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Duquette on Britton, Schoop, Machado and more

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette indicated again tonight that he expects to keep closer Zach Britton rather than succumb to the various trade proposals. Appearing on the first edition of the “Orioles Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 the Fan, Duquette was asked to place odds on Britton being with the club on opening day. “I think they’re good,” he replied. “I like Zach Britton.

Orioles set home game times with earlier Sunday starts

The Orioles have announced start times for their 2018 home schedule, and folks attending Sunday games at Camden Yards are going to have to adjust their schedules. Sunday games will now begin at 1:05 p.m., a change from the previous 1:35 p.m. start time. Though games will start a half-hour earlier, Sundays will still be family days at the ballpark, which means fans ages 4-14

Tending to non-tender business

The next important date in Major League Baseball doesn’t involve Alex Rodriguez and Jennifer Lopez. Friday marks the deadline for teams to offer contracts to arbitration-eligible players or non-tender them, which expands the free agent market. The Orioles were able to sign catcher Welington Castillo last winter because the Diamondbacks non-tendered him. They would have engaged in trade talks if he hadn’t unexpectedly hit the

A few thoughts on Nick Markakis and how he’d fit Orioles

The Orioles could use a left-handed hitting corner outfielder with a career .358 on-base percentage who is comfortable playing at Camden Yards and capable of serving as the leadoff hitter. But Nick Markakis isn’t walking through that door. At least, I don’t think so. Markakis never wanted to leave Baltimore. Returning “home” with the Braves hasn’t been a joyful experience for a variety of reasons.

Tejada, Rosa, Ripken among 14 free agents signed by Orioles

More comfortable announcing a bunch of minor league signings instead of letting them trickle out one at a time, the Orioles released the names of 14 free agents today who are staying in or joining the organization. The roll call includes infielder Rubén Tejada, who appeared in 41 games this season and came off the 40-man roster after the Orioles activated Ryan Flaherty from the

More on Hays, the Edgin signing and Jones’ tailgate

Yesterday in this space I wondered whether the Orioles would use catcher Chance Sisco in a platoon with Caleb Joseph or anoint one of them as the primary starter - assuming that the rookie breaks camp with the team, of course. Don’t ever assume or else ... you know the rest. I’m shifting my focus this morning to another rookie, outfielder Austin Hays, who was

Fister off board and a catching question

The Orioles will enter another season without Doug Fister in their rotation. Maybe we can start up more rumors at the non-waiver trade deadline. Manager Buck Showalter really likes Fister and has recommended him in the past, but the veteran right-hander reportedly has agreed to a one-year deal with the Rangers. He’s coming off the board while the Orioles try to plug the holes in

A group of Orioles who need to stop 2017 slides

I filled this space yesterday with three players who improved from 2016 to 2017 in a specific area and must continue to trend upward and avoid reverting to previous form. Let’s spin it the other way and look at three players who declined in a certain area and must reverse course. There are lots of candidates in lots of statistical categories. Like shooting fish in

Three Orioles who must maintain improvements

When a team loses 19 of its last 23 games and tumbles to the bottom of the division with a sickening thud, the natural inclination is to pick apart each player and focus on the negatives that destroyed a season. Finding the silver linings can be a strain to the eyes. I randomly chose three players who trended upward in a specific area and will

Orioles will continue quest to balance out lineup

Now that we’ve moved past the Thanksgiving holiday, it’s time to tackle two important questions: How many ways can turkey be used in leftovers before it turns colors? And how will the Orioles continue to address their need for left-handed bats? Soups, sandwiches, chili, casseroles, pot pies, enchiladas, omelets and hash are handy ways to transform whatever remains on the carcass and serving dish. That

Wynns on 40-man spot: “It means everything”

How intense is the roll that catcher Austin Wynns is on these days? How big is the wave he’s riding? He was given another opportunity to play baseball in the Dominican Republic, the same fulfilling experience as last year. He was able to go home for Thanksgiving and be surrounded by family and friends. He lives in San Diego, where the weather is always ideal.

Orioles acquire Jaycob Brugman from Athletics (updated)

As the Orioles seek more balance in their lineup, they found a left-handed hitting outfielder today who will compete for a spot in spring training. The Orioles acquired outfielder Jaycob Brugman from the Athletics for a player to be named or cash. The 40-man roster has increased to 34 players. The A’s designated Brugman for assignment on Monday as rosters were set prior to the

More on Hall of Fame debate and surrendering slots

With Hall of Fame ballots made public on Monday, we can renew the debate over selecting players known to have used performance-enhancing drugs or who fall in the category of suspicion. The confessors and the denials after names appeared in the Mitchell Report. Pros who also are cons. (Did the last one work? Because I really wanted to make it happen.) Former second baseman Joe

Orioles acquire Konner Wade from Rockies

The Orioles used one of their favorite methods to address their need for pitching depth. Executive vice president Dan Duquette has acquired minor league right-hander Konner Wade from the Rockies for international signing bonus slot money, according to an industry source. I’m told that the trade was consummated last night, but neither team has announced it. Wade, who turns 26 next month, is a former

More on Rule 5 decisions, spring slate and trade rumblings

The Orioles set their 40-man roster yesterday with about two hours to spare before the deadline imposed by Major League Baseball. Seven spots remain open as the Orioles navigate through the offseason and attempt to add pitching and at least one left-handed bat. They also could make a pick in the Rule 5 draft on Dec. 14. Only teams with room on the 40-man are

Harvey, Hess and Wynns added to 40-man (plus other notes)

The Orioles have filled three of the 10 open spots on their 40-man roster. Pitchers Hunter Harvey and David Hess and catcher Austin Wynns were added today and no longer are eligible to be taken in the Rule 5 draft that’s held on the final day of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 14 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. No other players from inside the organization

Rule 5 and rotation reminders

The Orioles must set their 40-man roster by 8 p.m. to protect players from selection in the Rule 5 draft, which takes place on the final day of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 14 in Lake Buena Vista, Fla. Clubs pay $100,000 for any draftee in the major league phase, the cost doubling last year. The Orioles must decide whether to make their annual pick

Notes on Machado, Jones and the lack of extension talks

The Orioles are preoccupied with drumming up potential trade partners, putting the most appealing and affordable free agents on their board and getting their coaches and various staff members under contract for the 2018 season. Extension talks are on the back burner of the hot stove season. Manny Machado’s representatives will hear from the Orioles in perhaps a final attempt to keep him from entering

More on the Rule 5 draft and coaches’ contracts

As Monday’s deadline approaches to protect players in the Rule 5 draft, the Orioles continue to deliberate on the number of additions to their 40-man roster. They have 10 openings with the removal of their free agents, so space isn’t a concern. They won’t protect that many players, but it’s nice to have the flexibility. “We have a number of players under consideration,” said executive

Tillman still a possible target for Orioles (plus Rule 5 note)

With the GM meetings concluded and the Winter Meetings less than a month away, the industry buzz on pitcher Chris Tillman remains that he’s seeking a one-year deal and the chance to re-enter the free agent market following the 2018 season. The Orioles are in play as long as Tillman keeps his expectations at a modest level. They like him as a bounceback candidate on

Schoop finishes 12th in AL MVP voting

Second baseman Jonathan Schoop, already chosen in September as Most Valuable Oriole, capped off his career season by placing 12th in voting for the American League’s Most Valuable Player award. The announcement came tonight on MLB Network. Schoop appeared on seven ballots distributed to members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. He received two votes for sixth place, two for eighth and three for

Duquette on Britton and the winter shopping list

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette returned from the GM meetings in Orlando late last night with a better sense of potential trade partners. However, he indicated again today that he’d prefer to hold on to closer Zach Britton, who continues to draw outside interest. Duquette nearly pulled off a trade at the non-waiver deadline that would have sent Britton to the Astros, but it

MVP talk, more on Schoop and the need for a left-handed bat

The race for Most Valuable Player in the American League - and it’s just an expression since I’m not aware of footspeed factoring into the outcome - comes down to the Astros’ Jose Altuve and the Yankees’ Aaron Judge. The result will be announced tonight on MLB Network. I can’t reveal my ballot until the winner is confirmed, but it’s safe to assume that I

Wondering how Moylan would fit in bullpen

As the GM meetings began Monday morning in Orlando, Fla., the Orioles already had their first “interested in” report. Which is similar to “in on.” Don’t let the phrasing confuse you. The bullpen always is a priority with the Orioles, no matter the returnees, and MLB.com’s Mark Bowman wrote that they’ve expressed interest in right-hander Peter Moylan. There doesn’t seem to be a nagging need

Is Britton back on the block?

The Orioles weren’t deemed to be in active mode to trade closer Zach Britton this winter, preferring to make another run at the playoffs with him at the back end of the bullpen. No matter the cost in his final year of arbitration eligibility. No matter how many days were ticking off before he hit free agency. And then they got to the GM meetings

Mancini places third in AL Rookie of the Year voting

Never in the true running to win this year’s American League Rookie of the Year Award due to the historic bashing in the Bronx, the Orioles’ Trey Mancini settled for a third-place finish tonight in voting by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. It’s an honor just to be nominated. And to be a finalist, which was confirmed last week. The Yankees’ Aaron Judge was

Britton figures to stay in bullpen in 2018

My recent dive into the ol’ mailbag went swimmingly, so to speak, but I neglected one question that turns into an obsession every winter as the Orioles try to fix their rotation. It comes in many forms. It’s the ooze of offseason inquiries. Is there any chance that Zach Britton becomes a starter again? Is there any talk of Zach Britton becoming a starter again?

Sorting through minor league free agents with Orioles connections

As the Orioles sift through the batch of minor league free agents who could fill out rosters at the upper levels of their farm system, they’re going to stumble upon some familiar names. Reunions are unlikely, though a few of them may intrigue you. Others may cause you to run screaming into the night. The list includes former Orioles outfielder Henry Urrutia, who finished the

Pushing the prospects, AFL update and Morrow memories

As the Orioles try to plug holes and upgrade in spots over the winter, they figure to maintain their aggressive approach with certain prospects in their system. They may have to go station to station on the basepaths, but they aren’t afraid to bump minor leaguers a level or push them harder up the ladder. I like this mindset. Cedric Mullins skipped high Single-A Frederick

Orioles remain in market for left-handed relief

The shopping list compiled by the Orioles every winter always includes left-handed relievers. There’s a steady search for a specialist who can compete for a job in spring training. Richard Bleier gave them more than matchups this season after executive vice president Dan Duquette pulled off a Feb. 21 trade with the Yankees. He offered up a 1.99 ERA in 63 1/3 innings. Bleier would

Nuño’s departure and more on Orioles minor league free agents

Vidal Nuño didn’t give us much of a chance to become attached to him. Left camp for 10 days to pitch in the World Baseball Classic, spent a small portion of the summer with the Orioles, became a minor league free agent and found a new team. Nuño has signed a minor league deal with the Rays, as first reported by Baseball America’s Matt Eddy.

Because You Asked - “The Secret of the Ooze”

With a break in the awards shows - the Silver Sluggers are announced on Thursday and the Wilson Defensive Players of the Year on Friday - it’s a convenient time to rummage through the ol’ mailbag again and delve into the duplicates. You ask and I answer. Someone else asks and I answer again. And the dance continues until my feet swell. I skipped the

Machado denied a third Gold Glove Award (updated)

A dip in defensive metrics may have denied Manny Machado a third Rawlings Gold Glove Award. Machado lost out to the Rays’ Evan Longoria tonight among American League third basemen, with the announcement coming via ESPN. The Indians’ José Ramírez also was a finalist. Gold Gloves were delivered to Machado in 2013 - the same year that he won the Platinum Glove as best overall

Interest in Cashner and Vargas, Wynns, Gold Gloves and more

Though the Orioles aren’t offering up names of pitchers who are targeted in free agency, there’s definite interest in Andrew Cashner and left-hander Jason Vargas to plug holes in a rotation with only two returning starters. MLBTradeRumors.com predicted that Cashner will receive a two-year, $20 million contract from the Athletics. Past injuries and a decrease in fastball velocity are marks against him, and he’s a

Trey Mancini a finalist for AL Rookie of the Year (updated)

With Aaron Judge a lock to be named American League Rookie of the Year, cracking the top three finalists can be viewed as a nice consolation prize. Trey Mancini will take it. Mancini, Judge and Red Sox’s outfielder Andrew Benintendi were revealed as finalists tonight on MLB Network. The winner will be announced on Nov. 13. Judge, the Yankees’ baseball-crushing right fielder, should gather all

Castillo declines option for 2018 (updated with quote)

Catcher Welington Castillo severed his ties to the Orioles today, as expected, by declining the $7 million player option on his contract. They could reconnect later this winter, with both sides leaving the door open, but it’s unlikely to happen. Today was the deadline for Castillo to inform the club, which I’m told he still hadn’t done this morning. It seemed to be a formality.

Award finalists revealed tonight

The Orioles are supposed to find out by 5 p.m. today whether catcher Welington Castillo will exercise or decline his $7 million option for next season. I checked around yesterday and no one had received official word. The expectation remains that Castillo will enter the free agent market. Meanwhile, the hype machine gets revved up tonight as we enter the awards portion of our offseason.

Thoughts on coaches returning in 2018

Left-hander Tanner Scott allowed one hit and struck out four batters last night over two scoreless innings in the Arizona Fall League’s Fall Stars Game. Ryan Mountcastle, batting third and playing third base, doubled and drove in a run. Meanwhile, the news that the Orioles were inviting back all of their coaches for the 2018 season drew mixed reactions on this blog and Twitter, which

Werthan walks, my case for Cain and more

The Phillies keep dipping into the Orioles’ baseball operations department, mining for talent that again leaves a sizeable void back in Baltimore. Ben Werthan won’t return in 2018 as the Orioles’ advance scouting coordinator, accepting a job yesterday as Phillies minor league player information coordinator. He held his position in Baltimore for the past six years. Werthan, 31, reported directly to manager Buck Showalter and

Orioles decline options on Hardy and Miley

The Orioles have officially parted ways with shortstop J.J. Hardy and left-hander Wade Miley, declining to exercise their respective options for the 2018 season and allowing them to become free agents. It feels like the end of an era with Hardy, who spent the last seven years in Baltimore and won Gold Gloves from 2012-2014. He goes down as one of former executive Andy MacPhail’s

Notes on Castillo, free agent predictions and more

The Orioles are one more day away, at the most, from receiving official word that catcher Welington Castillo is declining his $7 million option for 2018 and entering the free agent market. Nothing has happened over the last month that leads them to believe in a different outcome. There’s always the chance that everyone is floored by a reversal. Never say never. But it would

Seven Orioles officially hit free agency

The conclusion of the World Series last night ignited the start of free agency, beginning with 149 players hitting the market earlier this afternoon. The list, made available by the Major League Baseball Players Association, includes Orioles pitchers Chris Tillman, Ubaldo Jiménez and Jeremy Hellickson, designated hitter Pedro Álvarez, outfielders Seth Smith and Craig Gentry, and utility infielder Ryan Flaherty. Three more Orioles will join

Questions regarding Machado, Brach, Wynns and Mountcastle

Let’s take a look at four more questions confronting the Orioles as the offseason really kicks in following the World Series. Last-place teams have lots of them. Questions, not World Series. I’ve been picking and choosing which ones to highlight. The level of importance varies, but each topic is worth discussing. Should the Orioles push to negotiate a new deal for Manny Machado beyond spring

Orioles can sit out the qualifying offer process

The offseason can provide various doses of drama as important dates drop off the calendar. For the Orioles, the qualifying offer process should be duller than an insurance seminar. Teams must decide whether to extend the offer to its free agents within five days after the World Series. The Orioles should have 11 players on the market and none of them are expected to receive

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