Orioles

AP source: Marlins trade 3 stars to Blue Jays

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AP source: Marlins trade 3 stars to Blue Jays

MIAMI (AP) Reacting to the Miami Marlins' latest payroll purge on Twitter, slugger Giancarlo Stanton gave it three exclamation marks.

He wasn't exaggerating. The Marlins' spending spree a year ago didn't work, so they went the salary-dumping route again Tuesday, shedding some of their biggest stars and multimillion-dollar salaries in one blockbuster deal.

The Marlins swapped high-priced talent for top prospects, trading All-Star shortstop Jose Reyes, left-hander Mark Buehrle and ace right-hander Josh Johnson to the Toronto Blue Jays, a person familiar with the agreement said.

The person confirmed the trade to The Associated Press on condition of anonymity because the teams weren't officially commenting. The person said the trade sent several of the Blue Jays' best young players to Miami.

The stunning agreement came less than a year after the Marlins added Reyes, Buehrle and closer Heath Bell in an uncharacteristic $191 million spending binge as they rebranded and moved into a new ballpark. The acquisitions raised high hopes, but the Marlins instead finished last in the NL East.

Salary-paring actually began in July, when the Marlins parted with former NL batting champion Hanley Ramirez, second baseman Omar Infante and right-hander Anibal Sanchez, among others. Bell, the team's high-profile bust, was traded to Arizona last month.

Under owner Jeffrey Loria, long the target of fan acrimony, the Marlins have usually been among baseball's thriftiest teams. Management pledged that would change with the new ballpark, but team officials were disappointed with attendance in 2012, and revenue fell far short of their projections.

Even so, the blockbuster deal came as a shock. The players involved must undergo physicals before the trade becomes final.

Stanton, the Marlins' precocious slugger, wasn't involved in the deal but wasn't happy about it.

``Alright, I'm (mad)!!! Plain & Simple,'' he tweeted shortly after the news broke.

The housecleaning was also the subject of much mirth on Twitter.

``Good trade, I think we won it,'' tweeted FakeSamson, a site that mocks team president David Samson.

Toronto star Jose Bautista had a different interpretation.

``Its a good day to be a bluejay!'' he tweeted.

The swap was easier for the Marlins to swing because of their longstanding policy of refusing to include no-trade clauses in contracts.

The deal gave an immediate boost to the Blue Jays, who have not reached the playoffs since winning their second consecutive World Series in 1993. Toronto went 73-89 this season and finished fourth in the AL East for the fourth straight year, again falling short in a division that includes big spenders.

The Marlins changed their name a year ago but failed to change their losing ways, and instead of contending for a playoff berth, they finished 69-93, their worst record since 1999.

The Marlins drew more than 2.2 million fans but had projected attendance of nearly 3 million. Team officials blamed the difference in part on manager Ozzie Guillen's laudatory comments early in the year about former Cuban leader Fidel Castro, which antagonized a large segment of an already-small fan base.

Guillen was fired after only one season with the team and replaced this month by the Marlins' former backup catcher, Mike Redmond.

President of baseball operations Larry Beinfest hinted at a big change in direction less than two weeks ago.

``We've kind of lost our Marlins way,'' he said. ``The real Marlins way was we always outperformed our challenges. Whatever our challenges were, whether it was playing in a football stadium or weather or a lack of fans, or lack of revenue for that matter, we always found a way to outperform our challenges.''

It now appears management will field a team with the expectation players will outperform their contracts, which was the franchise model for most of the past decade. The roster shake-up during the season reduced the payroll to $90.3 million from $112 million on opening day, and now could be dramatically lower next season.

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We can’t stop staring at these Bowie Baysox commemorative moon landing jerseys

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Twitter/@BowieBaysox

We can’t stop staring at these Bowie Baysox commemorative moon landing jerseys

One of the coolest things about Minor League Baseball is the creativity that comes with it.

The stadiums. The ice cream deals. The interesting mascots. And most importantly, the uniforms.

The Bowie Baysox, the Double-A affiliate of the Baltimore Orioles, released special uniforms they will be wearing on Saturday for the 50th anniversary of the Moon Landing.

And, oh wow, are they something. Take a look.

On the front of the uniform, you can see the image of where lunar module pilot Buzz Aldrin planted the American flag on the lunar surface of the moon. On the back, a satellite view of the moon is pictured, with the player's number on top of it. Both the number and the cursive "Baysox" on the front are filled in with the American flag.

If you're looking for some to do on Saturday, go support the Baysox and their Moon Landing uniforms. If only there was a jersey giveaway.

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Bullpen struggles plague Nationals in loss to Orioles

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Bullpen struggles plague Nationals in loss to Orioles

BALTIMORE -- Juan Soto sat on the ground against the left-field wall, his head in his hands in the bottom of the eighth. Washington's outfielder had just reached for a long shot from Baltimore's Trey Mancini, but the ball was just out of Soto's reach and Mancini notched his 19th homer of the year, a two-run knock that gave the Orioles a 6-2 lead. 

Soto's body language symbolized more than just his frustration from the one play. By the end of the game -- the start of which was delayed 92 minutes after an onslaught of rain made Camden Yards look like a blizzard had blown into town -- the Orioles outscored the Nationals 9-2, almost the opposite of Washington's 8-1 win Tuesday.

Both teams were sluggish out of the box; a one-run ball game until the seventh, when Baltimore tore the game wide open. Washington put across its two sole runs in the third and fifth, both RBIs from Adam Eaton (he knocked in Soto on a sacrifice fly on the third, and Trea Turner on a double in the fifth). 

The Orioles briefly tied the game in the fourth, but it wasn't until the seventh when Baltimore broke down Washington's bullpen and put up two consecutive multi-run innings. 

Though Washington starter Erick Fedde, who was recalled from Double-A Harrisburg earlier Wednesday, put in six solid innings on the mound and only allowed on run on five hits in his 66 pitches, the Nationals' bullpen struggled to thwart the Orioles' comeback seventh and eighth innings.   

Since the outing was Fedde's first since he was recalled, Washington manager Davey Martinez didn't want to stretch him since he'd had two weeks off. 

"He got us through the sixth inning," Martinez said. "We had [Wander Suero] ready to go, but [Fedde] did well."

Suero, Tony Sipp and Javy Guerra combined for the seventh inning, contributing an out apiece. Suero got off to a rough start, however, and the first two batters he faced reached base. In his outing he gave up three earned runs on three hits and one walk.

After the game Suero explained that he received some bad personal news prior to the game, so he wasn't necessarily in the right mindset.

Sipp faced only two batters before he was done on the mound (he walked one and gave up a sacrifice fly to Rio Ruiz). So, when Guerra entered with two outs and two runners on, the Nationals were in desperate need of that elusive third out. 

Guerra induced a groundout to end the seventh, but couldn't carry that momentum into the eighth. To start the penultimate inning, Guerra gave up that two-run shot to left field that left Soto with his head hanging between his knees. 

Washington stuck with Guerra after those two runs crossed the plate, but as the right-hander struggled to record even one out, Martinez made the call and brought in Matt Grace to complete the inning. Three more runs crossed in the half, putting Baltimore ahead 9-2.

Now, the Nationals head to Atlanta to face the NL East-leading Braves for a four-game set. Washington is 6 1/2 games back of Atlanta, though the Nationals are the top wild-card standings in the National League.

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