More chatter on Orioles' pitching plans in free agency

Felix Baustista white jersey

If the month of November seems slow or stalled for Orioles business, consider that the only player acquisition a year ago was outfielder Daz Cameron on a minor league contract. The rest of it centered on outrighting a few players and protecting others in the Rule 5 draft.

The Orioles were much more active in November 2021 with waiver claims of relievers Bryan Baker and Cionel Pérez and shortstop Lucius Fox and the signings of second baseman Rougned Odor and pitchers Spenser Watkins, Rico Garcia, Marcos Diplán and Denyi Reyes. The Nationals claimed Fox 11 days later.

Pitcher Tommy Milone was traded to the Braves in November 2020 for minor league infielders Greg Cullen and AJ Graffanino, and first baseman Chris Snow was claimed from the Giants. Outfielder Mason Williams and shortstop Malquin Canelo signed minor league deals in November 2019.

So, it’s usually a non-impactful month under executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias.

Meanwhile, free-agent starters began flying off the board, at a senior citizen discount.

Continue reading

This, that and the other (home game times announced)

Kyle Stowers black jersey

The Orioles are expected to break camp again next spring with 13 pitchers and 13 position players. The same even split on their 26-man roster.

Six of them made their first Opening Day rosters – starter Kyle Bradish, catcher Adley Rutschman, infielders Gunnar Henderson and Terrin Vavra, outfielder Kyle Stowers and reliever Logan Gillaspie. Gillaspie is the only one who’s out of the organization, with the Red Sox claiming him off waivers Sept. 4 and the Padres selecting him Nov. 15.

Bradish finished fourth in Cy Young voting in the American League after starting Game 1 of the Division Series. He’s the staff ace.

Rutschman was an All-Star and Silver Slugger Award winner who placed ninth in Most Valuable Player balloting.

Henderson finished eighth, was voted Rookie of the Year and also won a Silver Slugger. And he’s only going to get better.

Continue reading

A few questions and curiosities about the 2024 Orioles

Kyle Bradish white jersey

Baseball’s offseason moves into a new month later this week, inching closer to the Winter Meetings, also known as the worst assignment of the year. Stretch out those hamstrings to chase rumors, whether legit or loony, at the Gaylord Opryland Resort & Convention Center in Nashville.

Stretch them out to cover the hundreds of miles separating the media workroom from the lobby area and elevators.

You literally are handed a map at the front desk to navigate the premises, accompanied by wishes of “good luck.” And with my sense of direction, I’m liable to wander into Memphis while searching for a men’s room.

Take the free bottled water if offered. It may be the difference between survival and dying from dehydration.

Fans are dying to know what the Orioles will do with their roster.

Continue reading

Checking on a few more awards

felix bautista grey

The Winter Meetings are a week away, but I can’t fly into Nashville until I’ve trudged through a few more awards nights.

Roll up the pant legs and wear old shoes.

Major League Baseball’s Comeback Player of the Year will be announced Tuesday evening on MLB Network. White Sox closer Liam Hendriks was honored in the American League in the Players Choice voting, finishing ahead of Orioles first baseman Ryan O’Hearn and Rays pitcher Tyler Glasnow.

Hendriks returned to the White Sox’s active roster in May and appeared in five games after battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. I don’t see any reason to consider someone else.

Former Orioles first baseman Trey Mancini was the AL’s Comeback Player of the Year in 2021.

Continue reading

Reviewing three more unexpected developments in the Orioles' 2023 season

bemboom bautista grey

Two days past Thanksgiving is too early to begin worrying whether the leftovers are edible. To check for discoloring, change in texture, hints that a trip to the emergency room is in your future.

It isn’t too late to keep looking back on the 2023 Orioles season.

Among the surprises and oddities, I’ve already mentioned how Austin Voth wasn’t impactful, Dillon Tate wasn’t able to pitch, Mike Baumann wasn’t big only in size, Yennier Cano was an All-Star, Danny Coulombe was cool under pressure, Adam Frazier had a power surge and outage, Ryan O’Hearn hit in the middle of the order, Cedric Mullins posted curious splits, and Joey Krehbiel wasn’t around much.

Here are three more:

Logan Gillaspie made the Opening Day roster.

Continue reading

Looking back at Orioles' contract tender decisions and signings for 2024

Keegan Aiken white jersey

Winning the American League East and reaching the Division Series, where they were swept by the Rangers, earned the Orioles a playoff share of $43,942.

A decent haul but a pittance compared to the $506,263 earned by the Rangers for winning the World Series. The Diamondbacks won the National League pennant and were rewarded with $313,634.

The general managers and owners meetings are over and the major awards are passed out. The Winter Meetings don’t start until Dec. 3 in Nashville. The deadlines to protect players in the Rule 5 draft and tender contracts to the ones eligible for arbitration arrived last week.

The Orioles didn’t add any of their Rule 5 eligibles to the 40-man roster, which has four openings for future business. They also had zero non-tenders, a surprise considering the 17 players on their list. At least a few seemed reasonable, if not assured.

Four reached agreements on new deals: shortstop Jorge Mateo for $2.7 million, reliever Keegan Akin for $825,000 and outfielders Ryan McKenna and Sam Hilliard for $800,000. The remaining 13 have agents negotiating with the Orioles until the Jan. 12 deadline to submit salary figures for the upcoming season.

Continue reading

Some Orioles-related reasons to be thankful

Gunnar Henderson gray

A kind world would make carving reminiscent of turkeys on the Thanksgiving table rather than Nathan Eovaldi facing the Orioles in the Division Series. But gentle isn’t always an option.

Let’s keep it brief today. Like saying grace. Expressing your gratitude without letting the gravy get cold and develop that skin on the surface.

Orioles fans should be thankful for a 2023 season that probably exceeded their wildest expectations.

A record above .500? Optimists were on it. Making the playoffs? Not beyond the realm of possibility after the club went 83-79 the previous summer.

Posting the best record in the American League to win the division and earn a first-round bye? Crazy talk until it happened.

Continue reading

More on Gibson's departure and what it says about Orioles' rotation plans

Kyle Gibson white jersey

The Cardinals signing of Kyle Gibson to a one-year, $12 million deal with an option didn’t shed much light on the Orioles’ plans for their rotation.

Those intentions already are illuminated.

Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias wants an upper-level starter for the rotation. Gibson is a great guy who put up some good numbers in 2023, but Elias is aiming higher.

He won’t find a higher-quality individual, but this is about upgrading the rotation.

Elias gave interviews at the general managers meetings and to and 105.7 The Fan over the last few weeks, and it’s the same summary. He wants pitching. Near or at the top of the rotation and in the back end of the bullpen.

Continue reading

Quick take on Gibson's agreement with Cardinals (updated)

gibson v BOS

The Orioles were expected to find a new Opening Day starter in 2024, whether from outside the organization or by choosing one of their returnees.

Now, they’re assured of doing it.

Kyle Gibson reached agreement today on a one-year deal with the St. Louis Cardinals that includes an option for 2025, per a report from USA Today’s Bob Nightengale, with multiple outlets confirming.

ESPN’s Jesse Rogers first reported that Gibson will receive $12 million next season.

It’s an ideal landing spot for Gibson, who lives in the St. Louis area and attended the University of Missouri. He follows the Cardinals’ agreement yesterday with veteran Lance Lynn to a one-year deal plus an option for a guaranteed $11 million.

Continue reading

This, that and the other

Dean Kremer white jersey

Orioles starter Dean Kremer fell short of achieving Super 2 status and becoming eligible for arbitration. The cutoff was set at two years and 118 days of service time, down from two years and 128 days in 2022.

Kremer missed it this year at two years and 112 days.

The season was mostly a success for Kremer, who finished 13-5 with a 4.12 ERA in a career high 32 starts and 172 2/3 innings. Eleven of his victories occurred in night games, tied with teammate Kyle Gibson for second-most in the American League.

I can’t leave it at that. More digging must be done here, and I’m the man with the shovel.

According to STATS research, Steve Stone owns the club record with 24 victories in night games in 1980. Stone won the Cy Young Award in the American League with a 25-7 record.

Continue reading

Revisiting notes on Mateo, McCann, Mullins, Pérez, Rutschman and Urías

Jorge Mateo white jersey

Time to revisit more notes from the 2023 season. And not just the facts.

Here’s another attempt to expand on them. Stretching the truth.

Fact: Jorge Mateo became the first player in Orioles history and the eighth in the majors since at least 1901 with multiple stolen bases in a team’s first two games of the season. He also became the first player in club history and the 14th player since 1901 with at least four stolen bases in his first two games to begin a season. Mateo became the ninth Oriole to steal at least 20 bases in the team’s first 68 games and the first since Nate McLouth had 23 in 2013.

Follow: If only Mateo could reach base more often, but that’s been his issue at every stop.

Top 100 prospects don’t usually move around this much. He’s been traded twice and claimed on waivers, and he’s only 28.

Continue reading

Extra Orioles mailbag questions

Cedric Mullins run orange home

Leftovers aren’t just for the days after Thanksgiving.

I had some extra questions in last week’s mailbag. I’d prefer green bean casserole, but maybe later.

The portion is modest, unlike your server. Just a couple handfuls of inquiries that didn’t make the first one.

Also, my mailbag serves homemade stuffing and your mailbag uses a box that expired three years ago.

Who will be the top two Orioles in stolen bases in 2024 and who will get the most innings at third base?
Two questions packed into one. Sort of like a casserole. I can’t make bold predictions without knowing the Opening Day roster. Jorge Mateo and Cedric Mullins were 1-2 this season, but Mateo appeared in 116 games. I wouldn’t expect the same in 2024. The second part is easier because I can just choose between Gunnar Henderson and Jordan Westburg. I’ll get back to you.

Continue reading

Diving into an imaginary trade package for Burnes


With family and friends gathering soon for the Thanksgiving holiday, the baseball business could slow but won’t necessarily halt. The screeching sound isn’t brakes. More likely talk radio.

Mike Elias could turn off his phone or charge it in another room while the turkey’s carved. He might be traveling and temporarily unavailable. But he’s aware of a fast-developing market after his time at the general managers meetings in Arizona. How pitching could fly off the board – unlike turkeys, who can’t fly – with so many teams searching for it.

The expanded playoffs increase the aggressiveness of executives, especially after the second-place, 84-win Diamondbacks reached the World Series. Snoozing brings the risk of losing.

Elias is known to prefer club control beyond one year if listening to trade offers, but the quest for a starter who slots high in the rotation might now allow it. Some of the biggest names assumed to be available are approaching free agency, most notably Milwaukee’s Corbin Burnes, Cleveland’s Shane Bieber and Tampa Bay’s Tyler Glasnow. The White Sox’s Dylan Cease has two years left on his contract.

The rentals can command less in return, but higher demand and desperation also can plant the sellers more firmly in the driver’s seat. Bidding wars aren’t confined to free agency.

Continue reading

More on today's tender date (updated)

Anthony Santander white jersey

The next important date on baseball’s calendar arrives today with teams required to tender or non-tender players eligible for arbitration.

You probably memorized the list of 17 Orioles, an unusually high total, but here it is again, with MLBTradeRumors using its model to project salaries:

Anthony Santander: $7.4 million to $12.7 million
Danny Coulombe: $1 million to $2.2 million
John Means: $2.975 million to $5.93 million
Ryan O’Hearn: $1.4 million to $3 million
Cedric Mullins: $4.1 million to $6.4 million
Austin Hays: $3.2 million to $6.1 million
Dillon Tate: $1.5 million to $1.5 million
Jorge Mateo: $2 million to $2.9 million
Ryan Mountcastle: $738,400 to $4.2 million
Cionel Pérez: $732,300 to $1.3 million
Cole Irvin: $737,600 to $1.8 million
Keegan Akin: $731,100 to $800,000
Jacob Webb: $720,000 to $1.2 million
Ramón Urías: $734,700 to $2 million
Tyler Wells: $732,400 to $2.3 million
Ryan McKenna: $725,800 to $740,000
Sam Hilliard: $750,000 to $1.1 million

Santander is going to draw trade interest again and therefore find himself immersed in rumors. He’s a slam-dunk tender, of course. That’s the easy part.

Harder is finding a way to squeeze Heston Kjerstad and Colton Cowser onto a 26-man roster without removing an outfielder. But so would be replacing Santander’s power and run production.

Continue reading

Because You Asked - Frozen Empire

Heston Kjerstad black jersey

My mailbag is getting thick around the waist again. So am I, which prevents me from judging it too harshly.

Rather than let it balloon and risk a rupture, I’ve decided to empty it this morning in the latest sequel to the beloved original in August 2008.

Harder to keep the weight off as we age.

I didn’t burn many calories editing your questions. I might have attached a first name. I might have removed a comma or parentheses. Please don’t contact your lawyer.  

Also, my mailbag plays sweet music and yours has Creed on a loop.

Continue reading

Checking on options for some Orioles players (Bradish fourth in Cy Young voting)

Cole Irvin black jersey

Two moves made by the Orioles in the offseason put players on the 40-man roster who are out of minor league options.

Left-hander Tucker Davidson, who signed a one-year contract last week, cleared outright waivers yesterday and was assigned to Triple-A Norfolk. Outfielder Sam Hilliard will try to avoid the waiver wire as the Orioles create more space for future transactions. He also can’t be sent down without going through the process.

The Orioles depend on flexibility that allows for a roster churn, the shuffling done especially to freshen the bullpen. But there are numerous relievers who have run out of options.

The list includes left-handers Danny Coulombe, Cionel Pérez and Cole Irvin, and right-handers Jacob Webb and Mike Baumann.

Irvin made 12 starts and 12 relief appearances, and the Orioles haven’t said whether he’s viewed in one role next summer. Baumann was told late in camp that he’d be used strictly in relief and in fewer innings, and there’s no reason to deviate from that plan moving forward.

Continue reading

Hyde named AL Manager of the Year in BBWAA voting (updated)

hyde smiles

Guiding a team to 101 wins and the best record in the American League couldn’t be ignored by voters in the Baseball Writers’ Association of America.

Brandon Hyde was named AL Manager of the Year, with the news coming tonight on MLB Network. He was the only manager to appear on every ballot.

Hyde, a runner-up last year to the Indians’ Terry Francona, received 27 first-place votes and three second. The Rangers’ Bruce Bochy garnered the other three first-place votes and finished with 61 points.

The Rays’ Kevin Cash had 52, followed by the Twins’ Rocco Baldelli (eight), the Astros’ Dusty Baker (four) and the Blue Jays’ John Schneider (one).

Joe Maddon, a three-time recipient and close friend of Hyde’s, made the announcement. Hyde was on Maddon’s coaching staff when the Cubs won the World Series in 2016.

Continue reading

Orioles don't add players to 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 draft

Orioles don't add players to 40-man roster ahead of Rule 5 draft

The Orioles didn’t protect any eligible players in next month’s Rule 5 draft by today’s 6 p.m. deadline. The announcement was made a few minutes ago.

Their 40-man roster holds at 36 players after infielder Terrin Vavra and left-hander Tucker Davidson cleared outright waivers this afternoon and were assigned to Triple-A Norfolk.

The deadline is Friday to tender contracts to players who are eligible for arbitration. The Orioles have 17 pending, which could create more openings.

Among the minor leaguers left unprotected today are outfielder Hudson Haskin, catcher Maverick Handley and pitchers Ryan Watson, Jean Pinto, Garrett Stallings, Kyle Brnovich, Zach Peek and Trey McGough. Watson was the organization’s Minor League Pitcher of the Year in 2022 and McGough made this year’s Arizona Fall League Fall Stars team.

MLB Pipeline ranks Haskin as the No. 17 prospect in the system, the only player in the top 30 eligible to be drafted. He seemed the  most likely to be added to the 40-man.

Continue reading

Does Hyde haul in the BBWAA hardware tonight?

Brandon Hyde

Brandon Hyde is respected by his peers, who twice have voted him The Sporting News’ Manager of the Year in the American League. For shocking the industry with an 83-win season in 2022 and by leading the Orioles to 101, a division title and the best record in the league in 2023.

That’s two ways to do it. Be the manager of a team that wasn’t expected to do anything or surprises again by taking the AL East and the top seed in the playoffs.

The BBWAA gave the award to Cleveland’s Terry Francona last year, and supporters pointed to the Guardians’ having the youngest roster and winning their division, while the Orioles missed the playoffs. I didn’t agree with it. The Orioles went from 110 losses to 79 and competed in a much tougher division. They contended until the final week.

Hyde is viewed as the favorite tonight. Analysts on MLB Network revealed the finalists last week and noted the lack of drama surrounding the winners, as if the first-place finishers were obvious.

Is that the case with AL manager?

Continue reading

Henderson set to start week with latest rookie award (updated)

Gunnar Henderson black jersey

Gunnar Henderson needs to build a wing onto his trophy case. The kind that also can't be clipped.

Henderson will be named American League Rookie of the Year tonight in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The first Oriole since closer Gregg Olson in 1989 and the seventh overall.

I believe in miracles, but there isn’t one that can deny Henderson of the honor.

Henderson already won The Sporting News and Major League Baseball Players Association Players Choice Award as the league's top rookie. His competition tonight is the Red Sox’s Tristan Casas and the Guardians’ Tanner Bibee.

I can’t reveal my ballot until tonight’s announcement, but yeah, those three sound right to me.

Continue reading