The Orioles will wear a commemorative patch on the right sleeve of all game jerseys for their 60th anniversary season in 2014.
The patch was unveiled on the club’s Twitter account on Monday and uses the 1954 Orioles script and the ’54 bird as well as the current Oriole bird. The three stars at the bottom represent the organization’s three World Series Championships.
The Orioles have not announced celebration plans for their 60th anniversary season, although those are expected to be unveiled next month.
Adding to their bullpen depth, the Orioles signed left-hander Kelvin De La Cruz to a one-year contract, their sixth announced signing on Monday.
“We like his size and he’s got a couple of good pitches, he has a couple good weapons to strike the hitters out,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of De La Cruz. “He had a good year last year in the Dodgers Triple-A. We think theres a couple things we can help him out with [adjustments-wise], and that he can compete.”
The 25-year-old southpaw had a 2.67 ERA in 50 appearances between Double-A and Triple-A last season and was particularly effective against left-handers, holding them to a .217/.298/.261 line, while recording 37 strikeouts in 106 plate appearances.
De La Cruz has struggled with his command, averaging 4.7 walks per nine innings throughout his eight Minor League seasons, including 35 walks in 67 1/3 innings last year. He did, however, finish third in the Pacific Coast League with a career-high 11.3 strikeouts over nine innings last year.
De La Cruz was in the Tigers Minors in 2012 and spent 2006-’11 with Cleveland. His signing brings the Orioles’ current 40-man roster total to 32 total players.<p>
“We are still looking for some depth for our Major League pitching staff, but De La Cruz has some good pitches and gives us another option from the left side,” Duquette said.
The Orioles also signed right-handed pitchers Tim Alderson and Brock Huntzinger, left-hander Nick Additon and outfielders Chih-Hsien Chiang and Kyeong Kang to Minor League deals earlier in the day. All three pitchers will get an invite to Major League Spring Training.
Orioles director of player development Brian Graham will be honored at next month’s Winter Meetings with the sixth annual Sheldon “Chief” Bender Award, an honor Minor League Baseball announced on Thursday.
The award is presented to an individual with distinguished service who has been instrumental in player development, and Graham —who has spent 32 years in professional baseball— has exemplified that since rejoining Baltimore’s organization in 2008.
In his first year as direct of player development, Graham oversaw the instruction and developing process for a vastly improved Orioles’ farm system and he spent the four years prior as coordinator of Minor League instruction. After serving as a Major League coach with the O’s in 2000, Graham came back to Baltimore as a special assistant in ’08 and has been one of the most well-respected and popular figures in the organization.
“I’m very honored to win the ‘Chief’ Bender Award,” Graham said in an article on MiLB.com. “When you work in player development, you never expect to win awards. Our reward is seeing the players develop, make it to the big leagues and then succeed as Major Leaguers.
“I’m also very fortunate to be part of a great organization right now. We have a general manager [in Dan Duquette] and Major League manager [Buck Showalter] who take tremendous pride in player development, and we have a lot of really good staff members who do a great job. It’s truly an honor to have my name associated with ‘Chief’ Bender and such a prestigious award.”
Graham also worked for the Pittsburgh Pirates from 2002-07, as their senior director of player development, with 54 homegrown players reaching the Majors over that span He served as the Pirates interim GM in ’07 and had a brief stint as the field coordinator for the Florida Marlins prior to that. Graham, who served as a Major coach with the Cleveland Indians (1998-99), managed nine consecutive winning clubs, including eight straight playoff ones, during his time as a Minor League skipper in the Indians’ system.
“We are very lucky to have Brian in our organization because an award like this isn’t just for the length of service; it recognizes distinguished and quality service,” said Showalter. “To be in the game as long as Brian has, you have to be good at what you do and have your work be in demand. He has made an impact on the careers and lives of so many young men without seeking attention for himself. This is a tremendous honor for a true professional.”
Added Duquette: ”The National Association has made a great choice of not just an educator, but a leader of men in Brian Graham. He has managed at every class in the Minors and coached in the Major Leagues with a passion for player development. We are very proud of Brian’s work and grateful he is leading the Orioles.”
The Orioles top priority remains upgrading their pitching staff and one of the names drawing the most outside interest in a trade is shortstop J.J. Hardy, whose name surfaced in a potential deal rejected by the Cardinals on Wednesday.
An industry source confirmed on Wednesday CBSSPorts.com’s report that the Orioles asked St. Louis —who is looking for a shortstop— for pitcher Shelby Miller’s name surfaced, a deal that was quickly struck down by the Cards. And while Hardy’s name will continue to come up in offseason rumblings, the O’s aren’t actively trying to move him so much as just listening to other teams’ offers.
“We are not shopping J.J. Hardy,” executive vice president of Dan Duquette told MLB.com from the GM meetings in Orlando, Fla. “The fact that other clubs might be interested in him would be a good reflection on the kind of year that he had. He had a great year. He won the Silver Slugger and he won the Gold Glove.”
“If somebody reported that [he’s being shopped], that’s not true. Are there other clubs that are interested in J.J. Hardy? Who wouldn’t be interested in a shortstop that just won the Gold Glove and captured the Silver Slugger?”
Hardy, in the last year of a three-year, $22 million extension, is a huge part of what the Orioles are trying to do and moving him would create a huge hole in the infield. Even if the Orioles long-term plan is to move Manny Machado to third base —which hasn’t been decided for sure— the 21-year-old is coming off knee surgery and that would create another vacancy at third. The jury is still out as to what Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty can do and the O’s already have one hole in the infield with the departure of second baseman Brian Roberts, who is a free agent.
Hardy’s combination of power and defense –plus his contract status–makes him prime to come up in offseason rumors this winter. But, as evidenced by the Cardinals’ rejection of the trade, it’s probably not enough for an impact pitcher and would create another huge hole in a defense that set a Major League record in 2013 for fewest miscues in a season and most errorless games.
The anchor of the O’s defense, Hardy is one of manager Buck Showalter’s favorites, and signing him for another year or two could be wise given that there’s no help on the horizon in the Minors and Hardy has made it well-known how much he likes playing in Baltimore.
The Orioles best avenue to upgrade this winter is to make a trade and they’ll explore a lot of the same names and available arms that they kicked the tires on around the July deadline, when they acquired Bud Norris. As was the case last year, Duquette to put any of the club’s top pitching prospects on the table including Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez. Dylan Bundy would be a sell-low coming off Tommy John surgery and would be tough to justify as well.
So, who could be had in the right deal? The Orioles would be “willing” to deal catcher Matt Wieters this winter —according to a tweet from FOXSports.com— a school of thinking that shows just how unlikely a long-term extension is for the All-Star backstop.
“If we were going to pursue an extension with him, it would be between now and the start of the season,” Duquette said. “That’s something that we can consider, but having tried twice [each of the last two winters] and not come to a long-term agreement, that’s not a priority for us right now.”
Wieters is a free agent after 2015 and, like first baseman Chris Davis, is represented by Scott Boras. Davis is also a free agent after ’15 and —while the thought right now is he would be more likely to remain in Baltimore than Wieteres— Duquette was equally noncommittal on a possible extension.
“Chris Davis had a great year, obviously,” Duquette said of Davis, who is up for American League MVP honors. “Any of these guys that do well and do well in the community, we’d like to have them with us long-term.”
Adam Berry contributed to this post.
With the General Managers’ meetings going on this week, the buzz on Wednesday morning around the Orioles was a rejected trade proposal by the St. Louis Cardinals involving Baltimore shortstop J.J. Hardy. The report by CBSSports.com involved Cards pitcher Shelby Miller, and has spawned some reaction over whether the Orioles could –and should– trade Hardy.
First, I don’t doubt the validity of the Orioles checking in with the Cardinals, who have a wealth of pitching. The O’s badly need to upgrade in that area and it’s no secret that St. Louis would like a shortstop, which is why Hardy’s name would come up. But the Orioles aren’t actively shopping Hardy, who is in the last year of a very affordable contract extension, and would have to be blown away by a deal to move him. A Silver Slugger and Gold Glove winner this year, Hardy is a huge part of what the Orioles are trying to do and moving him creates a huge hole in the infield.
Even IF the Orioles long-term plan is to move Manny Machado to third base, the 21-year-old is coming off knee surgery and that would create another vacancy at third. The jury is still out as to what Jonathan Schoop and Ryan Flaherty can do and the O’s already have one hole in the infield with the departure of second baseman Brian Roberts, who is a free agent.
Hardy’s combination of power and defense –plus his contract status–makes him prime to come up in offseason rumors this winter. But, as evidenced by the Cardinals’ rejection of the trade, it’s probably not enough for an impact pitcher and it would create a glaring hole in the infield. The anchor of the O’s defense, Hardy is one of manager Buck Showalter’s favorites, and I’ve written before that the organization looking into another extension –signing Hardy for another year or two– could be wise given that there’s no help on the horizon in the Minors and Hardy –who has already committed to staying in Baltimore once before– has made it well-known how much he likes playing here.
The Orioles best avenue to upgrade this winter is to make a trade and they’ll explore a lot of the same names and available arms that they kicked the tires on around the July deadline, when they acquired Bud Norris. As was the case last year, don’t expect executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette to put any of the club’s top pitching prospects on the table including Kevin Gausman and Eduardo Rodriguez. Dylan Bundy would be a sell-low coming off Tommy John surgery and would be tough to justify as well.
The Orioles are set to hire Dom Chiti as their new bullpen coach, completing the 2014 Major League staff, a source confirmed on Friday night.
Chiti, a special assistant in the Braves organization, will join new pitching coach Dave Wallace —who previously served as Atlanta’s Minor League pitching coordinator— in a reunion with current Baltimore manager Buck Showalter. Chiti served as the Rangers bullpen coach under Showalter in 2006, and spent the prior two years as the organization’s director of player personnel.
As a player, Chiti was in the Braves organization for five seasons and played in the Orioles organization in his final season in 1981.
Chiti essentially replaces Billy Castro, who was the Orioles bullpen coach for the majority of the past two seasons, moving into the pitching coach role when Rick Adair left the team for personal reasons.
MASNSports.com first reported that Chiti was expected to be named bullpen coach.
The fans have spoken and Manny Machado’s glove is the best in the American League.
The 21-year-old Machado— who missed out on being named the League’s best in Rawlings Gold Glove voting earlier this week— was named the winner of the company’s Platinum Award on Friday night, which is based off of fan voting among the nine Gold Glovers in each League.
Machado, who edged Texas’ Adrian Beltre and Tampa Bay’s Evan Longoria for his first career Gold Glove Award, is coming off his first full season in the big leagues and one full of highlight-reel plays. He led AL third basemen in fielding percentage (.973), assists (355), double plays turned (42) and range factor (3.02) and finished second with 116 putouts. Additionally, Machado posted 32 total zone runs, the number of runs above average the player was worth, based on the number of plays made. It was the highest total for any defensive player in 2013 and tied for 12th-best all time. He also posted the best defensive season by an AL infielder since Mark Belanger was credited with 35 total zone runs in 1975.
Machado, called up from Double-A Bowie in August 2012, made the transition from shortstop to third base look effortless as a rookie and was even more awe-inspiring in 2013. His 4.4 defensive wins above replacement score led the AL and was the third-highest total in the Majors, tying him for the eighth-highest single-season total in history, regardless of position.
Machado beat out Boston’s second baseman Dustin Pedroia, who won the Rawlings Award for best defender in the AL, and was joined by Atlanta’s Andrelton Simmons in winning the Platinum Glove Award. O’s shortstop J.J. Hardy finished third in AL voting.
A historic Orioles defense was rewarded handily Tuesday night, with Baltimore earning three American League Gold Glove in shortstop J.J. Hardy, centerfielder Adam Jones and third baseman Manny Machado.
It marks the second consecutive year the Orioles have had a trio of Gold Glove recipients recognized for exceptional defense and tied the Kansas City Royals for most in the Major Leagues.
The Gold Glove is the first for Machado –in his first full Major League season—Hardy’s second and the third for Jones, who won along with Hardy in 2012 and also took home the award in ’09. Jones and Hardy are the first set of AL teammates to win in back-to-back years since Adrian Beltre and Ichiro Suzuki for Seattle in 2007-08.
The Orioles had three other nominees in catcher Matt Wieters, first baseman Chris Davis and right fielder Nick Markakis, rounding out a defense that set the Major League record with fewest errors in a season (54) and fielding percentage (.991). Baltimore had 119 errorless games.
Machado put on a clinic at third base, leading the League in fielding percentage (.973), assists (355), double plays turned (42) and range factor per game (3.02) and also finished second with 116 putouts. His 32 Total Zone Runs, which is the number of runs above or below average the player was worth based on the number of plays made, was the highest total for any defender in the majors in 2013 and tied for the 12th best season of all-time. It was also the best defensive season by an AL infielder since Mark Belanger’s 35 in 1975.
Machado’s 4.4. Defensive Wins Above Replacement led the League and was the third-highest total in the baseball, tying him for the 8th-highest single-season total of all-time for any position. He is the first O’s third baseman to win the award since Brooks Robinson in 1975.
Hardy is the third shortstop in O’s history to win the award in consecutive years, joining Cal Ripken, Jr. (1991-92) and Belanger (six straight, 1973-78). The captain of the Oriole infield, Hardy he led all AL shortstops in games (159) and double plays turned (108) and also ranked in the top 4 in assists (2nd – 403), putouts (3rd – 230), total zone runs (3rd – 4) and fielding percentage (4th – .981).
Jones lead all AL centerfielders in games (156), assists (11) and putouts (352) and rank was third in fielding percentage (.995). It is the third time in the last four seasons he has led AL centerfielders in putouts.
The trio of awards marks the 19th time the Orioles have had multiple Gold Glove winners in the same season. It is the 10th time in club history the Orioles have had at least three players win a Gold Glove in the same season.
Seventeen different Orioles players have earned a total of 67 Gold Gloves since the award was created in 1957, the second-highest total for any team (St. Louis – 84) and the most in the American League.
Pitching coach Rick Adair, who took a personal leave of absence during the 2013 season, will not return to the organization and the Orioles have begun the process of replacing him with the hope being it’s completed by the end of the month.
Adair, who took a personal leave of absence in August, was replaced by bullpen coach Billy Castro for the remainder of the season. Castro will get an interview for the job along with Rangers bullpen coach Andy Hawkins who was Texas’ Triple-A pitching coach in manager Buck Showalter’s final year with the organization.
There will be several other interviews, with Showalter working in conjunction with executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and the belief being the club would prefer to go external on the hire and keep their Minor League system, including well-regarded Triple-A pitching coach Mike Griffin –who will still be considered—in place if possible.
The Orioles have announced their 2014 Spring Training schedule, which you can find below. All home games will be played at Ed Smith Stadium. Note: SS denotes a split-squad game.
Date Opponent Location Time
February 28 at Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05
March 1 Toronto Blue Jays Sarasota 1:05
March 2 at Boston Red Sox Fort Myers 1:35
March 3 Minnesota Twins (ss) Sarasota 1:05
March 4 at New York Yankees Tampa 1:05
March 5 at Minnesota Twins Fort Myers 1:05
March 6 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 1:05
March 7 Philadelphia Phillies Sarasota 1:05
March 8 at Boston Red Sox (ss) Ft. Myers 1:05
Boston Red Sox (ss) Sarasota 7:05
March 9 Pittsburgh Pirates (ss) Sarasota 1:05
March 10 at Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 1:05
March 11 Boston Red Sox (ss) Sarasota 1:05
March 12 Philadelphia Phillies Sarasota 1:05
March 13 at New York Yankees (ss) Tampa 1:05
March 14 at Minnesota Twins (ss) Fort Myers 1:05
March 15 New York Yankees (ss) Sarasota 1:05
March 16 at Toronto Blue Jays Dunedin 1:05
March 17 at Philadelphia Phillies (ss) Clearwater 1:05
Minnesota Twins (ss) Sarasota 7:05
March 19 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 1:05
March 20 at Pittsburgh Pirates Bradenton 1:05
March 21 Atlanta Braves (ss) Sarasota 1:05
March 22 at Tampa Bay Rays Port Charlotte 1:05
March 23 Pittsburgh Pirates Sarasota 1:05
March 24 Boston Red Sox Sarasota 1:05
March 25 at Minnesota Twins Ft. Myers 1:05
March 26 at Tampa Bay Rays (ss) Port Charlotte 1:05
at Boston Red Sox (ss) Fort Myers 7:10
March 27 Tampa Bay Rays Sarasota 7:05