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Williams declines outright assignment

The Orioles are continuing to clear space on their 40-man roster for future moves. Outfielder Mason Williams was outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk after clearing waivers and declined the assignment, electing free agency rather than staying in the organization. He could be re-signed later in the winter, but will explore other opportunities. Williams already was eligible to become a minor league free agent if he hadn’t

Last game marks beginning of free agency

The World Series is over and the 2019 season officially has been put to bed. Long past a reasonable hour. Players will begin hitting the free agent market instead of fastballs. It’s one of the most important early developments of the offseason. The list of Orioles pending free agents usually has more meat on it. Mark Trumbo stands alone this year unless the club decides

Orioles claim Valaika off waivers and outright four

The Orioles have reduced their 40-man roster to 38 players while making a waiver claim and outrighting four pitchers to Triple-A Norfolk. Much more activity will follow as the season concludes tonight with Game 7 of the World Series. Infielder Pat Valaika has been selected from the Rockies, who chose him in the ninth round of the 2013 First-Year Player Draft out of UCLA. He

Random Orioles facts and figures

Batting average no longer isn’t valued in the same manner as baseball moves into the analytics-driven era, as anyone under 30 will tell you. So what do we make of Hanser Alberto hitting .305 this season? Average doesn’t matter, but I certainly read plenty about his positioning in the race for the American League batting title. So it isn’t important until it is. Or vice-versa.

How Stewart’s surgery impacts the outfield competition

Whether DJ Stewart is able to compete for a spot on the Orioles opening day roster is a closed matter. The microfracture procedure on his right ankle on Oct. 17 likely prevents him from returning to baseball activities until late in spring training and eliminates him from consideration. A closed matter that opens a door. No one roots for a teammate to sustain an injury

Who’s storming through the door to enter Orioles rotation?

An important part of the Orioles’ pitching fantasies involves the pounding of the door that leads to the major league staff. A two-fisted beating. Maybe a swift kick or two to bust it off its hinges. There wasn’t much more this summer than a light tapping. Eighteen pitchers made starts for the Orioles in 2019. Luis Ortiz was recalled from Triple-A Norfolk on June 14

This, that and the other

The Padres’ decision to hire Jayce Tingler as their next manager had a ripple effect that nudged Buck Britton into a new set of responsibilities. Britton, who spent the 2019 season managing Double-A Bowie, has replaced Tingler as manager of Leones del Escogido in the Dominican Winter League. Tingler was working for the Rangers as major league player development field coordinator. Britton was expecting to

Orioles trying to spin the rotation disadvantage

The Nationals are going to win the World Series with a rotation that includes Max Scherzer, Stephen Strasburg, Patrick Corbin and Aníbal Sánchez. Or the Astros are going to mount an amazing comeback and win the World Series with a rotation that includes Justin Verlander, Gerrit Cole and Zack Greinke. (And pigs will fly non-stop as alternatives to Southwest flights.) Having money to spend or

More on Orioles’ minor league hires

The Orioles remain in the process of interviewing candidates to fill the vacant positions on their major league coaching staff and piecing together the minor league side. The team has to replace first base coach/outfield instructor Arnie Beyeler, assistant hitting coach Howie Clark and bullpen coach John Wasdin. Everyone else has been invited back for the 2020 season. There doesn’t appear to be anything imminent

Is bullpen best for Brooks?

Let’s take another shot this morning at addressing one of the litany of questions facing the Orioles before opening day 2020. Funny how so many of them lead to the pitching staff, whether it’s the rotation or bullpen. What should the Orioles do with Aaron Brooks? The numbers make the decision appear to be simple. He’s been much more effective as a reliever than as

Gilmartin, Peterson and Sucre enter free agency

The offseason is moving through the period when players who have been outrighted off the 40-man roster can elect free agency. Players with a previous outright or who built up three years of service time in the majors. The market is open and the list of Orioles to enter it includes pitcher Sean Gilmartin, infielder Jace Peterson and catcher Jesús Sucre. The list of surprises

A closer look at Castro

Among the assortment of bullpen decisions for the Orioles is what to do about Miguel Castro. The arm can be electric, the outages frustrating and troublesome. At various junctures of Castro’s tenure with the Orioles, he’s been viewed as a possible starter, middle reliever and closer leading up to the new regime’s commitment to keep him in the bullpen without a defined role. Does anyone

Catching up on the Orioles’ catching situation

The five questions that I posed about the Orioles last week were just a launching point. We can’t stop at Chris Davis, the Rule 5 draft, protected players, non-tender candidates and the shortstop position. Let’s move behind the plate. Without the risk of taking a foul ball off the groin. Do the Orioles bring in another veteran catcher? They signed Jesús Sucre as a free

This, that and the other

While the Orioles were learning about pitcher Asher Wojciechowski over the summer, the right-hander was busy learning more about himself. Wojciechowski admitted that he began to feel fatigued later in the season as it extended beyond the usual point when he’s done. He had to push through it, with manager Brandon Hyde providing some extra rest along the way. After completing his final start in

Orioles expect the unexpected at spring training

One of the rules that the Orioles need to implement by spring training goes something like this: No surprises. Hard-throwing reliever Zach Pop, a favorite of the previous regime, experienced such a pronounced loss of velocity that the Orioles immediately shut him down after one appearance. Retiring all three batters, with one strikeout, didn’t ease the concerns. Pop made eight appearances with Double-A Bowie, none

Stewart undergoes ankle surgery

The competition for outfield jobs with the Orioles next spring has taken an unexpected twist. The team announced that DJ Stewart underwent a “successful” microfracture procedure on his right ankle yesterday in Los Angeles. Dr. Kenneth Jung from the Kerlan-Jobe Institute performed the surgery. Stewart is expected to return to baseball activities toward the end of spring training, according to a tweet from the Orioles,

Carroll relieved to be pitching again after lost 2019 season

Cody Carroll notched his third spring training save on March 16, was told the following day that he’d been optioned to minor league camp and seemed to fall off the map. He must have landed on his back. An entire summer was spent getting Carroll back on his feet. Carroll didn’t throw a single pitch with Triple-A Norfolk, undergoing disc surgery and rehabbing before making

Is Wojciechowski a lock for 2020 rotation?

Early projections on the Orioles opening day rotation can’t be completed unless you ignore how they’re likely to sign at least one cost-friendly veteran, similar to last year’s additions of Nate Karns and Dan Straily. They’ll just pray for better results. The top third is easy except for an exact order. Left-hander John Means and right-handers Dylan Bundy and Alex Cobb are expected to occupy

Can Kline contribute in 2020?

Whether Branden Kline becomes an integral part of the Orioles bullpen, or even an extra piece that can be tossed on the Triple-A shuttle, is going to be determined much later. No one can make a declaration in October. Don’t even attempt it. There’s no way to construct the unit on such an early date in the offseason. Not that it ever stops us from

Splitting up the Orioles bullpen

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde didn’t know which relievers to trust this season. Who could get the big outs in the middle and late innings. Who could stay on a roll instead of reverting. Some of the splits increased the degree of difficulty for Hyde as he tried to match up. For example: * Left-handers batted .222/250/.303 with one home run in 104 plate appearances against

A few Orioles questions that must be addressed later

As the Orioles’ offseason moves into a new week, there are lingering questions surrounding the club that won’t immediately be resolved. There’s no real rush. Hires need to be made on the coaching staff and the minor league side has to be completed - with new titles part of the process - before the roster becomes more of a priority. However, my patience wears thin

More on Santander’s season and how he’s set for 2020

While Anthony Santander passed his summer audition with the Orioles and made himself a piece of the rebuilding process moving forward, he certainly has more work to do over the winter and in spring training. There’s room for improvement. It had to come up in his exit interview. Santander had 20 doubles and 20 home runs over 93 games and gained manager Brandon Hyde’s trust

Wilkerson prepared to work with new outfield instructor

Removing Arnie Beyeler as first base coach earlier this month also requires the Orioles to find a new outfield instructor. It’s a two-pronged search. Beyeler handled those duties as Wayne Kirby did under former manager Buck Showalter. Has anyone been more challenged in the role than Beyeler? He had to teach Stevie Wilkerson to play center field, a brand new position for the utility infielder.

Orioles promote Chris Holt to director-of-pitching role

The Orioles remain in the process of building their minor league staffs, including the implementation of an extra coach with each affiliate. In the meantime, they’ve elevated minor league pitching coordinator Chris Holt to a position that more closely connects him to the major league team. Holt has been promoted to a director-of-pitching position that extends his reach from the minor league side and more

Checking on Villar comparisons to Schoop

Former Orioles second baseman Jonathan Schoop got a late start on his offseason, but he’s able to head back home with the Twins swept in the American League Division Series. Schoop is a free agent again after signing a one-year, $7.5 million deal with the Twins last winter. He slashed .256/.304/.473 with 23 doubles, a triple, 23 home runs and 59 RBIs in 121 games

Because You Asked - I Want to Believe

As I check out the playoff games that hold my attention for one or two innings, my thumb pressed on the remote at all times with the exception of bathroom breaks, I never lose focus on my responsibilities on the Orioles beat. The mailbag fills up and it’s my duty to sort through it, count the duplicate questions and wonder what else I could have

More on Means and the Orioles rotation

The final game of the season hadn’t reached its strange conclusion - a bouncing single into right field at Fenway Park allowing a runner to score from first base because ... you had to be there - and a topic already came up among some writers regarding opening day 2020. Who’s the top candidate to start? Of course, we knew that it was much too

Digging into Orioles’ past

Has any team with 100-plus losses tied or set more positive records than the 2019 Orioles? The season will go down as one of the oddest in franchise history. It was many things - boring not among them. Here’s one of the nuggets that left me shaking my head: Ten players hit 10 or more home runs to tie the record shared by the 1998

Alberto in arbitration adds to his story

The bizarre and unexpected story of Orioles infielder Hanser Alberto includes how he’s first-time eligible for arbitration. And how that’s actually an interesting development. Alberto made $578,000 this season and you can say he earned it. Lost and reclaimed via waivers in spring training, Alberto appeared in 139 games with the Orioles and that alone is a stunner. He wasn’t supposed to beat out veteran

Is Mallee a candidate to join Orioles?

The Orioles handled the task this week of notifying three coaches that they wouldn’t have their contracts renewed for the 2020 season. The first steps toward making changes. Steps that were bound to happen, though the challenge was identifying the impacted members of the staff. Up next are interviews with candidates that should begin in a couple of days. A procedure that’s keeping manager Brandon

Orioles decline to renew contract of bullpen coach John Wasdin

The Orioles made a third and perhaps final change to their coaching staff this afternoon. Bullpen coach John Wasdin has been notified that he won’t be invited back in 2020, according to a source. Wasdin, 47, joins first base coach/outfield instructor Arnie Beyeler and assistant hitting coach Howie Clark, who learned yesterday that their contracts wouldn’t be renewed. All three coaches were working on one-year

Mancini, mysteries and minors

Moving past the final game of the season allowed players to take a much-needed break from baseball. But for how long? It’s going to vary depending on the individual and his circumstances. “I think it’s important to take some time off,” said Trey Mancini. “I’m going to take a lot of time off from baseball. Not hit. But certainly I don’t sit on the couch

Beyeler and Clark won’t return to Orioles coaching staff in 2020

The Orioles started to make changes to their coaching staff this afternoon. First base coach Arnie Beyeler and assistant hitting coach Howie Clark won’t be retained in 2020, according to multiple industry sources. They were working on one-year contracts that won’t be renewed next season. Beyeler also served as the outfield instructor, handling two tasks that belonged to Wayne Kirby under previous manager Buck Showalter.

Núñez made it easy to slot him as designated hitter in 2020

Orioles manager Brandon Hyde wasn’t ready last month to hand Austin Hays the center field job on opening day. No amount of prodding from the media was going to soften his stance. It was too soon to begin construction of a 26-man roster to be unveiled in late March. The story is the same regarding Renato Núñez. Hyde won’t say that Núñez is going to

Orioles announce changes to business side

While it’s been quiet on the baseball side this afternoon, with no news from the Orioles regarding players joining or leaving the 40-man roster, announcements were made on changes to the business side. T.J. Brightman has been hired as senior vice president and chief revenue officer. Jennifer Grondahl received a promotion to senior vice president of community development and communications, and Greg Bader has been

Bundy on his season: “It was an up and down year”

Dylan Bundy wasn’t ready to reflect. He was polite and funny about it. But the weekend wasn’t the proper time to think about his season beyond the unevenness of it. Get him back to Oklahoma first. Put him in a tree stand instead of a visiting clubhouse. Maybe that’s the ideal setting for him. “You know how I am,” Bundy said. “I don’t look too

Orioles claim Cole Sulser off waivers

The Orioles didn’t waste much time filling their 40-man roster again. One day after outrighting pitcher Chandler Shepherd to Triple-A Norfolk, the Orioles have claimed right-handed reliever Cole Sulser off waivers from the Rays and slipped him into the vacant spot. Sulser, 29, made seven relief appearances for the Rays last month and didn’t allow a run. He surrendered five hits, walked three batters and

Holt: “If we can compete in this division, we can smoke anybody”

A big chunk of the early offseason work being done by the Orioles involves the construction of the minor league coaching staffs. A task that already was in motion long before the Red Sox’s walk-off win on Sunday. Making outside hires and reassigning individuals to a higher or lower affiliate. Changing a few roles in order to keep people in the organization while also making

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