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What are the five biggest questions for Orioles?


What are the five biggest questions for Orioles?

Spring training begins in 15 days, and while there are still moves to be made for the Orioles, let’s look ahead and see what the biggest storylines in Sarasota are likely to be.

1) Who’s going to be the fifth starter?

In words, the Orioles biggest priority this offseason was to improve their pitcher. In deeds, their biggest priority was to re-sign Chris Davis.

Without Wei-Yin Chen, the Orioles starting rotation has Chris Tillman, Kevin Gausman, Miguel Gonzalez and Ubaldo Jimenez.

There needs to be a fifth starter.

Other than a change of heart and a decision to forfeit the 14th pick in the draft for a declining Yovani Gallardo, the Orioles will look internally first.

The killer W’s: Tyler Wilson, Vance Worley and Mike Wright have the first opportunity.

Wilson and Wright have options remaining. Worley doesn’t.

There’s always the bounceback starter option. Mat Latos’ has been linked with the team for a number of weeks, but he remains unsigned.

The Orioles could also make a late trade. Around this time four years ago, they dealt away Jeremy Guthrie, but don’t have a lot they’re willing to trade.

2) Who’s going to play right field?

There are many more attractive free agent candidates here than there are among starting pitchers.

Matt Joyce, David Murphy, Will Venable, Shane Victorino—and others.

A left-handed or switch hitter is preferable.

For the moment, Nolan Reimold is the likely right field starter, but they’d really like another left-handed hitter.

The answer to this question could help answer this next one, too.

3) Who’s going to lead off?

Manager Buck Showalter’s choices seem to be Reimold, Hyun-soo Kim or Manny Machado.

Machado had great success as a leadoff hitter, but Showalter might want to move him lower in the lineup.

Kim has great on-base numbers in South Korea, but he’s on the heavy side for a leadoff guy, and if a right-handed hitter led off, he could bat second with Adam Jones third and Chris Davis fourth.

Reimold has had some experience batting first and it didn’t go badly.

It could also be someone who’s not currently on the roster.

4) How will Kim adapt to playing in the U.S.?

It’s generally assumed that Kim will play left field, but no one has seen him play yet.

That’s a lot of pressure on a player who has yet to experience the rigors of U.S. baseball.

Kim has been working out with Brady Anderson, who insists that players be in tip-top shape, and if he can do well with him, then that’s a strong recommendation.

He showed lots of power as well as the on-base ability in South Korea, and if he could hit 15 home runs with a .285 average, then that would be fine.

But, that’s a difficult assumption to make.

5) Will Dylan Bundy be healthy?

Five of the seven bullpen spots are accounted for with Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Mychal Givens, Brian Matusz and Darren O’Day.

As long as Bundy’s healthy, he’ll have the sixth spot.

Wilson, Worley or Wright could take the seventh. Or it could be Chaz Roe, who dazzled in his first two months with the Orioles and disappointed afterward.

He’s out of options, so if doesn’t make the team, he’d likely be lost on waivers. That’s the case with Worley, too.

T.J. McFarland still has an option, and he’ll probably spend time driving between Baltimore and Norfolk this year.

If Bundy has to start the season in extended spring training or totally on the shelf, that opens up another spot.

There are other questions, too. Who are going to get the final bench spots? It seems that if someone else isn’t signed, Efren Navarro and Rule 5 draft pick Joey Rickard have the advantage.

It’s a big spring for Dariel Alvarez and Henry Urrutia, who’ll try and make strong impressions.

Showalter could decide to keep Paul Janish, who’s back on a minor league contract, too.

NOTE: The Orioles have signed left-handed pitcher Chris Dwyer to a minor league contract. Dwyer pitched three scoreless innings for Kansas City in 2013.

RELATED: Who will be Orioles' Opening Day DH?

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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."