Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2021-04-13T17:46:32Z https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/feed/atom WordPress Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Reinstate DJ Stewart From 10-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=433871 2021-04-10T22:12:37Z 2021-04-10T22:12:37Z
  • The Orioles reinstated DJ Stewart from the 10-day IL, and Stewart is set for his season debut tonight, scheduled to hit fifth in Baltimore’s lineup.  Due to a left hamstring strain, the outfielder hasn’t seen any game action since a Spring Training outing on March 5.  While strikeouts continue to be a troublingly large part of Stewart’s offensive game, he has hit .224/.334/433 with 14 homers at the MLB level, good for an above-average 107 OPS+/108 wRC+ over 301 career plate appearances.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On DJ Stewart ]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=431189 2021-04-07T23:56:42Z 2021-04-07T23:56:42Z
  • Yankees right fielder Aaron Judge wasn’t in their lineup against the Orioles on Wednesday because of soreness in his left side, Bryan Hoch of MLB.com writes. Manager Aaron Boone doesn’t seem all that concerned, as he said, “With the off day tomorrow I don’t want to take any chances.” Still, it’s notable in light of Judge’s extensive injury history. He missed a large amount of time in 2018 after suffering a fractured wrist on a hit by pitch, which was obviously just a bad break, but then sat out a combined 92 games from 2019-20 because of oblique, rib and calf problems. Judge has been excellent when healthy, though, and has begun this season with an eye-popping .364/.391/.636 line with two home runs in 23 plate appearances.
  • Orioles outfielder DJ Stewart might be back in their lineup this weekend, according to manager Brandon Hyde (via Joe Trezza of MLB.com). Stewart hasn’t played yet this year on account of a hamstring issue that has shelved him for a little over a month. The 27-year-old lined up in the corner outfield in all 31 of his appearances in 2020, and he put up an unusual .193/.355/.455 batting line with seven home runs 112 trips to the plate. Despite a low batting average and a 33.9 percent strikeout rate, Stewart’s ability to draw walks (17.9 percent) and hit for power (.261 ISO) carried him to an impressive wRC+ of 124.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Place Austin Hays On 10-Day Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=427246 2021-04-06T02:19:28Z 2021-04-06T01:52:23Z 8:52pm: Hays has a mild strain, according to manager Brandon Hyde, who’s optimistic he won’t miss much time (via Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com).

    4:48pm: The Orioles have placed outfielder Austin Hays on the 10-day injured list with a right hamstring strain, per a team announcement. In other moves, the Orioles activated right-hander Shawn Armstrong from the IL, recalled outfielder Ryan McKenna and optioned righty Cole Sulser.

    The 25-year-old Hays is a promising piece for the rebuilding Orioles, but injuries – including to his ribs, ankle, wrist – have dogged him during his professional career. He only appeared in 33 of 60 games last year, owing in part to a rib fracture, but bounced back from an awful start to finish with a roughly league-average .279/.328/.393 line with four home runs in 134 plate appearances. He began this season with two hits in 10 PA during the Orioles’ three-game sweep of the Red Sox.

    McKenna, 24, will give the O’s more outfield depth as they await Hays’ return. He hasn’t yet played above Double-A ball, where he hit .232/.321/.365 with nine HRs and 25 steals in 567 PA in 2019, though FanGraphs does rank McKenna as the organization’s seventh-best prospect. Eric Longenhagen wrote last month that “McKenna can fly and he has all-fields, doubles power, peppering the right-center gap with inside-out swings,” adding he could mix average offense with quality defense in the bigs. The 24-year-old will join Cedric Mullins, Anthony Santander, Ryan Mountcastle and Pat Valaika as outfield options on Baltimore’s roster.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Acquire Adam Plutko, Release Yolmer Sanchez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=419506 2021-03-30T17:42:43Z 2021-03-30T17:42:03Z TODAY: Sanchez has cleared waivers and been granted a release, the Orioles announced.

    MARCH 27: The Orioles have acquired right-hander Adam Plutko in a trade with the Indians, The Baltimore Sun’s Jon Meoli reports (Twitter link).  The O’s have officially announced the deal, noting that Plutko was acquired for cash considerations.  Infielder Yolmer Sanchez has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move to open a spot on Baltimore’s 40-man roster.

    Plutko is out of minor league options, so the trade allows Cleveland to receive at least a modest return for a player who wasn’t likely to make their Opening Day roster, rather than lose Plutko for nothing on the waiver wire.  Plutko’s 40-man roster space can now be filled by Bryan Shaw, who was in camp on a minor league contract and had already been told that he will make the team.

    Originally an 11th-round pick for the Tribe in the 2013 draft, Plutko has a 5.05 ERA/5.71 SIERA over 217 1/3 big league innings, starting 36 of his 50 career games.  Plutko doesn’t miss many bats (only a 16.9% career strikeout rate) and he’s had a lot of trouble keeping the ball in the park, with a 2.03 HR/9 over his four MLB seasons.  On the plus side, he doesn’t issue many walks, and he has displayed some elite spin on his curveball.

    Plutko is already 29 years old but still controllable through the 2024 season, which is undoubtedly of interest to the Orioles.  Plutko wasn’t consistent enough to lock down a regular starting job with the pitching-rich Indians, but he’ll immediately become a candidate for the fifth spot in a Baltimore rotation that includes John Means, Matt Harvey, Dean Kremer, and Wade LeBlanc.  Alternatively, Plutko could also be deployed out of the bullpen as a long reliever or swingman.

    The Plutko trade is a logical pickup for the Orioles, but the follow-up transaction is unusual, as Sanchez was projected to be the team’s starting second baseman.  The O’s claimed Sanchez off waivers from the White Sox in October, and while Baltimore could simply be taking a calculated risk that another team won’t claim the former Gold Glover, the DFA would seem to indicate that Sanchez isn’t seen as a big factor in the Orioles’ plans.

    Sanchez avoided arbitration by agreeing to a $1MM deal for the 2021 season, but since arb contracts are only guaranteed once the player makes the Opening Day roster, the Orioles will only owe Sanchez 45 days of termination pay (roughly $250K) for being cut in the last half of Spring Training.  While not a huge savings, the financial aspect of the Sanchez DFA can’t be overlooked as a notable factor, considering how the Orioles have been looking to save money whenever possible this offseason.

    If Sanchez ends up elsewhere, Pat Valaika, Ramon Urias, Jahmai Jones, and non-roster invite Stevie Wilkerson are on hand as second base options.  The Orioles could juggle playing time between multiple members of this group rather than stick with a true everyday second baseman.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Felix Hernandez Opts Out Of Orioles Contract]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=420623 2021-03-29T18:20:43Z 2021-03-29T18:19:28Z 1:19pm: The Orioles announced that Hernandez has requested and been granted his release. He’s not expected to re-sign a new deal with the O’s, tweets Joe Trezza of MLB.com.

    7:25am: Felix Hernandez has chosen to opt out of his contract with the Baltimore Orioles and become a free agent, per MLB Network’s Jon Heyman (via Twitter).

    For awhile this spring, it looked like King Felix would indeed win an opportunity to begin the season in the Orioles rotation, but an elbow injury knocked him out of action in mid-March and undermined his efforts. Had he made the roster, he would have been in line for a $1MM salary.

    Prior to the injury, Hernandez made three starts, threw 5 2/3 innings, and allowed five earned runs, six hits, two walks, and a hit batsman. He also struck out five. But there simply wasn’t enough evidence that Hernandez would even be healthy enough to take a turn every five days.

    Hernandez last pitched in the Majors in 2019. He has a 169-136 record in 2,729 2/3 innings over 418 career starts – all with the Mariners. The soon-to-be 35-year-old put up 50.3 bWAR/54.1 fWAR over 15 seasons in Seattle.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Anthony Santander Dealing With Oblique Soreness]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=419889 2021-03-28T18:16:10Z 2021-03-28T18:16:10Z Anthony Santander isn’t in the Orioles lineup today, and it seems as if the outfielder will miss his fifth consecutive spring game.  Manager Brandon Hyde told MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko and other reporters that Santander has been bothered by a sore oblique, though Santander has still been working out and could potentially get back on the field as early as Monday.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Make Several Roster Moves]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=419006 2021-03-27T00:11:41Z 2021-03-27T00:10:15Z The Orioles have placed first baseman Chris Davis on the 60-day injured list with a lower back strain, Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com was among those to report. The team also made the re-signing of left-hander Wade LeBlanc official. LeBlanc is in the mix for the Orioles’ rotation/long man role, while that is no longer the case for lefty Keegan Akin. The O’s optioned Akin, outfielder Jahmai Jones and infielder Richie Martin, per Steve Melewski of MASNsports.com, and they reassigned lefty Fernando Abad and first baseman/outfielder Chris Shaw.

    Manager Brandon Hyde implied earlier this week that Davis could be headed for the long-term IL, so this news doesn’t come as any kind of surprise. Nevertheless, it’s the latest unfortunate development for the 35-year-old Davis, whose career has been an abject disaster since the Orioles re-signed him to a seven-year, $161MM contract before 2016.

    When Davis received his deal, he had established himself as one of the game’s fiercest sluggers, as he smashed 53 home runs in 2013 – his lone All-Star season – and added another 47 in 2015. Davis was a 38-HR hitter in the first year of his deal, though he has totaled a mere 28 (none during an injury-limited 2020) with a .169/251/.299 in 929 trips to the plate since 2018. The Orioles have stuck with Davis during his massive on-field decline, and he still has another year on his contract after this one.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Wade LeBlanc Signs New Contract With Orioles]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=418143 2021-03-26T21:18:16Z 2021-03-26T21:17:42Z MARCH 26: LeBlanc has rejoined the Orioles on a split contract that comes with a $700K salary if he makes the majors, Bob Nightengale of USA Today tweets.

    MARCH 25: Left-hander Wade LeBlanc has opted out of the minor league contract he signed with the Orioles in February, per Dan Connolly of The Athletic. He’s now a free agent, though Connolly notes that a return to the Orioles isn’t out of the question.

    The well-traveled LeBlanc, 36, spent last season in the Baltimore, where he endured immense struggles. LeBlanc finished the year with six starts and 22 1/3 innings of 8.06 ERA/5.77 SIERA pitching, and he managed a paltry 4.9 strikeout-walk percentage along the way.  He fared decently this spring with eight innings of two-run, three-hit ball and seven strikeouts, though he did walk five hitters.

    LeBlanc was one of a few experienced starters the O’s signed to minors deals during the offseason, when they also inked Matt Harvey and Felix Hernandez to minors deals. Harvey earned a roster spot Thursday, while Hernandez’s status is uncertain as he recovers from elbow discomfort.

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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Select Matt Harvey]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=417804 2021-03-25T14:29:47Z 2021-03-25T13:46:39Z The Orioles have selected the contract of veteran right-hander Matt Harvey, per a club announcement. The move fills Baltimore’s 40-man roster and assures Harvey of a spot on the Opening Day club. Harvey had an opt-out clause in his contract yesterday, which gave the O’s 48 hours to add him to the roster or cut him loose, Dan Connolly of The Athletic tweets.

    Harvey inked a minor league deal with the O’s back in mid-February and reported to camp as non-roster invitee this spring. He’s started three Grapefruit League contests, during which he’s yielded six runs on 10 hits and a walk with six punchouts through 10 innings of work. He and fellow veterans Felix Hernandez and Wade LeBlanc have been vying for spots on an extremely inexperienced pitching staff. Lefty John Means is the only other true lock for the rotation, though young righty Dean Kremer and southpaw Keegan Akin both seem likely to leave Spring Training with starting jobs.

    Harvey, 32 this weekend, is years removed from his status as one of the game’s most promising young aces and from the “Dark Knight” moniker that took baseball by storm. The No. 7 overall pick in the 2010 draft, Harvey was in the big leagues by 2012 and flat-out dominated opposing hitters early in his career. Through his first 427 big league frames, the righty notched an outstanding 2.53 ERA while striking out 26.6 percent of the batters he faced against an excellent 5.6 percent walk rate.

    Injuries, however, have wreaked havoc on what looked to be a brilliant career in the making. Harvey missed the 2014 season due to Tommy John surgery, and while he was terrific during his 2015 return, he dealt with shoulder discomfort in 2016 before ultimately undergoing the much more ominous thoracic outlet surgery. The general track record of pitchers coming back from a thoracic outlet procedure isn’t great in the first place, and Harvey is one of few pitchers who underwent both Tommy John surgery and thoracic outlet surgery in a span of under three years.

    Unsurprisingly, Harvey simply hasn’t been the same since. He regained some velocity following a trade to the Reds in 2018 and parlayed a decent showing with Cincinnati into a one-year, $11MM free-agent deal with the Angels. However, that contract proved regrettable for the Angels, who released Harvey that July. A 2020 comeback attempt with the Royals was similarly unproductive.

    Overall, since returning from throacic outlet surgery, Harvey has tallied 319 innings in the Majors and limped to a 6.09 earned run average. He’s yielded 365 hits, including 67 home runs, in those 319 frames while watching both his strikeout and walk rates trend in the wrong direction. His fastball, which averaged 95.9 mph at his peak, sat at 93.2 mph with the Angels in 2019 and 94.1 mph with Kansas City last year (when he was working in shorter stints).

    The Orioles will hope to catch lightning in a bottle and see Harvey bounce back to an extent, although at this point the expectations for a rebound should be rather low. Harvey’s deal guarantees him just a $1MM base salary, so it’s a low-cost roll of the dice for a tanking Orioles club.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Chris Davis Could Begin Season On 60-Day Injured List]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=416205 2021-03-23T02:04:00Z 2021-03-23T02:04:00Z The seven-year, $161MM contract the Orioles gave first baseman Chris Davis before 2016 continues to look worse: Manager Brandon Hyde admitted Monday that the lower back strain that has sidelined Davis since early this month could force him to begin the season on the 60-day injured list, according to Dan Connolly of The Athletic. Davis, who turned 35 last week, has gone from star to liability over the past few years. He slashed a horrendous .115/.164/.173 with no home runs during an injury-shortened, 55-plate appearance 2020. Davis is in the penultimate season of a contract that has long been an albatross for Baltimore.

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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[DJ Stewart In Danger Of Missing Start Of Season]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=415112 2021-03-22T01:12:47Z 2021-03-21T23:39:37Z
  • Orioles outfielder DJ Stewart is also in danger of missing the start of the season, as a bad hamstring has kept him out of a proper Spring Training game since March 5.  Stewart has been working out with the team, but manager Brandon Hyde told MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko and other media that he won’t put Stewart into a game until the outfielder is fully healthy, so “it’s becoming more and more challenging” to envision a scenario where Stewart avoids the IL.  The former first-round pick has shown some solid pop over his brief MLB career, with 14 homers (and a .224/.334/.433 slash line) over 301 career plate appearances from 2018-20.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Felix Hernandez]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=413141 2021-03-18T04:02:18Z 2021-03-18T04:02:33Z Orioles manager Brandon Hyde issued a fairly encouraging update on right-hander Felix Hernandez, who left his outing Tuesday with discomfort in his pitching elbow. Hyde told Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com and other reporters that the issue is just bothering him a little bit right now,” but there isn’t a timetable for his return. As of now, the Orioles have not scheduled any exams for Hernandez, a minor league signing who looked likely to win a season-opening rotation spot in the bigs before this injury cropped up. He should still be in position to start for the O’s this year if his elbow heals.

    • After an ugly season with the Angels in 2020, righty Julio Teheran sat on the free-agent market until last month, when he settled for a minors deal with the Tigers. The 30-year-old has fared so well this spring that he’s on track to claim a spot on Detroit’s Opening Day roster. Manager AJ Hinch said Wednesday that Teheran is “getting pretty close to” earning a job, Evan Petzold of the Detroit Free Press relays. If the longtime Brave is able to pull that off, he’ll earn a $3MM salary this season.
    • Righty Tanner Houck was among the players the Red Sox sent down Wednesday, leaving fellow RHP Nick Pivetta as a lock to open the season as their fifth starter, Chris Cotillo of MassLive.com writes. Pivetta, whom the Red Sox acquired from the Phillies last summer, endured his share of struggles during the first four years of his career, but he finished 2020 in encouraging fashion and has continued to turn heads this spring. Houck, meanwhile, was outstanding during a three-start, 17-inning major league debut last year, when he pitched to a near-spotless 0.53 ERA and struck out 33.3 percent of the batters he faced. However, unlike Pivetta, Houck has minor league options remaining – which surely impacted Boston’s decision.
    • Even though Diamondbacks right J.B. Bukauskas flashed an impressive repertoire across four scoreless innings this spring, the club demoted him earlier this week. Agent Scott Boras took exception to the decision, per Zach Buchanan of The Athletic, saying “we all know it’s about service-clock issues” and adding that “We all know we’ll see J.B. on April 15.” Unsurprisingly, general manager Mike Hazen denied that service time was one of the causes for the move, claiming it had “zero” impact. Rather, according to Hazen, the Diamondbacks preferred to open the season with more experienced options in their bullpen. Manager Torey Lovullo does expect the 24-year-old to make his major league debut this year, though, “if he continues on the same path.”
    • Angels righty Felix Pena is expected to miss two to four weeks with a Grade 1 right hamstring strain, Rhett Bollinger of MLB.com tweets. That should rule out Pena for the beginning of the season, which is a blow to the Angels’ bullpen. Last year, Pena threw 26 2/3 innings of 4.05 ERA/3.52 SIERA ball with above-average strikeout and walk percentages of 25.2 and 7.0, respectively.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Felix Hernandez Exits Outing With Right Elbow Discomfort]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=412687 2021-03-17T03:59:48Z 2021-03-17T03:59:56Z Orioles right-hander Felix Hernandez exited his outing Tuesday with discomfort in his pitching elbow, Rich Dubroff of BaltimoreBaseball.com was among those to report. The Orioles will know more about the injury Wednesday after they re-evaluate Hernandez, Roch Kubatko of MASNSports.com tweets.

    Despite a fantastic run with the Mariners from 2005-19, the soon-to-be 35-year-old Hernandez was only able to secure a minor league contract during the offseason. It’s the second straight minors pact for the former Cy Young winner, who inked a deal with the Braves heading into 2020. King Felix didn’t pitch at all last year, though, instead opting out because of concerns over COVID-19.

    Hernandez is nowhere near the pitcher he was during his heyday, having combined for a 5.82 ERA in 227 1/3 innings during his two most recent seasons, but he does have a legitimate chance to earn a spot in Baltimore’s rotation if he’s healthy. Alongside Hernandez, John Means, Keegan Akin, Jorge Lopez, Dean Kremer, Matt Harvey and Wade LeBlanc are among O’s who are at least competing for starting jobs.

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    Anthony Franco <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Maikel Franco, Place Hunter Harvey On 60-Day IL]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=411400 2021-03-16T18:21:23Z 2021-03-16T18:05:26Z The Orioles have made a late addition to their infield via free agency, signing former Phillies and Royals third baseman Maikel Franco to a one-year, Major League contract. The O’s announced the move at the top of the hour, placing right-hander Hunter Harvey on the 60-day injured list with an oblique strain in order to open a spot on the 40-man roster. Franco, a client of Mato Sports Management, will reportedly earn $800K in guaranteed money with another $200K available via incentives and a trade assignment bonus being factored into the deal as well.

    Maikel Franco | Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

    Franco makes a logical roster fit for the O’s, who had been otherwise slated to turn to Rio Ruiz at the hot corner. The 27-year-old Ruiz has just a .229/.299/.393 line across 617 plate appearances (84 wRC+) over the past two seasons. He has shown roughly league-average power (21 home runs, .164 ISO), but his on-base deficiencies and slightly below-average defensive ratings at third have left him hovering just above replacement level overall.

    It’s reasonable to expect Franco to offer an upgrade on that production. The former Phillies top prospect showed flashes of promise in Philadelphia but never amounted to expectations. After being cut loose by the Phils, though, Franco posted a decent season with the Royals in 2020. He played in all sixty of Kansas City’s games (starting 51) and hit .278/.321/.457. As with Ruiz, low walk rates and batting averages on balls in play have led to on-base deficiencies. Franco, though, strikes out less often and has hit for more power than Ruiz.

    Franco will be rather behind schedule at this point, so he may not be ready to step into the lineup on Opening Day. The two sides seemingly prepared for that reality, as MLB Network’s Jon Heyman indicated at the time of the agreement that Franco consented to being optioned to the Orioles’ alternate site early in the season, if need be, in order to continue ramping up. As a player with five-plus years of MLB service time, Franco can only be optioned to the minors with his approval.

    Even amidst a full rebuild, there’s value for the Orioles in making improvements at the margins of the roster. Barring an unexpected breakout in 2021, it’d be hard to imagine Franco commanding a huge trade return. Still, should he sign, Franco would be a viable candidate to be flipped for something of future value at the deadline. Non-tendered by the Royals last fall, he’d surely come at a low cost.

    Franco’s modest guarantee will have minimal impact on an already minuscule Orioles payroll. He’s promised a bit less than $300K more than the league minimum, pushing Baltimore’s payroll just beyond the $60MM mark, per Roster Resource’s Jason Martinez. Franco joins shortstop Freddy Galvis (one year, $1.5MM) as Baltimore’s only major league free agent signees of the winter. It’s always possible the O’s could make another addition or two, particularly as veterans continue to opt out of minor league deals elsewhere around the league, but there’s no indication at this time that anything further is in the works.

    As for Harvey, today’s IL placement is the latest setback for the now-26-year-old former top prospect. Baltimore tabbed Harvey with the No. 22 overall pick back in 2013, and he was at one point widely regarded as one of the game’s premier pitching prospects. Injuries have decimated his career to this point, and the O’s moved him to the bullpen in 2019, hoping the reduced innings total would help to keep him healthier. He’s pitched 15 innings out of the ’pen over the past two seasons, working to a 3.00 ERA with 17 strikeouts against six walks.

    Harvey had been expected to be in the ninth-inning mix for the O’s in 2021, but that won’t be the case — at least not early in the year. The 60-day IL placement can only be backdated to three days prior to Opening Day, meaning he’ll miss at least the first 57 days of the upcoming season. Harvey could technically return by late May, then, but there’s no timetable for his return at the moment.

    MLB Network’s Jon Heyman first reported that the two sides were in talks. MASNsports.com’s Roch Kubatko added that the Orioles had put a formal offer on the table. Heyman then reported the agreement and the terms.

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    TC Zencka <![CDATA[Orioles Exploring Options For Hunter Harvey's Roster Spot]]> https://www.mlbtraderumors.com/?p=411051 2021-03-13T21:45:23Z 2021-03-13T21:45:23Z
  • Hunter Harvey had been one of the few locks to start the season in the Orioles’ bullpen, but with his latest setback, opportunity knocks for another of Orioles’ hurler, per Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. With so many roster spots still up for grabs, the Orioles could use Harvey’s spot to secure a job for another short-stint arm, like Cole Sulser, Dillon Tate, or Travis Lakins. But they could also take the opportunity to have yet another starter/piggyback arm on the roster. Even the Orioles’ likely rotation arms – John Means, Keegan Akin, and Dean Kremer – aren’t locks to pitch deep into games. Bruce Zimmermann seems a decent candidate to make the roster as a swingman – and a near lock to see time on the Major League roster at some point in 2021 – but he may need some help filling the middle innings. Tyler Wells would be one such candidate. A starter in the Twins’ system, Wells is a Rule 5 pick who needs to make the roster in order to stay in the organization.
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