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Should Pearce be back with Orioles in 2016?


Should Pearce be back with Orioles in 2016?

Orioles fans are far too busy worrying about Chris Davis to be concerned with Steve Pearce. If the Orioles lose Davis, which is likely, and retain Pearce, there won’t be many cheers in Baltimore.

But if they lose Davis and Pearce, that would be something to worry about.

Pearce and Gerardo Parra, whose re-signing I advocated for Thursday, are the least sexy of the Orioles six free agents.

Davis, Wei-Yin Chen, Darren O’Day and Matt Wieters move the needle a lot more, but Pearce seems a necessary part of the 2016 Orioles.

Pearce wants to come back, and even though his 2015 was much poorer than his 2014, he could be useful.

First, he plays multiple positions. In 2015, Pearce played left field, right field, first base, and for the first time in the majors, second base. He can also play third.

The Orioles have a need at first and left, and while Pearce is probably better when he doesn’t play every day, Pearce’s batting average and on-base percentage both headed sharply south in 2015. From .293 and .373, they fell to .218 and .289.

The right-handed Pearce hit much better against right-handed pitchers than left-handers (.231 vs. 196).

He still hit 15 home runs and drove in 40 runs, and while his batting average was still sour late in the season, he hit six home runs in the season’s last four weeks.

These stats don’t make a convincing case for a multi-year contract, but the most relevant point is that the Orioles don’t have a better option on hand.

Of course, they may sign or trade for someone better than Pearce, but he’s probably worth a two-year contract between $10 and $12 million. One industry source believes the Orioles won’t have much competition for Pearce, and if he’s offered a multiyear contract, he should take it.

Interestingly, on baseballreference.com’s scale of most similar players, Nolan Reimold ranks third, but Reimold’s case is for another day.

Pearce likes the Orioles; they did give him his first extended opportunity, and Buck Showalter likes him.

Despite the poor 2015 stats, expect Pearce back in Baltimore for 2016 and perhaps 2017, too.

MORE ORIOLES: Orioles place FanFest tickets for sale

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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."