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These topics are worth watching in the Orioles' minors this year

If Dan Duquette is to make some actual lasting changes for the better for the Orioles' organization, some of it will likely begin to happen at the minor league level this year. Upgrading the Orioles' player development and farm system is vital as the club tries to finally get better after 14 losing seasons. There are plenty of interesting angles and story lines to follow

After big 2010 with Texas, O'Day could be key in O's pen

He is a submarine-style, right-handed relief pitcher and, if he reclaims the form he showed during an outstanding 2010 season with Texas, he could be a key piece to the 2012 Orioles bullpen. The O's claimed 29-year-old pitcher Darren O'Day off waivers from Texas in November and now he wants to put last year, when he had surgery and missed a large part of the

As spring training approaches, the natives are very restless

It strikes me that the MASNsports.com message boards were buzzing with a lot more positive talk this time last year. I remember the many, many fans that insisted the Orioles could be a playoff team last year, coming off their 34-23 finish in 2010. The fans were also overwhelmingly in favor of bringing Vlad Guerrero in to serve as the DH, even at a $8

Some thoughts from the new Orioles minor league hitting coach

Part of Dan Duquette's restructuring of the Orioles' player development system was his hiring of Mike Boulanger as the O's minor league hitting coordinator. Boulanger will oversee the batting coaches and instruction of all the hitters on the O's farm. Boulanger brings plenty of experience to Baltimore as both a minor league coach and manager and has ties to both Duquette and manager Buck Showalter.

Notes on O's prospects, long-term contracts, Angle, Cordero and more

Here is a question to think about: Are all the top sluggers eventually going to wind up in the American League? After Albert Pujols got a 10-year deal from the Angels and Prince Fielder got a nine-year contract from the Tigers, two of the game's most-feared sluggers have moved to the AL. Fielder was second in the National League with 38 homers last year and

Taking a closer look at the Wilson Betemit signing

The Orioles are getting some criticism for signing Wilson Betemit to a two-year contract. Not only is it a two-year deal, but there is a vesting option for the 2014 season. This for a player that has never been a season-long regular for any team and has never had more than 373 at-bats in any one season. Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com and MLB Network wrote

Fielder is not an Oriole and some fans won't understand that

In the end, while the Detroit Tigers have come seemingly out of nowhere to get Prince Fielder, to me it's no surprise that Fielder ended up with a winning team and in the American League. Any team willing to give a player those years and that money - and it's been reported as a nine-year, $214 million deal - better at least have the designated

Matt Wieters: New pitchers make for new challenges

If there is one player on the Orioles that was tracking the pitching additions executive vice president Dan Duquette made this offseason, it was catcher Matt Wieters. He will have to catch the new pitchers and, in some cases, communicate with players that speak little or no English. "It's going to be a lot of work in spring training, that's for sure," the 25-year-old Wieters

The pitchers say they are ready for rotation battle in camp (with update)

I think we heard some comments at FanFest that helped answer some questions about spring training. For one, Nolan Reimold appears to be the clear favorite to be the starting left fielder. It sure seems to be his job to lose, as they say. Buck Showalter confirmed that Mark Reynolds will be the third baseman with Chris Davis at first. And it was pretty much

More FanFest notes and quotes

Another FanFest has come and gone. It was a fun day with around 9,000 fans, slightly fewer than last year, attending at the Baltimore Convention Center. FanFest always gets you ready for another season after a day of talking baseball and talking with Orioles players, coaches and front office staff. Over the next week or two, I'l continue to post some interviews, quotes and stories

Brady Anderson is back where he wants to be

Brady Anderson was officially hired this week as special assistant to Dan Duquette, even though he has been doing some work for the club before that and did some work for the Orioles last year. "Last year, I had a condo at Triple-A (in Norfolk). You need to go everywhere. We have minor league affiliates close to Baltimore and you have to be willing to

Some more nuggets from Buck Showalter

No pun intended but here are some FanFest nuggets from Buck Showalter and his latest get-together with the reporters here. Buck on the DH spot in the lineup: "It's a question mark because a guy that has to anchor down there and do nothing but that is not there. I look at that as almost an asset, but if the right guy rears his head

Arrieta progressing nicely after surgery

Orioles right-hander Jake Arrieta said at FanFest that he continues to make very good progress after having bone spurs removed from his right elbow on Aug. 12. "I felt as good as I expected to. I haven't had any setbacks, just routine throwing program soreness but outside of that I've been 100 percent healthy and very encouraged with my progress," he said. Arrieta, who went

Jones on trade and contract talks

Orioles center fielder Adam Jones knew when he saw reporters today that someone would ask him about all the trade talk in which his name has surfaced in recent weeks. "I knew that question was coming. No one has ever talked to me about it, so I think, rumors are what they are. Leave it at that, nothing more I can say about it," Jones

Showalter and Duquette on rotation, Dominican, Machado, Reimold and Fielder

The first fan forum of the day at FanFest is over. Manager Buck Showalter and Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette were on the main stage. They addressed several topics and here are some of their answers. Showalter on the battle for rotation spots this year: "Last year, it was last man standing. Now, it's about the competition and that always brings out the best

Boulanger wants Orioles minor leaguers to have productive team at-bats

When Mike Boulanger was hired yesterday as the Orioles minor league hitting coordinator, he was reunited with executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter. From 2000-2002 Boulanger was a minor league manager for Boston when Duquette was the Red Sox GM and he later served as Triple-A hitting coach and manager for Showalter when Buck managed at Texas. He had a record of

Rick Peterson brings biomechanical analysis to the Orioles

Rick Peterson has 12 years of experience as a major league pitching coach, most recently with Milwaukee in 2010. Yesterday, he officially joined the Orioles as the club's director of pitching development. Peterson will oversee the organization's pitching development program. With Peterson now on board, Orioles pitchers, at both the major and minor league levels, are going to become familiar with something called biomechanical analysis.

Duquette on the front office roles for Anderson, Peterson, Norton and Stockstill

Former Oriole Brady Anderson was officially named today as special assistant to Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. Even though Anderson has the same title as the recently hired Lee Thomas, Duquette said the duties will not be the same for both men. He also was asked if it was fair to describe Anderson as an assistant general manager. "We don't have a GM, so

Jai Miller is out to impress his new team

New Orioles outfielder Jai Miller has had about two weeks now to adjust to the news which came on Jan. 3. He was traded from Oakland to Baltimore for cash considerations. "When I found out, there was some initial shock," Miller said this week. "But then I was excited. It's always good to be wanted. Now I'm ready to move forward. The Orioles are getting

How should the Orioles handle the DH spot?

Here are two questions worth pondering and discussing: Should the Orioles sign one player to handle most of the at-bats at the designated hitter spot this year? Should that player be Johnny Damon? The Orioles appear to have at least some interest in the former Red Sox, Ray, Yankee, Tiger, Royal and Athletic. We've been hearing rumblings that manager Buck Showalter would prefer to not

A look at what might come next for Dylan Bundy

Now that the Orioles have drafted Oklahoma high school pitcher Dylan Bundy, now comes the development part of the equation, where the organization will work on getting Bundy to the major leagues at a proper pace that will allow the best chance for him to have lasting success. Easy to say, but hard to do. Many fans are skeptical, with some justification, about the O's

A core of four in Baltimore

Since it's now the dead of winter and the holidays are long since over, I should probably be more down with all the negativity about the Orioles. The Yankees got two pitchers, Tampa is still loaded with pitchers, Toronto is on the rise and Boston is still pretty good, I bet. But after a weekend of reading more doom and gloom, I looked outside to

Some minor league thoughts and a look at the Yankees-Mariners trade

This weekend, I'm taking a look at some Orioles minor league topics that will be on display and a look back at the Yankees big night of acquiring pitching. * Orioles first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy appears likely to begin next season pitching for the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds. As he begins his first pro season in 2012, he will almost certainly be on an innings

An interview with new Orioles' scout Danny Haas

Back in mid December, new Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich hired Danny Haas to serve on his staff as one of his two national crosscheckers. The 35-year-old Haas had been a scout with Boston since 2002. In recent years, he served as Boston's southeast, east coast and upper midwest/northeast crosschecker. Red Sox major league players signed during that time include Ryan Kalish, Ryan Lavarnway and

A tale of two MVOs: One gone, one still here

A lot of fans are wondering why the Orioles have yet to begin talks on a contract extension with Adam Jones. After four seasons and 551 games with the Orioles, the 26-year-old Jones can be a free agent after the 2013 season. Jones was voted as the Most Valuable Oriole last year when his 16 outfield assists led all major league center fielders and he

Looking at the pitching staff, international signings and more

Skipping around the baseball world today with some random thoughts on random topics. Are the Orioles sending their young pitchers a message?: With the signings of Dana Eveland, Tsuyoshi Wada and Wei-Yin Chen, it is getting crowded in the Orioles' rotation. Depending upon who you considered a candidate for the starting five, there are now a dozen or so candidates for starting rotation spots on

Tyler Townsend: Good bat, now looking for a healthy season

Sometimes, when national analysts contend the Orioles lack a lot of solid hitting prospects in their minor league organization, they overlook Tyler Townsend, a third-round pick and first baseman out of Florida International in 2009. Not so much because of a lack of good numbers, but a lack of consistent at-bats. Townsend has been dogged by hamstring issues in his left leg the last two

Is there still a chance to see Jim Johnson in the rotation?

With the offseason additions of pitchers Dana Eveland and Tsuyoshi Wada, the Orioles don't seem to have any shortage of candidates to make their opening day starting rotation. Since they have not added anyone to the back end of the bullpen, many are assuming that pretty much means Jim Johnson will stay as a late-inning reliever, likely the closer, and not get a shot to

One national columnist calls Adam Jones a disappointment

For the most part, I agree with a lot of what national baseball columnist Rob Neyer has had to say over the years. He really knows the game and writes interesting and often thought-provoking columns. When I read his piece yesterday about why the Orioles haven't traded Adam Jones, he really caught me off guard when he called Jones "a disappointment." I guess he is

After rough 2011 season, Hobgood hopeful better times are ahead

With a career record of 4-15 and ERA of 5.48 in 158 innings since the Orioles selected him with the fifth pick in the 2009 draft, right-hander Matt Hobgood has gotten plenty of criticism from fans and he has come to expect that to be the case. He continues to work to rehab his right shoulder and said he hasn't felt right and completely healthy

Fans looking for a total rebuild by Orioles will likely not get one

Some fans that have commented on this blog in recent days have had a similar refrain: "Why not blow it up and start over?" Basically, those fans advocate a total rebuilding of the Orioles. Rather than sign a player like Adam Jones to a long-term contract, they prefer to see him and other key players traded to add prospects to rebuild the farm system and,

Notes on Snyder, Miller and the Orioles outfield

Here's wishing Brandon Snyder well with the Texas Rangers. He is someone I first met while broadcasting Aberdeen IronBirds games and he played there briefly in 2005 and 2006. When Snyder had that big first half with Double-A Bowie in 2009, he looked like he was on his way to one day being the Orioles' regular first baseman. But he never did put up big

Brandon Snyder: "It's time for a new opportunity"

After playing in 720 games in the Orioles' organization, Brandon Snyder, the club's first-round pick in 2005, today was traded to the Texas Rangers for cash considerations. Snyder got a call from an Orioles official around noon and found out he would be leaving the only organization he's ever played for. The 26-year-old Snyder got 20 at-bats with the O's in 2010 and 13 last

Trading a key Oriole would be hard to do

Yes, some of us were burning the midnight (and early morning) oil with rumors of a possible Orioles acquisition of free agent outfielder Coco Crisp. Now his O's acquisition seems unlikely but fans sure rushed to Twitter and message boards, including MASNsports.com last night, to discuss this. Most had one key question: What would that mean for Adam Jones? Would he move to left field?

Thoughts on Edwin Jackson, the AL East and Matt Hobgood

I have been reading that free agent pitcher Edwin Jackson wants a four-year contract and it's no surprise that Scott Boras is shooting for the moon here. This is a pitcher that has already played for six different teams and has a career ERA of 4.46. Jackson did have a solid 2011 season, going 12-9 with an ERA of 3.79 between the White Sox and

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