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Ripken's streak is greater than ever

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Ripken's streak is greater than ever

When the Orioles decided to honor their greats with statues, it was natural for Cal Ripkens to be unveiled on Sept. 6.Its hard to believe that its been 17 years since Ripken broke Lou Gehrigs seemingly unbreakable record of consecutive games.Ripkens streak went on for three more years, 501 additional games before he voluntarily ended it on Sept. 20, 1998.How unbreakable is Ripkens record? Detroits Prince Fielder has the longest current consecutive game streak at 316. In order for Fielder to break Ripkens record, hed have to play 2,317 straight gameslonger than the mark Ripken broke.Fielder would have to play every game for more than 14 seasons, until 2027 when hed be 43.Its not going to happen.Ripkens record is guaranteed to stand for at least 32 years, and undoubtedly many more. Not only has Ripkens record already withstood the test of time, so has he. Its hard to picture a superstar in sports who has had made the transition from playing to business as easily.Or is it like everything else Cal did? He just made it look easy.Ripken is 52 now, and hes had a rich and full life. His father sadly died of cancer in 1999 at the much-too young age of 64, and his family had to live through the bizarre and unsolved kidnapping of his mother in July.When it was time for the family to speak, it was a different Cal who handled the awful situation with grace.Ripken has so many things hes involved with these days. He has his minor league teams, the Cal Ripken baseball league, the complex in Aberdeen, Md. that houses the IronBirds and his own World Series for young players. There are the corporate speeches and the appearances on TBS.Hes recently taken his son, Ryan to start South Carolina. Ryan, a promising left-handed hitting first baseman, was a fine student at Baltimores Gilman School and a 20th round draft pick by the Orioles.
The family never seriously considered pro ball for Ryan. School is the priority now.Ripken would love to own a team or part of one with a major say in running it. Nolan Ryan is someone Ripken could pattern himself after.First, theres the statue. With all the accolades, all the admiration, Ripken doesnt crave any more of them. How sweet for him that his beloved Orioles, a team that he no longer has any official attachment to, are shockingly in the postseason picture.Of all Ripkens accomplishments, hes said he was disappointed that he got to play in only one World Series, in his second full year, 1983.As a young Orioles fan, Ripken grew up with his fathers team nearly always in the postseason conversation.A year after he signed, the Orioles played the Pittsburgh Pirates in the World Series. Still nearly two years away from the big leagues, Cal was easily able to blend into the Memorial Stadium crowd and root for some of his future teammates.As a second-round draft choice in 1978, Ripken was selected behind someone named Robert Boyce. Ripken, not Boyce made the major leagues at 20, barely three years after he was drafted. Boyces career ended in Class A ball, around the time Ripkens streak started in 1982.The Orioles would have drawn a large crowd on Thursday for Ripkens statue unveiling. The added bonus is that its the start of a highly anticipated series. The Orioles, Yankees, Ripken and a sellout crowd. It sounds like a wonderful night.

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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.

RELATED: VEGAS SETS OVER/UNDERS FOR 2018 MLB SEASON

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."