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The Rundown: Trey Mancini Has Earned a Spot

Trey Mancini swings for the Orioles.

Opening Day is less than a week away and there are many questions that still surround the 25-man roster for the Orioles. Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette will more than likely wait all the way until the deadline to set the team as they figure out the last two bullpen arms and final bench spots.

However the roster shakes out, the Orioles will once again be positioned to contend for a playoff berth.

 

Mancini Has Earned a Spot

The Orioles can go a lot of different ways with this, but Trey Mancini needs to be more than a pinch hitter and spot starter. However, there’s a good chance he may not even crack the 25-man roster, especially when the Orioles finally need a fifth starter. That would be a huge mistake.

Craig Gentry looks to be the perfect fourth or fifth outfielder and Aneury Tavarez has shown enough talent to remain in the organization, but Mancini is ready to help this team win now.

Unfortunately, this is what happens when you have two outfielders – Hyun-soo Kim and Seth Smith – who are not everyday players, and Mark Trumbo playing the same position as Mancini. There’s not a lot of flexibility.

I think when the Orioles return to the normal four-man bench, they will elect to go with the defense of Gentry over the bat of Mancini. This would be a shame as there’s no doubt in my mind that Mancini can help this team win ballgames on a consistent basis all season long.

 

Gausman Named Opening Day Starter

In the least surprising news, Kevin Gausman was officially named the Opening Day starter for the O’s. This was a foregone conclusion once Chris Tillman was shut down with a shoulder injury. This is a huge honor for a pitcher who should be in store for a big season.

Gausman flashed over the final two months of last season that he is ready to take the next step and I’m excited to see if that will translate over 30 starts. It’s a lot to put on a pitcher who has never thrown 200 innings, but Gausman needs to step up if this team is going to have any chance of competing.

We still don’t know how long Tillman will be sidelined, and with the question marks surrounding the rest of the rotation, Gausman needs to be a stabilizing force every five days.

 

Minor Leaguers to Follow

Chance Sisco, Cody Sedlock, Ryan Mountcastle and Chris Lee headline the minor leaguers to follow this year, but here are some other names that O’s fans should follow that aren’t on any top 10 lists.

OF Cedric Mullins – It will be hard to find another player who has improved his stock this spring as much as Mullins. The 22-year-old had a big 2016 season with the Shorebirds and has played extremely well this spring, including an opposite field home run against Red Sox closer Craig Kimbrel. Mullins may start the year in Frederick, but it shouldn’t be long before he is in Bowie. The centerfielder brings speed and even some pop to his game, the former of which is a skill lacking in the organization.

RP Stefan Crichton – The 24-year-old pitcher has been in the organization since 2013, but it appears he is close to helping out the big-league team. Crichton has not allowed a run this spring in Grapefruit League action and pitched so well that there was speculation he could crack the 25-man roster. We all know how the O’s shuffle their relievers so there’s a strong chance we see the right-hander at some point in 2017.

SP Matthias DietzThis right-hander was the Orioles third pick in the 2016 June draft, but gets lost in the shuffle behind Sedlock and left-hander Keegan Akin. However, Dietz has opened eyes this spring and as a college pitcher, he could be on a fast track to the big leagues. Dietz could start the year in Delmarva, but maybe the Orioles get a little aggressive and start the 6’5 righty in Frederick.

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O’s Face Plenty of Questions Heading Into Offseason

head shots of dan duquette with orioles manager

Baltimore’s lack of offense finally caught up with the team and ended their rollercoaster season. They earned high hopes as they built a nice division lead midway through the season, but the lineup lost its production in the last couple of months.

Now the Orioles will face some tough question all throughout the offseason and the first one starts with Buck Showalter.

The manager has had full reigns throughout his tenure in Baltimore, but not bringing in Zach Britton in the biggest game of the season has caused many to question his judgement. Why not bring in the best relief pitcher in a tie game?

It’s a question Showalter will have to endure the whole offseason and he won’t have a satisfying answer for those asking.

However, Britton still wouldn’t have saved the Orioles because of their struggling lineup. The team was one Trumbo home run away from being shut out and couldn’t put anything together against mediocre pitching, managing just five baserunners (four hits and a walk) in 11 innings.

It was bound to happen to a lineup that relied on power all season, and the management will have to figure out whether or not to stick with the same strategy next year.

Mark Trumbo, Matt Wieters, Pedro Alvarez, Steve Pearce, Nolan Reimold, Michael Bourn and Drew Stubbs all hit free agency and the team will have to decide who they can afford to bring back.

It’s already being reported that Wieters and Baltimore are “millions of dollars” apart. Will the Birds part ways with the veteran catcher? They could reunite with Nick Hundley and pair him with either Caleb Joseph or Francisco Pena while they wait for Chance Sisco to come up.

Duquette & Co. will also have to decide between Trumbo and Alvarez, if they choos to bring one of the players back. Both are defensive liabilities and the team can’t make the mistake of keeping two designated hitters on the roster again. Trumbo had the better season, but had a rough second half and will be more expensive than Alvarez. Fans are already calling Trumbo “the next Nelson Cruz.” Letting Cruz walk has proven to be a mistake, as he’s had two very productive seasons in Seattle.

Will we be saying the same of Trumbo?

Then there’s the question of role players for next year’s outfield. Showalter won’t give Hyun Soo Kim a full-time position, meaning the team will have to figure things out internally or through free agency. Pearce and Bourn could be favorites to re-sign and would be cheap options. Could the team make a run at a true leadoff hitter, like Rajai Davis? Or will they stay in-house and promote Christian Walker?

Another issue is where to put Trey Mancini. The first baseman doesn’t have anything left to prove offensively in the minors, but the O’s could try turning him into an outfielder. He’s blocked by Chris Davis at his natural position and would only get time as the designated hitter. Does he transition to an outfielder and return to the minors?

It’ll be a tough offseason for Dan Duquette and he’ll have difficult decisions to make in order to make this a playoff team again. The Orioles won’t be the biggest spenders as they were a year ago, and will likely look for bargains, aside from their own free agents.

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#Staturday: Zach Britton & Pedro Alvarez Pace Orioles

side profile of orioles player britton holding glove by face before pitch

Happy Staturday Birdland! The Orioles are winning, Zach Britton is still nasty, and all is right in the world. Let’s get to this week’s stats!

The Orioles have hit ton of home runs this year (163, to be exact) but have lacked triples:

Last night, the Orioles set the MLB record for the longest streak without hitting a triple at fifty-nine games. The Orioles held the previous streak at fifty-eight games, set in 1999. 

Zach Britton is setting records left and right. Here are just a few of them:

Closer Zach Britton now holds the Orioles’ record for most consecutive converted save opportunities at thirty-six.

Zach Britton has pitched in thirty-seven consecutive appearances without allowing an earned run, the third longest streak in MLB history.

Pedro Alvarez’s bat is hot and he is smacking home runs like it’s his job. Oh wait…

Pedro Alvarez has hit five home runs in his last three games and six home runs in his last five games.

Get more stats like these on Twitter, @BirdlandStats!

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Baysox Celebrate Orange & Black Friday

Holiday deals are still going strong as the Baysox introduce Orange & Black Friday. On Friday, Dec. 12 ONLY, fans can purchase a special 16-ticket pack and receive a free Kevin Gausman bobblehead and an autographed Eastern League baseball.

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News Teams Assemble!

They can write, they can talk, and some even look good on camera. Now how does this group fare on the softball field? Local anchors, reporters, talk show hosts and journalists of all ages and sizes will answer that question on July 26, 2015.

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Louie’s Turkey Time Coloring Contest

Get an early start on your Thanksgiving celebration with Louie and the Baysox. Color the picture of Louie the Pilgrim and send it back to the Baysox by Monday, Nov. 24. Three winners will be selected to receive a special prize package.

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Baysox Host Free Holiday Open House

The Bowie Baysox annual Holiday Open House will be held at P.G. Stadium Friday, Dec. 5 from 6-8 p.m. This free event will include crafts and games on the concourse, the team gift shop will be open and Santa Claus will make an appearance.

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Baysox Holiday Ticket Packages Available

Looking for the perfect gift for the baseball fan in your life or a great present for a family looking to spend more time together in 2015? The Baysox have two holiday ticket packages available and each includes a Kevin Gausman bobblehead as a free gift

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