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Taking another quizzical look at the Orioles

What’s worse than the pop quiz I handed out on a Sunday? How about one around the holidays? This is what happens when you attend a school with no days off. You knew the risk. The first item crossed off the shopping list will be: Starting pitcher Reliever Middle infielder None of the above The opening day third baseman will be: Rio Ruiz Hanser Alberto

Mancini ready to host Purple Tailgate

The workouts, weddings and binge watching that have defined Trey Mancini’s offseason will be put on hold this weekend as he hosts his first Purple Tailgate in Baltimore. The annual event will be held at the Stadium Square Lot on West Ostend Street prior to Sunday’s NFL game between the Ravens and 49ers at M&T Bank Stadium. All proceeds will be donated to the #MoStrong

More on Villar’s placement on outright waivers

Jonathan Villar was placed on outright waivers yesterday and he’s still on them. No team has claimed him. No team seems willing to pay whatever he’s going to make in arbitration, a salary that’s expected to reach $10 million and maybe more. What’s left to say about the situation? The Orioles are trying hard to trade him, as I’ve reported. They were in an aggressive

Are the Orioles close to trading Bundy? (Villar on waivers)

There are no untouchables on the Orioles roster as they move through the offseason, a point made clear by executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias and others in the organization. Only varying levels of motivation to move certain players. Dylan Bundy has been a candidate to change teams, though the rotation already is flimsy and prospects aren’t going to be rushed as replacements. He’s arbitration-eligible

Which minor league signings could vie for jobs in camp?

The batches of minor league signings that are completed throughout the offseason are aimed to increase depth and competition in the organization. Very little to get fans excited, but a necessity that unfolds all over baseball. The winners and the rebuilders. No one is immune. The Orioles announced a dozen names yesterday, including nine who are returning after a brief dalliance with free agency. Mason

Orioles announce plans for “Winter Warm-Up”

The Orioles have announced plans to hold their first “Winter Warm-Up” event on Saturday, Dec. 14 from 11 a.m.-2 p.m. at Camden Yards. This is one of the ideas intended to connect fans to the team, with others in the formative stages. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias, assistant Sig Mejdal and manager Brandon Hyde will participate in a “special conversation,” per the team’s press

Mason Williams among 12 players signed to minors deals

With center field depth an offseason priority for the Orioles, they agreed to terms with Mason Williams on a minor league contract that’s certain to include an invitation to spring training in February. Williams is included among a dozen names tweeted earlier today by the club. And he’s arguably the most important given the position and impression he made at Triple-A Norfolk. The Orioles also

Digging deeper into the hiring of Rosenbaum and Rowe

The new hires and reassignments in the Orioles’ minor league system that were made public yesterday in a press release included a batch of names from outside professional baseball. As expected and, in some cases, already reported. Tim Gibbons, the hitting coach at Double-A Bowie, worked as director of hitting at Elite Sports Training. Ryan Fuller, the hitting coach at Single-A Delmarva, comes from Power

Source: Orioles hire Anthony Sanders as first base coach

The Orioles are down to two vacancies on their major league coaching staff. A deal was finalized today to make Anthony Sanders the first base coach, according to a source. The Orioles haven’t announced it. The sides drew close to an agreement late last week, and the final details have been completed. Sanders, 45, replaces Arnie Beyeler, who was told last month that he wouldn’t

Orioles announce minor league staffs

The Orioles have unveiled their minor league managers and coaches for their eight affiliates, one of the more important tasks of the offseason. Included is the expansion to a five-man staff, as previously reported. Gary Kendall returns as Triple-A Norfolk manager, Buck Britton returns to Double-A Bowie, Kevin Bradshaw returns to short-season Single-A Aberdeen and Alan Mills is back with the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League

Flaherty becomes latest ex-Oriole to join Padres coaching staff

As we wait for Orioles news beyond additions to the front office and 40-man roster, I’m wondering what exactly is happening in San Diego. Besides the perfect weather, of course. The Padres reportedly have hired former Orioles utility infielder Ryan Flaherty as quality control coach. They’ve already added Bobby Dickerson as bench coach and Wayne Kirby as first base coach - two former members of

Mountcastle’s next goal is to make opening day roster

Making the 40-man roster was the easy part for Ryan Mountcastle, the Orioles’ fourth-ranked prospect per MLB.com and the No. 2 position player behind catcher Adley Rutschman, who leads the pack after being the first-overall pick in this year’s First-Year Player Draft. Mountcastle faces a much stiffer challenge trying to make the club out of spring training. This is where he loses slam-dunk status. The

More from Bleier on leadership and his struggles

Beyond the ground balls he can induce and the outs he can coax in the late innings, especially versus left-handed hitters, Orioles reliever Richard Bleier also has become a leader in a bullpen that tends to attract inexperienced pitchers trying to become established major leaguers. Bleier just completed his fourth season, though he appeared in only 23 games as a rookie with the Yankees in

Bleier: “I still think I provide value to the team”

Orioles reliever Richard Bleier knows one thing about his status on the club entering an arbitration year. He’s eligible for arbitration. That’s it. Bleier isn’t certain that he’ll be tendered a contract by the Dec. 2 deadline. He can’t say that he’s definitely in the bullpen in 2020 and only waiting now to learn about his salary. MLBTradeRumors.com projects Bleier at $1.1 million after he

O’s progressing toward deal with Sanders as first base coach

The Orioles are whittling down the vacancies on their coaching staff. Their talks with Anthony Sanders appear to be gaining momentum toward an agreement, though the proximity varies depending on the source. He’s certainly become the frontrunner for the job and is expected to land it. FOX Sports reported that Sanders and the Orioles are close to an agreement. He would replace Arnie Beyeler as

More on the Orioles’ 40-man roster

Selecting the contracts of four players yesterday is only the latest work done by the Orioles on their 40-man roster. It was a big step, of course, because they had to decide which ones to protect prior to the Dec. 12 Rule 5 draft in San Diego that concludes the Winter Meetings and enables sportswriters to set land speed records with their filed stories before

Orioles select contracts of Mountcastle, Akin, Kremer and McKenna

The Orioles are protecting four prospects by placing them on the 40-man roster today prior to the Rule 5 draft that’s held this year on Dec. 12 in San Diego. The roster grew to 39 players with the additions of infielder/outfielder Ryan Mountcastle, pitchers Keegan Akin and Dean Kremer, and outfielder Ryan McKenna. The Orioles selected the Mountcastle, Akin and Kremer contracts from Triple-A Norfolk

Winning stays on back burner as Orioles continue transformation

Nothing that the Orioles are doing as you read this first sentence is geared toward making a significant jump in wins in 2020. It’s building up various departments in the organization, especially in scouting, analytics and internationally. It’s a restructuring that reaches every level, with recent dismissals or reassignments in ballpark operations, sales and community relations. It’s creating new positions such as director of baseball

Taking another look at Orioles’ roster needs

As the Orioles move through another month of their offseason and draw closer to the start of the Winter Meetings on Dec. 9, they haven’t ventured far from predictability. This team needs at least one starting pitcher and reliever to improve their depth and allow their prospects to develop at the proper pace without being rushed. They’re willing to talk trades and one-year deals and

Brian Roberts included on Hall of Fame ballot

The latest Hall of Fame ballot includes four players with ties to the Orioles and one who made a significant impact, though he isn’t likely to be a future inductee. Second baseman Brian Roberts appears on the ballot for the first time. He’s joined by pitcher Curt Schilling and outfielder Sammy Sosa. Pitcher Heath Bell, also in the group, signed a minor league deal with

Wondering more about the coaching staff and 40-man roster

The Orioles aren’t going to confirm or offer up names of their coaching candidates or which players are headed to the 40-man roster this week prior to the Rule 5 draft. Sometimes it comes down to reading a little or a lot into non-denials, but this isn’t a foolproof plan. Executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias didn’t bite last week when I dangled Anthony Sanders’

Wilkerson on odd 2019 season and what lies ahead

Want to stump Stevie Wilkerson? It sounds like a bad game show, but nonetheless, here’s how you do it: Challenge him to name a bigger oddity in his season with the Orioles - pitching in four games and earning a save or making more starts in center field, a position he hadn’t played, than anyone else on the team. “I think the Vegas odds on

Harvey hoping for fewer restrictions and more games in 2020

Hunter Harvey came to the Orioles in August with a set of instructions. He didn’t write them. They were attached as if pinned to his sleeve. Handle with care. Proceed with caution. Do not use on back-to-back days or nights. “This end up” seemed unnecessary, but they were detailed instructions. The Orioles don’t abuse their relievers. Managing a bullpen is a skill, one of Buck

Elias provides a summary of the GM Meetings and more

Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias returned from the General Managers Meetings yesterday without any new players. However, he had numerous face-to-face discussions with executives regarding trade possibilities and also sat down with a few agents. There’s also the hours spent in league meetings that won’t necessarily impact the roster. Here’s a sampling of my conversation with Elias from this afternoon: How he spent

Leftovers for breakfast (updated)

Hunter Harvey doesn’t know whether he’s going to be a reliever or a starter with the Orioles after he reports to spring training in February. He still hasn’t been told anything at this point. Harvey prefers the bullpen and is anticipating the same role as the one he held in seven major league appearances after the Orioles called him up. He’s just waiting for confirmation.

Orioles adjust times for home games in 2020 (spring update)

The changes filtering through the Orioles organization now include start times for certain home games. The club announced today that games at Camden Yards for the upcoming season will begin at 6:35 p.m. for all weeknights prior to Memorial Day and after Labor Day. The earlier start time “allows families with children to enjoy more games on school nights,” per a release issued by the

Elias holding same shopping list as GM meetings conclude

Mike Elias will board a flight this afternoon for the return trip from Scottsdale, Ariz., and the 2019 General Managers Meetings. Which also included anyone with “executive vice president” in their title. No trades have been consummated and aren’t expected to happen at this point. I got the sense that there wouldn’t be much activity from the Orioles beyond the sit-downs with executives and agents

More on Villar’s stolen bases and the leadoff spot in the order

I wrote last week about infielder Jonathan Villar’s 40 steals and how he ignited a running game that might not be sustainable without him. Besides ranking third in the majors, the stolen base total also tied for seventh in club history. Luis Aparicio holds the record with 57 set in 1964. Brady Anderson is second on the list with 53 in 1992 and Brian Roberts

Making a few assumptions with Orioles

The amount of speculation that piles up during an offseason reaches such heights that no device can be invented to measure it. The only response is to learn how to distinguish it from fact. What is truth as opposed to an assumption. What comes from actual sources as opposed to imaginations. What’s read between the lines instead of the actual lines. No one with the

Harvey’s on solid bullpen ground in 2020

The degree to which Hunter Harvey has advanced his professional career can be measured through bullpen projections for 2020. Through the notion that Harvey might be the only sure thing for the Orioles. There are assumptions to be made, of course. Mychal Givens is slotted into the bullpen with the caveat that he could be traded, if the market cooperates, while MLBTradeRumors.com projects his salary

A quizzical look at Orioles

The most important reminders about pop quizzes are that they’re distributed without warning and have nothing to do with your fathers. Also, they can be handed out on a Sunday. Go figure. I’ve provided 20 questions. Check back in October and see how many you got right. The opening day starter will be: Alex Cobb John Means Dylan Bundy None of the above The first

Elias on Rule 5 considerations, Cobb and more

As the Orioles decide which players to put on the 40-man roster prior to the Rule 5 draft, they also must consider the increased risks of losing the ones who are left unprotected. Rosters are expanding to 26 players next season, leaving more room to stash someone at the back of a bullpen or the end of a bench. And more teams are slipping into

More from Mike Elias on “Hot Stove Show”

Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias explained last night how Chris Holt’s duties will change following his promotion to a director of pitching position. And how Holt will coexist with pitching coach Doug Brocail, who returns to the major league staff next season. Elias broke it down while appearing on the “Hot Stove Show” on 105.7 The Fan. “This is a structure we’re seeing

Elias on arbitration-eligibles, Mancini, Rule 5, coaches and more

The first “Hot Stove Show” of the offseason aired tonight on 105.7 The Fan, with Orioles executive vice president/general manager Mike Elias addressing topics related to both the majors and minors. I’ll go into more depth in the morning, but here are a few items: * Elias obviously wouldn’t go into specifics related to the seven arbitration-eligible players, but he conceded that the budget could

Notes on Ynoa, Means and defense

With pitcher Gabriel Ynoa out of the organization again, is it possible that the Orioles bring him back on another minor league deal? That ship hasn’t sailed, from what I can glean. But he isn’t in the same hurry to reach agreement and the Orioles aren’t devoting their offseason to forging the latest reunion. Ynoa was outrighted Monday afternoon, declined the assignment and became a

The price of pitching again puts Orioles in bind

If the Orioles are going to improve their pitching via free agency, they’ll need to spend outside their financial comfort zone or do a lot of sifting to find bargains. It isn’t just about ignoring the upper-tier starters such as Gerrit Cole, Stephen Strasburg, Zack Wheeler, Madison Bumgarner and Hyun-Jin Ryu, and top relievers like Will Smith and Will Harris. Wade Miley was pretty bad

Will stealing bases remain part of Orioles’ approach in 2020?

As the Orioles became more transparent with their plans for the organization and specifically how they were going to proceed with a complete teardown and rebuild, which also could be termed a “redesign” given the new titles and responsibilities, I didn’t recall hearing anyone declare that the team would steal more bases. It just sort of happened. When is the last time that the Orioles

Means a finalist for AL Rookie of the Year award

Orioles left-hander John Means keeps building on his list of accomplishments, a pitcher given little to no chance of making the opening day roster still raising his level of recognition. Means is a finalist for the American League’s Rookie of the Year Award, with voting conducted by qualifying members of the Baseball Writers’ Association of America. The finalists’ names were announced tonight on MLB Network.

Cobb reinstated from injured list and Ynoa becomes free agent

The Orioles made two moves this afternoon that kept their 40-man roster at 36 players. Pitcher Alex Cobb has been reinstated from the 60-day injured list and pitcher Gabriel Ynoa became a free agent after clearing waivers. Cobb is recovering from hip and knee surgeries in Tennessee. He’s expected to be ready for spring training. Unable to pitch on opening day due to a strained

Chris and Jill Davis make $3 million donation to UMCH

Orioles first baseman Chris Davis and his wife, Jill, are expanding their charitable endeavors by a huge margin, donating $3 million to the University of Maryland Children’s Hospital at the University of Maryland Medical Center. The announcement was made this morning. The donation marks the largest gift to the center from a Baltimore sports figure. According to a press release, the funds are allocated for

How does the Orioles offseason list compare to last year?

The month of November allows baseball media and fans to keep compiling lists - whether on paper and laptop screens or in heads - of the offseason issues facing a particular team. We mostly talk about the Orioles here, so let’s stick with them. Go back to the 2018 offseason and you’ll find the same inquires surrounding Chris Davis. He’s a top five subject. What

Splitting up the Orioles bullpen

Major League Baseball’s plan to eliminate one-and-done relievers beginning next season can cause a person to rush for the splits. I almost pulled a hamstring running the 40-yard overreact. The idea is to make relievers face a minimum of three batters instead of just one, or pitch to the end of the half-inning in which they enter. Maybe to reduce mound visits and speed up

Did you know about Ynoa?

In an Orioles season defined in large part by its abundance of oddities, right-hander Gabriel Ynoa offered his own contribution. Tell me if this makes any sense. Ynoa was 1-10 with a 5.61 ERA and 1.373 WHIP in 36 games and 0-9 in 13 starts. He averaged only 5.4 strikeouts per nine innings and surrendered 29 of the club’s 305 home runs to tie Dylan

Upcoming dates with lots of or little interest to Orioles

Another important offseason date that doesn’t really impact the Orioles arrives on Monday. Teams no longer will have exclusive negotiating rights with their own free agents. Other executives can start courting them. The Orioles won’t attempt to re-sign Mark Trumbo, so it doesn’t matter to them. Monday also marks the deadline for teams to issue the $17.8 million qualifying offer to free agents. The Orioles

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