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Revisiting 2013 predictions with a look ahead

The Boston Red Sox have now won three World Series championships in the last 10 years. That is very impressive, and they capped a strong season with their Game 6 win over the St. Louis Cardinals last night. Not sure many O’s fans will pass along even grudging congratulations, but now the offseason is officially here and the it’s the job of Orioles management to

Matching a 37-year-old mark on defense, plus some power emerges in the AFL

Last night, the Orioles became the first American League team since the 2002-03 Seattle Mariners to win at least three Gold Gloves in consecutive seasons. Manny Machado, J.J. Hardy and Adam Jones took home the hardware. That is strong stuff. From 1977 to 2011, the Orioles won three Gold Gloves in one season just once, in 1998. From 2000-2008, the Orioles won a total of

Machado, Hardy, Showalter and Duquette on O’s Gold Glove winners

After winning his first Gold Glove tonight, Orioles third baseman Manny Machado said he was surprised when he heard his name called. Machado was one of three O’s winners tonight, along with J.J. Hardy at short and center fielder Adam Jones. “It’s just an honor to be in the same category as the other third basemen out there,” Machado said on a conference call. “I’m

Will it be the first of many for Machado tonight?

In 1960, Brooks Robinson won the first of what would be 16 Gold Gloves. He did that at 23. Manny Machado could win his first tonight at 21. Can Manny win 16 before his career is over? Who would be foolish enough to put anything past the kid? A win by Machado would be impressive in many ways. First of all, he would be doing

Minor league notes on Bundy, the Rule 5 draft, Gamboa and more

Orioles 2011 first-round draft pick Dylan Bundy continues to progress well after undergoing ligament-reconstructive surgery on his right elbow in late June. “He is working hard with Dave Walker (Orioles minor league medical coordinator) every day in Florida,” O’s director of minor league operations Kent Qualls said. “His follow-up appointment with Dr. (James) Andrews went well and he was cleared to begin a tossing program,

Comparing Kevin Gausman to Michael Wacha (AFL All-Stars)

As Orioles fans have watched right-hander Michael Wacha pitch so well for the St. Louis Cardinals in the postseason, could they be seeing a preview of what Kevin Gausman possibly could be for their team in the future? They can at least hope so. After all, coming out of the 2012 draft, most scouts rated Gausman as the better of the two college pitchers. The

Will the Tim Lincecum contract impact deals for other pitchers, including Scott Feldman?

There have been times in baseball when a popular player signs a new contract to stay with his current team for perhaps less than he can get on the open market. It is said the player gave his team a “hometown discount.” That doesn’t happen much, but it can. If so, is the reverse true? Did the San Francisco Giants’ Tim Lincecum get a “hometown

Even after big year, Caleb Joseph heads to Venezuela for more work

Orioles minor league catcher Caleb Joseph had a big year for the Double-A Bowie Baysox in 2013. But instead of taking a few weeks off after a solid year, he headed to Venezuela to play winter ball. Playing for the Bravos de Margarita will help him improve as a player. That, in turn, will help him improve his stock in the organization and maybe even

Are St. Louis Cardinals the organization for Orioles to emulate?

They are looking for their second World Series title in three years and their third since 2006. The St. Louis Cardinals are the envy of just about every organization in Major League Baseball. They consistently win and do it with more homegrown players than most. This week, Baseball America editor in chief John Manuel wrote this article about the World Series teams with an emphasis

What is the state of the Orioles’ pitching?

So how did the Orioles’ pitching fare in 2013? A factual answer is, not as good as 2012. The team ERA went up from 3.90 to 4.20. The O’s went from sixth to 10th in the American League in team ERA. The starters’ ERA increased from 4.42 to 4.57 to rank 12th in the league. The bullpen ERA increased from 3.02 to 3.52 to rank

Three Orioles named Sporting News AL All-Stars

The Orioles have claimed three of the eight position player spots on the 2013 Sporting News American League All-Star team, as first baseman Chris Davis, shortstop J.J. Hardy and outfielder Adam Jones made the team. The team was selected by a panel of 17 AL general managers and assistant GMs. Davis hit .286 with 42 doubles, 53 homers, 138 RBIs and a 1.004 OPS. He

Nelson Norman talks about the Orioles’ Dominican program

In March, the Orioles hired former major leaguer Nelson Norman to serve as the director of baseball operations in the Dominican Republic. Norman oversees all aspects of the organization’s Dominican program and managed one of its two teams this year in the Dominican Summer League. A former major league infielder born in San Pedro de Macoris, Norman, 54, has more than two decades of experience

Pitcher in transition: Zach Clark will continue conversion to knuckleball pitcher in 2014

For a few wonderful days early last season, Zach Clark reached his major league goal. He was an Oriole for four days and even pitched in a May 1 game against Seattle. But a few days later, he was designated for assignment, and the right-hander’s future was uncertain. His career then took a major turn when he agreed to begin throwing a knuckleball and to

What is the state of the Orioles’ offense?

So how did the Orioles’ offense fare in 2013? It was a mixed bag as the club was strong in some areas and not nearly strong enough in others. Since the bottom line is scoring runs, they get good marks there. The O’s scored 745 runs last year to rank tied for fourth in the American League. Only Boston (853), Detroit (796) and Oakland (767)

A take on the Orioles minor leagues: pitcher Hunter Harvey

By almost any measure, Hunter Harvey’s first pro season was a rousing success. The 18-year-old right-hander, drafted with the 22nd pick in Round 1 by the Orioles in June, went 0-1 with a 1.78 ERA over eight starts between the Gulf Coast League and short-season Single-A Aberdeen. Today I’m beginning an offseason series of blogs where I provide information and opinions on an aspect of

Are O’s fans rooting for or against the Red Sox?

The Boston Red Sox are one win away from the World Series. They host Detroit later today and have a 3-2 lead in the American League Championship Series. The Red Sox need five more wins to claim what would be their third World Series title in 10 years. So how would that sit with Orioles fans? Are more O’s fans rooting against or for Boston?

A look at some of the O’s young talent in the club’s Dominican program (updated)

In March, the Orioles hired former major leaguer Nelson Norman to serve as their director of baseball operations in the Dominican Republic. Norman oversees all aspects of the organization’s Dominican program and managed one of their two teams this year in the Dominican Summer League. A former major league infielder born in San Pedro de Macoris, Norman, 54, has over two decades of experience in

For Orioles and plenty of other teams, pursuit of an ace pitcher continues

It has been a postseason of stunning pitching. We’ve seen low-scoring games featuring dominant starting pitching. Aces have pitched like aces and some youngsters have burst on the scene showing their stuff and vast potential. So far in the playoffs: * Clayton Kershaw is 1-1 with a 0.47 ERA. * Justin Verlander is 1-0 with a 0.39 ERA. * Max Scherzer is 2-0 with a

NFL trumped MLB postseason in TV ratings

According to this Los Angeles Times article, sports dominated the television ratings Sunday night. But NBC, with its telecast of the Washington-Dallas football game, easily topped FOX, which was showing Game 2 of the Detroit-Boston American League Championship Series. The football game drew 19.6 million viewers and the baseball game drew 8.3 million. That is a better than 2-to-1 edge and a big win for

A look at the O’s pitching prospect that got props in two different leagues

The 2013 season could not have gone too much better for 20-year-old Orioles left-handed pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez. He began spring training as an invitee to major league camp. After pitching well for Single-A Frederick, he was promoted to Double-A Bowie. He pitched in the Carolina League against the California League in the All-Star Game and also in the Futures Game in New York. Now

The Orioles should look to sign, not trade, Matt Wieters

Despite a three-year decline in some of his offensive stats, I still see the best move for the Orioles with catcher Matt Wieters is to sign him to a long-term contract rather than to explore trade talks. While no one from the club has even hinted at the possibility of trading Wieters, it has become an increasingly popular topic with some fans who consider it

The Sisco kid had a strong first year for the Orioles

Catcher Chance Sisco, the Orioles’ second-round pick out of a California high school in June, had an impressive first season. He hit for a high batting average in the Gulf Coast League, played in two games for short-season Single-A Aberdeen at the end of the year and continued to impress club officials with a strong performance in instructional league. It was a solid first season

Why the backlash against bunting? (Urrutia note)

Someone pass me that can of worms and let me open it. Let’s discuss bunting and my take that sometimes it’s OK to lay down a sacrifice bunt. Let’s get this out of the way: Any manager that would ask a player to make an out to advance a runner or runners has not gone mad. And just because you play for one run doesn’t

A look at the ballpark renovations under way at Triple-A Norfolk

More than a few Orioles prospects over the years have been frustrated at times by the degree of difficulty in hitting a home run at Triple-A Norfolk’s Harbor Park, the home of the team’s International League affiliate. Starting next season, it will be a little easier to hit one over the wall in Norfolk. The ballpark is currently undergoing upgrades and improvements that will feature

Now out of options, 2014 could be make-or-break year for Zach Britton

After a 2013 season where he made 19 starts in Triple-A and just seven for the Orioles, 25-year-old lefty Zach Britton knows he may be running out of chances. Next spring, he will head to Sarasota, Fla., as a pitcher out of options and maybe running out of time to impress the O’s brass. Over the last three years, Britton is 18-17 with a 4.77

Did O’s players wear down late this year? My debate with Adam Jones

During the O’s final homestand of 2013, we held our last MASNSports.com live video chats of this season with Adam Jones and Darren O’Day. Both players were generous with their time and answered questions from me and the fans on a large variety of topics. At one point, I got into a lengthy discussion with Jones about the fact that several Orioles players were among

Checking on the list of O’s minor league free agents and other notes

On a list of 27 Orioles organization players who could soon be minor league free agents, you will find Zach Clark’s name. He has pitched in the O’s organization since 2006. After a wild 2013 season that saw him pitch at five levels of the organization, make the majors, get designated for assignment days later and then convert to a knuckleball pitcher, Clark is certainly

10 questions for O’s fans: Offseason edition No. 1

It became a popular feature on this blog late last offseason, so I’m breaking it out early this time around. It’s the first offseason edition of “10 questions for O’s fans.” I’ve got plenty of questions and you provide plenty of answers. You don’t need to answer all the questions. Answer one, two, five or all 10. Provide a one-word answer to any question or

The wins were down, but the attendance was up in 2013

The Orioles’ attendance was up 12.1 percent in 2013 as the club drew a total of 2,357,101 fans over 81 dates a season after drawing 2,102,240 for 79 dates. This was the Orioles’ largest attendance figure since the club drew 2,624,740 in 2005. The O’s average attendance increased from 26,611 per game in 2012 to 29,100 in 2013. The Orioles posted seven sellouts, actually down

For Jim Johnson, the four-seamer is not part of the plan

With 51 saves last year and 50 this season, Jim Johnson joined a small club that also includes Mariano Rivera and Eric Gagne. They are the only pitchers in big league history with two 50-save seasons. No one has ever had three. But we know that doesn’t tell the whole story of Johnson’s 2013 season and his nine blown saves were very costly for the

So which AL East team will reach the ALCS?

There was an all-American League East matchup in the American League Division Series last year and there will be one this season - just not involving the Orioles and Yankees. The Boston Red Sox host the Tampa Bay Rays this afternoon in Game 1 of the ALDS. The Red Sox are returning to the playoffs for the first time since 2009 after a 97-win regular

Could this guy be a surprise candidate for the 2014 rotation?

The Orioles have a young pitcher on their roster who could be a candidate for next year’s starting rotation. He is only 24. He’s left-handed. And he now has a year of major league experience under his belt. T.J. McFarland went 4-1 with a 4.22 ERA this season and he finished well, going 3-0 with an 0.80 ERA in 10 September innings and pitching in

The homer that was most memorable for Chris Davis

When Chris Davis met with reporters Sunday to discuss his 2013 Most Valuable Oriole award, he was asked if one of the 53 homers he hit this year was his most memorable. His answer was interesting. It wasn’t No. 1 or No. 50, which tied Brady Anderson’s single-season club record. It was not even No. 51, which broke that record. It was a homer he

The one-game wild card playoff is good for baseball

Some have said they think the wild card playoff game should be more than just one game. That it should be a best-of-three series and that would be more fair after playing 162 games - or even 163 as Tampa Bay played. My take: Leave it the way it is, as a one-game playoff. I prefer that for the drama, the tension, the pressure and

News and notes from the Orioles’ instructional league workouts

Orioles first-round draft pickHunter Harvey, is no longer pitching in any games during the club’s instructional league workouts at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota, Fla. “He just has a sore lower back and it’s from running and conditioning and doing PFPs (pitchers’ fielding practice),” O’s director of player development Brian Graham said. “We’re not pitching him in a game, but it’s not a concern, not

Jim Johnson: “I’d rather be part of the solution than part of the problem” (Brault note)

So in 2014, will Jim Johnson pitch more like the 2012 closer that saved 51-of-54 or the 2013 version that saved 50 of 59? Johnson said it will probably turn out to be somewhere in the middle. “The actual truth is probably a combination between what you saw last year and this year,” he said Sunday in the Orioles clubhouse. “Last year was probably a

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