Quick Links

Would long-term deal with Britton be a good idea?


Would long-term deal with Britton be a good idea?

Lately I’ve been busy spending other people’s money. With six key free agents and others looming in the coming years, it’s easy to do that.

I’ve suggested the Orioles preemptively extend Manny Machado and Jonathan Schoop. Doing that would be a great sign for the restive fan base.

Machado is entering his first year of arbitration, and Schoop is still a year away from that.

Then, there’s Zach Britton.

Britton earned nearly $3.2 million in 2015, and will make more, much more in 2016, his first season of arbitration eligibility.

Since becoming the Orioles closer in May 2014, Britton has converted 63 of 70 save opportunities. Since his move to the bullpen at the start of 2014, Britton has ERAs of 1.65 and 1.92 and allowed just seven home runs in 142 innings.

This season, Britton struck out nearly six times as many batters as he walked and was rewarded with an All-Star Game selection.

It’s almost hard to remember how Britton struggled with being a starter. In 2011, he won five of his first six starts before winning just one of his next 12.

Britton was demoted to Bowie in July after a brutal outing in Boston where he gave up eight runs in 2/3rds of an inning.

And when he came back up three weeks later, things got worse. Britton recorded just one out at Yankee Stadium as New York scored nine runs off him in a 12-run first.

While he ended 2011 with five wins in his last seven decisions and a team-high 11 wins, that was his high point as a starter.

Britton struggled with injuries and ineffectiveness in 2012 and 2013, manager Buck Showalter insisted at the end of 2013 that the left-hander was poised for big things.

He had no options remaining, and if the Orioles didn’t want him, another team would.

Britton began the year in the bullpen and after Tommy Hunter didn’t adapt to the closer’s role, the job was handed to Britton, and he performed brilliantly.

It will be interesting to see what the Orioles do this winter with Britton, who like Wei-Yin Chen, Chris Davis and Matt Wieters is represented by Scott Boras.

It’s probably unlikely that they’ll seek to lock him up for the long term even though he seems to be happy in Baltimore and has thrived under pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, both of whom will return next season.

The Orioles have another key reliever, Darren O’Day, who is a free agent, and they’d like to try and keep him.

Britton will command a formidable number in arbitration. MLBTraderumors.com has projected Britton earning $6.9 million, which as it stands now, would be the fourth highest on the club, behind only Adam Jones, Ubaldo Jimenez and J.J. Hardy.

That’s likely to be topped if the Orioles re-sign Chen, Davis, Wieters or Gerardo Parra or add a few players from outside the organization.

However, nearly $7 million is an enormous number for a reliever, and it’s hard to see the Orioles spending that much and more in a long-term deal—even for a closer as successful as Britton.

[RELATED: Chris Davis voted Most Valuable Oriole for second time]

Quick Links

Orioles' Adam Jones purchases Cal Ripken Jr.'s former estate, per report

AP Images

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. 


Quick Links

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."