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Duquette on the trade and potential moves coming

Orioles EVP Dan Duquette just held court today regarding this afternoon’s trade for Andrew Miller and reiterated that this was the best move he felt given what he was willing to trade. The O’s did not want to deal lefty top prospect Eduardo Rodriguez, but it was required to make the deal and they didn’t have enough –that they were willing to part with–to acquire a frontline starter. I’ll have a full story up shortly on Orioles.com, but here is what Duqette said…

[on the trade] “We were looking to add some depth to our pitching and the acquisition of Miller gives us a left-handed pitcher that can dominate left-handed hitters. This year, he’s been highly effective against righties, as well. And looking at the market, we had good depth to our starting pitching and we thought if we’re going to make a real impact acquisition, that this would be the players we would get. W

We worked hard to negotiate a deal with Boston. We hated to give up a young left-handed pitcher. We tried a lot of other combinations short of Eduardo Rodriguez, but in this case it was required to make the deal. And I think with the two really talented left-handed relievers at the end of the game, along with Darren O’Day, it gives us a very, very formidable backend of the bullpen. And Miller’s emergence this year being able to get out right-handers along with lefties made him very attractive. Not just to us. We ended up getting him, but there were a lot of other clubs that were in the market for left-handed relievers. But his capabilities and his performance this year really distinguished himself from any other players in that position in the market.”

[on how long this was in the works] “It’s been in the works for the last couple of weeks. It did start to pick up some steam in the last three or four days. We were involved in several other discussions to help the team in other areas. And we’ve got a good idea what the value of our young prospects were and what the value they can bring in trade, but this was the most impactful trade I thought we could make, given what we had to trade and what we were wiling to trade. Given the way our team has been playing in terms of the starting pitching coming around, this fills a void and gives Buck a weapon late in the game to lock down the lead. And when you get into close games, a lot of times it’s decided by the bullpen late in the game. So, if our club can advance into the playoffs and postseason, a lot of those games are decided on the back-end, the seventh inning on.”

[on his reluctance to give up young pitchers]
“Like I said, this was required. This wasn’t something that we wanted to…Eduardo Rodriguez wasn’t a player…it wasn’t our first choice to trade him. The kid has talent and he has youth, but again, our team is in the race. We want to continue what we started, and we needed to add to our club to be competitive with the other clubs, not just in our division, but the other clubs in the American League in the playoff situation.”

[on the moves made around the league]
“There’s a lot of activity from the teams in the American League that want to win the pennant; they want to advance to the playoffs and so when you get to this time of year, you have to take a look at how your team matches up against your competitors and where you can strengthen your club. I’m not sure we had the wherewithal to land a top starter. We have some other really attractive players, but some of them are helping our current club, right? There’s a lot of interest in last night’s pitcher, Kevin Gausman, as well there should be. He’s a terrific young pitcher, so you’ve just got to weigh what you can do to strengthen your ballclub. Adding Miller really strengthens our club, particularly when we have a lead. It allows some of those other relievers to come into the game and pitch earlier. It shortens up the game a little bit when you have relievers that can get out both righties and lefties, and this kid has been dominant against both.”

[on the possibility of re-signing Miller?]
“Let’s see him pitch for the Orioles. He’s having a terrific year and our hope is that he’ll continue pitching this year for the Orioles the way he’s been pitching for Boston.”

[on what’s made Miller so good?]
“He’s put it together. He had terrific talent. He was drafted, I think, sixth in the country out of North Carolina so that gives you an idea of the caliber of his talent and that he was drafted so well. He really has found his niche in the bullpen and getting to pitch in Boston and getting to throw regularly. He’s just more consistent throwing strikes, throwing his pitches for strikes, but he’s really put it all together this year. He’s having a terrific year.”

[on how close they were to adding a bat]
“We had some other deals that almost came to fruition but not quite. We can look at some other ways to augment our production. The pitching and the defense is very strong. The club we put out there (Wednesday) night was a terrific defensive ballclub and you combine that with good pitching and the power we have in our lineup. We still have a good chance to win each game because of the power we have in the lineup. There are a couple areas in the ballclub where we could use some additional offensive production and there will be some opportunities I think to address that between now and the end of the season.”

[on if he thought Mille would go elsewhere at any point]
“No, I knew that Eduardo Rodriguez had significant value in this trade or other trades. Just on the basis he is a young quality left-handed pitcher.”

[on the possibility of some August deals] Hopefully. We’ve got some hitters at Triple-A that are swinging the bats pretty good. We picked up (Jimmy) Paredes, Dariel Alvarez is doing a good job at Triple-A and there will be some other opportunities for some bats through the waiver process. There won’t be much going on now because everybody needs waivers to get traded. So that won’t happen right away. But some time in the next couple of weeks there will be some opportunities for us to address those needs.

Orioles vs. Angels game 3

Lots going on today around baseball with the Trade Deadline and you can read more about the Orioles deal for lefty Red Sox reliever Andrew Miller here.

Chris Davis remains sidelined after being sick earlier this week, although he is feeling better and could be used tonight.

No real big surprise, but Ubaldo Jimenez will require another rehab start as the Os try to get him up closer to 100 pitches.

T.J. McFarland is back and has been activated from the bereavement list, with Preston Guilmet optioned to Triple-A to clear a roster spot. No word yet on how they make a spot for Miller, who is expected to be added to the roster on Friday.

ORIOLES LINEUP
Nick Markakis RF
Manny Machado 3B
Adam Jones CF
Nelson Cruz LF
Delmon Young DH
J.J. Hardy SS
Steve Pearce 1B
Caleb Joseph C
Jonathan Schoop 2B

Bud Norris RHP

Showalter on the trade

Orioles manager Buck Showalter weighed in on the Orioles trade today for Andrew Miller –in exchange for lefty Eduardo Rodriguez– and said that the new lefty will be in Baltimore tonight and uniform on Friday.

Asked what Miller does for his team, Showalter said: ” “He’s just another good piece. He goes with some other good pieces down there. He gives us more depth down there, keep passing the load around. I think he’s a little more than just a left-handed arm. You look at left-handed relievers, the ideal ones are the guys that you’ve got left-right-left and you can leave them in there for the right.”

Showalter acknowledged that what will be difficult is creating space for Miller. The Orioles bullpen already has three lefties in T.J. McFarland, Brian Matusz and closer Zach Britton. McFarland has an option and could be the odd man out, with righties Ryan Webb and Brad Brach also having Minor League options.

The move is clearly a win-now one, with Miller set to be a free agent after the season.

“We know that the Red Sox like him and other teams will like him,” Showalter said, “but we think he can impact our ability to make the playoffs and we are willing to take that risk.”

“He’s done it at a high level, in pressure situations and done it in the American League and the American League East. There’s a lot of factors that lean toward him being good. There’s always a period where guys make a transition to a new club, but I feel confident bringing guys into our locker room.”

Miller to Orioles for E. Rodriguez

The Orioles have acquired left-handed reliever Andrew Miller from the Boston Red Sox in exchange for one of their top pitching prospects in Eduardo Rodriguez. The deal is a bit of a departure for the O’s in dealing one of the young pitchers but isn’t completely a shock. Rodriguez has had a down year, along with an injury, and the organization had been down on the young lefty some in 2014.

Miller fills a need for the Orioles, giving them a left-handed reliever who can defend himself against lefties and righties. A free agent at the end of the season, Miller has a 2.34 ERA and has struck out 69 in 42 1/3 innings pitched this season. The 29-year-old has held righties to a .180./.279/.258 line and lefties to a .150/.203/.217 line.

Rodriguez, 21, is ranked as the O’s No. 3 prospect, and missed more than a month with a knee sprain suffered while lifting weights. He has pitched to a 4.79 ERA at Double-A Bowie although there were some internal questions about his worth ethic in coming back from the injury. Still he is a young, cheap left-handed pitcher with a lot of upside and has been one of the youngest players invited to big league camp the past two seasons.

The trade was first reported by ESPN.

Os, Red Sox Lester talks fizzle

BALTIMORE — Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had a decidedly different stance in trade discussions when speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

While rumors swirled about the club’s heavy involvement in trying to acquire Red Sox ace Jon Lester, Duquette, who said on Tuesday that he was focused on pitching depth, didn’t disagree that it was on his radar.

“We’d be interested in adding pitchers that could help us at the top of our rotation,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be?”

However, as of Wednesday evening, talks on that front seemed a long ways off with the New York Daily news reporting talks between the two sides had tailed off and become much more of a long shot.

Duquette, who maintained that he wants to hang on to his top pitching prospects, also confirmed that Hunter Harvey has a right flexor mass injury — as first reported by MLB.com — and will miss the rest of the season. Asked how much the news changed trade talks, Duquette wouldn’t elaborate nor would he comment on any specific negotiations.

Still, losing Harvey for the remainder of the season certainly weakens the Orioles’ farm system, particularly for a big deal, considerably. Even if the team had taken Harvey off the table in trade talks, it’s still a stark reminder of how thin the Orioles Minor League system can get.

“We have a couple of active discussions,” he said. “We have some discussions that are no longer active from yesterday, so we’ve been able to see where we can make a trade and help our ballclub. Some of the long-term prospects for our pitching, we think are very valuable for the long-term sustainability of the organization and I think that’s a real important component to have a good team year-in and year-out. I think with our young pitchers, we would be conservative and we would try and give them a prolonged trial in the big leagues before we would trade them.”

Hunter joins Dylan Bundy, who is rehabbing from Tommy John surgery, leaving 23-year-old Kevin Gausman as the only healthy member of the club’s top three pitching prospects. Gausman is currently part of the Orioles’ rotation and it’s highly unlikely he would be dealt.

Os interested in Cotts

The Rangers are open to dealing left-handed reliever Neal Cotts and Baltimore is one of the teams interested. The Orioles are trying to add a reliever, preferably one who can get both lefties and righties out to upgrade their team in advance of Thursday’s Trade Deadline. Cotts has gone 2-5 with a 3.52 ERA in 50 games, pitching in 46 innings and allowing 18 earned runs on 46 hits and 18 walks, with 50 strikeouts.

Cotts, 34, has pretty even splits and has held right-handed hitters to a .252/.325/.342 line with lefties hitting .277/.347/.431. The Orioles would prefer to add a reliever who is versatile enough so that they don’t have to play match ups and they are trying to upgrade their sixth and seventh-inning spots to help bridge to Darren O’Day and closer Zach Britton.

Right now, the Rangers –who are just trying to stockpile talent– feel as if they are being lowballed so there’s nothing imminent there. Stay tuned.

Duquette on trade rumors, Lester and Harvey

Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had a decidedly different stance in trade discussions when speaking with reporters on Wednesday afternoon.

While rumors swirled about the O’s heavy involvement in trying to acquire Red Sox ace Jon Lester, Duquette –who said Tuesday he was focused on pitching depth– didn’t shoot down the possibility.

“We’d be interested in adding pitchers that could help us at the top of our rotation,” he said. “Who wouldn’t be?”

Still, as of early Wednesday evening nothing appeared to be moving quickly on the Lester front. While most indications are Boston wants to deal Lester immediately, there are multiple suitors for him and the serious talks that happened between the Orioles and Red Sox earlier in the day hadn’t picked up much steam by Wednesday night. Duquette, who maintained that he wants to hang on to his top pitching prospects, also confirmed that Hunter Harvey has a right flexor mass injury -as first reported by MLB.com– and will miss the rest of the season. Asked how much the news changed trade talks, Duquette wouldn’t elaborate nor would he comment on any specific negotiations.

“We have a couple of active discussions,” he said. “We have some discussions that are no longer active from yesterday, so we’ve been able to see where we can make a trade and help our ballclub. Some of the long-term prospects for our pitching we think are very valuable for the long-term sustainability of the organization and I think that’s a real important component to have a good team year-in and year-out. I think with our young pitchers we would be conservative and we would try and give them a prolonged trial in the big leagues before we would trade them.”

Hunter joins Dylan Bundy, who is rehabbing back from Tommy John surgery, leaving 23-year-old Kevin Gausman as the only healthy member of the O’s top three pitching prospects. Gausman is currently part of the O’s rotation and it’s highly unlikely he would be dealt.

While Boston and Baltimore continue to engage in talks –the Red Sox recently scouted the O’s affiliate Delmarva– the Orioles also remain interested in acquiring the Cubs’ Emilio Bonafacio, who would help them fill their void for a left-handed hitting bat. A switch-hitter Bonafacio hits lefties extremely well.

Harvey has strained right flexor mass (done for season)

Hunter Harvey, one of the Orioles top pitching prospects, has been experiencing right elbow discomfort and an MRI done Tuesday revealed that he has a strained flexor mass and will be shut down for the season.

The 19-year-old Harvey was examined by team orthopedist Dr. Michael Jacobs and the news is considered good since there was no ligament damage revealed in Tuesday’s tests. Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said there is some inflammation in the elbow area and wouldn’t comment on how much the injury to Harvey changes potential Orioles trades.

Harvey, ranked as the Orioles’ second-best pitching prospect in the latest MLB.com rankings, last pitched on Friday and went five innings for Class-A Delmarva. The South Atlantic League All-Star, who was the O’s first round-pick in last year’s draft, has gone 7-5 with a 3.18 ERA in 17 starts for Delmarva

Harvey was named as one of Baseball America’s Top 50 Midseason prospects and is the son of former big leaguer Bryan Harvey, who pitched for the Angels and Marlins and was a two-time American League All-Star.

Os in serious talks for Boston’s Lester

The Orioles have stepped up in the Jon Lester sweepstakes, with the two teams in serious talks involving Boston’s starting pitcher as of Wednesday afternoon.

There is no deal done, nor is there a preliminary one in place, but multiple sources told MLB.com on Wednesday that the talks between the O’s and Boston have stepped up considerably in the past 24 hours. The news comes as a shock given that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Tuesday that he was concentrated on adding pitching depth and Lester –a frontline arm– certainly wouldn’t be that.

The Red Sox, like most clubs, covet the Orioles top young pitchers including Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and Hunter Harvey and are rumored to also favor outfield help. Gausman is currently part of the team’s rotation and the Orioles are highly unlikely to deal the 23-year-old for a two-month rental in Lester. Right-hander Miguel Gonzalez, who the Orioles have dangled as trade bait to several National League clubs already this season, could potentially be involved with the Red Sox potentially getting a pitcher in part of a return for Lester. Obviously, it would take more than just that to get Lester –the Red Sox ace scratched from his Wednesday start– to Baltimore.

It’s important to note, the O’s aren’t the only team in on Lester with about a half-dozen rumors teams of interest. But they are certainly making a considerate run at the lefty, who is one of three aces considered “available” at this year’s Trade Deadline.

Orioles sign Dominican OFer Santa

The Orioles have signed 20-year-old third baseman Gionel Santa out of the Dominican Republic. The right-handed hitter is listed at 6-2 and 195 pounds and is considered a power hitter.

Santa signed with Toronto last year, but he ended up getting suspended due to some kind of issue with his birth certificate and became re-eligible this year. Santa is one of several players Duquette saw on his trip to the Dominican Republic last week, with the O’s passing on several others that they were considering last week. The Blue Jays offered Santa $485, 000 last year and –while I don’t have an exact figure– the O’s got him for a little less.

Baltimore was among those with representatives on hand for Cuban free agent outfielder Rusney Castillo, but aren’t expected to get into the bidding war he figures to command. Castillo will have a host of private workouts, including one with the Orioles, but I’m told it’s unlikely they land the flashy outfielder.

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