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Os unveil promotion schedule

The full list is up on Orioles.com, but here’s the team release…

The Orioles have released their 2016 promotional schedule highlighted by several new items, including an Orioles batting practice pullover, a MANNY MACHADO garden gnome, an Orioles 1966 replica jersey to commemorate the 50th anniversary of the club’s first World Series title, special Mother’s Day and Father’s Day-themed giveaways, and two Orioles bobbleheads, as well as the return of several fan-favorite events such as Kids’ Opening Day and Friday Fireworks Nights. Additionally, the popular, family-friendly Kids Run the Bases program will expand to include every Sunday home game throughout the season.
 
On Opening Day, Monday, April 4, when the Orioles host the Minnesota Twins, all fans in attendance at Oriole Park will receive an Orioles Schedule Fathead® Decal, presented by Pizza Boli’s. At the end of Opening Week on Sunday, April 10, the Orioles will celebrate their second annual Kids’ Opening Day, as the first 7,500 fans 14 and under will receive an Orioles Kids’ t-shirt. A variety of unique activities will be offered to randomly-selected children, such as delivering the lineup card before the game and serving as a guest public address announcer. Following the game, kids ages 14 and under can run the bases like their favorite Orioles players during the first of 13 Kids Run the Bases opportunities taking place every Sunday this season. 
 
This season’s promotional schedule is highlighted by a garden gnome featuring 2015 American League All-Star and Gold Glove winner Manny Machado, given to every single fan in attendance on July 9. The Orioles will also commemorate the 50thanniversary of the club’s first World Series championship with a 1966 Orioles replica jersey presented by UMBC for the first 20,000 fans 15 and over on July 24. 
 
This season, the Orioles will continue to offer select giveaways to all fans in attendance. In addition to the Manny Machado gnome, all fans will receive t-shirts on five different dates this season, once per month beginning in May. Designs will be revealed at a later date. All fans will also receive the Maryland Flag Orioles cap presented by DAP during Fan Appreciation Weekend at the regular-season home finale on September 25. Fan Appreciation Weekend giveaways will also include one of the five t-shirts to all fans in attendance on September 23 and an Orioles hooded sweatshirt to the first 25,000 fans 15 and over on September 24.
 
Additionally, fans can dress like their favorite Orioles players with new apparel items featured in this year’s promotional schedule including an Orioles batting practice pullover for the first 20,000 fans 15 and over on June 25. The first 20,000 fans 15 and over through the gates on July 23 will receive an Orioles batting practice cap featuring the new on-field design that Orioles players will wear during the 2016 season. 
 
The Orioles will celebrate Mother’s Day weekend and Father’s Day weekend with four unique items. On May 7, the first 10,000 female fans 18 and over will receive an Orioles canvas tote. On May 8, Mother’s Day, the Orioles will give away Orioles infinity scarves to the first 10,000 female fans 18 and over. The Orioles will also celebrate Father’s Day with unique giveaways including a BBQ O’s Spatula presented by BGE on June 18 and a Father’s Day newsboy cap on June 19. Both items will be given to the first 10,000 male fans 18 and over.
 
            Two Orioles bobblehead giveaways will take place on two different weekend dates this season, on August 20 and September 17. Each bobblehead will be available to the first 25,000 fans 15 and over. The bobblehead designs will be revealed at a later date. 
 
The Orioles’ promotional calendar will also include an Orioles golf umbrella (June 7), Jumbo Orioles baseball card (July 10), Orioles floppy hat presented by Miller Lite (July 22), an Orioles wicker weave ballcap (August 22), and Orioles high socks (September 16).
 
In addition to the expanded Kids Run the Bases program and Kids’ Opening Day, kids-exclusive events this season include two Youth Baseball Parades for pre-registered youth players (May 1 and May 15) and Field Trip Day presented by MASN and WJZ-TV on May 19. Additionally, the first 7,500 Fans 14 & Under on May 14 will receive a youth bat and ball set.
 
Other popular events returning in 2016 include Friday Fireworks Nights which will occur on five occasions (May 13, June 17, July 8, August 19, and September 23) and Student Nights for every Friday home game (all left field upper reserve tickets are $7 with valid student ID).
 
A current list of 2016 promotions and ticket discount offers follows. Individual game tickets will go on sale to the general public in March. For more information, call 1-888-848-BIRD or visit www.orioles.com.
 

Orioles unveil Davis

Chris Davis looked at the brand-new jersey he was about to put one arm through — orange and white with Orioles scrawled on the front— and flashed an ear-to-ear grin.

“Looks familiar,” Davis joked.

It will for quite some time. The Orioles announced officially Thursday that they’ve signed Davis to a club-record seven-year, $161 million contract, keeping the popular slugger hitting at Camden Yards for the foreseeable future.

“Deep within me somewhere [I felt like] there was a little more left in the tank,” Davis said of his final game at Camden Yards last season, “a little more left to be seen.”

Davis, 29, was named the Most Valuable Oriole last season after hitting a Major League-leading 47 home runs. He is the only player in Orioles history to have more than one 40-plus-homer season. Often the subject of thunderous applause, Davis met some backlash this winter when word leaked out that his agent, Scott Boras, had refused the O’s $154 million offer.

Boras, who flew to Baltimore early in the offseason to state his intent, spoke again with principle owner Peter Angelos on Friday night and the two sides reached an agreement that leaked out to the press early Saturday morning.

“It was about crossing the last bridge if you will,” Boras said of negotiations, in which he complimented executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette’s efforts. “Probably both sides knew what was going to happen in the end.”

Duquette— and ownership— had made bringing back Davis his primary goal this winter and mentioned the familiarity with him as a person and player as a big reason the organization was able to justify such a commitment.

“I don’t know how many places I went this year where people said, ‘You’ve got to sign Chris Davis.’,” Duquette said. “So I know he’s got a lot of fans in Baltimore that follow the team and love to see his prodigious home runs.”

“It gives me great comfort that I know Chris and have a lot of confidence in Chris and have seen him perform, and the way that he works and provides leadership in the community.
We’re just so happy to have him returning to do his job for the Orioles for many, many years.”

Davis, who admitted free agency was “a little more stressful” than he thought, tried to stay busy and away from the rumor mill. He was impressed when Angelos reached out to him at the beginning of the winter and that the Orioles never wavered in their interest.

As for the pressure to live up to a contract that will pay him $17 million annually, with $42 million deferred, Davis said: “I hope there is. I hope there are expectations. I’ve always kind of thought of pressure as something that you really inflict on yourself. As a professional athlete, really a professional in anything that you do, you’re going to expect yourself to be great and you’re going to hold yourself to high standards. I’m happy to be here for the next seven years and be in a place where I’ve had success in the past and we’ve had success as a team in the past. And I think these next few years are going to be a lot of fun and hopefully very successful years.”

***

The full story on Davis, who was accompanied by his wife, Jill, and their daughter, will be available on Orioles.com shortly.

***

Duquette said the Orioles will now turn their attention toward pitching as they try to add to their rotation. “We’ve found some pitching we like just not at the prices we like,” Duquette said. “It’s been a very, very expensive market.”

“There are some pitchers out there that we like and we’ve talked to some other teams about [trades]. The problem is there’s more teams chasing fewer pitchers. There’s not enough to go around. That’s an age-old problem and it was very acute this winter.”

**

Here’s more Boras..

Were you surprised by the initial offer’s size?

“Offers that go public and all the other offers you receive, you have a pretty special ballplayer so the category of where teams are making offers are certainly, there’s a historic value to it. There are a number of players that are in that market, so to answer your question, I’ve done this a long time, no. It wasn’t surprising at all. The problem is things get portrayed in the paper that aren’t quite accurate, and when you’re finalizing deals… sometimes, deals are interesting because sometimes, they don’t happen then all of a sudden they happen with a flurry. And then sometimes, you get 90 percent of the way and it takes a long time to get to the last portion.

Each negotiation has its own agenda and spirit, but the one thing that I did in this negotiation is I flew out here and met with Peter and Dan and let them know that Chris and I had talked, and this ballpark and this community, I wanted him to know. I said, “I don’t do this very often. It’s not exactly a great free agent tactic to fly here and meet with an owner and let him know that we’re very interested in re-signing here. We did at the forefront of free agency. sometimes, it’s good for a lawyer to know from another lawyer, what the real intent of free agency is. Being able to have that meeting, I think, set in motion the clear intentions of Peter and Dan. I was able to communicate that to Chris. It allowed us in our free agent direction to look at this deal in a little bit different way.”

What got this deal done?

“These deals are complicated because you’re talking about power. There’s very little power in the game. we’ve had eight pitchers sign five-or-more-year contracts in this market. That’s unheard of. The demand of pitching quelled the market in offensive power, because the teams were so focused. So many teams needed pitching, and needed offense, but the competitiveness for the pitching took a focus that really—I’m not saying teams didn’t express interest. They kept saying, I’ve got to get something done, and it was not something that had to do with the category of an offensive player. It had to do with a pitcher. So that part, for me, and I’ve represented three of the starters in this market, it really represented an interesting, almost… it was like one side of the road was working and the other was watching. But it wasn’t about value. It was about owners and general managers realizing they had to build their team first in that category before they could move to the other side.”

Was there open communication even after the first offer was “pulled”?

“The line of communication, Dan and I talk a lot in this process, so it was something where we had to cross some bridges and I had to figure some things out about the structure. These things have complicated dynamics to them when you’re talking about how the economics work, how the deferrals work, all those things. You have to really map that through. Really, again, it was more about the financial, economic last bridge, if you will, moreso than the mutual intent of what probably both sides knew what was going to happen in the end.”

Any other serious suitors?

“You know, when you go to a wedding, you never talk about your girlfriends. So the idea is, look, Chris Davis, there’s only one other man I know in recent time who has hit over 45 home runs in a five-year period twice, and he did pretty well in his career too. These are rare guys. I think the key part was that everyone knew that in this ballpark, Chris Davis, it was built for Chris Davis. This is where he can execute and be most effective, and I think when you work for players and you do things, one of the messages you want to tell them is that their comfort and what they do, you want them to be successful and you want them to execute. That was always in the back of my mind in the advise of Chris and what we’ve done. It was really about getting to an economic place where we felt it was within reason in comparison to what we knew was available elsewhere.

On the contract’s deferrals…

“Sometimes in these deals, in today’s times with interest rates and what you’re doing, we have a Maryland tax statute that helps us. when I did Scherzer’s contract, I’ve become a tax attorney. You figure these things out about how you can do something that’s beneficial for the team and do something that’s beneficial to the player, because Chris lives in Texas where they have zero interest tax. And then you look at, modernly, what the net present value of these contracts are when you go through them and how you evaluate it. They are complicated. They do take time. You are moving money around, you’re always negotiating terms and years and how much of the contract is front-loaded. This contract is really not backloaded, a lot of contracts are backloaded and there’s less deferral. This contract, it’s not backloaded. There’s a little more deferral. In each, when you go to work out what the true numbers are, it takes time to evaluate.”

Davis signs, presser tonight

BALTIMORE— The Orioles officially announced the signing of Chris Davis to a seven-year, club record $161 million contract on Thursday, with plans for an official press conference slated at 7 p.m. ET. The presser will be available live on Orioles.com as well as on MASN and 105.7 The Fan.

Davis, who flew into Baltimore earlier this week, agreed to terms over the weekend and spent the better portion of the past two days going through a physical.

The addition of Davis gives the Orioles a powerful, left-handed middle-of-the-lineup bat they need along with solid first base defense and an excellent clubhouse presence. The outgoing Davis was well-liked —with several teammates voicing the need to keep him at the end of last season— and joins Matt Wieters and Darren O’Day as free agents to stay in Baltimore.

Davis, 29, was named the Most Valuable Oriole last season after hitting a League-leading 47 home runs. He is the only player in Orioles history to have more than one 40-plus home run season.

With the Baltimore/DC area projected to be hit hard by Winter Storm Jonas starting on Friday, the Orioles were able to unveil Davis before the weather became an issue.

Cespedes update

 

UPDATE: The Mets are saying now they’d consider a one-year offer for Yoenis Cespedes if he comes down from his 4-6 years. So, for now, the Orioles are the only team with an offer on the table. 

Orioles making push for Cespedes

Sources told MLB.com Friday that Yoenis Cespedes believed to be weighing 5/$90m contract with a possible option offer from O’s vs. a one-year deal with Mets and become a free agent again.

More on Orioles.com and MLB.com.

Orioles announce players for Birdland Classic

Per a team release…
On Monday, February 22, the Orioles will hold the sixth annual OriolesREACH Birdland Golf Classic at The Founders Club to benefit the Miracle League of Manasota, an organization dedicated to providing an opportunity for everyone to play baseball, regardless of their ability. The classic will feature a silent auction and the chance to play a round with current and former Orioles players and coaches. Manager BUCK SHOWALTER and current Orioles BRAD BRACHKEVIN GAUSMANBRIAN MATUSZDARREN O’DAYCHRIS TILLMAN, and MATT WIETERS are among the many Orioles scheduled to participate. A full list of Orioles players and coaches scheduled to participate (subject to change) is available at http://birdeasepro.com/birdlandclassic.
 
The event begins with registration and lunch at 11:00 a.m. and a shotgun start set for 12:30 p.m. Following the event, The Founders Club will host a dinner for participating golfers, as well as Orioles players and coaches. Registration for this year’s event ends on Monday, February 8, and is limited to the first 100 golfers.
 
Several levels of participation are available for corporate partners, including MVP Sponsor packages which consist of recognition as a presenting sponsor, a foursome with the opportunity to select your Orioles playing partner, four infield box seats to a 2016 Orioles Spring Training game, and more. Since its inception, the Birdland Golf Classic has raised more than $150,000 for the Miracle League of Manasota.
            
            As a nonprofit organization, the Miracle League of Manasota relies on community support to fulfill its mission of bringing baseball to the 14,000 school-aged children with disabilities and their adult counterparts in Sarasota and Manatee counties. In 2012, the Miracle League of Manasota built a synthetically-surfaced baseball field with all the requisite amenities located at Longwood Park, north of University Parkway in Sarasota. Sarasota County committed $500,000 to building the field, with the Baltimore Orioles and Pittsburgh Pirates each contributing $75,000. Since opening in March 2012, more than 450 players have participated in the league’s eight seasons.
 
            For more information or to register for the golf event, visit www.miracleleaguemanasota.org or contact the Miracle League of Manasota at (941) 225-2966 or info@miracleleaguemanasota.org.
 

Wieters to match holiday donations to BARCS

BALTIMORE— Matt and Maria Wieters are helping extend some holiday cheer for animals in need this month.

The Wieters family has offered to match donations to Baltimore Animal Rescue and Care Shelter (BARCS) dollar-for-dollar up to $10,000 through the end of the year. The tax-deductible donations will help the shelter care for the more than 300 pets that currently live there.

BARCS posted on its Facebook page that, “being an open admission shelter means that, no matter what, our hearts and doors are open to every single animal in need. Matt and Maria understand that the cost to run BARCS each day is enormous—that’s why they are heading up this holiday match.”

This isn’t the first time the Wieters have helped the cause as Matt has been a regular fixture in the Orioles’ annual Pet Calendar, which benefits BARCS. Donations can be made online (http://baltimoreanimalshelter.org)  or mail (to 301 Stockholm St., Baltimore, MD 21230)  by December 31, 2015 to have the Wieters match it.

Os select Rickard in Rule 5

The Orioles selected outfielder Joey Rickard from the Tampa Bay Rays in Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft.

Rickard, 24, is a former ninth-round pick out of Arizona that was on Tampa’s Triple-A Durham team roster. Listed as a centerfielder, Rickard is a right-handed hitter who posted a .321/.427/.447 line across three teams in 2015. With Durham, Rickard batted .360 with six doubles, two triples and 11 RBIs in 29 games.

The Orioles, who were able to keep Jason Garcia last year and have kept TJ McFarland and Ryan Flaherty in the past, have to keep Rickard on the Major League roster all year or risk having him offered back.

Baltimore also lost lose first baseman Ji-Man Choi, signed to a Minor League deal last month, to the Angels. Choi was a longtime prospect in the Seattle Mariners system.

Buck on Davis and other notes

It’s been a big offseason for the Orioles, who already have a projected payroll of more than $100 million dollars and are still interested in adding a starting pitching, outfield help and retaining pricey slugger Chris Davis. But O’s manager Buck Showalter said Wednesday that he doesn’t think the organization is being more aggressive or willing to spend money so much as its keeping up with the sport.

“If you look at who — everybody’s going up somewhat. We were always kind of at the top of the second tier,” Showalter said. “If you look at baseball, there’s a front third tier, middle tier, and we always kind of fit [the second tier] — I know we’re trying to correctly pay people.”

Still, with the reported $150 million contract offer for Davis the Orioles are showing a willingness to spend. They’re also not going to sit back and let the rest of the left-handed hitting market play out around them.

“Not that long,” Showalter said on how long the O’s will wait on Davis. “I won’t wait forever.”

“At some point, he’s going to have to make a decision if that’s enough or how much is enough. Believe me, he’s going to make a good call where he wants to go with his baseball and his career and his life. We’re prepared to go either way.”

Davis’ agent, Scott Boras, told a gathering of reporters on Wednesday that the Orioles have certainly made it known that they’d like Davis back. But there hasn’t been in a line drawn in the sand regarding the O’s offer and Boras is continuing to talk to other clubs about Davis.

Other items to note from Showalter’s media session…

*Ubaldo Jimenez will miss Saturday’s FanFest because he’s getting married this weekend.

*Showalter said the Os are willing to part with their first-round pick, 14th overall, in the right trade. He also said that there’s been “no talk” of trading closer Zach Britton. With the signing of Darren O’Day, who passed his physical and should be official soon, there was a though that perhaps Britton would be available.

*Baltimore remains active in trade talks at the Winter Meetings and Showalter said they turned down a trade on Tuesday night because they didn’t like the people they’d have to part with.

<a href=”mailto:brittany.ghiroli@mlb.com“><b>Brittany Ghiroli</b></a> is a reporter for MLB.com. Read her blog, <a href=”http://brittghiroli.mlblogs.com“><b>Britt’s Bird Watch</b></a>, follow her on <a href=”https://www.facebook.com/brittghiroli“><b>Facebook</b></a> and Twitter <a href=”https://twitter.com/Britt_Ghiroli“><b>@britt_ghiroli</b></a>, and listen to her <b><a href=”https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/baltimore-orioles-podcast/id902521404?mt=2“>podcast</a></b>.

The latest on Davis

NASHVILLE, Tenn.— The Orioles aren’t going to wait around much longer to see if Chris Davis accepts their contract offer.

Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette reiterated on MLB Network on Wednesday that the O’s are looking at contingency plans and the ball is in Davis’ court as the Orioles try to add a left-handed hitter. Baltimore has made what it feels is a significant offer, reportedly in the $150 million range according to multiple reports, and there’s little to suggest the team will go any further in its attempt to re-sign Davis.

Asked about the team’s chances to acquire Davis, an organizational source told MLB.com: “You’d have to ask Scott [Boras].”

Duquette said Tuesday night that the club has been “aggressive” in its pursuit of adding a left-handed bat and reiterated on Wednesday that there are “other options in place” as the O’s look to contingency plans for Davis. Baltimore met with Davis’ agent, Boras on Tuesday —mostly to talk about the slugger— and the club is now in waiting mode to see if his camp will come down.

“Chris knows how we feel about him. We tell him we love him every day,” Duquette said on MLB Network. “ Whether we can come up with the type of deal [Davis’] agent is demanding, that’s another story.”

Baltimore has been linked to Alex Gordon, Denard Span and Justin Upton among other to fill their outfield void. Duquette said on Tuesday that —if the O’s fill that need— it might change their stance on Davis.

Baltimore, which has a projected payroll of more than $100 million already, is also actively trying to acquire a starting pitcher this week while at the Winter Meetings.

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