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Five Orioles predictions for the Winter Meetings


Five Orioles predictions for the Winter Meetings

The Winter Meetings begin Monday in Nashville, Tenn. CSNBaltimore.com will be there. It will be four days of lots of talk, countless rumors, one or more of which may turn out to be fact, and at least some action.

Here are five predictions about what will happen for the Orioles at the winter meetings.

1) The Orioles will make a trade

The Orioles haven’t made many big trades in recent years at the Winter Meetings. This time, it will be different.

With Mark Reynolds presumably gone, there will be an effort to replace, whether at first base or as the designated hitter. The Kansas City Royals have  a lot of young talent which hasn’t gelled and the Orioles have been linked with Billy Butler for some time.

Even though Butler is a one-dimensional player, a true DH, something Buck Showalter wanted to avoid, plugging him into the lineup would allow Chris Davis to play first and account for two positions.

Butler’s averages are 20 home runs, 91 RBIs and he bats .300. He is also very durable. He’s only missed 11 games in the last four years.

He has two years remaining on his contract. The two years at $8 million each are probably less than they would have had to give Reynolds. (He also has a $12.5 million option for 2015.)

The Royals would love some young pitching. Perhaps Jake Arrieta and/or Zach Britton could rejoin Jeremy Guthrie in Kansas City.

2) The Orioles will be “in” on some big name free agent

Last summer, there was a pre-trade deadline report that the Orioles expressed interest in Zack Greinke. Over the past few weeks, there was chatter they were interested in Josh Hamilton.

Hamilton is far too pricey for them, So is Greinke, but the Orioles will probably concentrate on beefing up the lineup.

Nine years ago, the Orioles signed a big name free agent, Miguel Tejada, but they haven’t signed a major name since.

It would be a surprise if the Orioles left Nashville on Thursday with Hamilton in their lineup.

3) The Orioles will not sign any free agent this week

So far this off-season, Dan Duquette has been busy adding at the margins. The team’s additions, Alexi Casilla, Trayvon Robinson, Danny Valencia and Yamaico Navarro, haven’t been headline grabbers.

While some players who were non-tendered on Friday may interest the Orioles, expect the team to look at trades before free agents.

Jair Jurrjens was not offered a contract by Atlanta. In the past five years, Jurrjens has won 14 games once and 13 twice.

There will be a lot of competition for the 26-year-old Curacao native.  He made $5.5 million last year, and even though he was 3-4 with a 6.89 ERA in 11 starts, Jurrjens should get lots of interest.

Another name that’s getting some play is Nate Schierholtz, a 28-year-old outfielder the Phillies let go. Schierholtz’s problem is that he plays right field, and the Orioles have an opening in left. He’s played just eight games in left field.

4) The Orioles will take a player in the Rule 5 draft

The Rule 5 draft is made to order for Duquette, lots of overlooked players who could fill a niche. Ryan Flaherty was Duquette’s takeaway last December and he even homered in the Division Series.

The Orioles have room for a Rule 5 addition or two. They have 38 players on the 40-man roster.

5) The Orioles will finally name their third-base coach

Last week, Duquette said the team would probably name its successor to DeMarlo Hale as third base coach at the winter meetings. Some out-of-work coaches and former managers will probably try to convince the team that they’re a good fit.

Some of the rumored choices include Orioles minor league officials Bobby Dickerson and Brian Graham, Steve Smith a former Texas and Cleveland third base coach, Don Wakamatsu, a former Seattle manager, Rich Dauer, the onetime Orioles second baseman and former Orioles manager Sam Perlozzo.

The team could also move Wayne Kirby from first to third and perhaps add Mike Bordick. Last year, there was some talk that Cesar Izturis, a Showalter favorite, would join the staff, but he preferred to keep playing.

Most coaching openings have been accounted for by now, so the Orioles have their choice of quality candidates.

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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."