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Do the Orioles have enough candidates for the bullpen?


Do the Orioles have enough candidates for the bullpen?

One of the more interesting subplots of next year’s spring training will be the jockeying for the final spots in the bullpen.

Assuming Darren O’Day doesn’t return, and Brian Matusz does, it seems that four of the seven spots are accounted for.

Matusz, Brad Brach, Zach Britton and Mychal Givens would be on the team, and while the Orioles are likely to pick up a few more relievers in the off-season, there are a number of pitchers currently on hand who will be part of the Sarasota conversation.

One who probably won’t be is Jason Garcia, last year’s Rule 5 choice, who is likely to pitch for Bowie or Norfolk next season. But, if he has a strong spring or a good start in his first stint in the high minors, he could be part of the staff.

T.J. McFarland could be a dark horse for the fifth starter’s job, and should be on the team as a needed left-handed long man.

Vance Worley, who was acquired on waivers from Pittsburgh last month, could be a candidate to either start or relieve. Worley is also a possibility to be non-tendered.

Worley made $2.45 million for the Pirates last year, and was 4-6 with a 4.02 ERA, so the Orioles might not be eager to pay him $3 million next year.

Mike Wright has a real chance to be in the bullpen. While he started in the minor leagues and had early success for the Orioles in 2015, the team thinks his real future is probably in the bullpen. He could take over Tommy Hunter’s old spot.

Tyler Wilson could wind up in the bullpen, too. He’s an option as fifth starter—especially if the Orioles don’t sign someone with a longer resume. He could start the season in the bullpen, or back in Norfolk until a need for him arises.

As for pure relievers, the Orioles will look at Oliver Drake and Chaz Roe, who they saw for the first time last year. While Drake, who finally made his major league debut after eight years in the organization, had some good stats (2.87 ERA in 13 games), he also had some bad ones (1.596 WHIP).

When Roe’s contract was purchased in late May, it seemed farfetched that he’d stay around the rest of the season. But, he did. While slowed by injuries, Roe pitched in 36 games and had an ERA under 1 in his first 15 games.

He missed nearly a month with shoulder tendinitis and was held out of the last 10 games.

Roe ended up pitching more games than anyone but Brach, Britton, Hunter, Matusz and O’Day, and it will be fascinating to see if he can recapture his early magic. His second half was troubling.

Steve Johnson remains on the 40-man roster, and three pitchers who Dan Duquette thinks could be contributors later in the season were placed on the roster last week.

Parker Bridwell, Christopher Lee and Andrew Triggs have never pitched above Double-A in the Orioles system, but Lee and Triggs in particular have impressive minor league numbers. Triggs pitched in one Triple-A game for Omaha in 2014. Left-hander Chris Jones, who has pitched at Norfolk the last three seasons, has also been added to the 40-man roster.

The Orioles will have at least four pitchers with minor league contracts in spring training. This week, Pedro Beato, Cesar Cabral, Todd Redmond and Ashur Tolliver received formal invitations. All but Tolliver have major league experience. Tolliver has some good numbers at Bowie, but like Lee and Triggs has no real experience above Double-A.

It’s also possible Dylan Bundy, if healthy, could find himself in the bullpen. Bundy is out of options, and if he’s able to pitch, will likely work out of the bullpen as he tries to build up innings.

Because of Bundy’s situation, it may be hard to carry a Rule 5 pitcher has they did with McFarland in 2013 and Garcia this year, but it’s certainly possible they’ll try to draft another one in the Dec. 10 Rule 5 draft.  

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

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Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

Cal Ripken Jr.'s 25-acre, 8,545 square-foot home went up for auction this past Saturday and the highest bidder was......Adam Jones? 

The center fielder is purchasing the Orioles legend's former Reisterstown, Md. estate, according to The Athletic

Placed on the market in 2016 for $12.5 million, Ripken reduced the price to $9.7 million last year but was still unable to find a willing buyer. The estate was eventually put up for auction and sold to Jones for an undisclosed amount. 

The six bedroom home has 10 full bathrooms, a movie theater, a gym that overlooks an indoor basketball court, a pool and a baseball field with batting cages, a locker room and soaking tubs. One of the tubs was taken from Memorial Stadium and used by Johnny Unitas and Art Donovan, but Ripken is keeping that one. 

What makes this purchase even more interesting is that Jones will become a free agent at the end of the 2018 season, but that does not mean he plans on re-signing with the team. The 32-year old, who is in his last year of a six-year $85.5 million contract, is known to dip his toes in real estate investments and his wife, Audie Fugett, is a Baltimore native. 

The deal is scheduled to close on June 11. 


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David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense


David Price's complete game shuts down Baltimore's offense

BOSTON -- One strike away from a four-hit shutout, David Price happily settled for a complete game and his strongest outing of the season.

Price struck out eight and held Baltimore to five hits, including two in the ninth when the Orioles broke up the shutout before the Boston left-hander finished them off in a 6-2 victory for the Red Sox on Thursday night.

"He was amazing," Boston manager Alex Cora said. "He was outstanding. You saw it. Bad swings, up, down, in and out, changeup, cutter, sinkers ... that was fun to watch."

J.D. Martinez hit a two-run homer in the first, and Xander Bogaerts homered with two on during a four-run fifth, giving Price more than enough cushion against the struggling Orioles.

Price (4-4) struck out eight and didn't walk a batter while winning consecutive starts for the first time this season. He cruised through the first eight innings before Andrew Susac led off the ninth with a double, the first Baltimore player to reach second base in the game.

Manny Machado spoiled the shutout bid with a two-out homer, but Price finished off Baltimore on Jonathan Schoop's pop-up to center as the Red Sox improved to 4-0 against Baltimore by taking the makeup game that was rained out on Patriots' Day.

"They're a free-swinging team," said Price, who threw just 95 pitches. "You can go out there and do that or you can go out there for three innings and give up a bunch of runs."

Danny Valencia had a pair of hits for the punchless Orioles, who have lost three of four and have the second-fewest wins in the American League. Valencia nearly had a double in the fifth, but got thrown out at second by left fielder Andrew Benintendi, one of several strong defensive plays that helped Price go the distance.

Hanley Ramirez also caught a foul pop on the top step of Boston's dugout in the second and Mookie Betts ran down a fly ball that was headed to the wall in right.

"The defensive plays that I had today, it makes everything a lot easier," Price said.

Kevin Gausman (3-3) went 4 2/3 innings for Baltimore, allowing six runs and eight hits while striking out six and walking two. He was pulled after Bogaerts drove a high fastball out to left with two men on during Boston's four-run fifth.

"We just got into some sticky situations where we just had to dig ourselves out of a hole and we just couldn't," Susac said.

The Orioles also weren't happy with the strike zone, which Susac said forced Gausman to throw some pitches the Red Sox pounced upon.

Manager Buck Showalter agreed with his catcher.

"I'm very biased, but I didn't think he got a fair shake tonight," Showalter said. "There were a lot of pitches that could have and should have gone his way."