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Five for the Orioles to sign long-term


Five for the Orioles to sign long-term

The Orioles have 15 arbitration-eligible players. They won’t keep all of them, and will settle with at least some of them before they even file for arbitration.

While there are no major players scheduled for free agency, there are several the team has to keep. It would be in their best interests to sign a few of them to long-term contracts.

Five who the Orioles should sign long-term

1) Jim Johnson

Most teams are loath to sign relief pitchers to long-term deals, and there’s good reason.

Unlike position players or even starting pitchers, the number of consistently excellent relievers is very small.

The Orioles are betting that Johnson is going to be one of the few consistent ones. He has the mentality, work ethic and stuff to avoid the inconsistency.

Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ executive vice president of baseball operations, knows the history of relievers and while Johnson isn’t eligible for free agency until two years from now, it might be wise to
try and sign him to a three-year deal.

The Orioles could avoid two years of arbitration and a year of free agency. There isn’t any need to go longer than three years, but they shouldn’t want to go to arbitration with their player rep.

Johnson lives in Sarasota, Fla., is a favorite of Buck Showalter’s, and likes being with the Orioles.

The Orioles should seize this opportunity.

2)  Matt Wieters

Wieters also lives in Sarasota, is a Showalter favorite as well, but has the Darth Vader of agents, Scott Boras.

The two-time All-Star catcher was renewed for just $500,000 by the team this year, a number that didn’t sit well with either Boras or Wieters.

He’s eligible for arbitration for  the  first time and because Duquette’s predecessor Andy MacPhail kept him in the minor leagues until late  May 2009, Wieters won’t be a free agent until 2016.

The Orioles must make sure Wieters doesn’t get there.

It would be surprising if Wieters agreed to an extension that took away his free agent years this quickly, especially with Boras negotiating.

While the Orioles might want to offer a six-year deal as they did with Adam Jones, Wieters’ value will only increase the closer he gets to
free agency.

They could start with a three-year deal to try and avoid arbitration and then see what Wieters’ requests are.

If there is a Wieters extension, it’s likely to come closer to spring training so Boras can gauge the market.

3) Jason Hammel

Hammel is also two years away from free agency, but he shows signs of being a staff leader. Showalter trusted him to start a playoff game after missing three weeks with a knee injury. Hammel’s maturity and innings-eating ability could be valued for a young staff.

Hammel could get a deal like Johnson, two years of arbitration and a year of free agency.

4) Mark Reynolds

Reynolds has an $11 million option for next season with a $500,000 buyout.

This one will be tricky. The Orioles have no viable in-house options for first base, and they’d be committing to Reynolds on the basis of the season’s final two months.

Reynolds did a fine job at first base. With a full season there, he’ll probably get even more comfortable and his power numbers would probably rise, too.

With an uninspiring group of free agents at first base, perhaps a three or four-year deal with Reynolds could work. He’d be a free agent next year, and the Orioles don’t really have anywhere else to go.

5) Darren O’Day

O’Day had a terrific season with a 7-1 record and a spectacular post-season. He’s two years away from free agency, but at $1.35 million last season, he was a bargain.

The Orioles will probably wait on him, but his value could skyrocket with another outstanding season.

Honorable mention:

Chris Davis

Even though Davis and Wieters were the two biggest bargains on the Orioles. Davis like Wieters is three years away from free agency. There isn’t the premium on DHs that there is with catchers. He can wait, but if he has another 30-plus home run year in 2013, he may become pricey.

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

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American League All-Star Game Roster Projection: AL will be loaded once again

The 2018 Major League All-Star Game is less than a month away. Fan votes are well underway and early frontrunners are close to locking their position in the Midsummer Classic.

Yesterday, we projected how the National League roster will play out. Today it is time to look at the American League roster projection.

For five straight seasons, the AL has had the upper hand in the MLB All-Star Game. In 2018, it does not appear that will change as the American League roster will be loaded from top to bottom.

As a reminder, here is how the process shakes out, first with the fan vote, players’ ballots, and the MLB Commissioner’s Office:

  • Fan vote: nine position players in AL (DH)/ eight in NL; plus final vote for each league
  • Player’s ballots: next 17 players in AL/ 16 players in NL; (five starting pitchers, three relievers must be chosen)
  • MLB Commissioner’s Office: five AL players (four pitchers, one position player) and seven NL players (four pitchers, three position players)

One player from each team must make the initial roster (before injury withdraws, etc.). Below is how it looks the American League roster will play out, considering the latest fan vote returns:

American League All-Star Roster Projection:

C – Wilson Ramos, Rays (Fan Vote), Gary Sánchez, Yankees (Player Ballot)
1B – José Abreu, White Sox (Fan Vote), Joey Gallo, Rangers (Player Ballot)
2B – Jose Altuve, Astros (Fan Vote), Jed Lowrie, Athletics (Player Ballot)
3B – José Ramírez, Indians (Fan Vote), Yangervis Solarte, Blue Jays (Player Ballot), Mike Moustakas, Royals (Commissioner’s Office)
SS – Manny Machado, Orioles (Fan Vote), Jean Segura, Mariners (Player Ballot),
OF – Mookie Betts, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Mike Trout, Angels (Fan Vote), Aaron Judge, Yankees (Fan Vote), Michael Brantley, Indians (Player Ballot), Eddie Rosario, Twins (Player Ballot), Giancarlo Stanton, Yankees (Player Ballot),
DH – J.D. Martinez, Red Sox (Fan Vote), Shohei Ohtani, Angels (Player Ballot)

SP – Justin Verlander, Astros (Player Ballot), Luis Severino, Yankees (Player Ballot), Corey Kluber, Indians (Player Ballot), Chris Sale, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Gerrit Cole, Astros (Player Ballot), Blake Snell, Tampa Bay (Commissioner’s Office)

RP – Edwin Díaz, Mariners (Player Ballot), Craig Kimbrel, Red Sox (Player Ballot), Aroldis Chapman, Yankees (Player Ballot), Joe Jiménez, Tigers (Commissioner’s Office), Delin Betances, Yankees (Commissioner’s Office), Chris Devenski, Astros (Commissioner’s Office)

Manager: Jeff Luhnow, Astros

Based on this projection, the New York Yankees will have the most representatives with six. The Houston Astros and Boston Red Sox will both have four.

Ensuring no snubs, there will be five players selected for the final fan vote to get one more All-Star into the game for a total of 32 for the American League. As you can see, no matter how the AL roster plays out, it will be a dominant team once again as they look for six straight All-Star wins.

Four of those five wins were inside a National League stadium and that will not change as the Washington Nationals will host this season.


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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

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2018 MLB All-Star Game voting update: Manny Machado maintains big lead among A.L. shortstops

Baltimore Orioles’ Manny Machado took an even larger lead in the latest update for 2018 MLB All-Star Game voting.

The superstar shortstop maintained his position at the top of American League shortstops in the second round of All-Star voting updates, released Tuesday morning. 

After the first ballot was released, Machado led the shortstops category by over 100,00 votes.

This week, he now holds north of a 200,000-vote lead over last year’s American League starter, Carlos Correa.

The Astros’ Correa jumped from fourth to second this past week while the Indians’ Francisco Lindor dropped to third.  

Machado now has 671,133 votes, seventh among all American League players. For the second straight week, Machado remained the only Orioles player on the list.

Through 69 games in 2018, Machado is batting .310 with 18 home runs, 15 doubles and 53 RBIs. He is posting his best OPS (.945) and on-base percentage (.377) in his career, a bright spot for the O’s, who sit dead last in MLB with a 20-50 record.

The All-Star voting will be open until July 5 at 11:59 p.m. ET and fans can vote five times every 24 hours.

The next AL voting update will be announced June 26.