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It's obvious: Reynolds and Orioles are great fit


It's obvious: Reynolds and Orioles are great fit

Mark Reynolds wants to come back. The Orioles want him back.

So what’s the problem?

Reynolds’ $11 million option wasn’t going to be picked up. That wasn’t a surprise. It’s not a surprise that the Orioles would want him back.

Now, the negotiating begins.

It’s doubtful the Orioles wouldn’t tender him a contract. Why should they let Reynolds go as a free agent.

They don’t want to go to arbitration with him, either. It’s one thing to go to arbitration with Brad Bergesen, whose agent had the gall to ask for a tripling of his salary after going 2-7. It’s another to argue against a player who moved positions and became a valuable asset at first base.

On Aug. 5, Reynolds was batting .203 with eight home runs. After pleading his way back to third base, Reynolds didn’t play any better there in 2012 than he had in 2011.

During the rest of the season, Reynolds’ play at first base improved markedly and he became a good defensive first baseman.

His bat perked up, too. He had 15 home runs in the last two months of the season to end with 23 and a .221 average.

The Orioles don’t feel those stats are worth $11 million. Some have guessed that Reynolds could yield nearly $9 million in arbitration. That may be too rich for the Orioles, too. Reynolds made $7.5 million in 2012.

Reynolds is in a great spot. He enjoys playing in Baltimore. He likes being close to his family in Virginia Beach, and he fits nicely, playing cards with J.J. Hardy and Matt Wieters.

It’s a thin market for first basemen. If the Orioles non-tendered him, he’d have lots of suitors.

The Orioles don’t have many alternatives. They clearly don’t want Chris Davis or Wilson Betemit playing first, though manager Buck Showalter insists Davis has the ability to play there.

If the Orioles retain Nate McLouth or sign another free agent in left field, there’s talk that Nolan Reimold could play there. Reimold has never played a regular season major league game at first.

There aren’t great choices in the minor leagues. The Orioles didn’t call up Norfolk first baseman Joe Mahoney in September. His place on the 40-man roster is in jeopardy. He’s not going to be the regular.

Aaron Baker, who the Orioles got from Pittsburgh for Derrek Lee in 2011, had 22 home runs in 89 games at Frederick, was promoted to Bowie and was hurt after just two games. He lacks experience.

If the Orioles chose the free agent route, there’s Casey Kotchman, Carlos Lee, James Loney, Lyle Overbay, Carlos Pena, Ty Wigginton and Kevin Youkilis.

Reynolds is probably a better and certainly more youthful option.

All roads lead to Reynolds. The betting is that the two sides compromise just before arbitration with a two-year deal. It’s unlikely that the Orioles want to sign him long-term, but with no first baseman on the horizon, it makes sense to avoid haggling a year from now, too.



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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

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Orioles bats stay silent against Cleveland

BALTIMORE -- Mike Clevenger pitched a two-hitter in his first career complete game, and the Cleveland Indians hit three solo homers off Chris Tillman in a 4-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles on Saturday.

Jose Ramirez went 3 for 4 with his team-leading fifth home run. Yan Gomes and Yonder Alonso also went deep for Cleveland, which came into the game ranked second-to-last in the AL in runs and last in batting average.

Clevenger (2-0) hardly needed the offensive support. Pitching on seven days' rest, the right-hander struck out three, walked two and allowed only one runner past first base.

The only two hits he allowed were singles by Manny Machado in the fourth inning and Chance Sisco in the fifth.

It was Clevenger's 35th career start. His previous longest outing was 7 1/3 innings, earlier this month against Kansas City.

While Clevenger is unbeaten in 11 starts since July 31, Tillman has experienced an opposite fate. This was his 22nd straight start without a victory, dating back to his first outing last season.

Tillman (0-4) gave up four runs, eight hits and a walk in six innings. The three home runs were one more than he yielded in his first three starts this season.

Michael Brantley hit a run-scoring groundout in the first inning and Gomes connected in the fourth for a 2-0 lead.

The Orioles put runners on the corners with one out in the fourth, their lone threat against Clevenger, who responded by retiring Tim Beckham on a short fly to left and getting Anthony Santander to ground out.

Ramirez led off the sixth with a drive to left, and Alonso hit a two-out shot that landed on Eutaw Street beyond the right-field scoreboard.

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

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Orioles pitching falls apart as Tigers complete sweep in Detroit

DETROIT - Leonys Martin hit his first big league grand slam, Jeimer Candelario had four hits and three RBIs, and the Detroit Tigers beat Baltimore 13-8 Thursday to extend the Orioles' losing streak to six.

Jordan Zimmermann (1-0) gave up four runs and seven hits in 5 1/3 innings, allowing two home runs to Manny Machado and one to Chris Davis. Zimmermann was pitching for the first time since being hit in the jaw by a line drove off the bat of Cleveland's Jason Kipnis on April 11.

Alex Cobb (0-2) made his second start after signing a $57 million, four-year contract in spring training and his ERA rose to 15.43. He allowed seven runs - five earned - and 10 hits in 3 1/3 innings.

Machado had four RBIs for the Orioles, who were outhit 18-14 in the game and outscored 23-15 in the three-game sweep.

Victor Martinez hit an RBI single in the first, but Davis put Baltimore ahead with a two-run homer in the second, his sixth hit and fourth homer in 10 career at-bats against Zimmermann.

Detroit went ahead for good with four runs in the bottom half after third baseman Tim Beckham's throwing error allowed James McCann to reach base leading off. Jose Iglesias hit a two-run triple, Miguel Cabrera had an RBI single and Nick Castellanos a run-scoring groundout.

Machado's homer in the third cut Baltimore's deficit to 5-2, but Candelario's two-run homer extended the lead to 7-2 in the bottom half. Martin homered off Mike Wright Jr. in a five-run fifth.