Baltimore Orioles – MLB Trade Rumors 2018-06-23T21:47:44Z WordPress Kyle Downing <![CDATA[AL East Notes: Red Sox, Jones, Orioles, Sanchez, Blue Jays]]> 2018-06-23T14:03:16Z 2018-06-23T14:03:16Z It’s still early in the season relative to the league’s non-waiver trade deadline at the end of July, so with the disclaimer that trade are still subject to change before then, Evan Drellich of NBC Sports Boston reports that the Red Sox “have an eye on” adding a reliever and a right-handed hitter to complement the team. Drellich points out that these types of additions would not mean “mortgaging” the team’s already-thin farm system, as the addition of a righty-bat would likely be an infielder to balance out the club’s lefty-heavy group. He also cites some troubling statistics about the usage and performance of pinch-hitters for the club, signaling that a backup plan for Dustin Pedroia could help the team in matchup situations. The veteran was seen as likely to resume baseball activities shortly after returning to the DL on June 2nd, but still has yet to be cleared for such activities three weeks later.

Other news and notes from around a topheavy AL East division…

  • Jon Meoli of the Baltimore Sun takes a look at the situation of Orioles outfielder Adam Jones, who’s enjoying one of his best calendar months in years. Per Meoli, Jones isn’t concerned about all the resulting trade chatter surrounding him. “I can’t let it bother me. I’m in a different part of my life to where I’m not anticipating a $150 million, $200 million, $300 million offer this offseason. I’m more just, ’Let me go be a pro, do what I do best,’ and that’s play the game hard and live with the result. All the other stuff, all the projections and this and that, that’s all whatever.” Notably, Jones is well aware that he “holds all the cards” in regards to where (or if) he’s traded, as the veteran’s been with the O’s long enough to qualify for ten-and-five rights.
  • Speaking of the Orioles, Roch Kubatko of takes a look at what the club’s infield (and roster) could look like post-Machado, if and when the veteran is shipped to another club. Kubatko notes that where fellow infielder Tim Beckham plays will depend upon whether or not the O’s get a major-league ready shortstop as part of the return for their superstar (if the don’t, Beckham seems likely to take over the position). In addition to all this speculation, Kubatko adds that Danny Valencia could see time at third in that case, but has also played himself into potential trade-chip status.
  • Young Blue Jays hurler Aaron Sanchez left last night’s game with a finger contusion, Shi Davidi of reports, noting that his departure throws a question mark into Toronto’s rotation. It’s not clear at this juncture whether Sanchez’ current finger issue is in any way related to the blister-related issues that limited him to just 36 innings last season, though reports of a contusion would seem to make that improbable. With so many moving parts on the Jays’ pitching staff, the Davidi wonders how the rotation alignment will shake out; there’s been some suggestion that Jaime Garcia could move to the bullpen with Marcus Stroman and Sam Gaviglio set to return from the DL and paternity list soon, respectively.
Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Padres Reportedly Checked In On Manny Machado]]> 2018-06-23T06:09:15Z 2018-06-23T04:29:11Z
  • The odds seem rather long, to say the least, but Jon Heyman of Fan Rag wrote yesterday that the Padres have at least checked in with the Orioles on star infielder Manny Machado. That connection might make greater sense if the Padres were a more plausible contender or, at least, if Machado was not slated to reach free agency at season’s end. As it stands, it’s tough to fathom the Friars unloading young talent in an attempt to chase the postseason this year. Doing so in earnest, in all likelihood, would mean adding multiple other pieces as well. It could still make sense, though, for the Padres to get a gauge on Baltimore’s situation. The Pads could face some 40-man pressures this winter, so there could be an opportunity to function as a part of a three-team arrangement. If the club is really feeling bold, perhaps it could make an early strike for Machado with plans to flip him if a sudden run up the standings doesn’t ensue, though a mid-season gambit of that kind involving a rental player of Machado’s caliber would be sui generis.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Trade Candidate: Zach Britton]]> 2018-06-22T16:49:14Z 2018-06-22T16:49:14Z As the non-waiver trade deadline draws nearer, Zach Britton will be among the most oft-speculated and oft-rumored players to be on the move. It’s difficult to fathom a scenario in which the Orioles don’t trade their longtime closer, given that the alternatives are losing him for nothing or issuing a qualifying offer worth more than $18MM to a player who has currently thrown 41 2/3 innings dating back to Opening Day 2017.

    Zach Britton | Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

    It’s that level of uncertainty surrounding Britton, though, that makes his trade candidacy particularly intriguing. It stands to reason, of course, that several teams will be interested in the once-dominant lefty. FanRag’s Jon Heyman reports that the Astros (who nearly acquired Britton last July) and Indians are already in on Britton. It’s reasonable to expect that virtually every team within a stone’s throw of contending will check in on Britton (or already has checked in on Britton) between now and the deadline. But should Britton be considered a premium trade chip?

    Britton is teeming with name value — and with good reason. From 2014-16, he was very arguably the best relief pitcher on the planet. Over that three-year stretch the southpaw posted a 1.38 ERA with 9.3 K/9, 2.4 BB/9, 0.3 HR/9 and a historic 77.9 percent ground-ball rate in 209 innings. He set the all-time record for single-season ground-ball rate in 2015 and then broke his own record a year later when a staggering 80 percent of balls put in play against him were hit on the ground. Britton missed bats and limited walks, and it was virtually impossible to lift the ball against him. He was an absolute buzzsaw in the ninth inning. No relief pitcher in the game topped Britton’s 9.5 RA9-WAR in that time.

    In the time that has followed, however, Britton has seen his 2017 season cut roughly in half by forearm injuries. Then, in the offseason, he suffered a ruptured Achilles tendon that required surgical repair and ultimately kept him on the shelf until mid-June. He’s only just now returned, and he’ll have scarcely more than six weeks to show contenders that he’s worthy of being deemed an impact reliever once again. Had Britton been his usual self in 2017, perhaps it’d be worth giving him the benefit of the doubt on the heels of a non-arm injury. But the 2017 version of Britton, in spite of a solid 2.89 ERA, simply didn’t look all that dominant.

    Last year’s 18 percent strikeout rate (7.0 K/9) was Britton’s lowest since moving to the bullpen in 2014. His 11.5 swinging-strike rate was his lowest as a reliever by nearly five percent, and his 31.8 percent chase rate was six percent lower than his 2015-16 peak. Britton still induced grounders at an elite rate (72.6 percent), but not at the historic levels he’d reached in the three preceding seasons. And after walking just 6.9 percent of the hitters he faced from 2014-16, Britton walked 11.2 percent of his opponents last season en route to a 4.34 BB/9 mark. Britton was a good reliever last season, but he wasn’t elite and didn’t perform at a level commensurate with his $11.4MM salary.

    Britton still received a raise to $12MM, though, even after the Orioles knew he’d require surgery to repair his ruptured Achiles, and that salary is all the more problematic now in 2018. Britton is owed about $6.45MM through season’s end, as of today. (It’d be about $3.94MM on the day of the non-waiver trade deadline.) That’s a rather significant sum for a team in the middle of the season — especially with the number of contenders who are either over the luxury tax limit (Nationals, Red Sox) or trying hard to remain slightly south of it (Yankees, Dodgers, Giants).

    So far in 2018, Britton has only faced 17 batters and totaled 4 1/3 innings of work, so it’s hard to glean all that much from his early results. That said, it should be of at least mild concern that his average sinker is down from 96.1 mph in 2017 to 93.7 mph in 2018. He’s allowed just one hit in facing those 17 opponents and picked up five strikeouts, but he’s also walked four of them and thrown a first-pitch strike to just eight of them. That wouldn’t be especially concerning in a vacuum, but given the backdrop of last season’s control issues, it’s hardly promising to see Britton struggling with to locate the ball early out of the gates.

    Clearly, there’s still time for Britton to rebuild his trade value. Even if his velocity doesn’t trend all the way back up, he’d be plenty appealing if he could scale back the walks and continue inducing grounders at an elite level. The O’s could (and should be willing to) increase his trade value by agreeing to pay down some or all of his significant salary, but that hasn’t been the front office/ownership’s M.O. in recent years. (To the contrary, the O’s have parted with Competitive Balance draft picks in order to shed relatively minimal commitments to relievers Ryan Webb and Brian Matusz.)

    Britton’s trade candidacy, perhaps more than any other player who is likely to be moved this summer, is punctuated by “ifs.” If his velocity returns, if his control improves, if last year’s lack of whiffs proves to be a fluke and if the Orioles are willing to absorb some salary, he may very well end up looking like the premium trade chip that many expect him to be based on his name value. Right now, however, Britton looks like a solid but expensive reliever whose on-field results haven’t lined up with that name value in nearly two calendar years.

    Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Pedro Alvarez Accepts Outright Assignment]]> 2018-06-21T21:06:23Z 2018-06-21T21:06:23Z The Orioles announced Thursday that corner infielder/designated hitter Pedro Alvarez has cleared waivers and been sent outright to Triple-A Norfolk. The veteran Alvarez would’ve had the right to reject that assignment in favor of free agency, though Dan Connolly of tweets that he has accepted the assignment and will remain in the organization.

    Alvarez, 31, showed that he still has plenty of power in his latest run with the Orioles, swatting eight homers in just 127 plate appearances and notching an impressive .234 ISO. However, he remains strikeout-prone and posted just a .180/.283/.414 batting line on the season overall.

    Baltimore actually used Alvarez at third base more than at first base in his latest run with the team, as an early injury to Tim Beckham created an opening at the hot corner. Manny Machado had been the team’s primary third baseman for years, of course, but he voiced a preference to move over to shortstop, his original position, following the departure of J.J. Hardy, and the organization accommodated that wish. Unsurprisingly, defensive metrics weren’t kind to Alvarez in his limited time at third base, though that was to be expected. The slugger drew poor ratings at third base even when it was his primary position, but he’d seen all of 53 innings at third over the past three seasons combined before lining up there in 2018.

    Alvarez will remain on hand in Triple-A and could conceivably get a call to the big leagues again later this year. The O’s figure to be active sellers at this summer’s trade deadline and will need to plug some of the myriad holes created by trading away more productive veterans. Of course, the club may also want to fill those eventual vacancies with younger options than Alvarez, who’ll once again be a free agent at season’s end.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[D-backs Keeping Tabs On Machado]]> 2018-06-20T19:59:35Z 2018-06-20T19:59:35Z The Diamondbacks have once again checked in with the Orioles on Manny Machado, primarily as a matter of due diligence, tweets Jon Morosi of There’s little surprise there, given that the Snakes were oft-linked to Machado in the offseason and were reportedly one of the more interested parties in obtaining his services. Beyond that, Arizona has received limited offensive contributions from both the third base (.216/.313/.394) and shortstop (.232/.296/.442) positions so far in 2018. The D-backs are currently hanging onto a 1.5 game lead over the Dodgers in the NL West, and adding someone of Machado’s caliber would be reminiscent of last season’s J.D. Martinez acquisition, though Machado has more defensive value even with poor ratings at shortstop so far in 2018.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Designate Pedro Alvarez]]> 2018-06-19T18:49:12Z 2018-06-19T18:38:35Z The Orioles have designated corner infielder Pedro Alvarez for assignment, per a club announcement. His roster spot will go to infielder Steve Wilkerson, whose contract was selected.

    Also coming up to the O’s is catcher Caleb Joseph, who was recalled from optional assignment. He’ll join his younger brother, Corban Joseph, on the active roster.

    Alvarez, 31, has slumped badly of late. Through 127 plate appearances, he owns a .180/.283/.414 slash with eight home runs. He has likely been unfortunate to carry a .179 BABIP, and has shown a solid walk rate (12.6%) and robust power output (.234 ISO), so there ought to be some interest from other organizations.

    The real difficulty for Alvarez, of course, is his lack of defensive ability. Though the O’s have plugged him in at third base from time to time, few organizations will be really comfortable doing so. As a lefty who has traditionally done damage against right-handed pitching, there could yet be a niche for Alvarez, but there just hasn’t been much demand for that sort of player of late — as the plight of Adam Lind demonstrates.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Option Chance Sisco]]> 2018-06-17T22:10:07Z 2018-06-17T21:54:51Z The Orioles have optioned starting catcher Chance Sisco to Triple-A Norfolk, per a team announcement. In a corresponding move, the Orioles will recall fellow backstop Caleb Joseph from Norfolk, Roch Kubatko of tweets.

    Sisco last took the field for the Orioles on Friday, and manager Buck Showalter revealed after Sunday’s game that the player has had difficulty sleeping of late, which has affected his energy level (via Kubatko). It’s unclear whether or how much that played into the decision to send down Sisco, but in any case, it’s an unexpected demotion for the 23-year-old. At 20-50, the Orioles are well out of contention and in position to evaluate their young players at the major league level, but Sisco will nonetheless return to the minors for an undisclosed period of time. It’s worth noting that he entered 2018 with 31 days of service time, putting him 141 days shy of a full year of service. As of now, he’s not slated to reach arbitration until after the 2020 season or free agency until after the 2023 campaign.

    Sisco came into 2018 with his rookie status intact, and for the most part, he looked as if he belonged in the majors prior to his demotion. Across 141 plate appearances this year, Sisco has hit .218/.340/.328 (good for a 92 wRC+), though he has posted a 35.5 percent strikeout rate and hasn’t offered much power (two home runs, .109 ISO). On the defensive side, Sisco has caught 28 percent of would-be base stealers – just beating out the 27 percent league average – but has struggled as a pitch framer, per both Baseball Prospectus and StatCorner.

    Joseph, who racked up significant playing time in Baltimore from 2014-17 and has amassed 80 major league PAs this season, will pair with Austin Wynns as the club’s top two catchers. He’ll also team up with his brother, infielder Corban Joseph, whom the Orioles selected from Double-A on Friday.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Astros Interested In Zach Britton]]> 2018-06-17T01:13:19Z 2018-06-17T01:13:46Z If Orioles shortstop Manny Machado becomes a free agent in the offseason, “the Cubs would be high on his list because of his friendship with Albert Almora,” Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe hears. Machado and Almora, the Cubs’ center fielder, have been close friends since childhood – something David Haugh of the Chicago Tribune detailed back in 2016. The two may end up on the same team as early as this summer, given the high likelihood the Orioles will trade Machado and the speculation linking him to the Cubs. Although, team president Theo Epstein threw cold water on Machado-to-Chicago rumors last month.

    • The Astros are maintaining interest in Orioles reliever Zach Britton, according to Cafardo. Houston agreed to acquire Britton prior to last year’s trade deadline, but the swap fell apart thanks to medical concerns the Orioles had regarding other players in the deal. The Astros went on to win a World Series without Britton, whose value took a hit over the winter when he suffered a ruptured Achilles. The impending free agent just came off the disabled list earlier this week and, with the Orioles well out of contention, is now auditioning for other teams as the July 31 non-waiver deadline nears. With a righty-heavy bullpen, the Astros may make sense for Britton, though southpaw Tony Sipp has enjoyed a bounce-back season and their relief corps has been elite versus left-handed hitters.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Dan Duquette On Ned Colletti Report: "My Understanding Is It's Not True"]]> 2018-06-16T23:15:42Z 2018-06-16T23:14:46Z
  • A report Friday indicated the Orioles have interviewed former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti for a front office position, but O’s executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette shot that down Saturday. “My understanding is it’s not true,” Duquette told Dan Connolly of “That’s all I can tell you.” If hired, Colletti would perhaps help replace Duquette, who’s in the last year of his contract and has reportedly lost power in the team’s front office. However, Duquette informed Connolly that he’d like to continue with the Orioles, who hired him back in 2011.
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Orioles Outright D.J. Snelten]]> 2018-06-16T17:41:23Z 2018-06-16T17:41:23Z Orioles lefty D.J. Snelten has cleared waivers and been outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk, the club’s PR department has announced.

    It was a short stay on the team’s 40-man roster for the 26-year-old Snelten, as they claimed him off waivers from the Giants just under two weeks ago. He had thrown 4 1/3 innings for the Giants, allowing five earned runs on nine hits and three walks. He’d spent his entire career in the Giants organization prior June 4th.

    Snelten made the transition from starter to reliever in High-A ball during the 2016 season, and subsequently rocketed up the Giants’ minor league ladder. However, his 11.63 K/9 in 21 2/3 Double-A innings didn’t translate to the upper levels of the minors, and recently his control has gotten away from him a bit as well (nine walks in just 20 2/3  innings at Triple-A in 2018).

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Place Richard Bleier On DL, Select Corban Joseph, Designate D.J. Snelten]]> 2018-06-16T17:28:36Z 2018-06-16T17:27:11Z SATURDAY: Bleier will indeed have season-ending surgery on Tuesday to repair a Grade 3 lat strain, as Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun was among those to tweet.

    FRIDAY, 3:33pm: Bleier may need surgery and is likely to miss the remainder of the season,’s Britt Ghiroli is among those to report on Twitter.

    2:19pm: The Orioles have announced a host of roster moves today. Southpaw Richard Bleier is heading to the DL with what has been diagnosed as a lat strain. He’ll be replaced in the pen by southpaw Tanner Scott.

    Infielder Corban Joseph has been selected and added to the active roster as well. To create the needed roster space, righty Yefry Ramirez was optioned and lefty D.J. Snelten was designated for assignment.

    The news on Bleier was fully expected at this point, as Roch Kubatko of wrote earlier today. Bleier is said to be seeking a second opinion after already undergoing an MRI. It’s still unclear just how bleak the outlook is, but Kubatko suggests the internal belief is it’s a serious injury.

    While Bleier, 31, is hardly a household name, perhaps he should be. The former Yankees southpaw is in his third big league season and currently is sporting the third sub-2.00 ERA of his career. Bleier has a 1.97 ERA in 119 innings, which is the sixth-lowest mark (min. 100 innings) in MLB history. He’s tied with Craig Kimbrel for the best ERA- (46) in MLB history (again, min. 100 innings; and a tip of the cap to ESPN’s Sam Miller for shining a light on Bleier’s curious dominance earlier this season).

    Bleier has averaged just 4.1 K/9 in his career, but his 21.2 percent hard-contact rate in 2018 is outstanding. He’s allowed only two barreled balls this season (as defined by Statcast), and he leads the Majors in barrels per batted ball (1.8 percent of balls in play against him). Bleier may be an anomaly, but he’s been an important piece to the Baltimore bullpen who now looks headed for an absence of potential significance.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Interview Ned Colletti]]> 2018-06-16T02:32:12Z 2018-06-16T02:32:12Z The Orioles have brought in former Dodgers general manager Ned Colletti for an interview, according to a report from Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic (Twitter links). It’s not known if Colletti is a serious candidate to join the organization, and if so in what capacity. The report also indicates that other, as-yet-unreported names could also be under consideration.

    Now a broadcast analyst, the 64-year-old Colletti served as the GM in Los Angeles for a decade before Andrew Friedman was hired just after the 2014 season. Colletti continued on as a senior advisor to president/CEO Stan Kasten, but certainly no longer carried the status as the top baseball decisionmaker in the Dodgers organization.

    We haven’t heard Colletti mentioned often as an executive candidate elsewhere, but he did pop up in some rumors for the Diamondbacks job when it was open in 2016. There was never any indication that Colletti was a serious candidate for that gig, which ultimately went to Mike Hazen. But it did provide an opportunity for MLBTR’s Steve Adams to run through Colletti’s transactional track record.

    This news takes place against a backdrop of ample uncertainty in Baltimore. Some change is evidently afoot at the ownership level, with Peter Angelos’s sons said to be increasingly grasping the reins. Both executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter are operating on expiring contracts, with VP of baseball ops Brady Anderson widely viewed as an increasingly important voice.

    The future is just as murky from a roster perspective. Despite making a few veteran additions and deciding against any significant sell-side trades over the winter, the team has stumbled to a horrific start and is completely buried from a competitive perspective this year. Meanwhile, key players including Manny Machado, Adam Jones, and Zach Britton are now months away from free agency.

    With a mid-season sell-off of some kind all but certain, and the future baseball ops leadership in question, it could be that the O’s are considering a move to bring in a veteran hand before making tough calls. Whether such an executive would supplement or displace Duquette is unclear, though it’s tough to imagine that he’d be particularly amenable to a power-sharing arrangement.

    As far as other potential candidates go, it’d be foolish to guess at the possibilities, but one imagines that the Baltimore organization is considering other people who come with experience at the highest levels of baseball ops departments. Rosenthal does note that the Orioles haven’t yet sought to speak with anyone who’s currently employed by a rival team.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Bleier Headed For MRI To Evaluate Lat Injury]]> 2018-06-14T04:19:30Z 2018-06-14T04:19:30Z
  • Orioles lefty Richard Bleier suffered an arm injury in Wednesday night’s game, which manager Buck Showalter suggested could be related to his left lat muscle (link via’s Roch Kubatko). The injury was immediately apparent, as Bleier winced on his follow-through, dropped his glove and immediately began clutching at his shoulder (video link). Bleier already had an x-ray taken Wednesday night, and he’s headed for an MRI on Thursday. While there won’t be an update until that test is complete and the results have been viewed by doctors, but Bleier said that there was “no question” that he was unable to make another pitch, calling the pain “severe” and adding that he’s never experienced that type of injury. While the 31-year-old lefty is hardly a household name, he has a superlative 1.93 ERA on the season and, in fact, has a sub-2.00 ERA for his entire career — a span of 119 innings dating back to his 2016 debut with the Yankees.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Place Andrew Cashner On Disabled List]]> 2018-06-13T00:39:51Z 2018-06-13T00:39:51Z
  • Orioles righty Andrew Cashner landed on the 10-day disabled list due to a lower back strain, per a club announcement. Left-hander Donnie Hart is up from Triple-A Norfolk to take his roster spot for now. Cashner, 31, signed a two-year deal worth $16MM this offseason but has struggled through his first 13 starts in Baltimore. The well-traveled righty has a 4.98 ERA with 7.7 K/9 against 4.2 BB/9 and a 38.9 percent ground-ball rate in 72 1/3 innings. While Cashner’s strikeout rate is up noticeably from 2017, he’s also seen his walk rate rise substantially and has also been plagued by a 1.62 HR/9 mark. Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Alex Cobb and David Hess remain active in the Baltimore rotation, and there’s been no announcement as to who’ll start tomorrow in Cashner’s place.
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    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Activate Zach Britton]]> 2018-06-11T22:30:05Z 2018-06-11T21:23:31Z The Orioles have activated lefty Zach Britton from the 60-day DL, the club announced. To create space on the active roster, the club placed struggling righty Pedro Araujo on the 10-day DL with a sprained elbow.

    Outfielder Colby Rasmus was moved to the 60-day DL to make way on the 40-man. He has already been out for more than two months, so that’s a purely procedural maneuver.

    Britton will make his long-awaited season debut as soon as this evening. The southpaw reliever was sidelined to open the year after suffering an Achilles tear in offseason workouts. He’s playing on a $12MM salary in his final season of arbitration eligibility.

    With the O’s limping out to the worst record in baseball to this point of the season, the hope will be that Britton can pitch his way into a useful trade chip this summer. Certainly, he has established a ceiling that few others have ever touched out of the pen.

    In 2015 and 2016, Britton was among the game’s very best relievers. He worked to a composite 1.22 ERA over 132 2/3 innings, with 10.4 K/9 and 2.2 BB/9. Even more remarkably, Britton maintained those excellent K/BB numbers while generating grounders on over 75% of the balls put in play against him.

    Though he managed a strong 2.89 ERA last year, things just weren’t the same. Britton dealt with forearm/elbow concerns that limited him to 37 1/3 innings. He still posted a massive 72.6% groundball rate, but stepped back in K/9 (7.0) and BB/9 (4.3) as his swinging-strike percentage dove from 17.2% to 11.5% year over year.

    It’s too soon to know what version of Britton will show up in Baltimore, but he hasn’t had any trouble generating swings and misses or worm burners on his rehab assignment. If there’s a positive from the layoff, perhaps it’s the fact that his arm has now enjoyed a lengthy respite.

    Despite the questions that crept in, Britton was nearly dealt last summer. His potential value is much lower now, as a pure rental asset, though he can surely boost his stock quite a bit with over six weeks left to go before the trade deadline. Since he was on the shelf, Britton did not make the initial version of MLBTR’s top trade deadline candidates list, but he’s sure to feature on future iterations. And as the current list shows, Britton won’t have a lofty bar to clear to establish himself as the best late-inning rental lefty available.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Araujo's Roster Spot Could Be In Jeopardy]]> 2018-06-11T17:20:08Z 2018-06-11T17:20:08Z
  • The Orioles’ attempt to bring right-hander Pedro Araujo along at the Majors could be on its last legs, writes Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun. Araujo broke camp with the club as a Rule 5 player, but he quickly proved unready for high-leverage spots and has since struggled to even keep the O’s in the game when the team is trailing. Araujo is being asked to make the jump from Class-A Advanced to the Majors, and the results haven’t been pretty; after surrendering four runs in an inning yesterday, he’s sitting on a 7.71 ERA with a 29-to-18 K/BB ratio, two hit batters and a wild pitch through 28 innings of relief. The Orioles, Encina notes, need to open a spot on the active roster for the return of Zach Britton, and cutting bait on the Araujo experiment could be one such way of facilitating the longtime closer’s return.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[2017-18 Rule 5 Draft Update]]> 2018-06-11T16:14:27Z 2018-06-11T16:14:00Z When we last checked in on this year’s crop of Rule 5 players, there were a combined 11 players — six on active rosters and five on the Major League disabled list — still with their new organizations. That number has fallen to nine, with six players (albeit a different mix) still active in the Majors, plus another three hanging around on the DL. The number could shrink again in the near future, as several of the remaining Rule 5-ers are seldom used pieces, and at least two teams will soon likely have to make a call.

    Active Big Leaguers

    • Victor Reyes, OF, Tigers (from D-backs): Reyes has received only 38 plate appearances since our last Rule 5 roundup, hitting .211/.211/.342 in that span. He’s picked up a pair of triples and a double, his first extra-base hits in the Majors, but is hitting just .196/.196/.304 on the season as a whole. The Tigers barely use Reyes, outside of pinch-running and late-game defensive switches, but the longer they commit to hanging onto him, the less likely it becomes that they return him to Arizona. At this point, they’ve played more than a third of the season with an effective 24-man roster, so they seem likely to see this through.
    • Brad Keller, RHP, Royals (from D-backs, via trade w/ Reds): The 22-year-old Keller hasn’t picked up many strikeouts (5.9 K/9) and hasn’t displayed elite control (3.3 BB/9), but he’s sporting a 57.9 percent ground-ball rate in 35 innings for Kansas City — including three starts. He boasts a 2.31 ERA thus far in 2018, though his 0.26 HR/9 mark and 82.2 percent strand rate seem poised to regress. Nonetheless, he’s performed well enough to date that there’s no reason for the Royals to consider cutting ties.
    • Burch Smith, RHP, Royals (from Rays, via trade w/ Mets): Smith, on the other hand, is a more complicated case for GM Dayton Moore and his staff. The 28-year-old is currently lugging a 6.49 ERA to the mound with him after surrendering 10 runs in his past 7 1/3 innings. Smith has racked up 28 strikeouts in 26 1/3 innings, but he’s also issued 18 walks and hit two batters. Beyond that, seven of the 26 hits he’s allowed with Kansas City have cleared the fence.
    • Pedro Araujo, RHP, Orioles (from Cubs): Araujo was one of four players in Spring Training with the Orioles who came with Rule 5 status, but he’s the last to remain on their MLB roster. (Anthony Santander, who missed much of last season due to injury, fulfilled his Rule 5 requirements last monthM and was optioned to Triple-A.) Araujo was torched for four runs last night, including a pair of homers, and he now has a 7.71 ERA in 28 innings with the O’s. That’s not exactly a surprise considering the fact that he skipped both Double-A and Triple-A, and to his credit, Araujo has punched out 29 hitters in his 28 frames (albeit against 18 walks and two hit batters). Eduardo A. Encina of the Baltimore Sun wrote this morning that Araujo’s roster spot could be in jeopardy with Zach Britton coming off the disabled list.
    • Carlos Tocci, OF, Rangers (from Phillies, via trade w/ White Sox): Texas stashed Tocci, 22, on the disabled list with a hip contusion for more than a month and rode his rehabilitation window as long as possible. Since being activated on June 2, Tocci hasn’t logged a single plate appearance. The Rangers’ season looks to be lost, so they may as well hang onto Tocci if they believe he has any shot at a future in the organization. He’s just 2-for-25 in 14 games this season and has struggled in Triple-A, but Tocci was productive for the Phillies’ Double-A club last season and hit well in Double-A during last month’s rehab assignment, too.
    • Elieser Hernandez, RHP, Marlins (from Astros): Hernandez has allowed just 10 earned runs through 23 innings for a 3.91 ERA, but he’s also picked up just 10 strikeouts and yielded five homers. Hernandez, 23, has shown strong control (four walks), but he looks quite hittable through his brief run with Miami so far. As with each team listed in this section, though, they can certainly afford to hang onto him.

    On the Disabled List

    • Julian Fernandez, RHP, Giants (from Rockies): Fernandez underwent Tommy John surgery back in April. He’ll accrue MLB service time while spending the season on the 60-day disabled list and will retain his Rule 5 status heading into 2019, if the Giants wish to hang onto him all offseason.
    • Nick Burdi, RHP, Pirates (from Twins via trade w/ Phillies): The Pirates picked up Burdi knowing he’d miss much of the 2018 season while recovering from Tommy John surgery, and he’s yet to throw in the minors. That said, Burdi is a former supplemental-round pick who was selected toward the top of the draft thanks to an 80-grade heater that regularly touches triple digits. If he can get healthy enough to pitch this season, the Bucs will have a free look at a tantalizing power arm.
    • Brett Graves, RHP, Marlins (from Athletics): The Marlins placed Graves on the 60-day disabled list with an oblique strain back on Opening Day, so he’s yet to pitch in the Majors. He has, however, recovered to the point where he’s begun pitching on a minor league rehab assignment. The results haven’t been pretty. Graves has a 6.23 ERA with a 16-to-7 K/BB ratio and four hit batters in 17 1/3 innings between Class-A Advanced and Double-A. He’s also nearing the end of his 30-day rehab window. His first rehab appearance came back on May 17, so the Marlins have less than a week to determine whether to bring Graves up to the Majors or run him through waivers and offer him back to Oakland.

    Returned to Original Organization

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Release Jason Gurka]]> 2018-06-10T23:50:54Z 2018-06-10T23:49:53Z
  • The Orioles’ Triple-A team in Norfolk announced that it has released left-hander Jason Gurka. Now 30, Gurka has spent the majority of his pro career with the Orioles, who chose him in the 15th round of the 2008 draft. Although, all 18 of Gurka’s major league innings have come with other teams (the Rockies and Angels). After spending last year with the Halos, Gurka returned to the O’s on a minors deal in the offseason and began 2018 with 22 2/3 innings of 3.18 ERA ball, with 9.53 K/9 against 2.38 BB/9, at Norfolk.
  • ]]>
    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[East Notes: Yankees, H. Harvey, Soroka, Cespedes]]> 2018-06-10T02:44:12Z 2018-06-10T02:44:12Z It turns out top prospect Justus Sheffield might not be the next minor league pitcher in line to join the Yankees’ rotation, as Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports reports in his latest video that the club nearly promoted 23-year-old Jonathan Loaisiga for a spot start during a doubleheader, until rain altered their schedule. Rosenthal notes that Loaisiga had never pitched above Low-A ball until this season. It seems like he’s met little resistance this year, though, as he’s posted a 3.13 ERA this season while striking out 10.96 batters per nine against an equally impressive 1.17 walks per nine. Of course, plenty could change by the next time the Yankees need another starter. It’s certainly worth noting that promoting Sheffield last Monday might have improved his chances of making the Super Two cut, had he impressed enough to stick in the rotation from there on out. There will certainly be some entertaining suspense surrounding this situation from here forward.

    Other items fresh off the East coast…

    • Orioles prospect Hunter Harvey was scratched from his most recent Double-A start due to a shoulder injury, Dan Connoly of reports. Harvey’s dealt with plenty of injury issues in his career already, and this latest case (described as “posterior shoulder instability) has left him on an unknown timetable to return to the rotation. Harvey also had Tommy John surgery on his throwing elbow in 2016. Even when on the field, he hasn’t been particularly impressive this year. His 5.57 ERA across 32 1/3 innings on the season is an eyesore.
    • Rookie Mike Soroka is set to come off the DL and start Wednesday for the Braves, reports David O’Brien of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution. O’Brien adds that manager Brian Snitker plans to hold Soroka to a pitch count of 85-90. Soroka is widely considered to be one of the best right-handed pitching prospects in the game, and he’s backed that up by pitching to a 2.77 FIP in three starts this season while striking out more than a batter per inning.
    • Injury news isn’t looking so good for a division rival, however, as the MetsYoenis Cespedes reportedly left his rehab start tonight with tightness in his right quad. He’ll be re-evaluated tomorrow, but even a small setback is certainly discouraging; Cespedes has been riddled with injuries since signing a four-year, $110MM pact with New York following the 2016 season.
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Phillies Genuinely Interested In Manny Machado]]> 2018-06-09T21:55:30Z 2018-06-09T21:55:16Z
  • The Phillies are genuinely interested in Orioles shortstop Manny Machado, Todd Zolecki of hears. Zolecki’s report jibes with one from FanRag’s Jon Heyman, who noted this week that Philadelphia had already reached out to Baltimore in regards to Machado. The 32-30 Phillies have been slumping lately, however, and may not be serious contenders when the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline arrives. Whether they end up vying for Machado and other veterans around the deadline will be determined over the next several weeks, general manager Matt Klentak suggested. “How we come out of June and how we transition into the month of July and what our placement in the standings is in the month of July will be what really dictates what our Trade Deadline strategy is,” Klentak said. “If we are contending and in a legitimate spot to make a run, then I would expect to address that and make moves. We just have to maintain the proper perspective on that and adjust as our performance suggests we adjust.”
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Notes: O'Day, Britton]]> 2018-06-09T15:06:25Z 2018-06-09T15:02:24Z
  • The Orioles will activate reliever Darren O’Day from the DL on Saturday, per Keegan Matheson of O’Day has been out for over a month with a hyperextended right elbow. With Baltimore well out of contention, the 35-year-old O’Day could spend the next several weeks auditioning for other teams as the deadline nears, though he’s still under contract at $9MM for next season. Meanwhile, teammate and impending free-agent reliever Zach Britton could return as early as Monday, Matheson notes. Britton hasn’t pitched at all this season after suffering a ruptured Achilles during the winter.
  • ]]>
    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Agree To Terms With First-Rounder Grayson Rodriguez]]> 2018-06-09T05:57:42Z 2018-06-09T05:24:30Z The Orioles have agreed to a $4.3MM bonus with first-rounder Grayson Rodriguez, according to Jon Heyman of Fan Rag (via Twitter). As expected, per a recent report from Steve Melewski of, Rodriguez will receive just less than the $4,375,100 bonus pool allocation that comes with the 11th overall pick that the Baltimore used to select him.

    Entering the draft, evaluators saw Rodriguez as a clear first-round talent, but graded him just outside the top twenty or so draft-eligible prospects. But the O’s did not feel they were settling for the young right-hander.

    Indeed, scouting director Gary Rajsich was effusive in his comments on the team’s top incoming amateur player. “We love him and we were just thrilled he was there for us at pick 11,” said Rajsich, who credited Rodriguez for possessing “a unique combination of power and polish.

    Independent prospect rankings just aren’t quite as smitten, clearly, which makes Rodriguez all the more interesting to track as he enters the professional ranks. While the differences are in large part matters of degree and emphasis, there’s a split of opinion.’s Keith Law, who ranked Rodriguez 22nd on his board, wrote: “[Rodriguez] has more effort in his delivery, and there’s at least a little concern that his trouble repeating it will eventually point him to the bullpen. He also hasn’t shown much of a third pitch to date.” Rajsich, meanwhile, says that his club’s new power arm comes with “advanced command of four pitches” and an “advanced delivery that he can repeat.”

    O’s second-rounder Cadyn Grenier is also nearing a deal, Melewski adds. He, too, is expected to come in just under his slot value ($1,923,500).

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Latest On Manny Machado]]> 2018-06-08T03:03:18Z 2018-06-08T03:03:18Z Manny Machado will likely be the most talked-about name on the trade market this summer, and it would appear that teams are already beginning to inquire with the Orioles about his services. Baltimore GM Dan Duquette confirmed to FanRag’s Jon Heyman that rival clubs have expressed interest, though he unsurprisingly declined to elaborate much.

    “We don’t need to negotiate in the press, but I can tell you there are more teams interested now (than the winter),” said Duquette. “If you’re interested in making an impact, this is the player.”

    Heyman does report, though, that the Phillies are among the teams that have already reached out on the superstar infielder. The Braves, he adds, have yet to inquire. Philadelphia’s interest in Machado is hardly a surprise given that president Andy MacPhail is the former head of baseball ops in the Orioles front office, while GM Matt Klentak and assistant GM Ned Rice all came up through the Baltimore front office as well.

    Heyman also notes that the Orioles’ asking price on Machado is believed by other teams to be far too high at the moment. It’s common in virtually any negotiation (trade or free agent), of course, for the early asking price to be considerably loftier than the ultimate price. Heyman cites a “Phillies-connected person” in suggesting that the Orioles have sought four young players in return for their star.

    Certainly, that’s a lot to ask, though any package would typically be headlined by one or two high-level talents and a few secondary pieces. As Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic wrote yesterday (subscription link), the O’s will want a package comparable to the Aroldis Chapman return from 2016, when the Cubs sent Gleyber Torres and three lesser others — Billy McKinney, Rashad Crawford and veteran Adam Warren — to the Yankees to rent Chapman for a few months. Some have expressed skepticism about the possibility of that type of return after J.D. Martinez and Yu Darvish fetched more modest returns, though Rosenthal rightly notes that Machado would be the best position-player rental on the market in recent history.

    The Cubs have already come up as an oft-speculated landing spot, though president of baseball ops Theo Epstein emphatically quashed those rumors late last month when he termed such speculation to be off in “fantasy land” and said trade negotiations to that point in the season had been “nil.” The Dodgers, too, are frequently mentioned as a possibility in the wake of Corey Seager’s Tommy John surgery, while the Diamondbacks were among the most heavily linked clubs to Machado in the offseason. Certainly, other clubs figure to join the fray as the deadline approaches, as many teams aren’t yet sure what type of trajectory they’ll plot in late July.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Day 2 Draft Notes: Assessments, McClanahan, Rocker, Wilcox, Heimlich]]> 2018-06-05T17:21:52Z 2018-06-05T16:36:25Z Our brief preview post contains links to many of the best sources for draft information heading into the draft. We also wrote up the Tigers’ selection of Casey Mize with the first overall selection and tracked the first round, compensation, and Round A competitive balance picks (1-30; 31-43). Now, with day two of the draft underway, here are some other links and notes:

    • If you want to catch up on the details of yesterday’s action, there are a variety of places worth a look. The Fangraphs team broke out the drafted players and offered capsules on each team’s early haul.’s Keith Law offers a look at “winners and losers” from the first day in a subscription post.’s Jonathan Mayo provides a preview of today’s action. Among the coverage at Baseball America, Teddy Cahill wrote about the unfortunate timing that saw several players drafted while playing in NCAA tournament games.
    • As many of those evaluations reflect, the Rays were credited by many for taking advantage of their large overall bonus pool to snag top talent despite a mid-first-round position. As one example, Tampa Bay grabbed lefty Shane McClanahan with the 31st selection. The University of South Florida junior had notified teams he wanted a $3MM bonus to sign, per Kiley McDaniel of Fangraphs (via Twitter). Now, says McDaniel, McClanahan and the team will likely have to compromise a bit. His selection spot came with a $2.22MM slot allocation, but the Tampa Bay organization will also be working to sign another top talent who came off the board later than expected in first-round pick Matthew Liberatore.
    • While those southpaws are expected to sign, a pair of highly regarded young righties appear to be headed to college after going undrafted to this point. Kumar Rocker strongly hinted in an Instagram post that he’ll matriculate at Vanderbilt, as Teddy Cahill of Baseball America notes on Twitter. And Cole Wilcox left no doubt in his own tweet that he’ll play for Georgia, as BA’s Chris Collazo passed along via Twitter. It seems reasonable to presume that both players simply were not presented with opportunities to earn bonuses sufficient to forego their commitments, if they were willing to do so at all. In all likelihood, those players will not end up being drafted in the first ten rounds, as failing to sign a player in those slots means sacrificing pool money, but will end up being plucked at some point in the later rounds (on the off chance that circumstances change for them and/or a drafting team).
    • If there’s a player who looms large despite not yet being picked, it’s certainly Oregon State pitcher Luke Heimlich. As impressive as he has been on the field, Heimlich carries a particularly concerning past. Kurt Streeter of the New York Times was among those to take on this story recently, for those who are not familiar. Needless to say, his draft status is extremely controversial, and it was not particularly surprising to see him end up still available after day one. That probably will not last, however, according to Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports, who writes that Heimlich is likely to be chosen at some point. A “handful of teams” have not eliminated the left-hander from consideration, says Passan, who says there’s “basically zero” chance that Heimlick won’t join an affiliated organization, almost certainly via the draft. Notably, Passan also reports that the Orioles talked with Heimlich’s camp about signing him last year, when he was eligible to agree to terms after not being selected. There’s loads of interesting information and analysis in Passan’s article, which is well worth a full read.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Claim D.J. Snelten]]> 2018-06-04T18:22:35Z 2018-06-04T18:13:48Z The Orioles announced that they’ve claimed left-hander D.J. Snelten off waivers from the Giants. Baltimore had an open spot on its 40-man roster, so no corresponding move was necessary. Snelten has been assigned to Triple-A Norfolk for the time being.

    [Related: Updated Baltimore Orioles depth chart]

    The 26-year-old Snelten is listed at a towering 6’7″ and 245 pounds, and he entered the season ranked as the Giants’ ninth-best prospect, per Eric Longenhagen of Fangraphs. While he doesn’t throw especially hard, Snelten possesses an above-average changeup and has performed reasonably well in the upper minors. He allowed five earned runs in 4 1/3 innings in his MLB debut this season but comes to the Orioles organization with a career 2.84 ERA, 7.5 K/9 and 3.5 BB/9 in 69 2/3 innings at the Triple-A level. Longenhagen’s scouting report notes that Snelten’s size and unorthodox delivery help him succeed against same-handed batters, while the changeup gives him a viable weapon to use against right-handed opponents.

    Snelten was only just selected to the 40-man roster this past offseason, so he has two option years remaining beyond the 2018 campaign. He can be shuttled between Norfolk and Baltimore to lend some depth to the Orioles’ staff, and with several trade candidates in the Baltimore ’pen, it’s possible that a spot will eventually open for Snelten to receive a lengthier look.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[O's "Checked On" Trade Interest In Mark Trumbo During Offseason]]> 2018-06-04T04:31:20Z 2018-06-04T04:31:20Z Hanley Ramirez is getting interest from “multiple teams” since officially becoming a free agent, the Boston Globe’s Nick Cafardo tweets.  It isn’t any surprise that the veteran slugger is drawing some attention, particularly since he’d be available at a prorated minimum salary while the Red Sox cover the approximately $14.5MM remaining on Ramirez’s contract.  Considering the low price tag, any number of teams could have interest — consider that the Orioles, who are already loaded with first base/DH candidates, have already been linked to Ramirez.  It was only weeks ago that Ramirez was one of the league’s hottest hitters (posting a .330/.400/.474 slash line over 110 plate appearances in March and April) before he fell into a deep slump that led to his release from the Sox.

    • Last winter, the Orioles “checked on” any trade interest in Mark Trumbo,’s Roch Kubatko reports.  It isn’t stated how much interest existed, though one can imagine it was a pretty thin market, given that Trumbo was coming off a rough 2017 season and is owed $26MM in 2018-19.  Trumbo has a decent .292/.320/.427 slash line over 100 PA, though he has only two homers and missed all of April recovering from a quad strain.  The O’s seem primed to be deadline sellers, though they’d likely have to eat some money to facilitate a Trumbo deal.  (Incidentally, he also has a seven-team no-trade clause.)
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Zach Britton Could Return June 15]]> 2018-06-03T00:39:40Z 2018-06-03T00:35:06Z
  • Left-hander Zach Britton could return to the Orioles’ bullpen by June 15, manager Buck Showalter told Brittany Ghiroli of and other reporters Saturday. For now, Britton – who’s working back from the ruptured Achilles he suffered in December – will continue with his Triple-A rehab assignment. When he does get back to the majors, it seems Britton will be auditioning for other teams leading up to the deadline. Not only are the Orioles already well out of contention, but Britton’s not under contract past this season.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Considering Hanley Ramirez]]> 2018-06-03T17:01:31Z 2018-06-02T22:56:54Z The Orioles have explored the possibility of signing free-agent first baseman Hanley Ramirez, according to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic. General manager Dan Duquette confirmed Rosenthal’s report, telling Nick Cafardo of the Boston Globe that a Ramirez signing is “under consideration” (Twitter links).

    There’s already familiarity between Duquette and Ramirez, as Rosenthal points out that the executive has signed the player in the past. When the Dominican-born Ramirez joined the Red Sox as an international free agent in 2000, Duquette was their GM. The 34-year-old Ramirez has since enjoyed an accomplished career with a few teams, though he’s now coming off a disappointing second stint with the Boston organization.

    The Red Sox reunited with Ramirez on a four-year, $88MM contract prior to the 2015 season, but he didn’t see the pact through. After Ramirez slashed a so-so .260/.326/.450 in 1,798 plate appearances in his return to the Red Sox, they designated him for assignment last month and ate the remaining $15MM-plus on his deal when they officially released him Friday.

    Ramirez is now free to sign anywhere, and while he’d seemingly make more sense on a contender than a bottom feeder, the O’s are the first known team with interest in him. Baltimore entered Saturday with the majors’ worst record (17-40), undoubtedly setting it up to sell in advance of the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline. But signing Ramirez, whom the Orioles would only have to pay the prorated league minimum, could give them another deadline trade chip if he rebounds in their uniform.

    Ramirez has hit .254/.313/.395 with six homers in 195 PAs this year, and even though those aren’t impressive numbers, they easily eclipse the horrid production Orioles first baseman Chris Davis has posted in 2018. Davis probably isn’t going anywhere, though, given that the Orioles still owe the once-elite slugger annual salaries of $23MM through the 2022 campaign. Elsewhere, the Orioles have three designated hitter types on their roster in the expensive Mark Trumbo, Pedro Alvarez and Danny Valencia, so it’s not exactly clear how much playing time Ramirez would accrue with them.

    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Braves Likely To "At Least Check In On Manny Machado"]]> 2018-05-27T23:36:33Z 2018-05-27T23:36:33Z
  • Given the Braves’ third base vacancy, Rosenthal believes the team “will at least check in on Manny Machado” prior to the trade deadline.  Machado would seem like a perfect fit for an Atlanta team that is looking to stay in the postseason race, plus his impending free agency wouldn’t make him a long-term block at the hot corner for top prospect Austin Riley.  Acquiring Machado from the Orioles would require a heavy prospect cost, however, and Rosenthal wonders if the Braves might instead use their minor leaguers to acquire a frontline starting pitcher, since they’ll be pursuing such an arm anyway in the offseason.  The Braves’ prospect capital could also be used to try and pry J.T. Realmuto away from the Marlins, as Realmuto would provide a longer-term answer behind the plate than the Braves’ veteran tandem of Kurt Suzuki and Tyler Flowers (who are both free agents this winter).
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Cafardo: Dan Duquette Still Atop Orioles' Hierarchy]]> 2018-05-27T16:02:31Z 2018-05-27T16:02:49Z
  • There have been questions about the Orioles’ power structure, a group that includes general manager Dan Duquette, manager Buck Showalter, VP Brady Anderson and ownership (Peter Angelos and his two sons), but signs are pointing to Duquette making the calls this summer, per Cafardo. Based on Cafardo’s report, Duquette will run point on a potential Manny Machado trade, one that could provide long-term benefits for the Orioles if the GM secures the right talent in return. Whether Duquette will continue in his post beyond this season remains unclear, though, given that his contract’s set to expire and the O’s look primed to begin a rebuild.
  • ]]>
    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles, Cardinals Nearly Had Manny Machado Deal In Offseason]]> 2018-05-27T14:15:30Z 2018-05-27T14:15:33Z Although the Orioles didn’t find a Manny Machado trade to their liking over the winter, the club did believe it was progressing toward a deal with the Cardinals in December, Buster Olney of ESPN reports. St. Louis backed out of negotiations on a swap that would have sent pitching prospects and third baseman Jedd Gyorko to Baltimore, per Olney. The identities of the prospects aren’t known, though Roch Kubatko of reported in mid-December that the Orioles had interest in young Cardinals hurlers Luke Weaver, Jack Flaherty and Jordan Hicks. It’s hard to imagine the Cardinals parting with any of those three now, but Olney notes it’s possible they’ll circle back on Machado as the season progresses. Regardless, the Machado trade sweepstakes is likely to kick off in earnest after the June 4-6 draft, according to Olney.

    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Latest On Potential Manny Machado Trade]]> 2018-05-27T04:52:02Z 2018-05-27T04:51:20Z Orioles shortstop Manny Machado seems like a good bet to end up on the move this year, though it’s not “anywhere close” to happening, Roch Kubatko of reports. The Orioles aren’t “actively shopping” Machado right now, and they’re content to keep the soon-to-be free agent until closer to the July 31 non-waiver deadline, Kubatko writes. Kubatko goes on to list some potential Machado suitors, including the Phillies, who “left open the possibility of engaging in talks” with the Orioles when they were in Baltimore a couple weeks ago. Meanwhile, according to Kubatko, the Cubs reached out to Orioles general manager Dan Duquette to express interest in Machado, but Chicago – like Baltimore – isn’t prepared to make a major deal yet. Of course, Cubs president Theo Epstein addressed the Machado-Chicago speculation earlier this week, saying it’s “in fantasy land at this point.”

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Injury Notes: Prado, Murphy/Goodwin, DeJong, Casilla, Trumbo, More]]> 2018-05-26T05:15:52Z 2018-05-26T05:08:48Z It seems that Marlins infielder Martin Prado has suffered a rather significant left hamstring injury, as Clark Spencer of the Miami Herald reports. The 34-year-old has endured a run of significant problems with his hamstring muscles in the past year or so. Details aren’t yet known, but it certainly sounds as if Prado will be sidelined for a lengthy stretch. He’s owed $13.5MM this year and $15MM for the 2019 campaign. The long-productive infielder has struggled to a .169/.221/.180 batting line in 95 plate appearances on the season.

    Here’s more on the injury front:

    • The Nationals finally got some promising injury news, as they’ll send both Daniel Murphy and Brian Goodwin on rehab assignments beginning tomorrow. Jon Heyman of Fan Rag tweeted the news with regard to the former; Jorge Castillo of the Washington Post tweeted manager Davey Martinez’s announcement on both players. Murphy has yet to appear in the 2018 campaign after offseason microfracture surgery, while Goodwin has been slow to return from a wrist injury.
    • It’s still unclear just how long the Cardinals will go without shortstop Paul DeJong, but he says he has been given a four-to-eight week estimate by the medical professionals, as Rick Hummel of the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reports. More than anything, it seems that broad range indicates that there’s not a lot of clarity at this point as to how long it’ll take to heal. All involved will obviously hope that it hues toward the earlier estimate, as the replacement options all have their warts as semi-regular shortstops.
    • It seems the Athletics will go without reliever Santiago Casilla for a stretch. He has been diagnosed with a shoulder strain, as’s Jane Lee reports (Twitter links). Details of his anticipated absence are not yet available, but it’s said to be likely that Casilla will end up on the DL. At the same time, he says he does not believe it’s a serious malady. The veteran entered play today with an ugly 14:13 K/BB ratio, but had allowed eight runs on only 11 hits in his 21 innings of action.
    • Though he seemingly avoided a more concerning fate, Orioles slugger Mark Trumbo will likely head to the DL to rest his ailing right knee, as Roch Kubatko of was among those to report (Twitter links). Trumbo was diagnosed with a fairly significant case of arthritis, which won’t necessarily put him on the shelf for long but also probably isn’t the best news for a defensively limited player who’s owed $12.5MM this year and $13.5MM next. He has been productive thus far in 2018, though, with a .309/.317/.469 slash through 82 plate appearances. On the other hand, it’s somewhat worrisome that he has managed only a pair of home runs and a single walk in that span.
    • In other AL East news … so long as there are no surprises in the interim, Nate Eovaldi will finally start for the Rays on Tuesday, as Marc Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times tweets. The Yankees announced that reliever Tommy Kahnle is back from the DL, which represents a promising development given the uncertainty that surrounded him when he went on the shelf. And while the Blue Jays still aren’t planning on a near-term return from Troy Tulowitzki, skipper John Gibbons says the veteran shortstop is at least ready to begin running, as Ben Nicholson-Smith of tweets.
    • While the Padres had hoped to welcome back catcher Austin Hedges in relatively short order, he’s now halting his rehab after his problematic right elbow flared up, as’s AJ Cassavell writes. It still seems there’s little reason to fear that Hedges is dealing with a real structural problem, though surely it’s frustrating for the organization that he hasn’t yet fully turned the corner.
    • Meanwhile, the Angels provided an update on hurler Matt Shoemaker, though it mostly suggests ongoing uncertainty with regard to the root of his arm issues. As the club announced, and’s Maria Guardado tweets, the latest examination “ruled out peripheral nerve involvement” but “showed mild edema in the forearm.” Shoemaker is also said to have undergone a bone scan. The results of that weren’t specifically cited, but it seems to suggest that the organization is looking at quite a lot of possibilities to figure out what’s really causing problems for the starter.
    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Epstein: Machado Speculation “In Fantasy Land At This Point”]]> 2018-05-25T04:07:03Z 2018-05-25T00:15:01Z There’s been plenty of buzz about the Orioles’ poor start to the season and the impending free agency of Manny Machado, with seemingly countless reports connecting Machado to various teams throughout the league. The Cubs have been perhaps the most oft-cited match for Machado, but in a radio appearance on the Mully & Hanley show on 670 The Score, president of baseball operations Theo Epstein scoffed at the very notion that there’s any serious market taking shape for Machado at such an early juncture in the season.

    “I understand it’s natural for people to connect the dots and there to be this kind of frenzy from time to time, but it’s honestly something we’re looking at and just rolling our eyes at,” said Epstein. “It’s not like July, where every now and then there’s lots of coverage on deals that are actually being discussed or actually might happen. This one is just out there in fantasy land at this point.”

    Addison Russell, in particular, has been an oft-suggested component of Machado trade scenarios (FanRag’s Jon Heyman suggested that match last week, for instance). But Epstein noted that when he sees rumors that appear to be “hyper-focused on one player and if there’s essentially nothing to it,” he’ll typically pull the player aside and explain as much in a one-on-one conversation. While he didn’t outright say that he’s done so with Russell, Epstein strongly suggested that to be the case, and Russell himself told The Athletic’s Patrick Mooney over the weekend that he’s paying little heed to the chatter. Elaborating further, Epstein described the amount of trade discussion that’s taken place so far as “essentially nil.”

    There’s been no shortage of rumors pertaining to Machado, though the connection with the Cubs has always been a fairly obvious one. Machado was, after all, reported to be a target of the Cubs this offseason, and Russell was said to be a potential component of those talks all the way back in December when Baltimore initially began fielding offers for him.

    There’s no recent precedent for a trade of this magnitude taking place in May, and it’s even rare for such transactions to take place in June. The White Sox’ acquisition of James Shields in 2016 is the most recent example of an early-June swap of any real significance. Russell himself was traded from Oakland to Chicago in 2014’s Jeff Samardzija blockbuster, and even that July 4 swap was an uncharacteristically early agreement for a deal of such import.

    In a similar vein, recent reports indicating that the Rangers and Royals are preparing to gauge trade interest in their current assets suggest that such processes are only in the nascent stages. It’d be a surprise if the Orioles were drastically further along in the process, if for no other reason than the fact that most teams have not yet plotted their deadline trajectory.

    Most clubs, to this point, are focused on the upcoming amateur draft, after which they’ll begin to truly assess whether they’re interested in acquiring assets, selling them, or utilizing players on their current big league roster to address other needs. (Increasingly, there are active teams at each deadline that don’t fall neatly into the traditional “buyer” or “seller” categories.)

    There will undoubtedly be teams that don’t make that final determination until even the day of the deadline. Last year’s Twins, for instance, acquired Jaime Garcia from the Braves in late July, only to lose six of their next seven games while the Royals and Indians went on prolonged winning streaks. Minnesota ultimately traded Garcia to the Yankees just six days after acquiring him and also shipped closer Brandon Kintzler off to the Nationals.

    All of that is to say, it’s highly improbable that a clearly defined market for Machado will come together at any point the near future. Perhaps a team with an obvious need on the left side of the infield will bowl the Orioles over with an offer earlier than most would expect, but history gives little reason to expect that to happen until the calendar flips to July.

    A Machado trade to some team, of course, feels inevitable at this point. But while the Cubs stand out as a plausible on-paper fit — just as they did throughout the offseason — Epstein’s comments bluntly indicate that such speculation won’t come to fruition for quite some time, if at all.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Zach Britton Nearing Rehab Assignment]]> 2018-05-22T12:47:32Z 2018-05-22T05:48:57Z
  • Orioles reliever Zach Britton is scheduled to start a rehab assignment at Triple-A Norfolk at the end of the month, Steve Melewski of tweets. Presumably, the club will give Britton a fair bit of time not only to test his surgically repaired Achilles, but also to get his arm into shape, given that he did not participate in Spring Training. But it could be that Britton will be ready for the majors by the middle of June or so — plenty of time for him to build up trade value in advance of the deadline. Of course, the veteran southpaw still not only has to show that he can pitch without physical limitation, but also that he can bounce back from a subpar 2017 season in which he managed a 2.89 ERA over 37 1/3 innings but was nowhere near as dominant as he had been in prior campaigns.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Should Hess Remain In Rotation?]]> 2018-05-21T17:12:39Z 2018-05-21T17:12:39Z
  • Despite a pair of rocky starts to begin his MLB career, David Hess should remain in the Orioles’ rotation for the time being, Steve Melewski of opines. Hess finished the 2017 well in Double-A and has solid numbers in Triple-A thus far, but he’s served up four homers and allowed eight runs in 10 2/3 MLB innings thus far. However, Melewski notes that his MLB debut came on three days’ rest while his second start came on seven days’ rest at Fenway Park against one of the toughest lineups in baseball. Hess has earned a lengthier look on regular rest with the chance to settle into his routine, Melewski contends, and the current last-place standing of the Orioles should only further encourage them to earnestly evaluate a potential long-term rotation piece. The 24-year-old Hess notched a 3.85 ERA with 7.1 K/9 against 3.1 BB/9 in 154 1/3 Double-A innings last year and has a 2.12 ERA, 8.8 K/9 and 3.6 BB/9 in 29 2/3 Triple-A frames in 2018.
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    Mark Polishuk <![CDATA[Duquette On Trades, Machado, Bullpen]]> 2018-05-21T02:45:58Z 2018-05-21T02:45:58Z
  • Orioles executive VP of baseball operations Dan Duquette said his team is “still taking a look at” whether or not to start trading veterans, as he discussed the Orioles’ status in a recent radio appearance on 670 The Score’s “Inside The Clubhouse” show (partial transcript provided by’s Bruce Levine, plus the audio link is included).  While Duquette didn’t firmly indicate that a sell-off was coming, he did admit that “I am not sure we will be in that position” to consider adding pieces come Memorial Day, which is when the O’s and other teams usually take stock in their rosters.
  • Since the trade market has yet to really kick into gear, Duquette said that the Orioles “haven’t had that many calls, frankly” about their impending free agents.  Brad Brach and Zach Britton could end up getting the most attention, as Duquette predicted “a robust market for relief pitchers.”  The market for position players is harder to predict, with Duquette not knowing how things will fare in regards to a Manny Machado trade.  “The issue for the Orioles would be, ’Will the Orioles ultimately trade a player who’s on his way to a Triple Crown or possibly MVP season?’” Duquette said. “That’s an issue for the club. And in the offseason, there were some teams interested in Manny, but there wasn’t a lot of talent coming back. Because teams know it’s going to take a lot of money to re-sign Manny.”
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    Kyle Downing <![CDATA[Latest On Mariners’ Plans At Second Base]]> 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z 2018-05-19T15:03:08Z In his latest piece for The Athletic, Ken Rosenthal suggests that the suspension of second baseman Robinson Cano has implications that could ripple beyond the 2018 season. Dee Gordon is expected to move from center field to second base in the interim, but could remain there even when Cano comes back, according to Rosenthal. At 35, Cano would soon be tabbed for at least part-time DH duties under normal circumstances. However, one thing that’s reportedly been staving off that possibility thus far is Cano’s goal to break Jeff Kent’s all-time record of 377 homers by a second baseman (he’s 73 bombs shy), while yet another factor is the presence of Nelson Cruz in the team’s full-time designated hitter role.

    Both of those factors may not be of such significant impact next season, Rosenthal writes. Cruz has the potential to depart as a free agent after 2018, and the Mariners may not be so inclined to give Cano room in dictating his position following his violation of MLB’s Joint Drug Program. Cano, as readers probably know by now, received an 80-game suspension after testing positive for a diuretic used to mask another performance-enhancing drug. That suspension will also prevent him from taking part in the postseason, which is a significant blow to a contending Mariners club.

    Ideally, then, the Mariners’ objective should be to find a full-time center fielder or left fielder they can retain for multiple seasons, says Rosenthal. Such a player would effectively lock Gordon into second base for the foreseeable future, while pushing the aging Cano into a first base/designated hitter role in the latter years of his contract. Rosenthal lists Adam Duvall as a possible target for Seattle, but adds the disclaimer that the club has one of the worst farm systems in baseball and might have a difficult time acquiring the young left-fielder from Cincinnati.

    On the other hand, as Bob Dutton of points out, it might be in the Mariners’ interests as a contender to keep Gordon in center field for the time being, unless the team can find a way to keep him at second even after Cano returns this season; a scenario that seems highly implausible with the presence of Cruz and Ryon Healy on the roster. Still, it’s hard to tell what the Mariners will do after half a season’s worth of games. From my perspective, it’s worth noting that the July 31st non-waiver trade deadline will have already come and gone by the time Cano is eligible to take the field again.

    Following a series of disclaimers (including that guessing GM Jerry Dipoto’s potential targets is a “fool’s game”), Dutton lists some players who might be available at this year’s deadline, according to his sources. One obvious name is Adam Jones, who’s in the final year of his contract with an Orioles club that’s off to a disastrous 14-30 start. Other center fielders mentioned in Dutton’s blog entry include Billy Hamilton, Jon Jay and Denard Span, though on the surface none of those additions would seem worthy of forcing Cano into a role with reduced playing time.

    More interesting is the pair of second baseman mentioned by Dutton. Scooter Gennett looks primed to repeat the surprise power numbers he put up with Cincinnati last season, and is controllable through 2019. Whit Merrifield, who can also play in the outfield, would be a longer-term piece and undoubtedly more difficult to acquire. In fact, I’d add that either target seems far fetched considering the Mariners’ lack of impact talent in the minor leagues.

    Whatever the situation, it will certainly be interesting to see how Cano and the Mariners are impacted in 2018 and beyond. The club’s interest in contending this year and questions surrounding the roles of Gordon and Cano moving forward create an interesting juxtaposition, and it will be fascinating to watch Dipoto and co. attempt to solve the puzzle.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Alex Presley Granted Release By Orioles]]> 2018-05-18T15:21:23Z 2018-05-18T15:20:11Z May 18: The Orioles ultimately decided against adding Presley to the roster, and he is now a free agent after being granted his release, MLBTR has learned.

    May 15: Veteran outfielder Alex Presley, currently in Triple-A with the Orioles, intends to exercise the May 15 out clause on his minor league contract, MLBTR has learned (Twitter link). The clause will give the O’s 48 hours to select his contract and add him to the Major League roster. If he’s not added in that window, he’ll be unconditionally released and able to seek a new opportunity elsewhere.

    It’s not clear yet how the O’s will proceed, though it’s not hard to see how they could fit a left-handed option into the outfield mix. Trey Mancini, Adam Jones, Mark Trumbo, Joey Rickard and Craig Gentry are all on the big league roster at present, but each hits right-handed. Currently, the only lefty options in the outfield for the O’s would be Jace Peterson, Pedro Alvarez and Chris Davis, though each is primarily an infielder and has only sparse experience playing in the outfield.

    Presley, 32, is off to a .288/.362/.385 start to the season in Norfolk with a 21.5 percent strikeout rate and a 9.4 percent walk rate. While he’s struggled to produce consistently in the Majors across parts of eight seasons, he did turn in a .314/.354/.416 slash in 264 plate appearances with the Tigers last year. In all, he’s a career .263/.306/.388 hitter in the Majors in addition to owning a .296/.362/.426 slash in parts of eight seasons at the Triple-A level.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Badler, Connolly On Orioles' Lack Of International Spending]]> 2018-05-17T02:03:40Z 2018-05-17T02:03:40Z
  • Ben Badler of Baseball America profiles the Orioles’ baffling philosophy on the international prospect market. As Badler notes, Baltimore spent just $535K on prospects in the 2018-19 period and just $260K in the prior period, instead utilizing their pool to acquire fringe minor leaguers (one of whom was even lost in the minor league phase of the Rule 5 Draft just months after being acquired). As Badler explains, the behavior can’t be pinned on the front office, as the neglect of the international market is an ownership-level decision from Peter Angelos that spans multiple iterations of baseball operations personnel. But, by not giving international scouts the resources they need, the O’s annually put themselves at a massive disadvantage in terms of building a farm system. That, as Dan Connolly of examines, forces GM Dan Duquette to rely more heavily on tactics like the Rule 5 Draft, which can have its own detrimental effects on a roster when utilized too heavily — especially for a club with aspirations of contending. Connolly contends that Baltimore’s lack of international signings makes even role players hard to come by within the organization, pushing Duquette to seek options in the Rule 5 and thus creating roster flexibility issues each year.
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    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Josh Edgin Exercises Opt-Out Clause With Orioles]]> 2018-05-16T20:46:58Z 2018-05-16T20:46:58Z Veteran left-handed reliever Josh Edgin has opted out of his minor league contract with the Orioles, tweets David Hall of the Virginian Pilot. Edgin, like outfielders Michael Saunders (link) and Alex Presley (link) before him, triggered a May 15 opt-out date is his contract.

    If Edgin’s clause is the same as that of Presley, Baltimore will have 48 hours to add him to the roster or release him to pursue other opportunities. The organization already announced that Saunders has been released, whereas there’s yet to be a formal announcement regarding either Edgin or Presley.

    The 31-year-old Edgin inked a minor league pact with Baltimore this offseason after previously spending the entirety of his pro career in the Mets organization. Edgin missed the 2015 season and much of the 2016 campaign due to Tommy John surgery but was otherwise a fairly regular fixture in the Mets’ bullpen dating back to his MLB debut in 2012. The lefty has a career 3.49 ERA with 8.1 K/9, 3.6 BB/9, 0.9 HR/9 and a 45.1 percent ground-ball rate in 129 innings at the big league level.

    Last season, Edgin tossed a career-high 37 innings for the Mets and posted a 3.65 ERA that’s right in line with his career mark, though his strikeout and walk rates weren’t as sharp as they were prior to his surgery. In those 37 frames, he averaged just 6.6 K/9 against an elevated 4.4 BB/9 with an average fastball velocity of 91.3 mph, which checks in more than a full mile per hour south of his peak pre-surgery levels. Those were likely some of the factors the Mets took into consideration when ultimately deciding to non-tender Edgin in the offseason.

    This year with the Orioles’ Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk, he’s pitched 18 2/3 innings with an outstanding 25-to-5 K/BB ratio (with two of those free passes being issued intentionally) and an excellent 59.6 percent ground-ball rate. Given that start and his track record, Edgin should generate interest elsewhere even if he doesn’t ultimately end up in the Baltimore bullpen.

    Steve Adams <![CDATA[Orioles Grant Michael Saunders His Release]]> 2018-05-15T21:28:01Z 2018-05-15T21:28:01Z Veteran outfielder Michael Saunders has asked for and been granted his release by the Orioles, per David Hall of the Virginian Pilot (Twitter link). Saunders had an opt-out clause in his deal, Hall adds.

    The 31-year-old Saunders signed a minor league pact with the Orioles in early April after bouncing from the Pirates to the Royals in Spring Training. He opened the season with Baltimore’s Triple-A affiliate in Norfolk but has gotten off to a rough start, hitting just .161/.291/.253 with a homer, three doubles, a triple and two steals in 103 plate appearances. Saunders punched out 23 times but also drew 16 walks in his brief stint with the Tides.

    Saunders enjoyed an All-Star first half with the Blue Jays in 2016 but wore down in the second half of that season before a disastrous 2017 with the Phillies. The former top prospect often showed potential with the Mariners produced in Seattle when on the field, but injuries have been an ongoing issue throughout his career. Most recently, he missed the majority of the 2015 season after suffering a torn meniscus in Spring Training that required surgery. Saunders has also dealt with shoulder injuries and missed time due to an oblique issue in the Majors as well.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Orioles Outright Renato Nunez]]> 2018-05-15T19:19:25Z 2018-05-15T19:17:57Z The Orioles announced that they have outrighted Renato Nunez to Triple-A after he cleared waivers. The Baltimore organization had just claimed Nunez itself.

    With the series of moves, the O’s will gain control over Nunez without occupying a 40-man roster spot. Though he does not really fit well on the current roster, it’s certainly possible that Nunez could get a look in the majors if the Orioles undertake some summer trades.

    Jeff Todd <![CDATA[Connolly On Orioles' Roster Plans]]> 2018-05-15T04:32:58Z 2018-05-15T02:22:33Z
  • Dan Connolly of checks in on where things stand for the Orioles roster. Despite a recent uptick in play, argues Connolly, the team must still be preparing to blow things up this summer. As MLBTR’s Steve Adams also argued recently, it’s hard to imagine a path back to contention in 2018 for the O’s. Meanwhile, Connolly wonders just why the Orioles placed a claim on slugging, reputedly poor-fielding corner man Renato Nunez. He suggests the org may simply hope to pass him through waivers once a 40-man spot is needed.
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    Connor Byrne <![CDATA[Orioles Claim Renato Nunez From Rangers]]> 2018-05-13T18:49:51Z 2018-05-13T18:42:57Z The Orioles have claimed infielder/outfielder Renato Nunez off waivers from the Rangers, Roch Kubatko of tweets. In a corresponding move, Baltimore transferred infielder Tim Beckham to the 60-day DL.

    Nunez lost his spot with the Rangers when they designated him on Friday. The 24-year-old logged 41 appearances with the club prior to then and batted just .167/.244/.278. He offered similar production from 2016-17 in Oakland (.167/.194/.267 in 31 PAs), which jettisoned him in mid-April. Nunez has been far better at Triple-A, where he owns a .242/.301/.460 line in 1,113 PAs, and is capable of lining up in the corners.

    Most of Nunez’s professional action has come at third base, where the Orioles have been without Beckham for a few weeks. Beckham underwent core muscle surgery April 26 and is in the early stages of what will be at least a six-week recovery, making his shift to the 60-day DL a logical move for the Orioles. This has been a year to forget thus far for Beckham, who slashed .179/.247/.262 in 93 PAs before landing on the shelf. Beckham’s fall from grace since last season, when he was an effective piece for Baltimore after it acquired him from Tampa Bay in July, has been one of many clear causes for the Orioles’ 12-28 start.