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Random rumblings

Ending the year with some random takes and thoughts: What made me think of Jake Fox?: It was a comment posted on Twitter yesterday after quarterback Tyrod Taylor made a nice run early in the game for the Ravens. Someone pointed out that could lead to talk-show callers calling for Taylor to play over Joe Flacco. I posted that if you think that is far-fetched,

A 2012 countdown: Ranking the best wins of the year

As we count down to the end of another year, today I take a few moments to count down the best Orioles wins of the 2012 regular season. The list is, of course, subjective. I'd love to read your thoughts and which game or games I left out that make your list. On with the countdown ... 5. Orioles win 1-0 on the road against

A look at a minor league reliever with three solid seasons on the O's farm

Chris Petrini has never started a game on the mound in three seasons pitching in the Orioles' minor leagues, but after putting up more solid numbers again in 2012, maybe he's now starting to make a nice impression on the team brass. The 25-year-old lefty has been overlooked at times because he was not drafted and spent five seasons in college at the University of

What impact will winning have on Orioles attendance next year?

The Orioles' home attendance last year was 2,102,240, which was the largest season attendance since 2007, when the team drew 2,164,822 fans to Camden Yards. The per-game average of 26,278 was also the best since 2007. So how much of an attendance spike should the Orioles expect next season after winning 93 games and making the playoffs for the first time since 1997? If the

A look at one player that might be able to repeat his very strong 2012 season

Is it possible that after such a sensational season in 2012, that Orioles closer Jim Johnson can repeat his numbers in 2013? As good as he was, I think Johnson could put up similar numbers again. Last season he went 2-1 with a 2.49 ERA, a 1.019 WHIP and .220 batting average against. Johnson finished seventh in the American League Cy Young vote, 14th in

Merry Christmas, Birdland

As I prepare to watch "A Christmas Story" (yes, again), I wanted to file just a short post today to wish every reader here and every Orioles fan worldwide a very merry Christmas and happy holidays. We've come a long way from last Christmas in terms of Oriole fandom - from hoping for that long-awaited winning season, to now wondering if the Orioles can repeat

Are 18 MLB teams better than the Orioles?

Sometimes you surprise me, Orioles fans. Take last Friday, for instance. After weeks of reading your responses here and on Twitter, disappointed about the team's lack of big player moves so far, when I wrote that article about ESPN labeling the O's one of the baseball's least improved teams, your responses were interesting. Rather than diss the team, many of you took up for your

Taking stock of the current state of the rotation

As I see it, the current state of the Orioles' rotation is good. On the plus side, the Orioles have some depth, some youth, some very good arms and some youngsters on the rise. On the downside, they have a few pitchers that dealt with injuries last year and some young pitchers that have been consistent with their inconsistency. If spring training began tomorrow, some

An ESPN survey ranks O's as one of MLB's least improved teams

Add ESPN's Jayson Stark and a few anonymous baseball executives to the chorus of Orioles' fans that are disappointed in the team's lack of significant offseason moves to date. While the Orioles have added some players they like, none have yet have fallen under the "big splash" department or have produced much excitement among the fans. Of course, the Orioles have plenty of offseason left

Some feel-good stories from the 2012 season

It was a topic on "Mike & Mike in the Morning" on ESPN Radio this morning. They were discussing some of the feel-good stories of the sports year. It made me think about the 2012 Orioles, a club that produced a few feel-good stories of their own. How about Lew Ford? Even though he hit just .183 in 25 games, he began last year in

Taking a look at a top O's pitching prospect not named Bundy or Gausman

He is one of the Orioles' top young pitchers, but like most pitchers in the O's organization this past season, he got overshadowed by Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. But Eduardo Rodriguez had a third straight strong season in 2012 and most consider him the club's best pitching prospect after the Bundy-Gausman duo. In November, Baseball America rated Rodriguez, a 19-year-old lefty from Valencia, Venezuela,

A scouting report on T.J. McFarland

The Orioles selected lefty pitcher T.J. McFarland in last week's Rule 5 draft. McFarland went a combined 16-8 with a 4.03 ERA last season at Double-A and Triple-A in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. Ben Badler of Baseball America feels the Orioles made a good selection and he sees McFarland, a 2007 fourth-round pick out of an Illinois high school, as a player who could

What is the ceiling for Matt Wieters on offense?

As it turns out, Matt Wieters is not any switch-hitting Jesus or Joe Mauer with power. But he is an All-Star catcher and Gold Glove winner that the Orioles are thrilled to call their own. He has turned into one of the game's top young catchers. But how good can Wieters get on offense? In 2011, he batted .262 with 22 homers, 68 RBIs and

A look at Josh Hader and his stunning velocity increase last summer

When the Orioles drafted pitcher Josh Hader out of Old Mill High School in Anne Arundel County in June, they knew they were getting a kid with impressive high school stats, but not yet an impressive fastball. But that changed this summer. The 18-year-old left-hander, who went 10-0 with an ERA of 0.39 as a senior, was pitching in the mid 80s during his high

Baseball America's Ben Badler talks about Henry Urrutia

Henry Urrutia is the 25-year-old Cuban outfielder the Orioles signed to a $778,500 bonus in July. Urrutia remains in Haiti, awaiting a visa that will allow him to play for a team in the Dominican Winter League. The Orioles had hoped to send Urrutia to Double-A Bowie late last season, but without a visa, that was not possible. How good is Urrutia? I asked Ben

As player salaries go up, can the average fan relate?

At a time when many Americans are struggling to pay their bills, the salaries for pro athletes continues to rise and dwarf the rest of us. This story indicates that the average salary of a big league baseball player was $3.2 million in 2012. Can the average fan relate to that? The answer is probably no, but also I think we are desensitized somewhat to

Checking in with the newest Oriole

It was a few minutes after 9 a.m. Central time last Thursday and T.J. McFarland was by his computer to see if his name would be called in the Rule 5 draft. But before he could hear his name called, a former teammate in the Cleveland organization (no doubt one with a very fast Internet connection) reached out to him. "I actually got a text

What the Dodgers are doing is not good for baseball

Well, with not millions, but billions pouring in through their megabucks television contract, the Los Angeles Dodgers had to put that money somewhere. They could have used it instead on firewood to warm themselves, but I guess this seemed like a better plan. The Dodgers agreed to give pitcher Zack Greinke a six-year deal worth $147 million on Saturday. Last season, they acquired a total

Taking a look at the Orioles' offense

There has been plenty of talk about the Orioles' offense in recent days. The club is looking to add a hitter, preferably one that can fit and hit in the middle of its order. Here is how the Orioles' offense fared last season in the American League and, more specifically, in the AL East: Runs: 712, ninth in AL, fourth in East Average: .247 10th

The Orioles are a good team, but it seems not everyone feels that way

I do understand that some fans are disappointed that the Orioles didn't do more at the Winter Meetings. Every year, it seems there is a segment of the fan base that gets very, very excited about those few days and if major moves are not made, they get very unhappy about it. I think sometimes some fans just want action, any kind of action. Don't

Some Orioles payroll math (with Duquette audio)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Two of the biggest teases for Orioles fans from these Winter Meetings were the news that the club had interest in free agents Nick Swisher and Adam LaRoche. While you never say never, it sure appears the club had little interest in either player at the salaries they project to get via free agency. The Orioles did meet with Swisher's agent, but

A look at the player the Orioles selected in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In the Triple-A phase of today's Rule 5 draft, the Orioles selected right-handed pitcher Tom Boleska from the Minnesota Twins organization. The 26-year-old native of Montreal was originally drafted out of High Point University by Pittsburgh in Round 35 of 2007. Last year, Boleska pitched in the independent American Association for Fargo-Moorhead, going 2-1 with a 1.76 ERA over 46 relief appearances.

Dan Duquette talks about T.J. McFarland

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - The Orioles selected lefty pitcher T.J. McFarland with the 23rd pick in this morning's Rule 5 draft. McFarland went a combined 16-8 with a 4.03 ERA last season at two levels in the Cleveland Indians' farm system. "He's a 23-year-old left-handed pitcher that pitched last year for Cleveland at Double-A and Triple-A," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said. "He has a

Taking a look at today's Rule 5 draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Major League Baseball's Rule 5 draft will be held this morning at 10 a.m. Eastern time here at the Winter Meetings and the Orioles will have the 23rd pick. Any player selected in this draft must remain on the selecting team's 25-man roster for the entire 2013 big league season or be offered back to his original club. This is the draft

Video: Dan Duquette on left field and the Rule 5 draft

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Once again tonight, Dan Duquette took time to talk with me for a video interview on MASNSports.com. With today's news that the club has agreed to a one-year contract with outfielder Nate McLouth, pending a physical, and with Nolan Reimold returning, I asked Duquette if the Orioles were now set in left field. "I thought Nate did a great job for us

Video: One-on-one interview with Orioles director of scouting Gary Rajsich

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Gary Rajsich just finished his first year as Orioles director of scouting and now he and his staff are deep into preparations for the 2013 First-Year Player Draft. Rajsich is here with the Orioles' staff in Nashville for the Winter Meetings. Earlier today, I talked with Rajsich for a video interview in the busy lobby here at the Gaylord Opryland Convention Center

A good fit: McLouth and the Orioles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - So Nate McLouth is returning to the Orioles and I would think most fans are pretty happy about that. In recent weeks, it seems the fans mostly wanted McLouth back and felt he was a key part of last year's team, even though he didn't join the big league club until August. There is also a segment of fans that felt he

Video: Checking in with Baseball America's Jim Callis

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - He is one of the top experts in the nation on baseball prospects, and again this year at the Winter Meetings, I caught up with Jim Callis of Baseball America for a video interview to talk about some of the top young Orioles prospects. Callis feels the O's plan this year for pitcher Dylan Bundy was a good one as their No.

Former big league pitcher could be joining the O's minor league staff

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - He once pitched a no-hitter against the Orioles, and he now may be joining the organization. Wilson Alvarez, who no-hit the Birds in just his second major league start while pitching for the Chicago White Sox, has talked to the club about a job in the minor leagues. Alvarez is being considered for the position of pitching coach for the Gulf Coast

More Showalter quotes and a look at the latest player linked to the Orioles

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Orioles manager Buck Showalter knows it's one thing to make the leap in the standings that the Orioles did last year and yet another to do it two years in a row. During his press conference here yesterday, Showalter was asked about that challenge. "It kind of falls under the thing like last year - I don't want to be stating the

Video: One on one with Buck Showalter

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Earlier today I had a chance to interview Orioles manager Buck Showalter. While he is quite aware, of course, of his club's involvement in trade talks, he took some time to praise his current group of players. He also said the Orioles have around a dozen staff members here at the Winter Meetings. "We've got 12 or 13 guys there and there

Duquette on trade talks and first base (with video)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In a video interview tonight with MASNSports.com, executive vice president Dan Duquette said the Orioles continue to make some progress in both their trade talks and meetings with representatives for free agents. "We are making progress," he said. "We want to sign another outfielder by the end of the week and we're hopeful that we can get something done with a couple

What about the Orioles' payroll for 2013?

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - So what is the Orioles' budget for signing players for the 2013 season? Good for you if you can get Dan Duquette to provide you with a number on that, because he almost certainly will not. The general assumption is that it's likely to be similar to last year and that would put it in the $85 million range, give or take

Once again, predictions of the demise of the Yankees

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - We have been here before. Another opinion - a very educated one at that - that the New York Yankees are in for a big fall. This column headline from USA Today's Bob Nightengale says the "Yankees are looking feeble and futile." In the story, Nightengale writes that, "These days, the Yankees have become a poor man's version of the Kansas City

A look back at day one in Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Some impressions from day one of the Winter Meetings: * We saw again yesterday that sometimes where there is smoke, fire is nowhere to be found. Dan Duquette readily refuted a report that the Orioles were in "hard" on free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche last night during this video interview we did in his suite here in Nashville. I saw that

Video: Orioles are not in on Adam LaRoche

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - A national reporter today quoted an executive from an unidentified team as saying the Orioles were in "hard" in their pursuit of free agent first baseman Adam LaRoche of the Nationals. Not only are the Orioles not in hot pursuit of LaRoche right now, they did not even speak to him or his representative today here at the Winter Meetings. "We like

The price for a hitter

If Billy Butler is made available in a trade by Kansas City, of course the Orioles would be interested. Who wouldn't want a 26-year-old hitter coming off a year where he hit .313 with 29 homers, 107 RBIs and an .882 OPS? In addition Butler will make only $8 million per season the next two years and his contract calls for a club option of

Quick take on LaRoche and first base

It doesn't take long for one tweet to create a stir and that tweet came from ESPN's Jayson Stark a few moments ago when he tweeted this: "Here's another team to add to list of Adam LaRoche pursuers: The #Orioles. An exec of one interested team says O's in on him "hard." This would make sense from one standpoint in that LaRoche is an upgrade

If the Orioles do deal a young pitcher ...

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - It is a good question. Which young pitcher or pitchers would the Orioles be most likely to trade for a hitter and which pitcher or pitchers are most sought after by other clubs? I would guess any of the young pitchers could be had for the right player. Outside of Dylan Bundy, is there any O's pitcher that is completely off limits?

Dan Duquette audio from Nashville

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Dan Duquette's Sunday night briefing with Baltimore reporters did not produce any big news, but it could and maybe will get much busier for the Orioles as the Winter Meetings officially start here today. Yes, the club is still looking for a hitter and it seems they are more likely to get one via a trade than through a free agent signing.

Duquette hints at possible progress with McLouth, Saunders (with video)

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - In an interview earlier this week on MASN's "The Mid-Atlantic Sports Report," Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said contracts talks with free agents Nate McLouth and Joe Saunders were moving at a slow pace. But tonight, when asked during a video interview with MASNsports.com if he sensed any progress in talks with the pair in recent days he said, "Well, I

O's minor league batting coach on Kelly, Schoop and more

Mike Boulanger has completed his first season as the Orioles' minor league hitting coordinator. I spoke with him recently to review how things went in 2012 for O's minor league batters overall. We talked about that in articles that were published earlier here and here. I also asked Boulanger to comment on a few specific players. Ty Kelly, in 133 games between three clubs, batted

Do O's have to match the Toronto trade? (and a take on Mark Reynolds)

The Toronto Blue Jays recently completed a blockbuster 12-player trade where they acquired Jose Reyes, Josh Johnson, Mark Buehrle, John Buck and Emilio Bonifacio from the Marlins. It's a deal that some believe has shifted the balance of power in the AL East. It's a deal some Orioles fans seem to feel the team has to counter with a move or moves of their own.

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