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While expected, Chen's loss was a big one for Orioles


While expected, Chen's loss was a big one for Orioles

SARASOTA, Fla. – Wei-Yin Chen’s departure was a foregone conclusion for the Orioles.

Chen was one of the biggest bargains in baseball. In his four years with the Orioles, he earned $15.466 million and won 46 games.

His average annual salary with the Miami Marlins will be $16 million, and he has a five-year contract with a sixth-year option. Chen also has an opt-out clause after two years.

While the Orioles were certainly never going to play in that territory, Chen’s contract might have made sense for them.

Dan Duquette has said that opt-out clauses won’t work for the Orioles, and he’s probably right. But, if Chen has two good years and opts out of the Marlins deal, he’ll be 32, and in effect the Orioles would have gotten arguably the best six years out of Chen.

The thinking here is that the Orioles got the best four years out of Chen, and he’s not likely to get better over the five years of his Marlins deal.

Chen represents Duquette’s best signing in his four-plus years as Orioles vice president of baseball operations. Getting 46 wins for les than $4 million a year is a bargain.

Manager Buck Showalter carefully handled Chen, keeping him away from the Toronto Blue Jays whose right-handed hitting lineup had a big advantage. He also gave Chen extra days of rest.

The Orioles’ strategies of resting him annoyed Chen. In 2015, they sent Chen to Frederick for 10 days to keep him fresh, but it upset Chen and his agent, Scott Boras.

Boras remains upset with the Orioles and said so at the General Managers Meetings in November.

Chen did little to fit in with his teammates. While he did learn English, he only rarely spoke it publicly, insisting on an interpreter.

Because Chen didn’t speak English publicly, fans didn’t get a chance to know him, and he appeared at FanFest just once in his four years with the team.

His loss, which was expected, will be a big one. Chris Tillman and Kevin Gausman must have big years, and the Orioles still need to sign another starter from a dwindling pool.

The only top shelf starters left are Yovani Gallardo and Ian Kennedy. Gallardo has been linked with the Orioles, Kennedy hasn’t.

Otherwise, the Orioles will have to look within or at a pitcher with injury or performance concerns for a fifth starter.

Gerardo Parra also left. At the beginning of free agency, Parra looked like a decent bet to stay, but the Orioles didn’t feel he was worth the kind of contract—three years, $27.5 million—given to him to Colorado.

While the Rockies seemingly have a surplus of outfielders, and the Orioles have been mentioned as a possible trade partner, there doesn’t seem to be a match.

The Orioles need a right fielder, but they need a starting pitcher more and can’t be giving up on any of their starters or potential starters.

RELATED: Young pitchers stand out on Orioles' 2nd day of minicamp

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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."