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Orioles acquire catcher Monell from San Francisco Giants

The Orioles have acquired catcher Johnny Monell from the San Francisco Giants for cash considerations, according to a tweet from Andrew Baggarly of Comcast SportsNet Bay Area. The 27-year-old Monell has spent his entire career in the Giants’ minor league system, but was designated for assignment earlier this week. In 641 games over seven minor league seasons, the left-handed batter has posted a .267/.351/.456 line.

How much can Kevin Gausman impact the 2014 rotation?

When I look ahead to the 2014 Orioles season, I can foresee the team’s rotation getting a potentially big boost by someone already on the staff. Can Kevin Gausman be a real X factor for the 2014 Orioles? Gausman made just five starts for the Orioles last season with 15 appearances out of the bullpen. While some fans look at the stat sheet and see

How will O’s fans feel if Mussina gets the call to the Hall?

They say time heals all wounds, but when it comes to baseball and the Orioles-Yankees rivalry, that may not be completely true. It was announced this week that former Oriole Mike Mussina’s name will appear on the Baseball Hall of Fame ballot for the first time and, at some point, it appears Mussina could get the call to the Hall. But if elected, will he

Time to give thanks for baseball and more

Happy Thanksgiving, Birdland! Today and every day I am so thankful I get to make my living in the great sport of baseball. Most of us here have a love affair with the game and we share that bond for sure. While I am thankful for that, I’m even more thankful that I get to work covering the team I fell in love with at

10 questions for O’s fans: Offseason edition No. 2

It has simply been too long. We haven’t done this for weeks and weeks, and that is weak on my part. So today it’s time for another edition of “10 questions for O’s fans.” It’s not hard to figure out what we are doing here. I’ll ask you 10 Orioles-related questions and you provide the answers. Per usual, answer one, two or all 10. Provide

A take on Reimold’s return and reliever additions

Wait, Jhonny Peralta won’t be playing left field next year for the Orioles, but Nolan Reimold might? Plenty of fans have written Reimold off, and after seeing him play just 56 games the last two years, he’s become somewhat of a forgotten man around here. But for a projected $1.2 million, the O’s are taking a low-risk gamble that Reimold may be able to stay

A look at minor league catching depth and a take on Jim Johnson

This may surprise you, but the position in the Orioles’ minor leagues that may currently feature the most depth is catcher. There was a time a year or two ago when we certainly could not say that. But now the Orioles may have five catchers among their best 25 or 30 prospects. This comes after a season where two catchers - Caleb Joseph and Michael

More on Boras and the Birds

Earlier this week here I wrote about the Scott Boras factor. Baseball’s most well-known and powerful agent is a key guy when it comes to the Orioles this winter. If the club seeks a contract extension with Chris Davis and/or Matt Wieters, they’ll be dealing with Boras, who represents both players. Years ago, there was talk that the Orioles and Boras had a frosty relationship.

Gary Kendall on AFL championship: “The Orioles made a statement that day”

It was a week ago today that the Surprise Saguaros charged the mound to celebrate their Arizona Fall League championship. It was a championship won with a big Oriole flavor. The Surprise team was managed by Double-A Bowie skipper Gary Kendall. Short-season Single-A Aberdeen pitching coach Alan Mills was one of two pitching coaches on the team that also featured eight O’s prospects. For the

Dollars and sense: What is the right payroll for the Orioles?

A few quick thoughts while wondering if Alex Rodriguez still thinks everyone is out to get him. Let’s look at some payroll math and see which American League East team was most efficient with its spending in 2013. Here were opening day payrolls for each team last year and the wins that money produced: Orioles at $92.2 million for 85 wins Red Sox at $154.5

Eddie Gamboa’s passionate take on making the 40-man roster

You have to feel good for a guy who, after pitching for six seasons in 164 games and over 584 1/3 innings, gets his first shot on a club’s 40-man roster. Right-hander Eddie Gamboa, who will turn 29 in December and who was drafted by the Orioles in round 21 in 2008, finally made it to the 40-man for the first time last night. His

Berry and Ohlman on the 2013 success that led them to 40-man roster

To hear Tim Berry tell it, his biggest strides this season were made in the mental part of the game. That led him to perform better physically, and that led him to a spot on the Orioles’ 40-man roster. A 22-year-old left-handed pitcher, Berry was added to the O’s 40-man last night, joining right-hander Eddie Gamboa and catcher Michael Ohlman on the roster before the

Berry and Ohlman react to making Orioles’ 40-man roster

The Orioles added three players from their minor leagues to their 40-man roster tonight, with the additions of pitchers Tim Berry and Eddie Gamboa, and catcher Michael Ohlman. The 22-year-old Berry went 11-7 with an ERA of 3.85 this past season at Single-A Frederick. Over 152 innings and 27 starts, he gave up 40 walks with 119 strikeouts. Berry went 7-3 with an ERA of

The Boras factor

If the Orioles once had a frosty relationship with agent Scott Boras, it has certainly thawed in the last few years, which is important now. Two major Boras clients, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters, are Orioles who are now two years from free agency. It is a critical time for the club to determine if they can re-sign one or both, or if the best

Noting a few Orioles scouting staff changes

The Orioles’ scouting staff is undergoing a few changes. Three scouts are gone from the organization and director of amateur scouting Gary Rajsich will need to hire their replacements over the next few weeks. Chris Gale, the Orioles’ area scout in the Carolinas and southern Virginia, left the organization this week to take a pro scouting position with Cleveland. Gale was the area scout that

Orioles are getting better on the international front

For an organization that often lagged behind plenty of others in international signings, there is evidence now that the Orioles are finally making some gains in that area. Last year, just three international players signed by the O’s were among their top 15 prospects, according to Baseball America. Now the Orioles have five international players who will likely be ranked among their top 15 prospects.

Orioles add four minor league free agents

The Orioles today signed four players to minor league contracts, adding two pitchers and two outfielders from four different organizations. They signed right-handed pitcher Brock Huntzinger, left-handed pitcher Nick Additon, and added outfielders Chih-Hsien Chiang and Kyeong Kang. The 25-year-old Huntzinger went 5-2 with a 1.83 ERA in relief last year pitching between Double-A and Triple-A in the Red Sox organization. A third-round draft pick

A look at minor leaguers that may be added to the 40-man, plus news on Wieters and J. Johnson

If the Orioles are to add any players from their minor leagues to their 40-man roster in advance of next month’s Rule 5 draft, they must do it by Wednesday at 5 p.m. Pitcher Tim Berry and catcher Michael Ohlman continue to look like the most likely to be added. Pitcher Oliver Drake has also been discussed and could lead the next group of players

What if the Orioles pursued a player that comes with baggage?

How would you feel about the Orioles adding a starting pitcher who last year went 18-6 with an ERA of 2.65? He had a WHIP of 1.166 and walked just 1.4 batters per every nine innings. He was second in the American League in ERA and wins while adding three shutouts. By the way, you may be able to sign this pitcher for just one

O’s Eduardo Rodriguez with a strong outing in AFL title game (Surprise wins 2-0)

Orioles pitching prospect Eduardo Rodriguez had a strong outing today in the Arizona Fall League championship game. The 20-year-old left-hander from Valencia, Venezuela, pitched three shutout innings for Surprise against Mesa. Rodriguez, who pitched this year at Single-A Frederick and Double-A Bowie, left with a 1-0 lead. Rodriguez gave up just two singles, one of which was erased on a caught stealing. He didn’t walk

O’s minor league Pitcher of the Year looks back on his 2013 season

Orioles pitching prospect Mike Wright certainly advanced his career during the 2013 season. He improved his stats, extended his season innings limit, started and won the Eastern League All-Star game, and capped his year with a big O’s honor. On Sept. 8, Wright was named the Orioles minor league Pitcher of the Year, taking the Jim Palmer Award. The 23-year-old right-hander went 11-3 with a

Three O’s prospects expected to start in AFL championship game

Three Orioles prospects are expected to start tomorrow for Surprise when the Saguaros take on Mesa at 3:10 p.m. eastern in the Arizona Fall League championship game, which will be televised by MLB Network. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez gets the start on the mound and will likely pitch three innings. Henry Urrutia is expected to start in left field with Jonathan Schoop at shortstop. Rodriguez is

The rumor mill is churning as hot stove season heats up

In recent days, we’ve seen reports that the Orioles discussed a J.J. Hardy trade with the St. Louis Cardinals and that they are willing to discuss a deal for Matt Wieters. What is going on here? Aren’t these two of their best players and players they should look to keep, not trade? As always, such reports bring an avalanche of reaction around Birdland. If nothing

Orioles’ Brian Graham named winner of Bender Award

The Orioles’ director of player development has received a nice honor. Minor League Baseball today announced that it has selected Brian Graham as the winner of the sixth annual Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award, presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development. Graham just completed his sixth season with the Orioles, his first in his current role and his 32nd

A look at the young Dominican player making his way up the O’s prospect charts

Fred Ferreira said it doesn’t happen often. But there have been times in his long career of signing international baseball talent that he saw someone play and agreed to sign him that same day. It happened several weeks ago when he watched a 16-year-old right-hander from the Dominican Republic named Olelky Peralta pitch. It was part of a showcasing of players by the Arias &

How do you analyze pitching?

We’ve spent some time here this offseason talking about pitching and the Orioles’ hopes and goals to add some. So that leads me to a question for the readers today: What do you look for in a pitcher? What stats are important to you in sizing up a pitcher’s talents? Do you put emphasis on ERA or WHIP, innings, homers allowed or strikeout, walk and

Eduardo Rodriguez will get the start in AFL championship game

One of the Orioles’ top young pitching prospects will start Saturday’s Arizona Fall League championship game. Left-hander Eduardo Rodriguez will start for Surprise against either Mesa or Salt River in the game, which is set for 3 p.m. Eastern time and will be televised live on MLB Network. He is expected to go three innings. Rodriguez is 0-1 with a 5.52 ERA in five AFL

With eight O’s prospects on roster, Surprise is headed to AFL championship game

The Surprise Saguaros, a team managed by Double-A Bowie’s Gary Kendall and featuring eight O’s minor league prospects, are headed to the Arizona Fall League’s championship game Saturday. Surprise, which also features short-season Single-A Aberdeen’s Alan Mills as one of its two pitching coaches, clinched its division title with awith an 8-2 win Monday over Scottsdale. The Saguaros haven’t won the AFL championship since 1995,

For the Orioles, improving starting pitching could be a challenge

The Orioles are facing a dilemma. They need to improve their starting pitching to get back to the playoffs. But the pitchers who seem likely to get long-term deals this winter don’t look worth signing even if the O’s would consider that avenue. And the pitchers on the other end of the free agent class may not even be upgrades on what is already in

Urrutia’s bat stays hot in Arizona and other winter ball notes

Henry Urrutia had another strong game for the Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League on Saturday, going 3-for-4 with a homer and two RBIs. The Orioles’ 2013 minor league Player of the Year is batting .410 in 16 AFL games with three doubles, three homers and 13 RBIs. Urrutia is slugging .607 with an OPS of 1.069 and is batting over .400 against both

Baseball’s heat wave: Is high-end velocity the new, big thing? (updated)

It was on display in the playoffs, whether it was Michael Wacha or Trevor Rosenthal of the St. Louis Cardinals throwing the ball by a hitter or the Detroit Tigers staff ringing up another strikeout. It was an impressive display of power pitching. A good fastball has always been valued in the sport, but are we entering an era when power pitching will be more

How are qualifying offers impacting baseball?

Could the Orioles have any interest in free agent outfielder Carlos Beltran? What about first baseman/DH Kendrys Morales? Or outfielder Shin-Soo Choo? What about pitchers Hiroki Kuroda or Ervin Santana? Well, if the O’s do have any interest in any of those players - and a few others - it will cost a first-round draft pick to sign them. The players I mentioned and eight

A look at some O’s pitchers in the Arizona Fall League

The Orioles have a few pitchers who have done well pitching for the first-place Surprise Saguaros in the Arizona Fall League West division. Among them is 22-year-old left-hander Tim Berry, a 50th-round draft pick in 2009. After pitching well for Single-A Frederick this year, Berry is 2-0 with a 2.03 ERA in six games in the AFL. Over 13 1/3 innings, he has allowed 11

Manto remembers the 1995 season, plus an O’s thought for the day

New Orioles minor league hitting coordinator Jeff Manto said he is excited to start his new position with the team. He returns to the organization where he had his best big league season and to work for one of his former minor league managers and a mentor. The 49-year-old Manto batted just 713 times over parts of nine big league seasons, but 254 of those

Should the Orioles consider J.J. Hardy as a trade chip?

It is interesting that some of you have suggested here that the Orioles consider making shortstop J.J. Hardy available in a trade this winter. I assume part of the thinking is that with just a year left on his contract you would like to see the team get something in return - like quality pitching - before he could leave via free agency at the

Jeff Manto talks about his new job with the Orioles

Jeff Manto spent one season as an Oriole, but it was eventful for him. During the 1995 season he tied a major league record with four homers in four consecutive at-bats in June and he was also around when Cal Ripken broke Lou Gehrig’s consecutive games played record. He fondly remembers that season with the Orioles and today, Manto is back with the club after

O’s minor league homer leader expects to play elsewhere next year (plus Rule 5 eligible players)

He led all Orioles minor leaguers in homers in four of the last five seasons, including the last three in a row. But infielder Brandon Waring realizes that probably won’t happen again in 2014. After hitting 119 homers over the last five seasons on the O’s farm, the 27-year-old Waring officially became a minor league free agent Monday afternoon and expects to sign with another

Orioles lead majors with three Topps minor league Players of the Year (Chris Jones note)

The Orioles led all major league organizations today as three of their minor league players were named Topps Players of the Year in the annual George M. Trautman Awards. Catcher Caleb Joseph of Double-A Bowie was honored for his play in the Eastern League, with catcher Michael Ohlman of Single-A Frederick winning for the Carolina League and first baseman Trey Mancini of short-season Single-A Aberdeen

Showalter talks about improving the Orioles’ OBP

There is no doubt that team on-base percentage is one offensive stat where the Orioles need to improve. Their .313 mark last year - which actually ranked just ahead of their .311 mark in 2012 - was behind the league average of .320. Boston led the American League in team OBP at .349 and Detroit was second at .346. The O’s were fourth in the

Urrutia and Ohlman are swinging bats well in AFL

Henry Urrutia and Michael Ohlman were two of the better hitters in the Orioles minor leagues this season and both have continued to hit well in the Arizona Fall League for the first-place Surprise Saguaros. Urrutia is batting .364 with two homers, eight RBIs, a .568 slugging percentage and .997 OPS in 12 games. Of note, he has five extra-base hits in his last seven

Showalter talks pitching, free agency and more (O’s decline option on Wada)

As the Orioles look to improve their pitching for 2014, manager Buck Showalter wonders if the club has some answers now or looking to the future already within their organization. Last night, Showalter indicated the Orioles are open to adding pitching this winter via free agency while at the same time expressing some optimism for some of the current pitchers in the minor leagues. Showalter

Which free agent pitchers could wind up on Orioles’ radar? (Schoop note)

After a season where the Orioles finished 10th in the American League in team ERA and 12th in starting pitcher ERA, it’s pretty clear they’ll need to pitch better to get back in the playoffs in 2014. But how to upgrade the rotation, in particular, after O’s starters posted a 4.57 ERA in 2013? Everyone wants an ace, but we know that there are not

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