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Wieters' return to the Orioles is good for everyone


Wieters' return to the Orioles is good for everyone

Matt Wieters is certainly pragmatic. He proved that on Friday. Wieters shocked everyone by agreeing to accept the Orioles’ $15.8 million qualifying offer.

He’ll be back with the Orioles in 2016. But, who will be with him?

The team has four players signed for next year: Wieters, J.J. Hardy, Ubaldo Jimenez and Adam Jones. They account for $57.6 million.

Zach Britton, Miguel Gonzalez, Manny Machado and Chris Tillman will be the most expensive of the 11 arbitration-eligible players the team will sign for next year.

Some of the more expensive arb-eligibles, Brian Matusz and Vance Worley, could now conceivably be traded or non-tendered.

With those players and the younger ones, the Orioles’ 2016 payroll is already at about $100 million.

How much room does that leave for additional free agency? If the Orioles have increased payroll flexibility, it could mean another $35 million. (Last year, their payroll reached about $120 million).

That would enable them to sign Chris Davis, but probably not enable them to spend much more on outside free agents such as Alex Gordon or Scott Kazmir, players who could fill the holes the Orioles want filled.

All along, Dan Duquette has said that he thought the team could sign “a couple” of their free agents. While many fans think the club shouldn’t have offered so much money to a catcher who missed so much time in 2014 and 2015, well they’re wrong.

After spending so much time and energy on Wieters’ rehabilitation, they didn’t want to have nothing in case he walked, and it looked like he would have.

RELATED: Wieters' return pleases Duquette, Davis talks go on

Until this week, none of the previous 34 free agents accepted a qualifying offer in the first three years of the system. Wieters, Houston’s Colby Rasmus and the Los Angeles Dodgers’ Brett Anderson all took the deal.

While Wieters’ agent, Scott Boras repeated his vehement opposition to the qualifying offer at this week’s General Managers meetings in Boca Raton, Fla., he never ruled out the catcher accepting it.

Boras surveyed the market, and couldn’t find any appetizing deals for Wieters.

As an agent, he’s gotten burned by the qualifying offer. Two years ago, Stephen Drew rejected Boston’s qualifying offer and then held out until May and lost several million dollars as a result.

Boras could have advised Wieters to wait. Teams always need catcher, and if a front-line catcher on a big money team got hurt in spring training, Wieters could potentially cash in.

But, like his manager, Buck Showalter, Wieters likes to be prepared. If he found an offer with a new team he liked, he could have spent a few months studying his new pitchers. Wieters wouldn’t want to join a club in March, and as astute and as quick a study as he is, he’d still have to cram and learn a new staff.

Even though it’s unlikely now that Wei-Yin Chen or Darren O’Day returns, Wieters will have many pitchers he knows, and he’ll be quick to make comfortable the new ones.

His signing enables Duquette, even if he fails to sign other free agents, and I think he will, to claim victory. The Orioles retained the best catcher on the free agent market.

If he has a good year, Wieters will probably go through this once again next year, and maybe then he’ll really leave.

When he says he’s comfortable in Baltimore, well, he is. Could he be comfortable in Atlanta, his adopted home town? Sure.

But, he has a manager who appreciates him even if the reaction from the fan base was decidedly mixed. Those who criticize him don’t see the work he puts in, the ability he has to coax Chris Tillman through a tough start or the hours he spent with Nick Hundley and Caleb Joseph in 2014 when he was rehabbing from Tommy John surgery.

Wieters never has become the superstar catcher many had hoped. He strikes out too much and runs too slowly. But, he has power and most important still has a good arm.

In 2015, he threw out 31 percent of runners trying to steal, just a tick below his lifetime average.

So, Wieters will be back, and so will Joseph, and most likely Steve Clevenger, too.

There won’t be an additional draft choice as compensation for Wieters leaving, but there will be something better.

The best catcher in the history of the Baltimore Orioles will be back for at least one more season.

MORE ORIOLES: Wieters says comfort level in Baltimore big factor

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

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Manny Machado trade rumors are dominating headlines at All-Star Game

Manny Machado could very well be playing in his final game in an Orioles uniform Tuesday night when he takes the field for the 89th Midsummer Classic at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C. 

According to Ken Rosenthal of The Athletic, the Dodgers are now in the driver's seat as a favorite to land the All-Star shortstop. 

Machado, 26, has gone back and forth on what he does and does not know as front office deals develop and speculation continues to grow. One thing he has made clear is that the rumors have not detracted from his enjoyment of being an All-Star.

Machado is signed through the end of the season, but the Orioles intend to deal him before the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline.

For the latest news and conversation surrounding Machado's status and the Orioles, follow along on Twitter


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Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers


Orioles reportedly have deal in place to trade Manny Machado to Dodgers

When Manny Machado returns from the 2018 MLB All-Star Break, he will not be donning a Baltimore Orioles uniform. 

The All-Star shortstop is expected to be traded from Baltimore to the Los Angeles Dodgers, barring any last-minute changes, according to multiple media reports. 

That being said, the Machado trade talks remain fluid and both the Phillies and Brewers are still trying to work a trade for the 26-year-old third baseman, according to Jon Heyman. The Diamondbacks are also reportedly trying to lure the four-time All-Star to the desert, while the Yankees decided to pull out of the Machado sweepstakes just prior to the All-Star festivities in Washington, D.C. 

While the details of the trade have yet to be revealed, the Dodgers will reportedly include top outfield prospect Yusniel Diaz in the Machado trade, according to Heyman.

According to Jim Bowden, when regular-season play returns, Machado will be in the National League, although which team he plays for is still up in the air.

With the Orioles sitting a historically awful 39.5 games out of first place at the All-Star Break, trading Machado is the first major step toward a complete overhaul. The Orioles drafted Machado out of Brito High School in Miami, Fla., with the No. 3 overall pick in the 2010 MLB Draft. Since then, Machado has drawn comparisons to iconic third basemen Brooks Robinson and Alex Rodriguez, despite being moved to shortstop full-time this past season, and is widely considered one of the three best position players in professional baseball.

Machado is currently batting .315 with 24 home runs and 65 RBIs.