Results tagged ‘ Matt Albers ’

Orioles miss out on Dunn/non-tender Albers

This is becoming a reoccurring theme. The Orioles missed out on free-agent slugger Adam Dunn as multiple reporters Tweeted that he was headed to Chicago. It’s reportedly a four-year, $56-million deal and you can read more details on that here.

Apparently, Dunn’s arrival doesn’t close the door on Paul Konerko –another guy coveted by the O’s — rejoining the Sox either. As I blogged yesterday, a source close to Konerko all but ruled out him coming to Baltimore. Signing Dunn probably doesn’t change matters, although it might speed up Konerko’s signing.

An Orioles source confirmed the team made an offer to Dunn but, like Victor Martinez, they lost out. Dunn had said on record that he wanted four years, turning down the Nationals’ three-year offer earlier this season. He got that, but he didn’t get his other wish to stay in the National League and play full-time first base. I’m betting the White Sox did promise him some time in the field, with a possible platoon if Konerko returns. 

As for the Orioles remaining options, a group that includes Adrian Beltre, Carlos Pena, Derrek Lee and Adam LaRoche, although Beltre could be off the board soon. We know they offered deals to Martinez and Dunn, and were turned down twice. I wouldn’t be surprised if they have several other offers out there to the group mentioned above.

I’m starting to think their best route –if they don’t get Konerko — may be to make a trade. The Orioles have been linked several times to Diamondbacks third baseman Mark Reynolds. As is always the case, any trade talks would start with the Orioles young arms, in this case the Dbacks need bullpen help. Do you trade away the young guys? 

In other news, the O’s declined to offer a contract to right-handed reliever Matt Albers. This is hardly a shock. As I wrote yesterday, he was a candidate to be non-tendered.

He could resign with the Orioles at a reduced rate, but it’s unlikely he does. Teams always need extra bullpen help and he wasn’t due for a huge raise. It just came down to the Orioles thinking they could find better, and cheaper, options elsewhere.  Albers is now a free agent.

Arbitration and Non-tender deadlines nearing

The baseball news should pick up this week, starting with tonight’s midnight deadline for free agents to accept arbitration if offered by their club.

The Orioles did not offer arbitration to either Koji Uehara or Kevin Millwood so there’s no decisions on that front. The wonderful website MLB Trade rumors  has done a great job keeping track of the decisions and you can click here for the American League and NL updates.
 
Most big-name free agents are a lock to decline, but there’s always some middle-of-the-pack guys who opt to test the market in hopes of a pay raise and/or better situation. Teams that offer arbitration and are declined get compensation in the form of Draft picks, depending on if the free agent is a “Type A” or “Type B”.

Thursday is is the non-tender date, which has been moved up from recent years. This is the deadline for the Orioles to tender a contract to any arbitration-eligible players. That includes six guys: Matt Albers, Jeremy Guthrie, Jim Johnson, Felix Pie, Adam Jones and Luke Scott. Albers, who seemed to constantly be in jeopardy of losing his roster spot, has shown he can be an effective Major League reliever at times. The O’s will decide whether he’s a part of their plans for next season.

Any player tendered a contract is considered a signed player; the question becomes whether a deal is worked out or the sides go to an arbitration hearing to decide a salary.

On the flip side of the non-tender deadline, as I noted in today’s Winter Meetings preview Part 1, the Orioles will be monitoring closely who other clubs non tender.  It’s not often a non-tender emerges as a bona fide Major League contributor, but there are certainly bargains to be had.

Albers stating his case?

Albers.jpg
Brad Bergesen will be activated to start Saturday’s game, meaning reliever Matt Albers’ days could be numbered. In 13 games, Albers has pitched his way to a 6.75 ERA –the worst mark of any active Orioles reliever – but he has strung together some solid outings as of late.

Albers tossed 2 1/3 scoreless innings in two games against the Yankees and retired all three batters he faced in Friday’s win.

Albers who is out of options, knows the situation and said he’s not going out on the mound with the mindset that he has something to prove.
 
 “I just go out there and try to be successful and help the team win,” Albers said. “That’s really the approach I have to take, instead of trying to worry about what other people think. Obviously if I go out there and I pitch well, that obviously looks good.”

Manager Dave Trembley said Albers’ ball has more sink to it and his improved command has helped get him back on track. Albers suffered both losses in Boston last weekend, allowing four earned runs and recording just one out in that stretch.

“I almost tried to do too much, instead of just making my pitches and let my ball sink a little bit,” Albers said of his past struggles.

He has also talked with pitching coach Rick Kranitz about relying more on his breaking balls early in the count, which has helped keep hitters off balance and led to improved control.

“He wants the ball and he threw a sinker tonight with the exception of the 3-1 pitch to [Darnell] McDonald that was foul, he had movement,” Trembley said.

“And his command has been better. A lot less three-ball counts, a lot more strike ones.”

Has the team seen enough out of Albers to keep him and get rid of someone else? Reliever Cla Meredith would likely be the next to go, since he’s been used solely in one-out situations and still has options remaining. The team could also opt to take a position player off the 25-man roster, such as Julio Lugol, but given the Orioles’ limited depth that’s a long shot.

The decision will be made soon enough, seeing as though Bergesen will be activated for Saturday’s game.

Koji says DL, new 'pen plans

SARASOTA, Fla. — With no real timetable of when he will get
back on the mound, Orioles reliever Koji Uehara said Monday that he expects to
start the season on the disabled list.

 “If it happens,
there’s nothing I can do about it,” Koji said through interpreter Jiwon Bang. “Obviously
we don’t have many days before [April 6's] Opening Day, so you kind of expect
it.”

Uehara exit March 18′s game 
against the Toronto Blue Jays with a left hamstring strain and hasn’t
thrown on the mound since suffering the injury. 
Prior to Monday’s game, manager Dave Trembley said Koji would have to be
able to show he can throw by mid-week to avoid the DL.

Koji ‘s progression has been slow and deliberate -mostly
just light catch and running – but he said starting the season on the DL
wouldn’t be too disappointing.

“The more important thing is to be ready physically,” he
said.

If Uehara starts the season on the disabled list, it would
open up an extra bullpen slot, perhaps for a guy like Jason Berken, who has
pitched predominantly out of the ‘pen. Berken tossed four scoreless innings in
relief of Chris Tillman in his most recent outing Friday, and could give the
Orioles a second long-inning man to go along with Mark Hendrickson.

Right now, I’d say Berken is on the team’s Opening Day roster, with Cla Meredith, Matt Albers and Will Ohman to round it out. Kam Mickolio is another option, but the big right-hander has been sidelined the last few days with a sore groin and Trembley acknowledged he hasn’t pitched up to expectations. 

Albers is out of options –and pitching better — so the logical thing to do is keep him and have Mickolio get some more work in Triple-A. 

“I think he’s had a very good opportunity to show what he can do,” Trembley said of Mickolio. “Whether it’s been the best he can do, I’m not so sure. I think it’s been
kind of an up-and-down for him. I don’t mean to be very critical, but I
think he’s capable of doing better more consistently. I think he’s
shown glimpses of it. Other times he’s pitched in too many three-ball
counts. I don’t know if his leg has been bothering him for a while and
this has been a reason. There’s an awful lot in there. We just need to
get it out on a more consistent basis.”

In 9 1/3 spring innings, Mickolio has allowed two earned runs on seven hits. He’s struggled with his command, issuing seven walks (against 10 strikeouts) and told me today he will try to get back on the mound Tuesday to test his groin.

B-Rob Checks In, Clarifying those who checked out

Brob.jpg

Brian Roberts walked into the clubhouse this morning,
breakfast in tow, and assured reporters his back felt fine.

While manager Dave Trembley had mentioned the possibility of
Roberts getting some extra at-bats in either of the team’s Minor League games
going on this afternoon, Roberts said he wasn’t planning on any game action
Saturday.

Instead he took batting practice with the team pregame Saturday morning, and will play on Sunday in Dunedin.

Also to clarify on yesterday’s cuts, none of those 9 guys that
were reassigned were out of options.  Matt Albers, Robert Andino, Jeremy Guthrie and
Felix Pie are the only players in camp who are out of options. Out of that
quartet, Albers is the only guy who is really fighting for a spot on the
Opening Day roster.

But he’s had a good spring and keep in mind the pending
status
of Koji Uehara could open up a third right-handed spot in the O’s
bullpen. If that happens, I’d guess Albers, Kam Mickolio and Cla Meredith all
make the team.

Meredith & the BP battle

Cla Meredith has
quietly been putting together a great spring, as the right-hander hasn’t
allowed a hit in five scoreless innings of relief. Meredith has appeared in six
games and is one of the candidates for a right-handed relief role in the
Orioles bullpen.

“There’s some dogfights going on down there in the bullpen,” manager Dave
Trembley said. “They know it and they’re pitching like they know it.”

Meredith tossed a scoreless again on Wednesday and, along
with Matt Albers, should be considered as a front-runner to make the O’s ‘pen.
Albers hasn’t yielded a run in 6 1/3 innings spread over five games.

With closer Mike
Gonzalez
, setup man Jim Johnson,
Koji Uehara
and Mark Hendrickson
locks to make the team the three remaining spots will likely be a situational
lefty and two right-handed relief roles. Kam
Mickolio
figures to be in the mix for one of those, with Trembley raving
earlier in the spring about a spot in the pen being Mickolio’s to lose.

However, he hasn’t been overly impressive this spring, allowing
two runs in six innings over five games. He’s given up five hits and walked
four with four strikeouts. Three of those walks came in Wednesday’s game as
Mickolio labored in some long counts, yielding a run over two innings.

“Mickolio had good stuff but ran his pitch count up, ” Trembley
said. “I would have liked to see him put hitters away a little earlier.”

Game 4 Post-game Notes on Millwood, Meredith

In case you missed it, I blogged some in-game updates from today’s 9-5 loss to the Tigers. Here some are  final thoughts and highlights from today..

*Manager Dave Trembley said he would have liked starter Kevin Millwood to have gone at least two innings, but acknowledged that the veteran didn’t throw any curve balls and was just working on a fastball-change-up combo.

“Millwood made some good pitches and he got hit, he made some bad pitches and got hit,” Trembley said.

As for Millwood’s claim that he used the outing to get some work in on his change-up, Trembley said he was all for the veteran doing what he feels will get him ready this spring.

“He’s got his own routine that he goes through, I’ve got no problem with that,” Trembley said.

*Trembley said Matt Albers looked better in Saturday’s 2 1/3 scoreless inning stint.

“He did have some ground balls, he did have some sink,” Trembley said of Albers.
He also added that Cla Meredith retired all three left-handed hitters that he faced in the fifth inning.

“I liked that as well,” Trembley said.

*Looking Ahead: Jeremy Guthrie will pitch Sunday afternoon’s home contest at 1:05 pm. Mark
Hendrickson, Kam Mickolio, David Hernandez and Will Ohman also are
scheduled to pitch. On Monday, left-hander Brian Matusz will make his second start against the Twins. Jim Johnson, Koji
Uehara and Wilfrido Perez are also expected to pitch.

 

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