BALTIMORE— The Orioles will return to FM radio in 2015, as the club announced Monday a new multi-year deal naming CBS RADIO’s 105.7 The Fan (WJZ-FM) its flagship station.
All 162 regular season games, select Spring Training contests and extensive Orioles programming will be on 105.7 The Fan and across the seven-state, 34-station Orioles Radio Network beginning with the 2015 season.
Broadcast team Joe Angel and Fred Manfra will return for their 12th season in their current roles as the return to FM. The station previously was a rights holder from 2007-’10 before the club switch to WBAL AM radio.
“With a dedicated FM presence, a strong network of local CBS RADIO stations, and an around-the-clock lineup of sports programming, 105.7 The Fan is the ideal flagship home for the Orioles Radio Network,” Orioles Vice President of Communications and Marketing Greg Bader said in a press release. “Partnering with the region’s premiere radio destination for sports fans and CBS RADIO’s powerful cluster of stations allows us to effectively reach our diverse fan base on a daily basis and to develop valuable multiplatform marketing opportunities for our sponsors.”
Added CBS RADIO Baltimore’s Senior Vice President Bob Philips: “We are thrilled that the Baltimore Orioles are coming home to 105.7 The Fan. This partnership with the Orioles is a great addition to our market leading #1 sports brand and platform in Baltimore.”
BALTIMORE— Seeking to add another catcher before Spring Training, the Orioles have agreed to a Minor League deal with J.P. Arencibi, a baseball source confirmed to MLB.com. The contract isn’t finalized just yet, but is expected to include an invite to Major League Spring Training.
The addition of Arencibia — first reported by the Baltimore Sun— reunites him with new O’s hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh, who was previously with the Texas Rangers. Arencibia, who turned 29 earlier this week, spent last season in the Rangers’ Minor League system, hitting .177/.239/.369 in 63 games.
A former first-round pick by the Toronto Blue Jays, Arencibia is a power threat but he has struggled to keep his strikeouts in check and remain consistent in the Majors. In 2013, he hit 21 homers for Toronto, batting .194 with 148 strikeouts in 138 games played.
The addition of Arencibia, who can also play first base, is interesting given that Baltimore already has five catchers on its 40-man roster. It’s possible the Orioles remove one of them to clear a spot for another player down the road given that the team now has catching depth, even with the uncertainty around starter Matt Wieters’ ability to start the season.
BALTIMORE— Tickets are now on sale for the Orioles annual FanFest, held January 31 at the Baltimore Convention Center. This year’s event —presented by Visit Sarasota County— begins at 11.a.m. and goes until 6 p.m., with appearances by numerous current and former players along with clinics, exhibits and interactive games.
Tickets are $12 for adults and $6 for children (14 and under) and seniors and are available online at http://www.orioles.com/fanfest, via phone at 1-888-848-BIRD, at the Oriole Park Box Office, and at the Official Team Store at the York Galleria in York, PA. Tickets will also be sold on the day of the event at the Convention Center and Camden Yards Box Office. Those who were 2014 Season Plan Members will receive their complimentary FanFest tickets via email and will also get early entry beginning at 10 a.m. Dugout Club members will also receive their tickets through email.
Autograph vouchers for the event will go on sale January 17 at 10 a.m. with the team’s autograph policy the same as 2014. Children ages 4-14 will have a specially designated Kids Only player autograph station, presented by ESSKAY, that is free of charge and will operate continuously throughout the day. All other ESSKAY autograph stations at FanFest will require the advance purchase of autograph vouchers exclusively at www.orioles.com/fanfest, with all of the proceeds going to children’s charities through OriolesREACH.
FanFest will also include question and answer forums with players and front office staff; clinics for children on a youth-sized baseball field; kids press conferences where young Orioles fans can ask questions to players; a silent auction benefitting the Orioles Charitable Foundation and a tour of the Orioles clubhouse at Oriole Park.
The sale of individual game tickets this season will be at a later date, though there will be Orioles representatives on hand at FanFest for those looking to become Season Plan holders. Complimentary parking for FanFest is available in Lot B/C. For updated information about the event, fans should visit www.orioles.com/fanfest.
Happy New Year’s Day! It’s always a slow time for baseball news around the holidays, but the calendar flip also means Spring Training is just around the corner.
It’s always weird to see the end of one year, and I took one final look back at the 2014 season with this piece on five storylines that shaped the O’s playoff run.
Of course, the focus is now on this year and how Baltimore will stack up in 2015. Like every other club in baseball, the Orioles have some lingering issues on January 1. I look at their top 10 questions heading into camp here.
Two of the biggest questions, in my opinion, is the season that Chris Davis has along with how soon the O’s get Manny Machado and Matt Wieters back healthy and productive. But you can make a case for a number of the questions being crucial to the success of this season.
The Orioles have agreed to a one-year deal with outfielder/designated hitter Delmon Young, MLB.com has confirmed, helping the club add the right-handed bat they needed.
The agreement is still pending a physical, which will be done after the holidays, and puts Young to make a base salary of $2.25 million that could reach $3 million if he hits all of the incentives.
Young, who originally had been looking for a two-year deal, was a big piece of the Orioles despite limited playing time. A non-roster invitee who made the Opening Day roster last spring, Young hit .302 with seven homers and 30 RBIs in 83 games.
Young’s pinch-hit three-RBIs double in the American League Division Series lifted Baltimore to a Game 2 win in a series over the Tigers they went on to sweep. It was one of many clutch hits for the 29-year-old last season.
Over a nine-year career with five different clubs, Young is a .283 career hitter with 107 homers and 550 RBIs. He is the first free agent retained by Baltimore this season, and could be the only one as the O’s have already lost Nick Markakis, Andrew Miller and Nelson Cruz to other clubs.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette had wanted to add an outfielder and both a right-handed and left-handed bat. The club will continue to look for another outfield to help cover for departures of Cruz and Markakis, but Young’s signing should help add depth and give manager Buck Showalter a good option in the DH role.
The news was first reported Wednesday afternoon by MASN.
The Orioles added two pitchers to their 40-man Major League roster during Thursday’s Rule 5 Draft, selecting right-hander Logan Verrett from the Mets’ Triple-A affiliate and trading for Astros’ selection right-hander Jason Garcia.
Verrett was 11-5 with a 4.33 ERA at Triple-A Las Vegas in 2014 and it was widely speculated that he could be selected in the Rule 5 draft. The Met’s third-round pick in ’11, Verrett made 28 starts for Las Vegas and posted a 4.33 ERA over 162 innings, allowing 78 earned runs on 188 hits and 34 walks. He struck out 119.
“Outstanding control and a very good slider,” executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said of Verrett. “He’s an accomplished pitcher. He’s won at Baylor, at Double-A and Triple-A and he should be ready to compete for a major league job. Where he ends up in the big leagues, who knows, but he’s got excellent control and really good slider than can out right and left-handed hitters.”
Garcia was picked by Houston with the fourth selection in the Rule 5 Draft, with the O’s acquiring him for cash considerations. The 22-year-old went 3-2 with three saves and a 3.67 ERA in 14 combined games (seven starts) with Class-A Lowell and Greenville. He struck out 9.4 batters per nine innings and held right-handed hitters to a .189/.275/.236 line in 121 total plate appearances.
“One of our scouts, Danny Haas, had some history with Garcia,” Duquette said. “He pitched very effectively against us in the instructional league. We saw him a lot. He pitched against 18 of our hitters and struck out 14 of them this fall.
“He’s a hard-throwing right-handed pitcher with a nice delivery and good secondary pitches. And, although he has only pitched in Class-A ball he has very good equipment and skills to be a major league pitcher. He’s 21, he’ll pitch at 22 next year.
The Orioles also picked outfielder/first baseman Sean Halton from Milwaukee in the Triple-A phase of the Rule 5 Draft. They passed in the Double-A portion.
The Orioles didn’t lose any players in the Major League portion of the Draft. The Dodgers took Santana Alexander off Baltimore’s Double-A roster while Tampa Bay selected O’s right-handed pitcher Michael O’Brien.
Executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette’s media session was pushed back 30 minutes, causing speculation about the club potentially working on a move. But when Duquette did meet with the media in his room, with the team suite mysteriously occupied, the only move he spoke of was a failed trade earlier in the day that would have netted the Orioles some pitching.
The O’s had some more trade talks today, renewing old talks and starting new conversations as some of the moves around baseball have caused new players to be made available. But nothing is hot. Right now, it seems the focus has shifted to preparing for the Rule 5 Draft with Baltimore whittling the list from 60 candidates to a few finalists in anticipation of Thursday’s draft.
They continue to meet with free agents, including that of Delmon Young, though Duquette wouldn’t say if that was any closer to being done. He also reiterated that he’s hesitant to trade starting pitching.
Asked about an extension for lefty Wei-Yin Chen, Duquette reminded reporters that they had picked up Chen’s option. Pressed further, Duquette asked how often Chen’s agent, Scott Boras, negotiates extensions when his client is one year away from free agency? The answer is almost never.
Duquette will leave Thursday following the Rule 5 Draft and indicated to reporters on his flight that he won’t have a problem making that flight now. Seems there’s not a whole lot of business left to conduct here.
Good afternoon from the Winter Meetings Day 3, the last full day here in San Diego.
Not much buzzing in the lobby regarding Baltimore, but there remains a sense in the Orioles organization that executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette will get a deal done in the next day or so, not including their expected Rule 5 picks. And, no, it won’t be a blockbuster move.
Baltimore’s preference is to sign a free agent, but it may be easier for them to acquire a player via trade given the depth in their Minor League system. Duquette has discussed trades with a handful of teams, including reported interest in Phillies outfielder Marlon Byrd. Adding an outfielder remains their top priority.
Here’s the list again of available free-agent outfielders, via MLB Trade Rumors. The O’s have checked in with a number of these guys as they try to find ways to replace Nick Markakis and Nelson Cruz, including meeting yesterday with Delmon Young’s agent.
Norichika Aoki RF
Brennan Boesch RF
Emilio Bonifacio 2B / CF
Melky Cabrera LF
Mike Carp 1B / LF
Ezequiel Carrera LF / CF / RF
Endy Chavez RF
Tyler Colvin LF
Chris Denorfia LF / RF
Andy Dirks LF
Ryan Doumit C / LF / RF
Cole Gillespie LF
Jonny Gomes LF
Tony Gwynn CF
Scott Hairston LF
Corey Hart 1B / RF / DH
Raul Ibanez LF / DH
Kelly Johnson 1B / 2B / 3B / LF
Reed Johnson LF
Jason Kubel LF
Ryan Ludwick LF
Nyjer Morgan CF
Mike Morse 1B / LF
Colby Rasmus CF
Nolan Reimold LF / RF
Alex Rios RF
Nate Schierholtz RF
Alfonso Soriano LF
Ichiro Suzuki RF
Delmon Young LF / DH
Eric Young LF
SAN DIEGO— No matter what the Orioles do in the next few days at the Winter Meetings, manager Buck Showalter conceded Tuesday that it’s a tough task to keep the clubhouse chemistry following the departure of two key pieces of the 2014 club: Nelson Cruz, Nick Markakis
“I think that’s one of my biggest challenges between now and the time we open up is not selling, but making sure our players feel like have the same morale,” Showalter said during Tuesday’s media session. “What comes first, is it winning games or having that? Because there’s nothing that takes the morale out of the team than not playing good baseball or losing a lot of games. Best players in the world, best coaches in the world, best, in some cases, umpires in the world, there’s such a fine line. We saw it last year, such a fine line between success and failure. And we’ve got some work to do.”
Showalter, who admitted losing guys like long-time Oriole Markakis was particularly tough, touched on a host of topics regarding his club and its quest to contend again in 2015. And in his trademark cheeky humor, he also poked fun at some of the free-spending in the American League East, asking “Have those guys run out of money yet?.”
The Orioles have money to spend right now given the losses of Cruz and Markakis and Showalter reminded reporters that the organization isn’t exactly in dire straits.
“The biggest reason we made a leap last year was our pitching,” he said. “And other than Andrew Miller, we haven’t really lost anything. Our starting pitching got a lot better, got us deeper in the game, allowed us to keep our bullpen healthy and matchup a little bit more. If we do that again we’ll have some fun next year.”
Showalter is also counting on a good year from Chris Davis, who will finish out his 25-game suspension on Opening Day.
“I think he’s in a good mindset,” said Showalter, who was with Davis on Saturday. “A lot of things point up with him, some that I won’t make note of, but you can probably figure out, as far as what this year means to him, not only as the future for him but also as a teammate and as somebody that he takes very seriously that his teammates and the fans count on. I can’t really see anything that would point to something being negative towards Chris having a big year and getting back on the saddle, so to speak, of where he was. I’m expecting him to be solid for us. Whether it be first base, right field, whatever. We’ve got a lot of options.”
Another option in the outfield is Steve Pearce, who Showalter said would be the team’s starting right fielder if the season started tomorrow. The Orioles are looking to add another outfielder while they’re here in San Diego, as well as relief help and catching depth. Matt Wieters is coming off Tommy John surgery and won’t be rushed back, though he remains on schedule right now along with third baseman Manny Machado.
Showalter isn’t tied to a schedule for naming his next hitting coach, though he did say he was “closer” to the task on Tuesday. He has three or four strong candidates and is leaning on his existing coaching staff in helping him replace Jim Presley. Having big league experience isn’t a necessary prerequisite, either.
“That’s why I interviewed [Minor League hitting coordinator] Jeff Manto,” Showalter said. “ That [experience] stuff lasts about two weeks, and then you want to know how you’re going to help them to be a good player and win.”
Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette didn’t have much for reporters today in his media session, but he did sound pretty optimistic something would get done before he leaves San Diego.
“We should be able to get a couple of players before we leave here,” Duquette said, noting once again that it’s more likely the O’s sign a free agent than make a trade.
It’s also more likely they sign guys to shorter-term deals.
The O’s did have some trade discussions today, however, speaking to 4-5 clubs including the Phillies. Duquette didn’t deny the FoxSports.com report that the Orioles had talks with Philadelphia involving Marlon Byrd and –as evidenced yesterday with Atlanta’s Justin Upton– he has no problem shooting down false rumors.
“That’s interesting,” Duquette said of the report.
The Orioles also discussed some trades that would bring that pitching depth in the bullpen and are looking at both left-handers and right-handers right now. They don’t seem keen on trading to add catching depth, but did have talks with several free agent catchers on Tuesday as they try to add a contingency plan in the event that Matt Wieters isn’t ready to start the season. Right now, Wieters is on schedule in rehabbing back from Tommy John surgery and should be ready.
Duquette thinks the free agent market is starting to take shape and it’ll be interesting to see how the next 24 hours unfold. He was also asked about getting a leadoff hitter and didn’t seem like that was in the cards. He noted that Alejandro De Aza and David Lough are in-house leadoff options.