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Donaldson MVP vote not a hard one

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Donaldson MVP vote not a hard one

It wasn’t a difficult vote. Mike Trout had another terrific year. Josh Donaldson was just a little better. Twenty-two other voters for American League Most Valuable Player agreed, and Donaldson won handily.
In filling out my ballot, I talked with many people in baseball, and then the pick of Donaldson was even easier.Lorenzo Cain was my third place vote, and Manny Machado got my vote for fourth.

It’s interesting that the three most publicized players to burst onto the major league scene in 2012, Machado, Trout and Bryce Harper, have fulfilled their promise and could be in the MVP conversation annually.
The first four votes weren’t hard. For the next six players on the ballot, I seriously considered 10-15 others. The only player on the ballot I ignored was Dallas Keuchel, who finished fifth.

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I would have voted for Keuchel for the Cy Young award, so I’m OK with that. Machado was an easy fourth place vote. Four voters gave him a third place vote, but I thought Cain was the best player on an impressive Royals team. Machado’s power, speed and defense have me spoiled. I watch him every day, and sometimes I thought that perhaps I was overrating him. I wasn’t.

Three voters left Machado off their ballot, and only 11 of the 30 included Davis, who finished 14th. I thought his late power surge was enough to get him a place on the 10-man ballot. There are always a couple of interesting votes. Besides leaving Keuchel off my ballot, I was one of nine who didn’t vote for Beltre. He was one of the handful, like Prince Fielder, Jason Kipnis, and J.D. Martinez, who made it to my final cut.

The most interesting votes came from Chris Assenheimer of the Chronicle-Telegram, who gave Nelson Cruz a second place vote over Trout and ignored Machado. George King of The New York Post cast the only ballot for Kendrys Morales, a fourth place vote, and Mark Topkin of the Tampa Bay Times cast a 10th place vote for Alex Rodriguez.

With the award season nearing its end, it’s time for teams to set their 40-man roster in advance of the Rule 5 draft. The Orioles have 37 players, and before midnight, they must add players from the organization they wish to protect. Left-handed pitcher Chris Lee looks like a good bet to be added, and recently right-hander Andrew Triggs has gotten some attention, too. There are several players on the 40-man who are expendable, but so far only Jorge Rondon was taken off the roster, and that was to make room for Vance Worley.

Players from outside the organization can be added ahead of the draft. This is just the deadline for those within the organization. The Rule 5 draft is Dec. 10.

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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

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USA TODAY Sports

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."

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