Tag Archive | "Baltimore"

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Orioles activate Norris, option Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk

Posted on 21 July 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Monday that they have recalled right-handed pitcher Bud Norris from Double-A Bowie and optioned catcher Steve Clevenger to Triple-A Norfolk.

Norris, 29, is 7-6 with a 3.96 ERA (91.0IP, 40ER) in 15 starts for the Orioles this season.

Clevenger, 28, appeared in two games for the Orioles after being recalled on July 12. He has batted .328/.378/.458 in 36 games with Norfolk and .240/.296/.373 in 81 plate appearances for the Orioles this season.

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Five questions entering 2014 Ravens training camp

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Five questions entering 2014 Ravens training camp

Posted on 21 July 2014 by Luke Jones

John Harbaugh enters new territory this summer in trying to guide the Ravens to a bounce-back season after missing the playoffs for the first time in his tenure a year ago.

The seventh-year head coach is coming off his most difficult offseason in not only revamping his offensive coaching staff but dealing with the arrests of five different players, painting the organization in a more negative and embarrassing light than it’s faced in quite some time. Of course, the Ravens are hopeful they’ve made the necessary changes to rebound from an 8-8 season and return to the postseason playing in what appears to be a wide-open AFC North.

As rookies, quarterbacks, and select veterans coming off injuries officially take the practice field in Owings Mills on Tuesday, here are five questions — of many others, quite frankly — to ponder:

1. Will different automatically translate to better for the Ravens offense? If so, how much better?

The easy answer is the 29th-ranked offense in 2013 couldn’t be much worse, so it’s no profound statement to say the unit will be improved under new offensive coordinator Gary Kubiak, who will bring a stronger emphasis on running the football. The real question is how much better the Ravens will be after averaging a league-worst and franchise-worst 3.1 yards per carry.

Kubiak has an excellent reputation dating back to his days with Mike Shanahan in Denver, but quarterback Joe Flacco’s adjustment to a West Coast offense centered around timing, excellent footwork, and shorter throws — not regarded as his biggest strengths — will be interesting to watch after he showed encouraging improvements as spring workouts progressed. Of course, the Ravens hope the free-agent signings of wide receiver Steve Smith and tight end Owen Daniels in addition to a fully-recovered Dennis Pitta will provide the quarterback with consistent weapons he sorely lacked beyond wideout Torrey Smith last season.

Steve Smith was the standout acquisition of the offseason and has been praised for the leadership and swagger he’s already brought to the offense, but he has plenty to prove as a 35-year-old receiver whose yards per catch average has dropped in three straight years. Daniels figures to be a clear upgrade as the No. 2 tight end behind Pitta, but he played in only five games last season and must prove he can still gain separation entering his ninth NFL season.

The ultimate factor in determining how high the offense can climb will be the improvement of the offensive line with new center Jeremy Zuttah and the return of left guard Kelechi Osemele from season-ending back surgery. Zuttah will be an improvement over Gino Gradkowski with his physical style of play and will be a leader by example in the trenches, but you wonder if there will be some growing pains in making line calls with the veteran having spent more time at guard during his career. Osemele was impressive during spring workouts, but the Ravens need to see his surgically-repaired back hold up during the daily rigors of camp and the third-year lineman had to alter his workout practices as a result of the procedure.

And, of course, the Ravens still aren’t sure who will line up at right tackle, with Rick Wagner the favorite entering camp.

The offense will look quite different, but will there be enough improvement for the Ravens to climb back among the AFC’s elite?

2. How does maligned offensive line coach Juan Castillo fit with the Kubiak system?

After all the hand-wringing over Castillo and calls for him to be dismissed after the offensive line’s woeful 2013 campaign, the hiring of Kubiak all but eliminated that chatter. However, his seat will heat up again very quickly if his unit doesn’t produce immediately in 2014.

Players have dismissed any notion of growing pains last season, but it was clear the coexistence of Castillo and former offensive line coach Andy Moeller wasn’t a good fit. The bigger question this year will be how effectively Castillo implements Kubiak’s brand of stretch outside zone blocking that has produced a plethora of 1,000-yard running backs over the years.

Castillo demands a lot from his his unit before, during, and after practices, which made him a favorite in Philadelphia for so many years, but Harbaugh will have a difficult time sticking with his longtime colleague if the offensive line gets off to another slow start in 2014.

3. How many younger players are ready to make the jump to become standouts?

It’s no secret that the Ravens have undergone quite a transformation since winning Super Bowl XLVII, but a major key in rebounding from last year’s 8-8 finish will be the emergence of younger impact players, something there wasn’t enough of in 2013.

Torrey Smith and cornerback Jimmy Smith took sizable leaps last season, but others such as Osemele, safety Matt Elam, linebacker Courtney Upshaw, running back Bernard Pierce, and defensive tackle Brandon Williams must become more dynamic players if the Ravens are going to bounce back in a significant way.

Entering 2014, how many great players — not good or solid ones — do the Ravens currently have? Linebacker Terrell Suggs and defensive tackle Haloti Ngata might still be considered great around the league but are on the wrong side of 30 and not as dominant as they were a few years ago.

Yes, the Ravens will lean on the likes of veterans Steve Smith, Daniels, and Zuttah to upgrade their respective positions, but substantial improvement in 2014 will only come if the draft classes of 2012 and 2013 are ready to make a larger impact than they did a year ago. And if the likes of linebacker C.J. Mosley and defensive tackle Timmy Jernigan can bring immediate impact as rookies, Baltimore will be that much more dangerous.

Simply put, the core of this roster needs younger and more dynamic talent to emerge.

4. What can we expect out of Ray Rice?

Even putting aside the ongoing saga of when NFL commissioner Roger Goodell will finally make a ruling on a suspension for the embattled running back, it’s difficult to project what kind of player Rice will be entering his seventh season and coming off the worst year of his career.

The 27-year-old was noticeably leaner and faster during spring practices, but it’s difficult to measure elusiveness — or any ability to break tackles — when players aren’t participating in full-contact drills. Much like we ponder about the entire offense, it’s not difficult to envision Rice being better at a lighter weight and with a better offensive line in front of him, but it’s fair to ask if his days as a game-changing back are over.

It will also be fascinating to see if Kubiak views Rice as an every-down back or is more eager to continue to hand opportunities to the likes of Pierce, veteran newcomer Justin Forsett, or rookie Lorenzo Taliaferro even after the sixth-year back returns from his anticipated suspension. Rice split time with Forsett working with the starters this spring — Pierce was still limited returning from offseason shoulder surgery — but it’s difficult to gauge how much of that was Forsett’s experience in Kubiak’s system as well as the Ravens preparing for the suspension.

5. Is the commitment to winning strong enough top to bottom on the roster?

You never like to make generalizations about what’s currently a 90-man roster when referencing five specific players being arrested during the offseason, but it’s fair to question the overall commitment when your players make up more than 25 percent of the NFL’s total number of reported arrests since last season.

Most already expected Harbaugh to have a tougher training camp following the first non-playoff season of his tenure in Baltimore, but the poor off-field behavior lends even more credence to the head coach working his players harder than in past summers.

Make no mistake, there are countless individuals on the roster who are fully dedicated to winning, but a chain is only as strong as its weakest link and the Ravens will be under the microscope in not only how they conduct themselves off the field but how they perform on it this season. The poor choices of several individuals unfortunately drew that scrutiny for the entire roster as critics question the organization’s leadership and overall character.

“We have good, really good guys,” Harbaugh said on the final day of mandatory minicamp last month. “Football matters to them. The more it matters to you, the less inclined you are to do anything to jeopardize that.”

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Berry’s strong start highlights Orioles minor league recap – 7/20

Posted on 20 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Here’s what happened down in the Orioles’ farm system Sunday…

-Pitcher Mike Wright was rocked (4.2IP, 6ER, 7H, 2BB) as the Triple A Norfolk Tides were crushed 14-2 by the Rochester Red Wings. Kelvin De La Cruz also allowed three earned runs over 2.1 innings in relief, third baseman Steve Lombardozzi went 2-4 with a double and run scored in the loss.

-Starter Tim Berry worked seven shutout innings, allowing just three hits and three walks as the AA Bowie Baysox blanked the Altoona Curve 3-0. Reliever Oliver Drake worked a scoreless ninth for his 23rd save of the season, right fielder Ronald Bermudez went 3-3 with a walk and scored two runs in the victory as well.

-Sebastian Vader had a rough start for the high A Frederick Keys, allowing four earned runs on eight hits and a walk over just 5.1 innings in a 5-0 loss to the Winston-Salem Dash. Former Catonsville Community College standout Glynn Davis recorded the Keys’ only hit of the game, a single off Dash starter Tony Bucciferro.

-Third baseman Drew Dosch went 3-5 with a RBI but it wasn’t enough for the Single A Delmarva Shorebirds in a 5-4 loss to the Hagerstown Suns. The Shorebirds had a 4-3 lead after seven innings but reliever Garrett Cortright allowed single runs in both the 8th and 9th to allow Hagerstown the victory.

-Pitcher Luc Rennie gave up eight earned runs (nine hits, two walks) as the low A level Aberdeen Ironbirds were blasted 14-3 by the Mahoning Valley Scappers. Center fielder Oswill Lartguez and shortstop Austin Pfeiffer had two hits apiece in the loss.

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Report: Orioles discussing Burnett trade with Phillies

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Report: Orioles discussing Burnett trade with Phillies

Posted on 20 July 2014 by Glenn Clark

With Major League Baseball’s non-waiver trade deadline less than two weeks away, the Baltimore Orioles are apparently pursuing help for their starting rotation. FoxSports.com/Fox Sports 1′s Jon Morosi reported the following Saturday…



The right hander is 6-9 this season with a 4.08 ERA and 1.361 WHIP over 21 starts in 2014-although he has shown durability by working 136.2 innings-over six innings per start. The 16 year veteran signed a deal with the Phils in the offseason after receiving interest from the Birds in free agency. Burnett’s contract is a bit complicated, as explained in a NJ.com report…

Burnett’s contract could scare off potential suitors if the Phillies don’t eat money in a complex one-year, $16 million contract that easily could turn into a two-year, $32.25 million deal by virtue of a 2015 player option and performance bonuses.

If Burnett stays healthy this season and doesn’t play in 2015, a team trading for him this month could end up paying as little as $5.25 million – $2.5 million in salary, $1.75 million in bonuses (if he makes 10 more starts) and a $1 million buyout.

But if Burnett opts to play in 2015 and he makes 32 starts this season – he’s 12 away – his club option jumps from $8.5 million to $12.75 million. He also can earn another $500,000 next season for making his 24th and 27th starts, and $750,000 for making his 30th start.

Burnett last pitched in the American League in 2011 with the New York Yankees (where he had won a World Series ring in 2009), going 11-11 with a 5.15 ERA. It was his second consecutive season with a five plus ERA for the Yanks, although he followed it up with consecutive sub four ERA seasons after moving to the National League and joining the Pittsburgh Pirates.

The Phillies have been expected to be interested in moving a number of veterans, perhaps also including fellow pitchers Cliff Lee and Cole Hamels as well as second baseman Chase Utley and shortstop Jimmy Rollins. Philly improved to 43-54 Saturday after a 2-1 over the Atlanta Braves. They are 10 games back of the Washington Nationals and Atlanta Braves in the NL East.

Burnett has a no-trade clause in his contract with Philly, but it is believed the O’s are not one of the 21 teams he could block a deal to as his family lives in Monkton. The starter had reportedly chosen the Phillies in part because he did not want to pitch in the AL.

A logjam already exists in the starting rotation in Charm City, as Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez will re-join Chris Tillman, Wei-Yin Chen and Kevin Gausman this week. Ubaldo Jimenez (ankle) is slated to return closer to August and the Orioles have not ruled out returning to a six man rotation. Acquiring Burnett or another starter before July 31 would leave the Birds with difficult roster decisions to make. Gonzalez and Chen would seem to be the most likely candidates to be moved to the bullpen.

It is not known what the Phillies would be seeking in compensation for Burnett. Most reports have suggested the O’s would not be likely to part with Gausman or fellow former first round draft pick pitchers Dylan Bundy and Hunter Harvey. Other Orioles prospects who could potentially be interesting to the Phillies or another team looking to make a trade include pitchers Eduardo Rodriguez, Mike Wright and Tim Berry; outfielder Dariel Alvarez and first baseman Christian Walker.

Burnett was roughed up in his most recent start, allowing six earned runs on ten hits and a walk over five innings in a loss to the Braves.

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Ravens place defensive tackle Cody on active PUP list

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Ravens place defensive tackle Cody on active PUP list

Posted on 18 July 2014 by Luke Jones

Only days away from the official start of training camp, the Ravens announced Friday that they’ve placed defensive tackle Terrence Cody on the active physically unable to perform list.

The move was not unexpected as the fifth-year defensive lineman missed the entire spring after undergoing hip surgery earlier this offseason. The designation allows Cody to return to the practice field whenever he’s ready this summer but keeps him eligible for the reserve PUP list used at the start of the regular season should his recovery take longer than expected.

Coach John Harbaugh said during this spring’s organized team activities that he had expected Cody to be sidelined until training camp. The 2010 second-round pick became an unrestricted free agent this past winter before ultimately signing a one-year, $730,000 contract in early April that included no guaranteed money.

Once regarded as the heir apparent to former Ravens nose tackle Kelly Gregg, Cody never lived up to expectations as he lost his starting job in 2012 after starting all 16 games during the 2011 season. In 56 career games, Cody has collected 45 tackles while primarily playing the nose tackle position.

After missing spring OTAs and seeing the Ravens have such high hopes for 2013 third-round pick Brandon Williams and 2014 second-round pick Timmy Jernigan, Cody will need to have a strong preseason to make the 53-man roster and re-establish himself as an option in the defensive line rotation.

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Orioles can prove to be beasts of East by surviving West Coast

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Orioles can prove to be beasts of East by surviving West Coast

Posted on 18 July 2014 by Luke Jones

Sitting in first place at the All-Star break for the first time since 1997 didn’t exactly earn the Orioles any favors as they started the second half of the season in Oakland on Friday night.

A 10-game West Coast trip against the two teams with the best records in the majors and the second wild card leader in the American League probably gave manager Buck Showalter a restless night or two over this week’s respite. Knowing the Orioles play their next 23 games against clubs with winning records — not to mention the six following that against teams with .500 marks at the break — likely made him lose even more sleep.

Of course, Showalter and the Orioles have every right to feel good about themselves after winning 25 of their last 40 to move to 10 games above .500 and turn a 4 1/2-game deficit into a four-game lead over that stretch. They’ve built themselves a small cushion in a division in which no one is without sizable warts and imperfections with Toronto and New York seemingly moving in the wrong direction and Boston and Tampa Bay being mostly bad all season.

No, the trip to the West Coast will neither break nor make the Orioles’ chances of winning their first American League East title since 1997, but those 10 games allow them an opportunity to flex their muscles as a man amongst boys in an underwhelming division. Holding their own in Oakland, Anaheim, and Seattle — even going 5-5 — would not only keep the Orioles in first place but allow them to return home in late July in prime position to continue their quest to a second postseason appearance in the last three years.

A strong showing against the imposing AL West over the next couple weeks could be the difference between a relatively comfortable journey to October and needing to scratch and claw over the final two months of the regular season. In the same way that the Orioles took advantage of the recent struggles of the Blue Jays, the rest of the AL East will be rooting for Baltimore to wilt before finally returning to Camden Yards on July 29.

A starting rotation that’s pitched to a 3.18 ERA over its last 33 games will now face the two highest-scoring offenses in baseball over the next six contests. It was a 1-6 run against the Athletics and the Angels earlier this month that saw the Blue Jays’ one-game lead in the division turn into a 2 1/2-game deficit by the time they left the West Coast.

Even with the daunting stretch staring them in the face, the Orioles couldn’t ask for better timing as they’ll feel more rested now than they will at any point over the rest of the season. Aside from the current ankle injury to starting pitcher Ubaldo Jimenez — which many critics would deem a blessing anyway — the Orioles are as healthy as they’ve been at any point during the first half of the season.

Showalter has set up his rotation to include the 23-year-old Kevin Gausman — who could finally be with the Orioles for good — and will be looking for his starting pitchers to pick up where they left off to close the first half. And he’ll hope the inconsistent offense — currently ranked seventh in the AL in runs scored — will finally hit its stride and struggling first baseman Chris Davis starts looking more like the force he was a year ago and less like the .199 hitter who was lost at the plate for the first 3 1/2 months of the season.

By no means was it a perfect first half for the first-place Orioles as they lost catcher Matt Wieters for the season and saw their $50 million investment in Jimenez lead the majors in walks, but Baltimore was the least flawed of anyone in the division and still appears that way beginning the most difficult road trip of the season.

The Orioles can use these next 10 games to flex their muscles as the clear favorite in the division and solidify their first-place standing or could see themselves fall back with the rest of the imperfect pack in the AL East.

They’ve grown accustomed to being the hunter over the last three seasons; it will be interesting to see how they start the second half as the hunted after four days off to think about it.

By no means is it do or die, but the West Coast trip will be an opportunity for the Orioles to stake their claim as the overwhelming favorite in the division while sampling what they could see again in October.

 

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Orioles celebrating 60th anniversary on Aug. 8

Posted on 18 July 2014 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced plans on Thursday to celebrate their 60th Anniversary season in Baltimore with a series of events before, during and after their August 8 game against the St. Louis Cardinals.

The Orioles are welcoming back 23 Orioles Hall of Famers, who will take part in a spectacular post-game celebration. Expected to attend are Orioles Legends EDDIE MURRAY, CAL RIPKEN, JR., BROOKS ROBINSON, and FRANK ROBINSON, as well as the following Orioles Hall of Famers: BRADY ANDERSON, MIKE BORDICK, DON BUFORD, AL BUMBRY, DOUG DeCINCES, RICK DEMPSEY, DICK HALL, CHRIS HOILES, BILL HUNTER, DENNIS MARTINEZ, TIPPY MARTINEZ, SCOTT McGREGOR, RAY MILLER, GREGG OLSON, MILT PAPPAS, BOOG POWELL, KEN SINGLETON, B.J. SURHOFF, and EDDIE WATT.

During special pre-game ceremonies, the Orioles will honor long-time season plan holders who have been with the club since the inaugural season in 1954. The Orioles will also recognize the Oriole Advocates organization for hosting the sold-out 60th Anniversary luncheon, which will honor members of the Orioles Hall of Fame earlier in the day.

During the game, the Orioles will wear 1954 replica throwback uniforms that will later be autographed and auctioned off at www.orioles.com/auction to raise funds for the Baltimore Orioles Charitable Foundation.

Following the game, the Orioles Hall of Famers will be introduced on the field during a laser light and fireworks display, which will feature highlights from the Orioles’ 60 years in Baltimore that will be displayed on the Oriole Park video boards and the side of the B&O Warehouse.

Tickets for the August 8 game vs. the St. Louis Cardinals are available at www.orioles.com/tickets or by calling 1-888-848-BIRD.

The Orioles have been celebrating the 60th Anniversary all year long, including several promotions and giveaways. Upcoming events, in addition to August 8, include a 60th Anniversary ¾ sleeve t-shirt giveaway (first 20,000 fans 15 & over) on August 1 vs. Seattle and a Wild Bill Cowboy Hat giveaway (first 20,000 fans 15 & over) on August 9 vs. St. Louis.

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Ravens announce Military Appreciation details

Posted on 17 July 2014 by WNST Staff

RAVENS MILITARY APPRECIATION DAY

The Baltimore Ravens will hold their annual Military Appreciation Day on Monday, July 28, coinciding with the team’s 7 p.m. open training camp practice at M&T Bank Stadium.

Approximately 3,500 special seats will be reserved for active service members and veterans who present valid military identification upon check-in at the stadium. Immediate family members of the servicemen and servicewomen are also welcome to join, with all preferred seating coming on a first-come, first-serve basis.

Additionally, those who show a valid military I.D. will be given a special edition Ravens patriotic T-shirt, while their children will receive a unique, military-themed Ravens wrist sweatband. (Gift quantities are limited.)

Though not required, members of the Armed Forces are encouraged to come in uniform.

This marks the Ravens’ seventh-annual Military Appreciation Day, an event head coach John Harbaugh instituted during his first season with the team in 2008. Harbaugh has been an advocate of the U.S. Military, with the NFL awarding him its 2013 Salute to Service Award, acknowledging exceptional efforts by those in the league who honor and support military members. (Harbaugh was also a finalist for the award in 2011.) In 2012, Army Chief of Staff General Raymond Odierno presented him with the Outstanding Civilian Service Award. Harbaugh took part in the annual NFL-USO coaches’ tour of the Middle East in 2009, has visited numerous military bases in the U.S. and abroad (including a 2014 February trip to the Middle East), has purchased school supplies for children whose parents are serving in the military and has sent care packages to troops overseas.

Since the establishment of Military Appreciation Day, an estimated 8,000 service members have enjoyed preferred seating and opportunities to meet with players and coaches each summer. Once the season begins, Harbaugh then invites wounded warriors to be his guests at every Ravens home game. A self-proclaimed history buff, during offseason team activities, Harbaugh has also taken the Ravens to Gettysburg, Pa., to learn about the Civil War.

 

Who: Active Military Members and Veterans and Immediate Family

What: Ravens Military Appreciation Day

Where: M&T Bank Stadium Training Camp Practice

When: Monday, July 28 at 7 p.m. (gates open at 5:30 p.m.)

Details: Service members should enter the stadium at Gate B. Valid military I.D. must be presented to obtain special gifts and preferred seating in reserved sections.

 

Fireworks Night

As a reminder, the July 28 M&T Bank Stadium practice, which is free and open to the public, will also showcase the Ravens’ first-ever Fireworks Night, an event highlighted by post-practice autographs for children and afireworks/laser show.

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Aiming high only way to go if Orioles want to add starting pitching

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Aiming high only way to go if Orioles want to add starting pitching

Posted on 16 July 2014 by Luke Jones

You can never have too much starting pitching, and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has repeated that sentiment despite the Orioles enjoying a four-game lead in the American League East at the All-Star break.

The Orioles rank fifth in the American League in pitching and 11th in starting pitching, but unlike the last couple seasons in which they were often desperately looking for just a warm body or two to add to the mix, the starting rotation appears to be moving in the right direction. Even with the season-long struggles of the injured Ubaldo Jimenez, the starting pitching has posted a 3.18 ERA over the last 33 games spanning 198 innings, lowering the starting pitching ERA from 4.61 to 4.09 since June 9.

No one will mistake this rotation for the 1971 Orioles, but Duquette should be picky in any quest to add starting pitching between now and the trade deadline at the end of the month. Wondering whether the club has the quality to compete with the front end of other playoff rotations in October is fair, but the upside of Kevin Gausman and even the second-half track record of Jimenez — who has been dominant for stretches of his career when his mechanics are in order — will be worth monitoring down the stretch with an eye toward the postseason.

Even if the Orioles still lack top-half quality, they have more stability in their rotation than they’ve enjoyed in a long time.

Manager Buck Showalter has used just seven starting pitchers all year with one of them — lefty reliever T.J. McFarland — receiving only one start. In 2013, 14 different pitchers made starts and 10 made at least four starts. The year before that, 12 different hurlers made starts with 10 making at least four starts.

Stability — with relatively decent health — has afforded Duquette the luxury of not needing to look for the likes of Scott Feldman, Joe Saunders, Jair Jurrjens, and Freddy Garcia on this year’s market. That’s what made the recent news of the Orioles scouting Colorado lefty Jorge De La Rosa that much more perplexing as he doesn’t represent an apparent upgrade over anyone — including Jimenez — in the current rotation with his 4.56 ERA in 2014 and 4.69 career mark.

The Orioles have also been linked to San Diego’s Ian Kennedy, who has posted a 3.47 ERA in 20 starts, but he’s a career 3.94 ERA pitcher who’s spent most of his career in the National League. The Padres will likely be asking for a lot for the right-hander, and Duquette shouldn’t part ways with the precious few top prospects he has unless he’s positive he’s gaining a substantial upgrade. Kennedy may provide that, but his talent level should only be the baseline at which the Orioles are looking at this point.

More so than even in 2013 or 2012, the Orioles have plenty of quality when it comes to filling out the back of the rotation. They have an abundance of No. 4 and No. 5 starters.

An injury or two could obviously change that tune quickly, but Duquette must aim high if the Orioles are to add starting pitching between now and the end of the July. Jeff Samardzija has already been dealt to Oakland and David Price may not be traded at all — and they probably don’t have the freight to acquire the AL East pitcher, anyway — but those are the types of arms to be examining.

Anything less is just a waste of time and resources.

Standing pat at catcher

Many have asked about the possibility of the Orioles adding another catcher to the mix as Caleb Joseph and Nick Hundley have handled the workload since Matt Wieters underwent season-ending Tommy John surgery, but Duquette has said on several occasions that they’re unlikely to make another move in that department.

Boston officially released A.J. Pierzynski on Wednesday, but the Orioles don’t view him as a significant upgrade offensively — the 37-year-old posted just a .633 on-base plus slugging percentage with the Red Sox — to compromise the rapport Joseph and Hundley have built with the pitching staff and the defensive work they’ve displayed over the better part of two months. And that’s not even mentioning Pierzynski’s outspoken personality that could potentially compromise a strong clubhouse.

Hundley has come on lately with the bat, raising his average to a respectable .250, while Joseph has posted a .690 OPS since the beginning of June and had a solid offensive track record in the minor leagues despite his current .187 average. Neither will fool you as quality offensive catchers, but trying to add an impact backstop while bringing him up to speed with the pitching staff will be extremely difficult.

If the Orioles are looking for an offensive boost, they could take another extended look at Steve Clevenger, but Showalter is going to value defensive work behind the plate and the current duo — particularly Joseph — has done an admirable job in that department.

Left-handed bat still needed

The emergence of Steve Pearce has been one of the great stories of the 2014 season, but the Orioles shouldn’t assume the 31-year-old will continue to perform at a rate that warrants everyday playing time with no questions asked.

His .316 average, 11 home runs, and 31 runs batted in are a major reason why Baltimore currently sits in first place, but it’s still a stretch to expect his current .300 average and .846 OPS against right-handed pitching to continue. For his career, Pearce is hitting just .237 with a .667 OPS against right-handers and that’s including his amazing numbers this season.

In other words, a left-handed hitting outfielder that feasts against right-handed pitching should be a priority to add for the stretch as the only left-handed bats to make real contributions this season are Nick Markakis and the struggling Chris Davis. The speedy Lough has been a major disappointment at the plate, and the Orioles must anticipate the possibility of needing to platoon Pearce if he reverts to his career form.

Even if Pearce continues to thrive as an everyday player, the Orioles would benefit from a left-handed version of Delmon Young to come off the bench in the late innings as Lough and utility player Ryan Flaherty just don’t provide formidable options at the plate. The Orioles had looked into the services of Padres outfielder Seth Smith, who feasts against right-handed pitching, before he signed a two-year extension with San Diego earlier this month.

A player of that ilk would make perfect sense for the roster.

Pondering futures of Cruz and Davis

It’s incredible to think how much can change in a year as Orioles fans were clamoring for the organization to sign Davis to a long-term contract as he entered the All-Star break with 37 home runs last year and would go on to hit a franchise record 53 in 2013. Meanwhile, Texas Rangers outfielder Nelson Cruz was a couple weeks away from beginning a 50-game suspension stemming from his involvement in the Biogenesis scandal.

A year later, Davis sits with a lowly .199 average at the break while Cruz has parlayed a one-year, $8 million contract with the Orioles into what looks like a pending lucrative payday as he’s second in the majors with 28 home runs and has often carried the Baltimore offense this year while Davis and others have struggled.

It’s interesting to see so many fans crushing Davis for his poor first half — that’s not to say criticism hasn’t been warranted — while screaming for the Orioles to sign the 34-year-old Cruz to a long-term contract when many of those same fans wanted to give Davis the keys to the city last offseason.

The Orioles will certainly make Cruz a qualifying offer after the season to at least recover a draft pick and should see if he’s willing to sign a short-term extension at a higher annual cost per year, but giving him more than two or three years at the most would be a mistake for an aging player coming off what looks to be his career year.

Davis’ future will be more interesting to figure out as he tries to rebound from a miserable first half and remains under team control through next season.

 

 

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Bovada improves Orioles’ World Series odds to 14/1

Posted on 16 July 2014 by WNST Staff

Courtesy of Bovada, (www.Bovada.lv, Twitter: @BovadaLV).

 

Odds to win the 2014 World Series (Teams in red have longer odds, teams in blue have shorter odds, and teams in black stayed the same) 

Odds on 6/2/14             Current Odds   

Oakland Athletics                      9/1                                5/1

Detroit Tigers                            6/1                                6/1

Los Angeles Dodgers                8/1                                6/1

Los Angeles Angels                  16/1                              9/1

St. Louis Cardinals                    9/1                                10/1

Washington Nationals                14/1                              10/1

San Francisco Giants                7/1                                12/1

Atlanta Braves                           12/1                              14/1

Baltimore Orioles                       25/1                              14/1

Milwaukee Brewers                    16/1                              16/1

Toronto Blue Jays                     10/1                              18/1

New York Yankees                    16/1                              22/1

Seattle Mariners                        50/1                              25/1

Cincinnati Reds                         40/1                              28/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                      75/1                              33/1

Kansas City Royals                   50/1                              40/1

Boston Red Sox                       16/1                              50/1

Cleveland Indians                      66/1                              66/1

Tampa Bay Rays                       50/1                              66/1

New York Mets                          100/1                            200/1

Miami Marlins                            75/1                              250/1

Chicago White Sox                    66/1                              300/1

Minnesota Twins                        200/1                            300/1

Philadelphia Phillies                   150/1                            300/1

Chicago Cubs                           250/1                            500/1

Colorado Rockies                     50/1                              750/1

Texas Rangers                          28/1                              750/1

Arizona Diamondbacks              500/1                            1000/1

Houston Astros                         500/1                            1000/1

San Diego Padres                     200/1                            1000/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL Pennant            

Oakland Athletics                                  13/5

Detroit Tigers                                        3/1

Los Angeles Angels                              9/2

Baltimore Orioles                                   7/1

Toronto Blue Jays                                 9/1

New York Yankees                                11/1

Seattle Mariners                                    12/1

Kansas City Royals                               18/1

Boston Red Sox                                   25/1

Cleveland Indians                                  33/1

Tampa Bay Rays                                   33/1

Chicago White Sox                                150/1

Minnesota Twins                                    150/1

Texas Rangers                                      400/1

Houston Astros                                     500/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL Pennant            

Los Angeles Dodgers                            13/5

St. Louis Cardinals                                4/1

Washington Nationals                            4/1

San Francisco Giants                            11/2

Atlanta Braves                                       7/1

Milwaukee Brewers                                7/1

Cincinnati Reds                                     14/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                                  16/1

Miami Marlins                                        100/1

New York Mets                                      100/1

Philadelphia Phillies                               150/1

Chicago Cubs                                       250/1

Colorado Rockies                                 400/1

San Diego Padres                                 400/1

Arizona Diamondbacks                          500/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL EAST   

Baltimore Orioles                                   6/5

Toronto Blue Jays                                 9/4

New York Yankees                                11/4

Boston Red Sox                                   14/1

Tampa Bay Rays                                   14/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL CENTRAL           

Detroit Tigers                                        1/7

Kansas City Royals                               5/1

Cleveland Indians                                  10/1

Chicago White Sox                                50/1

Minnesota Twins                                    50/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 AL WEST  

Oakland Athletics                                  5/11

Los Angeles Angels                              9/5

Seattle Mariners                                    12/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL EAST   

Washington Nationals                            1/2

Atlanta Braves                                       3/2

New York Mets                                      25/1

Miami Marlins                                        33/1

Philadelphia Phillies                               50/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL CENTRAL           

St. Louis Cardinals                                6/5

Milwaukee Brewers                                9/4

Cincinnati Reds                                     3/1

Pittsburgh Pirates                                  6/1

 

Odds to win the 2014 NL WEST  

Los Angeles Dodgers                            2/5

San Francisco Giants                            7/4

Arizona Diamondbacks                          250/1

San Diego Padres                                 250/1

Colorado Rockies                                 250/1

 

Awards and Stats Props

Odds to Win the 2014 AL Cy Young          

Felix Hernandez (SEA)                           3/2

Chris Sale (CWS)                                   5/1

Masahiro Tanaka (NYY)                         15/2

Scott Kazmir (OAK)                               15/2

Yu Darvish (TEX)                                   15/2

Sonny Gray (OAK)                                 12/1

Max Scherzer (DET)                               12/1

David Price (TB)                                    14/1

Garrett Richards (LAA)                           14/1

Mark Buehrle (TOR)                               33/1

Jon Lester (BOS)                                   33/1

Corey Kluber (CLE)                                33/1

Rick Porcello (DET)                               33/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 NL Cy Young          

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)                          5/7

Adam Wainwright (STL)                          8/5

Johnny Cueto (CIN)                               10/1

Zack Greinke (LAD)                               12/1

Stephen Strasburg (WAS)                      25/1

Madison Bumgarner (SF)                       25/1

Alfredo Simon (CIN)                              33/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 AL MVP   

Mike Trout (LAA)                                   2/3

Miguel Cabrera (DET)                            9/2

Josh Donaldson (OAK)                          9/1

Robinson Cano (SEA)                           12/1

Nelson Cruz (BAL)                                 12/1

Victor Martinez (DET)                             12/1

Jose Bautista (TOR)                              15/1

Jose Abreu (CHW)                                 20/1

Jose Altuve (HOU)                                 20/1

Michael Brantley (CLE)                           20/1

 

Odds to Win the 2014 NL MVP  

Andrew McCutchen (PIT)                        2/1

Troy Tulowitzki (COL)                             9/4

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)                         4/1

Yasiel Puig (LAD)                                  6/1

Paul Goldschmidt (ARI)                         15/2

Carlos Gomez (MIL)                               14/1

Clayton Kershaw (LAD)                          15/1

Adam Wainwright (STL)                          40/1

 

Who will hit the most HR’s in the 2014 Regular Season? 

Jose Abreu (CHW)                                 4/5

Nelson Cruz (BAL)                                 3/2

Edwin Encarnacion (TOR)                      7/1

Giancarlo Stanton (MIA)                         12/1

Mike Trout (LAA)                                   25/1

Troy Tulowitzki (COL)                             33/1

Chris Carter (HOU)                                 33/1

Victor Martinez (DET)                             40/1

Brandon Moss (OAK)                            40/1

David Ortiz (BOS)                                  50/1

Albert Pujols (LAA)                                50/1

Josh Donaldson (OAK)                          50/1

Anthony Rizzo (CHC)                             50/1

Todd Frazier (CIN)                                 50/1

Jose Bautista (TOR)                              50/1

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