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Trumbo addition means more certainty for Orioles

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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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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

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Showalter fired as Orioles manager after 115-loss season

Buck Showalter has been fired as manager of the Orioles, who made three playoff appearances under his guidance but this year staggered through the worst season since the team moved to Baltimore in 1954.

Showalter confirmed the dismissal Wednesday in a text message to The Associated Press.

A three-time AL Manager of the Year, Showalter ranks second on the Orioles' career list with 669 victories, trailing Earl Weaver. He took over in August 2010 and orchestrated the resurgence of a team that suffered through 14 straight losing seasons.

Once hailed for making baseball in Baltimore relevant again, the 62-year-old Showalter is out of a job after a season in which the Orioles finished 47-115, 61 games behind Boston in the AL East. His contract expired at the end of October, and the Orioles opted against a renewal as they continue a major rebuild that began in late July, when they traded stars Manny Machado, Zach Britton, Jonathan Schoop and Kevin Gausman for minor league prospects.

Those deals were made by Dan Duquette, the executive vice president of baseball operations, whose future with the organization is up in the air.

Showalter earned AL Manager of the Year honors in 2014 after taking the Orioles to the AL East title and a berth in the Championship Series. He was also named Manager of Year with the Yankees in 1994 and Texas in 2004. His career record is 1,551-1,517, including 669-684 with Baltimore.

"I just think ever since he came here, the franchise just gained a little more accountability, gained an edge for some time," Orioles outfielder Adam Jones said before the final game of the season. "It's the end of an era. A great manager, a great tenure. I don't know if he's going to coach or manage again, but he's got grandchildren. Go golf. Relax and go sit on the golf course."

With his future in doubt, Showalter appeared undaunted during the final series of the regular season.

"You know how good they've been to me? I'm not ever going to forget that, regardless of what happens," he said.

Oakland Athletics manager Bob Melvin was asked before his team's playoff game against the Yankees on Wednesday night whether Showalter was victimized by the trend toward analytics.

"I don't think Buck was a guy that ignored analytics," Melvin said. "I think it was probably a combination of how they did this year and maybe some relationships."

After the Orioles brought Showalter out of retirement, he offered renewed hope by fashioning a 34-23 finish in 2010 for a team that was 32-73 upon his arrival.

Baltimore ended a 14-year playoff drought in 2012, advancing to the AL Division Series following a victory over Texas in the wild-card game. Playoff appearances in 2014 and 2016 followed.

Last year, however, the Orioles fell to 75-87 after losing 19 of their final 23 games. Baltimore hoped the addition of starters Alex Cobb and Andrew Cashner would enable the team to be a contender this year, but a horrid start quickly dispelled that notion.

The Orioles' deficit in the AL East reached double digits by April 18 and they were 8-27 on May 8. By the end of July, Baltimore fully entered rebuilding mode, leaving Showalter with the dubious distinction of overseeing a team that finished with the poorest record in the majors and one that surpassed the 1939 St. Louis Browns for most losses in franchise history.

Showalter never offered an excuse. He just grinded forward, working to prepare the team for 2019 even though he knew he might not be around to follow through.

At the outset of a season-ending series against Houston, Showalter was asked if he was thinking these might be his final days in the Baltimore dugout.

"We all have some private thoughts and emotions about that, but I don't think it serves the organization well for me to be worried about that right now," he said. "We've got some things to do these last four games that need to get done."

Showalter has a reputation as a no-nonsense manager, but his players appreciated his baseball knowledge and skill at handling a team. He made a point of talking to each of them on a regular basis, almost always offering encouragement.

"He gave me a chance," said catcher Caleb Joseph, who played six-plus years in the minors before arriving in Baltimore. "He believed in me in 2014, ran me out there and gave me a chance to be part of a championship team. He's really vouched for me ever since. I owe a lot to Buck and his loyalty. He's been a main figure here for a long time."

Sensing the end was near for the only big league manager he had ever played for, first baseman Trey Mancini said: "It's been an absolute honor to play for Buck. He's been incredible."

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

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Red Sox beat Orioles 6-2 to clinch home field through Series

The Boston Red Sox broke a 106-year-old franchise record with their 106th victory on Monday night, clinching home-field advantage through the postseason by beating the Baltimore Orioles 6-2 thanks to a pair of hits from major league batting leader Mookie Betts.

Nathan Eovaldi struck out 10 hapless Orioles batters to assure the Red Sox of the best record in baseball this season and home-field advantage through the World Series, if they make it that far. For now, they know they will open the Division Series at Fenway Park on Oct. 5 against the winner of the AL wild-card game between the New York Yankees and mostly likely Oakland.

The 1912 Red Sox won 105 games in their first season at Fenway Park.

The Orioles (45-111) became the sixth AL team and the first since the 2003 Tigers to lose 111 games, falling 60 games behind Boston (106-51) in the division. It's the first time since 1939 that teams separated by 60 wins in the standings have played each other.

Boston scored four in the second inning, getting back-to-back doubles from Steve Pearce and Brock Holt, an RBI single from Christian Vazquez and Betts' two-run homer over the Green Monster. It was the 32nd homer of the season for Betts, a new career high.

Betts also singled and scored in Boston's two-run fourth, moving him into the major-league lead with 125 runs scored. In his last three games, he is 10 for 16 with three homers and four doubles, and he leads teammate J.D. Martinez (.328) in the AL batting race.

Renato Nunez had three hits for the Orioles, who fell to 2-15 against Boston and 18-61 on the road this season.

FOR STARTERS

Six days after throwing six scoreless innings against the Yankees, Eovaldi (6-7) allowed one run on four hits in five innings, walking none but uncorking a pair of wild pitches.

Baltimore starter Dylan Bundy (8-16) gave up four runs on five hits and three walks in three innings, striking out five.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: RHP Yefrey Ramirez is scheduled to start on Wednesday, but manager Buck Showalter said he wanted to give him an extra day or two. "I think Yefrey will pitch again, I just don't know when," Showalter said.

Red Sox: SS Xander Bogaerts was back in the lineup after feeling soreness in his left shoulder during a swing and leaving Sunday night's game. ... INF Eduardo Nunez ran on Sunday to test his hamstring and was scheduled to run again on Monday with the goal of having him back in the lineup by Wednesday or Friday.

UP NEXT

LHP David Price (15-7) tries to bounce back from a rough start in Yankee Stadium in the second game of the series in what could be his last start of the regular season.