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.

Quick hits from Duquette

It’s been a quiet day for the Orioles –who did reach an agreement with reliever Darren O’Day last night– but the club looks like its closer to making a few moves in Nashville.

*The Orioles have a few trade offers for starting pitching out there, said executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette. They also met with Chris Davis’ agent Scott Boras, and remain interested in him. They don’t know what the outside market is for Davis, but Duquette said, “We have a clear idea what the market is for Chris in Baltimore. That’s clear.”

*Duquette said the club has been “aggressive” in trying to land a left-handed hitting outfielder.

*As for pitching, Orioles are trying to acquire one starter to fill Wei-Yin Chen’s spot. They’re hoping the rest of the rotation can improve on last year, Duquette said. He also noted that the market on Chen will probably not allow the Orioles to bring him back, which isn’t news to anyone who has been following along with the Os.

*The team also agreed to a two-year extension with their Class A affiliate, the Delmarva Shorebirds. That contract runs through 2018.

I’ll have more notes and quotes up shortly on Orioles.com.

Morning musings

The Orioles agreed to a contract with Darren O’Day, pending a physical, and there seems to be mixed reaction to giving a non-closer a four-year, $31 million deal.

My opinion is that I’m OK with the O’Day deal –he’s been lights out and as high character a guy as you could ask for– as long as it doesn’t preclude the Orioles from spending money elsewhere.

Baltimore now has Matt Wieters, Mark Trumbo and O’Day on their payroll, but their biggest hole from last year was the rotation. They’ll have to add a starter to make up for the loss of Wei-Yin Chen and probably another arm, too, if they want to improve from last year and add some much-needed depth.

You’ve heard the names they’re looking at on the free agent market –guys like Scott Kamir, Yovani Gallardo, Doug Fister– but executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette also has been active in trade talks. With the pitching market moving so quickly, its opened up some trade options among other teams who have expendable pieces after acquiring a free agent starter. It’s another avenue to get a guy and perhaps, keep the payroll in check in the process.

Asked if he felt it was tough to get starting pitchers to come to Baltimore, Duquette said he thinks a lot of pitchers look to the National League first.

“It’s a league where you get to face the pitcher. Some of the ballparks are pitcher friendly. You don’t have to face the DH,” Duquette said. “Having said that, I think the pitchers enjoy, they recognize the value of pitching to a good defense, which the Orioles have had over the last several years.”

*I keep getting asked if Chris Davis is a priority and, yes, the team remains interested. The pitching market is moving quickly and it’s where most of their time was funneled into for Day 1. The Davis market has been unusually quiet, which perhaps speaks volumes to his mysterious market. With agent Scott Boras, you would think he’d want offers and other teams involved to leak out, hoping to perhaps start a bidding war. But there’s really been nothing, causing not just the Orioles but a lot of baseball people to wonder.

Davis is being marketed as a first baseman and an outfielder to increase his suitors. Twice yesterday I had two different scouts bring up how impressive he was to watch in right field last year. He can hold his own defensively.  But who is willing to invest in him long-term, besides the Orioles? Stay tuned.

A few notes..

A pretty quiet day for the Orioles so far this morning on the rumor front, but here are a few other notes…

*For the fourth consecutive year, Major League Baseball, MLB Advanced Media, MLB Network and the 30 teams are having a online charity auction to raise awareness and funds for cancer research.

A significant portion of the proceeds will go to Stand Up To Cancer, a longtime partner of Major League Baseball, its founding donor in 2008.  In addition, this year’s auction will benefit Do It For Durrett, in honor of the late Texas Rangers ESPN.com beatwriter Richard Durrett, who passed away suddenly last year, and theYouCaring page established for Miami Marlins Sun Sentinel beatwriter Juan C. Rodriguez, who is currently battling a brain tumor.

The auction is live on MLB.com until Thursday, December 10th at 9:00 p.m. (ET) and features three different Orioles experiences. You can bid and see the full list here: mlb.com/SU2Cauction .

*Orioles pitching prospect Tanner Scott, of the Peoria Javelinas, has been named to the Arizona Fall League’s top prospect list.

*Commissioner Rob Manfred is here to announce the appointment of a new Senior Advisor to the Commissioner on Youth Programs and Outreach, which will be Cal Ripken, Jr. I’ll have more on that on Orioles.com later this afternoon.

O’Day update, Duq on the meetings

NASHVILLE— Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said Sunday night there’s “more work to be done” until an official agreement is reached with right-hander Darren O’Day.
While Duquette, speaking to reporters assembled for the Winter Meetings, was coy on details and didn’t offer a timeline there still is a lot of optimism in the organization that a deal will ultimately be done.
The two sides— who are believed to be hammering out details of a four-year, $31 million pact that leaked Sunday morning— have been in talks most of the offseason with the Nationals and Orioles the two most logical landing spots.  Any agreement in place will require O’Day to undergo a full physical.
Baltimore’s projected payroll with O’Day would be more than $100 million as the O’s try to fill out their rotation and remain interested in free-agent slugger Chris Davis.
Duquette also said on Sunday that the team is hoping to add a left-handed hitter to fill one of their outfield spots and a starter. The preference on a starter would be lefty as well, since the Os lost their lone southpaw starter in Wei-Yin Chen.

O’s, O’Day agree to a four-year deal

The Orioles have agreed to a four-year deal with Darren O’Day, MLB.com has confirmed, keeping the most sought-after reliever in Baltimore through 2019.

The 33-year-old O’Day, whose deal was first reported by CBSSports.com, posted a 1.52 ERA in 68 appearances last year. His contract is worth $31 million, though the club has not confirmed the deal or the financial aspects of it.

O’Day’s staying is a solid sign for Orioles fans about the team’s pivotal offseason. The righty was the team leader in the ‘pen and many teammates –including most recently, Adam Jones, — had publicly voiced the need to retain him.

O’Day made $4.25 million in 2015 and made it clear he and his wife –FOX News reporter Elizabeth Prann– liked the area. In the end, it was no surprise it came down to the team Beltway teams in Baltimore and D.C. O’Day has a 2.31 career ERA in 459 relief appearances over eight years for the Angels, Mets, Rangers and Orioles.

Baltimore’s  projected payroll is now more than $100 million as the O’s try to fill out their rotation and remain interested in pricey slugger Chris Davis.