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Jones angry at effort questions after another loss

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Jones angry at effort questions after another loss

ARLINGTON, Tex. –- Adam Jones had heard enough, seen enough. After the final game of a horrendous road trip, which ended with six losses in seven games, Jones was waiting as his locker in the visitors clubhouse in Globe Life Park.

He had something to say.

Jones was sick of being questioned about the Orioles’ effort. Sure, his team had lost 10 of 11 and fallen out of the playoff conversation after the 6-0 loss to the Texas Rangers before 22,256 on Sunday.

But, wait a minute.

Jones doesn’t think the Orioles are out of it. Never mind they’re in fourth place in the AL East, 11 games out of first place—or they’re 5 ½ games out of the wild card.

“We’re still right in the thick of things, so if you think we aren’t, cool. I think we are in the thick of things, just have to go on a five-six game winning streak and you guys come back to us and say, ‘now you’re in the middle of it,’” Jones said.

Jones doesn’t want to hear anything about the team’s supposed lack of effort, either.

“My biggest thing about sports is when somebody doubts an effort or another player or something like that. That’s basically calling him a coward. You know what I mean? Whenever someone says, ‘Oh you don’t give an effort. You’re not playing (with) effort. That’s kind of calling someone a coward,” Jones said.

“We go out there and play our tails off. Some days it looks pretty, some days it doesn’t but the effort is always there. For some people to say that our effort level isn’t there just because we struck out 11 times. We could strike out 20 times. But to say our effort level wasn’t there, that’s a slap in the face and I want to slap somebody in the face who says that.”

Jones is having another fine season, with 24 home runs, 66 RBIs and a .279 average. He had one of the Orioles’ three hits off Derek Holland, who threw a complete game shutout. Jones also struck out twice.

The Orioles didn’t put up much of a fight off Holland (2-1), who missed most of the season with a shoulder injury. After Dariel Alvarez’s fifth-inning single, Holland retired the final 14 Orioles, and didn’t walk a batter.

Miguel Gonzalez continued to struggle. In 5 1/3 innings, he allowed four runs on seven hits. Gonzalez (9-11) has lost five straight and hasn’t won in seven starts.

Gonzalez had a horrid first inning. He allowed singles to Delino DeShields, Shin-Soo Choo and Prince Fielder to begin the inning. Adrian Beltre’s sacrifice fly to right scored DeShields, and Choo scored on a wild pitch.

Texas took a 3-0 lead in the third when Beltre, Mitch Moreland and Elvis Andrus singled.

The Rangers (68-61) scored again in the sixth. Andrus singled, and with one out, Gonzalez hit Chris Gimenez with a pitch.

Jason Garcia replaced Gonzalez and allowed an RBI single to Hanser Alberto.

“It’s tough to swallow. September is coming up, we got to keep grinding. Keep working hard, keep our heads up and give each other, talk about positive stuff. That’s going to be the main thing for September. Pick each other up,” Gonzalez said.

Two more runs scored in the eighth. Zach Britton was getting some needed work, and allowed an RBI single to DeShields. Steve Pearce overran the ball and allowed Gimenez to score.

Manager Buck Showalter’s team has scored more than three runs just once in the last 11 games, and they’ve lost each time.

“We’ve tried a lot of different things, trust me. It’s not a time to point fingers. It’s a time to rally around each other, which our guys have already tried to do and will do,” Showalter said.

In their last four games, the Orioles (63-67) have struck out 11,14,12, 6 and 11 times. They’re on-base percentage has dropped to an abysmal .305.

“We're striking out in double figures it seems like every game. I'm not going to beat up on them. If I do that, it's certainly going to be privately, not publicly. They understand and they're frustrated and I think we're looking forward to getting home and see if we can right this ship,” Showalter said.

Showalter talks. Jones talks. Can something change in these final five weeks to wake up the slumbering Orioles?

“I’ve talked to the team, I talk to these guys every day. What do you want me to do? Bend over and spank them?” Jones said.

COMING UP: Wei-Yin Chen (8-6, 3.17) faces Chris Archer (11-10, 2.88) on Monday night as the Orioles begin a three-game series with the Tampa Bay Rays. Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman faces Drew Smyly and Erasmo Ramirez in the other two games.

MORE ORIOLES: Showalter says Orioles aren't likely to make trades

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Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

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Manny Machado pens goodbye to O's fans on Instagram

Days after being traded to the Los Angeles Dodgers in a deal that captivated much of Major League Baseball, former Oriole Manny Machado took to Instagram to thank the only organization he's ever known. 

The 26-year-old's contract expires at the end of this season, which the Orioles chose not to renew as the last-place club enters a rebuilding phase. 

Machado put up big numbers in the team's first 97 games totaling career-highs in home runs (24), RBIs (65), OBP (.387) and OPS (.962). 

He is expected to play shortstop for a Dodgers club which finished the first half of the season 10 games above .500 in a competitive, tight NL West. 

The Dodgers will pay Machado $6.3 million. 

To my Baltimore family, I’ve spent the last few days trying to figure out how I would say goodbye but there wasn’t an easy way to do it. I first joined this organization at the age of 17 and these past eight years have far exceeded anything I ever could’ve imagined. Throughout the ups and downs, you embraced me unconditionally and you took a kid from Miami and brought me up as one of your own. I’ve enjoyed my time here and you all have played a big part in that!! Thank you Birdland! You are forever in my heart! To the Baltimore Orioles, it has truly been a blessing to put on that uniform every day. To the Angelos Family & Dan Duquette, thank you for making my dreams come true!!! To Buck and the coaching staff, thank you for your commitment and dedication to making me the best player and teammate I can possibly be…I wouldn’t be where I am today without all of you. To my teammates, we’ve shared some amazing times with lots of memories & friendships that I’ll cherish forever. Schoopy, I love you bro and I know you will carry the torch!!! ! Much love always, Manny #13

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game 

Orioles star shortstop Manny Machado traded to Los Angeles Dodgers 

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What exactly did the Orioles get in return for Manny Machado?

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What exactly did the Orioles get in return for Manny Machado?

So, the Orioles made some headlines earlier this week. I’m not sure if you’ve heard, but minor league pitcher Asher Wojciechowski exercised his opt-out clause and is no longer with the organization. Please keep Orioles fans in your thoughts during this trying time.

As everyone reading this is undoubtedly already aware, the Orioles *also* made a trade yesterday, sending 26-year old superstar Manny Machado to the Los Angeles Dodgers. In return for their once-in-a-lifetime talent, the Orioles received a whopping five prospects from the Dodgers’ minor league system.

Yusniel Diaz, OF, 21

It’s fitting that this trade is being compared to the Erik Bedard trade, which was also a five-for-one, because Diaz could be a poor man’s Adam Jones. He’s not the prospect Jones was, but he could end up being a really nice player.

Talent evaluators are split on his ultimate ceiling. Some describe him as a bona fide stud, and others leave him off their top 100 lists. I’ve seen him ranked as high as 31st overall (by Baseball Prospectus), which, if accurate, is a terrific main piece in a package for a star rental. 

Most consider Diaz’s main flaw as a prospect to be his in-game power, though anyone watching the 2018 MLB Futures Game would be confused by that, as he became the second player ever to hit multiple home runs in the game. It’s possible that more power develops as he matures, and he certainly wouldn’t be the first player to hit for more power once reaching the Majors, but for now, it’s not a strength. I wouldn’t expect him to top 20 home runs in most seasons.

His bat-to-ball ability is his clearest strength, as he projects to consistently hit for a high average. His batting eye, while formerly a weakness, has become a strength in 2018, as he’s actually walked more times than he’s struck out (a rarity in this day and age). That will play well with O’s fans who are tired of seeing their players challenge strikeout records.

Dean Kremer, RHP, 22

Kremer isn’t a major name, which is a disappointment for O’s fans and one of the reasons their haul felt so uninspiring. Compared to more highly-touted prospects like Dustin May, Kremer looks like the team settled.

That said, he’s currently sporting the best K/9 ratio in the minors, and could end up being a diamond in the rough. He’s come a long way since being a 14th-round pick two years ago, and you have to wonder if the Orioles’ much-maligned pitching development can pick up where the much more successful Dodgers instructors left off.

Kremer is also notable for being the first Israeli-born player ever drafted in Major League Baseball.

Rylan Bannon, IF, 22

Bannon was an 8th-rounder last year and is having somewhat of a breakout this season. He’s leading the league in home runs, though playing in a notorious band box of a home park is skewing those numbers.

Bannon is undersized, but has a reputation of a good, if not elite, fielder. He’s a third baseman, but will likely spend some time at second as well. If the power breakout is real, he could end up a solid starter for the Orioles down the road. Again, that’s about all you can hope for in trades of this nature.

Zach Pop, RHP, 21

Pop has been described as potentially a future “right-handed Zach Britton,” which every O’s fan would take in a heartbeat. Of course, he’s not ranked like a future All-Star, as even in the weaker Orioles farm system he’s likely no better than around 25th. 

Still, the filler players in big trades like this are just lottery tickets, and considering his lack of pedigree, Pop seems like a relatively “safe” pitcher with projectability. He strikes out a lot of batters and gets a lot of ground balls, and at the very least can likely become a decent middle reliever.

Breyvic Valera, IF, 26

In a best-case scenario, Valera becomes the Orioles’ Ryan Flaherty replacement. If you squint, you can see somewhat decent upside in each of the other returning players, even despite their modest prospect rankings, but Valera is a clear utility player. 

He gets on base and hits for contact well enough to stick around and has proven capable of defending multiple positions, so there actually might be a spot for him at the end of the Orioles bench.

Overall

This trade has been described as anywhere from adequate and somewhat deflating to a great haul O’s fans should be excited about. Four of the five players have decent ceilings, though the chance of all four (or even just two of them) reaching those ceilings is highly unlikely. It’s just the nature of baseball.

Ultimately, this trade will be judged on the success or failure of Yusniel Diaz, who is the clear centerpiece of the package. Whether or not he succeeds will be partially up to him, and partially up to the front office and player development team.

If this trade is the beginning of the core for the next competitive Orioles team, then it’ll have to be considered a success. If these players each bust out of the league, then it was still the correct decision to trade Machado instead of settling for draft pick compensation, but it will still sting all the more for O’s fans seeing Manny soar to new heights elsewhere.