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Wondering what’s next for Kim

Let me begin by wishing everyone a happy and healthy New Year, in case we don’t talk at midnight. Please drink responsibly and try to avoid the amateurs on the road. As far as I’m concerned, the ball can drop on 2016 and smash it to pieces. Too many deaths this year. Too many painful reminders that life is precious and can be taken from

Notes on Givens and Orioles assistant hitting coach

Orioles reliever Mychal Givens will attend the team’s minicamp next month in Sarasota. He offered confirmation yesterday on MLB Network Radio. Givens isn’t a minor leaguer in need of assessment and he isn’t recovering from an injury or surgery. However, he was expected to make the drive again from his Tampa home and start the bonding process with new pitching coach Roger McDowell. He also

Orioles primed for more late additions

The Orioles are picked to finish below .500 and in fourth or fifth place in their division in various December predictions. They’ve already lost the offseason, graded poorly for their inability to improve the roster while holes opened up in right field and at designated hitter. And the rotation doesn’t measure up, at least on paper. Meanwhile, executive vice president Dan Duquette does his best

This, that and the other

Orioles third base coach Bobby Dickerson is enjoying a successful stint managing in one of baseball’s winter leagues. Dickerson has been named Manager of the Year in the Dominican Republic Professional Baseball League after guiding Gigantes del Cibao to a first-place finish in the six-team division. The news came from the team’s Twitter account. Gigantes del Cibao advanced to the round robin playoffs, which began

Chris Davis: “I think there’s definitely a sense of urgency”

Everyone has an opinion regarding the wisdom of trading Orioles left-hander Zach Britton before he potentially hits free agency following the 2018 season. Value may never be higher, teams are paying a steep price for closers, the organization needs the prospects that would be included in any return. Also, he’s too valuable to part with, the bullpen depth would take a serious hit, the club

Wondering about Rickard’s place on 2017 roster

Could a Rule 5 pick impact a former Rule 5 pick next season? I’m not assuming that Joey Rickard has a spot waiting for him on the 25-man roster. I’ll say that he’s got a decent chance of making it, but there’s no way that he’s guaranteed to break camp with the team. Rickard can be optioned next year after shedding his Rule 5 status

Because You Asked - Home Alone 4

‘Tis the season to be jolly and repetitive. I’m referring, of course, to the hot stove season. Let’s gather around it, warm our hands and hearts, and toast our good fortune. A marshmallow on a skewer wouldn’t be a bad idea, either. My mailbag is the gift that keeps on giving. Sort of like the Samos burps after the tzatziki and hummus. And I’m not

Orioles continuing efforts to improve OBP

How important is it for the Orioles to improve their on-base percentage? Enough so that players talk about it, how wins would come more easily with a more versatile lineup. They manage fine without one, of course. This team has made the playoffs three of the past five seasons while posting the following on-base percentages: 2012: .311 2013: .313 2014: .311 2015: .307 2016: .317

Duquette: “Still looking for opportunities to build the club”

The Orioles maintained interest in free agent outfielder Ben Revere this winter, engaging again in talks with his representative. However, there doesn’t appear to be a financial fit and Revere is expected to sign with another team - perhaps as early as today. The Nationals non-tendered Revere after he batted .217/.260/.300 in 103 games, but he hit .306/.342/.377 in 2015 with the Phillies and Blue

Challenges of an early lineup and the need for a left-handed bat

The Orioles still have lots of work to do as the holidays approach, which doesn’t qualify as breaking news. It’s more of an observation. They found a starting catcher, signing Welington Castillo to a one-year deal with a player option for 2018. But they’re unsettled in right field and at designated hitter, positioned with fallback options, and continue to seek another reliever despite having an

Does Schoop stay at second base?

What’s the easiest way to stir up fans and a debate? Suggest that the Orioles should consider trading third baseman Manny Machado and closer Zach Britton before they hit free agency in the winter of 2018. ESPN’s Buster Olney is the latest to venture into sensitive territory with Monday’s column that focused on Machado and how the Orioles’ window of opportunity to extend him is

Wasdin expected to join Orioles minor league staff

The Orioles are leaning toward hiring John Wasdin as their minor league pitching coordinator, according to sources. I’m making an assumption on the title, but Wasdin appears to be their choice. Wasdin, 44, would replace Rick Peterson, who was hired in January 2012 as director of pitching development. He previously served as pitching coach of the Double-A Midland Rockhounds in the Athletics organization. The Rockhounds

Bolstering bullpen nothing new to Orioles

Teams are placing greater emphasis on their bullpens as the offseason moves into the next round of holidays. They grasp the importance of providing quality insurance for their rotations, of spending less to upgrade a pitching staff or spending more to lock down leads in the ninth inning. They’re just not being original. Have we already forgotten about the 2007 Orioles and the rash of

More on Wieters’ market and the search for a right fielder

Trying to figure out the market for catcher Matt Wieters is becoming one of the most popular endeavors of the offseason. And one of the most perplexing. I was prepared to tab the Braves as the favorites, and I wouldn’t be alone in this prognostication, but ESPN’s Buster Olney reported yesterday on rampant industry speculation that Wieters will sign with the Nationals. Wieters and the

Updating the Trumbo negotiations and bullpen search

The Orioles no longer have their offer on the table to free agent outfielder Mark Trumbo, according to multiple sources. However, recent history suggests a deal still can be struck. The offer to first baseman Chris Davis also was removed last winter before agent Scott Boras again reached out to principal owner and managing partner Peter Angelos, which eventually led to agreement on a seven-year,

Castillo’s commitment, Wieters’ legacy and more from Davis

The most encouraging part of yesterday’s conference call with Welington Castillo involved his commitment to improving his defense. He’s focused on the right aspects of his job. It’s the only way he’s truly going to fit in with the Orioles. “I know my part, I know what to do. My No. 1 job is being on the same page with the pitchers and try to

Orioles welcome Castillo as they part with Wieters

New Orioles catcher Welington Castillo knows that he’s going to contribute offensively next season, knows that there’s run-producing potential up and down the lineup. Most important, he understands that he must satisfy the team with his work behind the plate. During this morning’s conference call with the local media, Castillo said that he’s headed to Puerto Rico to work with former major league catcher Jose

Welington Castillo deal is official

Catcher Welington Castillo passed his physical with the Orioles and signed his contract. He’s officially a part of the team. Castillo took the physical yesterday in Baltimore after agreeing to terms on a one-year, $6 million deal that includes a $7 million player option for 2018. The Orioles’ 40-man roster is now full, but they obviously can create space for future signings or trade acquisitions.

This, that and the other

The reality of catcher Matt Wieters’ likely departure from the Orioles is sinking in among his former teammates. Welington Castillo took his physical yesterday and the announcement of his signing could come later today. He agreed to a one-year deal for $6 million with a player option in 2018 that brings the total value to $13 million. Wieters is one of the more popular Orioles

Orioles sign Tomo Ohka, three others to minor league deals

The Orioles announced today that they’ve signed four players to minor league deals, including Japanese right-hander Tomo Ohka, who turns 41 in March and last pitched in the majors with the Indians in 2009. Executive vice president Dan Duquette signed Ohka for the Red Sox in 1999. The Orioles also confirmed that they’ve re-signed outfielder Chris Dickerson and infielder Garabez Rosa, and they also signed

Tyler Wilson on the good and bad of the 2016 season

Chris Davis is taking the “off” out of “offseason.” Davis is really making the rounds this week, starting with his appearance Tuesday at the Orioles’ annual holiday party for kids at Dave & Busters. He showed up yesterday in three CBS Radio studios after calling into MLB Network and MLB Network Radio. He’s agreed to an interview later today for MASNsports.com before heading down to

More thoughts on Welington Castillo agreement

Does the Welington Castillo agreement officially slam the door on Matt Wieters’ return? It’s a question that keeps coming to me, perhaps because some fans aren’t ready to let him go. The Orioles will pay Castillo $6 million next season assuming he passes a physical on Thursday. There’s no reason to believe he won’t unless he pulls up near the finish line at Pimlico. But

Orioles reach agreement with Castillo (updated)

The Orioles found their veteran catcher and further increased the likelihood that they won’t bring back Matt Wieters. Welington Castillo has reached agreement on a one-year deal that also includes a player option for 2018, according to a baseball source. Castillo, a native of the Dominican Republic who turns 30 in April, is a career .255/.318/.416 hitter in seven major league seasons. The Diamondbacks non-tendered

Leftovers for breakfast

Caleb Joseph greeted a small group of reporters and media members yesterday with the usual smile and quips. He loves the interaction. The man’s personality never takes a day off. It can’t be punctured by sharp words. He heard a bunch of them this year after failing to drive in a run in 141 plate appearances. Joseph is tired of talking about RBIs, or the

Notes from the Orioles’ holiday party

The Orioles concluded their annual holiday party at Dave & Busters in the Arundel Mills Mall, this year hosting 80 outpatients from the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. The chicken nuggets, mini pizzas and fries were a huge hit, especially when plated by Darren O’Day, Caleb Joseph, Tyler Wilson and former Orioles Scott McGregor, Al Bumbry and Larry Bigbie. Chris Davis handled the drinks at

The Davis family serving as ambassadors for UMCH

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis is counted among the Orioles representatives this morning attending the annual holiday party for kids at Dave & Busters at the Arundel Mills Mall, and that’s just a part of the giving. The Orioles and OriolesREACH are hosting 80 outpatients from the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital. Davis and wife Jill will use the setting to announce that they’re serving

This, that and the other (updated)

The Orioles haven’t made a decision on their new assistant hitting coach and they’ve given no indication that an announcement is imminent. Mark Quinn’s replacement remains a mystery. Quinn decided to go back to The Baseball School, the hitting academy he owns in Houston. His contract expired on Oct. 31 after one season as Einar Diaz’s replacement. Two names that I’ve heard as candidates are

Orioles re-sign Logan Ondrusek

In their usual quest to improve their pitching depth, the Orioles have re-signed right-hander Logan Ondrusek. A team official confirmed the signing tonight, which brings Ondrusek back into the organization. Ondrusek, 31, agreed to terms on a contract for $650,000 that also includes a club option in 2018. He became a free agent last month after the Orioles declined his option. The Orioles signed Ondrusek

Thoughts on Brach as closer

Within a day of the Winter Meetings, the Orioles seemed to move from the trade to free agent market. Teams were asking too much in return, especially in the way of prospects. “That’s a fluid situation,” executive vice president Dan Duquette said last week on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan. “The market’s dynamic, the market’s always moving and there’s so many players

This, that and the other

Another day passed without an agreement between the Orioles and catcher Welington Castillo. The Orioles remain the favorites to sign Castillo, who originally sought a three-year deal. They’re fine with giving him two if that’s what it takes to get him to Baltimore. Castillo tied for the most passed balls in the National League with 10, according to Baseball-Reference.com and FanGraphs.com, and also was behind

Duquette on predictions, projections, defending farm system

Speculation is building that the Orioles will reach agreement with free agent catcher Welington Castillo on a multi-year deal. It may not be imminent, but it seems inevitable. The club’s interest in indisputable and well-documented. He’s been the primary target since the Diamondbacks non-tendered him. In that regard, nothing has changed since the start of the Winter Meetings. With the holidays approaching, players tend to

Duquette on Wieters, Trumbo, Brach and Britton

Catchers are dropping off the free agent market like windblown popups. Executive vice president Dan Duquette has targeted Welington Castillo, and to a lesser degree, former Oriole Nick Hundley. He isn’t walking away from Matt Wieters, but he can’t drag his feet. If it’s going to take until after New Year’s for Wieters to choose a team, his career with the Orioles won’t stretch beyond

Duquette has resumed negotiations on new Trumbo contract

The Orioles are continuing their efforts to reach an agreement with free agent outfielder Mark Trumbo. Unwilling to offer specifics on Trumbo during most of his media sessions at the Winter Meetings, executive vice president Dan Duquette said he sat down earlier this afternoon with the slugger’s representative, Joel Wolfe, before leaving the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Duquette offered confirmation tonight on the

Wrapping up the Orioles’ stay at the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The flurry of blockbuster moves and signings at the Winter Meetings further illustrated the importance of stockpiling prospects in the farm system, of having so much young depth that a team can fill holes in its roster at minimum cost or create a package that brings in a superstar. Former Orioles executive Andy MacPhail had that vision. Current executive vice president

Orioles make two picks in major league phase of Rule 5 (updated)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Orioles selected two outfielders in the major league phase of the Rule 5 draft. And just as they did in 2014, they took one player from Triple-A and another from Single-A. With their first selection, the Orioles chose 24-year old Aneury Tavarez from the Red Sox organization. Later in the round, they nabbed 22-year old switch-hitter Anthony Santander from the

Day Four of the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The finish line is within sight. Get a full head of steam and run through the tape. The Winter Meetings are almost over, with only the Rule 5 draft standing in the way. The hotel lobby and bar area were half full last night and the place will be deserted later this morning. The sound of crickets will make you think

More from Day Three of the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - If you come away with anything from these Winter Meetings, and it may be more than the Orioles do beyond the Rule 5 draft, it’s how executive vice president Dan Duquette is committed to finding a right fielder, a veteran catcher and maybe a reliever to improve the bullpen’s depth. It’s just a matter of getting it done. The effort isn’t

Duquette on Bautista, trading core players and the WBC

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The rivalry between the Orioles and Blue Jays took a comedic turn at the Winter Meetings, with executive vice president Dan Duquette pulling no punches while flattening any speculation that his club would pursue the veteran slugger in free agency. The bat flips, glares and whatever power is left in the tank won’t be transported to Baltimore. “Jose Bautista’s agent has

Zach Britton declines WBC invitation (and other notes)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Orioles closer Zach Britton has declined an invitation from Joe Torre to pitch for Team USA in the World Baseball Classic. Britton was flattered by the offer, but he wanted to spend more time with his family, including a 1-month-old daughter, according to Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. Duquette said he’s unaware of Mychal Givens’ reported interest in joining Team

More from Showalter’s media session

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - You saw the bullet points from Orioles manager Buck Showalter’s media session this afternoon. Now you can read the quotes. On his reaction to big trades and signings at the Winter Meetings: “Sometimes we have a selective memory. I try to, but this went on last year to some extent and the year before, whether it’s the Yankees or whether it’s

Showalter on rumors, his roster and the Rule 5 draft

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter fulfilled his obligation today of meeting with the media inside the press room at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Taking to his new setting, he decided to assist us by addressing whichever rumors were tossed his way. Showalter said he hasn’t heard Chris Carter’s name mentioned once this week inside executive vice president Dan Duquette’s

Givens reportedly commits to WBC (updated)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Orioles apparently will lose their first pitcher to the World Baseball Classic. Reliever Mychal Givens has committed to play for Team USA this spring, according to a tweet from ESPN’s Marly Rivera. He joins center fielder Adam Jones (USA), third baseman Manny Machado (Dominican Republic), second baseman Jonathan Schoop (Netherlands) and left fielder Hyun Soo Kim (Korea) in the WBC.

Day Three of the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Just as the Orioles haven’t totally moved away from catcher Matt Wieters, they remain in the mix to re-sign outfielder Mark Trumbo. He just needs to come down to them. It’s a steep drop. The sides agree on four years, but they’re far apart on money and the Orioles won’t give a full no-trade clause. But you already know this if

Duquette on Trumbo, free agent and trade talks, bullpen and more

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - So what did we learn today about the Orioles at the Winter Meetings? They’re still focused on outfielders and catchers, whether via free agency or trade. I was told by multiple sources that the Orioles weren’t scheduled to meet with Mark Trumbo’s representatives, contradicting a report, but executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t bite when asked about it. I’m not ready

Quick hits from the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette didn’t offer a confirmation or denial today when asked whether he met with Mark Trumbo’s representative. He only stated that it’s “a fluid conversation.” Duquette repeated his desire to land an outfielder and met again today with various agents and team executives. He also had trade talks involving catchers. Asked to respond to a report

Do Orioles react to Sale news?

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - If you’re counting on Dan Duquette to hit the panic button or go on a signing/trading rampage to counter what a division rival did at the Winter Meetings, I need to reintroduce you to the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations. This isn’t how he operates. This isn’t how former executive Andy MacPhail operated. The Orioles walked into the Gaylord

Orioles invite top prospect Chance Sisco to minicamp

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter is finalizing his roster for next month’s minicamp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex in Sarasota, with certain players requiring their approval. Catcher Chance Sisco will be part of it. Sisco, 21, is viewed as the eventual successor to Matt Wieters if the latter leaves via free agency. He’s ticketed for Triple-A Norfolk to start the 2017

Orioles won’t repeat Fowler pursuit

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - We won’t get fooled again. Not that it’s going to surprise anyone who’s been paying close attention, but the Orioles don’t expect to solve their right field riddle by plugging in free agent Dexter Fowler. Fowler is drawing serious interest from multiple teams, including the Cardinals, Blue Jays and Giants, and should easily hurdle the three-year, $33 million offer laid out

Day Two of the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - One of the more interesting theories at this week’s Winter Meetings, as opposed to being a straight-up rumor, involves how Edwin Encarnacion could be a fit for the Orioles. It makes little sense on the surface, considering how Encarnacion turned down a four-year, $80 million offer from the Blue Jays. Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette warned that his club won’t

Covering a lot of ground with Dan Duquette

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - One of the hottest rumors of the day centered on the Mets offering outfielder Curtis Granderson to the Orioles for reliever Brad Brach. However, there doesn’t appear to be much traction. Granderson is owed $15 million next season and the Mets don’t seem inclined to eat salary, according to reports. The Orioles don’t seem inclined to add much payroll beyond raises

Quick hits from the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said his relievers are drawing lots of interest at the Winter Meetings. The Mets reportedly want Brad Brach for outfielder Curtis Granderson. Other bullpen arms also are deemed attractive by clubs hoping to dip into the Orioles’ relief depth. “We want to keep that strength intact,” Duquette said while meeting with local media inside his

Orioles make four-year offer to Trumbo (updated)

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Orioles have made Mark Trumbo a four-year offer as part of their contract negotiations with the free agent outfielder. I’m hearing that Trumbo’s side initially sought $80 million after he led the majors with 47 home runs. However, there was flexibility to the point where discussions moved in the $70-$75 million range on a backloaded deal. Still too high. This

Orioles showing interest in Michael Saunders

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Orioles have a hole in right field and filling it is one of their primary goals at this week’s Winter Meetings at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center. Could Michael Saunders be the solution? The club has definite interest in Saunders, 30, who is a statistical mixed bag. He fits their profile as a versatile outfielder capable of playing

The official first day of the Winter Meetings

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter knows what’s coming this week. It’s not only the long days and nights in executive vice president Dan Duquette’s suite at the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center, the meetings with agents and officials, the various obligations and inconveniences. It’s also the lasting impression that the Orioles can’t compete next season, that they’re due to crash to

Orioles have made multiple offers to Mark Trumbo

NATIONAL HARBOR, Md. - The Orioles are serious about trying to keep this year’s major league home run leader. Executive vice president Dan Duquette confirmed today at the Winter Meetings that he’s had ongoing discussions with Mark Trumbo over the past few weeks and the club has made two offers to the slugger. He didn’t provide specifics. “We’ve had several conversations with Mark Trumbo, but

Heading to the Winter Meetings

The day has arrived. There’s no turning back. I couldn’t find anyone to lock me out, so it’s impossible to avoid the madness of the annual Winter Meetings. At least I can drive to the Gaylord National Resort & Convention Center in National Harbor, Md. - technically Oxon Hill, but let’s not quibble - rather than hop on a flight. You’ll hear my tires screech

More from Showalter and another look at new labor agreement

The Orioles will attempt to improve their pitching depth before opening day, no matter how long it takes. The rotation and the bullpen. They’re always interested in arms. In the meantime, manager Buck Showalter likes his much-maligned rotation and expects other teams to exhibit interest in his starters. And he doesn’t care if the folks doing the projections disagree with him. “Very quietly, I think

Orioles non-tender Vance Worley (with Duquette quote)

Though Vance Worley is valued for his contributions in a variety of roles, he won’t be tendered a contract for the 2017 season. The Orioles decided to non-tender Worley, a much-anticipated move given his projected bump in salary and Wednesday’s acquisition of pitcher Logan Verrett from the Mets. Infielder Ryan Flaherty and left-hander T.J. McFarland were tendered contracts - they were on the bubble -

Orioles claim outfielder Adam Walker off waivers

The Orioles exhibited their love of power again today, claiming minor league corner outfielder Adam Walker off waivers from the Brewers. Lots of power and contact issues. Walker, a 25-year-old right-handed hitter, led the minors this year with 202 strikeouts in 531 plate appearances with Triple-A Rochester in the Twins organization. He also had 22 doubles, five triples, 27 home runs and 75 RBIs to

Hearing from Duquette and Showalter leading into Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings officially start on Monday, though everyone rolls into town the previous day to get settled and soak up the atmosphere. And I’m bringing the sarcasm hard on that last part. I sat down yesterday with Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette to touch on a few topics, including tonight’s 8 p.m. deadline to tender contracts to the 10 arbitration-eligible players. “We’ve got

Spring training report dates and other notes

The Orioles have announced their report dates for 2017 spring training in Sarasota. Pitchers and catchers will report to the Ed Smith Stadium complex on Feb. 13, with the first workout held the following day. Position players will gather on Feb. 16, with the first full-squad workout the following day. If past years are any indication, the vast majority of Orioles will be in Sarasota

Orioles sign outfielder Logan Schafer (plus other notes)

The Orioles acquired a left-handed hitting outfielder today as the Winter Meetings approach, though it involves a minor league deal. The club announced that it signed Logan Schafer, 30, to a minor league contract. He will receive an invitation to spring training. Schafer is a career .214/.292/.318 hitter in 318 games over parts of six major league seasons, the first five spent with the Brewers.

Non-tender candidates, no increase in ticket prices and more

We may have finally reached the end of the awards season in Major League Baseball, unless it sneaks another one past me, but the next big date is almost upon us. The deadline for teams to offer contracts to their arbitration-eligible players arrives on Friday. The Orioles have 10 of them. Perhaps you don’t have the list memorized. Let me offer my assistance, complete with

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