Tag Archive | "Orioles"

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2018 Orioles preview: Manny Machado

Posted on 05 March 2018 by Luke Jones

With Opening Day less than a month away, we’ll take a look at a member of the 2018 Orioles every day as they try to bounce back from a disappointing last-place finish a year ago.

SS Manny Machado

Opening Day age: 25

Contract status: Under club control through the 2018 season

2017 stats: .259/.310/.471, 33 HR, 95 RBI, 81 R, 9 SB, 690 PA, 3.5 WAR (Baseball Reference)

Why to be impressed: Much was made about his down season, but Machado still posted a solid .781 OPS despite a career-low .265 batting average on balls in play and an average exit velocity that surpassed his previous two years, reflecting his tough luck. He eclipsed 66 extra-base hits for the third consecutive season, proving he had no issues driving the ball while struggling to be as consistent over 162 games.

Why to be concerned: Machado has an underwhelming .309 OBP and 6.7 percent walk rate since the 2016 All-Star break after posting career bests in those categories (.359 and 9.8) in 2015, making one wonder if the plate discipline shown that season was more aberration than the norm. He also had a brutal .587 OPS last September, which prompted the concerns about his rough first half to return.

2018 outlook: How he handles questions about his future and new position will be interesting, but the three-time All-Star infielder should rebound from 2017 and is still one of the game’s best players awaiting a massive nine-figure deal. Playing shortstop at an above-average level will only enhance his value, but Orioles fans may only enjoy that novelty for a few months before the July 31 trade deadline.

Not-so-scientific projections for 2018: .281/.335/.498, 34 HR, 91 RBI, 94 R, 5 SB, 686 PA, 5.7 WAR

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Orioles make minor-league deal with Pedro Alvarez official

Posted on 26 February 2018 by Luke Jones

Despite registering only 34 plate appearances in the major leagues last season, slugger Pedro Alvarez has agreed to a minor-league contract with the Orioles for the second straight year.

The deal was made official Monday morning as Alvarez will attempt to make the 25-man roster after spending most of last season with Triple-A Norfolk. The 31-year-old corner infielder has abandoned his hopes of becoming an outfielder after the experiment didn’t work with the Tides last season.

Alvarez batted .239 with 26 home runs, 89 runs batted in, and a .737 on-base plus slugging percentage for Norfolk last season. He played sparingly upon being promoted to the major league roster last September, hitting one home run and batting .313 in 14 games. With Chris Davis entrenched at first base and Mark Trumbo expected to again be the regular designated hitter this season, Alvarez faces an uphill battle to make the club, but he could provide depth at Norfolk for the second straight year.

The former second overall pick of the 2008 draft posted an impressive .848 on-base plus slugging percentage against right-handed pitching for the Orioles in 2016, but his career .613 OPS against lefties and defensive limitations have led to little interest for his services on the open market for three straight offseasons.

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Schoop, Castro sidelined as Orioles open Grapefruit League action

Posted on 23 February 2018 by Luke Jones

The Orioles began Grapefruit League play with their most valuable player from a year ago and one of the leading candidates for the No. 5 starter job sidelined for health-related reasons.

Manager Buck Showalter told reporters in Sarasota that second baseman Jonathan Schoop was scratched from Friday’s opener because of left elbow bursitis. Right-handed pitcher Miguel Castro is dealing with tendinitis in both knees and will not make his scheduled start on Sunday.

Schoop was originally slated to bat second against Tampa Bay before the Orioles released a revised lineup Friday morning with Luis Sardinas taking his place at second base and batting ninth. Showalter said the All-Star selection and 2017 Most Valuable Oriole winner bumped his elbow on something recently, causing it to swell and prompting the training staff to drain it.

The 26-year-old has missed only two games over the last two seasons combined while blossoming into one of the club’s best players.

With Ryan Flaherty now with Philadelphia, Baltimore is looking for a new utility infielder with Sardinas, Ruben Tejada, and Engelb Vielma considered the top candidates for the job.

Castro is trying to transition from long relief to a starting role, making this a concerning disruption to that schedule. The 23-year-old posted a 3.53 ERA in 66 1/3 innings last season and is competing with the likes of right-handers Mike Wright and Gabriel Ynoa and Rule 5 lefty Nestor Cortes for the fifth starter job behind Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, Andrew Cashner, and Chris Tillman in the rotation.

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Twelve Orioles thoughts on start of spring training

Posted on 20 February 2018 by Luke Jones

With Orioles spring training underway and Grapefruit League action beginning later this week, I’ve offered a dozen thoughts, each in 50 words or less:

1. After signing Andrew Cashner and Chris Tillman, the Orioles will have an estimated 2018 payroll of just south of $130 million after an Opening Day payroll of $164 million last season, according to Cot’s Baseball Contracts. Explain again why they’re not serious players for Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb?

2. We scoff whenever a free agent says it’s not about the money, but I believe free-agent-to-be Adam Jones when he said the chance to win will be more important than compensation. The 32-year-old obviously won’t play for nothing, but a ring is very important to him.

3. That said, how the Padres perform in 2018 would be an interesting variable to throw into the Jones mix after they signed Eric Hosmer. They have one of baseball’s top farm systems, so perhaps the San Diego native would be intrigued about going home if the Padres show they’re ascending.

4. Not that Tim Beckham has had any leverage in the matter, but I’m impressed with the way he’s handled himself in the wake of Manny Machado moving to shortstop. Showing he can be a solid third baseman would only enhance his value moving forward.

5. Dylan Bundy astutely noted at FanFest that he got away from his curveball and changeup too much down the stretch as he posted a 7.53 ERA in his three September starts. His 2017 workload was a major topic of discussion, so you pray that he has a healthy spring.

6. Chris Davis knows he needs to be more aggressive. His contact and chase rates have held fairly steady since 2014, but he swung at a career-low 60.0 percent of pitches in the zone last year, down from 64.1 percent in 2016 and 72.2 percent in 2015. That’s a disturbing trend.

7. One of Baltimore’s more cerebral players, Mark Trumbo said he was probably too caught up in swing analytics last year. He denied any negative impact from serving as the designated hitter so frequently, but that role sure provides a lot of time to overthink struggles at the plate.

8. A healthy Darren O’Day would go a long way in the bullpen’s effort to endure the extended absence of Zach Britton. Little went right for the Orioles last September, but the 35-year-old quietly posted a 0.96 ERA with 24 strikeouts over his last 18 2/3 innings of the season.

9. If the best Dan Duquette can do in adding a lefty-hitting outfielder is 32-year-old journeyman Alex Presley, the Orioles need to give Austin Hays every opportunity to show he can be an everyday player and this year’s version of Trey Mancini despite lacking the same minor-league seasoning.

10. There’s much evidence supporting concerns about Cashner, but citing his 42-64 career record pitching mostly for bad teams tells us very little about his performance. Pitcher win-loss records are baseball tradition, but they should induce an eye-roll if used in attempts at meaningful analysis.

11. I’m skeptical just how much baseball’s new initiatives to improve pace of play will move the meter, but limiting the number of mound visits is long overdue. You’d think some pitchers and catchers had never met before with how frequently they congregate.

12. Many of the spring training caps introduced around baseball in recent years have been cringe-worthy, but I do like this year’s Orioles version. It was a smart call taking the logo from the deer hunter caps used for “Players Weekend” last summer.

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Tillman a fine flier, but Orioles shouldn’t view him as safe bet

Posted on 19 February 2018 by Luke Jones

A reunion with Chris Tillman made sense for the Orioles.

Entering the winter with three vacant spots in the rotation and rarely ever spending extravagantly on pitching, the organization re-signing the 29-year-old as a bounce-back candidate always felt like a likely outcome. Frankly, there are worse ways to spend $3 million, a drop in the bucket compared to the cash wasted on the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez, Yovani Gallardo, and Wade Miley in recent years.

Given the familiarity and his track record over the five seasons prior to 2017, Tillman is a fine flier with the potential to reap good value if his shoulder issues are behind him and he rediscovers his old arm slot, a problem examined in great detail by Jeff Sullivan of FanGraphs last June. However, he shouldn’t just be penciled in as the No. 4 starter if the Orioles are truly serious about trying to make noise in 2018.

Not after Tillman had one of the worst seasons by a starting pitcher in major league history, a significant reason why Baltimore suffered its first losing season and last-place finish since 2011.

That’s why it’s encouraging that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the club was still in search of starting pitching after coming to terms with Tillman on Monday. Whether that means only scouring the waiver wire for a fringe minor-league arm or two or still being in play for a legitimate free-agent starter like Lance Lynn or Alex Cobb remains to be seen.

Based on last year’s payroll, the Orioles should still have upwards of $30 million to spend on the 2018 club, but that’s assuming Duquette is working under a similar budget. Baltimore reportedly deferring $3 million of Andrew Cashner’s two-year, $16 million deal is a red flag suggesting that may not be the case.

Finding another starter for one of the top three spots in the rotation would not only improve the context of the Cashner and Tillman signings by moving them to the No. 4 and No. 5 spots, but it would give the Orioles a group more in line with where it stood a few years ago and that’s not factoring in the upside offered by both Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman. Of course, that still isn’t going to prompt anyone to pick Baltimore ahead of New York and Boston in the heavyweight American League East, but adding Lynn or Cobb would make wild-card discussions more realistic if some other variables were to break the Orioles’ way like in 2012, 2014, or 2016.

No matter what he did prior to 2017, Tillman really shouldn’t be viewed as anything more than a candidate for the fifth starter job competing with Miguel Castro, Nestor Cortes, and others. Both he and the Orioles will try to call last season an aberration, but it still happened as Tillman became the eighth pitcher since 1929 to produce an ERA of 7.50 or higher with at least 90 innings of work, according to Baseball Reference.

Throwing fewer fastballs than ever with diminished velocity, he allowed an obscene 2.3 home runs and 4.9 free passes per nine frames, his highest walk rate since 2010. No peripherals can soften these brutal numbers as he was worth minus-2.2 wins above replacement in 2017, meaning the Orioles could have expected better performance from a pitcher at Triple-A Norfolk.

To his credit, Tillman never used the shoulder problems that began late in 2016 as an excuse and repeatedly insisted he was healthy over the course of his nightmare season. But if all parties are being honest a year later, that hopefully wasn’t the case and perhaps he’s finally right physically.

The Orioles know him better than anyone else, making their reunion a good fit as he tries to get his career back on track and the club tries to improve its chances for 2018. He was never a bona fide ace at his best, but the right-hander was still the backbone of the rotation for the better part of five seasons.

It’s a fine bet at such a low cost to see if Tillman can rediscover his old form.

But the Orioles shouldn’t yet view their efforts to fill the starting rotation as being complete.

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Orioles officially sign veteran starter Cashner to two-year deal

Posted on 15 February 2018 by Luke Jones

(Photo courtesy of the Baltimore Orioles)

It may have taken until the first week of spring training, but the Orioles have finally added a veteran to their shallow starting rotation.

Right-handed pitcher Andrew Cashner officially signed a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday. The deal includes performance incentives as well as a vesting option for the 2020 season if he reaches a total of 340 innings over the first two years.

The 31-year-old went 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA in 28 starts covering 166 2/3 innings after signing a one-year, $10 million deal with Texas last offseason. He was able to rebound from the worst season of his career — a 5.25 ERA split between San Diego and Miami in 2016 — with a career-best 4.6 wins above replacement for the Rangers.

In eight major league seasons, Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in 893 innings. He’s averaged 7.0 strikeouts and 3.2 walks per nine innings with a very solid 49-percent ground-ball rate over the course of his career. He throws a four-seam fastball, sinker, changeup, curve, and a slider-cutter.

Having arrived in Sarasota with the only definite members of the 2018 rotation being Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman, Baltimore is adding an established starter to the mix who should be a clear upgrade over the likes of Ubaldo Jimenez and last year’s version of Chris Tillman. However, Cashner repeating his 2017 ERA could prove to be a tall order when considering his worrisome peripheral numbers that will remind some of the Yovani Gallardo signing two years ago that proved to be a major disappointment.

Though possessing a fastball that still sat at 94 miles per hour last year, Cashner saw his strikeout rate plummet to a career-worst 4.6 per nine innings as the opposition made more contact than ever against him. That coupled with a career-low .267 opposing batting average on balls in play would suggest the right-hander was very fortunate to post the third-best ERA of his career. His Fielding Independent Pitching mark (FIP) was 4.61 in 2017 while the Steamer system found on FanGraphs projects a 5.40 ERA for Cashner in 2018.

Durability has also been an issue in the past as he’s pitched 160 innings just three times in his career. He had stints on the disabled list last season with right biceps tendinitis and an oblique strain.

Ultimately, the Orioles are adding a legitimate major leaguer to a rotation that had nothing established behind Bundy and Gausman. The cost is reasonable and he brings 2017’s 15th-best ground-ball rate among qualified pitchers to Camden Yards, but this move should really be judged based on what else executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette does between now and the start of the season.

If the Orioles are serious about competing, they’ll add at least one more veteran such as Alex Cobb or Lance Lynn to slot ahead of Cashner as he should be no more than a No. 4 starter on a contending club and ideally would be the No. 5 guy. But if he remains their biggest acquisition and the Orioles fill out the rest of the rotation with internal options or only throw in a Tillman re-signing, Cashner could prove to be little more than a marginal upgrade from Wade Miley in the No. 3 spot for a rotation that finished last in the majors in ERA last year.

Either way, the Orioles will cross their fingers that Cashner won’t be the second coming of Gallardo and is able to outperform his peripherals for a second straight year. Such an outcome would better help them compete or at least provide the club another decent piece to sell off at this summer’s trade deadline.

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Orioles’ lack of direction taking optimism out of spring

Posted on 14 February 2018 by Luke Jones

Orioles pitchers and catchers have reported to Sarasota and participated in their first workout on Wednesday.

This is supposed to be a warm and fuzzy time for those longing for baseball and warmer weather while reminding themselves that hope springs eternal, right?

You’ve read the primers with the top five or 10 biggest questions going into spring training, but what’s currently happening on the back fields of the Ed Smith Stadium complex feels rather inconsequential. Musings about another left-handed bat, the utility infielder competition, or even the vacancies in the starting rotation simply don’t measure up to the colossal question emanating from this organization.

What the heck is going on?

The Orioles finished in last place in 2017 and posted the worst starter ERA in the major leagues and worst in club history, but the most notable rotation candidate added this offseason has been Rule 5 pick Nestor Cortes. The loudest and most consistent buzz about a veteran signing continues revolving around Chris Tillman, who last year posted the worst ERA (7.84) by any major leaguer throwing more than 90 innings since Scott Erickson (7.87) in 2000. His track record prior to 2017 makes him an acceptable flier to compete for the final rotation pot, but he’d currently be penciled in as the No. 3 or No. 4 starter.

According to Cot’s Baseball Contracts, the projected 2018 payroll is currently around $40 million lower than last year’s, but reports and speculation continue to suggest reluctance to commit to long or even medium-term contracts, making one wonder if the decrease is deliberate. Players who’ve meant so much to their recent success like Adam Jones have indicated that the club isn’t even engaging in extension talks. And Baltimore still hasn’t traded Manny Machado as the 25-year-old superstar is now nine months away from walking away as a free agent.

Why, why, and why?

The Orioles certainly don’t appear to be “going for it” with Machado, Jones, Zach Britton, and Brad Brach all scheduled to become free agents at the end of the season and haven’t yet signaled a rebuilding process by dealing any of the aforementioned names. Blame executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette if you want, but both he and manager Buck Showalter are also in the last year of their contracts, only adding to the perceived lack of direction exhibited by ownership.

Do Peter Angelos and family have a plan for 2019 and beyond?

Of course, excuses are there if you want to entertain them. Duquette has regularly conducted business late in the offseason and well into spring training and an abnormally-stagnant market has left dozens of free agents still looking for jobs, but you’d assume that increased supply will be accompanied by more demand from other clubs whenever the thaw occurs.

Perhaps the Orioles will silence critics by still signing an Alex Cobb or a Lance Lynn, but we know they historically don’t win bidding wars and rarely even engage in them. Would such an addition make enough of a difference anyway or only increase the likelihood of the organization keeping Machado and others through the trade deadline with ill-advised thoughts of chasing the second wild-card berth as we saw in 2015 and last year? Those pondering the future should feel conflicted about that possibility since the current club is hardly devoid of talent despite its clear deficiencies.

You could try to argue that the rotation can’t be any worse than it was a year ago and the removal of Ubaldo Jimenez, Wade Miley, and Tillman — at least the 2017 version — is addition by subtraction, no matter who ends up making those starts. Of course, that “glass half full” outlook still doesn’t translate to consistently competing with a group currently comprised of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman, and three shoulder shrugs. The bullpen also isn’t as strong on paper with Britton sidelined indefinitely and former All-Star reliever Darren O’Day another year older and having dealt with different ailments over the last two seasons.

Even with baseball’s bizarre market, the organization isn’t proceeding all that differently from recent offseasons, but the reality is that it’s entering the ninth inning of the current era with the same old flaws more magnified than ever. It’s no longer 2012 or 2014 when most of the club’s top commodities remained comfortably under contractual control, meaning there should have been much more urgency.

The organization deserves credit for accumulating the most wins in the American League from 2012-16 and ownership has steadily increased the payroll over the last six years, but frustrating peculiarities have remained such as the philosophical refusal to participate in the international market. The farm system is quietly improving, but the shortage of impactful starting pitching has hindered the major league club for years and crushed it in 2017.

No one will forget the surprising 2012 team, the 2014 AL East champions and Delmon Young’s double, or the wild-card appearance two years ago, but the Orioles are now an unimpressive 113-124 since the 2016 All-Star break and only four games above .500 over the last three seasons. After years of proving naysayers wrong and outperforming projection models, that old mojo feels like it’s on life support at best with the futures of so many key individuals in doubt.

The 2018 club will grind it out to the best of its ability, using the doubts and criticism as fuel for competitive fire. The group will once again be led by Showalter in the dugout and Jones on the field, the two most important individuals in this decade of Orioles baseball. Both will say and do the right things, but they deserve better in what could be their final year in Baltimore.

A last-place team from a year ago begins spring training after treading water all winter, neither making one last big run with the current core nor taking meaningful steps to start building for future success.

The current Orioles, the future Orioles, and those fans typically excited for spring deserve better.

At least some semblance of a direction would be nice.

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Orioles re-sign one role player, lose another

Posted on 07 February 2018 by Luke Jones

The Orioles have yet to make a significant free-agent addition this offseason, but they did re-sign a role player from last year’s club on Wednesday.

Outfielder Craig Gentry has agreed to a minor-league contract with an invitation to spring training. Baltimore also inked left-handed pitchers Elvis Araujo and David Holmberg to minor-league deals.

A favorite of manager Buck Showalter, Gentry hit .257 with two home runs, five doubles, 11 runs batted in, and a .719 on-base plus slugging percentage in 117 plate appearances last season. The 34-year-old started games at all three outfield positions and stole five bases in nine attempts. He was limited to pinch-running duty after breaking a finger in early September.

The Orioles are still looking for a left-handed bat in the outfield, but Gentry does provide speed and versatility despite his limitations at the plate.

Wednesday also brought the end of utility player Ryan Flaherty’s run in Baltimore as he agreed to a deal with Philadelphia, according to ESPN’s Jerry Crasnick. The Orioles had expressed some interest in retaining his services this offseason, but Flaherty was limited to just 23 games in 2017 because of a shoulder injury and made $1.8 million in his final year of arbitration.

Selected from the Chicago Cubs organization in the 2011 Rule 5 draft, Flaherty was a career .215 hitter for the Orioles, but his versatility was his biggest strength as he could play all four infield positions, the corner outfield spots, and was even tabbed as the club’s emergency catcher.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Sarasota for the start of spring training next week, but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette has yet to make a meaningful addition to a starting rotation that ranked last in the majors in ERA last season. The Orioles have maintained interest in a number of free-agent starting pitchers from Lance Lynn and Alex Cobb to Andrew Cashner and Jason Vargas, but it remains to be seen whether owner Peter Angelos is willing to make the financial commitment to improve a rotation that was woefully inadequate last season and has long been the club’s Achilles heel.

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I am not “sticking to sports” and here’s why…

Posted on 03 February 2018 by Nestor Aparicio

I appreciate you dropping by my part of the world to read my thoughts on where my life and career are headed as I turn 50 this year. I have no idea how or why I’ve managed to collect so many people over the last 34 years as a sports journalist and the past 26 as a sports radio “personality” in Baltimore and around the country but I’m trying to make myself more useful and relevant as I continue my journey in life. Moving forward, I will attempt to find more meaning and some purpose as I navigate this world that has been constructed around my radio station, life and many connections with incredible people.

Maybe you went to Colgate Elementary or Dundalk High with me in the 1970s or early 1980s, or read my rock and roll or hockey work at The Baltimore Sun many years ago into the early 1990s. Perhaps we met through sports – the Orioles, Ravens, Skipjacks, Caps, Terps or locally via our many WNST roadtrips, events, live shows and rallies and parties. Or maybe we connected or “linked” somewhere among the many charity events, parties, civic and business concerns that I’ve attended, hosted or broadcasted from over the years.

Geez, 10,000 of you were with me five years ago today on a riverbank in New Orleans so I know you’re still out there!

Trust me, it’s never lost on me – the unique business and charmed life I’ve built as a Baltimore sports radio personality, entrepreneur, author and sometimes civic activist. I’d like to think that I’ve always stood up for people and causes that I believe in over the years (see: Free The Birds) and the passion and drive that comes quite naturally for me are sometimes too much for some folks’ energy or taste. But no one of substance should question the accuracy, conviction and integrity with which I’ve served my message and journalism over my adulthood.

My track record and history are what I stand the proudest of as I transition into different and deeper conversations moving forward.

The change I’m making on the radio side might seem subtle but it’s a major psychological change from the way I plan to conduct my “content” life moving forward beyond sports.

One thing I’ve done to protect my own sanity and happiness that won’t change: I’ve stopped arguing with people – especially people who have no idea what they’re talking about or any expertise or substantive information on a topic. I refuse to do it on the radio, on the internet or in real life.

You should try it. Walk away. Instead of arguing with people who are full of shit and have fallen prey to the many lies and are yelling “fake news” to things like facts and science and obvious truths, I simply move on.

Mute! Block! Pause! All are quite effective in my experience.

I’m not anti-conflict; I’m simply anti-stupidity. And life is too short to be spent suffering fools. It’s been said before: “There’s a sucker born every minute” and “You can’t coach stupid.”

Like most people who have been paying attention, I have absolutely no time in my busy life nor any desire to debate

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BALTIMORE, :  Baltimore Orioles pitcher Mike Mussina throws to home plate in the first inning 15 October during game six of the American League Championship Series against the Cleveland Indians at Camden Yards in Baltimore, Maryland. The Indians lead the series 3-2.    AFP PHOTO/Timothy A. CLARY (Photo credit should read TIMOTHY A. CLARY/AFP/Getty Images)

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Former Orioles star Mussina moves closer to Hall of Fame

Posted on 24 January 2018 by Luke Jones

Mike Mussina will continue to wait, but eventual election to the Baseball Hall of Fame is looking more and more like a matter of “when” and not “if” for the former Orioles ace.

The 270-game winner and five-time All-Star starting pitcher missed out on induction with the 2018 class, but he received 63.5 percent of the votes, up from 51.8 percent a year ago and continuing a substantial climb after he received less than 25 percent of the vote in his first two years of eligibility. Players must receive at least 75 percent of the vote to be elected, and he fell just 49 votes shy this year.

The voting process has fallen under much scrutiny in recent years as baseball writers try to navigate the fallout of the steroid era, but Mussina’s perception has benefited greatly from the increasing acceptance of sabermetrics. The seven-time Gold Glove winner never won a Cy Young Award, but his 82.7 wins above replacement rank 24th on the all-time list for pitchers and his adjusted earned run average (ERA+) of 123 is among the best starting pitchers in major league history and accounts for the difficult run-scoring environment and ballparks in which he pitched. Mussina’s peak may not shine as brightly as other Hall of Fame pitchers, but his long-term success pitching in the lucrative era of performance-enhancing drugs and spending his entire career — 10 seasons with the Orioles and eight with the New York Yankees — in the American League East only strengthen his case.

It’s easy to point to Mussina’s career 3.68 ERA or only one 20-win season as justification to keep him out of Cooperstown, but too many fail to recognize a 3.68 ERA in 2000 was vastly different from a 3.68 ERA in 1975 or 1945 or 1915. That’s why numbers such as WAR and ERA+ are so important for context as we attempt to evaluate players across different eras.

Even if you’re not a believer in “new-age” statistics, Mussina still ranks 33rd in wins, 66th in innings pitched, and 20th in career strikeouts. He also had a strong postseason career with a 3.42 ERA in 139 2/3 innings. Mussina also very likely would have had two more 20-win seasons had it not been for the infamous 1994 strike when he had 16 wins by mid-August and then won 19 games in an abbreviated 144-game season a year later.

Mussina did not make the Hall of Fame cut in 2018, but two others who concluded their long major league careers with the Orioles were elected as Vladimir Guerrero and Jim Thome received the call Wednesday.

Guerrero last played in the majors with the Orioles in 2011, hitting .290 with 13 home runs and 63 runs batted in over 590 plate appearances. He signed a minor-league deal with Toronto the following year, but the Dominican slugger didn’t make it back to the majors and was eventually granted his release.

Thome arrived in Baltimore in a 2012 summer trade with Philadelphia, hitting .257 with three homers and 10 RBIs in 115 plate appearances. At age 42, he went 2-for-15 in the 2012 postseason and never played again before officially announcing his retirement in 2014.

Third baseman Chipper Jones and closer Trevor Hoffman were also elected to the Hall of Fame as part of the 2018 class on Wednesday.

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