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Orioles need to make Wieters qualifying offer


Orioles need to make Wieters qualifying offer

Between now and late Friday night, the Orioles must make qualifying offers to free agents.

They’re expected to make offers to Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters.

There’s really no reason not to.

While there’s been internal debate about Wieters, what do the Orioles have to lose in making him the offer?

Wieters has been a client of Scott Boras’ for even longer than he’s been with the Orioles. He’s certainly cherished his time with the Orioles, which is likely coming to an end, but he wouldn’t have stayed a Boras client if he didn’t trust his counsel.

Boras has been a vehement opponent of qualifying offers, and his clients, and all others, have rejected them.

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If the Orioles offer Wieters $15.8 million for 2016, he’ll reject it. Despite the hesitancies of some teams because of his 2014 Tommy John surgery, Wieters is by far the best catcher on the free agent market.

The Orioles value Wieters, and before the surgery did try to sign him to a long-term contract. Talks went nowhere.

In between then and now, Wieters had the surgery, and Caleb Joseph showed that he could be a creditable major league catcher.

In 2014, Joseph and Nick Hundley shared catching after Wieters’ surgery, and the Orioles handily won the AL East.

This is not to disparage Wieters. Not at all. After initially rehabbing at home, Wieters traveled with the Orioles in the final few months of 2014, offering counsel to the catchers and pitchers. He’s a terrific teammate.

He’ll be a great teammate somewhere else-whether it’s with the Atlanta Braves, Chicago White Sox, Houston Astros, Los Angeles Dodgers or another team.

A rejection of the qualifying offer doesn’t stop a player from signing with the team. David Ortiz rejected a qualifying offer from the Red Sox in 2012 and re-signed for two more years shortly afterward.

Qualifying offers are a defensive move, not an offensive one. The only reason the Orioles have debated the Wieters offer is that they don’t want to spend $15.8 million on him next year. It would prevent them from doing other things.

The offer also ensures the team gets at least a draft choice as compensation. A year ago in the early stages of free agency, the Orioles did not make a qualifying offer to Nick Markakis.

Later, when his medical issues became known to them, they passed on him, but in retrospect perhaps they regret not making that qualifying offer.

Markakis signed a four-year contract with the Braves, and the Orioles were left with nothing but fond memories.

In 2014, the Orioles and Boras agreed on a $7.7 million contract for Wieters, and even after the surgery limited him to 26 games, they still came to terms on an $8.3 million contract. Boras saves his hard negotiating for free agency, not when the club has control.

Wieters played in 75 games, and had an irregular catching schedule, preventing him from playing as well as he has in years past.

Despite that, if the Braves were willing to look past Markakis’ medical issues, and he underwent neck surgery shortly after he signed with them, they and other teams, will probably overlook misgivings about Wieters.

The Orioles will move on without Wieters, but there’s still a slight chance he’d return. If Boras is unable to find a suitor, and I think he will, Wieters could accept a short-term contract with the Orioles.

But, with the likes of Alex Avila, Dioner Navarro, A.J. Pierzynski and Jarrod Saltalamacchia heading the other free agent catchers, the guess here is that Boras finds another team—or more—to meet his price.

And we’ll be left to argue whether Wieters was the greatest catcher in Orioles history.

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Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7


Machado hits 2-run HR in 15th as Orioles beat Braves 10-7

ATLANTA -- For Braves manager Brian Snitker, playing the matchups meant pitching to Manny Machado with first base open and a marathon game on the line.

The Orioles slugger made that strategy look foolish.

Machado hit a tiebreaking two-run homer in the 15th inning, lifting Baltimore to a 10-7 win over Atlanta on Friday night after each team staged dramatic ninth-inning rallies.

The Braves surrendered six runs in the ninth, and then scored four times in the bottom of the inning.

Peter Moylan, Atlanta's eighth pitcher, hit Craig Gentry to open the 15th. Gentry moved to second on Austin Wynns' sacrifice.

With first base open, the Braves pitched to Machado and he responded with his 19th homer, a drive into the Orioles' bullpen in left.

Snitker said the right-handed Moylan is tough on right-handed hitters but acknowledged "you hate like hell (Machado) is one of them."

Machado said an intentional walk "crossed my mind at first. I thought they were. In that situation they probably had faith in Moylan out there that he could get some ground balls to the left side of the infield."

Machado hit a 0-2 slider Moylan said was "supposed to be middle in." Moylan said the pitch "slipped out of my hand and ended up middle middle."

Moylan (0-1) gave up another run on singles by Colby Rasmus and Jonathan Schoop.

Mike Wright Jr. (1-0), Baltimore's seventh pitcher, threw two scoreless innings.

The game lasted 5 hours, 21 minutes.

The Orioles trailed 3-1 heading into the ninth, and the Braves rallied against closer Zach Britton in the bottom of the inning. Braves closer Arodys Vizcaino was not used while Dan Winkler allowed four runs while recording only one out.

Snitker said he rested Vizcaino because of shoulder soreness and he might be available on Saturday.

Chris Davis hit a drought-breaking homer and drove in the go-ahead run with a sacrifice fly as Baltimore opened a 7-3 lead.

Britton got one out and was charged with four runs and five hits. He gave up a single to Johan Camargo and a double to Danny Santana before hitting Ender Inciarte to load the bases.

Ozzie Albies' bases-loaded single drove in Camargo. Freddie Freeman's two-run single cut the lead to one before Nick Markakis tied the game with a double to right field.

Atlanta had jumped in front on Charlie Culberson's tiebreaking two-run double in the eighth.

Davis, making his first start since June 11, hit his first homer since May 9 in the fifth. Camargo tied the game with his run-scoring double in the seventh.

Braves left-hander Sean Newcomb allowed five hits in seven innings.

Orioles right-hander Alex Cobb permitted four hits in seven innings

The start of the game was delayed 11 minutes by rain.

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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.