Orioles select contract of Bridwell, Lee and Triggs

The Orioles have selected the contracts of right-handed pitchers Parker Bridwell and Andrew Triggs and lefty Chris Lee, setting their 40-man roster for Friday’s deadline.

The moves protect the young trio from being taken in next month’s Rule 5 Draft by another club. The 40-man roster is now full, though the Os could drop a player to make room for a Rule 5 guy at the Winter Meetings. Baltimore has been incredibly active in the Rule 5 Draft in recent years and has been able to keep infielder Ryan Flaherty and pitcher TJ McFarland as a result.

Bridwell, a former ninth-round pick in 2010,  went 4-5 with a 3.99 ERA in 18 starts for the Baysox. He allowed 43 earned runs over 97 innings. He is currently ranked as MLB.com’s 20th-best Orioles prospect.

Lee, acquired from the Houston Astros on May 18, has gone 22-25 with a 3.83 ERA (155 ER/364.2 IP) in 85 games (69 starts) over five minor league seasons. The 23-year-old went a combined 10-10 with a 3.29 ERA for three affiliates in 2015.

The 26-year-old Triggs pitched to a 1.03 ERA (7 ER/61.0 IP) with 70 strikeouts and went a perfect 17-for-17 in save opportunities with Double-A Bowie this season. He posted the lowest walks per 9.0 innings ratio (1.48) and ranked fifth with a 10.33 strikeouts per 9.0 innings ratio among Eastern League relievers.

The Rule 5 Draft takes place Dec. 10, the final day of MLB’s Winter Meetings, with each pick costing $50,000. Players are eligible if they were drafted out of high school in 2011 or out of college in 2012 and —if selected— must remain on the active 25-man roster for the entirety of the following season or be offered back to their former organization for $25,000.

Wieters: “Baltimore is a great place to come back to”

BALTIMORE— All-Star catcher Matt Wieters has accepted the Orioles’ $15.8 million qualifying offer, forgoing free agency to remain in Baltimore at least one more year.
As expected, slugger Chris Davis and pitcher Wei-Yin Chen declined their qualifying offers as they are both expected to get serious pay raises on the open market. Baltimore will get two compensatory draft picks as a result. Wieters, who is coming off a shortened season as he returned from Tommy John surgery, had been a bit of a question mark. His agent Scott Boras, said Wieters was still deciding in the days leading up to Friday’s 5 p.m. ET deadline as there was thought that perhaps Wieters would take a one-year deal and try to up his stock.
“I prayed a lot,” said Wieters of the decision, which became public news Friday afternoon.  “One of the options that kept coming up was going back to Baltimore, where I can be comfortable with the [coaching] staff, with the pitching staff and the locker room, which has such a great feel, and the city. My wife and son they both love Baltimore….we decided to take a little bit of a different approach as far as not taking a multi-year deal [and entering free agency.”
Orioles manager Buck Showalter told the Mid-Atlantic Sports Report on Thursday that the hope was Wieters accepted the qualifying offer and the two sides worked toward a multi-year deal, though there was no word on that Friday. Wieters said he hadn’t heard any talk of anything beyond a 2016 contact.
“I just made a decision to be a one year deal, I don’t know how all of that will play out,” he said. “Last year, didn’t know what was quite going to happen going into last year and one thing that made the decision easier is if it does end up a one-year deal, I’ll know how that goes in Baltimore and all the range of emotions that goes through a year. And Baltimore is a great place to come back to.”
In 75 games played this season, Wieters posted a .267/.319/.422 line, including eight homers and 25 RBIs. The 29-year-old appeared in 55 games as catcher and was brought along cautiously as the O’s tried to space out his starts behind the plate to keep him healthy. He played in 26 games in 2014 before undergoing season-ending surgery. In parts of seven seasons in the Majors, Wieters owns a career .258/.320/.423 line.
“It was something I was leaning to for most of the week,” Wieters said of accepting the offer, “and just nothing ever really made me sway from that decision of coming to Baltimore.”
With Wieters staying, adding another catcher becomes less of a priority for a Baltimore club that also has Caleb Joseph and Steve Clevenger.
As for Chen and Davis, Chen remains the least likely to make a return to Baltimore. As Boras referenced earlier in the week, an in-season demotion to the Minor Leagues —that was purely a move for roster management— didn’t sit well with Chen. He’s also expected to get a hefty pay increase as one of the best starters in the second tier of available pitchers and its unlikely the O’s would commit to that.
Davis, who lead the Majors in home runs, is expected to get a monster pay increase but the Orioles are much more open to shelling out cash to keep him. Boras, who intends to market Davis as both an infielder and an outfielder this winter, is well-known for getting his clients record-breaking deals and the 29-year-old Davis has some coveted power. Baltimore will have to likely step outside of its financial comfort zone to be a serious player for Davis.

Machado wins Gold Glove

Orioles third baseman Manny Machado was named the Rawlings Gold Glove winners for American League third basemen on Tuesday night.

It is the second Gold Glove for Machado, who also won in 2013 and is coming off a career season on both sides of the diamond.   He becomes the second third baseman in club history to win the award multiple times, joining Hall of Famers Brooks Robinson, who won 16 Gold Glove awards.

The Orioles have won at least one Gold Glove in each of the last five seasons, the second-longest such streak in club history. In that span, five different Orioles have won a total of 12 Gold Gloves. Seventeen different Orioles have earned a total of 71 Gold Gloves since the award was created in 1957, the most for any American League club and the second-highest total among all Major League Baseball teams, behind only the St. Louis Cardinals.

Machado led all AL third basemen in total chances (488), double plays (38), range factor per 9.0 innings (3.09), and range factor per game (3.01) in 2015. He also ranked second in assists (337) and putouts (132), as well as fourth in zone rating (.810). Machado was the only player in Major League Baseball to play in all 162 regular season games this season.

Jones wins Miller Award

BALTIMORE— Orioles outfielder Adam Jones was honored Monday night as the recipient of the 2015 Marvin Miller Man of the Year Award as part of the Players Choice Awards on MLB Network.

“I’m more than humbled by the players association,” said Jones, who will donate $50,000, as part of the award, to the Boys and Girls Club in his hometown San Diego. “An award like this isn’t something you go out to win, this shows we’re human outside of the game, and we try to impact where we can.”

Jones has also done extensive work with the Boys and Girls Club in Baltimore, helping to renovate several youth centers, and he’s holding the third annual #StayHungry Purple Tailgate before the Ravens-Seahawks game on Dec. 13 at M&T Bank Stadium.
“[I] wanted to start something help Baltimore, do something to raise awareness. All the money goes to Boys and Girls clubs of Baltimore,” Jones said. “It’s not just me giving back, but people of Baltimore giving back to their city and their youth.”
The Players Choice Awards are determined by fans, the players and the players association, with Jones beating out infielder Dee Gordon and White Sox closer David Robertson. The Marvin Miller Award goes to the player whose on-field performance and contributions to his community most inspire others to higher levels of achievement.

Past Marvin Miller Man of the Year winners, named for the legendary MLBPA union leader, also include Mariano Rivera, Chipper Jones, Michael Young, Brandon Inge, Curtis Granderson, Torii Hunter, Albert Pujols, Jim Thome, John Smoltz, Mike Sweeney, Mark McGwire, Sammy Sosa, Eric Davis and Paul Molitor.

Bundy added to AFL roster

Dylan Bundy will pitch in the Arizona Fall League after all.

Bundy, who has not pitched in a Minor League game since May, was added to the Peoria Javelinas roster –Baltimore’s AFL team– on Thursday. The Orioles announced the move was in place of injured pitcher Jon Keller.

Bundy joins the Fall League with roughly four weeks remaining and it’s a positive sign of progress in a rough few years for the young right-hander. Bundy, who underwent Tommy John surgery, missed the 2013 season and logged just 41 1/3 innings last season as the organization brought him along cautiously.

He only threw 22 innings in 2015, his last on May 21 for Double-A Bowie, before he was shut down with right shoulder soreness. He was cleared to begin throwing by Dr. James Andrews earlier this month and had been making steady progress at the team’s spring facility in Sarasota, Fla.

This is a pivotal winter for Bundy, one of the Orioles top pitching prospects, as he’s out of Minor League options this spring. That means if he doesn’t make the team’s Opening Day roster he will be exposed to waivers.

Orioles Spring Training schedule

The Orioles announced their 2016 Spring Training schedule on Tuesday morning, which opens Tuesday March 1 at the Atlanta Braves.

Baltimore will open its home schedule the following day, March 2, with a 1:05 p.m. game against the Braves at Ed Smith Stadium in Sarasota. Their Grapefruit League season will run through March 31’s home-finale against the Braves.

Pitchers and catchers are scheduled to report to Sarasota, Fla. for camp on Thursday, February 18, with their first workout set for the following day. Position players are scheduled to report on Wednesday, February 23, with the first full-squad workout slated for Thursday, February 24. Like previous years, the workouts will be free and open to the public on the back fields at the complex.

Eight different opponents make up the Orioles’ 16 home games, with the Orioles hosting the Minnesota Twins and the Braves three times each and the Tampa Bay Rays, Boston Red Sox, New York Yankees, and Pittsburgh Pirates twice each. The Orioles will also square off against the Toronto Blue Jays and Philadelphia Phillies once each at Ed Smith Stadium.

For their road schedule, the O”s will make three trips to play the Twins; two trips to play the Rays, Blue Jays, Phillies, Red Sox, Yankees, and Pirates; and one trip to play the Braves.

The 2016 season is the team’s seventh consecutive Spring Training in Sarasota, and the sixth at renovated Ed Smith Stadium.

Single game tickets for all 16 games at Ed Smith Stadium will go on sale January 23, 2016.  Fans interested in Season Plans, or those wishing to receive additional Spring Training ticket information, may call the Orioles Spring Training office in Sarasota at 941-893-6300. Fans interested in additional information on suite rentals or pre-game party facilities should call 941-893-6317. Additional information on Orioles Spring Training is available at http://www.orioles.com/spring.

Hunter Harvey prescribed rest, not surgery

Hunter Harvey, one of the Orioles top pitching prospects, was prescribed rest by orthopedic surgeon Dr. James Andrews for his elbow injury and he’s expected to be shut down for 4-6 weeks before starting a throwing program.

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said the organization isn’t thinking about Tommy John surgery for Harvey right now and said the right-hander got  a “good report” from his visit with Andrews.

Harvey was expected to pitch in this fall’s instructional league but a forearm/elbow injury that has been bothering him all year flared back up. An MRI on the area came back clean, which was encouraging, and the Orioles are hoping he can have a fairly normal offseason.

Harvey did not pitch in the Minors this season and has pitched 113 innings in two pro seasons.

Davis homers twice in possible farewell

BALTIMORE— Chris Davis, honored Sunday afternoon as the Most Valuable Oriole, put a memorable end to what could be his final game with Baltimore.

Davis— who already started the day leading the Major Leagues in homers— hit two more to push the number to 47 and send the crowd into several standing ovations in the Orioles 9-4 sweep over the Yankees.

“That’s a little too apropos, the last one. As it left the ballpark, I just went, ‘Really?’,” Orioles manager Buck Showalter said. “To put an exclamation point on the quality of contributions he’s had. It’s been fun to have a great seat to watch him. He’s been very good for our city. He’s really established himself here in Baltimore. I felt very honored to be part of that. It’s never goodbye, it’s see you later. That’s the way I always approach the end of the year.”

Still Davis —who ends the year with 117 RBIs and will be one of the most sought-after hitters on the market— acknowledged it wasn’t just any regular end of the season.

“Driving in today [it hit me],“ Davis said. “I said: ‘Man, this might be the last time I’m making this drive.’ Just times throughout the day, I wasn’t trying to dwell on it. When I was walking down the tunnel, that hit me hard. I actually asked Matt [Wieters] before the game started, I said, ‘is it starting to get to you a little bit? [He said] yeah. When I was walking down the tunnel, I thought it might be the last time I do this. Hopefully, it’s not.”

Davis’ first blast, a two-run shot in the fifth inning which came off of Yankees’ Bryan Mitchell put the O’s up 7-1. He also doubled in the first and walked before taking his final at-bat in the bottom of the eighth. Yankees manager Joe Girardi made a pitching change, subbing Caleb Cotham for Andrew Miller, and Davis blasted a 0-1 pitch into right field to send the crowd to its feet.

While the O’s faithful were denied a curtain call, they gave Davis another ovation as he jogged out to first base in the top of the ninth inning and chanted “Re-sign Davis” during his interview by the first base dugout.

“I can’t express how much I appreciate the support of our fans,” Davis said. “Really the last month, I’ve heard people when I go into the on-deck circle, go up to the plate, today was pretty awesome after the post-game interview hearing everyone cheer. And hearing the fans cheer down the first base line today, meant a lot to me.”

The farewell was a fitting end to an outstanding second-half for Davis, who has amassed 161 homers —good enough for 10th on the club’s all-time list— in four-plus seasons.

Pending free agent Matt Wieters joked of Davis stealing the limelight “He’s been doing it for the last three year so I kind of expected him to hit a home run there. Wherever he signs, he better remember who got him all those pitches when he was here to hit.”
Perhaps it will be with Baltimore, with current players Adam Jones and Manny Machado already speaking out about the need to keep Davis in black and orange.

“It means a lot,” Davis said of the public support. “I’ve said before, this is a great group in here. I feel like we’re all brothers in here, and we’re all looking out for each other. We keep in touch in the off-season, and I really express them stepping out to express how much they want me back. I can’t say enough about them.”

Machado open to extension

BALTIMORE— Orioles third baseman Manny Machado, who is arbitration eligible this winter, said he’d be open to discussing a contract extension with the organization this offseason.

“Yeah, why not? This is the organization I play for, this is the organization I love,” Machado said. “This is the only organization I know. I’d definitely be interested in talking. We’ll see what when that day comes.”

Machado was the only player in the Major Leagues to play all 162 games and hit 35 homers with 20 stolen bases. Named to the All-Star team, Machado also showcased some Gold Glove defense and said he wouldn’t be swayed by what the organization does —or doesn’t do— regarding its six free agents this winter.

Machado knows its a big winter for the Orioles and —like Adam Jones last week— voiced the need for the organization to make some moves.

“Definitely, I’m not saying I’m a nobody here, but I’m just here to play baseball. Adam, obviously is here. He’s a franchise player. He has definitely more of a voice than anybody in this clubhouse. He wants him. We all want him to come back. At the same time, we know it’s a business. If someone offers him more money somewhere else, people are going to offer other people more money somewhere else, but at the end of the day, we need Davis here. We need O’Day here. We need all the other free agents, Chen, all the guys that helped us get to a winning organization. Definitely, you don’t want to see them leave, but it’s tough to stay.”

Breathe Deep Baltimore postponed

With the gloomy forecast this weekend due to Hurricane Joaquin, LUNGevity’s “Breathe Deep Baltimore” 5 K walk in honor of late Orioles PR director Monica Barlow has been postponed until October 18. The event was originally slated for this Saturday.

The good news is there’s still plenty of time to register and/or donate to help the fight against lung cancer and get a chance to walk around the field at Camden Yards. You can click here to visit my personal page.

LUNGevity Foundation will still hold a silent auction during Saturday’s 7:05 p.m. game when the Orioles host the New York Yankees. The silent auction will feature various Orioles memorabilia items and take place by Gate E through 9:00 p.m.

All proceeds of the walk will benefit LUNGevity Foundation, a non-profit firmly committed to changing outcomes for people living with lung cancer by accelerating research into early detection and more effective treatments, as well as providing community, support, and education for all those affected by the disease.



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