For Orioles fans watching the major awards handed out, the one that garnered the most interest was one from the National League.
Many Orioles fans are happy about Jake Arrieta winning the National League Cy Young award, and the savvier ones don’t moan about it.
Everyone knew that Arrieta needed to leave the Orioles, and they should be happy about his success.
Arrieta beat out Zack Greinke and Clayton Kershaw, two authentic heavyweights for the award. Any of the three would have been a deserving winner.
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Orioles fans were much more familiar with Arrieta’s work than the American League winner, Houston’s Dallas Kuechel. He’s pitched just four times against the Orioles in his four-year career, and in May lost the only game he’s started in Baltimore.
Bryce Harper will easily win the National League Most Valuable Player award, and I’ll get to see if other voters agree with me on my AL MVP choice. The finalists are Kansas City’s Lorenzo Cain, Toronto’s Josh Donaldson and Los Angeles’ Mike Trout.
It will be interesting to see how much support Chris Davis and Manny Machado get from the voters.
Other than Manager of the Year, which Buck Showalter won in 2014, it’s been a long time since an Oriole player won an award. Gregg Olson was the last Rookie of the Year winner in 1989, and Cal Ripken won the AL MVP in 1991.
Steve Stone, who won the most games in a season, 25, was rewarded with the 1980 Cy Young award. With Kuechel’s win, every other American League team but the Orioles and the Texas Rangers have won the award since.
The only Oriole to win an on-field award this year was Manny Machado, who won the AL Gold Glove at third base. Davis and Machado were shut out of the Silver Slugger awards.
It’s been an active time on the trade front when it comes to relief pitchers. Last week, San Diego traded Craig Kimbrel to Boston and on Wednesday, Milwaukee dealt Francisco Rodriguez, who was briefly an Oriole in 2013, to Detroit.
Both the Red Sox and Tigers were reportedly “in on” Darren O’Day, whose rumored price of four years from $28-$36 million shouldn’t be a surprise.
O’Day is the best reliever in a thin market, and he compares favorably to the best sidearm free agent in recent years, the Angels’ Joe Smith.
Smith signed a three-year contract for $15.75 million two years ago, and though he was three years younger than O’Day is now at the time he signed it, O’Day is far more accomplished.
Even though it would seem that Boston and Detroit would be out of the bidding for O’Day now, it seems that the Tigers need more than one quality reliever, and they’re not loath to spend. With 40-year-old Koji Uehara presumably Kimbrel’s set-up man, the Red Sox may still want to spend for O’Day.
As for the reports that the Orioles are interested in Pittsburgh’s Neil Walker, well, that makes sense. Walker could fit into a super-utility role, and the Orioles, who have long liked Ben Zobrist, face fierce competition for him.
Manager Buck Showalter likes a flexible bench, and didn’t have one, with the exception of Ryan Flaherty, last season.
Though Walker is a second baseman, if he can move around and be a better, cheaper version of Daniel Murphy that would be a fine addition, depending on what Pittsburgh is asking for.
The last trade the Orioles made with the Pirates didn’t work out very well here. Travis Snider was supposed to replace Nick Markakis in right, and the Orioles sent two lower-level minor league pitchers to Pittsburgh.
Snider was gone by early August, while Steven Brault and Stephen Tarpley had excellent minor league seasons. Brault was 9-3 with a 2.00 ERA in Double-A while Tarpley was 11-4 with a 2.48 in low A-ball.
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