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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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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.