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How does Kim change Orioles' lineup?


How does Kim change Orioles' lineup?

Two months from tomorrow, spring training begins in Sarasota, Fla., and as this fascinating offseason continues for the Orioles, their team continues to change.

The Orioles made their fourth major move of the offseason on Wednesday night when they came to an agreement on a two-year, $7 million contract pending medical review with South Korean outfielder Hyun-soo Kim.

Kim is the first free agent from outside of the organization to join the team, and assuming he plays well enough in spring training, he becomes the seventh secure spot in the starting lineup.

When the season ended on Oct. 4, only four spots were obvious: J.J. Hardy at short, Adam Jones in center, Manny Machado at third and Jonathan Schoop at second.

After Matt Wieters accepted the $15.8 million qualifying offer, that was five, and two weeks ago, the Orioles added Mark Trumbo in a trade with Seattle.

If Chris Davis leaves, Trumbo will be the first baseman. Otherwise, he’ll play right or be the primary designated hitter.

Now that Kim is on board, that will be seven of the nine spots spoken for, and Dan Duquette hopes to add another piece between now and next Wednesday.

Kim brings two things the Orioles badly need: a left-handed hitter and on-base capability. Of the first six spots, only Wieters, who’s a switch-hitter was a left-hander.

For several years, the Orioles have sought to improve their on-base percentage, and they haven’t.
In his 10 seasons for the Doosan Bears of the Korea Baseball Organization, Kim was a walking machine, with a stunning .406 OBP.

Last year, at 27, Kim established career highs in home runs (28) RBIs (12) and walks (101). He hit .326. Kim also stole 11 bases in 16 attempts.

From Feb. 18, when camp opens to April Fool’s Day when exhibition games end, Buck Showalter will be pestered with questions about Kim’s transition.

How will he do in the U.S?

There have been 16 Koreans in the major leagues, including the New York Yankees’ Rob Refsnyder, who was adopted as a baby and raised in the U.S.

Other than Refsnyder, just three have been position players: Texas’ Shin-soo Choo, Pittsburgh’s Jung-ho Kang and Hee-Seop Choi, who played four seasons with three teams last decade.

Last month, Minnesota signed first baseman Byung-Ho Park, a player who interested the Orioles, but he was subject to the posting process, and the Twins won out.

With his terrific on-base skills, perhaps Kim will be the Orioles’ leadoff hitter.

By necessity, Showalter put Machado in the leadoff spot for much of the season, but he’d prefer someone else there.

If the Orioles are able to sign a right fielder with good on-base skills, that would satisfy the team’s needs for a leadoff hitter.

For the moment, the Orioles have seven outfielders on the 40-man roster:  Jones, Trumbo, Dariel Alvarez, L.J. Hoes, Nolan Reimold, Joey Rickard and Henry Urrutia.

They also have Alfredo Marte, whose signing to a minor league contract has not yet been made official, but he’ll receive a spring training invitation.

At Saturday’s FanFest, Jimmy Paredes, who had a wonderful first half, but awful second half at bat, said he felt comfortable playing right field during winter ball in the Dominican Republic.

Paredes, who had huge issues in the infield last season, played one game in right field in 2015. In 2012 and 2013 with Houston, Paredes played 54 games in right.

He said he failed to adjust to pitcher’s adjustments of him last season, and he knows he’ll have to do it to be successful next season.

Paredes isn’t going to be the answer in right, but he’s a switch-hitter, who is a much more accomplished hitter left-handed than right. He struck out 111 times and walked just 19, so he’s not going to be the Orioles’ first batter of 2016, either.

Once Kim’s signing is officially announced, which could be a few days away, the Orioles will have to remove a player from the 40-man roster.

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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."