Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-03-24T12:10:47Z Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles To Place Rule 5 Pick Pedro Araujo On Opening Day Roster]]> 2018-03-24T02:37:43Z 2018-03-24T02:37:43Z
  • The Orioles will carry righty Pedro Araujo to begin the season, Roch Kubatko of was among those to tweet. He only has made one appearance north of the High-A level in the Cubs organization, but was awfully impressive there in 2017. In 64 2/3 innings over 44 apperances, he allowed just 13 earned runs on 42 hits while racking up 83 strikeouts against 17 walks. Araujo kept that output going in the Arizona Fall League and into the Grapefruit League, so the O’s — who frequently utilize the Rule 5 process — will see if he can take it another big step forward in the majors.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Still Looking For Pitching Depth]]> 2018-03-23T14:03:55Z 2018-03-23T13:41:02Z
  • Before Alex Cobb signed with the Orioles, “the Padres got involved late on” the free agent righty’s market.  It would’ve been another eye-popping move for a team that surprised many by signing Eric Hosmer, though the Padres could’ve simply been doing some due diligence — Cobb likely drew interest from several seemingly-unlikely teams as he continued to languish on the open market.  The Padres also had at least some interest in Jake Arrieta, another big-name free agent starter who was still unexpectedly available into March.  Given A.J. Preller’s penchant for aggressive moves and the Padres’ prospect depth, I wouldn’t be surprised if San Diego made a big in-season trade to further kickstart its rebuilding process.
  • Even with Cobb now in the fold, the Orioles may still look to add more starting pitching depth beyond their current starting five of Cobb, Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman.  Heyman opines that Scott Feldman could be a possibility, as the righty “was beloved” by members of the Baltimore organization during his previous stint with the club in 2013.
  • Trade buzz continues to circle Astros right-hander Collin McHugh, as Heyman writes that McHugh “could be had in a trade,” as Houston has a surplus of rotation-worthy arms.  The Twins and Orioles were both linked to McHugh in rumors earlier this winter, though those teams are probably no longer in the running due to their subsequent pitching additions.  McHugh is owed $5MM this season and is under control through 2019 in his final arbitration-eligible season, making him a nice cost-effective addition for potential suitors.
  • The Mets haven’t seriously discussed the possibility of signing Ubaldo Jimenez, Heyman hears from a person connected with the team.  The past relationship between Jimenez and Mets manager Mickey Callaway (Jimenez had a strong 2013 season with the Indians when Callaway was Cleveland’s pitching coach) led to some rumors that New York could consider adding the veteran right-hander as rotation depth.  Jimenez is coming off rough seasons in both 2016 and 2017 with the Orioles, and as a result has drawn no known interest all winter as he tries to catch on with another club.

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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Could Bring Back Ryan Flaherty]]> 2018-03-22T00:15:17Z 2018-03-22T00:14:58Z Phillies utilityman Ryan Flaherty plans to opt out of his minor league contract, Todd Zolecki of tweets. The Phillies will have 48 hours to add Flaherty to their 25-man roster or let him go. Odds are that they’ll grant him his release, per Zolecki. The 31-year-old Flaherty was a member of the Orioles from 2012-17, and Baltimore reportedly made an attempt to keep him before he joined the Phillies. Now, he could head back to the O’s, Roch Kubatko of suggests.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Details On Orioles' Alex Cobb Pursuit]]> 2018-03-21T22:08:00Z 2018-03-21T22:07:42Z The Orioles officially signed Alex Cobb on Wednesday, but they weren’t serious suitors for him as of February because his asking price was too high, Dan Connolly of hears. But Cobb told Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun and other reporters Wednesday: “They didn’t stop bothering me the whole offseason. They were very persistent, and I think that you notice that confidence they have in you just by the way they speak to you, and the questions they ask and not questioning anything that’s gone on.” The Orioles’ insistence on signing Cobb came from John and Lou Angelos, sons of owner Peter Angelos, according to Connolly, who reports that the duo recently made “a hard push” to add the right-hander, who landed a four-year, $57MM deal.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Alex Cobb]]> 2018-03-21T23:04:54Z 2018-03-21T22:03:02Z TODAY, 5:03pm: Heyman has the layout of Cobb’s contract (Twitter link). He’ll make $14MM in each year from 2018-2020, including $6.5MM deferred without interest this season and $4.5MM deferred without interest in both ’19 and ’20. Cobb will earn $15MM in 2021 and either $4.75MM deferred without interest or $9.75MM deferred without interest, if he throws fewer than 130 innings. If he amasses 180 innings in any of those seasons, he’ll rake in an extra $500K.

    9:38am: Cobb has passed the notoriously stringent Orioles’ physical, Heyman tweets, making the deal official. It has also been announced by the organization.

    The deal includes a no-trade provision, Heyman adds on Twitter. Cobb picks up full no-trade rights until this coming November and will be able to block deals to ten clubs from that point forward.

    There’ll be $20MM in deferred money, Kubatko tweets, though the precise manner of the structure has yet to be reported. When that’s factored in, the present-day value of the deal is $47MM, he adds, though that is a number that’s certainly subject to quite a bit of interpretation. Every multi-year deal, after all, includes future obligations that can be discounted to a lump-sum current dollar amount, and the math is dependent upon what approach is utilized to perform the discount.

    YESTERDAY, 9:19PM: Cobb and the Orioles have agreed that he’ll begin the season in the minors for a brief spell in order to get properly stretched out,’s Dan Connolly reports.  Cobb had enough service time to refuse a minor league assignment even though he has an option remaining, though obviously both sides felt a short stint on the farm was necessary.

    6:53PM: The four-year deal will be worth $57MM, an MLB official tells 670 The Score’s Bruce Levine (Twitter link).  There is deferred money in each of the four years, Kubatko tweets.

    6:06PM: The Orioles have agreed to sign right-hander Alex Cobb, with FanRag Sports’ Jon Heyman reporting (Twitter link) that the two sides had worked out a four-year deal believed to be worth close to $60MM.  Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reported earlier today that there was “a strong belief” that Cobb was close to a contract, with the Orioles considered to be the favorite.  The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (Twitter links) confirmed the link between Cobb and the O’s, and noted that the deal will be official once Cobb passes a physical, while’s Roch Kubatko was the first to report that the deal was a four-year agreement.  Cobb is represented by the Beverly Hills Sports Council.

    Cobb was long seen as a natural fit for the Orioles given their severe need for starting pitching, and the team indeed reportedly expressed interest in Cobb quite early in the offseason.  While it wasn’t necessarily a surprise to see the two sides end up in an agreement, however, there are some eyebrow-raising elements to this signing given the size and length of the contract.

    Alex Cobb | Bob DeChiara-USA TODAY SportsAs Passan noted, Cobb has been holding out for a multi-year deal, as opposed to the one-year contracts that several notable players were forced to settle for in recent weeks due to the unprecedented lack of activity in the free agent market.  Lance Lynn, for instance, was Cobb’s closest comparable on the open market and Lynn wound up signing a one-year, $12MM deal with the Twins.  Lynn, however, was also in talks with the Orioles and potentially left a longer-term offer on the table in order to sign with Minnesota, believing that the Twins had a better shot at contending in 2018.

    Lynn’s rejection could have been what inspired the Orioles to give Cobb four years to solidify its rotation, as it was believed that the club was no longer willing to go beyond a three-year contract for a pitcher in the wake of the disastrous Ubaldo Jimenez signing.  Furthermore, the organization has long been very particular about signing veteran pitchers due to injury concerns, so it represents a bold step for owner Peter Angelos to sign off the biggest pitcher contract in franchise history for Cobb, who underwent Tommy John surgery in 2015.  (It’s worth noting that the O’s have changed or even abandoned agreements in the past due to concerns about pitcher health, so Cobb’s physical probably represents a bigger final hurdle than usual in most player signings.)

    While many free agents left this winter’s market feeling short-changed, Cobb ended up finding his desired four-year guarantee and a very healthy salary.  MLB Trade Rumors ranked Cobb 11th on our list of the winter’s top 50 free agents, and projected him for a four-year, $48MM deal.  Heyman reports that Cobb rejected an offer of that exact size from the Cubs earlier this winter, and despite the free agent deep freeze, eventually landed a more lucrative deal.

    [Updated Orioles depth chart at Roster Resource]

    It may be too close to Opening Day for Cobb to be ready for the very beginning of the season, though when he is set, the 30-year-old could very well be the ace of Baltimore’s rotation.  The O’s went into the offseason with only Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy established in the starting five, and were in talks about a wide variety of free agent and trade possibilities.  Executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette has developed a pattern of late-winter signings during his time in Baltimore, and he stuck to that strategy again this year to rebuild his rotation, signing Andrew Cashner, re-signing Chris Tillman, and now adding Cobb within the last five weeks.

    Cobb provides Baltimore with a solid, AL East-tested arm who looked to be front-of-the-rotation material in 2013-14 before getting his TJ surgery in 2015.  The procedure cost Cobb all of that season and limited him to just five starts in 2016, though he rebounded for a 3.66 ERA, 6.4 K/9, and 2.91 K/BB rate over 179 1/3 innings for the Rays last season.  The post-surgery version of Cobb is striking out fewer batters than the pre-2015 Cobb, and his already-middling swinging strike rate took another drop to just 6.7% last season, plus his 36.9% hard-hit ball rate was a career high.

    These concerns notwithstanding, it should be noted that Cobb pitched better as the season wore on, which is a good sign that he could fully back to his old self.  Even the 2017 version of Cobb would represent a big upgrade for the Orioles over fifth starter candidates such as Mike Wright, Nestor Cortes Jr. or Miguel Castro.  The O’s now face some roster-shuffling questions with these arms (Wright is out of options and Cortes is a Rule 5 pick), though they could all possibly be used in the bullpen.

    Needless to say, this surplus of arms is now an unexpectedly good problem to have for an Orioles team that has positioned itself to stay competitive within a tough AL East.  The length of Cobb’s deal also indicates that the O’s aren’t planning for a rebuild after 2018.  Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach will all be free agents next winter (plus Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are entering their last year under contract), though Baltimore now has Cobb, Gausman, Bundy, Trey Mancini, Mychal Givens, and Chris Davis as core pieces through at least the 2020 season, plus prospects like Austin Hays and Chance Sisco.

    Since Cobb rejected a qualifying offer from the Rays, the O’s will have to surrender their third-highest pick (51st overall) in the 2018 amateur draft, as they were a revenue-sharing recipient that didn’t exceed the luxury tax threshold.  Because Cobb received more than $50MM in guaranteed money, the Rays are now in line to receive a compensation pick after the first round of the draft.  This will actually be one of two picks for Tampa Bay in the “sandwich round,” as the Rays are also slated for a compensatory pick for not signing 31st-overall pick Drew Rasmussen in last year’s draft class.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Designate Jose Mesa Jr., Announce Alex Cobb Signing]]> 2018-03-21T17:14:46Z 2018-03-21T17:00:30Z The Orioles have designated Rule 5 righty Jose Mesa Jr. for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot will go to veteran starter Alex Cobb, whose four-year contract is now official.

    Mesa, 24, was the last of three pitchers taken by the Baltimore organization in the most recent Rule 5 draft. Obtaining his rights in full from the Yankees would have required that the O’s carry him for all of the upcoming season on the active roster. Now, unless his Rule 5 rights are either traded for or claimed off waivers, Mesa will be offered back to the Yanks.

    The young hurler obviously showed enough to draw interest from the Orioles after being left unprotected. In 84 innings at the High-A and Double-A levels last year, he allowed just 18 earned runs on 48 hits and 32 walks while recording 101 strikeouts. But it seems he’ll need some more seasoning before trying out the majors. Mesa struggled in his chances this spring, recording five strikeouts and seven walks in 7 2/3 innings.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[MLBTR Poll: Grading The Alex Cobb Signing]]> 2018-03-21T14:06:29Z 2018-03-21T14:06:29Z After watching a variety of quality free agents settle for shorter and less-lucrative contracts than expected — including established veteran starter Lance Lynn — it seemed that right-hander Alex Cobb would likewise need to take what he could get and plan to return to the open market in the near future in search of a heftier pact. Instead, he struck a surprising four-year, $57MM deal yesterday with the Orioles.

    Of course, that contract wouldn’t have seemed out of line when the offseason got underway. MLBTR tabbed Cobb the 11th-best free agent available and predicted he’d secure a four-year contract with a $48MM guarantee — not far off from where he ultimately landed. But we also guessed four and $56MM for Lynn, who got just $12MM from the Twins despite signing a few weeks before Cobb and carrying a broadly similar overall profile in terms of age and track record. And when we reexamined the market before Lynn’s signing, we downgraded expectations for both hurlers.

    Needless to say, this winter’s market has been something of a moving target. At the end of the day, though, Cobb will land a sizable but generally market-rate deal with an organization that came into the winter as perhaps the most pitching-needy would-be contender in baseball. If the deal is finalized, Cobb will join Andrew Cashner and the re-signed Chris Tillman as free-agent additions to a staff that already featured Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman.

    There are still questions up and down that five-man crew, but the overall talent base on the pitching staff is quite a bit higher now than at the outset of the offseason. One can argue that the O’s ought not to have made a commitment of this magnitude entering the organization’s final season of control over Manny Machado and Adam Jones. On the other hand, it’s hard to condemn a club for spending to win, especially when so many others are focusing on the future. And while the Cobb contract hardly seems a bargain, it’s roughly in range of his market value and arguably delivers some upside given Cobb’s history as a top-of-the-rotation presence. He was, after all, one of the most effective starters in the AL East in 2013-14 and delivered 179 1/3 innings of 3.66 ERA pitching in 2017.

    How would you grade the move from the team’s perspective? (Link for app users.)

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Machado: Shortstop Move Not About "Money Or More Value"]]> 2018-03-21T03:28:17Z 2018-03-21T03:28:17Z Alex Cobb’s agreement with the Orioles is the day’s biggest news out of the AL East, but here are some more notable items from around the division…

    • Manny Machado’s move back to shortstop was inspired by his love for the position, the Orioles star tells’s Jerry Crasnick, not as a way to better position himself for free agency next winter.  “I think a lot of people are saying, ’He’s going over there because he wants more money or more value.’  It doesn’t come down to money or more value,” Machado said.  “I’ve already established myself as a player.  I’m worth what I’m worth already.  It doesn’t matter if I’m at short or third.  The transition over there is because that’s where my heart is.  That’s what I do.”  Machado’s preparation for the position switch included changes to his diet and offseason training regimen, and scouts have given promising early reviews about Machado’s defensive prowess at shortstop.
    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Close To Agreement With Alex Cobb]]> 2018-03-20T22:50:57Z 2018-03-20T22:50:25Z 5:50PM: If completed, the deal would be a four-year pact, according to’s Roch Kubatko (Twitter link).

    5:19PM: Rosenthal hears from a source that a deal is indeed close, though the three-year/$50MM terms from Rosenthal’s previous report are “not accurate.”

    4:39PM: Right-hander Alex Cobb’s long stay in the free agent market could be nearing an end, as Yahoo Sports’ Jeff Passan reports (Twitter link) “there’s a strong belief that” Cobb is closing in on a new contract.  The Orioles are considered by most to be the favorites to sign the 30-year-old, according to Passan, and The Athletic’s Ken Rosenthal (via Twitter) reports that the deal between the two sides is expected to be at least a three-year pact.  Rosenthal adds that the O’s and Cobb had been discussing contracts in the range of three years and $50MM.

    Cobb and the O’s have been linked for much of the offseason, as the righty was a natural fit for a Baltimore team that entered the winter with a dire need for pitching.  The Orioles have already turned to free agency to sign Andrew Cashner and re-sign Chris Tillman, with those two veterans slotting in behind Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy in the rotation.  Cobb would not only be a decided upgrade over current fifth starter candidates Mike Wright, Nestor Cortes Jr., and Miguel Castro, but the argument could be made that Cobb would be the best starter on Baltimore’s entire staff.

    As Passan noted, Cobb has been holding out for a multi-year deal, as opposed to the one-year contracts that several notable players (i.e. Lance Lynn, Mike Moustakas, Carlos Gonzalez, Jonathan Lucroy, Logan Morrison, Neil Walker) have been forced to settle for in recent weeks due to the unprecedented lack of activity in the free agent market.  Given this environment, a deal in the $50MM neighborhood would be a particularly nice result for Cobb and his representatives at the Beverly Hills Sports Council.  That would actually be higher than the $48MM MLB Trade Rumors predicted Cobb would receive when we ranked him 11th on our list of the winter’s top 50 free agents, though we projected that $48MM to come over a four-year contract.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Wynns, Davis]]> 2018-03-18T23:33:17Z 2018-03-18T23:33:17Z
  • The Orioles optioned Austin Wynns to Triple-A today, as reported by’s Brittany Ghiroli and others.  Wynns had been competing with Andrew Susac and Chance Sisco for the secondary catcher role, as Caleb Joseph is in line for the bulk of playing time behind the plate.  Sisco is ranked by both and Baseball America as the third-best prospect in Baltimore’s system, and has long been considered the Orioles’ catcher of the future.  With that in mind, however, the O’s may prefer to keep Sisco in the minors for now in order to give him everyday at-bats rather than limit him to a part-time role.
  • As also noted in Ghiroli’s piece, Chris Davis made his return to the Orioles’ lineup today after a two-week absence due to a forearm injury.  Davis is tentatively scheduled to play in a minor league game tomorrow, assuming he feels ready to go.  Despite losing a good chunk of the spring to the injury, Davis is still expected to be ready for Opening Day.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Mark Trumbo Out Three To Four Weeks With Quad Strain]]> 2018-03-15T19:52:08Z 2018-03-15T19:52:08Z Orioles designated hitter Mark Trumbo has been diagnosed with a Grade 2 quadriceps strain and will be out of action for the next three to four weeks, tweets Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun. Meoli adds in a followup tweet that top prospect Ryan Mountcastle has a nondisplaced fracture in his right hand and will be sidelined for the next four to six weeks.

    The injury to Trumbo likely means he’ll open the season on the 10-day disabled list. While it’s unfortunate news for Trumbo, that could bode well for both Colby Rasmus and Danny Valencia, each of whom is in camp on a non-roster deal and hoping to make the 25-man roster out of camp. Both had decent chances of making the team anyhow, though an early absence from Trumbo creates an easier path to playing time — particularly for the right-handed-hitting Valencia. It’s possible that an injury to Trumbo could also open the door for Pedro Alvarez, another veteran in camp with the O’s on a minor league pact.

    As for the 21-year-old Mountcastle, he has just 39 games above the Class-A Advanced under his belt, so he was always going to be ticketed for the minors anyhow. The loss of up to six weeks, though, will slow the beginning of his season and further delay his ultimate path to the Orioles. There’s been plenty of debate about his eventual position on the diamond, but Mountcastle’s bat has been impressive in the minors for the most part. He hit .314/.343/.542 in 379 plate appearances at Class-A Advanced last year before struggling in his brief time in Double-A. Baseball America, (#71), Baseball Prospectus (#65) and (#98) all ranked him among the game’s Top 100 prospects entering the season.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rickard, Tejada Among Notable Orioles Cuts]]> 2018-03-15T17:03:05Z 2018-03-15T16:54:39Z
  • The Orioles’ roster further took shape yesterday with the news that outfielder Joey Rickard has been optioned to Triple-A and veteran infielder Ruben Tejada was assigned to minor league camp. Roch Kubatko of looks at the team’s utility infielder opening, noting that Engelb Vielma, Luis Sardinas and Danny Valencia are all candidates. While Valencia, of course, doesn’t have shortstop experience, the O’s have two viable shortstop options on the roster in Manny Machado and Tim Beckham. Kubatko adds that the O’s could take a look at Erick Aybar if he doesn’t make the Twins’ roster this spring, and he notes that Baltimore could also pursue a reunion with Ryan Flaherty if he does not break camp with the Phillies.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Lance Lynn Reportedly Sought Two-Year Deal From O's]]> 2018-03-14T03:58:55Z 2018-03-14T03:58:55Z
  • The Orioles spoke with Lance Lynn’s agents right up until the time he signed with the Twins, writes Roch Kubatko of However, Lynn was seeking a two-year deal from the Orioles, whereas he agreed to a one-year, $12MM deal in order to join the Twins. Kubatko adds that the Orioles are of the impression that fellow right-hander Alex Cobb is also seeking a multi-year deal and that a contract comparable to Lynn’s pact with the Twins won’t get the job done.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Hunter Cervenka]]> 2018-03-13T15:04:20Z 2018-03-13T15:04:20Z The Orioles have signed lefty Hunter Cervenka to a minor-league deal, per a club announcement. He’ll join the minor-league side of camp.

    Cervenka, 28, lost his 40-man spot with the Marlins late last year and was released a few days ago. Things just never worked out in Miami after the team picked him up from the Braves via trade in the summer of 2016.

    Baltimore will hope that Cervenka can finally learn to tamp down on the free passes that have long plagued him. He’ll presumably spend the rest of camp fighting for a placement with one of the club’s top affiliates and, eventually, a chance to earn a call-up if a need arises at the MLB level.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Cashner Wouldn't Have Signed With O's Without Relaxed Beard Ban]]> 2018-03-12T05:09:09Z 2018-03-12T05:09:09Z
  • Andrew Cashner wouldn’t have signed his two-year, $16MM deal with the Orioles unless he was allowed to keep his beard, Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun reports.  The O’s usually have a ban on facial hair (besides “a well-manicured goatee”) but an exemption was made for Cashner, provided that he keeps his beard neatly trimmed.  “I just think it’s a part of who I am, and it’s a part of my personality — it’s just me.  I think this length is kind of what it’s supposed to be, I guess,” Cashner said, who noted that he disliked having to shave his beard when he played for the Marlins, another club with a facial hair ban.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Lance Lynn May Have Been Able To Land Longer Deal In Baltimore]]> 2018-03-21T01:43:24Z 2018-03-11T14:33:01Z The Orioles had talks over the winter with then-free agent right-hander Lance Lynn, who finally exited the market Saturday when he agreed to sign with the Twins. Lynn ended up with a one-year, $12MM pact, but he perhaps could have gotten a longer deal in Baltimore. The Orioles may have been willing to give Lynn either three guaranteed years or two with a vesting option, Roch Kubatko of reports. Lynn would have been the third (and likely the best) starter to sign with the Orioles in recent weeks. They previously added Andrew Cashner and re-signed Chris Tillman. There remains room for improvement, which general manager Dan Duquette realizes. “We need to find some answers to our pitching staff,” Duquette admitted to Dan Connolly of as part of a Q&A that’s worth reading in full. While Duquette noted that “it’s getting kind of late in the spring training period for pitchers to get ready,” he’s nonetheless not ruling out adding another starter in free agency or via trade.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Jay Was Reportedly Seeking Two-Year Deal When O's Signed Rasmus]]> 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z 2018-03-08T19:39:15Z
  • Jon Jay was still seeking a fairly notable two-year deal when the Orioles signed Colby Rasmus to a minor league deal, reports’s Roch Kubatko. The O’s even checked back with Jay’s camp last week, he adds, but didn’t get any indication that Jay was willing to sign the type of contract he took with the Royals: a one-year, $3MM deal with a reported $1.5MM available via incentives. Jay fit the profile the Orioles were reportedly seeking for much of the offseason — a left-handed hitter who would be an upgrade defensively over some of their current corner options.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[East Notes: Rays, Wright, Goodwin, Orioles]]> 2018-03-08T01:31:27Z 2018-03-07T19:22:15Z The Rays are preparing to utilize a four-man rotation for the entirety of the coming season, Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes, with the expectation being that the club will load up the bullpen with multi-inning-capable arms. Topkin covers a wide range of possibilities for the relief corps and details the club’s thinking behind the unusual move. The plan is to utilize a string of relievers to work the fifth rotation spot, rather than designating a single pitcher to take that job. That approach seems designed both to take advantage of the organization’s options and to incorporate some analytical lessons on platoons and pitchers facing an order multiple times.

    More from the east:

    • Joel Sherman of the New York Post checks in on Mets third baseman David Wright, who is still plugging away in a comeback effort that seems unlikely to succeed. He says he wants to give it everything he can so that his “head can hit the pillow and I know I made every effort to play.” But that doesn’t mean it’s easy for the 33-year-old to be a part of a team that’s likely never to put him back on the field. “The mental part of coming in and knowing you bring nothing to the table as far as helping the team get ready for the season and helping the team win, for me, is the hardest part,” says Wright, “as hard as physical part of the rehab process.” Wright’s devastating combination of injuries is well-documented, of course. Remarkably, he was still capable of productive hitting when he briefly appeared on the field in 2015 and 2016, but Wright was only able to suit up for three High-A contests last year.
    • The Nationals don’t have a particularly clear role for outfielder Brian Goodwin, but as Pete Kerzel of writes, new skipper Davey Martinez intends to find ways to utilize Goodwin. The 27-year-old doesn’t exactly sound like he’s excited by the organization’s plans after he turned in a solid 2017 campaign. “I don’t think my role is defined, or ever has been since I’ve been in camp,” Goodwin said. “I come into camp and I feel like I’m trying to earn a spot, trying to find somewhere – a home, where I can play every day, start 162 games and play every day for somebody whether it’s here or anywhere.”
    • Speaking of lefty hitting outfielders, the Orioles came into the offseason badly needing one. The club erred in its approach to filling that need, Dan Connolly of argues. Baltimore ended up drawing Colby Rasmus back out of retirement with a deal that could actually exceed the one that Jon Jay just signed with the Royals. The issue, says Connolly, is that Jay suits the O’s needs much more than does Rasmus — and also was the desired target of team leaders Adam Jones and Manny Machado. It’s an interesting look at the team’s decisionmaking process.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Orioles' Pitching Staff]]> 2018-03-05T23:12:08Z 2018-03-05T18:55:51Z
  • The Orioles remain open to adding a third free-agent starter after signing Andrew Cashner and bringing Chris Tillman back, writes’s Roch Kubatko. They’re still checking in on everyone from Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn to former Oriole Jake Arrieta, he notes. That said, Kubatko adds that the O’s are heartened by the way their internal options have looked thus far, with Mike Wright, David HessYefry Ramirez, and Rule 5 picks Nestor Cortes and Pedro Araujo all of interest to Baltimore decision-makers.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dan Duquette Talks 2018, Beyond]]> 2018-03-05T01:58:55Z 2018-03-05T01:58:55Z It doesn’t appear Orioles general manager Dan Duquette is planning to initiate extension talks with contract-year shortstop Manny Machado. “I would never say never, but we’re going to be more focused on ’18 than beyond,” Duquette told Mark Feinsand of “I don’t really know what’s going to happen beyond that.” Machado, Duquette, manager Buck Showalter, center fielder Adam Jones and relievers Zach Britton and Brad Brach are all scheduled to become free agents after the season, leading Duquette to admit to Feinsand that 2018 will be the last hurrah for this particular Orioles core. If he stays the GM into 2019, Duquette hasn’t closed the door on spending in free agency next winter, but he also isn’t dismissing the idea of a rebuild. Regarding a potential teardown, Duquette offered: “There is some logic toward doing that, right? You get the premium picks in the Draft and they can become the core players for your next championship club. A lot of this is timing; it’s cyclical.”

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Orioles Have Some Interest In Neil Walker, Mark Reynolds]]> 2018-03-04T16:14:51Z 2018-03-04T16:14:51Z
  • The Orioles are “intrigued” by Neil Walker and some in the organization see him as a potential bargain signing,’s Roch Kubatko writes.  Walker has been linked to teams like the Royals, Yankees, Mets, Brewers, Angels, and Pirates over the course of the winter, though with many of those teams addressing their second base needs in other ways, Walker is still looking for a new home as we enter March.  The O’s have Jonathan Schoop locked in at the keystone, of course, though Walker could be an intriguing add as a third baseman.  Tim Beckham is currently slated to get the bulk of action at the hot corner, though Beckham is unproven as an everyday player and the Orioles might prefer using him in a super-utility role.  If Walker was signed, the two players could form a third base platoon, as the switch-hitting Walker has struggled against left-handed pitching during his career.
  • Walker is just one of the names that could still be considerations for the Orioles given the vast number of notable players still available in free agency.  Kubatko notes that the O’s have had some internal discussions about Mark Reynolds simply “because, well, he’s out there,” despite Baltimore’s current depth at first base and designated hitter.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Pomeranz, Davis, Valencia, Arroyo]]> 2018-03-05T03:00:39Z 2018-03-03T22:14:53Z The results of Red Sox lefty Drew Pomeranz’ recent MRI showed a flexor strain, Jason Mastrodonato of the Boston Herald reports on Twitter. Jen McCaffrey of says that Pomeranz describes the strain as “mild” and isn’t too worried about it. Mastrodonato later tweeted that every player who had a flexor strain last season missed at least six weeks, with one exception – Pomeranz. Last year’s injury caused him to spend 10 days on the DL. It should be strongly noted that all of this is simply one year’s worth of statistics, and we’ve yet to hear any announcement on Boston’s plans for their starter. Pomeranz pitched to a 3.32 ERA across 30 starts last season for the Red Sox, striking out just over a batter per inning while posting a 43.2% ground ball rate. He’s slated to become a free agent following the 2018 season.

    Elsewhere in the American League’s Eastern Division…

    • Speaking of injuries, Orioles first baseman Chris Davis had an MRI on his right forearm, but it turns out that there’s no structural damage. Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun was first with the news on Twitter. Manager Buck Showalter had previously described the concern with Davis as a “flexor mass” issue (via Dan Connolly of The Orioles will be hoping that Davis can stay healthy and bounce back this year after a rough 2017 season during which he homered 26 times but struck out in a whopping 37.2% of his plate appearances en route to a more pedestrian performance overall. He’ll enter the 2018 season at the age of 32; it’s the third year of a seven-year contract with Baltimore that guarantees him a total of $161MM.
    • In other Orioles news, the recently-signed Danny Valencia has no plans to go to the minors if the team opts not to add him to the major league roster, according to a piece by Rich Dubroff of “I have nothing to prove down there,” Valencia said. “I’ve been a productive big leaguer… Obviously, you want to be in the big leagues and I think it’ll all work out.” Valencia had been reasonably productive for the Blue Jays and A’s across the 2015-2016 seasons, posting 3.2 fWAR while hammering 35 homers during that span. It’s tough to peg the value of his performance as a Mariner last year, however, as formulas like bWAR, fWAR and WARP varied greatly in their outputs.
    • Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times details the story of how new Rays infielder Christian Arroyo was raised by a single mother. Kim Arroyo worked ten-hour shifts on the casino floor at Hard Rock in order to support her son. But as he grew up, she still managed to find the time to play catch with him and throw batting practice. Kim says she had lots of help from family and friends, but Christian made clear the wealth of credit his mother deserves for what she did for him, and the values she instilled in him while she was raising him. “She did everything she could to make sure we never were struggling, and I never knew we were,” he said.
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Swisher, Gomez, Orioles]]> 2018-03-03T15:25:05Z 2018-03-03T15:25:05Z Although the always-energetic Nick Swisher never made it back to the majors after signing a minors pact with the Yankees in 2016, he’ll end up contributing to the team in a different way. Mark Feinsand of writes in the second half of a piece for “Swish” will now serve as a special advisor to GM Brian Cashman. Though the terms of that job are typically pretty broad, Cashman envisions Swisher spending a lot of his time with minor leaguers in the organization. “He had a huge impact on that crew in Scranton when he was playing with [Aaron] Judge, [Greg] Bird, [Gary] Sanchez and all those guys,” said Cashman. “He brought the joy of playing the game on a daily basis, and it was infectious throughout that locker room. The opportunity to bring him into the fold and sprinkle him throughout our farm system was attractive.” On the field, Swisher was a .249/.351/.447 lifetime hitter; his playing career came to an abrupt end after a pair of rough seasons spent with the Indians and Braves from 2014-2015.

    Other items out of the AL East…

    • Rays outfielder Carlos Gomez is being met with a lot of excitement from his new teammates, writes Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times. In particular, Denard Span says that, “you’d rather have him on your team than playing against him. Because he’s a headache when you’re playing against him.” There are a lot of reasons for that, Topkin writes. Gomez likes to “mix it up” with bat flips and sometimes even instigates brawls. He’s also the type to play hard in every moment of every game, according to new teammate Kevin Kiermaier“He’s a guy who just loves baseball,” says Kiermaier. “Every time he takes the field, it doesn’t matter if you’re up eight runs or down eight, he’s going to go and play with that intensity.” One of the most interesting points Topkin makes about Gomez is that he can be a little bit misunderstood. Although he appears animated and aggressive, Rays reliever Sergio Romo describes him as someone who “always means well” and that some of the things he’s done have simply taken the wrong way on occasion. Gomez is set to replace the recently-traded Steven Souza Jr. in the Rays’ outfield this season.
    • Looking for a bit of insight into how players are cut from major league spring training camp? Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun helps shed some light on the subject by way of some words from Orioles manager Buck Showalter. Notably, Showalter is committed to spending time meeting with players prior to cuts. “I’m not going to rush through anything,” he said. “I want to hear from them as much as I want to tell them [some things], because I don’t want a month or two or three months to pass, and all of a sudden our success depends on them being able to come up and do something and we didn’t have those proper conversations.” Showalter also believes player feedback is an equally important part of those conversations.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Danny Valencia To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-03-03T14:19:00Z 2018-03-03T14:18:15Z SATURDAY, 8:18am: The signing is now official.

    FRIDAY, 10:44am: USA Today’s Bob Nightengale tweets that Valencia’s deal comes with a $1.2MM base salary and an additional $3MM worth of possible incentives.

    10:20am: The Orioles have agreed to a minor league contract with corner infielder/outfielder Danny Valencia, reports Mark Feinsand of (Twitter link). Valencia is represented by the MVP Sports Group. He’ll take his physical tomorrow, per Roch Kubatko of (Twitter link).

    The 33-year-old Valencia spent the 2017 season with the Mariners, for whom he logged a .256/.314/.411 slash with 15 home runs in an even 500 plate appearances. Valencia spent the vast majority of his time in the field at first base but also logged 51 innings in right field and another seven at his original position, third base.

    Baltimore’s bench is anything but set at present, so Valencia could impress in camp and seize a spot as a right-handed-hitting complement to first baseman Chris Davis. His experience at all four corner spots would bring some versatility to O’s, who currently don’t have an established utility option on the roster. While Valencia isn’t a shortstop — a position at which most utility infielders are adept — the O’s have both Manny Machado and Tim Beckham as options there, which could lessen the need for that skill in a utilityman. Baltimore also has waiver pickup Engelb Vielma on the 40-man roster, and he’ll be among the names with whom Valencia is competing for a job.

    This marks the second go-around for Valencia with the O’s. He also spent the 2013 season in Baltimore, hitting .304/.335/.553 with 14 homers in 170 trips to the plate. A veteran of eight Major League seasons, Valencia is a lifetime .269/.317/.427 hitter in the big leagues. He’s particularly strong against left-handed opponents, against whom he’s slashed .313/.370/.493 in 994 career PAs.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On The Top Remaining Free Agent Starters]]> 2018-03-02T18:44:10Z 2018-03-02T18:44:10Z The Nationals reportedly remain open to adding to their roster before the season begins, and while they’ve been oft-linked to top remaining free agent Jake Arrieta, Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post reports that the Nats “haven’t engaged with Arrieta’s camp recently.” The Nationals, it seems (much like the rest of baseball), would be likelier to jump into the fray if Arrieta’s price drops.

    Castillo does note that at least three other clubs have made recent inquiries with Arrieta’s agent, Scott Boras. One of those is likely the Phillies, who are reported to have an ongoing dialogue with Boras regarding Arrieta. However, most reports out of Philadelphia suggest that the Phils are loath to go beyond three years for the former NL Cy Yong winner, who will pitch this season at age 32 and has displayed some signs of decline in recent years — most notably a loss of velocity and worsened K/BB rates.

    Alternatives for the Nats, Phillies and other clubs searching for rotation upgrades are still on the market in the form of Alex Cobb and Lance Lynn, who both remain unsigned. Todd Zolecki of writes, however, that the Phils are even less likely to sign Cobb or Lynn to a long-term deal than they are Arrieta (and again reports that the Phils don’t want to go past three years for Arrieta). Even a contract in the vicinity of Tyler Chatwood’s three-year, $38MM pact with the Cubs could be too rich for the Phillies’ tastes when it comes to Lynn and Cobb, Zolecki writes.

    It seems that virtually every club in need of rotation help is awaiting the asking price on the top three starters to drop. The Athletic’s Jim Bowden tweets that both Cobb and Lynn are still seeking guarantees worth more than $50MM. (It’s worth pointing out that the manner in which that report frames draft compensation is inaccurate; the draft/international penalty for signing any of Arrieta, Cobb or Lynn is not tied to that $50MM figure, but a deal of $50MM or more would improve the compensation for the teams losing those players.)

    The Orioles, Brewers, Phillies and Twins all hold varying levels of interest in Cobb and/or Lynn, Bowden notes, but not at the current asking price. The Twins’ level of interest in Lynn doesn’t appear to be especially high at this point, though. While Darren Wolfson of 1500 ESPN walks back a recent report a bit by tweeting that Minnesota’s offer to Lynn was for more than the $12MM he initially reported, he adds that it was nonetheless well shy of anything his camp considered and that there are no current talks between the two sides.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Rays, Pedroia, JDM, Lee]]> 2018-02-28T22:48:37Z 2018-02-28T21:05:48Z Rays owner Stuart Sternberg weighed in on the MLBPA’s grievance against the Rays and three other clubs regarding concerns over the reallocation of revenue-sharing funds, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times writes. The Rays, according to Sternberg, are “beyond” compliant with the rules. “We’re very judicious in how we spend our money, but it’s spent in a lot of forms, and payroll is one of them,” said Sternberg, going on to point out that the Rays’ Opening Day payroll in 2018 will be higher than it was in 2017. Of course, the Rays still rank near the bottom of the league in that regard, as they do every year. Chris Archer, the Rays’ union representative, also spoke with Topkin on the matter. “I have no clue what it costs to run the Dominican academy,” said Archer. “I know just from my perspective, not a whole lot has changed with the spring training facility, not a whole lot has changed at the Trop, and our payroll has not increased significantly.”

    • Veteran Red Sox star Dustin Pedroia had a bit more done to his knee than had previous been known, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. In addition to cartilage restoration work, Pedroia underwent a microfracture procedure to his tibia. Regardless, it seems that the hard-nosed veteran is progressing well given that he has now advanced to taking batting practice. Meanwhile, fellow infielder Marco Hernandez is still six weeks away from resuming baseball activities, Rob Bradford of tweets. Hernandez underwent shoulder surgery last May and only just had screws removed, but at least he now seems to be in sight of returning to the field.
    • In other Red Sox coverage, Bradford discusses new signee J.D. Martinez’s unique relationship with his personal hitting coach. As it turns out, new Boston hitting coach Tim Hyers is well acquainted with Martinez’s guru Robert Van Scoyoc, who’ll be allowed to continue consulting with Martinez even though he has been hired by the Diamondbacks. It’s a deep and interesting look at how Martinez’s unique approach will fit with the organization.
    • Orioles hurler Chris Lee will miss at least a month with an oblique injury, Roch Kubatko of was among those to tweet. The southpaw had been viewed as one of a variety of hurlers competing for one rotation spot, a long-relief role in the pen, and/or a place in the organizational depth chart. Instead, he’ll have to work back to health before he’s able to begin pressing for his first MLB opportunity. The 25-year-old reached Triple-A for the first time last year, pitching to a 5.11 ERA with 6.4 K/9 and 4.2 BB/9 over 116 1/3 innings.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Lee, Hays Set For MRIs]]> 2018-02-28T06:25:19Z 2018-02-28T06:25:19Z
  • The Orioles could be looking at an extended absence for pitching prospect Chris Lee, who pitched to one batter on Tuesday before exiting with an injury. Manager Buck Showalter told reporters after the game that Lee suffered a right oblique strain and is set for an MRI on Wednesday morning (link via’s Roch Kubatko). Oblique strains often sideline players for a month or more, depending on the severity, and Showalter didn’t sound optimistic of a quick return. “There’s a pretty good pattern of the days it takes,” said the manager. “That’s one injury that pretty much runs its course. It isn’t earlier and it isn’t later.” Kubatko also notes that right fielder Austin Hays, who has been bothered by some lat soreness and was switched from right field to DH shortly before today’s game, will have an MRI on Wednesday as well. Lee wasn’t considered likely to make the Opening Day rotation, though Hays certainly projects as a possible impact piece for the O’s early in the 2018 season.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Gurriel, Frazier, Gausman, Stroman, Thornburg, Eaton]]> 2018-02-28T04:47:58Z 2018-02-27T19:13:14Z The Astros have shipped first baseman Yuli Gurriel to Houston so his injured hand can be evaluated, Jake Kaplan of The Athletic reports (Twitter link). At this point, the situation is more or less a mystery, with no real indication how the issue arose or just what the club is concerned about. Clearly, though, the team’s training staff has found cause to get a closer look from a specialist.

    Here’s more on some injury situations from around the game:

    • Yankees outfielder Clint Frazier has been diagnosed with a concussion, tweets’s Bryan Hoch. Frazier made a leaping catch in yesterday’s Grapefruit League game against the Pirates and stumbled a bit before falling backwards and hitting his head against the base of the left-field wall (video link). Manager Aaron Boone said Frazier will be down for “a few days” and acknowledged the seemingly optimistic nature of that timeline. Frazier is far from a lock to make the Opening Day roster in New York with Brett Gardner, Aaron Hicks, Giancarlo Stanton, Aaron Judge and Jacoby Ellsbury all on the roster, but he remains a key potential long-term piece for the Yanks.
    • It seems that Orioles righty Kevin Gausman has largely shaken off a home-plate collision yesterday, Roch Kubatko of writes. The young starter, who is a key factor in the team’s hopes for the coming season, says he “feel[s] pretty good” on the whole despite slamming into Tigers youngster Jeimer Candelario. For the time being, at least, Gausman is expected to take the ball for his next scheduled spring outing.
    • The outlook is at least a bit more worrisome for Blue Jays righty Marcus Stroman. Per’s Gregor Chisholm, shoulder inflammation is holding Stroman back. Though he has already been cleared by an MRI of structural concerns, Stroman will rest up in hopes of moving past a problem that has evidently been going on for a few weeks. The key Jays hurler says he’s hoping to be fully ramped up for “the very beginning of the start of the season,” even if it’s not Opening Day, though surely the organization will proceed with caution.
    • The Red Sox will welcome reliever Tyler Thornburg back to the hill for the first time since he underwent surgery to address thoracic outlet syndrome, Pete Abraham of the Boston Globe reports on Twitter. A bullpen session is just one of many steps back, of course, and Thornburg still has some hurdles to clear. He has yet to pitch competitively for the Boston organization (excepting brief spring action last year) since coming over in a trade in advance of the 2017 season.
    • Indications are that Nationals outfielder Adam Eaton is largely progressing well after a long layoff for a torn ACL. As Mark Zuckerman of writes, though, Eaton has yet to appear in game action. That appears to be less a reflection of Eaton’s surgically repaired joint than it is a planned effort to build him up deliberately. “We’re going to take it and be methodical and do it right for the first time and make sure I’m overcooked, so to speak, before I go out there.” While it’s surely tempting to max out Eaton’s reps after a lost season, skipper Davey Martinez emphasized the primary goal is to have Eaton at full speed come Opening Day.
    • The rival Mets are reporting shoulder and back soreness for Yoenis Cespedes and Jacob deGrom, respectively, but those don’t seem to be real concerns at this point, as’s Anthony DiComo reports. However, the New York organization is likely to hold back first baseman Dominic Smith for a while after he was diagnosed with a strained quad. He already seemed to face a difficult task of cracking the Opening Day roster, so this setback is not likely to help the cause. (New reliever Anthony Swarzak just left his relief appearance with an apparent calf injury, as Mike Puma of the New York Post was among those to tweet, though details are sparse at this time.)
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Pedro Alvarez To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-02-27T17:41:00Z 2018-02-26T14:33:59Z Feb. 26: Baltimore has announced the signing.

    Feb. 25, 10:30am: Alvarez will earn a $1MM salary and have a chance at $2MM in performance bonuses if he makes the Orioles, according to Rich Dubroff of (Twitter link).

    Opt-out opportunities are available on May 15th and July 15th, per Bob Nightengale USA Today (via Twitter).

    8:26am: The Orioles have signed first baseman Pedro Alvarez to a minor league contract, Roch Kubatko of tweets. The deal includes an invitation to big league camp.

    This is the third straight year in which the Orioles have signed Alvarez, who performed well in 2016 (.249/.322/.504 with 22 home runs in 376 plate appearances) but was a non-factor at the big league level last season. The left-handed Alvarez totaled just 34 PAs with the Orioles and spent nearly all of the year at Triple-A Norfolk, where he hit an underwhelming .239/.294/.442 with 26 HRs in 595 PAs.

    Alvarez tried to help his cause in 2017 by working in the outfield, but he’ll return to a first base/designated hitter role this year, per Britt Ghiroli of (Twitter link). The Orioles are already set at those spots with Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo, respectively, leaving little hope that Alvarez will crack their roster, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun notes on Twitter. As such, if the 31-year-old Alvarez remains with the organization into the season, he’s likely to function as minor league depth for the second straight campaign.

    Earlier in his career, it would’ve been unimaginable for Alvarez to end up in a minor league role. The 2008 second overall pick was one of the top prospects in baseball with the Pirates, though he never developed into the offensive force he was supposed to become and has struggled in the field at both third and first base. Overall, Alvarez has slashed .238/.311/.449 (107 wRC+) with 154 home runs and 7.4 fWAR across 3,194 major league PAs.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Minor MLB Transactions: 2/25/18]]> 2018-02-26T00:54:11Z 2018-02-26T00:54:11Z Rounding up the latest minor league moves from around baseball…

    • The Orioles have outrighted Jaycob Brugman to Triple-A after the outfielder cleared waivers, as per a team announcement.  Baltimore designated Brugman for assignment earlier this week to create roster space for the newly re-signed Chris Tillman.  Brugman, acquired in a trade with the A’s back in November, will continue to compete for a big league job with the Orioles, though the O’s have further addressed their need for left-handed bats with the recent signings of Colby Rasmus and Pedro Alvarez.  The 26-year-old Brugman made his MLB debut last season, batting .266/.346/.343 over 162 plate appearances for Oakland.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Morosi: Orioles Monitoring Top Available Starters]]> 2018-02-25T22:59:27Z 2018-02-25T22:59:27Z Yankees manager Aaron Boone suggested Sunday that they won’t sign either Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb, yet the team has “maintained contact with Lynn throughout the offseason,” Jon Morosi of writes. The Yankees are monitoring the top available starters in general, according to Morosi, who hears that the Brewers, Phillies, Rangers, Orioles and Nationals are doing the same. The Angels, meanwhile, are open to signing the best free agent reliever, Greg Holland, if the price is right, per Morosi. The Halos’ bullpen has seemingly taken a step back since last year ended, having lost Yusmeiro Petit and Bud Norris to free agency and added only Jim Johnson. While Holland would help make up for those exits, he’s presumably not going to sign for cheap, and inking the qualifying offer recipient would cost the Angels their second-highest draft pick this year and $500K in international spending room.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Nearly Signed Ryan Flaherty, Ryan Goins Over Winter]]> 2018-02-25T00:30:47Z 2018-02-25T00:29:57Z
  • In-house issues prevented the Orioles from signing free agent infielders Ryan Flaherty and Ryan Goins during the offseason, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun reports. Flaherty was with the Orioles from 2012-17 and wanted to re-sign with the club, even showing a willingness to take less money than he did to join the Phillies. Philadelphia made Flaherty an offer with a three-week deadline to accept it, but he wanted to hear from the Orioles before taking it. The O’s then submitted a counteroffer, though it “didn’t get club-wide approval in time to meet the Phillies’ deadline,” Encina writes. As a result, he said yes to the Phillies’ minor league proposal. Given that Flaherty has a late-March opt-out in his deal, it’s possible he’ll hit the market again and rejoin the Orioles before the season, Encina notes. Like Flaherty, Goins also settled for a minor league pact (with the Royals). However, he actually was set to sign a major league contract with the Orioles beforehand, according to Encina. Orioles ownership didn’t approve it in time, though, leading the former Toronto utilityman to head to Kansas City.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Schoop, Castro Dealing With Minor Injuries; O's Monitoring Waiver Wire]]> 2018-02-23T18:08:08Z 2018-02-23T18:08:08Z
  • The Orioles are dealing with some early injuries in camp, writes’s Roch Kubatko. Most notable is that of Jonathan Schoop, who was scratched from today’s lineup due to bursitis in his left elbow and is listed as day-to-day. The injury isn’t characterized as serious, but Kubatko notes that it underscores the team’s need to have a strong utility infielder on hand. With that in mind, Kubatko notes that Baltimore still plans to monitor the waiver wire and could continue to be active in picking up infield options in that manner. Kubatko also writes that righty Miguel Castro is suffering from patellar tendinitis in both knees and possibly some back soreness. He won’t make his first scheduled start of the spring. Castro is among the many internal candidates to fill in the fifth spot in the Baltimore rotation.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Colby Rasmus]]> 2018-02-22T23:33:17Z 2018-02-22T23:33:46Z TODAY: Rasmus would earn a $3MM salary in the majors and can add another $2MM via incentives, per Feinsand (via Twitter).

    YESTERDAY: The Orioles have agreed to a deal with free-agent outfielder Colby Rasmus, according to’s Mark Feinsand (Twitter link). Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun had strongly connected the sides this morning. It’s a minor-league pact, per the report.

    Baltimore has been looking for a lefty outfield bat all winter long, and may now have found its man. Rasmus will still need to earn his way onto the roster, of course, but the O’s presently have no left-handed-hitting outfielders on the 40-man after designating Jaycob Brugman earlier today.

    Rasmus, 31, logged 129 plate appearances last year with the Rays before going on the DL. Rather than returning when he was back to health, though, the veteran outfielder decided not to continue playing and was placed on the restricted list for the remainder of the season, foregoing the remainder of the $5MM deal he had signed.

    Now, it seems, Rasmus is interested in resuming his career. He had shown signs of bouncing back from a tough, injury-filled 2016 season in his early showing with Tampa Bay, posting a .281/.318/.579 slash with nine home runs in limited time.

    For Baltimore, this move represents a low-risk method of bolstering their overall outfield unit. Rasmus has never come around against left-handed pitching, but has succeeded against opposing righties to the tune of a .252/.318/.463 lifetime triple-slash.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Rasmus Discusses 2017 Departure From Baseball, Signing With O's]]> 2018-02-22T16:51:20Z 2018-02-22T16:18:01Z
  • Colby Rasmus, who signed a minor league contract with the Orioles yesterday, candidly spoke to the Baltimore media about his decision to step away from baseball last season while on the disabled list with the Rays (links via’s Roch Kubatko and the Baltimore Sun’s Eduardo A. Encina). Rasmus and his wife were expecting their third child at the time, and the outfielder ultimately prioritized spending time with his young family above all else last season. The 31-year-old Rasmus has suggested in the past that he may not play into his late- or even mid-30s, but he felt pulled back to baseball this offseason as he began working out. “I wasn’t sure how I was going to feel, so I got back to working out and mentally I feel good,” said Rasmus. ” I feel like I still have a little bit left to give to the game and show the game some respect and go out in a good way.”
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Re-Sign Chris Tillman]]> 2018-02-21T21:51:49Z 2018-02-21T21:50:23Z Feb. 21: Tillman will earn a $1MM bonus for reaching 125 innings and 150 innings, reports FanRag’s Jon Heyman (Twitter link). He’d earn $1.5MM upon reaching 175 and 190 innings and an additional $2MM for crossing the 200-inning barrier for the first time since 2014. Heyman adds that some of the incentive payments are deferred, but any deferrals would be voided with a trade.

    Feb. 19, 10:42am: Kubatko tweets that Tillman can earn another $7MM via incentives, meaning the deal can max out at $10MM.

    10:18am: The Orioles are in agreement on a contract that will bring right-hander Chris Tillman back to Baltimore, reports Jon Heyman of FanRag Sports (via Twitter). Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun tweets that it’s a big league contract, and Dan Connolly of adds that it’s a one-year deal.

    Tillman, a client of the Beverly Hills Sports Council, receives a $3MM guarantee, according to Roch Kubatko of (all Twitter links). Kubatko adds that Tillman is taking his physical this morning and, unsurprisingly, can boost his salary via performance bonuses for innings pitched.

    Chris Tillman | Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

    The 29-year-old Tillman will return to the only organization he’s known as a Major Leaguer. The former second-round pick (Mariners, 2006) has spent parts of the past nine big league seasons pitching for the Orioles since coming to Baltimore alongside Adam Jones in the 2008 Erik Bedard blockbuster.

    Last season was the worst full season of the veteran Tillman’s big league career, as the long-time rotation stalwart opened the year on the disabled list due to bursitis in his throwing shoulder and seemingly never made a full recovery. Tillman struggled to a ghastly 7.84 ERA in just 93 innings due to that ailment, posting the worst full-season averages of his career in strikeouts (6.1 K/9), walks (4.9 BB/9) and home runs (2.3 HR/9). His average fastball velocity (90.7 mph) dropped by a full mile per hour from 2016 as well.

    Those undesirable results notwithstanding, the Orioles did well to bring Tillman back on a modest $3MM base. Last offseason, for instance, rotation rebound candidates such as Tyson Ross and Derek Holland each landed $6MM contracts, while Andrew Cashner took home a $10MM guarantee from the Rangers. That said, shoulder issues tend to throw up significant red flags for clubs, and several potential suitors for Tillman have already made rotation acquisitions this offseason (e.g. Mike Fiers to the Tigers, Jake Odorizzi to the Twins, Jaime Garcia to the Blue Jays).

    Tillman joins Cashner, whom the Orioles signed to a two-year deal worth $16MM last week, as the second arm added to a rotation that was in dire need of some veteran additions entering the offseason. Baltimore had as many as three vacancies to fill, and GM Dan Duquette has said in the past that he’d like to add a left-hander to the mix, so it’s possible that there’s another addition yet to come. Assuming he passes his physical, Tillman will slot into the rotation behind Kevin Gausman, Dylan Bundy and the newly signed Cashner, giving Baltimore a fairly experienced quartet of arms on which to rely.

    If he’s healthy, Tillman could very well be among the best of that bunch, too. From 2012-16, he started 143 games for the Orioles and worked to a 3.81 ERA with 7.0 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 and 1.1 HR/9 with a 40.2 percent ground-ball rate. He doesn’t need to replicate those numbers to justify a commitment ranging from $3MM to $10MM, of course; if he can merely provide 30 mostly serviceable starts, he’ll be well worth the investment for the O’s.

    Even with Tillman and Cashner on board, the team still faces an uphill battle in competing with the Red Sox and Yankees for a division crown. A healthy Tillman increases their chances of remaining competitive but also gives the team a potential trade chip midway through the year should Baltimore find itself facing a sizable deficit in the standings. The team’s ability to compete in the season’s first half will be among the most fascinating storylines to follow, as if the Orioles are out of contention come July, they’ll have tough decisions to make not only on Tillman but on free-agents-to-be Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Adam Jones and Manny Machado.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Designate Jaycob Brugman, Announce Tillman Signing]]> 2018-02-21T15:07:43Z 2018-02-21T14:27:42Z The Orioles have designated outfielder Jaycob Brugman for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot will go to righty Chris Tillman, whose signing was announced.

    Baltimore had picked up the 25-year-old Brugman earlier in the offseason after he was designated by the A’s. He had been expected to compete in camp for a reserve role and perhaps still will if he clears waivers.

    Brugman posted a .266/.346/.343 slash over 162 plate appearances last year. He also owns a .289/.353/.410 composite line across 605 total trips to the plate at the Triple-A level. Regarded as a solid corner outfield defender who’s capable of spending some time in center,

    The O’s are said to be looking for a lefty-hitting outfielder, but evidently don’t expect Brugman to be their best option. It seems rather clear at this point that the club has every intention of bringing in a veteran from outside the organization.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Alex Presley To Minor League Deal]]> 2018-02-19T15:37:55Z 2018-02-19T15:25:23Z The Orioles announced that they’ve signed veteran outfielder Alex Presley to a minor league contract and invited him to Major League Spring Training. Presley, a Sports Pro Services client, gives the Orioles a left-handed-hitting option to add to their outfield mix, which they’ve reportedly been seeking for much of the offseason. Given that Presley isn’t guaranteed a 40-man spot, it’s possible that the O’s could continue to explore other additions for that role as well.

    Presley, 32, quietly had a very solid season at the plate with the Tigers in 2017, hitting .314/.354/.416 with three homers, 10 doubles, three triples and five steals (in five attempts). That marked his most productive stint in the Majors since a promising .298/.339/.465 showing as a 25-year-old rookie back in 2011, though it’s worth noting that last year’s output was buoyed by a .383 BABIP and 31.1 percent line-drive rate that both seem likely to come back down to Earth.

    Overall, with 29 career homers and 30 steals in 1500 MLB plate appearances, Presley has demonstrated a bit of power and speed while hitting a combined .263/.306/.388 in the Majors. He’s had more power against righties but doesn’t have a huge platoon split in terms of batting average or OBP.

    In the outfield, Presley has plenty of experience at all three positions, having turned in 620 innings of work in center, 690 in right and 1582 in left field. Ultimate Zone Rating is bullish on his work in left field, where he has the largest sample of data, but has given him below-average marks at the other two spots. Last season, in particular, was a rough season for Presley in the eyes of defensive metrics (-11 Defensive Runs Saved, -2.5 UZR, -2 Outs Above Average).

    That said, he’s considerably more experienced in the outfield than Trey Mancini and could give the O’s a left-handed complement to Mancini, Adam Jones, top prospect Austin Hays, part-time outfielder/DH Mark Trumbo and fellow non-roster invitee Craig Gentry.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Tillman, Lefty-Hitting Outfielder]]> 2018-02-18T22:51:13Z 2018-02-18T22:51:13Z The Tigers remain on the lookout for a starter, which could lead to a Chris Tillman signing, Jon Heyman of FanRag tweets. Tillman threw for the Tigers on Saturday, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun adds (via Twitter). Both Heyman and Encina note that Tillman is deciding among three teams and likely to sign within the next day or two, and they agree that a return to the Orioles is a legitimate possibility.

    • The Orioles will more likely sign a left-handed-hitting outfielder than trade for one, GM Jim Duquette told Roch Kubatko of and other reporters Sunday (Twitter links). A move is unlikely to come today, however.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Could Have Interest In Corey Dickerson]]> 2018-02-22T03:29:20Z 2018-02-18T15:51:40Z
  • A Dickerson trade was not imminent as of last night, Jon Morosi of reported (Twitter link), but a deal could come together with the AL East rival Orioles, Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun suggests. The Orioles, who have been on the lookout for a lefty-hitting outfielder for months, “will undoubtedly inquire about Dickerson,” Encina writes. Dickerson has impressed Orioles manager Buck Showalter in the past, relays Encina, who adds that being in the same division hasn’t stopped the Rays and O’s from swinging deals at previous points (Baltimore acquired infielder Tim Beckham from Tampa Bay last season, for instance).
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Nightengale: Manny Machado Wants To Play For Yankees]]> 2018-02-17T20:56:46Z 2018-02-17T20:56:24Z Orioles infielder Manny Machado “wants to be a Yankee and the feeling is mutual,” Bob Nightengale of USA Today writes. The Yankees were among the teams that tried to trade for Machado over the winter, so it’s no surprise that they’re continuing to eye him a year before he hits free agency. Regarding offseason trade rumors, Machado said, “Thank God nothing went down and I was able to come back, and see my guys that I’ve been with for seven years.” Although the 25-year-old is content to be an Oriole for now, it seems highly unlikely he’ll remain with them past this year, considering the massive contract he’d land on the open market. And while the longtime third baseman plans to spend the rest of his career at shortstop, where New York has a quality starter in Didi Gregorius, the Yankees would find spots for both of them, Nightengale suggests.

    More from the American League…

    • The Indians announced Friday that right-hander Danny Salazar “experienced an onset of right shoulder rotator cuff inflammation” last month during his offseason throwing program. The 28-year-old is “a couple weeks” behind the rest of the pitchers in Indians camp, per the announcement, though he has at least resumed throwing. It certainly doesn’t appear as if Salazar is presently dealing with a major injury, but the shoulder trouble isn’t entirely insignificant. Salazar missed roughly six weeks of the 2017 season due to shoulder troubles, and he has a history of right elbow issues as well. He’s also seen his name pop up in occasional trade speculation, most frequently being linked to the Brewers, though one would imagine that ongoing shoulder issues would temper some of the interest that other clubs may have in Salazar.There’s not yet any indication that Opening Day would be in jeopardy for Salazar, whom the Indians have penciled into a rotation spot alongside Corey Kluber, Carlos Carrasco and Trevor Bauer. Josh Tomlin and Mike Clevinger are both on hand as options for the fifth spot. Injuries limited Salazar to just 103 innings last season, during which time he posted a 4.28 ERA with a gaudy 12.7 K/9 mark against 3.8 BB/9.
    • Before he joined the Phillies on a three-year, $60MM contract in November, longtime Indians first baseman Carlos Santana proposed a five-year, $75MM deal to Cleveland, the player told Anthony Castrovince of However, “the Tribe was never seriously engaged with him at all this winter,” Castrovince tweets. Shortly after Santana left the Indians, they added replacement Yonder Alonso on a much cheaper pact (two years, $16MM).
    • Texas had interest in re-signing Andrew Cashner before he accepted Baltimore’s two-year, $16MM guarantee Thursday, Rangers general manager Jon Daniels confirmed to TR Sullivan of However, not only did the Orioles make Cashner a better offer, but it seems he wouldn’t have been a lock to remain a starter with the Rangers. “We talked to him and gave him a range of what we were thinking,” Daniels said. “He got a better deal. We even asked him if he would pitch in the bullpen, but he got a commitment to start, a multi-year deal, a good deal from Baltimore.” In 2017, his only year with the Rangers, Cashner paced their starters in ERA (3.40) and finished second in innings (166 2/3), though his success came in spite of a league-worst K/BB ratio (1.34).

    Steve Adams contributed to this post.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: Machado, Schoop, Liriano]]> 2018-02-17T16:08:43Z 2018-02-17T14:56:04Z Orioles standout Manny Machado showed up to camp Saturday and told reporters (including Bob Nightengale of USA Today, via Twitter) that he and the team have not discussed a long-term extension. Interestingly, the soon-to-be free agent added that he’d like to line up at shortstop for the rest of his career. Machado, 25, has played the majority of his career at third base since debuting in 2012, but the O’s decided to move him back to shortstop – his original position – last month. “This is where my heart has always been,” Machado said of short (Twitter link via Brittany Ghiroli of Barring an unlikely extension before next offseason, Machado will easily be the premier shortstop option available in a star-studded free agent class. In the meantime, if he thrives at short this year, Machado will have a chance to earn a bit more than his $16MM salary. He’d make an extra $100K by winning a Gold Glove Award and $250K by taking home Platinum Glove honors, Nightengale tweets.

    A couple more notes on Baltimore…

    • Like Machado, second baseman Jonathan Schoop may not be long for Baltimore (he’s in his penultimate year of team control). However, Schoop “would be open to an extension,” Ghiroli tweets. And while there was reportedly some frustration between him and the Orioles during the arbitration process, Schoop indicated there’s no bitterness on either end. To this point, there haven’t been any extension talks, but Schopp said he’s “not disappointed” in that (Twitter link via Roch Kubatko of He’ll make $8.5MM this season after posting a career year in 2017.
    • Kubatko has the latest on the Orioles’ search for starters, writing that they’re monitoring free agent left-hander Francisco Liriano. On the other hand, the Orioles have “cooled on” free agent right-hander Trevor Cahill, whom they were interested in earlier in the offseason, per Kubatko. Fellow righties R.A. Dickey and Scott Feldman (an ex-Oriole) are options for Baltimore, Kubatko suggests, though he notes that the former may end up retiring instead of pitching in 2018.
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Chris Tillman Nearing Decision]]> 2018-02-17T05:18:05Z 2018-02-17T04:42:24Z Free-agent righty Chris Tillman is weighing offers and preparing to make a decision in short order, according to Eduardo Encina of the Baltimore Sun. The Orioles are joined by the Twins and two other organizations in the picture for Tillman’s services, per the report, which also suggests that Tillman is willing to take an incentive-laden contract as he looks to return to form after a miserable 2017 season. With the Minnesota organization also said to be involved on some other hurlers, its ongoing involvement is especially interesting to note — though it’s also fair to wonder whether the team’s reported agreement with another bounceback candidate (Anibal Sanchez) will dampen its interest. We’ve seen real movement on the starting pitching market of late; with Tillman also seemingly nearing a deal, it’ll be interesting to see whether the same holds for some other free agents.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Have Not Made Offer To Tillman]]> 2018-02-16T15:16:28Z 2018-02-16T15:16:28Z
  • Free-agent righty Chris Tillman had multiple offers in hand as of yesterday afternoon, per’s Britt Ghiroli (Twitter link), though the Orioles had not yet made him a formal offer to return at that point. Baltimore has been linked to Tillman, its longtime top starter, throughout the offseason. The Orioles still have a pair of open rotation spots even after signing Andrew Cashner to a two-year contract. Tillman, 30 in April, turned in a catastrophic 7.84 ERA in 93 innings last year in a season that was largely derailed by shoulder injuries. He’s also been linked to the Twins, Blue Jays and Phillies over the past month or so, although the Jays may be off the table now after signing Jaime Garcia to a one-year deal yesterday.
  • ]]>
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Sign Andrew Cashner]]> 2018-02-16T05:33:56Z 2018-02-16T02:30:11Z The Orioles have announced an agreement with free-agent righty Andrew Cashner. It’s a two-year, $16MM contract, reports Roch Kubatko of (via Twitter). Cashner is represented by CAA Sports.

    Cashner will receive consecutive salaries of $5MM and $8MM, Kubatko reports (Twitter links). The remaining $3MM is a signing bonus that will be deferred to 2020 through 2022, according to Kubatko and Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (Twitter link).

    There’s also a $10MM vesting option on the contract, in addition to $5MM available in yearly incentives, reports SB Nation’s Chris Cotillo (links to Twitter). The option becomes guaranteed if Cashner throws 340 innings over the first two seasons of the deal. It’d become a $10MM player option for Cashner in the event that he reached 360 total innings from 2018-19. Cashner has topped 170 innings in a season only twice, making those fairly lofty goals for a pitcher with his lack of durability. He’d need replicate his career-best 2015 workload (184 2/3 innings) in consecutive years to obtain the player option.


    Cashner, 31, will give the Orioles some desperately needed depth for their rotation, as the only locks for starting jobs until this pickup were righties Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. He’s made at least 27 starts in each of the past three seasons and is coming off a 3.40 ERA through 166 2/3 innings with the Rangers, albeit with less-impressive marks of 4.6 K/9 against 3.5 BB/9.

    Cashner averaged 7.9 strikeouts per nine innings pitched in 2015-16 with the Padres and Marlins, but he somewhat bizarrely saw that number plummet upon signing on with the Rangers. The right-hander did significantly decrease the usage of his four-seam fastball in favor of cutter/sinker, so it’s possible that his pitch selection in 2017 played a large role in his decline in strikeouts. Cashner’s fastball velocity, after all, continued to average better than 93 mph. Still, his 6.1 percent swinging-strike rate and 4.6 K/9 mark were among the bottom two marks among all qualified starters.

    Whatever the reasons behind it, the sudden lack of missed bats has to be considered somewhat of a red flag, especially moving into an AL East division that is stacked with some fairly potent lineups. Cashner should give the Orioles a more steadier option to occupy the third slot in the rotation than virtually any of the team’s internal candidates, though he currently profiles more as a back-of-the-rotation arm than mid-rotation starter. The O’s have reportedly been striving to add three starters this winter, including one lefty, so it’s quite possible that Cashner is the first of multiple additions for Baltimore in the weeks to come as Spring Training progresses.

    It’s been a rather bleak scene for all free agents outside of the relief market thus far in the offseason, but while Cashner surely waited longer than he’d have hoped to land a deal, his $16MM guarantee falls pretty well within the parameters of reasonable expectations. Heading into the offseason, MLBTR listed Cashner 27th among free agents in terms of earning capacity and pegged him for a two-year, $20MM pact.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.