part of a contending club’s playoff rotation, but a team with a big division lead that is looking to rest its rotation (or allow some of its injured rotation members to mend) could turn to Gonzalez for some stability. The asking price won’t be much.
    • Derek Holland, LHP, White Sox (link): Like Gonzalez, Holland could be a rotation stabilizer for a team with a comfortable division lead. He’s also shut down opposing lefties (.216/.279/.333) in 2017, so perhaps a club would look at him as a potential relief specialist with expanded September rosters on the horizon.
    • James Shields, RHP, White Sox (link): The Sox still owe Shields the balance of a $10MM commitment this season (the Padres are on the hook for the rest), plus $12MM in 2018. Given his enormous struggles over the past two seasons, he’s not going anywhere unless the ChiSox simply cut bait and release him.
    • Victor Martinez, DH, Tigers (link): Martinez has been a decidedly below-average contributor at the plate in 2017 and is owed the balance of this year’s $18MM salary plus an identical $18MM salary in 2018. The Tigers won’t find any takers here.
    • Miguel Cabrera, 1B, Tigers (link): Cabrera is 34 years old and has been a roughly league-average hitter in 2017. He’s owed a ridiculous $192MM from 2018-23 and has full no-trade protection as well. That last point is largely moot, though, as his enormous contract makes him all but impossible to move anyhow.
    • Jordan Zimmermann, RHP, Tigers (link): With a 5.29 ERA in his nearly two seasons as a Tiger and $74MM owed to him from 2018-20, Zimmermann is effectively an immovable asset for the Tigers.
    • Giancarlo Stanton, OF, Marlins (link): Stanton is owed $295MM over the next decade, so an attempt at acquiring him wouldn’t exactly make for a casual undertaking. He has more than made up for a relatively disappointing 2016 season thus far with a monster 2017, boosting his value, but structuring a deal would be complicated by a variety of factors — including the Miami organization’s still-pending sale.
    • Brandon Phillips, 2B, Braves (link): The 36-year-old isn’t the exciting option he once was, but Phillips still brings acceptable and affordable production to the table. Combining those factors with his impending free agency, Phillips seems like someone the Braves could realistically trade this month.
    • Brandon Crawford, SS, Giants (link): Crawford emerged as a two-way star over the previous couple seasons, pairing good offense with otherworldly defense. His glovework remains strong, but the 30-year-old’s production at the plate has fallen off dramatically this season. The Giants reportedly still have little interest in dealing him, and doing so would be difficult in any event. Crawford, who’s making $8MM this year, will rake in $15MM each season from 2018-21. He also has a full no-trade clause.
    • Felix Hernandez, SP, Mariners (link): Unfortunately, King Felix’s days as an ace appear long gone, which is all the more troubling for the Mariners when taking his contract into consideration. Hernandez, 31, is collecting a $26MM salary this year and will make $53MM more from 2018-19. He also has a full no-trade clause, making him even less movable.
    • Yoenis Cespedes, OF, Mets (link): Unlike fellow Mets outfielders Bruce and Granderson, Cespedes doesn’t seem like a logical trade candidate. Cespedes is in the first season of a four-year, $110MM deal, and the Mets gave the franchise cornerstone a full no-trade clause when they re-signed him.
    • Asdrubal Cabrera, INF, Mets (link): Cabrera, who’s making $8.25MM this season and has either an $8.5MM club option or a $2MM buyout for 2018, drew trade interest in July. However, recent indications are that the Mets are leaning toward keeping him in the fold for next year.
    • AJ Ramos, RP, Mets (link): Ramos was a popular name in trade rumors before the Mets acquired him from the Marlins in late July. Plenty of teams showed interest in Ramos, so perhaps the Mets would be able to find a taker for the longtime closer. However, New York acquired Ramos knowing it wasn’t in contention this season, so keeping him into 2018 – his final season of arbitration eligibility – looks more likely.
    • Bryce Harper, RF, Nationals (link): Harper isn’t going anywhere. Putting the superstar through waivers was purely a procedural move by the Nationals.
    • Chris Davis, 1B, Orioles (link): Davis, 31, no longer resembles the force of nature he was at the plate before the Orioles handed him a seven-year, $161MM contract leading up to the 2016 campaign. They included a partial no-trade clause in the accord, but the contract itself has essentially become a full NTC thanks to Davis’ decline. Realistically, Baltimore’s stuck with him.
    • Joey Votto, 1B, Reds (link): The Reds haven’t shown any interest in moving Votto, nor has he expressed a willingness to leave Cincinnati. Considering those factors, the remaining money on Votto’s enormous contract (a guaranteed $171MM through 2024) and his full no-trade clause, the hitting savant will stay where he is.
    • Justin Verlander, SP, Tigers (link): With plenty of cash still owed this year and $56MM more promised through 2019, Verlander is not a guy who’ll casually be acquired. Things are complicated by Detroit’s inclination to try to achieve real value for a cornerstone player, not to mention Verlander’s full no-trade rights — though he seems willing to entertain a move. While a deal still seems less than likely, Verlander could be a fascinating player to watch if he throws well and one or more contenders see a need for his services.
    • Justin Upton, LF, Tigers (link): As is the case with Verlander, moving Upton would be a major challenge for Detroit. Not only does Upton have a 20-team no-trade clause, but his contract includes an opt-out clause for after the season, when he’ll have to decide whether to play out his deal or leave four years and roughly $88MM on the table. The tricky financial situation has apparently overshadowed the great season Upton’s having, as nobody has shown real interest in acquiring him.

    Additionally, Curtis Granderson, Jay Bruce and Neil Walker cleared waivers before their respective trades to the Dodgers, Indians and the Brewers.

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Brallan Perez From Rangers For Int’l Bonus Spending Rights]]> 2017-08-05T19:04:44Z 2017-08-05T16:25:31Z 2:04pm: The Rangers will receive $500K in international spending rights, Jeff Wilson of the Fort Worth Star-Telegram tweets.

    11:25am: The Orioles have acquired minor-league infielder Brallan Perez from the Rangers for the rights to international bonus spending, the teams have announced. The Orioles have assigned Perez to Class A+ Frederick.

    The 21-year-old Perez was batting .234/.309/.266 for the Rangers’ Class A+ Down East, although he hit fairly well at the Class A level in 2016 and performed well in a smaller sample at Class A Hickory this season. He’s played mostly second base in 2017, although he’s also played shortstop and third. He signed with the Rangers out of Colombia in 2012. He did not rank among the Rangers’ top 30 prospects, via

    For the Orioles, the move continues a recent trend in which they’ve added talent in exchange for international bonus spending rights. They picked up righty Yefry Ramirez from the Yankees for international bonus rights last week, and also added pitchers Matt WotherspoonJason Wheeler and Damien Magnifico and infielder Milton Ramos in separate trades earlier this season. They also gave up international bonus rights in their acquisition of Jeremy Hellickson from the Phillies.

    The Rangers, meanwhile, have done the opposite, dealing infielder Yeyson Yrizarri to the White Sox for international bonus spending in mid-July. They currently have a relatively costly July 2 class that includes Venezuelan outfielder Wilderd Patino ($1.3MM), Venezuelan shortstop Keyber Rodriguez ($1M) and Mexican right-hander Damian Mendoza ($1M), although their overall plans for their international spending season aren’t yet entirely clear.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Johnny Giavotella]]> 2017-08-04T13:47:22Z 2017-08-04T13:47:22Z
  • The Orioles announced last night that infielder Johnny Giavotella has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk.  The 30-year-old Giavotella made a brief cameo with the O’s appearing in seven games and totaling just 10 plate appearances in that time. He’s had a nice season in Norfolk thus far, hitting .306/.368/.441 in 379 plate appearances. He also spent the 2015-16 seasons receiving the bulk of the Angels’ play at second base, though he posted a modest .267/.305/.375 slash through 869 plate appearances in that time.
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