MLB Trade Rumors » » Baltimore Orioles 2017-10-22T03:08:50Z Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Rays, Jones, Tanaka]]> 2017-10-21T18:41:47Z 2017-10-21T15:22:23Z In a fascinating article about the potential of a new Rays ballpark in Tampa Bay, Steve Contorno of the Tampa Bay Times gives insight into property trading as a method for acquiring land on which to build a new stadium. The mechanism is fairly simple at its core; Hillsborough County would trade parcels of valuable government-owned land near the downtown area to private property owners in exchange for their land in the Channel District-Ybor City area, where the county would like to build a new stadium. County Attorney Chip Fletcher confirmed with the Tampa Bay Times that the county is looking into these trades as a way to lower the cost of acquiring new property for a ballpark. Contorno’s piece offers a deep look into all the factors the county must consider when deciding whether this method truly makes sense from a business perspective. Rays fans (and Tampa Bay taxpayers) might enjoy learning about the complexities of the situation Hillsborough County faces.

More from around the American League’s Eastern Division…

  • While much has been made of stud third baseman Manny Machado’s potential exit from the Orioles after 2018, Rich Dubroff of examines the situation of another O’s icon in his final year; center fielder Adam Jones. Jones has manned center for ten consecutive years in Baltimore, thanks to a six-year, $85.5MM extension that made Dan Duquette’s front office look brilliant. Because Jones is a leader in the clubhouse and current franchise icon, Dubroff places a heavy weight on the decision Baltimore faces in whether or not to retain him. Jones has been worth 28.8 fWAR as a member of the Orioles’ organization, compiling 248 home runs and 802 RBI across 6,221 plate appearances while posting a .279/.319/.468 slash line, good for 109 wRC+. As of right now, the only guarantees the Orioles have on the books beyond 2018 are those of Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Darren O’Day, the latter two of whom become free agents after the 2019 season.
  • Is Masahiro Tanaka pitching his way off the Yankees roster? That’s the question Joel Sherman of the New York Post asked on Friday. Within three days of the conclusion of the World Series, Tanaka can choose to opt out of the final three years and $67MM on his contract. The former Japanese star is strengthening his value with each of his elite postseason starts so far in 2017, but his case for a larger contract goes beyond the postseason alone. While Sherman opines that Tanaka was expected not to opt out before October, that notion seems to entirely ignore the right-hander’s elite second half. After the All-Star break, Tanaka posted a 3.77 ERA with a 1.06 WHIP, with a wicked 10.73 K/9 and 1.65 BB/9. Strong peripheral stats, such as a 2.83 xFIP, point to Tanaka being one of the AL’s best starters during that span. Questions remain about the health of his elbow and his ability to keep the ball in the park, but as things stand right now, it seems likely that Tanaka could earn more than $67MM if he were to opt out and test the open market.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Hyun Soo Kim On MLB Future]]> 2017-10-20T14:11:02Z 2017-10-20T14:11:02Z Outfielder Hyun Soo Kim returned to his native South Korea upon conclusion of the regular season and met with the media to discuss what was, in his own words, a “disappointing” second season in the Majors (link via Jee-ho Yoo of the Yonhap News Agency). Despite a rough campaign split between the Orioles and the Phillies, the 29-year-old Kim made it clear that his hope is to secure another opportunity to prove himself in the Major Leagues.

“It’s not something I can control,” Kim told reporters. “Obviously, I’d love to stay in the majors. But I felt my determination alone can’t do the trick. I’ll just try to do the best I can.”

Kim signed a two-year, $7MM contract with the Orioles in the 2015-16 offseason on the heels of an amazing nine-year career in the Korea Baseball Organization. In 4768 plate appearances with the KBO’s Doosan Bears, Kim batted .318/.406/.488 with 142 home runs, earning the nickname “The Hitting Machine” along the way. That nickname looked rather appropriate after Kim’s first season in Baltimore; he slashed a hearty .302/.382/.420 with six homers, 16 doubles and a triple in 346 plate appearance with the Orioles.

Kim, though, was shielded almost entirely from left-handed pitching in the Majors, and a slow start to the 2017 season (plus Trey Mancini’s early breakout) led to even more inconsistent playing time. He hit just .232/.305/.288 in 141 PAs with the O’s before being traded to the Phillies in late July — largely as a means of offsetting some of the salary of Jeremy Hellickson, who went from Philadelphia to Baltimore in that deal.

Playing time was even more scarce for Kim in Philadelphia, as the Phillies were evaluating younger options such as Nick Williams, Aaron Altherr and Rhys Hoskins in the outfield corners throughout the season’s second half. Ultimately, Kim’s sophomore campaign in the Majors produced a paltry .231/.307/.292 triple slash.

Kim took ownership of his struggles when speaking to the Korean media, though he did indicate that his part-time/platoon usage was a role to which he had a difficult time adjusting. “It was frustrating when I’d get three hits one day and sit on the bench the next day,” Kim admitted. “But it’s all on me. I just didn’t have it.”

Kim didn’t dismiss the notion of accepting a minor league contract when asked about a possible return to the Majors, but he noted that it would depend on the composition of the interested team’s roster. His time in Philadelphia made clear to him that at-bats will be difficult to come by on an up-and-coming team that is rife with outfield prospects ready for big league evaluation. A clearer path to playing time than the one he had in Philadelphia sounds as if it’ll be important to Kim when weighing offers this winter.

If there are ultimately no offers to his liking, it stands to reason that he would draw widespread interest from KBO clubs in free agency. But, Kim is still relatively young — he’ll play all of next season at the age of 30 — and is just a year removed from a 116 OPS+ and 120 wRC+ in nearly 350 MLB plate appearances. He’s demonstrated solid plate discipline and contact skills in the Majors as well, walking in 9.9 percent of his plate appearances while striking out at a 16.6 percent clip. While his defense didn’t grade out well in left field, there’s still reason to believe he could be a productive bat — at least in the same platoon capacity he had with the O’s in 2016.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 10/19/17]]> 2017-10-19T17:29:45Z 2017-10-19T17:29:45Z Here are Thursday’s minor moves from around the league…

  • The Orioles announced that they’ve signed first baseman/outfielder Joe Maloney to a minor league contract. The 27-year-old Maloney was a 10th-round pick of the Rangers out of Division II Limestone College back in 2011. Texas cut him loose after an underwhelming age-22 season in 2013, but Maloney parlayed a solid two-year stretch with the Rockland Boulders of the independent Can-Am League into a 2016 minor league stint with the Twins. Maloney returned to the indy circuit in 2017, again suiting up for Rockland but this time posting a ridiculous .282/.359/.638 batting line and 35 homers (429 plate appearances) en route to league MVP honors. The O’s are thin on first base options in the upper levels of their minor league system, so Maloney could factor into that mix in 2018.
Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Miley, Rotation, Lineup, Farm System]]> 2017-10-18T14:03:32Z 2017-10-18T14:03:32Z There was a “legitimate possibility” of the Orioles exercising Wade Miley’s $12MM club option for the 2018 season before a late collapse, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun, but the team now looks likely to buy that option out for $500K. Baltimore will be on the hunt for a left-handed starter this winter, but as Encina points out, the free-agent market is hardly rife with appealing options. Most of the lefties available are reclamation projects or back-of-the-rotation starters, with 35-year-old Jason Vargas and 37-year-old CC Sabathia representing the southpaws that enjoyed the most success in 2017. Encina notes that the weak crop of lefty starters may force the O’s to really evaluate whether they’d like to “balance” out their all-right-handed rotation or simply set their sights on overall quality regardless of handedness. Of course, it should be noted that even the offseason crop of right-handed starters carries more question marks than sure things, and the O’s will need to add a minimum of two starters. Suffice it to say, GM Dan Duquette will have his work cut out for him.

More out of Baltimore…

  • The O’s don’t look likely to make any significant additions to their lineup, writes Roch Kubatko of Catcher Welington Castillo is expected to decline his modest $7MM player option on the heels of a terrific all-around season, but Baltimore may simply hand catching duties over to top prospect Chance Sisco and Caleb Joseph. In the outfield, Adam Jones will return in center field, with Trey Mancini and young Austin Hays the favorites to work in the corners. (Mark Trumbo, then, would be the DH.) However, Kubatko does note that Hays, a 2016 third-rounder who skyrocketed through the system, won’t merely be handed a job. Inferring a bit, that’d suggest that the O’s could add a veteran outfield option to push Hays and possibly handle some corner work early in the year of Hays proves to need more development time.
  • While the Orioles’ farm has long been ranked among the bottom minor league systems in the game, they’ve made some significant progress in that regard as of late, writes’s Steve Melewski. Melewski spoke to’s Jim Callis and both J.J. Cooper and John Manuel of Baseball America in recent weeks, with each suggesting that the Orioles now rate more as a middle-of-the-pack farm (in the 15 to 20 range throughout MLB). The improvements come largely based on Hays’ breakout and the presence of Sisco, both of whom will likely exhaust their rookie status early in the 2018 season. But 2017 first-rounder DL Hall, 2015 supplemental rounder Ryan Mountcastle and a once-again healthy Hunter Harvey have helped bolster the top end of the farm for the time being. There’s still a lack of pitching help in the upper levels, however — an element that is particularly troublesome given the current state of the big league roster.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Need Internal Improvements To Contend]]> 2017-10-17T19:29:01Z 2017-10-17T19:29:01Z
  • Though the Orioles will obviously need to bring in some new players if they hope for a return to contention, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports writes that the team also must receive improvements from within if it hopes to compete. Consistent production from key players was elusive in 2017, which failed to create a base of output sufficient to maintain a winning record. Even with expectations of some bounceback performances, though, the roster will surely be in need of supplementation; MLBTR’s Mark Polishuk recently broke down the possibilities.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[No Final Decision On Orioles' Coaching Staff Yet]]> 2017-10-15T21:52:42Z 2017-10-15T21:52:03Z
  • The Orioles’ coaches will see their contracts run out at the end of the month, but the team still hasn’t made a final decision on Buck Showalter’s staff for next season, according to Roch Kubatko of If Showalter has his way, all of his assistants – including beleaguered pitching coach Roger McDowell – will return, per Kubatko. However, general manager Dan Duquette didn’t rule out changes when speaking to reporters on the final day of the season. “All those things with the coaches and the staffing, all those things need to be addressed, and I think you have to look carefully at them when you don’t have a strong year and see if there are some adjustments that you can make,” Duquette said.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Could Re-Sign Chris Tillman]]> 2017-10-14T23:21:48Z 2017-10-14T23:21:48Z
  • With a 7.84 ERA and minus-1.o fWAR across 93 innings, right-hander Chris Tillman was among the worst pitchers in baseball this year, but Roch Kubatko of doesn’t sense that the Orioles have moved on from the free agent-to-be. Both sides are comfortable with each other, Kubatko writes, which could lead to Tillman staying with the starter-needy Orioles on a one-year deal in an effort to rebuild his value. Tillman gave Baltimore’s rotation respectable production from 2012-16, but the shoulder issues he dealt with toward the end of last year disrupted his offseason routine and likely played some part in his difficult 2017. A more typical winter and spring could make Tillman a bounce-back candidate next year, then.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[What Can O's Expect From Tim Beckham?]]> 2017-10-10T20:19:09Z 2017-10-10T15:21:15Z
  • What can the Orioles expect from shortstop Tim Beckham in 2018? Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun takes an interesting look at Beckham’s two months in Baltimore, explaining that Beckham no longer consistently made high-quality contact and reverted to his high-strikeout ways after his outstanding performance in August. All in all, Meoli sees signs of optimism despite Beckham’s inconsistencies. For a team with other significant needs, especially in the rotation, there’s probably little choice but to roll with Beckham — whose deadline acquisition still looks like an excellent move — and hope for the best.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Offseason Outlook: Baltimore Orioles]]> 2017-10-17T10:31:59Z 2017-10-10T00:18:28Z This is the first entry in MLBTR’s 2017-18 Offseason Outlook series.  Stay tuned in the coming weeks for entries on every team in baseball.

    With several key figures entering their final year under contract, 2018 could mark the end of this era of Orioles baseball.  In order to go out in a blaze of glory, the O’s will need to address their rotation first and foremost, though other holes exist around the roster.

    Guaranteed Contracts

    Arbitration Eligible Players (service time in parentheses; projections via MLB Trade Rumors)

    Contract Options

    Free Agents

    [Baltimore Orioles Depth Chart; Orioles Payroll Overview]

    While the rotation has gotten much of the blame for the Orioles’ disappointing 75-87 record, it was far from the team’s only problem.  The lineup hit a lot of home runs, but no club walked less or stole fewer bases than the Orioles.  They also played below-average defense: Baltimore posted minus-17 Defensive Runs Saved and only the A’s had a lower UZR/150 than the Orioles’ minus-4.7 number.  Even the O’s vaunted bullpen, such a strength in recent years, delivered just middle-of-the-pack results in most categories. Zach Britton’s injury problems were the culprit here, as Britton not only missed time but didn’t dominate nearly to the extent he did from 2014-16.

    It all added up to a last-place finish in the AL East and a looming sense that it could be now-or-never for the Orioles in 2018.  This could be the final season in Baltimore for Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Brad Brach and Britton. It’s worth noting, too, that both executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are entering the last years of their contracts.  By this time next October, the Orioles franchise could be moving in a completely new direction.

    Until then, however, the O’s are intent on returning to contention next year.  One plus for Duquette is that he’ll have extra money to work with thanks to a number of big contracts coming off the books.  Between guaranteed deals ($66.95MM) and projected arbitration figures ($55.1MM), the O’s have roughly $122MM committed to 11 players in 2018, and they still have six more expected contributors (Dylan Bundy, Trey Mancini, Mychal Givens, Miguel Castro, Richard Bleier and Donnie Hart) on pre-arb deals.  That works out to 17 players for approximately $125MM, so if the Orioles look to match their $164.3MM payroll from Opening Day 2017, Duquette has around $39MM in spending capacity.

    Let’s start with the rotation, as the Orioles are looking to add two new starters to slot alongside Bundy and Kevin Gausman.  Youngsters Castro and Gabriel Ynoa have been cited as rotation candidates, so let’s pencil in one of that duo (or maybe Alec Asher, Chris Lee, or Tanner Scott) for one of the three open spots.  You could also see a veteran in the mix as a low-cost depth signing, potentially even a familiar face.  While it wouldn’t be a surprise to see Baltimore move on entirely from the veteran quartet of Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley and Jeremy Hellickson (combined fWAR in 2017: -0.3), I could see the O’s bringing back Tillman as a nod to his long-time status as a reliable innings-eater prior to his disastrous 2017 season.

    Jimenez’s four-year, $50MM contract was the largest deal the O’s have ever handed out to a pitcher, and since Jimenez failed to produce in three of those four years in Baltimore, it’s fair to wonder if owner Peter Angelos will ever again be convinced to make such an investment in a free agent arm.  Given Duquette’s recent comparison of this winter’s pitching search to the 2011-12 offseason (when the club signed Wei-Yin Chen and Miguel Gonzalez), one would suspect that the O’s will indeed eschew big spending on pitching and rather seek out more modestly-priced options.

    Duquette mentioned that left-handed starters were a priority, so names like Jason Vargas, Jaime Garcia, C.C. Sabathia or Miley stand out as potential targets.  Other mid-tier pitchers like Tyler Chatwood, Andrew Cashner, Jhoulys Chacin, Trevor Cahill, or old friend Gonzalez are also available.  A Jimenez-sized commitment wouldn’t be necessary to sign any of these arms.  That said, several have significant injury histories, which will surely be of concern to a franchise that puts particular emphasis on pitcher health. Baltimore could also look to the major foreign professional leagues for a veteran, as it has quite a few times in the recent past (see, e.g., Chen, Tsuyoshi Wada, Suk-min YoonHyun Soo Kim, and Logan Ondrusek).  Japanese superstar Shohei Otani is the primary potential target, though he’d fit quite well on just about every team in baseball and we haven’t heard of the O’s being connected to him in particular. More likely, perhaps, the club could look at some of the other players that are under consideration for a move stateside after quality performances abroad, such as former big leaguer Miles Mikolas.

    Duquette has frequently waited until later in the offseason to make notable moves during his Orioles tenure, so he could again be patient to see if any of these pitchers’ markets fails to develop, in order to swoop in for a bargain signing in February. It’s still possible, of course, that the organization could be more aggressive than usual — especially if Duquette feels his job is on the line and/or Angelos authorizes a different approach to take advantage of the remaining window of the club’s current core.  The new rules regarding free agents who have rejected qualifying offers could also provide a wrinkle, as teams no longer have to surrender first-round draft picks for such signings.  Losing international bonus money is hardly a deterrent to a team like Baltimore that doesn’t seem to care about the int’l market, so the Orioles could potentially be more willing than usual to spend on free agents.

    Adding some big names and showing a long-term desire to contend could also help entice Machado into a long-term extension.  Machado’s future is one of the major subplots of this Orioles offseason, as the star third baseman is on pace to land a $300MM+ contract in the ensuing winter (even in the wake of a somewhat disappointing 2017 season).  As we’ve seen with Jones, Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Darren O’Day in recent years, the Orioles have been willing to spend big to re-sign their own talent, though a Machado contract would be in another stratosphere of financial commitment.

    The $161MM Davis contract is already looking questionable just two seasons into a seven-year deal, so it remains to be seen if the O’s are even willing to take another dive into the spending deep end.  Jones is also the only one of the aforementioned re-signed quartet that was extended prior to actually reaching free agency, and the wait-and-see tactic probably won’t work with Machado given the large amount of interest he is expected to generate from some of the game’s biggest spenders.  Of course, Machado himself may want to wait and see what happens with the Orioles’ front office and manager situations before locking himself into the team for a decade or more.

    One option that isn’t on the table is a trade of either Machado or Britton.  An injury-plagued season and a projected $12.2MM price tag would’ve limited Britton’s trade value anyway.  Brach will again be a popular figure in trade talks, and it could make some sense for the Orioles to move one of their increasingly-expensive bullpen arms to free up a bit more payroll space.  Britton’s health may make Brach too valuable for the O’s to move, though the team has shown a willingness to trade from its bullpen depth in the past (i.e. the Jim Johnson trade in 2013), plus some of the young pitchers that fall out of the rotation mix could be used as relievers.

    Baltimore is definitely in need of some left-handed bats to balance out a heavily righty-swinging lineup, though they’re is pretty set at most positions around the diamond.  Right field and catcher are the only true question marks since Seth Smith is unlikely to return and Welington Castillo is likely to decline his player option in search of a multi-year deal elsewhere.  The O’s could decide that top prospect Chance Sisco is ready for regular big league action and platoon him with Caleb Joseph behind the plate, though a veteran could also be signed on a one-year stopgap deal if Sisco needs more time in the minors.

    Right field could also theoretically be addressed internally, if Jones was to be moved over from center.  Over the last two seasons, Jones ranks within the bottom six of all qualified players in baseball in terms of UZR/150 (-12.1) and DRS (-22).  If Jones is open to a position shift, Baltimore could then sign a left-handed hitting center fielder — Jon Jay or Jarrod Dyson seem like good fits — to a short-term deal until top prospect Austin Hays is ready for regular action.  Hays has already made his MLB debut and could be argued as a candidate for the 2018 lineup already, though since he has yet to play at the Triple-A level, it would be an aggressive move for a would-be contender to rely on such an unseasoned player out of the gates.

    If Jones stays in center, then free agents Jay Bruce and Curtis Granderson stand out as left-handed bats that could represent options.  Granderson would require a shorter deal than Bruce, who is six years younger and will probably be looking for at least a four-year contract.

    Beyond free agents, the Orioles could also fill their holes through trades, though dealing prospects seems unlikely given Baltimore’s less-than-overwhelming farm system and upcoming need for new core talent in the majors.  A more inventive solution could be found in using some of that extra payroll space to take on a larger starting pitching or outfield contract from a rebuilding team.

    While the Orioles might like to deal away some of their own larger contractual commitments, that’s likely easier said than done. Davis’s contract is one of the most problematic in all of baseball. Trumbo, meanwhile, is coming off a sub-replacement year and is owed $25MM through 2019, so the O’s could have to eat some money to deal him, or take on another highly-paid player coming off a poor season.  Moving Trumbo would greatly increase roster flexibility, freeing up the DH position and opening a 25-man roster spot for a player with more defensive value, but at this point the Orioles will likely need to hang on to him and hope for the best.

    The Orioles are a fascinating team to watch this offseason, as they possess a fair amount of payroll and roster flexibility for a team that is ostensibly in its last ride with this core group of talent.  The emergence of Jonathan Schoop and Mancini as big lineup threats certainly provided a needed boost that offset down years from Davis and Trumbo, and provided hope that the O’s may not be as far away from contention as their last-place finish would indicate.  Still, without some creativity in fixing the pitching staff, Baltimore’s longstanding rotation problems threaten to spoil another season.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Listing Possible Orioles Pitching Targets]]> 2017-10-08T16:19:00Z 2017-10-08T16:16:44Z
  • With the Orioles looking for pitching help this winter,’s Roch Kubatko lists Jason Vargas, Doug Fister and Andrew Cashner as likely targets given that the team has been interested in all three in the past.  Former Oriole Miguel Gonzalez is also a good bet, since Baltimore tried to re-acquire the right-hander in August before the Rangers outbid the O’s in trade talks with the White Sox.  Since the Orioles have a stated need for left-handed starters, Jorge De La Rosa could be another option since the O’s were also interested in his services a few years ago, though Kubatko notes that de la Rosa worked exclusively out of the bullpen for the Diamondbacks in 2017.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL Notes: Red Sox, Royals, Buxton, Chris Davis]]> 2017-10-07T21:42:12Z 2017-10-07T14:35:40Z In a strongly worded piece, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports hammers the Red Sox ownership for being too strict regarding the luxury tax threshold. According to Drellich, many in Boston believed that Edwin Encarnacion would be the replacement for franchise icon David Ortiz. Instead, the Indians got him on a contract that many consider to be a bargain. Meanwhile the Red Sox finished 27th of 30 major league teams in total home runs, and 20th in wOBA. That hasn’t changed in the postseason, as they’ve been outscored by the surging Astros 16-4 so far in the ALDS. Now the Red Sox are in an 0-2 hole heading back to Boston for Game 3, and their offense faces a daunting task in trying to defeat Houston in three straight games. “The Sox’ greatest stumble this year might have been over a pile of cash,” Drellich writes. The article provides a harsh criticism of the Red Sox ownership and is certainly an interesting read.

    More from around the AL…

    • The Baseball America Twitter account took us back in time this morning by tweeting out an article J.J. Cooper wrote about the Royals back in 2011. With Eric Hosmer, Lorenzo Cain and Mike Moustakas all set to hit free agency (among others), it’s fair to wonder whether Kansas City’s window of contention has closed, so it’s certainly fun to take a nostalgic look back at BA’s assessment of a farm system that was stacked with so much talent. The Royals, of course, ended up going to the World Series in both 2014 and 2015, coming away with a title in the latter year.
    • Twins center fielder Byron Buxton left the Wild Card game early with an injury that was initially described as “upper back tightness”. But according to Mike Berardino of the Pioneer Press, Buxton was trying to play through a cracked rib. Berardino’s source tells him that the injury is unlikely to affect Buxton’s offseason training program. Buxton hit .300/.347/.546 with 11 homers and 13 stolen bases in the second half, and is under team control through the 2021 season.
    • The seven-year, $161MM contract given to Chris Davis has been disappointing for Orioles fans so far, Rich Dubroff of writes. Indeed, Davis missed significant time in 2017 with an oblique strain and was barely above replacement level when he was in the lineup. Dubroff points out some absolutely horrific stats, such as Davis’ 42.8% strikeout rate and that he went 1-for-53 after reaching an 0-2 count, striking out in 42 of those at-bats. A resurgent Davis would certainly be helpful to a Baltimore club that plans to contend next year, so the O’s will surely be hoping he can return something closer to his 2013 and 2015 production.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Parker Bridwell Trade Looks Like A Steal For Angels]]> 2017-10-06T14:33:13Z 2017-10-06T14:33:13Z
  • The Angels initially tried to acquire Parker Bridwell from the Orioles last year before finally landing the right-hander in April for what Heyman describes as “just a small amount of cash.”  This minor deal at the time ended up being a steal for the Halos, as Bridwell delivered a 3.64 ERA over 121 innings, starting 20 of his 21 appearances for Los Angeles.

  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Dan Duquette On Orioles’ Offseason Plans]]> 2017-10-03T15:00:46Z 2017-10-03T15:00:46Z The Orioles’ 2017 season came to an end on Sunday, as they finished dead last in the AL East with a 75-87 record. But although they finished 12 games below .500 with a -98 run differential this season, the O’s have a lot of talent still in place, and will gain some financial flexibility as a few big contracts come off the books. Before game 162, Baltimore GM Dan Duquette revealed some of the organization’s offseason plans, as Roch Kubatko of writes.

    Duquette said that the Orioles will shed a significant amount of payroll. He candidly told Kubatko: “We do have a number of players that have played their last game with the Orioles. I don’t know exactly who those players are, but there are a lot of contracts that are coming off.”

    That’s no exaggeration; Jeremy Hellickson, Ubaldo Jimenez, Seth Smith, Chris Tillman, Ryan Flaherty and Craig Gentry were paid a combined $39.3MM this year, and are all set to become free agents. Welington Castillo made $6MM and is unlikely to exercise his player option. J.J. Hardy made $14MM in 2017, but his 268 plate appearances in 2017 fell well short of the 600 required for his $14MM 2018 option to vest. The Orioles are likely to pay him a $2MM buyout. Wade Miley, meanwhile, made about $9.4MM, and is likely to have his $12MM option declined in favor of a $500K buyout. If all of these players sign elsewhere, the Orioles would clear about $66.2MM in payroll space.

    [Related: Baltimore Orioles payroll outlook]

    The Orioles plan to reallocate some of that payroll towards their pitching staff, although Duquette admits that the market for pitching is a “thin market, and that’s an expensive market.” Duquette likes what he saw from Gabriel Ynoa, and believes Miguel Castro could be a starter as well (one would assume that Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will also keep their jobs). Duquette’s focus this offseason will be on acquiring a left-handed starter. Based on a quick look at the free agent market, the top available options include Jason VargasJaime Garcia, Miley, Francisco Liriano and CC Sabathia.

    Duquette compares his “shopping list” for the offseason to a similar list he had in 2011, when the Orioles signed Miguel Gonzalez and Wei-Yin Chen. Chris Tillman also emerged as a viable option that year, so it seems as though the Orioles will hope that one of Ynoa or Castro can follow that pattern as the Orioles try to improve their rotation after allowing 841 runs in 2017, good for second-most in the AL.

    If there had been any doubt, Duquette ends the interview by making it clear that the Orioles intend to try and win in 2018 even within a tough AL East. They will certainly face tough challenges against offenses like the Yankees and Red Sox, so it would take an enormous improvement to the rotation for the Orioles to make a run at the playoffs.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Coaching/Managerial Notes: Hot Seats, Royals, Scioscia, Snitker]]> 2017-10-02T19:41:32Z 2017-10-02T19:41:32Z Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic runs down the big league managers that could be on the hot seat (subscription required and strongly recommended). Rosenthal lists Braves skipper Brian Snitker as an immediate candidate and notes that Red Sox skipper John Farrell, too, could be on the hot seat if the Sox are bounced in the ALDS for a second straight season. Farrell was inherited rather than hired by president of baseball operations Dave Dombrowski. While Orioles owner Peter Angelos isn’t likely to dismiss Buck Showalter, the tension between him and GM Dan Duquette continues to loom large in the organization. Rosenthal also covers several other managers on shaky ground that could find themselves in jeopardy with poor team showings in 2018.

    A bit from MLB’s dugouts around the league…

    • The Royals and pitching coach Dave Eiland reached a mutual agreement to part ways, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman. The 51-year-old Eiland spent six seasons as the pitching coach for manager Ned Yost in Kansas City, helping the team to consecutive World Series appearances in 2014-15 and, of course, a World Series victory in the latter of those two seasons. He also spent 2008-10 as the Yankees pitching coach, so Eiland’s considerable experience should get him some type of opportunity with another organization, even if the Royals’ pitching staff as a whole underperformed in a disappointing 2017 campaign. Rustin Dodd and Pete Grahoff of the Kansas City Star, meanwhile, report that bench coach Don Wakamatsu, bullpen coach Doug Henry and assistant hitting coach Brian Buchanan are also expected to be dismissed. Kansas City has since announced that Eiland and Wakamatsu will not have their contracts renewed.
    • Angels manager Mike Scioscia will be back with the team in 2018 — the final season of his 10-year contract as skipper of the Halos, tweets Jeff Fletcher of the Orange County Register. Scioscia hopes to manage the Angels beyond the 2018 season, Fletcher notes, but he’s content heading into the final season of his contract without signing an extension. The 58-year-old Scioscia is Major League Baseball’s longest tenured manager, as he’s been skipper of the Angels since the 2000 campaign. The Halos were in contention for the American League’s second Wild Card spot up until the final week of the season despite a slew of injuries that decimated their pitching staff for much of the year.
    • Braves president of baseball operations plans to meet with manager Brian Snitker to discuss his future “as early as today,” tweets’s Mark Bowman. The Braves will have a decision on the coaching staff at some point midweek, per Bowman. Notably, David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution tweets that Hart said today’s sudden resignation of GM John Coppolella in the wake of an MLB investigation isn’t likely to impact the decision one way or another (Twitter links). O’Brien guesses that the option on Snitker will be exercised, though it seems that a formal decision has not yet been made.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dan Duquette Discusses Orioles' Offseason Plans]]> 2017-10-01T19:47:41Z 2017-10-01T19:47:41Z Speaking with reporters Sunday, Orioles general manager Dan Duquette confirmed that the team will attempt to return to contention, not rebuild, in 2018. That means neither third baseman Manny Machado nor reliever Zach Britton will be  on the trade market in the offseason. Both players are scheduled to become free agents after next season, but Duquette unsurprisingly revealed that the Orioles will consider trying to extend Machado over the winter. Given that Machado’s a year from potentially collecting a record contract on the open market, it’s difficult to imagine the 25-year-old re-signing in the coming months. From a team standpoint, the positive contributions of Machado and other position players largely went to waste this year on account of poor pitching. With that in mind, Duquette said that the Orioles will focus on improving their rotation in the offseason, adding that they’ll have the ability to upgrade via free agency (Twitter links via Rich Dubroff of, Roch Kubatko of and Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun).

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Jones, Showalter]]> 2017-09-30T23:19:22Z 2017-09-30T23:08:58Z
  • Orioles center fielder Adam Jones is scheduled to enter a contract year in 2018, when he’ll make $17MM, but he explained to Roch Kubatko of and other reporters that he won’t push for an extension. “I’m not going to advocate for anything,” Jones said Saturday. “I just don’t think you can go to the owner and say, ‘Mr. Angelos, I would like this.’ Nah, that doesn’t work. I think everybody would do that if it worked that way. I think the thing is, they know I’m here throughout next year. There’s nothing I can do about that part, but beyond that, it’s up to them.” Jones is one of a few key Orioles whose team control will expire after next season, with Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brad Brach joining him. As such, 2018 figures to be the last hurrah for a core that has helped the franchise to a couple recent playoff runs. Long one of the Orioles’ top players, the 32-year-old Jones slugged 26 home runs this season, his seventh straight campaign with at least 25 long balls, and batted a respectable .285/.322/.466 in 635 plate appearances.
  • The Orioles’ skipper, Buck Showalter, could draw interest from teams during the offseason, but the O’s are unlikely to let him leave to manage someplace else, Dan Connolly of writes. Showalter still has another year left on his contract, and Connolly doesn’t expect owner Peter Angelos to allow him to bail out early if he’s interested in doing so. As Connolly notes, Angelos denied general manager Dan Duquette the opportunity to become the Blue Jays’ president in 2015, which suggests he’d repel any potential Showalter suitors. Since the Orioles hired Showalter in 2010, they’ve gone 622-567 with three playoff berths.
  • ]]>
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[J.J. Hardy On 2018, His Career, Remaining With Orioles]]> 2017-09-29T21:38:35Z 2017-09-29T21:38:35Z
  • J.J. Hardy will “re-evaluate” his 2018 plans once this season is concluded, though the veteran shortstop tells Dan Connolly of that, in terms of considering retirement, “I don’t think I can go there yet.”  Hardy’s seventh (and perhaps final) season with the Orioles has been a frustrating one, as he struggled in the first few months and then suffered a fractured wrist in mid-June.  The O’s will certainly buy out Hardy for $2MM rather than exercise their $14MM club option on his services for 2018, though Hardy is hopeful of working out a new deal to remain in Baltimore.  Given Tim Beckham’s emergence and Hardy’s injury problems and lack of production in recent years, it certainly seems as if Hardy would have to take a reserve role if he did return to the club.  I recommend reading the full piece, which is a wide-ranging and at times emotional discussion of Hardy’s career, his Orioles stint and his family.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Ghiroli On Orioles' Offseason]]> 2017-09-29T01:17:14Z 2017-09-28T23:34:51Z
  •’s Britt Ghiroli runs down a number of questions facing the Orioles this offseason, including their oft-discussed Manny Machado dilemma (if one can even call it that; the O’s have given no indication that they’d even consider parting with the soon-to-be free agent on the offseason trade market). However, while they haven’t signaled a willingness to trade Machado, Ghiroli also writes that there’s yet to be any indication that the Orioles will try to lock him up on a long-term deal. Ghiroli also addresses needs in the rotation, balancing an “all or nothing” lineup and determining which young stars are certain future pieces for the team.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Rumors: Hellickson, Smith]]> 2017-09-28T13:00:31Z 2017-09-28T13:00:31Z Although the Orioles need multiple starting pitchers, they’re unlikely to re-sign Jeremy Hellickson, Roch Kubatko of relays. Hellickson, whom the O’s acquired from Philadelphia in July, told Kubatko and other reporters that he has “loved” his time in Baltimore. The 30-year-old hasn’t looked like part of the solution since the trade, though, having pitched to an ugly 6.97 ERA with just 31 strikeouts in 51 2/3 innings (10 starts). And manager Buck Showalter seems prepared to lose Hellickson, saying: “I’m sure he’s got some things planned for next year as a free agent. I know what he was like in Tampa. Nobody’s the same three or four years later. Everybody changes somewhat. I’m not going to get into some of the challenges that I think he’s faced here and this season. Hopefully, he’ll get them behind him and be a good pitcher for somebody next year.”

    • Adding a left-handed bat will be an offseason priority for the Orioles, especially with outfielder Seth Smith likely to depart via free agency, according to Kubatko. Smith and Chris Davis have been the only lefty-swinging regulars this year for a Baltimore team that has managed a middling .260/.313/.436 line against right-handed pitchers.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Three Needs: Baltimore Orioles]]> 2017-09-27T16:27:47Z 2017-09-27T16:26:28Z This is the latest edition in MLBTR’s Three Needs series. Click to read entries on the Phillies, BravesTigersRedsPiratesGiantsMets, Blue Jays, Athletics, White Sox and Mariners.

    For the first time since 2011 (Buck Showalter’s first full season managing the club), the Orioles will post a losing record.  While much of the offseason focus will be upgrading Baltimore’s lackluster rotation, the O’s also have some other holes to fill if they hope to return to contention in 2018.

    1. Add some starting pitching.  You could argue that the need for rotation help could account for all three entries on this list, given how long starting pitching has been a weak spot for the Orioles.  The team already has plans to acquire at least two new arms to join Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in next year’s rotation, though some creativity may be required in getting those new pitchers given that the Orioles are likely hesitant to deal any top youngsters from what is already a pretty thin farm system.

    The O’s aren’t traditionally big spenders on free agent pitching, and Dan Connolly of recently observed that the failure of the Ubaldo Jimenez signing may have entirely hardened ownership against making any more long-term commitments to free agent starters.  The Orioles’ notoriously stringent medical standards will also be an obstacle, given that several of the mid-tier names in this winter’s free agent pitching market (Lance Lynn, Alex Cobb, Jason Vargas, Tyler Chatwood, Jaime Garcia) have undergone Tommy John surgery.

    Since trading prospects or making major signings could be difficult, the Orioles could instead add pitching by making a trade off the MLB roster.  Brad Brach and Zach Britton will each become more expensive in their final years of arbitration eligibility, though Brach has the much lower price tag and more immediate value given Britton’s injury problems in 2017.  Dealing a position player could be more difficult — Mark Trumbo is the only regular that seems expendable, though trade partners won’t be lining up for a player coming off a sub-replacement level season who is still owed $26MM through the end of 2019.  Chris Davis’ big contract makes him immovable, and it seems doubtful that the O’s would move franchise stalwart Adam Jones or second baseman Jonathan Schoop, especially in the wake of Schoop’s best season yet.

    2. Upgrade the defense.  Baltimore was a below-average defensive unit in 2017 as per both the UZR/150 and Defensive Runs Saved metrics, so if obtaining top-ticket pitching help will be difficult, the Orioles could help their run prevention by improving the glovework.

    Jones has graded out as one of the league’s worst defensive center fielders over the last two seasons, and it may be time for him to shift into a corner outfield role.  Right field will be open if Seth Smith isn’t re-signed, which leaves center open for a new face.  Lorenzo Cain stands out as the biggest name in free agency, with Carlos Gomez as an interesting Plan B-type of option if the Orioles didn’t want make a long-term commit to center field with top prospect Austin Hays on the cusp of regular duty.  You could argue that Hays might be the best choice now, though since he has yet to play at the Triple-A level, it’s more likely he’ll start 2018 in the minors.

    3. Figure out a future with or without Manny Machado.  The star third baseman’s future is the biggest long-term question facing the Orioles, and it’s a given that the club will again discuss an extension with Machado as he enters his final season under contract.  If the O’s feel Machado can be kept in the fold, that will have a big impact on the rest of the team’s spending this winter, since suddenly the Orioles will have at least $300MM in future commitments coming for Machado’s new deal.

    According to recent reports, the O’s aren’t planning to trade Machado before next season, so that scenario seems to be off the table.  That leaves the club in the rather precarious spot of risking seeing its best asset leave in free agency for nothing more than a compensatory draft pick after the first round in return, rather than the haul they could receive for even one year of Machado’s services in a trade.  A Machado deal could be explored at the trade deadline, of course, though the Orioles obviously don’t plan on being deadline sellers next year.  The worst-case scenario would be a repeat of 2017, as the O’s weren’t entirely out of the race and felt obligated to add at the deadline, only to see their chances fade in August and September.  If the same occurs next year, the Orioles will have missed their window for moving Machado and other key impending free agents like Jones, Britton and Brach.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Dan Duquette On Orioles’ Rotation Needs]]> 2017-09-26T17:34:54Z 2017-09-26T17:34:54Z As the Orioles wrap up a difficult campaign, there’s still some ongoing tension between executive VP of baseball ops Dan Duquette and skipper Buck Showalter, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (subscription req’d). But there’s no indication that “strained” communications will lead to any major changes, and Duquette suggests that he’s heading into the winter preparing once again to build a winning roster — with a particular focus on starting pitching.

    In conversations with Rosenthal and also with Dan Connolly of, Duquette indicated that he’s optimistic about some young players that are reaching or nearing the majors. While filling out the rotation will be a “big challenge,” says Duquette, “it’s been done here before.”

    We’ve heard previously that the O’s believe they need to add at least two new starters, and that certainly seems to be the case after a miserable 2017 performance. “There’s no major league team in the business that’s going to withstand three of their starters not pitching up to the level that they established for themselves,” said Duquette, referring to the struggles of Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jimenez, and Wade Miley.

    Of course, those veterans all had some concerns entering the season, and it’s fair to wonder whether and how Baltimore will find more reliable arms this time around. As Connolly notes, while Duquette expressed optimism about some prospects, it doesn’t seem any are waiting in the wings to take a rotation spot out of camp.

    With a big commitment to Chris Davis on the books and several core player slated to depart after the 2018 season, the O’s will need to be cautious of long-term commitments in free agency. Unless owner Peter Angelos really opens up the pocketbook, adding veteran pitching through the open market may be challenge. (MLBTR’s Steve Adams recently broke down the starting pitching market by certain indicators.)

    The trade market doesn’t necessarily seem an easier route. With the Orioles likely relying on position-player prospects to cover for the possible losses of Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and eventually Jonathan Schoop, they’ll be hesitant to deal from that stock. While Connolly hints that the club might consider trying to swap out Mark Trumbo for an expensive hurler from another organization, that may be easier said than done.

    Despite the obvious difficulties, Duquette insists he can build a quality staff around Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Those two make for a good starting point, to be sure, though Bundy will be looking to sustain his performance after a big innings jump and Gausman struggled badly over the first half of 2017. Even assuming that pair is healthy and effective, it’ll be a tall order to put together a productive five-man unit (not to mention ensuring adequate depth behind it).

    Charlie Wilmoth <![CDATA[J.J. Hardy Hopes To Play In 2018]]> 2017-09-25T03:26:57Z 2017-09-25T03:21:02Z
  • Orioles shortstop J.J. Hardy hopes to return for 2018, MASN’s Steve Melewski tweets. “I still feel I can play and we’ll see what happens,” Hardy says. It’s been a frustrating season for Hardy, who’s batted a mere .218/.255/.321. Hardy also suffered a broken wrist in June, then watched the Orioles trade for Tim Beckham, who replaced him at shortstop and thrived. The O’s seem all but certain to pay Hardy a $2MM buyout rather than picking up his 2018 option. It remains to be seen what the future holds for the 35-year-old, although it’s worth noting that he was a productive player as recently as last season.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.

  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>
    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.
  • ]]>