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Orioles GM Duquette hopes small moves turn out to be big

Orioles GM Duquette hopes small moves turn out to be big

A few comments from Dan Duquette stood out in last Thursday’s 2016 season retrospective.

Not only did he say the season just past was “a personal favorite of mine,” but he reiterated that the Orioles were committed to keeping the ballpark experience affordable to fans in the Baltimore area. 

That means that ticket prices aren’t likely to be raised again, and the Orioles are probably not going to aggressively pursue big ticket free agents. 

Of course, they could re-sign some of their own free agents and extend others who are under club control, but again don’t expect the Orioles to chase. 

RELATED: NOT MANY PALCES TO TURN FOR ORIOLES FANS IN POSTSEASON

If there are what they perceive to be good values come February, maybe they’ll think again.

The Orioles’ 2016 season featured some good performances from players Duquette acquired for it: Michael Bourn, Hyun Soo Kim, Joey Rickard, Mark Trumbo and Vance Worley. 

While much of the attention last offseason was on the re-signings of Chris Davis, Darren O’Day and Matt Wieters, Duquette was justifiably proud of his quintet of acquisitions, none of which generated much excitement at the time it was consummated. 

Bourn was an Aug. 31 addition who provided speed and defense, Kim, a winter signing who was unknown to the fan base, Rickard, a Rule 5 draft pick, Trumbo, a shrewd trade and Worley, a waiver wire pickup nearly a year ago. 

In the coming offseason, Duquette is likely to be busy trying to fill holes in the outfield, designated hitter and catching. 

There will likely be countless moves, many of which will turn out to be meaningless, but he hopes a few that will be masterstrokes like the ones that made his season so enjoyable. 

The Orioles will undoubtedly add a player or two from the Rule 5 draft as have in each of Duquette’s first five drafts. 
The guess here is that they’ll look for an outfielder, like Rickard or a utility player in the Ryan Flaherty mold. Flaherty was Duquette’s first Rule 5 pick.

Last week, the Orioles made their first move of the offseason, adding left-handed pitcher Jed Bradley from Atlanta. Soon the team will start adding and subtracting players from the 40-man roster. 

They’ll have to add Rickard and left-handed pitcher Christopher Lee from the 60-day disabled list. Steve Pearce, who is also on the 60-day DL, is a coming free agent. 

Bourn, Pearce, Trumbo, Wieters as well as Pedro Alvarez, Brian Duensing, Tommy Hunter, Nolan Reimold and Drew Stubbs will also be free agents. 

RELATED: COULD ORIOLES FIND IN-HOUSE REPLACEMENTS FOR TRUMBO AND WIETERS

There will be some internal additions from the minors and more waiver claims. Often those players stay on the 40-man for a few days until Duquette finds a player he likes a little more. 

Last year, the Orioles stockpiled left-handed pitchers, but two of them, Edgar Olmos, a waiver claim, and C.J. Riefenhauser, acquired along with Trumbo, weren’t with the team very long at all.

Olmos returned to the team in spring training and was actually at Sarasota in the final weeks of the season had a need arisen. 

The Orioles will also sign some minor league free agents. Last year, they signed a South Korean first baseman Ji-Man Choi to a minor league contract. He was quickly lost to the Angels in the Rule 5 draft. 

Many more of those moves will be coming this offseason. Some will work out. 
 

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Trumbo homers twice, drives in 5 as Orioles beat Rangers 9-6

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Trumbo homers twice, drives in 5 as Orioles beat Rangers 9-6

 Mark Trumbo could have looked around the diamond at his Orioles teammates and wondered, "Who are these guys?"

With veterans Adam Jones and Chris Davis out of the starting lineup, Trumbo alone represented experience on a young, struggling team.

The slugger homered twice and drove in five runs, and Baltimore beat the Texas Rangers 9-6 in a back-and-forth game Sunday to avoid a four-game sweep.

"There's a few of us guys that have been around a little longer than most," Trumbo said. "The production comes and goes, but the mindset is the big thing, and I think these guys are doing a good job."

Entering the series, Trumbo hadn't gone deep since July 9. He completed the four games 7 for 16 with three homers and nine RBIs as Baltimore totaled 21 runs.

Austin Wynns and Jonathan Villar also homered for the Orioles.

Trumbo singled home a run in the first inning. His two-run homer in the third put Baltimore ahead to stay at 6-5 against starter Drew Hutchison (1-2), who was making his Rangers debut.

"Just pitch execution, poor command, too many balls up in the zone," Hutchison said. "When you do things like that, those are the results that you're going to have."

Both of Trumbo's homers came with two strikes.

"I've been getting to two strikes a lot lately and still getting some hits," he said. "I hit a changeup (from Hutchison), and I put some good wood on it."

The teams had scored in every half-inning before that, with the lead changing hands in four of those.

Trumbo left the game after his two-run homer against Matt Moore in the seventh.

"(Trumbo) almost didn't play today," Orioles manager Buck Showalter. "His knee's been a little sore. I noticed running around the bases on the second home run."

Another difference was Baltimore's beleaguered bullpen, which allowed only one run and one hit in 7 1/3 innings.

Tanner Scott (2-2), the second of six Orioles pitchers, shut out Texas for 2 1/3 innings, which tied his longest major league outing. He relieved starter Yefry Ramirez with the bases loaded and two outs in the second and struck out Ronald Guzman.

Mychal Givens retired the final four batters for his second save.

Jace Peterson led off the game with a single and scored on Trumbo's single for a short-lived 1-0 lead.

Ramirez retired the first two Rangers hitters but gave up a triple to Elvis Andrus. After two walks loaded the bases, Robinson Chirinos singled home two runs.

The Orioles regained the lead at 4-2 in the second on a three-run homer by Wynns, the No. 9 batter.

The Rangers scored three runs in the bottom half on Shin-Soo Choo's sacrifice fly, Andrus' groundout and a broken-bat single by Joey Gallo for a 5-4 advantage.

Gallo and Rougned Odor homered in each of the first three games of the series, but their streaks were stopped on Sunday.

TRAINER'S ROOM

Orioles: Davis didn't play for a second straight game. Showalter said, "He's banged up a little bit. We're going to give him the benefit of another day and the off day Monday." ... Showalter said it's likely that OF Craig Gentry, who has missed six weeks because of a fractured rib, will begin a rehab assignment Tuesday at Double-A Bowie. ... INF Steve Wilkerson (strained left oblique), who hasn't played since July 1, could go on a rehab assignment Thursday.

UP AND DOWN AGAIN

To make room for Hutchison on the roster, the Rangers optioned RHP Austin Bibens-Dirkx to Triple-A Round Rock for the third time this season.

JUST KEEP HITTING

Andrus extended his hitting streak to 16 games, equaling a career best. It's also the longest current run in the majors.

UP NEXT

Orioles: Begin a three-game series at Tampa Bay on Tuesday. Alex Cobb (3-14, 5.83 ERA) will start against Rays newcomer Tyler Glasnow (1-2, 4.27).

Rangers: LHP Martin Perez (2-4, 6.50) pitches Monday as Texas hosts Seattle and LHP Wade LeBlanc (6-2, 3.95) to begin a three-game series.

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Adam Jones helps Little League team with $8.5K donation

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Adam Jones helps Little League team with $8.5K donation

Adam Jones continues to be one of baseball's Good Dudes. 

Jones, who's been recognized before for his philanthropic efforts around Baltimore, made headlines recently when he donated $8.5 thousand dollars to the Mamie Johnson Little League team. 

Mamie Johnson are headed to the Mid-Atlantic Finals of the Little League World Series qualifying tournament but needed $10k in travel assistance to get there. That's where Jones, who orginally learned of the team on Twitter, stepped in: 

When asked about his donation, Jones said, "I want to see the next generation get an opportunity to succeed. Me being a black man trying to integrate more African-Americans into baseball, this was a no-brainer.''

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