O’s Ink Balfour to 2 year, 14 mil deal


The Orioles finally spent some money. Hopefully this move will mean a few more are coming in the next few days. Still need OF, DH, and a SP. Plenty on the market. I like Balfour a lot. Was an absolute stud last year posting a 2.59 ERA with 38 saves. Only 72 Ks, but he gets the job done, and is an absolute savage.  A’s fans loved this dude, would go wild when he entered the game. He’s the perfect closer to land in B-more.

A little surprised he went so cheap. I know he has injury issues, but dude was an All-Star and reliable all season.


Phillies put Papelbon, Lee, and Hamels on the block. O’s need to make a move.


The O’s are in need of a closer and a starting the pitcher. The Phillies are willing to sell some of their top talent in the rotation and pen. The O’s need to take a serious look at some possibile moves. Papelbon, who is 33, is the first target. His 13 million a year contract is not what the Orioles are looking for, but his numbers as a closer are. His past two year in Philly have been pretty good, posting a 2.44 ERA in ’12  and 2.92 in ’13. He recorded 31 and 38 saves, also missing some time with injuries in both years. The Phillies want to move him so a deal could easily be made. We know the Phillies will be looking for pitching, and they are not going to sell him cheap, so expect one of the top O’s pitching prospects to be involved. Gausman, Rodriguez,  Bundy(probably not) are what the Phils are looking for. If the O’s want to spend, they could try and do a package deal and pick up Cole Hamels/Cliff Lee at the same time. Hamles is 29 while Lee is 35, and they are both dominate lefties. The Phillies would rather move Lee, so we’ll start with that. Cliff Lee and Papelbon are going to cost the O’s a lot. Moving JJ Hardy along with a Gausman/Rodriguez/Bundy and another top prospect would probably be the only way the Phillies move both these guys. I just don’t see the O’s moving all three prospects and likely another 1 or 2 like Schoop. The O’s will also take a huge hit on their salary, absorbing 13 mil from Papelbon and and  21.5 from Lee. JJ Hardy’s 7 million a year contract would help a little.

The O’s are set up to win this season. Both New York and Boston are missing key players from the team last year. The Rays should be without David Price. The O’s desperately need pitching, and a deal like this would give them a solid #1 pitcher, which is what they have been searching for, and a shut down closer. Looking at the division, now is the time to move prospect for proven veterans. Instead of Lee, the O’s could go for Hamels but would likely have to move Bundy, Hardy, and possibly Rodriguez.

The O’s have all the pieces to make this trade. There are not many teams with talented prospects like the O’s, and I’m sure Philly called the Orioles immediately when they decided to put this talent on the block. I like Bundy, Gausman, and Rodriguez  as the possible 1,2,3 of the future, but with the way the division looks now, this could be one of the only years the O’s have a chance to make a run for the Series. It’s do or die right now for Buck and the boys. The AL East is at its weakest its been in years(still very strong), and the O’s need to strike. Pull the trigger and bring in some veteran pitching. The Phillies are more than willing to move these players if the right deal is put on the table.

Possible Trades:

Philies have a strong minor league system and can provide a solid prospect for the O’s.

1.) Papelbon + minor leaguer for JJ Hardy + a top prospect (Rodriguez/Gausman)

2.) Papelbon + Lee/Hamels + minor leaguer for JJ Hardy 3 top prospects and 1-2 good prospects

Phillies could also be looking at Matusz, Tommy Hunter, and O’Day as possible players to land. They will need someone to close for them if they move Papelbon.

O’s Feldman Leaves for Astros


(MLB Trade Rumors) 

The Astros have agreed to a three-year, $30MM contract with right-hander Scott Feldman, according to Ken Rosenthal of FOX Sports ). It’s been a busy few days for Feldman’s agent, Matt Brown, as he also represents Curtis Granderson, who just agreed to a four-year, $60MM deal with the Mets.

Feldman’s contract represents both a significant raise for the pitcher — he earned $6MM in 2013 — and a significant change in philosophy for the Astros. Houston trimmed payroll in 2013 to the point where Erik Bedard‘s $1.15MM salary made him the only Astro with a salary north of $1MM. By signing Feldman and acquiring Dexter Fowler and his $7.35MM salary earlier this week, the Astros are making good on their promise to fans that they will spend money this offseason.

I will be the first to admit I trust Dan Duquette and Buck Showalter. 100% absolute, complete trust in the rebuild of the Orioles. But, why are we still in rebuild mode? Shouldn’t we be putting the final pieces of the puzzle together to put ourselves in contention? We have the Yankees doing their usual spend, spend, spend (AND the Mariners, ha!), and we’re sitting waiting to pick up middle-tier guys. Newsflash, players want to be paid. In my humble opinion as a long-time suffering Orioles fan… give us the guys we need to win. Spend the money. Keep putting people in the seats and at the bar in center field. Bring people to the Yard to stuff their faces with Boog’s and down it all at Dempsey’s. The only way that’s going to happen, is if we win. The only way we’re going to win, is if we have the players in-place to do so. Feldman wasn’t the guy to take us to the promised land, but it sure seems like we have more holes to fill now than this time last year.


Mariners sign Cano to 10 year 240mil contract, Bad News for O’s


With the Mariners overpaying big time for Cano, this means the Yankees now have 40+ million to spend on starting pitching. This likely means they will sign two top starters for 15-20 million each, spiking the the price for pitching. As starters become more valuable as the Yanks sign them to ridiculous contacts, players like Bronson Arroyo and Paul Maholm will look to cash in. My guess is the Yankees sign Ervin Santana or Bartolo Colon to a monster deal and then sign Kuroda to a similar one. They also have their eye on Masahiro Tanaka from Japan who posted ridiculous numbers last year. This leaves the O’s with limited options with all starting pitchers now wanting huge contracts. Further down the list are unreliable pitchers like Jerome Williams(32), Tommy Hanson, Shaun Marcum(31), and Jason Marquis(35). One of these older pitchers may be a target with the market up. Tommy Hanson had some promise but has dealt with injuries his entire career. Roberto Hernandez aka Fausto Carmona before being caught for fake identification so he would be younger is available too.

O’s need to make a move quickly before the Yankees ruin the market, but if I’m a starting pitcher, I’m waiting for the Yankees to make a move and cash in.

Funny thing about the Cano deal, the Mariners will still not make the playoffs. The offense is not very good. The division is stacked(OAK, TEX, LAA, HOU[jokes]). They need to spend around 30 mil on the outfield and pick up another starting pitcher to even have a chance at the playoffs.


Jim Johnson traded to A’s for prospect

The Athletics have acquired right-hander Jim Johnson from the Orioles for second basemanJemile Weeks, Jon Heyman of CBSSports.com has confirmed. Ken Rosenthal of Fox Sportsfirst reported the deal.

Baltimore was reportedly shopping their closer for salary relief in recent weeks. Johnson, 30, is projected to earn more than $10 million in 2014 according to Matt Swartz of MLB Trade Rumors, so the Orioles are saving a nice chunk of change with the trade.

In 74 games this past season, Johnson managed to lead MLB in both saves (50) and blown saves (nine). He had a 2.94 ERA (143 ERA+) and a 3.11 K/BB in 70 1/3 innings. Johnson also led MLB with 51 saves in 2012 and saves are an easy way to earn a huge salary through arbitration. The sinkerballer is due to become a free agent next winter.

Weeks, 26, hit .303/.340/.421 (110 OPS+) in 97 games as a rookie in 2011 but he has been unable to build on that success. He put up a .221/.305/.304 (73 OPS+) line in 2012 before spending most of 2013 in Triple-A. Rickie’s little brother did manage a .271/.376/.369 line in 130 minor league games this past season.

This move means the Orioles are looking to sign a 10 mil pitcher. This is a great move. Jim Johnson was decent but led the league in blown saves. Paying 10 mil for the league leader in blown saves makes no sense. People are complaining that the Orioles are not getting enough in return. I disagree. Jemile Weeks hit a sophomore slump in 2012 and played in the minors in ’13 after hitting .303 his rookie year in ’11. This is a young, talented prospect who needed a change of scenery. This trade also gives the Orioles a second basemen who is very capable of batting .300, stealing 30 bases, and scoring 100 runs as a #1 / #2 hitter.

Going forward, it looks like the O’s will promote a current player to the closer role. Tommy Hunter and Darren O’Day looked impressive at the end of the year and could fill in.

The O’s now have money to spend on a starting pitcher and a left fielder. Bartolo Colon must be asking for a ton if the A’s signed Kazmir the other day, so I would cancel him off the list. I would imagine Kuroda, Santana, Burnett, Garza and Ubaldo are hoping to cash in too. Looking at the recently signed contracts of Kazmir(2y 22mil), Hudson(2y 23mil), Haren(1y 10mil), and Nolasco(4y 49mil), the top tier pitchers will likely be looking for 13mil + because of the Nolasco deal. The O’s will likely not sign the top 5-6 guys available. This leaves the Orioles with options like Bronson Arroyo, Roy Halladay, Paul Maholm, Scott Feldman(resign), Joe Saunders, and a few other veterans. I don’t think any of these guys are worth 10 mil, and I doubt the O’s will move any valuable prospects for a veteran, so they will likely overpay for a Roy Halladay or Joe Saunders unless they are willing to cough up cash and years to Ubaldo or Garza.

There is plenty of talent in the outfield, but once again, the O’s will be looking for a lower contract. David DeJesus(2y 10.5) and Marlon Byrd(2y 16 mil) are mid tier outfielders that the O’s will be looking to match contracts off of. Kelly Johnson, Andres Torres, and Rajai Davis look like great targets for 5-6 million dollar outfielders. If the O’s do spend on a SP, Reed Johnson could be a 3 million dollar target. Plenty of options. Also would look at Raul Ibanez for DH. He’s 42, but was very good last year in Seattle.

According to ESPN

The Orioles also announced Monday night they tendered contracts to six of their arbitration eligible players: Matt WietersChris DavisTommy HunterBud NorrisBrian Matusz and Troy Patton.

They also re-signed Steve Pearce and Nolan Reimold

Not too sure what this means. Bud Norris being tendered means hes in the starting rotation. Hammel should walk, leaving Gonzalez, Tillman, Chen and him as starters. The O’s now have the options to sign an a top tier OF and promote Gausman/Britton /Bundy(when ready) or sign a 8-10 mil pitcher and sign a 4-5 mil outfielder to start in LF. The O’s are contenders and it would be nice if they could sign Choo, Beltran, or Nelson Cruz with a decent starter like Arroyo.

Now that the O’s have money, things should get interesting in the next few weeks with teams signing players to help the O’s mold contracts around their targets tier’s.


Orioles Postseason Chatter


Tim Hudson just signed with San Fran for 2 years 23 mil. He is coming off a serious injury and is 38. I think the Orioles should be spending their money on younger and healthier players. 11.5 a year is too much of a risk for a low market team like the O’s. There is also buzz around the Orioles looking seriously at Carlos Beltran. If the O’s are going to spend, this is the year in free agency. It sounds like Beltran wants at least a 3 year deal. Im guessing he’d make around 13-15 a year, and if a bidding war begins, it could be bad news for the O’s. Apparently the Yankees, Red Sox, Royals, and a few other teams are very interested. If the O’s are willing to spend, they should send 3 years 45 mil to Beltran, go pick up a starting pitcher for 8-10 mil a year, sign a right handed power/average hitting DH, and ink Omar Infante or trade for Ian Kinsler(Texas), Howie Kendrick(LAA), or another proven second basemen. These additions to the team could really help the Orioles over the hump of last year in which Nate McLouth slumped, Brian Roberts got hurt, the DH position could not get it together all year, and the starting pitching was miserable.

A few, but not all the avalibe veteran starting pitchers include: Ubaldo JimenezErvin SantanaBartolo ColonHiroki KurodaA.J. BurnettRicky NolascoMatt GarzaJosh JohnsonScott Kazmir, and Phil Hughes. With Hudson signing for 2y 23mil, the top tier pitchers will be looking for the same. This means pitchers like Phil Hughes, Scott Kazmir, Ricky Nolasco and a few others could go for 8-10 mil a year. The question is, would these pitchers be worth it? With Gausman and Bundy on the cusp of being dominate pitchers, should the O’s pull the trigger? Bundy should be throwing in December and ready to go for the beginning of the season. Gausman struggled with command last year, but should preform better next season with the experience he got this year. The current rotation of Tillman, Gonzalez, Chen, Hammel, Norris, and Feldman does not cut it in the AL East. Feldman and Hammel are free agents, and I expect them to walk. Replacing Hammel with Ubaldo/Colon/E Santana/J Johnson could make a huge difference. The rotation would look like (new pitcher), Tillman, Gonzalez, Chen, and Norris. If the 2-4 and stay healthy and Bud Norris gets back to his Ace days at Houston, this could be a very good rotation.


Orioles Intrigued by Hudson? Sure! Why not?


(MLB Trade Rumors) “The Orioles are intrigued by free agent starter Tim Hudson and have discussed him internally, reports Roch Kubatko of MASNsports.com.  The 38-year-old righty fits the Orioles’ profile, and the O’s have Braves connections in recent hires Dave Wallace and Dom Chiti.”

This.. this is what dreams are made of. I would love to know what “the Orioles’ profile” is. I love this time of year– football season, NCAA Basketball has begun, and the MLB Hot Stove is just warming up.

Bottom line, our pitching stunk more than the poop plant in Essex last year. I love this team, but tough decisions must be made in order for us to move forward with the strong foundations we have in place in Davis, Machado, Bundy, Schoop, etc. Will a 38-year old Hudson, recovering from a severe ankle injury, be the missing piece to the puzzle? No. Probably not. But it’s a veteran presence in the clubhouse with enough dominant pitching experience to go around. I don’t just like it, I love it. Bring Huddy to Baltimore.