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Orioles GM Duquette hopes small moves turn out to be big

Orioles GM Duquette hopes small moves turn out to be big

A few comments from Dan Duquette stood out in last Thursday’s 2016 season retrospective.

Not only did he say the season just past was “a personal favorite of mine,” but he reiterated that the Orioles were committed to keeping the ballpark experience affordable to fans in the Baltimore area. 

That means that ticket prices aren’t likely to be raised again, and the Orioles are probably not going to aggressively pursue big ticket free agents. 

Of course, they could re-sign some of their own free agents and extend others who are under club control, but again don’t expect the Orioles to chase. 

RELATED: NOT MANY PALCES TO TURN FOR ORIOLES FANS IN POSTSEASON

If there are what they perceive to be good values come February, maybe they’ll think again.

The Orioles’ 2016 season featured some good performances from players Duquette acquired for it: Michael Bourn, Hyun Soo Kim, Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo and Vance Worley. 

While much of the attention last offseason was on the re-signings of Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and Matt Wieters, Duquette was justifiably proud of his quintet of acquisitions, none of which generated much excitement at the time it was consummated. 

Bourn was an Aug. 31 addition who provided speed and defense, Kim, a winter signing who was unknown to the fan base, Rickard, a Rule 5 draft pick, Trumbo, a shrewd trade and Worley, a waiver wire pickup nearly a year ago. 

In the coming offseason, Duquette is likely to be busy trying to fill holes in the outfield, designated hitter and catching. 

There will likely be countless moves, many of which will turn out to be meaningless, but he hopes a few that will be masterstrokes like the ones that made his season so enjoyable. 

The Orioles will undoubtedly add a player or two from the Rule 5 draft as have in each of Duquette’s first five drafts. 
The guess here is that they’ll look for an outfielder, like Rickard or a utility player in the Ryan Flaherty mold. Flaherty was Duquette’s first Rule 5 pick.

Last week, the Orioles made their first move of the offseason, adding left-handed pitcher Jed Bradley from Atlanta. Soon the team will start adding and subtracting players from the 40-man roster. 

They’ll have to add Rickard and left-handed pitcher Christopher Lee from the 60-day disabled list. Steve Pearce, who is also on the 60-day DL, is a coming free agent. 

Bourn, Pearce, Trumbo, Wieters as well as Pedro Alvarez, Brian Duensing, Tommy Hunter, Nolan Reimold and Drew Stubbs will also be free agents. 

RELATED: COULD ORIOLES FIND IN-HOUSE REPLACEMENTS FOR TRUMBO AND WIETERS

There will be some internal additions from the minors and more waiver claims. Often those players stay on the 40-man for a few days until Duquette finds a player he likes a little more. 

Last year, the Orioles stockpiled left-handed pitchers, but two of them, Edgar Olmos, a waiver claim, and C.J. Riefenhauser, acquired along with Trumbo, weren’t with the team very long at all.

Olmos returned to the team in spring training and was actually at Sarasota in the final weeks of the season had a need arisen. 

The Orioles will also sign some minor league free agents. Last year, they signed a South Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi to a minor league contract. He was quickly lost to the Angels in the Rule 5 draft. 

Many more of those moves will be coming this offseason. Some will work out. 
 

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Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

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USA Today Sports

Wade Miley roughed up again, Orioles shut out in St. Pete

ST. PETERSBURG, Fla. -- Evan Longoria and Logan Morrison homered Friday night and the Tampa Bay Rays clinched third place in the AL East with a 7-0 victory over the Baltimore Orioles.

Longoria led off the fifth with his 20th homer off Baltimore starter Wade Miley, marking Longoria's fifth straight 20-homer season and the ninth of his 10-year career.

RELATED: WILD CARD RACES WITH THREE DAYS REMAINING

Morrison hit his 38th homer off reliever Chris Tillman in the seventh.

Rays starter Jake Odorizzi left his final start of the season after four innings with a sore right knee.

Brad Boxberger (4-4) got the win as the first of four Tampa Bay relievers.

Miley (8-15) lost his fifth straight start, giving up four runs and five hits in four innings. He walked five, raising his major league-leading total to 93. The Baltimore bullpen gave up five more walks.

Trey Mancini had one of Baltimore's four hits. It was Mancini's 158th hit, tying Cal Ripken (1982) for second-place all-time among Oriole rookies.

The Orioles, shut out for the 11th time, lost for the 17th time in 21 games and dropped three games behind Tampa Bay with two games left in the season.

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MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

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USA TODAY Sports

MLB Wild Card Standings: Projecting the standings with three days left

With the MLB postseason only five days away and three more days in the regular season the playoff field is almost set.

After Thursday night’s action, the St. Louis Cardinals were eliminated from the second Wild Card spot in the National League. Their 2-1 loss to the Cubs put them too far out of reach of the Rockies.

In the American League the AL East race is all but done after the Yankees lost on Thursday.

RELATED: NEW MLB BRACKET PROJECTION WITH ONE WEEK TO GO

AMERICAN LEAGUE

Not too many changes in the American League race after yesterday.

The New York Yankees (89-70) lost to the Tampa Bay Rays 9-6 at home after entering the day only three games back in the division. While the Boston Red Sox (92-67) lost too, three games to surpass is too much for even the Bronx Bombers to overcome.

It will be interesting though to watch both teams sweat. Boston hosts the Houston Astros who are trying to overtake the Indians for the top seed in the AL. New York hosts division rivals Toronto.

The Minnesota Twins (83-76) lost to the Indians after allowing 10 hits in the contest. Win or lose it does not matter how they end the season because they will be the No. 5 seed and the visitors in the American League Wild Card Game. Presumably it will be against the Yankees.

AL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

New York Yankees:     +6.0 
Minnesota Twins:           ---
 

NATIONAL LEAGUE

Colorado was off on Thursday night in preparation for their final series of the year against the Los Angeles Dodgers.

The Milwaukee Brewers (84-75) did manage to gain a half game with their nail biting 4-3 win over the Reds. Brett Phillips hit a go-ahead double in the sixth inning and the final three frames remained scoreless for both squads.

They now move to two games back of the Colorado Rockies (86-73) with three games to go.

Colorado will host their final series against the Dodgers. Milwaukee is traveling to the St. Louis Cardinals (82-77) for their final three games. St. Louis is now out of contention, four games out of the final Wild Card spot.

FanGraphs.com now has Colorado at a 93.3 percent chance of taking the final postseason spot.  Milwaukee moved up slightly to 6.7 percent.

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NL WILD CARD RACE (AS OF SEPT 29):

#4 Arizona Diamondbacks:  +6.0
Colorado Rockies:                   ---
Milwaukee Brewers:              -2.0