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Jones angry at effort questions after another loss

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Jones angry at effort questions after another loss

ARLINGTON, Tex. –- Adam Jones had heard enough, seen enough. After the final game of a horrendous road trip, which ended with six losses in seven games, Jones was waiting as his locker in the visitors clubhouse in Globe Life Park.

He had something to say.

Jones was sick of being questioned about the Orioles’ effort. Sure, his team had lost 10 of 11 and fallen out of the playoff conversation after the 6-0 loss to the Texas Rangers before 22,256 on Sunday.

But, wait a minute.

Jones doesn’t think the Orioles are out of it. Never mind they’re in fourth place in the AL East, 11 games out of first place—or they’re 5 ½ games out of the wild card.

“We’re still right in the thick of things, so if you think we aren’t, cool. I think we are in the thick of things, just have to go on a five-six game winning streak and you guys come back to us and say, ‘now you’re in the middle of it,’” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t want to hear anything about the team’s supposed lack of effort, either.

“My biggest thing about sports is when somebody doubts an effort or another player or something like that. That’s basically calling him a coward. You know what I mean? Whenever someone says, ‘Oh you don’t give an effort. You’re not playing (with) effort. That’s kind of calling someone a coward,” Jones said.

“We go out there and play our tails off. Some days it looks pretty, some days it doesn’t but the effort is always there. For some people to say that our effort level isn’t there just because we struck out 11 times. We could strike out 20 times. But to say our effort level wasn’t there, that’s a slap in the face and I want to slap somebody in the face who says that.”

Jones is having another fine season, with 24 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .279 average. He had one of the Orioles’ three hits off Derek Holland, who threw a complete game shutout. Jones also struck out twice.

The Orioles didn’t put up much of a fight off Holland (2-1), who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury. After Dariel Alvarez’s fifth-inning single, Holland retired the final 14 Orioles, and didn’t walk a batter.

Miguel Gonzalez continued to struggle. In 5 1/3 innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits. Gonzalez (9-11) has lost five straight and hasn’t won in seven starts.

Gonzalez had a horrid first inning. He allowed singles to Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder to begin the inning. Adrian Beltre’s sacrifice fly to right scored DeShields, and Choo scored on a wild pitch.

Texas took a 3-0 lead in the third when Beltre, Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus singled.

The Rangers (68-61) scored again in the sixth. Andrus singled, and with one out, Gonzalez hit Chris Gimenez with a pitch.

Jason Garcia replaced Gonzalez and allowed an RBI single to Hanser Alberto.

“It’s tough to swallow. September is coming up, we got to keep grinding. Keep working hard, keep our heads up and give each other, talk about positive stuff. That’s going to be the main thing for September. Pick each other up,” Gonzalez said.

Two more runs scored in the eighth. Zach Britton was getting some needed work, and allowed an RBI single to DeShields. Steve Pearce overran the ball and allowed Gimenez to score.

Manager Buck Showalter’s team has scored more than three runs just once in the last 11 games, and they’ve lost each time.

“We’ve tried a lot of different things, trust me. It’s not a time to point fingers. It’s a time to rally around each other, which our guys have already tried to do and will do,” Showalter said.

In their last four games, the Orioles (63-67) have struck out 11,14,12, 6 and 11 times. They’re on-base percentage has dropped to an abysmal .305.

“We're striking out in double figures it seems like every game. I'm not going to beat up on them. If I do that, it's certainly going to be privately, not publicly. They understand and they're frustrated and I think we're looking forward to getting home and see if we can right this ship,” Showalter said.

Showalter talks. Jones talks. Can something change in these final five weeks to wake up the slumbering Orioles?

“I’ve talked to the team, I talk to these guys every day. What do you want me to do? Bend over and spank them?” Jones said.

COMING UP: Wei-Yin Chen (8-6, 3.17) faces Chris Archer (11-10, 2.88) on Monday night as the Orioles begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman faces Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez in the other two games.

MORE ORIOLES: Showalter says Orioles aren't likely to make trades

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Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

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USA Today Sports

Baltimore Orioles add to their rotation, sign RHP Andrew Cashner

SARASOTA, Fla. -- The Baltimore Orioles signed right-hander Andrew Cashner to a two-year, $16 million contract on Thursday after searching for starting pitching all offseason.

The 31-year-old Cashner is 42-64 with a 3.80 ERA in eight major league seasons with the Chicago Cubs, San Diego, Miami and Texas, including 11-11 with a 3.40 ERA for the Rangers last year. The deal with the Orioles has an option for 2020.

He'll join right-handers Dylan Bundy and Kevin Gausman in the rotation.

"I do know that they need some starting pitching, and here it is, show up every day and whoever I can help out, help out and my job is to come here and pitch and win," Cashner said.

Cashner's deal could be worth $41 million over three seasons if he pitches 200 innings annually. He gets a $3 million signing bonus, payable in equal installments each Jan. 15 from 2020 through 2021.

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Cashner has salaries of $5 million this season and $8 million in 2019, and there is a $10 million option for 2020 that would become guaranteed if he pitches 340 innings combined in the next two seasons. If he reaches 360 innings, it would become a player option.

He can make $5 million in performance bonuses each year.

There are $1,525,000 per season in bonuses based on starts: $250,000 each for 10 and 15, $625,000 for 20 and $400,000 for 30.

Cashner also can make $3,475,000 each year based on innings: $250,000 each for 110 and 120, $275,000 for 130, $350,000 for 140, $750,000 for 150 and $400,000 apiece for 170, 180, 190 and 200.

Cashner was at the Orioles' spring training facility, and was due to head to his Texas home for a few days before returning on Sunday when Baltimore's full squad is required to report. He'll likely work out with the team for the first time Monday.

He has little experience against the Orioles, but said he was excited to join the team.

"It's a lineup you can't really make a lot of mistakes against," Cashner said. "It's a lot of power in there, and I got to pitch (for) San Diego one year in Baltimore. Really cool stadium, really neat, a lot of history. It's one of my favorite places to pitch, so I'm looking forward to making that my home (stadium) every night."

RELATED: ORIOLES TO SHUFFLE UP INFIELD AHEAD OF MACHADO'S FINAL SEASON

Manager Buck Showalter said Cashner would be an ideal addition to the club.

"He's a veteran starter. That's a good deal for both us and him," Showalter said. "He's a guy who's pitched well in the American League. That's something that I think played in his favor."

Cashner said that he began negotiations with Orioles Vice President of Baseball Operations Brady Anderson last fall and in a challenging offseason for free agents, he said patience was vital.

"I don't think it's been difficult. It's been interesting. It's been different," Cashner said.

To make room for Cashner on the 40-man roster, Baltimore placed left-hander Zach Britton (Achilles) on the 60-day disabled list.

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Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

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USA Today Sports

Manny Machado to switch from third base to shortstop in final season with Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Even if Manny Machado doesn't switch teams this season, he almost certainly will be changing his position in the infield.

Baltimore Orioles manager Buck Showalter said Saturday that Machado will move from third base to shortstop this spring, and shortstop Tim Beckham will be shifted to third.

The shuffle will become permanent unless something goes wrong -- or Machado gets traded to another club.

"There could be some adjustments if we don't like the feel of it, but that's where we're going to head into it," Showalter said at FanFest, an annual offseason event designed to promote interest in the club.

Machado and second baseman Jonathan Schoop did not attend.

RELATED: TWO FORMER ORIOLES ELECTED TO HALL OF FAME

Machado becomes a free agent after this year and is sure to demand a huge contract. The Orioles have entertained trade offers for the 25-year-old, who's been an All-Star in three of his six seasons with Baltimore.

Dan Duquette, vice president of baseball operations for the Orioles, has to decide whether to deal Machado sometime between now and September or seek to sign him to a long-term deal.

"That's a big decision for the organization, obviously," Duquette said. "But we're planning on Manny being with the club. We explored all those options. We think the strongest option is for Manny to be on the ballclub."

Machado played in 156 games last season, offsetting a career-low .259 batting average with 33 home runs and 95 RBIs. He has averaged 35 home runs and 92 RBIs over the past three years.

Machado avoided arbitration this month by agreeing to a $16 million contract for 2018. He received $11.5 million last season.

Drafted as a shortstop as the third overall pick in 2010, Machado played third base with Baltimore next to slick-fielding J.J. Hardy, whose contract expired after last season.

So when they return to the field next month in Florida, the Orioles will have Machado at shortstop with Beckham on his left. Beckham came to Baltimore from Tampa Bay in July and played shortstop for the injured Hardy over the final two months.

"I think Tim would rather play shortstop, as Manny would," Showalter said. "Tim's big thing is getting an opportunity to play every day at one position. We need to settle both those guys into a spot and let them get into it."

Showalter said Machado was enthusiastic about the switch.

"All indications are, he's really excited about this," Showalter said. "I can't imagine him being in a better frame of mind or setup to do this. I think out of his respect for J.J. the past few years he's been very professional about it. But it's not like he's changing positions. He's going back to the position he's equipped to play."

RELATED: ZACH BRITTON TEARS ACHILLES

Deciding what to do with Machado is only one problem Duquette has faced this offseason. He's also been trying to fill out a starting rotation that currently consists of Dylan Bundy, Kevin Gausman and perhaps Miguel Castro, who made his first major league start on Sept. 30 after pitching in relief for 75 games over three seasons.

"Obviously we have work to do to address some of the deficiencies on our ballclub," Duquette said. "We're going to continue to build our pitching staff, most notably the starting pitching."

If Castro joins the rotation, the Orioles will be further pressed to fill out the back end of the bullpen. Closer Zach Britton tore his Achilles tendon during an offseason workout and will likely miss the entire 2018 season, leaving setup man Brad Brach the odds-on favorite to take over as the stopper.

"I'm hoping I get a shot to close. I'd be lying if I say I didn't," said Brach, who served significant time as a closer in 2017 while Britton was sidelined with elbow and knee issues.

Brach had 18 saves but blew six chances.

"I think I did all right," Brach said. "Hopefully, I get another chance to do it."