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A look at one free agent lefty bat

As the Orioles look to add left-handed hitting and some balance to their lineup versus right-handers, they could do a lot worse than Adam Lind. Yes, Adam Lind, who is a free agent and won’t come at a big price. He has a good track record versus right-handed pitchers. What he doesn’t truly offer is a good fit on an Orioles roster that already has

Prospect profile: Ademar Rifaela had breakout ‘17 (plus other notes)

When you talk about outfield prospects on the Orioles farm, he can get overlooked among players like Austin Hays, Cedric Mullins and DJ Stewart. But Ademar Rifaela had a breakout 2017 season. Producing much better stats than he had earlier in his career, the 23-year-old corner outfielder was named the Carolina League MVP at Single-A Frederick. Over 126 games, he hit .284/.358/.500 with an OPS

The cases for and against trading closer Zach Britton

His name came up in trade rumors at the general managers’ meetings and figures to come up again at the Winter Meetings. It could be a winter of trade speculation involving Orioles closer Zach Britton. Of the four key players on the club whose contracts are up after the 2018 season - Manny Machado, Adam Jones, Brad Brach and Britton - Britton might be the

Strong finish ends solid year as David Hess makes the 40-man

Right-hander David Hess has pitched in spring training games before for the Orioles. But that was always as one of the minor league pitchers added for a game as a just-in-case guy. But next season, he’ll begin spring training with a locker in the home clubhouse at Ed Smith Stadium. The 24-year-old Hess was recently added to the Orioles’ 40-man roster. So he’ll report with

Week in review: Cobb versus Lynn, roster additions and WAR

We had a few solid conversations and debates in the comments section over the last week as we touched on a variety of topics. We’ll revisit a few today and please weigh back in or comment for the first time if you like. As always here, anything about the Orioles is the topic, even if it is not presented in the story. So please throw

Some free agent contracts just may be too risky

Any free agent contract for a pitcher can be risky. The bigger the contract, the riskier. But two current free agent pitchers present greater risk than some others. That is according to Dave Cameron on FanGraphs in his listing of 2018 free agent landmines. It is not that Cameron sees the pitchers in question as poor pitchers. But in relation to the contracts they are

Could Harvey’s innings ramp up to the Bundy plan?

They are both Orioles first-round draft picks that are right-handed pitchers and were selected out of high school. They have both been ranked as top 100 prospects. They have both had Tommy John surgery. The similarities between Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey don’t end there. Bundy has thrown 167 minor league innings and Harvey has pitched 144. Bundy is 10-9 with an ERA of 2.59,

Pondering a few baseball questions before the feast

Sending out a wish today that everyone has a great Thanksgiving and weekend with family and friends. It remains as true today as ever: I’m thankful for the readers of this blog and that so many post questions and comments to keep a great conversation going through the year. During this offseason to this point we have written about here and debated several questions surrounding

Wins Above Replacement: useful metric or nonsense?

WAR, what is it good for? In a baseball statistical sense, it may be a useful metric that allows us to compare players and takes into account hitting, fielding and even baserunning among position players. There are WAR stats for pitchers, as well. It has become more prominent in the game in recent years and is used more by media and fans. But in my

Hunter Harvey and David Hess on getting added to the 40-man

When the Orioles made talented, young right-hander Hunter Harvey the 22nd pick in the First-Year Player Draft in 2013, it was inevitable that he would make the 40-man roster someday. But Harvey had no idea it would come after he had dealt with several injuries and one major surgery. Harvey once again has the look of a top 100 pitching prospect and now he is

Is there a preference for Cobb or Lynn? (plus Rule 5 talk)

If the Orioles pursue either or both of free agent right-handers Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn, they would probably be delighted to get either pitcher. And either would be a huge addition to their rotation for 2018 and beyond. But is one the better choice? Lynn went 11-8 with a 3.43 ERA over 186 1/3 innings last season for the St. Louis Cardinals, the team

Week in review: Givens’ future role, trade talk and more

It is time for another week in review entry, where we take a look back at some of the stories and dicussions featured here in the last week. On Monday, we looked at reliever Mychal Givens and his possible future as a closer for the Orioles. Givens went 8-1 with a 2.75 ERA and 1.042 WHIP last season. His average against dropped from .220 in

Another look at pace of play, plus final AFL statistics

Once again, Major League Baseball is talking about pace of play. They don’t refer to this as time of game, which was up in 2017 and the longest we’ve ever seen. But MLB wants more on-field action and wants it to happen it seems, in a more timely fashion. But let’s talk time of game for a moment. In 2015 - the first year of

Still talking free agent pitchers, plus other notes

If a pitcher that tied for the National League lead in losses and who has had two Tommy John procedures doesn’t sound like he could help the 2018 Orioles, then right-hander Tyler Chatwood is not for you. But when a national reporter said the Orioles have interest this week, the season for rumors officially began. The Orioles will no doubt be linked to many free

Two O’s go from down the board on draft day to award finalists

All big league teams strive to hit on players later in the First-Year Player Draft. There is always pressure on first-round picks, and they get the most bonus money and the most attention from media and fans. But you need more than the highest drafted players to come through for long-term big league success. In that regard, 2017 wasn’t bad for the Orioles as a

Some trade banter and other notes

If the Orioles discuss trading closer Zach Britton - or any prominent player - and then pull off a deal, can it help the team address its biggest need? Will the Orioles get starting pitching in return? That would be desirable for the Orioles. With just two pitchers set for the 2018 rotation in Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, they are going to need to

Is bullpenning taking hold? (hot stove season heats up)

As the discussion about bullpenning in baseball continues and more teams talk about pulling their starters earlier in games, it will be interesting to see if the Orioles have interest in a similar plan. Teams like the Mets and Rays have indicated a desire to be more proactive in pulling starting pitchers next season before they face batting orders the third time through. This story

Will Mychal Givens’ role become more prominent in the future?

Can a pitcher with zero career saves be a future closer for the Orioles? If that pitcher is right-hander Mychal Givens, I believe the answer is yes. He has the velocity, has the stuff, is durable and has the mentality, in my opinion, which might be the hardest of all to find in a late-inning pitcher. One key trait of any closer is the ability

Week in review: A look at how far the O’s have to go and other topics

Time for another look at some stories and topics we’ve touched on here in the past week. Feel free to comment on any or all three once more. On Monday, we got a lot of responses to the question, “How far away are the Orioles?” The 2017 club stayed in the race into September. In fact, on the night of Aug. 30, the Orioles won

Another look at strikeouts and their impact on the O’s offense

Barring a batter reaching on a third strike and a wild pitch, not much good comes from a strikeout. Certainly, some good can come from a walk. Orioles fans know their team well and the Baltimore offense in recent seasons has featured too many strikeouts and too few walks. This was a problem again in the 2017 season. The Orioles’ strikeout rate of 23 percent

Looking at more free agent starting pitchers

While we wait to find out how the Orioles intend to improve on a starting rotation that produced a 5.70 ERA last season, today we take a look at three more free agent starters. CC Sabathia: It would sure look strange to see the big guy land in an O’s uniform and he will be 38 on opening day. Is it even worth such a

O’s Brian Graham on DL Hall, Cody Sedlock, Keegan Akin and more

Don’t be fooled by a 6.97 ERA for the kid. That came in just 10 1/3 innings in five August outings in the Rookie-level Gulf Coast League for left-hander DL Hall. The Orioles selected Hall with their first pick in June in the draft. He was taken with the 21st pick in the First-Year Player Draft and signed to a $3 million bonus. Hall, who

Multiple-inning relievers could be big for future O’s bullpens

The average outing by a starting pitcher in the postseason this year was 4 2/3 innings. That is a pretty surprising stat for me. Sure, some early knockouts brought that number down but 4 2/3 innings on average for some of better starters in the game? No doubt the bullpens get more use in the postseason and the off-days in each series made it possible

Overlooked as a prospect, Trey Mancini got some rookie recognition

Did a player that has been underrated most of his career finally get some level of recognition Monday evening? He did. The Orioles’ Trey Mancini was named as a finalist for the American League Rookie of the Year Award. It’s an all AL East final trio with Aaron Judge of New York and Boston’s Andrew Benintendi joining Mancini. Judge is expected to become the easy

How far away are the Orioles?

It seems hard to believe when you look at the Orioles and a last-place finish in 2017, but as the calendar turned from August to September, the team was a couple of games over .500 and very close to a playoff berth. On the night of Aug. 30, the Orioles won their seventh straight game. They were 1 1/2 games behind the Twins for the

Week in review: Talking free agent pitchers, realignment and Chris Tillman

As we look back at the last week of blog entries in this space, today we welcome more comments on some of those said entries. Monday we reviewed another three free agent pitchers in this space, taking a looking at Tyler Chatwood, Andrew Casher and Miguel González. Chatwood is a right-hander that will be 28 on opening day. While he went 8-15 with a 4.69

Houston takes down the big spenders, plus a look at shortstop

In winning the World Series, the Houston Astros did so with the No. 17 payroll in the majors and they took down the teams with the three top payrolls in the sport. It was an impressive run of winning. Houston beat Boston 3-1 in the American League Division Series and then won the last two games of the American League Championship Series to beat New

Now a free agent, will O’s bring back Chris Tillman?

It was a terrible year for right-hander Chris Tillman last season. But from 2012 through 2016, he was a very solid starter for the Orioles and they won a great percentage of his starts. It seems that five-year track record could be a big boost as Tillman hits free agency now. Even though he was one of the worst starters in the majors in 2017,

A look at Manny Machado’s 2017 season

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado hit 33 homers and drove in 95 runs in the 2017 season. That was just less than the 37 homers and 96 RBIs he produced in 2016. He was also the American League Player of the Month this past August, when he hit .341 with 12 homers and 35 RBIs. In August, Machado hit three grand slams in an 11-game

A radical realignment plan for MLB (plus Game 7 tonight)

Major League Baseball could be headed for an expansion to 32 teams while at the same time a reduction in games from 162 to 156. That is the potential plan being considered as written about recently in this column in Baseball America. Author Tracy Ringolsby suggests we could see Montreal and Portland, Ore., recieve expansion teams. That would lead to one league with four divisions

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