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Trumbo addition means more certainty for Orioles


Trumbo addition means more certainty for Orioles

Let’s look at the Mark Trumbo acquisition practically. The Orioles now have six certain starters for nine positions. That’s two more than they had three weeks ago.

With Chris Davis, Gerardo Parra, Steve Pearce and Matt Wieters possible free agents, the Orioles had just four secure positions following last season: J.J. Hardy (shortstop), Adam Jones (center field), Manny Machado (third base) and Jonathan Schoop (second base.)

When Wieters surprisingly accepted the team’s qualifying offer that secured the fifth. It also freed up Steve Clevenger for a trade because the Orioles didn’t need a third catcher.

Clevenger is heading to Seattle for Trumbo and another player whose name will be revealed shortly.

The natural inclination is to think Trumbo will be Davis’ replacement at first base, and he may well be, but the new acquisition can play any of the four positions the Orioles don’t have an obvious starter for: first, left field, right field and designated hitter.

Six certain starters is better than five.

Trumbo’s 2016 will probably be a one-off for the Orioles, but that’s fine. He’ll likely make about $9 million, and with his power hitting resume (four seasons of 20 or more home runs, three of 80-plus RBIs), Trumbo should be an attractive commodity in 2016.

He’ll at the least add some free agent drama to next fall’s Orioles rumblings. At the moment, Trumbo, Wieters and Brian Matusz are the only 2016 free agents on the Orioles.

At the most, Trumbo will hit 30 homers and drive in 100 runs, which is what the Orioles expect from Davis.

RELATED: Orioles set to reel in power hitting Trumbo

How does Trumbo’s acquisition impact the club’s pursuit of Davis?

They’ll continue to try and sign him, but they realize that Davis’ agent, Scott Boras has the power and often waits a long, long time before he has his client choose a place to sign.

Do the Orioles want to wait until Jan. 20 to decide on who plays first base? I don’t think so.

The Orioles still badly want Davis, and they still need an outfielder or two, but at least they don’t have to convince their fans that they haven’t been active this offseason.

Davis’ market hasn’t developed, yet, but that doesn’t bother Boras. Most teams are chasing free agent starters, and so are the Orioles, but not David Price, who agreed to a seven-year, $213 million contract with Boston on Tuesday.

St. Louis, which was also a rumored destination for Price, is rumored as a suitor. So is Boston, but can even the Red Sox afford Price and Davis?

According to Baseballreference.com, the Red Sox’s payroll for 2016 is estimated at $169.2 million—and that is without Price’s salary.

Boston will be eager to peddle some of the team’s higher salaries, but I can’t see the Orioles taking Hanley Ramirez’s $22.75 million contract for the next three years—even with some help.

Houston, which is apparently eager to shed Chris Carter, another big homer, big strikeout guy, would seem a likely destination for Davis, but an industry source says that the Astros don’t want to take on a mega-contract.

I wouldn’t be surprised to see the Yankees swoop in and try and sign Davis. When the Orioles were interested in Mark Teixeira seven years ago, and made a reasonable offer for him, Brian Cashman quietly made a deal with Boras, who represented Tex at that time.

The Yankees are making all the right noises about building from within and being responsible with their payroll, but they can still pay Davis more than the Orioles can.

Trumbo strikes out often. Last year, he struck out 136 times in 142 games, but while Davis struck out 208 times, more than anyone else in the majors, he did walk 84 times.

Davis’ on-base percentage of .361 last year dwarfs Trumbo’s .310, which was almost exactly the Orioles’ team average.

Seattle’s replacement for Trumbo is set to be Nori Aoki, who the Orioles discussed as a free agent both last year and this.

But, the Orioles will be looking for a player like Aoki to play the outfield. He’s a player who can get on base and run, and that’s something the team needs much more of.

As for Clevenger, he’ll be missed. He’s an enjoyable, upbeat guy who enjoyed playing in his hometown. Last year, he became the first Baltimore-bred player to hit a home run in Oriole Park.

He worked hard to improve his catching, and could have helped out as a left-handed DH, but with Wieters and Caleb Joseph on the 2016 club, would have had few chances to play in the field.

Today promises more action. It’s the deadline to tender contracts, and once Trumbo’s addition becomes official, the Orioles will have 12 to offer.  

MORE ORIOLES: Losing for better draft picks is not sound strategy

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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."