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Pondering a future return to the rotation for Zach Britton

On Memorial Day 2011, Orioles left-hander Zach Britton was 5-2 with a 2.35 ERA in 10 starts. He looked every bit then what he was - one of the best young pitching prospects in the game. But shoulder issues impacted his next two seasons when he posted ERAs of 5.07 and 4.95 and the once-promising pitcher came to spring training last February out of options.

A look back: Five favorites from the 2014 season

This might be a difficult task, but what were your favorite Orioles games from the 2014 regular season? If we counted the playoffs, of course, one or all three of the wins against Detroit in the American League Division Series would make the list. Delmon Young’s three-run pinch-hit double in the eighth of Game 2 might rank among the greatest moments in club history. Certainly,

After fast start, then surgery, will 2015 be Wieters’ last year as an Oriole?

When it comes to Orioles catcher Matt Wieters, there are more questions than answers right now. Will he make a complete recovery from Tommy John surgery? Can he be ready by opening day? Will the solid offense he showed last year carry over? Will he be an Oriole beyond 2015? Will he even make it as an Oriole through the season or could he be

Orioles’ outfielder options are dwindling

Right now it appears the Orioles starting corner outfielders are Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce. David Lough could work his way into the mix. Maybe at some point during the season Dariel Alvarez or Henry Urrutia find their way to the team. Chris Davis is a long-shot candidate to play right field. The O’s have Pearce and Christian Walker who could play at first

Some notes and a quick take on the pitching

A few news and notes from around the baseball world: * If reports are accurate that pitcher Hiroki Kuroda is heading back to Japan to pitch at age 40 next year, the Orioles will not be sorry to see him go. Kuroda went 38-33 with an ERA of 3.44 the last three seasons for the Yankees. He went 11-9 with a 3.71 ERA last year

The AL East is spending again, what will it all mean for the Orioles?

Is anyone surprised that some of baseball’s biggest spenders this winter reside in the American League East? Is anyone surprised that list of big spenders does not include the Orioles? While it irks some of you, it should not be a big surprise. The Matt Kemp and Justin Upton rumors were nice and they were interesting, but they were never close to happening. The Red

Projecting the 2015 opening day lineup

Merry Christmas and Happy Holidays to everyone around Birdland. Hope this is your best Christmas ever. Thanks again to the loyal readers here at MASNsports.com. I am thankful 365 days a year that you come here and read this blog. What a great community of Orioles fans and and I hope today and every day is special for you. With yesterday’s news that the Orioles

Trying to project the 2015 minor league pitching rotations

The Orioles will have some pretty good pitching prospects at all four of their full-season minor league affilates when the new seasons begin in April. We certainly don’t know the rosters yet, and this is all subject to change, but here’s taking a guess at where some pitchers could be with the starting rotations for Triple-A Norfolk, Double-A Bowie, Single-A Frederick and Single-A Delmarva come

Q&A with Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace

By almost any standard, Dave Wallace’s first season as Orioles pitching coach was a real success. The Orioles’ 3.43 team ERA ranked third in the American League, behind only Seattle at 3.17 and Oakland at 3.22. This was for a team that won 96 games, played for the American League pennant and tied for the second-best record in the majors. The Orioles had four different

Prospect Profile: Hess makes solid debut, draws Bud Norris comparison

When the Orioles drafted right-hander David Hess in the fifth round out of Tennessee Tech last June, Hess pointed out that he had played for the O’s in Little League and now he was an Oriole again. Signed by scout Adrian Dorsey, the 21-year-old Hess had pitched out of the bullpen his first two years in college and was a starter as a junior. He

Third offseason edition: 10 questions for O’s fans

Yep, it’s about that time again. Today we present the latest edition of 10 question for Orioles fans, and it comes about one month after the second one which came one month after the first one. It is again time to survey Birdland. Answer one question, two, three or all 10. Provide a one or two-word answer or one that is longer. It is completely

O’s brass lends public support to Chris Davis

In recent days, we have heard both Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter talk up Chris Davis. They have said they believe in him and expect him to have a bounceback season in 2015. Whether they truly believe that or are just being supportive of a key player, they have lent some public support to Davis at a time when he

Prospect Profile: Connaughton leaving the hardwood behind for the mound

Hoops and hardball. Orioles minor league pitcher Pat Connaughton is real good at both. Soon his concentration and efforts will be fully devoted to baseball and then the Orioles are anxious to see how he will do. The Orioles drafted the 6-foot-5 right-hander in the fourth round out of Notre Dame in June. The two-sport standout is currently averaging 12.7 points per game for the

Did Ubaldo Jimenez turn the corner late last year?

In the second half of the 2013 season, right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez went 6-5 with a 1.82 ERA and struck out 100 batters in 84 innings over 13 starts for the Cleveland Indians. That strong finish to his season helped Jimenez land a four-year, $50 million contract with the Orioles in February. But Jimenez had a rough first season with the Orioles, lost his rotation spot

Minor league manager assignments for 2015 and other notes

All six managers, from the rookie-level Gulf Coast League up through Triple-A Norfolk, will return to manage Orioles affiliates next season. Three will return to their 2014 teams, while three will be with new clubs in 2015. The Orioles have not confirmed this or made any announcements yet about their 2015 minor league staff, but Ron Johnson is expected to return to manage at Triple-A

Asking O’s fans, “How did it all start for you?”

So should I take a day, or even a few hours, away from the usual fare on this blog each day to try something different? “You’ll hear crickets,” I said to myself when I had this thought last night. “Going to do it anyway,” I answered back. Don’t worry, I don’t have these conversations out loud and only I know I am talking with myself.

A look back: The quotable from the trip to San Diego

Looking back at the last few days, there were 19 blogs written in this space, covering the Orioles at the Winter Meetings from Monday to Thursday before we headed back to the East Coast. Here is another look at some of the quotes from those we interviewed and what they had to say. MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds on what O’s should do: “If (the Orioles)

How Jason Garcia impressed the Orioles, plus Harvey invited to spring training

Well, that must have been some instructional league pitching performance. It was good enough to convince the Orioles brass that a young pitcher that has never pitched about low Single-A should be considered by them for the Rule 5 draft. A few months ago, then 21-year-old Jason Garcia, pitching for Boston, faced 18 O’s batters in an instructional league game and struck out 14 of

Are the fans who are questioning the Orioles right now correct?

Dan Duquette should have some built up some good will among Orioles fans. That is what two playoff appearances in three years and winning the American League East by 12 games with 96 wins should get you. Fans can question his moves, but his record in Baltimore is pretty good. Unless you prefer 14 straight losing seasons to playing for the AL pennant. It was

Orioles add one, lose two players in minor league phase of the Rule 5 draft

SAN DIEGO - The Orioles lost two players and added one today in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 draft. Unlike the major league phase, these players don’t have to stay on any roster all year to stick with the club. They now belong to the selecting team and can be assigned to any minor league level. The Orioles selected outfielder Sean Halton from

Duquette on the two pitchers added via the Rule 5 draft

SAN DIEGO - The Orioles added two pitchers today in the Rule 5 draft as they acquired right-hander Jason Garcia through a trade and selected right-hander Logan Verrett. The Orioles acquired Garcia from Houston for cash considerations. The 22-year-old pitcher was selected fourth in the draft out of the Boston Red Sox organization. Garcia went 3-2 with three saves and a 3.67 ERA in 14

A look at today’s Rule 5 draft

SAN DIEGO - The Rule 5 draft is the last event of the Winter Meetings and takes place this morning at the Manchester Grand Hyatt. Any player selected in this draft must remain on the selecting team’s 25-man roster for the entire 2015 season or be offered back to his original club. Players are eligible for selection in the Rule 5 draft when they are

Duquette talks dollars and sense during one-on-one interview

SAN DIEGO - During his press briefing with Baltimore reporters today, executive vice president Dan Duquette said, “Very rarely do we sign high-profile free agents.” The Orioles did sign Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez last year for a combined $58 million and gave up two draft picks to get that pair. But the messages seems to be pretty clear. While the Orioles are handing out

Checking in with Orioles scouting director Gary Rajsich

SAN DIEGO - Among the Orioles’ front office contingent in San Diego is scouting director Gary Rajsich. It will be a much different draft for Rajsich and his staff next June when the O’s have four of the top 73 picks after not selecting until the third round and 90th overall last June. “It is going to be a deep draft according to our projections

Talking about the June draft and Rule 5 draft with Jim Callis

SAN DIEGO - Few if any know the First-Year Player Draft and the Rule 5 draft better than Jim Callis of MLB.com and MLBPipeline.com. With the Orioles holding four picks among the first 73 selections next June, I asked Callis today at the Winter Meetings about the 2015 draft. The O’s highest picks are currently No. 26 and No. 33. If more teams sign players

Producing winners in a variety of ways led to higher profile for Duquette

SAN DIEGO - While the talk of Dan Duquette leaving the Orioles has certainly quieted and seems well on its way to becoming a non-issue or non-story, Duquette’s respect around the industry may be at an all-time high. That is saying something since he produced winners in Montreal and Boston before he got to Baltimore. But for many years, Duquette was out of the game.

Showalter on Red Sox/Yankees spending: “They run out of money yet?”

SAN DIEGO - While Orioles fans wait to see what winter additions their team will make, other American League East teams have been more active. The Boston Red Sox are back to spending big money and the New York Yankees may join them. They are not alone. While Boston signed Hanley Ramirez for $88 million and Pablo Sandoval for $95 million, the Yankees gave former

Duquette talks up Alvarez and Yastrzemski during one-on-one interview (with video)

SAN DIEGO - In his daily video interview today with MASNSports.com at the Winter Meetings, I asked Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette about minor league outfielders Dariel Alvarez and Mike Yastrzemski. Alvarez has been ranked as the organization’s No. 5 prospect by Baseball America and Yastrzemski is No. 9. Duquette says both have a chance to impact the big league roster in 2015. “We

Baseball America’s John Manuel on honoring Showalter and Duquette tonight

SAN DIEGO - The Orioles brass will be honored in San Diego here tonight. Baseball America will host its awards gala and among the winners are Dan Duquette as BA’s Executive of the Year and Buck Showalter as BA’s Manager of the Year. They have just one manager award for all of baseball, so it is not an American League-only award. John Manuel, Baseball America’s

Video interview with ESPN’s Keith Law talking Orioles

SAN DIEGO - Here is a video taped yesterday at the Winter Meetings with ESPN’s Keith Law. Watch the video for the full interview, in which we talked about the Orioles’ need for an outfielder and other moves that they might make. Law agreed with me that the Orioles should have some financial flexibility right now with the departures of Nick Markakis, Nelson Cruz and

Talking clubhouse chemistry and more with ESPN’s Aaron Boone

SAN DIEGO - Among the many former big league players here at the Winter Meetings that is now a broadcaster is Aaron Boone. He is part of a three-generation major league family and he hit a famous playoff home run in 2003. Now Boone is an analyst for ESPN’s Monday Night Baseball with frequent appearances on Baseball Tonight and other studio programming. He joined ESPN

Scout that signed Jon Lester now drafts players for Orioles

At some point today or real soon, pitcher Jon Lester will sign a massive free agent contract - one worth perhaps $150 million or more. That news will get a lot of attention. Somewhere else another man will be smiling and happy for Lester. That is the area scout that drafted him out of a Tacoma, Wash., high school at age 18. Lester was a

Is there pressure on the Orioles to match moves by other AL East teams?

SAN DIEGO - It was interesting to hear executive vice president Dan Duquette suggest the Orioles are more likely to acquire an outfielder right now via free agency rather than through a trade. I don’t think that ends any rumors about the club’s possible pursuit of Matt Kemp or Justin Upton, but that seems unlikely at this moment. Here is the lengthy list of free

ESPN’s Keith Law on the Dan Duquette-to-Toronto rumors

SAN DIEGO - ESPN’s Keith Law knows something about how baseball teams run their front offices. He worked for the Toronto Blue Jays from 2002-06, now covers everything from the minors to the majors for ESPN and ESPN.com, and is a big part of the network’s coverage from the Winter Meetings. Law talked at length with me about reports that Toronto has interest in Dan

Video: Duquette on the outfield market and more

SAN DIEGO - Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said the club made some progress in its effort to add one or more outfielders today at the Winter Meetings. After his group press conference with Baltimore-area media, Duquette took part in a one-on-one interview with MASNSports.com. That video will be posted here later. “We’ve been able to meet with several of the agents for the

Brian Graham provides updates on Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey

SAN DIEGO - Orioles director of player development Brian Graham is at the Winter Meetings as part of the front office contingent. During a video interview that will be posted later, Graham said the Orioles’ top two prospects, pitchers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey, are both doing well after ending the 2014 season on the disabled list. Bundy, who had Tommy John surgery in June

MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds talks Orioles at the Winter Meetings

SAN DIEGO - With the Orioles looking to add at least one outfielder, MLB Network’s Harold Reynolds believes that pursuing Atlanta’s Justin Upton via a trade is the best move for the club right now. “If they make a trade, of all the names that have been mentioned, I think Justin Upton is the best move for them,” Reynolds said. “He’s 26, 27. If you

After rumor-filled Sunday, focus turns to addressing offense

SAN DIEGO - How about some actual baseball talk? Sunday was highlighted by the report that the Toronto Blue Jays have interest in Dan Duquette as a candidate to be their CEO/president. Both Duquette and Orioles managing partner Peter G. Angelos threw cold water on the report. Angelos basically said the Orioles would not allow Toronto to talk to Duquette. When told of Angelos’ comments

Former O’s exec Jim Duquette talks about Dan Duquette and the Toronto situation

SAN DIEGO - The Toronto Blue Jays are interested in Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette. The Orioles have him under contract through 2018. This could get interesting. For now, he is an Oriole. Dan Duquette just repeated that very comment a few moments ago on MLB Network Radio on SiriusXM Radio in an interview at the Winter Meetings with Jim Duquette and Jim Bowden.

For starters: O’s rotation could add innings according to pitching coach Dave Wallace

The Orioles pitching staff finished with a 3.43 ERA in 2014 - which was the best by an O’s staff over a full season since 1979. It also ranked as third best in the American League. The pitching was a big reason the Orioles won 96 games. It was a heckuva first year for new pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti. So

Prospect Profile: Oliver Drake makes it back to the 40-man roster

If it was exciting for pitchers Tyler Wilson and Mike Wright when they were recently added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster maybe it was doubly so for pitcher Oliver Drake. The 27-year-old right-hander was recently added to the 40-man, as well - and for the second time. Three years after Drake made it the first time in November 2011, he did it again. This time

Dan Duquette takes fans’ questions at Camden Yards

Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette took questions from the fans last night at Dempsey’s Brew Pub during a benefit for the Babe Ruth Museum. Here are some of the highlights from the nearly hour-long session. On the departures of Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz: “We tried to sign Nick and there were several times I thought we were going to close the deal, but

What now for the Orioles?

So should the Orioles have considered the feelings of the fans when negotiating with Nick Markakis? And just because some fans are very upset over his departure to Atlanta, others said he was not worth such money with his declining stats. So even if the O’s did take the fans into account, who will win out? If you sit in Dan Duquette’s chair, you have

Blow to the fan base: Nick Markakis is leaving the Orioles

What seemed very unlikely is now going to happen: Nick Markakis is going to leave the Orioles. The O’s right fielder since 2006 and a first-round draft pick in 2003 will leave the organization after 1,365 games sporting the orange and black. Markakis has reportedly agreed to a four-year deal worth $44 million with Atlanta. So much for reports he might have had a deal

When it comes to Adam Jones, opinions are often plentiful

Nelson Cruz is gone and Nick Markakis may be the next to go. But one outfielder that we know will be a part of the 2015 Orioles is center fielder Adam Jones. He remains among the best Orioles and one of the top center fielders in the game. While Jones is a lightning rod for criticism and drives some fans crazy when he chases pitches,

A tale of two men leaving the Orioles organization

You talk about something good happening to a guy who flew under the radar - well, it happened yesterday. Longtime Orioles minor league coach Butch Davis was hired by the Minnesota Twins as their first base coach. Seeing reaction on Twitter, it is clear that Davis had a lot of fans among O’s minor league staff and players. They are thrilled he is returning to

Appreciating Nelson Cruz as he heads to Seattle (Butch Davis note)

One and done. That is it for Nelson Cruz and the Orioles. Cruz repeatedly said he was very interested in re-signing and the team showed interest in retaining him. But in the end, the Orioles were apparently unwilling to offer the 34-year-old Cruz a fourth year and he agreed today to a new deal with Seattle. Cruz had a heckuva one season as an Oriole.

One week to the Winter Meetings, the rumor mill is heating up

Here is a good question: What is taking the Orioles so long to re-sign Nick Markakis? And is there truly a chance now that they may not re-sign him? Is the holdup on the O’s or Markakis’ side right now? Fans are getting restless on this one. With neither side commenting on it, we are left to mostly guess and speculate here, but it sure

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