Tag Archive | "MLB"

Duquette story moving closer to its conclusion?

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Duquette story moving closer to its conclusion?

Posted on 24 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Opinions and reports vary on the future of Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette, but this much has become abundantly clear about the story that’s now seven weeks old.

It needs to end.

There appears to be growing optimism about a deal being consummated with the Toronto Blue Jays that would allow Duquette to become their new president and chief executive officer. But we’ve heard this before and reports in recent days have painted different pictures of how imminent an agreement might be.

Of course, a deal won’t be official until we see Duquette formally introduced as the new boss in Toronto as compensation continues to be the biggest obstacle. According to ESPN, Toronto’s 2014 first-round pick and right-handed pitcher Jeff Hoffman has been discussed and would be a lucrative return in exchange for an executive compared to similar transactions completed in recent years.

But would one top prospect be enough for the Orioles and owner Peter Angelos? And are the Blue Jays willing to part with premium talent simply to hire a front office man, albeit a successful one?

There is some speculation that the Blue Jays could — and should — walk away from Duquette, but you wonder if that would be the best outcome for the Orioles at this point as the 56-year-old’s silence on the situation speaks volumes about his desire to go to Toronto. Trust will undoubtedly be a concern should Duquette remain with the Orioles.

Whatever the outcome, the Orioles would be wise to have a resolution in time for next Saturday’s FanFest in which Duquette has annually participated in fan forums. The saga has been disruptive for an organization trying to build on its 2014 American League East title this offseason, but it would be embarrassing for Duquette’s uncertain future to be out in the open for fans to see — and question.

It isn’t over until it’s over, but the developments of the last few days create hope that this matter will be closed sooner rather than later.

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Orioles reach agreement with pitcher Steve Johnson on minor-league deal

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Orioles reach agreement with pitcher Steve Johnson on minor-league deal

Posted on 22 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles reached a minor-league agreement with right-handed pitcher Steve Johnson that keeps the Baltimore native home in addition to giving him an invitation to spring training.

The 27-year-old had surgery in September to remove a bone spur from his shoulder that limited him to just 13 appearances at Triple-A Norfolk during the 2014 season. The St. Paul’s product also had four combined appearances for Single-A Aberdeen and the Gulf Coast Orioles as he worked his way back from shoulder problems.

Johnson went 0-3 with a 6.23 ERA in 47 2/3 innings that included 40 strikeouts and 38 walks in 2014 as he did not appear in the major leagues after separate stints with the Orioles in 2012 and 2013.

He appeared on the verge of gaining a bullpen role for the Orioles in 2013 before injuries caught up to him the last two years. Not blessed with overwhelming stuff, Johnson hides the ball well in his delivery, leading to more strikeouts than you’d expect. However, he’s had control problems at various times throughout his career.

In 21 career major league appearances including five starts, Johnson owns a 5-1 record with a 3.67 ERA in 54 innings. He’s struck out 66 while walking 31.

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Orioles spring training tickets on sale Saturday

Posted on 21 January 2015 by WNST Staff

Individual tickets for all 16 of the Orioles’ spring training games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale this Saturday, January 24 at 10:00 a.m. It is recommended that fans purchase tickets online or by phone.

Fans interested in season tickets, five-game flex-plans, or group tickets, or those wishing to receive additional spring training ticket information may call the Orioles spring training office at 941-893-6300.

Spring training tickets for Orioles home games at Ed Smith Stadium may be purchased in the following ways:

INTERNET: Tickets can be purchased at the Orioles’ official website, www.orioles.com/spring.

PHONE: Individual game tickets can be purchased by phone by calling 877-222-2802. Season, five-game flex-plans, group tickets, suites, and other specialty areas are available by calling 941-893-6300.

AT THE PARK: Individual game tickets can be purchased in person at Ed Smith Stadium in the Left Field Ticket Office, located at 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue. The box office will be open on January 24 from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., and will then be open Monday through Friday, 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., from January 26 until February 13. From February 16 to April 3, the box office will be open seven days a week from 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m. Parking is available in the East Lot, located on 12th Street and Tuttle Avenue.

TRAVEL PACKAGE: The Orioles are offering the official Spring Training Travel Package that includes hotel accommodations, rental car, game tickets, an exclusive pregame brunch with select Orioles team personnel, and a custom Orioles Spring Training merchandise package. For more information or to order travel packages, fans should visit www.orioles.com/springtravel or call 1-800-892-7687.

The Orioles will play their first of 16 home spring training games in 2015 at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota on Wednesday, March 4 at 1:05 p.m. against the Detroit Tigers. 2015 marks the sixth consecutive spring training for the Orioles in Sarasota, and the fifth in the renovated ballpark.

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Duquette’s silence on status remains deafening for Orioles

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Duquette’s silence on status remains deafening for Orioles

Posted on 19 January 2015 by Luke Jones

It just wouldn’t be a new week without another tidbit or two on the uncertain future of Dan Duquette in Baltimore.

Despite last week’s comments from Orioles owner Peter Angelos stating a transaction won’t take place, the Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations continues to be pursued by the Toronto Blue Jays, who are apparently receiving assistance in their efforts, according to a FOX Sports report:

 

There are a couple different ways to look at this latest development. Baseball could simply be trying to facilitate a deal in hopes of preserving the industry courtesy — but hardly a rule — of allowing an executive to accept a promotion elsewhere. One way or the other, a resolution is in order to remedy what appears to be an unhealthy situation in the Orioles’ front office, and maybe new commissioner Rob Manfred sees that like virtually anyone else.

The other more cynical view would be to wonder why MLB feels compelled to get involved in one team’s pursuit of an executive who still has four years remaining on his contract with his current club. On the heels of the 2016 All-Star Game being awarded to San Diego instead of Baltimore, baseball attempting to get involved in the Duquette saga makes some wonder if this is the latest example of fallout from the ongoing MASN dispute.

An update from FOX Sports later on Monday suggested the league isn’t actively involved in discussing any terms of a potential deal and is unlikely to force Angelos to release Duquette from his contract.

According to ESPN’s Buster Olney, the league’s involvement has left other clubs confused as well:

 

As has been the case since early December, Duquette continues to add to the uncertainty as he declined to address the situation when reached by The Sun on Monday. His silence is deafening as it relates to his true intentions as he would have shot down the rumors of wanting to leave the Orioles weeks ago if they weren’t true.

“At this point, there really is nothing to say on the issue,” Duquette told The Sun. “I don’t have a comment on the issue you want to talk about.

“I will talk about it when the time is appropriate.”

When that time comes is anyone’s guess, but this stalemate can’t be considered healthy for a club that’s failed to make a significant offseason acquisition with less than a month remaining until the start of spring training.

Wanting an executive to honor his contract or at least demanding proper compensation from the Blue Jays is understandable, but continuing on much longer with a man entrusted to run the organization who isn’t committed to the job is a recipe for significant trouble.

At what point does it stop being about what’s best for the Orioles and simply become a matter of winning the fight?

Or has it already gotten to that point?

 

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Wieters, Davis, Tillman agree to one-year deals with Orioles

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Wieters, Davis, Tillman agree to one-year deals with Orioles

Posted on 16 January 2015 by Luke Jones

With arbitration-eligible players and major league teams scheduled to exchange salary figures for the 2015 season on Friday, the Orioles came to agreements with several key names including catcher Matt Wieters, first baseman Chris Davis, and starting pitcher Chris Tillman.

According to an ESPN report, Wieters will make $8.3 million in 2015 after making $7.7 million last season. After being limited to just 26 games before undergoing Tommy John surgery last summer, the All-Star catcher will be entering his final year before becoming a free agent next offseason.

Davis agreed to a one-year, $12 million deal after making $10.3 million last year, according to The Sun. Entering his final season before free agency, the 2013 home run king will try to bounce back from a nightmarish campaign that included a .196 average and a 25-game suspension for Adderall use that forced him to miss the Orioles’ run to the American League Championship Series.

Per CBS Sports, Tillman will receive a substantial raise in his first arbitration-eligible year by receiving $4.315 million after making only $546,000 last season. The 26-year-old has blossomed into the Orioles ace over the last two years and went 13-6 with a 3.34 ERA in 207 1/3 innings last season.

Lefty reliever Brian Matusz settled on a $3.2 million contract with the Orioles after making $2.4 million last season, per MASN Sports.

Outfielders Alejandro De Aza and Steve Pearce, infielder Ryan Flaherty, starting pitchers Bud Norris and Miguel Gonzalez, and closer Zach Britton round out the list of arbitration-eligible players who exchanged salary figures with the Orioles on Friday. Hearings will be heard next month if the sides do not come to an agreement, but teams and players typically split the difference to avoid arbitration.

Right-handed reliever Tommy Hunter avoided arbitration earlier this week by signing a $4.65 million agreement.

In other news, free-agent outfielder Nori Aoki agreed to a one-year, $4 million deal with the San Francisco Giants on Friday. He had been linked to the Orioles as a possible short-term replacement for Nick Markakis in the outfield and at the top of the lineup with his career .353 on-base percentage, but the club never showed more than limited interest.

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Orioles need resolution in Duquette saga

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Orioles need resolution in Duquette saga

Posted on 15 January 2015 by Luke Jones

It’s the story that won’t go away and it’s not a good one for the Orioles.

Nearly six weeks after reports first surfaced about executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette being targeted to become the new president and chief executive officer of the Toronto Blue Jays — and owner Peter Angelos fired back by saying the Orioles wouldn’t relinquish their contract running through 2018 — multiple outlets reported Wednesday that the sides were negotiating compensation and moving closer to an agreement. Angelos again responded by saying Duquette wasn’t going anywhere, creating more confusion about what will happen next.

“That is not going to happen. There have not been any changes in the status of Dan Duquette,” Angelos said to The Sun. “He is our GM and he is going to remain our GM. He is concentrating on his efforts to determine the composition of our team for 2015. That is the answer. Period.”

As was the case in early December, it’s easy to understand both sides’ perspective and wonder how much trust remains, but how much longer can this saga continue? Even with a contract in place, are the Orioles benefiting from continuing to employ a head baseball man who appears to have his heart in another place?

It’s time to ask Duquette point-blank whether he’s in or out.

Trying to analyze Duquette’s work in what’s been a lackluster offseason is difficult due to his unorthodox style that was on display in each of the previous three winters, but it’s becoming easier to question how diligently he’s tried to improve his current club with the reports linking him to Toronto not going away.

Angelos and the Orioles have every right to be unhappy with the timing of this pursuit and should be concerned with an American League East rival trying to poach their general manager. They’re certainly entitled to seek as much compensation as they can before seriously entertaining the thought of letting him go.

But at what point does the fight to keep him become counterproductive to the future of the organization?

If Duquette is no longer committed to the Orioles, it makes little sense to remain committed to him.

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Machado tells reporters he’s “ready to roll” for spring training

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Machado tells reporters he’s “ready to roll” for spring training

Posted on 14 January 2015 by Luke Jones

Holding their final day of minicamp in Sarasota, the Orioles received an encouraging update on the health of Manny Machado as the 22-year-old went through a workout for manager Buck Showalter.

After taking batting practice and completing base-running drills at the Ed Smith Stadium complex, Machado told reporters in Sarasota that he’s been participating in all baseball-related activities except for fielding grounders laterally, explaining that he’s simply wanted to be cautious in doing so. He will visit with Dr. Neal ElAttrache once more before spring training and expects to receive full clearance at that time.

“It’s been a while since I felt this healthy and good,” Machado said to reporters gathered in Sarasota. “My body feels great, my mind is clear. I’m excited to get back out there. I’m itching actually. I haven’t been itching like this for spring training since my first year of pro ball. I’m just excited to get the season rolling.”

Unlike his left knee injury that occurred in the final week of the 2013 season and subsequently cost him the first month of the 2014 season as he finished his rehab, Machado suffered the same injury to his right knee on Aug. 11 and elected to have season-ending surgery less than two weeks later. The timetable would appear to make it very likely that the 2013 All-Star and Gold Glove third baseman will be ready for Opening Day.

With the Orioles losing outfielders Nelson Cruz and Nick Markakis in free agency and failing to make a significant addition at this point in the offseason, the healthy returns of Machado and catcher Matt Wieters as well as a bounce-back season from first baseman Chris Davis will be vital as the club tries to defend its American League East title.

Machado got married in the offseason and credits the time he took off for the wedding and honeymoon as being beneficial from a physical and mental standpoint. And based on the reports of how he looked in Sarasota Wednesday, the Orioles feel good about the prospects of the 2010 first-round pick being able to complete his first full major league season.

“I think that getting married and having that honeymoon was perfect timing for God to get me away from all this and bring me back to my senses of how life is,” Machado said. “Because when I came back, I felt like freaking God. I felt awesome, I felt great, my body was feeling great. I think that’s why I’m in this position now that I could do what I’ve been doing, because I took that little time off and kind of let my body heal completely.”

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Orioles avoid arbitration by signing reliever Hunter to one-year deal

Posted on 13 January 2015 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

The Orioles announced Monday that they have agreed to terms with right-handed pitcher Tommy Hunter on a one-year contract, thus avoiding arbitration.

Hunter, 28, went 3-2 with a 2.97 ERA (60.2IP, 20ER) and a career-high 11 saves in 60 games with the Orioles in 2014. Over 226 games (75 starts) in the majors, Hunter is 42-31 with a 4.32 ERA (616.1IP, 296ER) and 15 saves.

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Pat Santarone named to Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame

Posted on 09 January 2015 by WNST Staff

PRESS RELEASE

Late Orioles Head Groundskeeper PAT SANTARONE has today been named one of the newest members of the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.

Santarone joined the Orioles as Head Groundskeeper in 1969, spending 22 seasons tending the grounds at Memorial Stadium before retiring on Opening Day in 1991. During his tenure, Baltimore infielders won a total of 25 AL Gold Gloves, while the Orioles captured five American League pennants and won two World Series titles (1970, 1983).

Santarone began his career at age 23 with Class-A Elmira, taking over the field from his father, VAL SANTARONE. During the 1960’s with Elmira as the Orioles Double-A affiliate, Santarone worked with future Orioles manager and Hall of Famer EARL WEAVER. The two reunited in Baltimore, where they shared a fondly-remembered annual tomato growing competition. Santarone spent retirement in Montana and passed away in May of 2008.

Santarone and PETE FLYNN of the New York Mets will be inducted the evening of January 11 at Coors Field in Denver, joining previous inductees EMIL BOSSARD (Indians), GEORGE TOMA (Royals), JOE MOONEY (Red Sox), DICK ERICSON (Twins), and HARRY GIL (Brewers) in the MLB Groundskeepers Hall of Fame.

To be considered for induction to the Major League Baseball Groundskeepers Hall of Fame, a person must have ceased employment in the profession for at least five years, and have made a significant contribution to groundskeeping and/or the sports turf industry at the Major League level. An individual’s impact on the community is also considered. Nominees are submitted to the MLB Groundskeepers Association for a vote. Each team has one vote, and a nominee must receive 75 percent of the vote of all active association members to be elected.

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Orioles agree to minor-league deal with catcher Arencibia

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Orioles agree to minor-league deal with catcher Arencibia

Posted on 08 January 2015 by Luke Jones

The Orioles made one of their most notable additions of an all-too-quiet offseason Thursday with the announcement of a minor-league agreement with veteran catcher J.P. Arencibia.

The deal includes an invitation to spring training for the former Toronto Blue Jay and Texas Ranger who has also played a limited number of games at first base. The 29-year-old is a career .207 hitter with 74 home runs and a .658 on-base plus slugging percentage in five major league seasons.

Arencibia spent the first four seasons of his major league career in Toronto after he was selected in the first round of the 2007 amateur draft by the Blue Jays. In his lone season with the Rangers in 2014, Arencibia hit only .177 in 222 plate appearances and spent part of the season in the minors.

With backup catcher Nick Hundley signing a two-year deal with Colorado and Matt Wieters’ status for Opening Day still unclear, executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had wanted to add another catcher to the mix for spring training.

Arencibia’s best major league season came in in 2011 when he hit .219 with a career-high 23 homers and a .720 OPS.

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