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A look at the player development forum at FanFest

You probably have noticed that we enjoy writing about and covering the minor leagues here. So that was one of the many reasons I listened in with interest during the player development fan forum at FanFest on Saturday. This was a chance, during a 20-minute session, for fans to address topics on the farm and question Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette,

Taking a longer look at Manny Machado’s move back to short

If you can get a sense of the pulse of the Orioles fan base listening to sports talk radio and reading the comments on these blogs, then the move of Manny Machado to shortstop is playing to mixed reviews. On the plus side, some fans are down with the fact that the team is taking its best defender and putting him at a premium defensive

Coolbaugh on homer reliance, Cortes on rotation shot (updated)

In three of the last six seasons, the Orioles have led the major leagues in home runs. They topped every club by hitting 212 in 2013, 211 in 2014 and 253 in 2016. The 2017 Orioles hit 232 home runs, but that ranked only fifth both in the American League and the major leagues behind the Yankees (241), Astros (238), Rangers (237) and Athletics (234).

FanFest follow-up: Machado, the rotation and more prospect talk

At FanFest, Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette said he is confident the club will still be able to fill its, shall we say, thin starting rotation. Manager Buck Showalter reminded fans that it’s only January and that analysts doubt his team every year. And keeping with that theme, when vice president of baseball operations and former Oriole Brady Anderson met with reporters, he echoed

Michael Kelly on rotation chance, Austin Hays on building on 2017

Right-hander Michael Kelly was a minor league free agent this winter, but now he may have a major opportunity. Signed by the Orioles to a major league contract in December on the day of the Rule draft 5, the 25-year-old right-hander is among a handful of in-house rotation candidates. Kelly had other teams showing interest in December, but signed with the Orioles because, like the

Joseph on a role as mentor, Bundy on the rotation

The assumption - not made by the player himself but others - is that Caleb Joseph will break camp and head north with the Orioles as their No. 1 catcher this year. If that happens, he is likely to be in a position to head up a catching tandem that could include a rookie behind him. Either Chance Sisco or Austin Wynns would be the

Anderson on Machado trade talk and some Mountcastle talk

During an interview session with reporters at FanFest, Orioles vice president of baseball operations Brady Anderson was asked if a trade of Manny Machado is still possible or if that ship has sailed already. “There are a lot of teams throughout the league where he could change their outcome immediately,” he said. “But there is quite a price to pay for a guy like Manny.

As FanFest arrives, some O’s questions remain unanswered

As the Orioles host their annual FanFest event today at the Baltimore Convention Center, there figures to be much discussion about the players that are not there and potential acquisitions for pitchers that have yet to be made. Maybe more talk about the missing and not added than those that are appearing. When MASNsports.com was first to report yesterday that Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop

Buck Britton on getting the manager’s job with Delmarva

The Orioles now have two Bucks managing in the organization. At their hot stove banquet last night in Salisbury, Md., the Single-A Delmarva Shorebirds announced that Buck Britton will be their manager in 2018. The older brother of Orioles closer Zach Britton, Buck was drafted by the club in the 35th round of the 2008 draft. After a nine-year playing career in the minors, the

A few takes on the Hall of Fame voting process and one on Chris Davis

With last night’s announcement of the latest class headed to Cooperstown for the Hall of Fame in July, several aspects of the voting process once again came into question and up for debate. Here are a few of my thoughts that are just opinions, and I want to hear yours: * The 10-man ballot is fine. There is some talk that voters should be allowed

A class of four elected to the Hall of Fame in Cooperstown

For just the fourth time - and second time in four years - a class of four has been elected to the National Baseball Hall of Fame in Cooperstown, N.Y., by the Baseball Writers’ Association of America The class, announced tonight on a live broadcast on MLB Network, is headed up by third baseman Chipper Jones and first baseman/DH Jim Thome, both elected on their

In the minors, the pitch clock has made a difference

As Major League Baseball seems set to implement a 20-second pitch clock for the 2018 season, at the higher levels of Minor League Baseball, they have had a clock in place for three seasons producing some of the desired results. Overall, the clock has produced shorter game times while at the same time not many violations of the clock, according to one Orioles minor league

Rankings and even more rankings talk

Yesterday was a big day in prospect land, as Baseball America released its top 100 prospects list and ESPN’s Keith Law released his second 50 (subscription required). His top 50 will be released today. For the first time since 2014, the Orioles have three on the Baseball America top 100. Austin Hays was ranked No. 21, with Chance Sisco at No. 68 and Ryan Mountcastle

A look at another top 10 Orioles prospects list (updated)

As some national top 100 prospects lists are about to come out, another outlet has released a new listing of its top Orioles players. Baseball Prospectus released its list of the Orioles’ top 10 prospects last week. Here is the list, from top to bottom. I add my own comments and notes and also pose a question or questions about each player heading into next

Cold weather, cold market edition: “10 questions for O’s fans”

So many questions, so little time. Actually, that is not right at all. We have just 10 questions for you to answer today, and take all the time you need. It’s the getting-to-mid-winter edition of 10 questions. These should provide some interesting answers, and I look forward to reading them all. So on to the questions. 1) Over the next five years, will the Yankees

A look at some in-house rotation candidates

The assumption seems to be that the Orioles may leave spring training with at least one in-house pitcher winning a job in their starting rotation come April. And yes, we all know they have just two starters set right now in Kevin Gausman and Dylan Bundy. You know what that means, right? If they had to play today, they might need gloves (and I don’t

The readers respond and some props for a minor league player

Some days, many of them actually, one of the best things about having this baseball blog is reading the interesting opinions of the readers here. Yesterday was clearly one of those days. The topic was the Jeff Passan column about the economic system in Major League Baseball, whether it is broken and/or in need of a major overhaul. If you haven’t read the column, it’s

One reporter questions baseball’s economic system

The column published Tuesday by Jeff Passan of Yahoo Sports was interesting and thought-provoking. It was about the economic system in place in baseball due to the brutally slow-to-move free agent market right now in the game. Click here to read the column. It is worth your time. I applaud the effort, research and time that went into this, but I will say that I

Are Pirates going where Orioles may eventually be headed?

While the management of the Pittsburgh Pirates is not saying the club has gone into full rebuild mode, the Bucs have traded pitcher Gerrit Cole and the face of their franchise, outfielder Andrew McCutchen, in recent days. The Pirates dealt Cole, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2011 draft, to the Houston Astros for four players on Saturday. They dealt McCutchen, a Pirate for

As O’s look for more rotation innings, the AL trend is for less

It is not a secret that the Orioles need to get more innings out of their starting rotation than they have in recent years. Not only has their starting rotation ranked near the bottom of the league in ERA, but also in combined innings pitched. But this has happened to the Orioles at a time when the entire American League has seen starters pitching fewer

After 10 years, Adam Jones faces uncertain O’s future

Over 10 seasons as an Oriole, center fielder Adam Jones has played in the All-Star Game five times, won four Gold Glove Awards, finished in the top 14 in the MVP vote three times and added a Silver Slugger Award, too. It has been an impressive 10-year stretch, one that began with the Orioles mired in a long run of losing. But starting in 2012,

Week in review: Talking free agent pitchers and more

In looking back at the last week of stories in this space, we had quite the variety. There was, of course, Manny Machado trade talk, also some free agent pitching discussion and a look at Chance Sisco’s opportunity to make the 2018 Orioles. There was a post on Arizona’s top two pitching prospects with the D-backs a potential Machado trading partner. There was also a

The latest O’s payroll math

After the Orioles agreed with five players on 2018 contracts Friday, avoiding possible arbitration hearings, we can take another look at their current payroll. According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the salary for the Orioles’ opening day roster was $147.7 million in 2016 and $164.3 million last season. Before Friday, the Orioles had four guaranteed salaries on the books for 2018, with Chris Davis listed at

Arizona is potential O’s trading partner with top pitching prospects

The Diamondbacks have been mentioned as one of the teams that checked in on the availability of Orioles third baseman Manny Machado. While the D-backs have Jake Lamb, who hit 30 homers and drove in 105 at third base, perhaps they have shortstop in mind when thinking of Machado. Either way, they have been one of the teams reportedly showing significant interest. According to this

Will O’s take a chance: Is Sisco ready for the majors?

There was a time when you could find scouts who felt that Chance Sisco would never improve enough on defense to ever catch an inning in the major leagues. You don’t hear that talk anymore - and he did, in fact, catch in the majors after a call-up last September. Now the talk more centers on just how much has Sisco improved as a pro

Miguel Castro would face some challenges as a starting pitcher

Orioles manager Buck Showalter added further confirmation Tuesday to what looked to be a pretty safe bet when last season ended. That is that right-hander Miguel Castro will get a look for a rotation spot in spring training. And why not? He’s a young guy with a good arm and the Orioles surely need starting pitchers right now. The Orioles’ trade last April 7 for

Revisiting some free agent pitching talk

Over the weekend, the Orioles were once again linked to free agent right-hander Andrew Cashner. When the free agent period began, MLBTradeRumors.com ranked him as the No. 27 free agent on a list of all available players. They projected he would get a two-year deal for $20 million from the Oakland Athletics. Here is what I have written previously about Cashner, when we looked at

Manny Machado trade talk isn’t going away yet

If it seems like trade talk about Manny Machado has been going on for a long time now, that is because it has. The speculation and rumor mill kicked into overdrive at the Winter Meetings, and while it has cooled considerably since then, it still seems to be hanging over the team as the new year begins. It would seem that it is getting in

Week in review: Notes on Machado, Schoop, Bundy and Gausman

Let’s take a look back at a few stories that appeared in this space in the last week. Feel free to revisit them and post some comments here today on any or all of them. The new year began with this story from Monday expressing a wish for a quick resolution to the Manny Machado situation - essentially the hope for a trade to be

Mussina’s possible call to the Hall and more Machado trade talk

In his fifth year of eligibility, is this the year for former Orioles and Yankees pitcher Mike Mussina to make the Hall of Fame? According to this Hall of Fame tracker, he is at 73.7 percent of the votes that are known and 75 percent is needed for election. In his first year of eligibility in 2014, he got just 20.3 percent of the vote.

Revisiting Machado at shortstop and a look at Hosmer’s free agency

If Manny Machado is an Oriole in 2018, we still don’t know if he will be playing at third base or moved to shortstop, a position he has played before in the majors but not last season. An argument against moving Machado is that he has been an elite defender at third base, winning the Platinum Glove after the 2013 season. That goes to the

For starters, Bundy and Gausman were good in the AL East

As the Orioles look to build a rotation for the 2018 season, right now we only know for certain that right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman will be two of the five starters. The good news is both are young and under team control for a combined seven more seasons. Gausman cannot be a free agent until after the 2020 season and Bundy after 2021.

The skipper’s confidence in his middle-of-the-order hitter

He is the only player on the Orioles roster signed beyond the 2019 season. His contract runs through 2022. When first baseman Chris Davis signed a seven-year deal worth $161 million in January 2016, a lot changed for him. He had incredible financial security for his family’s future, but also the expectations for him would now be higher than ever. Davis produced 47 homers and

What a Jonathan Schoop contract extension might look like

With one homegrown star possibly leaving the team in the next year via a trade or free agency, can the Orioles keep another? If third baseman Manny Machado leaves the Orioles via free agency after the 2018 season, second baseman Jonathan Schoop could do the same at the end of 2019. With Machado likely to command a contract the team is not prepared and/or willing

For O’s, the new year begins amid similar concerns, questions

As the new year arrives, the Orioles have some of the old problems. The calendar may have changed, but it is the same offseason from one day to the next. So today I wish everyone a happy new year along with a wish that in 2018 the discourse could always be nice and pleasant here. That is the wish anyway. I also wish for a

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