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Pre-spring training edition: “10 questions for Orioles fans”

Yes, it is indeed time for the latest edition of “10 questions.” Answer one, two, three or all of them. Give a short answer or long one. I look forward to the responses. Now, on to the questions: 1) What is Matt Wieters’ future with the team? Does he get signed to a new long-term deal, get a qualifying offer after the 2016 season or

A look at a few reasons to keep the 14th pick

There are a few good reasons that the Orioles have been reluctant to part with the No. 14 pick in the first round of next June’s First-Year Player Draft. If the Orioles had signed or do sign a player that turned down a qualifying offer, they have to part with that draft pick. For one, the Orioles hope to get a player with that pick

Another look at the pitching and the starting rotation

When you compare the 2014 Orioles pitching staff to the 2015 version, the 2014 team wins easily. That certainly is no big surprise to anyone who watched the team drop from 96 to 81 wins. We’ve been hearing words like “bounceback” and “rebound,” and we are not talking about basketball here. We’re talking about the Orioles’ ability to pitch as individuals and collectively as well

A look at MLB commissioner Rob Manfred one year into the job

On Jan. 25, Rob Manfred celebrated his one-year anniversary as commissioner of Major League Baseball. He started a five-year term last year as Bud Selig’s successor. Manfred served as MLB’s vice president of labor relations before being named the league’s chief operating officer in 2013. A Harvard Law graduate, he had served as the head of labor negotiations for 19 years since the 1994 strike

A look at some rotation stats, plus a Navarro note and Reyes ranked

If you read this blog daily, first of all, thanks. Second of all, you know by reading the comments that fans do worry. They worry a lot. Right now, Orioles fans are worried about a starting rotation that ranked 14th in the American League last year with an ERA of 4.53. That was one season after the O’s starting pitcher ERA ranked fifth in the

Now that the huge deal is signed, can Chris Davis live up to it?

So how will Chris Davis handle the pressure to produce now that he has signed what is easily the richest contract in Orioles history? No one has a crystal ball on that front. In three of his four full seasons in Baltimore, he has produced an OPS of at least .827, hit at least 33 homers and recorded an OPS+ of at least 121. We

Ranking the Orioles’ top rivals

After reading this article about some of the top rivalries in baseball, I wondered which team is the biggest rival for the Orioles? At one time that answer was pretty clear-cut: the Yankees. But does that still hold true? Also what makes a matchup a rivalry anyway? That definition is the eye of the beholder. But here is my take ranking the Orioles’ rivals: 1.

Minor league notes on Bobby Bundy and farm system managers

Three years before the Orioles drafted pitcher Dylan Bundy, they selected his older brother Bobby in the eighth round of the 2008 draft. The right-hander was signed to a $600,000 bonus. Like Dylan, Bobby has battled injuries in his career. He was throwing well early last season for Double-A Bowie - touching 93 and 94 mph - when he suffered a season-ending right knee injury.

Another look at Yovani Gallardo, Doug Fister and the pitching market

So O’s executive vice president Dan Duquette told MLB Network Radio that the Orioles prefer to not give up the No. 14 pick in the draft. The O’s have been linked to free agent right-handed pitcher Yovani Gallardo and would lose that pick if they signed him. Duquette said, “The question for us is, are we willing to give up our first-round pick and so

After press conference, Chris Davis mentioned Peter Angelos, David Price and one fan

First baseman Chris Davis has become the highest-paid player in Baltimore Orioles history. He has signed the largest contract the team has ever handed out. But he feels certain that how much a player is paid will not be an issue with anyone inside the Orioles clubhouse. “I don’t think so,” Davis told reporters after his press conference had ended last night. “Feel like everybody

Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter comments, Chris Davis on his talk with O’s owner

At the press conference to announce the official return of first baseman Chris Davis as an Oriole, executive vice president Dan Duquette talked about the final night of the negotiations. The seven-year deal worth $161 million was finally agreed to last Friday night. “We always had Chris as a primary target to sign,” Duquette said. “These deals, they have their own timing. Some take a

Adam Jones and Chris Davis can work their way up the O’s all-time homers list

Orioles outfielder Adam Jones and first baseman Chris Davis have already hit a combined 354 home runs as Orioles. They are currently both in the top 10 on the club’s all-time homers list. The Orioles’ top 10 home run list: 431 - Cal Ripken Jr. 343 - Eddie Murray 303 - Boog Powell 268 - Brooks Robinson 223 - Rafael Palmeiro 209 - Brady Anderson

A look at some players who did well in winter ball, plus other notes

When we report on minor league players in this space, we are often talking about the top prospects and up-and-coming young talent. But there are also times that the more veteran players who don’t get ranked on those prospects lists deserve some attention, too. That would include two vets who helped Double-A Bowie win the Eastern League title last September - outfielder Quincy Latimore and

A look back at how it all started on the mound for Dylan Bundy

Most Orioles fans know all about Dylan Bundy’s story since he got to pro ball. High draft pick. Lived up to the hype in 2012. Top-ranked prospect. But Tommy John surgery in 2013 and shoulder issues last season have limited the 23-year-old right-hander to 63 innings over the last three seasons. Now out of options, Bundy will be counted on in the major leagues this

A look at the 2016 Orioles’ power potential

One thing we probably can count on yet again from the Orioles is a lot of home runs. They figure once again to rank among the major league team homer leaders this season. In fact, since 2012, the Orioles lead the majors with 854 home runs. That is 62 homers ahead of the next closest team, the Toronto Blue Jays at 792. The Orioles recorded

A look at areas of impact of the Chris Davis deal

Taking a look at some of the impact of the Orioles’ seven-year deal with first baseman Chris Davis: * While the Orioles lost Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz via free agency last winter - and pitcher Wei-Yin Chen this offseason - they still have a solid core group of players under team control for several more seasons. Some are signed to long-term contracts and others

A take on Chris Davis’ agreement with the Orioles

So I guess that Chris Davis’ offer was not very far off the table. It obviously was still out there for him as the Orioles and Davis have reached an agreement on a seven-year, $161 million deal. To me, this is a surprise ending. It sure appeared the team was moving away from Davis and maybe had decided to move on with the news of

On offense, there are plenty of similarities between Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Jones

Just looking at a stat sheet, Yoenis Cespedes and Adam Jones look like very similar players. If the Orioles signed the free agent outfielder, could they expect Jones-like production from Cespedes? A look at their career stats: Jones: .278 average, .319 OBP, .463 slugging, .781 OPS, 109 OPS+ Cespedes: .271 average, .319 OBP, .486 slugging, .805 OPS, 122 OPS+ Both players are 30. Jones has

A look at the O’s current payroll obligations and a Yoenis Cespedes take

Now that new Oriole Mark Trumbo and reliever Brad Brach avoided arbitration and came to agreements on contracts for 2016, we can take another look at a 2016 Orioles payroll projection as of last night. These 10 Orioles have salaries set for the 2016 season: * $16.3 million - Adam Jones * $15.8 million - Matt Wieters * $13.0 million - Ubaldo Jimenez * $12.5

O’s add local product Greg Ross on minors deal, plus other notes

The Orioles have added a local product to their farm system, signing 26-year-old right-handed pitcher Greg Ross to a minor league contract. Ross projects to begin the 2016 season on the Double-A Bowie roster. A native of Baltimore and current Towson resident, Ross is a 2007 graduate of Loch Raven High School and was drafted by Atlanta in Round 18 in 2011 out of Frostburg

A look at O’s draft picks, Colorado outfielders and more

At the moment, the Orioles have, by my count, six of the first 90 picks in the 2015 First-Year Player Draft next June. In the 2014 draft, after losing picks for signing Nelson Cruz and Ubaldo Jimenez, the O’s first pick was No. 90. The Orioles should currently be slated to get the No. 28 overall pick in the draft for losing pitcher Wei-Yin Chen

Orioles announce minor league managers and staffs for 2016

The Orioles have named their minor league managers and coaching staffs for the 2016 season. Ron Johnson returns for his fifth season as manager at Triple-A Norfolk after guiding the Tides to the International League South Division title and earning Manager of the Year honors in 2015. The 2016 season will be Johnson’s 23rd as a minor league manager. He has compiled 1,555 career victories

A take on the remaining free agent pitching market

In an attempt to improve a starting rotation that ranked 14th in the American League last year in ERA at 4.53, the Orioles may be running out of solid options for an upgrade. At this point, free agent right-handers Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy are out there. But both were projected to potentially get four-year deals in the $50 million range. On top of that,

A look at the bullpen arms race in the AL East

When the Orioles try to produce late-game comebacks during the 2016 season, they will see some new faces on the mound in the American League East. Since the end of last season, the Yankees, Red Sox and Blue Jays have all acquired late-inning pitchers that could turn out to be part-time, if not permanent, closers. The build-up of American League East bullpens continues. What the

A look at Aberdeen’s 2016 promotions and one reader’s take on the Orioles

The Orioles’ short-season Single-A affiliate, the Aberdeen IronBirds, announced their 2016 promotional schedule a few days ago. It will feature 14 postgame fireworks shows on Friday and Saturday nights and 19 themed promotional nights. The 2016 campaign marks Aberdeen’s 15th season and the home opener is set for Wednesday, June 22 at Leidos Field at Ripken Stadium. The IronBirds begin the new season on June

It’s too soon for a top free agent to look for a one-year deal

Before the narrative got completely out of hand, Justin Upton’s agent put the word out. His client is not currently looking to sign a one-year deal or a short-term deal. It was another “report” that got out that proved to not be accurate. The combination of pressure to be first to report something and the speed with which that something moves via social media had

As list of free agent targets decreases, tension rises for Birdland

So it seems with each player signing with a team that is not their team, Orioles fans’ collective pulses beat a little faster. The tension rises. The concern grows. Coming off last offseason where good players got away and were replaced by lesser ones, fans are worried that it could happen again. To make matters worse, unlike last year, this time the Orioles have made

The free agent outfield market shrinks by one, plus other notes

He didn’t get $100 million. He didn’t get an opt-out clause. He did get a contract that includes some deferred money. But outfielder Alex Gordon is no longer on the board. He signed a four-year deal worth $72 million to stay with the Kansas City Royals. His combination of a career .348 OBP (it was .377 last year) and his defensive excellence would have looked

Ken Griffey Jr. and Mike Piazza are elected to the Hall of Fame

Ken Griffey Jr., whose strong and fluid play on defense was equaled by his smooth and powerful left-handed swing, is headed to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y. He is joined by catcher Mike Piazza in a two-man class that will be inducted July 24. Griffey was not the first unanimous selection, as some had speculated he might be, but Griffey was

Mike Mussina has a Hall of Fame resume, plus other notes

With the Hall of Fame announcing election results today, I will throw in my two cents that former Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina should be a Hall of Famer. To put Mussina’s case into perspective, if Jim Palmer is a Hall of Famer (he is and, of course, should be), then a strong case can be made for Mussina. Here are their career numbers: Palmer: 268-152

Looking back: Checking on the 2010 O’s top 10 prospects list

As a follow-up to yesterday’s blog about the Orioles farm system, I decided to take a random look back at their top 10 list from several years ago. So I decided to take three American League East teams from after the 2010 season and see how their top 10s look now. Keep in mind that prospect analysis involves a lot of looking ahead and projections

A look to see if Orioles farm system depth is better than advertised

Is it possible that the Orioles farm system is in better shape than some believe it to be? If you look at the recent Baseball America top 10 O’s prospects list, you find some pretty good prospects that did not even make that top 10. To review, here is the O’s top 10 per BA that was released Dec. 14: 1) RHP Dylan Bundy 2)

In Chris Davis’ free agency, where does loyalty fit in?

When the Orioles acquired first baseman Chris Davis and pitcher Tommy Hunter from Texas for pitcher Koji Uehara in July 2011, Davis was a 25-year-old slugger looking to establish himself at the major league level. Today he is an established home run hitter and looking to score a big contract through free agency. Back at the time of the trade, he was making the major

Will 2016 produce some free agent surprises?

With now about six weeks to go before the start of another spring training, the market remains flush with some big name position players. Chris Davis, Yoenis Cespedes, Alex Gordon and Justin Upton are all still out there. Jason Heyward signed an eight-year deal for $184 million with the Chicago Cubs. It contains - of course - an opt-out clause and the potential for a

Will a new year bring a return to past performance for some O’s starters?

Happy new year to all Orioles fans. Hope this will be a great year for you and the team you root for. The Orioles rotation will need to be better this year. No matter what additions or changes the O’s make to their starting five, the holdovers simply must do better in 2016. Last year, Chris Tillman went 11-11 with a 4.99 ERA. In 2014,

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