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Orioles continue to search everywhere for outfielders


Orioles continue to search everywhere for outfielders

The Orioles continue to make moves, major and minor. Some are easy to analyze, some aren’t.

Tuesday’s acquisition of Efren Navarro and the concurrent move, designating L.J. Hoes for assignment, falls into the latter category.

It’s not so much the addition of Navarro, another left-handed hitter to an outfield that needs more, but the jettisoning of Hoes.

It wasn’t very long ago that Dan Duquette, the Orioles’ Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations, trumpeted the re-acquisition of Hoes, who was traded away from the Orioles in July 2013 as part of the Bud Norris trade.

Hoes was popular with his teammates, Duquette emphasized. That’s not something that Duquette normally refers to, but it’s true. Adam Jones, perhaps the most influential of all the Orioles, liked Hoes and mentored him.

For a time, it seemed that Hoes and Nolan Reimold had a shot to make the 2016 Orioles. Now, Reimold looks as if he still does, and Hoes may be with another team.

The Orioles can try and work out a trade for Hoes, who is out of options. That’s how the Houston Astros, who are very fond of Hoes, lost him to the Orioles.

If he passes through waivers or the team doesn’t trade him, Hoes can go back to Norfolk.

Hoes checked off a lot of boxes for the Orioles. He’s still relatively young (26 in March), plays both corner outfield positions and has some speed. He’s also from Bowie, and having local players is big with Duquette.

Predictably, many fans decried the Navarro acquisition. The Orioles are trying to get as many left-handed hitters in the outfield as they can.

Hyun Soo Kim and Henry Urrutia are the only other left-handed hitting outfielders on the 40-man roster, though you have to believe Duquette will come up with some others in the next three weeks. Xavier Avery, a minor league signee hits left-handed, too. 

Hoes, Jones, Reimold, Dariel Alvarez, Rule 5 pick Joey Rickard and Mark Trumbo, who’ll probably DH, are all right-handed. So is Alfredo Marte, who was also signed to a minor league contract.

Jimmy Paredes, who played some right field in winter ball in the Dominican Republic, will get a look there, and he’s a switch-hitter.

It’s entirely possible that Navarro like Joey Terdoslavich, won’t even be around when the Orioles get to Sarasota next month. Terdoslavich, a switch-hitting outfielder, was briefly on the roster until designated for assignment when Davis was re-signed.

Terdoslavich was of interest because he attended Sarasota High School, about two miles away from Ed Smith Stadium. If he passes through waivers, he could be added to the burgeoning list of spring training invitees.

The acquisition of Navarro doesn’t preclude the Orioles from signing more accomplished outfielders, as they will surely do in the coming weeks. The Orioles also must stock Norfolk and Bowie with credible players, and add depth in case there are several injuries to outfielders.

Hopefully, Hoes will find a suitable home. But, it’s strange to realize that he only played in three games for the Orioles before his trade. It just seemed like more.

It would be nice for the Orioles to give Henry Urrutia, who’s one of the hardest workers on the team, a legitimate chance to be on his first Opening Day roster.

Urrutia, who three years ago, was stuck in Haiti trying to get to the U.S., has been a diligent student of the game and of the English language.

No longer a rookie, Urrutia who will be 29 next month, has a .272 average in 34 games with the Orioles in 2013 and 2015.

Another Cuban defector, Yoenis Cespedes, won’t be. According to Jon Heyman of the Baseball Network, the Orioles were one of a number of teams who offered Cespedes a five-year contract last week.

Cespedes ended up re-signing with the New York Mets. The Mets gave him a three-year contract with an opt-out after a year.

The Nationals offered Cespedes five years, and Heyman says the Orioles did, too. At least one other team offered Cespedes a five-year contract, too.

However, the Orioles have refused to offer free agents opt-outs, and Cespedes preferred the Mets.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles post timelapse video of Camden Yards during Storm Jonas

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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."