Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2019-04-24T19:51:53Z WordPress Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Mariners Acquire Mike Wright]]> 2019-04-24T18:01:04Z 2019-04-24T17:03:53Z The Mariners have acquired righty Mike Wright from the Orioles, per a club announcement. Infield Ryne Ogren will head to the Baltimore organization in return.

Wright was designated for assignment recently by the O’s. The out-of-options hurler will head onto the active roster for the M’s. He’ll need to remain there or be exposed to waivers.

The results haven’t been there for Wright, who carries a 5.95 ERA through 242 career frames in the majors. He has been hurt by the long ball this year, surrendering five in just 13 1/3 innings of work en route to a ghastly 9.45 ERA.

It’s not entirely clear what the Mariners hope to accomplish with the move beyond adding another arm to the stable. Perhaps their analytics department has an idea for how to squeeze improved results from his raw stuff, which includes a four-seam fastball that sits at around 94 mph.

As for Ogren, the 22-year-old was a 12th-round draft pick in 2018. He has been stationed at the Class A level to open the 2019 season, where he carries a .229/.319/.343 slash in 48 plate appearances.

Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Latest On MASN Dispute]]> 2019-04-23T20:49:51Z 2019-04-23T20:49:51Z The Orioles and Nationals have long been embroiled in a dispute regarding TV rights fees from the jointly owned (but Orioles-controlled) Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. Sorting things out with finality has taken ages, but there are finally some new developments of note.

Another arbitration proceeding before MLB’s revenue sharing committee is finally in the books, though the results aren’t yet known, per Ben Strauss of the Washington Post (Twitter links). The Nats are seeking to have the results confirmed by the New York court that has overseen the related litigation between the ballclubs.

The sides originally went to court when the Orioles challenged the committee’s first award of rights fees to the Nats, successfully arguing that the D.C. organization’s counsel had a conflict of interest. Now, the revenue sharing committee has issued a new decision regarding what constitutes fair market value for the rights to televise Nationals games.

Typically, it’s quite difficult to upset an arbitration award in court, though that didn’t stop the Baltimore organization from securing a victory way back in the full of 2015. Whether and how the O’s will attack the new award isn’t known, but it seems likely that the club will keep up what has been an all-out battle until it has exhausted all its options.

Indeed, the Orioles recently opened up something of a new front, as Eriq Gardner of the Hollywood Reporter has covered (here and here). MASN began withholding “cash flow payments” to the Nats early in 2018, then balked at a MLB-run arbitration process. While that’s called for contractually, the Orioles have taken the position that the league has an interest in the dispute because it made the Nationals a $25MM advance to deal with the long-ongoing issue discussed above.

The Baltimore organization then launched a proceeding before the American Arbitration Association. Their unhappy partners to the south responded by putting the matter to the New York court. The initial decision was in favor of the O’s, but it’s of limited moment: the court determined that the AAA panel has the authority in the first instance to determine whether the matter is properly before it, since the contract contemplates a AAA proceeding in the event of a conflict of interest.

Head spinning yet? It should be, as this is all now several layers removed from the underlying issue: what’s fair market value for the Nats’ TV rights? The Orioles have successfully introduced quite a few procedural roadblocks to the D.C. organization’s ability to receive stepped-up pay-outs and even created some possibility of securing a friendlier forum to decide the matter. As things stand, there’s a competing arbitration proceeding even as an award has come down from the revenue sharing committee, with ongoing litigation overlaying things. When and how it’ll all be resolved remains anyone’s guess.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Option Cedric Mullins, Select Stevie Wilkerson, Designate Josh Lucas]]> 2019-04-22T19:01:53Z 2019-04-22T18:33:30Z The Orioles announced a series of roster moves Monday afternoon: Opening Day center fielder Cedric Mullins has been optioned to Triple-A Norfolk, while infielder Stevie Wilkerson has had his contract selected from Norfolk to take Mullins’ place. In order to clear a spot on the 40-roster for Wilkerson, Baltimore has designated right-hander Josh Lucas for assignment.

Mullins, 24, stumbled to a slow start to open the year but excited Orioles fans with a two-triple game against the visiting A’s back on April 8. The organization hoped that day might’ve served as a turning point for the talented young center fielder, but he’s instead collected just two hits (both singles) in 44 plate appearances since that time. Mullins hasn’t been striking out at a lofty rate, with just nine punchouts in that time, but he’s already popped up to the infield on five occasions this year.

A 13th-round pick back in 2015, Mullins moved fairly quickly through the Orioles’ farm system; he only logged 125 games in Double-A and another 60 in the Majors before making his big league debut last year. It’s certainly feasible that he needs a bit more development time in Triple-A, where he held his own last year but didn’t exactly excel (.269/.333/.438 in 269 PAs). The Orioles likely still view Mullins as a potential long-term piece in the outfield, but he’ll be asked to earn his way back to the big leagues for the time being. In his place, it seems likely that Joey Rickard will step up and assume more playing time in center field.

The 27-year-old Wilkerson was outrighted off the 40-man roster earlier this year but will return for a second stint on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. He made his MLB debut with the club last year but didn’t fare well in a minuscule sample of 49 plate appearances (.174/.224/.239). Wilkerson, however, is a .290/.338/.481 hitter through 35 games at the Triple-A level and a career .268/.342/.371 hitter in parts of six minor league seasons. He’s played second base, third base, shortstop and corner outfield in the minors and should give manager Brandon Hyde some versatility off the bench.

As for Lucas, the 28-year-old made a trio of appearances for the O’s after being selected to the big leagues earlier this month. In 4 1/3 innings, he yielded a pair of earned runs on four hits and a walk with four strikeouts. Lucas has spent a bit of time in the Majors in each of the past three seasons now, and in 108 2/3 career innings of Triple-A ball, he has a 3.32 ERA with just under a strikeout per inning and 2.6 BB/9 while working primarily as a reliever.

Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Eyeing Rutschman, Witt With Top Pick]]> 2019-04-22T15:39:07Z 2019-04-22T15:39:07Z
  • The Orioles, who hold the No. 1 overall pick in this June’s draft, currently are considering high school shortstop Bobby Witt Jr. and Oregon State catcher Adley Rutschman but haven’t made any firm decisions as to who they’ll take, per’s Roch Kubtako. It’s of course worth noting that with more than a month to go until the draft, a different player could soar up the pre-draft rankings and thrust himself into the mix for the top selection. Similarly, a currently projected top pick could still give teams cause for concern and/or incur an injury. Both Rutschman and Witt were pegged as top-three overall picks in the first of what will be several mock drafts over at Baseball America, where Rutschman was projected to go to Baltimore.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Select Gabriel Ynoa’s Contract, Designate Mike Wright]]> 2019-04-21T14:48:17Z 2019-04-21T14:30:24Z The Orioles have selected the contract of right-hander Gabriel Ynoa from Triple-A, as per a team announcement.  Right-hander Mike Wright has been designated for assignment in a corresponding move.

    Ynoa tossed 53 innings for the Mets and Orioles in 2016-17 before being limited to just seven Double-A innings in 2018 due to both rotator cuff inflammation and shin splits.  Ynoa has a 3.60 ERA, 3.59 K/BB rate, and 5.7 K/9 rate over 926 career minor league innings, relying on strong control and grounder rates rather than a lot of missed bats.  The 25-year-old could simply replace Wright in the bullpen, though Ynoa has started all three of his Triple-A appearances this season and could potentially step into Baltimore’s rotation on at least a temporary basis.  The Orioles don’t have a scheduled starter for their game against the White Sox on Wednesday.

    A third-round pick for the Orioles in the 2011 draft, Wright was seen for years as a future rotation piece for the O’s, but he has simply not been able to get on track at the Major League level, either as a starter or as a reliever.  The right-hander has a 5.95 ERA, 2.04 K/BB rate, and 7.1 K/9 over 242 Major League innings, and has long had issues (career 1.6 HR/9) keeping the ball in the park.  At age 29, it remains to be seen if Wright has a post-hype breakout in him, though such an opportunity could come with another organization since he is out of options.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Activate Alex Cobb]]> 2019-04-21T03:46:46Z 2019-04-21T03:46:46Z
  • The Orioles brought righty Alex Cobb off the IL on Saturday to make his first start since a right lumbar strain sent him to the shelf on April 6. In hindsight, the Orioles probably wish they’d have started someone else. Cobb endured one of the worst outings in his career in a loss to the Twins, who thrashed him for nine earned runs on 10 hits and three homers in 2 2/3 frames. It continued a subpar Orioles tenure for Cobb, now in the second season of a four-year, $57MM contract. The rebuilding Orioles would likely jump at the chance to deal him, but Cobb’s ongoing woes won’t make it easy to find a taker.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Jonathan Schoop Was Open To Rejoining Orioles]]> 2019-04-20T23:32:48Z 2019-04-20T23:32:48Z
  • Second baseman Jonathan Schoop has spent nearly his entire career as a member of the Orioles, though they cut ties with him last July when they traded him to the Brewers. Schoop then became a Twin in free agency this past offseason, but he tells Steve Melewski of that he was open to a reunion with Baltimore. “Honestly, there were a lot of teams that were talking to me,” Schoop said of his trip to the open market. “I was thinking about it if I had the chance to come back. This was the team that gave me a chance. So I was thinking about it. But they never reached out. So I go forward and the Minnesota Twins was the one coming out more. So right away I signed with them.” On the heels of a down 2018, Schoop joined the Twins on a one-year, $7.5MM deal in December. Even though we’re just a few weeks into the season, Schoop has bounced back to a degree in the early going, having hit .241/.317/.407 (97 wRC+) in 60 plate appearances.
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    George Miller <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Trout, Jeffress, Benintendi, Cobb, LeBlanc]]> 2019-04-14T20:48:38Z 2019-04-14T20:48:38Z Angels megastar Mike Trout, who has been unavailable for several days due to a groin injury, has shown improvement and will rejoin the Angels for their series in Texas, per Jeff Fletcher of the Southern California News Group. He remains day-to-day and it is yet unclear when he will be ready to return to the lineup, but the update is certainly welcome news for the Angels. Trout exited the Angels’ April 9 contest with the Brewers after suffering a right groin strain and remained in Los Angeles while the rest of the team traveled to Chicago. The club has managed well in Trout’s absence, finishing a three-game sweep of the Brewers and winning one of two games against the Cubs, with Sunday’s rubber match postponed. The news should certainly inspire some optimism for Angels fans, who have collectively been holding their breath since Trout’s injury. Considering the circumstances, it would feel like the best-case scenario for the Halos to get their franchise cornerstone back after just a handful of games, a stretch in which the team has maintained its winning form.

    Here are the latest updates on other injuries from around Major League Baseball…

    • Brewers reliever Jeremy Jeffress has completed his rehab assignment and will rejoin the Brewers on Monday, per Tom Haudricourt of the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. Jeffress, a stalwart of the Brewers’ dynamic bullpen in 2018, has been on the shelf for the beginning of the season with a shoulder issue, which has since been resolved, says Haudricourt. He will join Josh Hader in a Milwaukee bullpen that will be without Corey Knebel, who underwent Tommy John surgery earlier this season.
    • In Sunday’s victory over the Orioles, Red Sox outfielder Andrew Benintendi fouled a ball sharply off his right foot and had to exit the game. In some good news for the Sox, though, Chris Cotillo of reports that x-rays on Benintendi’s foot returned negative results, though Benintendi will be day-to-day with a foot contusion.  He was replaced in left field by Blake Swihart on Sunday, who could continue to serve as Benintendi’s substitute if he misses any time.
    • Orioles righty Alex Cobb, out since April 6 with a lumbar strain, won’t come off the IL when first eligible, Roch Kubatko of was among those to report. It doesn’t appear Cobb will miss much more time, however. Manager Brandon Hyde indicated he could start during the Orioles’ upcoming series against the Twins, which runs from April 19-21. Cobb pitched well in his lone start of the season, an April 4 loss to the Yankees in which he threw 5 2/3 innings of two-run ball.
    • Seattle Mariners southpaw Wade LeBlanc will miss 4-6 weeks with a grade 2 oblique strain, skipper Scott Servais told reporters, including The Athletic’s Corey Brock (Twitter link). With LeBlanc headed to the 10-day IL, the team has called up right-hander Erik Swanson from Triple-A. Swanson will take LeBlanc’s place in the starting rotation and is slated to make his first Major League start on Wednesday.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[AL Notes: C. Davis, Lindor, Sano]]> 2019-04-15T17:46:44Z 2019-04-14T00:17:32Z Beleaguered Orioles first baseman Chris Davis entered Saturday without a hit in his previous 54 at-bats, the longest streak in major league history. But the former star’s nightmarish skid ended with a first-inning, two-run single off Boston’s Rick Porcello, giving Davis his first hit since Sept. 14, 2018. Davis later went on to collect two more hits and another pair of runs batted in during what wound up as a 9-5 victory for the Orioles. While Davis was one of Baltimore’s best players Saturday, he has delivered startlingly few valuable performances since 2016, the first season of a seven-year, $161MM contract that now looks like one of the worst investments in baseball history. Once a premier slugger, the 33-year-old Davis has slashed a hideous .198/.294/.388 (83 wRC+) with minus-0.8 fWAR since signing his current deal.

    Davis appears to be a sunk cost for the rebuilding Orioles, who owe him roughly $108MM more and will pay him through 2037 because of deferrals, yet there’s no urgency on their part to get rid of him. Rookie general manager Mike Elias told Dan Connolly of The Athletic (subscription required) on Friday that the Orioles are “absolutely” planning to keeping Davis, adding that “he’s on this team and it’s no secret the fact that we have a large and long commitment to him, so our focus is going to be on getting the best performance out of him that we possibly can.” Elias went on to explain to Connolly that the Orioles, with the help of analytics guru Sig Mejdal and hitting coach Don Long, are “just going to do as much as we can incrementally to get him into a better place.”

    More from the American League…

    • The Indians have played this season without their top performer, shortstop Francisco Lindor, who’s on the mend from a calf sprain and a high left ankle sprain. Fortunately for the Tribe, it appears Lindor’s progressing toward a return. After running the bases the past two days, the 25-year-old will work out with the team Sunday, and he could embark on a Triple-A rehab assignment Monday, Mandy Bell of reports. When Lindor went down in early February, the Indians surely knew finding a capable fill-in for the three-time All-Star would be a difficult task; however, they likely didn’t expect their shortstop situation to be this dire in his absence. Replacements Eric Stamets (minus-35 wRC+ in 40 plate appearances) and Max Moroff (minus-58 wRC+ in 23 PA) have stumbled to a league-worst minus-0.8 fWAR thus far.
    • Twins third baseman Miguel Sano is slated to begin modified spring training in Fort Myers, Fla., during the middle of the upcoming week, Betsy Helfand of the St. Paul Pioneer Press tweets. Beyond that, the Twins are hoping Sano – who’s working back from a right Achilles injury – will begin a rehab assignment in early May, according to chief baseball officer Derek Falvey. The Sano-less Twins have primarily turned to $21MM free-agent pickup Marwin Gonzalez at the hot corner, but the former Astro’s season has gotten off to an inauspicious start.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Jesmuel Valentin To Minor League Deal]]> 2019-04-12T14:34:25Z 2019-04-12T14:19:05Z The Orioles signed infielder Jesmuel Valentin to a minor league contract, per Rich Dubroff of (Twitter link). The Orioles’ Double-A affiliate in Bowie announced shortly thereafter that Valentin has been added to its roster.

    Valentin, 24, made his big league debut with the Phillies in 2018 but received just 89 plate appearances. In that time, the switch-hitter managed only a .177/.258/.304 batting line with a homer, five doubles and a triple. Valentin, the No. 51 overall pick in the 2012 draft (by the Dodgers), is the son of former big leaguer Jose Valentin and the nephew of Javier Valentin.

    The younger Valentin landed with the Phillies by way of the 2014 swap that sent right-hander Roberto Hernandez from Philadelphia to Los Angeles. He’s a versatile defender, with experience at second base, shortstop, third base and a brief look in both outfield corners, but he’s never established himself as much of an offensive threat. He’s a career .260/.345/.379 hitter in parts of seven minor league seasons, including a .239/.322/.339 output in 381 plate appearances at the Triple-A level.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles To Select Josh Lucas, Place Richard Bleier On Injured List]]> 2019-04-11T13:53:11Z 2019-04-11T13:53:11Z The Orioles have lockers set up for right-hander Josh Lucas and lefty Tanner Scott this morning, per’s Roch Kubatko (all Twitter links), indicating that both have been brought up to the Major League roster. Lucas isn’t on the team’s 40-man roster, so his contract will be formally selected prior today’s 12:35 ET starting time. Baltimore already optioned Josh Rogers to Triple-A Norfolk following last night’s game, creating one vacancy on the 25-man roster, and the other will be created by placing lefty Richard Bleier on the injured list.

    Lucas, 28, signed a minor league pact with the Orioles back in late November. His experience at the MLB level is limited, though he’s appeared in each of the past two big league seasons: with the Cardinals in 2017 and the Athletics in 2018. He’s tallied just 21 2/3 frames in that time, working to a 5.40 ERA with a 21-to-13 K/BB ratio and a promising 54.8 percent ground-ball rate.

    Lucas doesn’t throw particularly hard, sitting 91-92 mph with his fastball, but he’s induced a solid 11.4 percent swinging-strike rate and a strong 33.8 percent chase rate on pitches out of the strike zone. He’ll come to the O’s with a nice Triple-A track record, having logged a 3.32 ERA with 8.9 K/9, 2.6 BB/9 and above-average ground-ball tendencies.

    Bleier, despite a lack of missed bats, was the Orioles’ most effective reliever from 2017-18. Through 4 1/3 innings this season, though, he’s already allowed as many runs (seven) as he did through 32 2/3 frames last year. Bleier’s 2019 season was cut short by a lat tear that required surgery, and it’s possible that he’s still dealing with some lingering effects from that procedure.

    Prior to Opening Day, he’s totaled 119 innings in the Majors between the Yankees and O’s, pitching to an immaculate 1.97 ERA despite averaging 4.1 K/9. Bleier’s pristine control (1.6 BB/9) and knack for avoiding hard contact have helped him thrive to this point in his big league career. If he can get back on track between now and July, he’d stand out as a possible trade candidate; the late-blooming Bleier will turn 32 next week but has three years of team control remaining beyond 2019.

    The 24-year-old Scott, meanwhile, is already on the 40-man roster after spending the bulk of the 2018 season with the Orioles. Last year, he logged a lackluster 5.40 ERA but did punched out 76 batters in just 53 1/3 innings of Major League relief. The flamethrower has averaged better than 97 mph on his heater at the MLB level with a gaudy 16.4 percent swinging-strike rate and 36.6 percent opponents’ chase rate on out-of-zone pitches. If Scott can rein in his control (4.7 BB/9), he has the makings of a quality late-inning reliever; fielding-independent pitching metrics are already quite bullish on him as it is (3.40 FIP, 2.96 xFIP, 3.18 SIERA in 2018).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Return Rule 5 Pick Drew Jackson To Dodgers]]> 2019-04-11T01:28:40Z 2019-04-11T01:28:40Z The Orioles announced Wednesday that Rule 5 pick Drew Jackson has cleared outright waivers and been returned to the Dodgers organization. He’ll be assigned to a minor league affiliate but won’t require placement on Los Angeles’ 40-man roster. He’d been designated for assignment when the Orioles signed Dan Straily.

    Jackson, 25, appeared in three games with the O’s before being designated for assignment but received just four plate appearances. He’s still looking for his first big league hit but will now have to bide his time in the minors as he awaits a fresh opportunity for that milestone.

    Jackson has more than 1,000 innings of minor league experience at second base and north of 2100 innings at shortstop, though the O’s deployed him as an outfielder in his brief time with the organization. He spent the ’18 campaign with the Dodgers’ Double-A affiliate, where he hit .251/.356/.447 with 15 homers and 22 steals (in 29 attempts). He’s one of two Rule 5 picks who broke camp with the Orioles, joining shortstop (and No. 1 pick in last December’s draft) Richie Martin. Rostering multiple Rule 5 selections is difficult even for a rebuilding organization like the Orioles, though, and the O’s felt it prudent to evaluate other options both in the middle infield and in the outfield rather than dedicate the necessary playing time to do so with Jackson.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Place Alex Cobb On Injured List]]> 2019-04-09T22:42:40Z 2019-04-09T22:42:40Z
  • The Orioles announced that right-hander Alex Cobb, who had been slated to start tomorrow night’s game, has instead been placed on the 10-day injured list with a lumbar strain. The move is backdated to April 6. Cobb quickly follows righty Nate Karns (forearm strain) to the injured list, though there’s no timetable for a return on either right-hander. Baltimore has yet to announce a corresponding 25-man roster move for Cobb, who opened the season on the IL due to a groin strain. He’s thrown just 5 2/3 innings in one appearance so far this season. The early durability issues don’t help the Orioles’ already minimal chances of finding a summer trade partner willing to take on a portion of the $43MM still owed to Cobb through the 2021 campaign.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Nate Karns Headed To 10-Day IL]]> 2019-04-09T20:04:24Z 2019-04-09T18:28:26Z
  • Orioles righty Nate Karns has gone on the injured list with a forearm strain, the club announced. The severity isn’t know, but it’s obviously rather worrying to see another arm issue for a pitcher that has dealt with significant health issues in recent years. Reliever Evan Phillips, who was acquired in last year’s Kevin Gausman swap, has been called up to take the open roster spot. Phillips struggled in brief MLB action last year but had a nice showing this spring.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Matt Wotherspoon]]> 2019-04-08T14:28:28Z 2019-04-08T14:28:28Z The Orioles announced over the weekend that right-hander Matt Wotherspoon has cleared waivers and been assigned outright to Triple-A Norfolk, thus freeing a spot on the 40-man roster. Baltimore had only recently selected Wotherspoon’s contract, but the 27-year-old’s first exposure to the Majors and to a 40-man roster both proved brief.

    A 34th-round draft pick of the Yankees back in 2014, Wotherspoon appeared in just one game with the Orioles, pitching two innings and yielding three runs on four hits and a walk. He’s spent parts of four seasons at the Triple-A level, where he owns a combined 3.55 ERA with 9.5 K/9, 3.6 BB/9 and 1.0 HR/9 159 2/3 innings of work. Baltimore originally acquired the righty under former general manager Dan Duquette, when they traded a portion of their international bonus pool to the Yankees in exchange for Wotherspoon.

    With the move, the Orioles’ 40-man roster is now at 39 players.