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Could signing Bartolo Colon make sense for the Orioles if baseball returns? 

Could signing Bartolo Colon make sense for the Orioles if baseball returns? 

It appears “Big Sexy” is ready to make his big return to Major League Baseball, according to ESPN.

Colon is hopeful that with expanded rosters and the possibility of a season with less than 100 games, the starting pitcher will be able to find himself on an MLB roster if the season is able to start back up.

The 47-year-old has a number in mind, too: 46.

He wants to pass Hall of Famer Juan Marichal for the most number of innings pitched by a Domincan pitcher. In order to accomplish that, he said he’ll sign “with the first team who wants me.” Marichal threw 3,507 innings in his career. Colon needs a team to help him reach that number.

Could the Orioles be that team?

The Orioles have shown they’ve got no reservations about adding veteran talent to the back-end of the starting rotation, as they added Wade LeBlanc and Tommy Milone just a few weeks before Spring Training began in February. With starting pitching an issue, they could dip into the veteran pool to eat some innings

And if they’re looking for a boost, Colon could add some innings. If nothing else, it could be fun. 

Colon has pitched in the majors for 21 seasons since 1997 for 11 different teams. He’s accumulated a 247-188 record with a career 4.12 ERA in 575 games. He’s pitched 3,461 ⅔ innings in his career and posted a WHIP of 1.312. 

He last pitched in the majors for the Rangers in 2018, where he went 7-12 with a 5.78 ERA. He threw 146 ⅓ innings in 28 games, 24 of which were starts. 

The Orioles aren’t expected to be remotely competitive in 2020, even if a season takes place. The addition of Colon, as long as it doesn’t interfere with innings pitched for some of the younger players in the organization, could be a fun storyline to monitor as Colon looks to set the record for innings pitched by a Dominican player.

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Who the Orioles could pick at No. 2 in 2020 MLB Draft, according to one expert

Who the Orioles could pick at No. 2 in 2020 MLB Draft, according to one expert

In the 2019 MLB Draft, the Baltimore Orioles took a major step toward rebuilding their roster and farm system by selecting catcher Adley Rutschman No. 1 overall. The switch-hitting backstop projects to become the cornerstone of the franchise. This year, the team can add another major piece in the 2020 MLB Draft as they have the second overall pick.

Though the draft has been shortened from 40 rounds to just five, it doesn't truly impact what Baltimore will do at No. 2. There, they will still have an opportunity to select the next piece of their future, and plenty of good options will be available.

But, unlike last year where Rutchsman was the shoo-in all along, the choices are not as clear cut in 2020. MLB Pipeline senior writer Jim Callis, who has closely studied the group of prospects, believes there are a few different ways the Orioles could go.

“I don’t think it’s a clear cut decision at No. 2 yet," Callis told MASN's Steve Melewski.

When it comes to who Callis could see Baltimore selecting, the dream-scenario would be Spencer Torkelson out of Arizona State University. However, it's considered a dream because the most likely outcome is that the Detriot Tigers will take Torkelson first overall. The first baseman has a special bat according to Callis and resembles the talent Rutschman has demonstrated at the plate.

Though there is a slim chance of it happening, the idea of those two one day sharing a lineup card in Baltimore would have the Orioles over the moon with excitement.

“To image those two guys in the middle of the lineup," Callis said. "Woo, that would be pretty exciting.”

Yet, if Torkelson does go No. 1, there is still plenty of talent available in the draft class. A name that comes to mind for Callis is Vanderbilt's Austin Martin. The position player asserted himself as a top prospect after his 2019 collegiate season in which he led the SEC in batting average (.392) and on-base percentage (.486) all while helping his team dominate the toughest conference in baseball and claim a College World Series title.

In Martin, the Orioles could be getting another reliable bat for years and years to come, one Callis claims to be the "best pure hitter in the draft." However, Martin's major area of concern is defense, as many are still unsure as to what his best position is. 

“I think there’s some questions as to where he’s gonna play," Callis said of Martin. “Is he a center fielder, a third baseman, an offensive second baseman? That’s a little unclear.”

After struggling in the infield, largely due to an inability to consistently make the throws from the left side of the diamond, Martin made the move to center field. However, due to the shortened 2020 season, he lost valuable reps in the outfield. Despite that, Callis sees that and one other option as Martin's best spot in the pros.

“My guess is he’s going to be a center fielder or second baseman," Callis said.

If the Orioles are not sold on Martin, or want to grab a player of similar skill but for a little less price, Nick Gonzales out of New Mexico State could be a fit as well. Versatile, he led the NCAA in batting in 2019 with a .423 average.

Baltimore could also decide it wants to add a pitcher at No. 2 overall, and based on how Callis views that portion of the draft class, it could be a beneficial decision. After a down year for pitchers in 2019, things look a lot better in 2020.

“[2019] was not a good year for college pitching. It was probably, I’ve been doing this for over 30 years, the worst draft I’ve seen in terms of first-round caliber college arms," Callis said. "This year, college pitching is a strength. There’s a lot of good college pitching.”

The best, according to Callis, is Texas A&M's Asa Lacy. The left-handed starter was off to a strong start to the 2020 season (3-0, 0.75 ERA) before games were canceled. The Orioles could always use another arm to one day rely upon at the Major League level, and Callis sees Lacy as the best prospect to fit that mold.

Even with Lacy's potential, the talented pitching class may sway Baltimore away from him. The Orioles also hold the No. 30 and No. 39 picks in the draft in addition to their first-round selection, and Callis has a feeling that other very good arms will be available.

“There’s gonna be really good pitchers available at 30," Callis said. "Much more so than I think the hitters that will be available at 30.”

With the draft just a couple of weeks away, Martin, Gonzales and Lacy are seen as the three most likely options for the Orioles. No matter who the team ends up selecting with the No. 2 overall pick, Callis believes that they will become a big part of Baltimore's future success. A few years down the line, the 2020 class should have a good reputation in Callis' eyes.

“It’s the first year of the decade. I would bet that we look back in history and this would be one of the top two or three draft classes of the 2020s," Callis said.

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Which AL team could become the Nationals' top rival if divisions are realigned for 2020?

Which AL team could become the Nationals' top rival if divisions are realigned for 2020?

Major League Baseball is aiming to have the 2020 season take place amid the coronavirus pandemic. Due to the circumstances surrounding the sport, whenever baseball does come back, it will be different.

The league is still working through numerous hurdles that include creating a safe environment for players, staff and family. One proposed solution that has been floated around revolves around the league being reformatted to three 10-team divisions. The groupings would be based on locations and those teams would only play each other.

USA TODAY recently reported what those new divisions could look like. For the Nationals, the New York Yankees and Mets, Boston Red Sox, Baltimore Orioles, Philadelphia Phillies, Pittsburgh Pirates, Toronto Blue Jays, Tampa Bay Rays and Miami Marlins would become Washington's opponents.

That list of teams provides the Nationals with some familiar faces they are used to, but also a great deal of American League opponents they only see every so often during Interleague play. With more opportunities to face off with teams from the AL East, is there a chance that a rivalry or two could form? NBC Sports Boston's John Tomase believes so.

Tomase joined the Nationals Talk Podcast last week to give an outside perspective on how other teams around the league may view the Nationals. Among the topics discussed, Tomase listed some teams from the AL East he thought could become a foe of the Nationals in 2020.

Ideally, the Orioles would be the team one could point to and say a rivalry would grow from with the two teams close in proximity playing more often. Yet, location is only half the battle in a rivalry. There also needs to be a competitive spirit derived from both sides giving each other their best shot and trading blows. The Orioles aren't really up for that right now.

“In a perfect world you’d say the Orioles. But unfortunately we know they are irrelevant at the moment," Tomase said. "So, it’s not going to be then.”


Moving on to more formidable opponents, Tomase won't rule out the Rays as an option. Though they don't carry the same reputation and lore as other AL East squads, the Rays were a very good team in 2019. Winning 96 games, Tampa Bay entered the postseason as a Wild Card team just like the Nationals.

After winning the one-game playoff, the team used a fighter's mentality and got the most out of its roster to push the Astros toward elimination. Sound familiar?

“The Rays are the little team that could," Tomase said. "They are the team that very nearly kind of duplicated what the Nationals did last year, pushing the Astros to the limit.”

Though the Rays and Nationals would have some good battles in the new division, there's one team that Tomase thinks will provide Washington with the biggest challenge, therefore potentially sparking a rivalry.

"Really it’s the Yankees. Because the Yankees are a legit World Series contender, the Nationals are the defending World Series champs," Tomase said. "I think there you go right there."

The Yankees-Nationals rivalry makes sense. As Tomase notes, it has the competitive nature needed for a rivalry to grow. The Nationals are the defending World Series champs and a team that showed its skill in 2019, even if some think luck played a big part. New York was just a few games away from being Washington's opponent in the Fall Classic. The new division would allow two really good teams to get more looks at each other.

Additionally, the offseason activities of both squads bring more similarities. The Yankees have always been known as big spenders and proved it once again by signing Gerrit Cole. Washington was no slouch, however, giving a large contract to Stephen Strasburg. 

The Yankees and Nationals have big-time players and are at the top of the food chain in baseball entering 2020. With the potential for the two to meet more often, a new rivalry seems plausible.

"I think you’re really looking at a Yankees-Nationals one-two in that reconfigured East if that’s the way baseball goes," Tomase said. 

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