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Brach’s knack for picking up wins

With Brad Brach headed to an arbitration hearing, the Orioles still determined to file-and-trial, we’re going to learn about the relevance of a reliever’s win total in the process. Never judge a pitcher by his won-loss record. Kevin Gausman is a prime example of how run support and other factors wield a heavy influence. But Brach’s record in 2016 is going to be placed in

Expectations running high for Gausman and Bundy

The Orioles may break camp with only 10 or 11 pitchers due to having three open dates within the first eight days of the season. They can carry an expanded bench, perhaps including a Rule 5 pick and/or Trey Mancini, who’s currently on the roster bubble. However the rotation unfolds, Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy will be in it. They’re locks if healthy and carrying

Leftovers from FanFest

There wasn’t any real news to come out of yesterday’s FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. A few injury updates, confirmation that the Orioles aren’t engaged in contract extension talks, confirmation that executive vice president Dan Duquette made an offer to pitcher Vance Worley before the right-hander signed a minor league deal with the Nationals, Adam Jones’ assertion that the club must improve its outfield

Worley no longer pitching option for Orioles

The Orioles announced earlier today that more than 15,000 fans attended their annual FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. We’ve reached the conclusion. No more forums, no more autograph sessions. No more Vance Worley in an Orioles uniform. The Nationals announced this evening that they signed Worley, 29, to a minor league contract with an invitation to spring training. He reportedly will earn $1 million

Adam Jones calls for better defense in the outfield

Let Adam Jones play general manager and he’s got strong opinions on where the Orioles need to improve in 2017. It isn’t on the pitching staff, it isn’t in the lineup, it isn’t on the basepaths. “We don’t need more power. I think that’s prevalent. We don’t need more offense. I think we need to improve the outfield defense,” Jones said. “People want to say

Davis and O’Day in good health

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis said he started to swing a bat about a month ago and hasn’t experienced any discomfort in his left hand. It’s a sizable piece of good news in the offseason. Davis dislocated his left thumb early in the 2016 season and continued to play through the pain, batting .221/.332/.459 with 38 home runs and 84 RBIs. He led the majors

Orioles still expect to take three players to arbitration hearings

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated again today at FanFest that the club is prepared to go to arbitration hearings with pitchers Kevin Gausman and Brad Brach and catcher Caleb Joseph. “The club took the stance that if you file, there’s a trial. We took file-to-trial this year,” he said. “We were able to resolve six of the nine cases and it looks like

Early words from Duquette and Showalter (updated)

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter finished up their FanFest forum for season plan members. The session lasted about 30 minutes, and it took 22 before a woman began to ask Showalter about his decision to not use closer Zach Britton in the wild card game. I had the under. Showalter cut her off and said, “It wasn’t very good, was

Rickard hopes to repeat as part of 25-man roster

Whether former Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard breaks camp with the Orioles this spring depends on a variety of factors. Not all of them are in his control. Rickard’s performance will be weighed and he’s hoping it’s in the best shape of his life. (See what I did there?) The Orioles always keep a Rule 5 pick on the roster, which could put Rickard in

Trumbo on free agency and his return to the Orioles

Mark Trumbo never wanted to leave Baltimore and he made that point crystal clear again this afternoon at his press conference inside the auxiliary clubhouse at Camden Yards. Trumbo put on his No. 45 jersey and cap, smiled with executive vice president Dan Duquette, and explained how the free agent process left him frustrated and ultimately thrilled because it brought him back to the Orioles.

Joseph and Brach on arbitration hearings

The Orioles have three players headed to arbitration hearings if agreements can’t be reached on 2017 contracts, and the club indicated that it won’t negotiate past the deadline. The process seems inevitable. Pitchers Kevin Gausman and Brad Brach and catcher Caleb Joseph remain unsigned. Joseph said last night that he’s planning to go to his hearing on Feb. 1 in St. Petersburg, Fla. before position

Orioles lose Adam Walker to waiver claim

Outfielder Adam Walker is taking his all-or-nothing approach to another organization. It still isn’t safe to unpack his bags or send out his laundry. The Braves have claimed Walker off waivers from the Orioles, who designated him for assignment on Friday to create a spot on the 40-man roster for Mark Trumbo. To make room on the 40-man, the Braves waived catcher Tuffy Gosewich, who

Britton passes around credit for historic season

The annual Orioles FanFest event at the Baltimore Convention Center is only a few days away and closer Zach Britton will be a popular figure with fans and the media. An extremely nice guy, super-talented and coming off an historic season. He won’t slip through the crowd unnoticed. How long until he’s asked about being a perfect 47-for-47 in saves and how he intends to

Addressing some of the areas that need improving

The Orioles have made three moves this winter that can be termed as significant, signing catcher Welington Castillo, trading for corner outfielder Seth Smith and re-signing outfielder Mark Trumbo. They moved pitcher Yovani Gallardo in the process, eliminating the extra starter and the $11 million owed to him this year. They also chose two outfielders in the Rule 5 draft to increase the camp competition,

Trumbo, Castillo added to FanFest lineup

Mark Trumbo will be reintroduced to the media Friday afternoon during a press conference at Camden Yards that will air live at 3 p.m. on MASN and 105.7 The Fan. The timing is no accident. Trumbo will appear at the annual FanFest the following day at the Baltimore Convention Center. Killing two commitments with one visit. Trumbo will be signing autographs in two sessions. He’ll

Hart ready to do some experimenting in spring training

Orioles pitchers will be subjected to the usual drills in spring training, whether it’s pop-ups, bunts or rundowns. They’re going to throw on flat ground and off mounds, including one that has strings running across it to emphasize command. Certain pitchers will be given instructions tailored to their needs, others may take the initiative and do a little experimenting. Left-hander Donnie Hart will attempt to

Roster closer to completion

Whatever moves are made to finalize the Orioles roster for spring training and beyond won’t require them to dig deep into their wallets. Mark Trumbo was the big-ticket item for the club and he came at a relative discount considering early contract projections. But it’s still $11 million for 2017 and $37.5 million for the duration of the deal. Executive vice president Dan Duquette wants

Wieters, Worley, draft order and minor matters

As another potential suitor for Matt Wieters is eliminated from consideration, speculation mounts that the Orioles could arrange an unexpected reunion with the free agent catcher. The Braves always have been viewed as the likely landing spot for Wieters, the former Georgia Tech star who owns a home in the Atlanta area, but they veered in a different direction yesterday and signed Kurt Suzuki. The

Britton on wanting to be with the Orioles “my whole career”

The non-tender deadline didn’t bring an ounce of drama for closer Zach Britton. Not a speck. A gnat’s eyelash carried more weight. The only uncertainty pertained to the Orioles reaching agreement with Britton on a 2017 contract without going to an arbitration hearing. Britton accepted an $11.4 million offer on Jan. 13, the deadline before the sides exchanged salary figures. He made $6.75 million last

Weekend negotiations led to Trumbo deal

Just as it appeared that the Orioles moved away from free agent outfielder Mark Trumbo, the sides came together on a deal that works for both parties. Agent Joel Wolfe and executive vice president Dan Duquette reopened the lines of communication last week, and Trumbo signed a contract that pays him $37.5 million over three years. The deal includes a limited no-trade clause to seven

Trumbo deal is official

The Orioles filled a potential power void in their lineup by bringing back the major league leader in home runs from last season. The solution was right under their noses. Mark Trumbo has passed his physical and signed his new contract, which guarantees him $37.5 million over three seasons. His spin through free agency brought him back to Baltimore. Trumbo batted .256/.316/.533 with 27 doubles,

The Trumbo agreement, the ripple effect and what’s next

The Orioles’ mock lineup for 2017 contains fewer holes as the days tick down before spring training. Seth Smith can be penciled into right field, at least in a platoon role, and Mark Trumbo can be tabbed as the primary designated hitter after agreeing to terms last night on a three-year, $37.5 million contract. The deal becomes official after Trumbo passes his physical. I know

Orioles nearing deal with Trumbo (updated with terms)

The Orioles are nearing an agreement with free agent outfielder Mark Trumbo, pending a physical, according to an industry source. The deal is for three years and below $40 million, according to the source. The Orioles pulled their original offer as talks broke down, but the door never closed on a return. Executive vice president Dan Duquette values the draft pick attached to Trumbo, but

The night Raines and Raines Jr. shared an outfield

Tracking and writing about the Hall of Fame voting last night took me back to 2001, when I was a fresher-faced newspaper reporter in my fifth year on the Orioles beat. I can’t think about Tim Raines, who will be inducted this summer in his final year on the ballot, without reflecting on his brief time in Baltimore and how it unfolded. How he played

Raines, Bagwell and Rodriguez voted into Hall of Fame

One player with thin ties to the Orioles will be inducted into baseball’s Hall of Fame later this year in Cooperstown, N.Y. Tim Raines received 86.2 percent of the votes in his final year on the ballot, an increase from 69.8 percent in 2016. A player must garner at least 75 percent to be inducted. First baseman Jeff Bagwell and catcher Ivan Rodriguez will join

Leftovers for breakfast

The Orioles’ success in 2017 hinges, as always, on the performance of their rotation. It’s the reason why they qualified as the second wild card last year, their September surge pushing them into the playoffs for the third time in five years. The rotation still doesn’t impress the prognosticators who pick the Orioles near or at the bottom of the American League East. But Chris

Orioles announce FanFest autograph lineup

The Orioles already announced the Jan. 28 date for their annual FanFest at the Baltimore Convention Center. Now comes the official list of autograph stations. There isn’t much left except opening the doors and praying for dry weather. Adam Jones and Manny Machado will sign at 11:20 a.m. and again at 2 p.m. at separate stations. Chris Davis will sign at 12:40 p.m. and 4:40

Anderson on Mancini: “The guy can mash”

The Orioles expressed interest in outfielder Michael Saunders throughout the winter until the trade for Seth Smith lessened the urgency. They had a left-handed hitter for right field with a career .344 on-base percentage. Executive vice president Dan Duquette wants another player who bats from the left side, but he’s also seeking a plus defender in the outfield and Saunders experienced a decline in 2016.

Tillman offers advice to Givens regarding WBC

The Orioles are down to four players committed to play in the World Baseball Classic after outfielder Hyun Soo Kim reportedly withdrew his name from the South Korea roster. One of them received some advice from the staff ace during last week’s minicamp in Sarasota. Chris Tillman, who lives about 10 minutes from the Ed Smith Stadium complex, showed up all three days to continue

Tillman on contract extension: “I’d love to stay”

While the Orioles seem intent on going to arbitration hearings with their three unsigned players, I’d love to be a fly on the wall as the process unfolds. Bonus if there are snacks on the table. Caleb Joseph is seeking $1 million while the Orioles have countered at $700,000. He made $523,500 last season. Joseph’s agent has been preparing his case and he’s bound to

Garcia trying to stay in the majors in 2017

The 2016 season didn’t go as Jason Garcia intended. Better to put it behind him and never look back. Except that he wants to keep it close to him. Sound confusing? Not when the Orioles’ young right-hander explains it. The former Rule 5 pick was recalled on July 9, replacing Mike Wright in the bullpen, and optioned back to Double-A Bowie the following day. You

Orioles exchange salary figures with three unsigned players

The Orioles confirmed tonight that they exchanged salary figures with pitchers Kevin Gausman and Brad Brach and catcher Caleb Joseph. They settled with six of their arbitration-eligible players. Hearing dates will be set for the unsigned trio. I’ve been told again that the Orioles will file and go, leading to hearings that can be scheduled between Jan. 30-Feb. 17. I heard earlier today that the

Britton avoids arbitration (also Machado, Tillman, Schoop)

The Orioles reached agreement with closer Zach Britton on a contract for the 2017 season, leaving six arbitration-eligible players unsigned as the 1 p.m. deadline approaches. Britton signed for $11.4 million, according to sources. He made $6.75 million last season while going 47-for-47 in save opportunities and posting a 0.54 ERA, finishing fourth in Cy Young Award voting in the American League. He’s been an

Updates on salary exchanges, Trumbo and Rickard

Today marks the deadline for teams and players to exchange salary figures before attempting to work out agreements and avoid the messy hearing process. The deadline is 1 p.m., so you won’t be left hanging all day. The Orioles could announce a bunch of signings later this afternoon. It’s been known to happen. Last year, they agreed to terms with eight of their 10 players

Flaherty agrees to terms on 2017 contract (also McFarland)

The Orioles have reached agreement with utility infielder Ryan Flaherty on a contract for 2017, avoiding the possibility of going to an arbitration hearing. Flaherty signed for $1.8 million, according to a source. The deal also includes incentives. MLBTradeRumors.com projected that Flaherty would earn $1.7 million. He made $1.5 million last season and was deemed a non-tender candidate. The Orioles value Flaherty’s defensive versatility. He’s

Tillman doesn’t figure to be flustered by pending free agency

One of the lingering images from this week’s minicamp that concluded yesterday was pitcher Chris Tillman wandering around the back fields with a beard that would make him a perfect cast member on “Duck Dynasty.” There was no masking how much Tillman enjoyed watching the two days of bullpen sessions. He stood off to the side and studied each pitcher and talked baseball with anyone

Wrapping up the final day of minicamp (with pictures and video)

SARASOTA, Fla. - Jesus Liranzo, Brian Gonzalez and Garrett Cleavinger completed their bullpen sessions this morning. Liranzo had the area to himself after Gonzalez and Cleavinger threw off adjoining mounds. Chris Tillman stuck around again to watch the sessions after working out earlier in the day. This guy is a leader on the pitching staff and it shows. The beard is an added bonus. “He

Kim reportedly off WBC roster, Liranzo on health and progress

SARASOTA, Fla. - The Orioles are down to four players participating in the World Baseball Classic. Outfielder Hyun Soo Kim has declined an offer to join South Korea’s team, according to a report from the Yonhap News Agency. Kim was on the preliminary roster. The report includes the following note on Kim: “Kim, entering his second big league season, told the manager a few hours

Notes on minicamp and Brian Gonzalez’s progress

SARASOTA, Fla. - We’ve reached the final day of the Orioles’ minicamp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. A few more bullpen sessions, maybe a few more meetings between the pitchers and coaches Roger McDowell and Alan Mills, followed by flights back home later in the afternoon. The Orioles apparently will leave without signing any new players. No surprises like Delmon Young and Alfredo Aceves.

O’s keeping Mountcastle on shortstop throwing program

SARASOTA, Fla. - The three-day minicamp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex has enabled the Orioles to offer a unique experience to one of their prospects: a throwing program for an infielder. It isn’t routine in baseball. Such programs usually are associated with pitchers. But the Orioles are providing one to Single-A Delmarva shortstop Ryan Mountcastle, the 36th overall pick in the 2015 draft who’s

Lots more from the second day of minicamp

SARASOTA, Fla. - Jesus Liranzo, added to the 40-man roster to protect him in the Rule 5 draft, will throw a bullpen session on Wednesday before the Orioles end their latest minicamp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. Manager Buck Showalter said he’s “intrigued” by left-hander John Means, who threw today. Means, 23, is an 11th-round pick in 2014 out of West Virginia who went

Branden Kline gets back on the mound (with pictures and videos)

SARASOTA, Fla. - The second day of minicamp held more importance for Branden Kline than perhaps anyone else in attendance. Kline, 25, threw off a bullpen mound this morning, another important step in his recovery from ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in October 2015. Dr. James Andrews handled the procedure in Florida. Jason Garcia joined Kline for the first round. Others followed while manager

Chris Lee on his health, Mychal Givens on pitching in WBC

SARASOTA, Fla. - The second day of Orioles minicamp this morning will include multiple bullpen sessions. Pitchers scheduled to throw include Jason Garcia, Mike Wright, Logan Verrett, Joe Gunkel, Jesus Liranzo, Stefan Crichton, John Means and Jimmy Yacabonis. Chris Lee isn’t ready to step on a mound, but it could happen within the next two weeks. Lee threw off flat ground yesterday while continuing his

Notes on Drake, bullpen, Trumbo, Berry and Wright

SARASOTA, Fla. - Reliever Oliver Drake has his locker set up inside the home clubhouse at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. He isn’t attending minicamp, but it’s waiting for him next month as pitchers and catchers report to spring training. The Orioles currently appear to have two openings in their bullpen and Drake may be given a shot to occupy one of them. It will

Verrett on his return to the Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. - After going through some morning stretching exercises on the first day of minicamp, Orioles pitcher Logan Verrett paired up with Jason Garcia for a game of catch on the replica Camden Yards field. Reunited Rule 5 picks getting reacquainted. The Orioles kept Garcia in the spring of 2015 and tried to pass Verrett through waivers, but the Rangers put in a claim.

A few notes from the first day of minicamp

SARASOTA, Fla. - New Orioles minor league pitching coordinator John Wasdin is at minicamp this week. The club hasn’t announced his hiring, but he’s assisting with the workouts at the Ed Smith Stadium complex. No one threw in the bullpen today, but there will be numerous sessions on Tuesday. Outfielder Joey Rickard and catcher Chance Sisco are working out in California with vice president of

Left field lessons continue for Christian Walker

SARASOTA, Fla. - The first day of minicamp at the Ed Smith Stadium complex includes a morning meeting before the Orioles take the field around 11 a.m. The clubhouse opened to the media for an hour. A few players, including reliever Mychal Givens and outfielders Christian Walker and Henry Urrutia, live in the area and decided to show up despite not receiving a formal invitation.

Trumbo talk, minicamp thoughts and Gausman’s shoulder

SARASOTA, Fla. - Have the Orioles moved away from free agent slugger Mark Trumbo? We’re left again to read between the lines. Executive vice president Dan Duquette stated again yesterday on MLB Network Radio that the club values the draft pick attached to Trumbo if the outfielder signs with another club. He didn’t deny during his interview with Jim Bowden and former Orioles executive Jim

More thoughts on roster and Bundy’s progress

SARASOTA, Fla. - I remain at a loss trying to figure out the Orioles’ next move and their thought process behind it. I’m left to speculate and wait. Executive vice president Dan Duquette said he could sign another outfielder, and the Orioles appear to be focused on a left-handed bat. Seth Smith satisfied a need, but not their craving. A right-handed hitter makes sense to

More on Seth Smith and what could come next

Immediately after the Orioles tweeted the news yesterday that they acquired outfielder Seth Smith from the Mariners for pitcher Yovani Gallardo and cash considerations, my first thought turned to how the club made the announcement before it leaked to the media. When does this happen anymore? There also was surprise that the Orioles traded one of their starters this month rather than later in the

Hearing from Duquette and Smith after today’s trade

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette found his left-handed bat for right field earlier today and there’s more work to be done. Another item is crossed off a list that hasn’t reached bottom. Duquette acquired Seth Smith from the Mariners for starter Yovani Gallardo and cash. Multiple needs were addressed in the process, but others remain. The approximately $4 million saved could be put toward

Orioles acquire Seth Smith from Mariners for Yovani Gallardo

The Orioles found their left-handed hitting corner outfielder today without spending in free agency. The club announced that it acquired Seth Smith from the Mariners for pitcher Yovani Gallardo and cash considerations. Smith, 34, batted .249/.342/.415 (94-for-378) with 16 home runs and a career-high 63 RBIs over 137 games with the Mariners last season. He hit .326 (28-for-86) with runners in scoring position and was

Gausman on wins and losses, Bundy on the cutter/slider

If Orioles right-hander Kevin Gausman is going to take a significant step toward becoming the staff ace, he probably can do so without the weight of an impressive won-loss record reducing his stride. The stat is largely meaningless, considering how many factors are out of a pitcher’s control. But Gausman might enjoy a little more support from his teammates this year. The gesture would be

This, that and the other

I wrote last week that Hyun Soo Kim’s participation in the World Baseball Classic wasn’t a certainty despite his inclusion on South Korea’s early roster. Now comes word that manager Kim In-sik is considering possible replacements for Kim and the Rangers’ Shin-soo Choo. In a story that appeared yesterday in Yohhap News Agency, Korea’s manager indicated that the Orioles could steer Kim away from the

This, that and the other

Another outfielder is off the board while the Orioles try to figure out who’s playing right for them on opening day. The Athletics signed Rajai Davis to a one-year deal last night worth a reported $6 million guaranteed. He’s no longer an option for the Orioles, who are intrigued by him every winter without reaching an agreement. The Orioles would prefer a left-handed hitter, so

Orioles sign Montero to minor league deal

The Orioles made one of their depth-type moves today that won’t bring much risk and certainly no reward until perhaps later in the summer. Jesus Montero, 27, agreed to a minor league deal, the signing confirmed by executive vice president Dan Duquette. The former elite catching prospect now is a first baseman/designated hitter who’s suspended for the first 50 games of 2017 after testing positive

This, that and the other

The new year began with another report that the Orioles are interested in re-signing designated hitter Pedro Alvarez. It still holds true. They’ve been open to the idea since he hit the free agent market. However, as I’ve written, he could be the type of late signing that brought him to Baltimore last spring and has become executive vice president Dan Duquette’s signature move. Signing

Making up resolutions for the Orioles

I’ve never been a stickler for New Year’s resolutions, mainly because I break them like crystal speed bumps. Work out more, work out less, eat healthier, worry less, stop complaining, start appreciating, read more books, book more trips that don’t include a seventh-inning stretch. I don’t want to be held accountable, but I’m willing to be held if I become emotional. Anyway, let’s play around

Wondering about your worries in a new year

Any headaches out there? Anyone popping Tums like they’re Skittles? Anyone chugging Pepto like it’s your job? I’m kinda/sorta on vacation through Tuesday. I’ve been scouting the Tampa/St. Petersburg area in case I need to alert the Orioles of any changes before their next series against the Rays. And there’s that trip to George Steinbrenner Field when they play the Yankees in spring training. If

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