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Akin looks to build on career year in Minors

MLB.com

ST. PETERSBURG -- As the Orioles look to the future, beginning a rebuild this season that is expected to take several years, the Major League present has often been tough to stomach. The trades of seven key players, a swap that netted them 15 players and reshaped their Top 30 Prospects list, have given them hope.

But one of the biggest bright spots of the Minor League season wasn't a new face. It was Double-A Bowie's Keegan Akin. Akin -- the O's second-round Draft pick in 2016 -- was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year last week, the first Orioles pitcher in a decade (Brad Bergesen, '08) to take home the honors.

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ST. PETERSBURG -- As the Orioles look to the future, beginning a rebuild this season that is expected to take several years, the Major League present has often been tough to stomach. The trades of seven key players, a swap that netted them 15 players and reshaped their Top 30 Prospects list, have given them hope.

But one of the biggest bright spots of the Minor League season wasn't a new face. It was Double-A Bowie's Keegan Akin. Akin -- the O's second-round Draft pick in 2016 -- was named the Eastern League Pitcher of the Year last week, the first Orioles pitcher in a decade (Brad Bergesen, '08) to take home the honors.

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"It brought in some good competition, pitching and position players," Akin said of the rush of new midseason arrivals. "My old coach used to say, 'Competition breeds excellence,' and if you get a lot of competition in an organization, you are bound to have some pretty good farmhands."

Akin certainly rose to the occasion, posting a 14-7 record with 142 strikeouts and a 3.27 ERA in 25 starts in his first season at Double-A. Ranked as the Orioles' No. 12 prospect, Akin gave up no more than three earned runs in 20 of those starts, 10 of which he allowed one earned run or zero earned runs.

The key?

"Attacking hitters with my fastball," said Akin, who held opposing hitters to a .225 batting average, with 9.28 strikeouts per nine innings. "It's pretty hard to hit a well-located fastball. So if you can establish that and be aggressive and keep hitters on their heels, you can have some success.

"I had a better feeling coming out of spring this year than last year. This year went better than last Spring Training, I came into it in better shape and overall just felt better. When you build up that little bit of confidence, it's easier to start strong and stay positive."

The 23-year-old, listed at 6-foot and 225 pounds, was also named an Eastern League All-Star and was Pitcher of the Week from Aug. 13-19. The Michigan native, who was drafted out of Western Michigan University, is spending a few days at home before heading to Sarasota, Fla., for instructional league this fall.

Although Akin is done pitching for the season, he'll go through strength and conditioning camp and continue to try to hone his craft and get on the big league radar.

"I think there's a lot of opportunities for everybody right now," Akin said. "If you are in the farm system, everyone has an opportunity, and I think everyone understands that. It makes it a little more -- I don't want to say fun, because it's always fun -- but you definitely can see those opportunities."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles

Orioles land pair of international players

Club agrees to terms with infielder Ramirez, right-hander del Rosario out of DR
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with a pair of international players: infielder Moises Ramirez and right-handed pitcher Carlos del Rosario.

Ramirez is a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, while Del Rosario -- also out of the D.R. -- is 19.

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles announced Tuesday that they have agreed to terms with a pair of international players: infielder Moises Ramirez and right-handed pitcher Carlos del Rosario.

Ramirez is a 16-year-old out of the Dominican Republic, while Del Rosario -- also out of the D.R. -- is 19.

"Today's signings are part of a coordinated plan for the Orioles to re-establish the club in the international recruiting arena," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said in a news release. "Ramirez has all the tools to be a solid offensive player in the middle of the diamond, and del Rosario has the size and pitches to develop into a Major League pitcher. Our player-development staff looks forward to working with them to further develop their skills."

The O's are making a concerted effort to invest internationally after years of trading away their allotted funds in the area. As part of the rebuild, the club is looking to beef up scouting and analytics, slashing the Major League payroll to reallocate those resources elsewhere.

The Orioles entered this week with more international money to spend than any team in baseball, and they're rumored to be serious contenders for coveted Cuban outfielder Victor Victor Mesa once he's eligible to be a free agent.

Tuesday's pair of signings are unlikely to take the O's out of the running, though it obviously will diminish their pool. Baltimore also reportedly sent $750,000 to Philadelphia on Monday in exchange for Minor League first baseman Jack Zoellner.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles

O's likely to shut Harvey down with elbow injury

MLB.com

TORONTO -- Hunter Harvey will likely be shut down for the remainder of the season with a right elbow injury. The Orioles will continue with further tests, but manager Buck Showalter is pessimistic that the team's eighth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, will pitch again this season.

"[Harvey]'s had some elbow discomfort they didn't like in his last throw session," Showalter said. "We felt like by this time that if he was healthy, he'd be pitching potentially for us, so that's been a kick in the pants."

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TORONTO -- Hunter Harvey will likely be shut down for the remainder of the season with a right elbow injury. The Orioles will continue with further tests, but manager Buck Showalter is pessimistic that the team's eighth-ranked prospect, according to MLB Pipeline, will pitch again this season.

"[Harvey]'s had some elbow discomfort they didn't like in his last throw session," Showalter said. "We felt like by this time that if he was healthy, he'd be pitching potentially for us, so that's been a kick in the pants."

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Harvey has thrown just 63 2/3 innings since 2015, when he missed the entire season after being struck by a line drive in Spring Training. He missed much of '16 and '17 with a right forearm issue that required Tommy John surgery.

"It seems like just when he's getting ready to blossom, there seems to be another thing -- it's got to be tough on him mentally." Showalter said of the right-hander. "I really feel for him. ... It's just a reminder that just having the [Tommy John] surgery doesn't mean that you're not going to have a problem."

Harvey started nine games this season, all with the Double-A Bowie Baysox. He pitched to a 5.57 ERA until his most recent start on June 1.

"I'm sure they're going to image [Harvey's elbow] and see if there are any changes," Showalter said. "Maybe … it's just soreness and inflammation and you've got to let it quiet down."

Aaron Rose is a reporter for MLB.com based in Toronto.

Baltimore Orioles, Hunter Harvey

Inbox: O's have high expectations for Mullins?

Beat reporter Brittany Ghiroli answers questions from Baltimore fans
MLB.com

Do you see any more big moves before the end of the year?
-- Ryan S., Norfolk, Va.


Probably not. The promotion of Cedric Mullins, the Orioles' ninth-ranked prospect, was probably the last bit of "bigger" news this year, though I do the club will end up calling up more guys (even if it's only for September's roster expansion). We know big changes are coming this offseason. It's not overstating things to call this an organization in flux, as both manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette have contracts that run out this season. At this point in the year, with a month and a half to go, it's almost a certainty that ownership will wait for this season to play out and then make a decision about which way to go.

I know it's early, but what do you think of Mullins? And what are the chances we sign Adam Jones to hold down right field?
-- Martin G., Columbia, Md.

Do you see any more big moves before the end of the year?
-- Ryan S., Norfolk, Va.


Probably not. The promotion of Cedric Mullins, the Orioles' ninth-ranked prospect, was probably the last bit of "bigger" news this year, though I do the club will end up calling up more guys (even if it's only for September's roster expansion). We know big changes are coming this offseason. It's not overstating things to call this an organization in flux, as both manager Buck Showalter and executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette have contracts that run out this season. At this point in the year, with a month and a half to go, it's almost a certainty that ownership will wait for this season to play out and then make a decision about which way to go.

I know it's early, but what do you think of Mullins? And what are the chances we sign Adam Jones to hold down right field?
-- Martin G., Columbia, Md.

Mullins obviously had an impressive debut, becoming the first Oriole to collect three hits in his first game. So his offense has clearly been as advertised. But the little things -- the ability to bunt, his respect for veterans, speed -- are also there. There's a lot of expectations with this 23-year-old, as the O's hope Mullins can man center field for years to come. It's started off well, but really you need to give it this season (and beyond) before you can really draw a conclusion one way or another. We've seen countless guys come up and perform well in short stints before big league pitchers figure them out. I'm not saying that will happen here, I'm just saying it's impossible to say what Mullins will do after a few days.

:: Submit a question to the Orioles Inbox ::

Clearly, Jones would like to stay. But there are some mixed messages right now as the organization starts a rebuild, and Duquette has referenced wanting to see younger players. Ultimately, it's going to come down to what kind of offer the Orioles make to keep Jones. Yes, he has ties in the area and has made a serious impact in the community. But it still has to fit into Baltimore's on-field plans and a reduced payroll for next season.

What are the club's realistic expectations for Chris Davis? And what can be done about that contract?
-- Tim R., Astoria, N.Y.

There's not a whole lot of leverage involved with Davis' contract, which is how the Orioles got into this mess. Ownership thought they were buying a big bat who could stabilize the lineup for years to come, but obviously that hasn't worked out at all. They tried benching him and letting him work stuff out on the side. That worked briefly, but nothing seems to do the trick long term. The O's are likely going to have to eat that record contract. So there aren't many other options for Baltimore -- the club has to play Davis and acknowledge that his pricey contract will very much factor into this rebuild.

When will Mark Trumbo return to the starting lineup? I know games don't really matter, but he's been our hottest hitter.
-- Michael F., Richmond, Va.

Trumbo did pinch-hit in the ninth inning of Sunday's game, but I know what you mean. The plan was for him to get an injection into that cranky right knee, with the hope that he could return for the Mets series this week. No one is 100 percent this time of year, but the Orioles are hoping they can get Trumbo back to where he's OK playing on that knee. This is something that's hampered him before and just needs to be managed.

What other players may fans expect to come up soon?
-- John B., Washington

Ryan Mountcastle and D.J. Stewart are two names that have circulated a lot, though the team may wait until September callups. Mullins was the big name, but when you look at the Orioles' current roster, there are already a ton of unproven guys. Still, I know people in the organization would like a look at Moutcastle and Stewart, and I'd be surprised if we don't see them at some point before this season ends.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles

Mullins posts record debut, but O's drop slugfest

OF is first Orioles player to notch 3 hits in first game; pitching allows 19 runs, nine extra-base hits, 10 walks
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- It took no time at all for Cedric Mullins -- who at veteran Adam Jones' behest led the team out from the dugout -- to fit in on Friday night at Camden Yards. After being called up earlier in the day, the rookie doubled in a run in his first big league at-bat and came around to score on Jones' two-run single in the Orioles' run-filled 19-12 loss to the Red Sox.

The 23-year-old Mullins showcased his speed in center field, his smile in the dugout as he high-fived new teammates and his energy as he gave a last-place Baltimore club -- and its fans -- a jolt of good in what has been a season filled with frustration.

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BALTIMORE -- It took no time at all for Cedric Mullins -- who at veteran Adam Jones' behest led the team out from the dugout -- to fit in on Friday night at Camden Yards. After being called up earlier in the day, the rookie doubled in a run in his first big league at-bat and came around to score on Jones' two-run single in the Orioles' run-filled 19-12 loss to the Red Sox.

The 23-year-old Mullins showcased his speed in center field, his smile in the dugout as he high-fived new teammates and his energy as he gave a last-place Baltimore club -- and its fans -- a jolt of good in what has been a season filled with frustration.

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Video: BOS@BAL: Mullins doubles twice, gets 2 RBIs in debut

"It's hard to explain," Mullins said of what it felt like when Jones -- who has now moved over to right field -- told him to lead the team. "It kind of felt like a pass-the-torch situation. Just being able to feel like you're taking charge of your debut. That's the only way I can describe it."

Yes, the future -- which saw Mullins become the first player in Orioles history to record three hits in his debut -- is now, even if the present still looks less than desirable.

The kids are coming, with Mullins' debut -- a 3-for-4 night which included two doubles and two RBIs -- the next phase of the rebuild. That may or may not include Jones, a free agent after next season who had his own standout night -- going 3-for-5 with two RBIs -- in his first time in a decade playing a new position.

Video: BOS@BAL: Jones plates a pair with a single to left

"This is one of the greatest center fielders in Orioles history. When you look at where he ranks, not only with the Orioles but the game itself," manager Buck Showalter said of Jones, who has exclusively played center field since 2008, winning four American League Gold Glove Awards at the position. "I'm so happy [Mullins] has got someone like Adam to be there for him. It had to be the right guy. We think Cedric may be the right guy."

So does Jones. The 33-year-old had already been talking with Mullins -- ranked by MLB Pipeline as the Orioles' No. 9 prospect -- encouraging him and offering advice while he was in the Minors. He even took to his Twitter account Friday to give his blessing.

Tweet from @SimplyAJ10: End of an Era!!!! Embrace Change!!!!

"That's what center fielders do, the last time I checked," Jones said of having the rookie lead the team out of the dugout.

Mullins thought he was joking. "And [then] all the players were saying, 'Hey go, you're leading it.' So I took their word for it, went out on the field," Mullins said. "And then I took the scenic route. The long way around."

Video: BOS@BAL: Jones helps Mullins lead O's out of dugout

Mullins was a big part of the Orioles' back-to-back four-run frames in the second and third innings of Friday's game, the latter of which drove Red Sox starter Nathan Eovaldi from the game. Chris Davis, Mark Trumbo and Tim Beckham each hit solo homers for Baltimore, which saw a five-run lead dissipate as the team's bullpen coughed up the lead for the fourth consecutive game.

Video: BOS@BAL: Beckham belts a solo dinger to left in 6th

Orioles starter Dylan Bundy went five innings and allowed eight runs (seven earned) including a pair of homers. Righty Miguel Castro issued three walks in the sixth and was charged with three of Boston's six runs in that frame. Lefty Donnie Hart gave up a three-run homer to Andrew Benintendi in the seventh with Evan Phillips allowing another four runs.

MOMENTS THAT MATTERED
Walkin' away with it: Castro entered the game tasked to protect a two-run lead, but instead he struggled with his command and -- after Mitch Moreland's sacrifice fly -- walked in the tying run. He was replaced by Hart, who issued a free pass to Rafael Devers to give Boston a 9-8 lead it would never relinquish. The Orioles walked 10 batters total on the night.

Video: BOS@BAL: Devers' bases-loaded walk puts Red Sox ahead

"We're going to use those opportunities to try to see if some people can come forward and present themselves," Showalter said of all his young relievers. "Sometimes you're trying to keep them out of harm's way and expose them as much as you can, but they've got to take advantage of the opportunity along the way because it's a very competitive business for all of them."

SOUND SMART
Jones stole his 86th base as a member of the O's in the fourth inning, which passes Don Buford for sole possession of 10th place in Orioles history.

Video: BOS@BAL: Jones beats throw to steal second in 4th

HE SAID IT
"This is something we've had our fair share of talks about. [Jones] sent me a text today that made an old man tear up. He's got a grip on reality and he's engaged. I think Adam is going to play as long as he wants to. People are always going to want the type of energy that he brings." -- Showalter, on Jones moving to right field

Video: BOS@BAL: Jones makes first play in right since '07

ROSTER MOVE
To make room for Mullins on the roster, Danny Valencia was designated for assignment. The 33-year-old hit .263/.316/.408 with nine homers and 28 RBIs in 78 games this season and garnered some trade interest around last month's Deadline.

When a player's contract is designated for assignment -- often abbreviated "DFA" -- that player is immediately removed from his club's 40-man roster, and 25-man roster if he was on that as well. Within seven days of the transaction (it was previously 10 days), the player must either be traded, released or placed on irrevocable outright waivers.

UP NEXT
Jimmy Yacabonis will get the promotion from Triple-A Norfolk for Game 1 of a split doubleheader against the Red Sox on Saturday at Camden Yards. Yacabonis, who has a 7.15 ERA in four MLB outings (two starts) this season, will be opposed by Sox lefty David Price. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. ET.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles

Double-A prospects ready for rebuild pressure

MLB.com

BOWIE, Md. -- Bruce Zimmermann has hoped for years that the Orioles would buy into a full rebuild. Save for the 2014 postseason and a few other recent winning years, the Baltimore native watched his favorite team endure 16 sub-.500 campaigns since his birth in 1995.

Zimmermann, like many Orioles fans, has waited patiently for a tear-down rebuild. What he didn't expect was to be a part of one.

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BOWIE, Md. -- Bruce Zimmermann has hoped for years that the Orioles would buy into a full rebuild. Save for the 2014 postseason and a few other recent winning years, the Baltimore native watched his favorite team endure 16 sub-.500 campaigns since his birth in 1995.

Zimmermann, like many Orioles fans, has waited patiently for a tear-down rebuild. What he didn't expect was to be a part of one.

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The left-handed pitcher is one of 14 prospects the Orioles have acquired in the 2018 fire sale, and he's part of a new wave of reinforcements the organization hopes can return the club to competitiveness in the near future.

"As a lifetime Orioles fan, it's refreshing. I've seen the Orioles be really bad," said Zimmermann, who was acquired from Atlanta in the Kevin Gausman and Darren O'Day trade. "But it's refreshing to see that this must be like a rebuilding stage."

With such a bleak present and all eyes on the youth, has the pressure weighed on the next generation of Orioles?

"We were part of the Manny Machado trade, which was a big deal -- probably the biggest trade of the season," said Double-A Bowie infielder Rylan Bannon, whom the Orioles acquired from the Dodgers in mid-July. "I guess you could say that adds a little bit of pressure just because we are all coming over here part of that deal, and they obviously saw it in us. But at the end of the day, we are used to playing under pressure situations, and we're good under those situations."

"We have a lot of talent here, so I believe that down the road the Orioles will be all right," added Bowie catcher Brett Cumberland, who also came to the Orioles from Atlanta in the Gausman trade.

The noise of the expectations for the more-scrutinized Orioles farm system hits each individual prospect in a different way. Some hone in the pressure as motivation. Others, as creatures of habit, try to cancel it out.

"It's nice to get some recognition from people to say that you might be the next this person or you might be the next that, but at the end of the day, it doesn't change what you do on a daily basis," said the O's No. 4  prospect Austin Hays, who made his return to Double-A action Tuesday after two-plus months of ankle rehab. "You do all your stuff you need to do to continue to become a better baseball player, so that way when you do get your opportunity, you can make the most of it."

And for the hometown kid Zimmermann, he's become part of a new generation hungry to bring an end to the years of frustration he experienced growing up an Orioles fan.

"They traded for us for a reason," Zimmermann said. "Hopefully, down the line, we can make good on everything they see in us currently. Hopefully, that all comes to fruition, and we can bring some more winning seasons back to Baltimore."

Zach Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles

O's prospect rankings shaken up after big trades

Hays slated for return to action Friday; Gentry begins rehab stint
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- No team in baseball has seen more of a turnover in its farm system the past two weeks than the Orioles. In the process, half of the club's first 10 prospects in its new Top 30, as released by MLB Pipeline Thursday, are made up of fresh faces for the organization.

The Orioles acquired eight prospects in return for Manny Machado and Zach Britton. From that haul, outfielder Yusniel Diaz and Dillon Tate are in the team's updated top 10, with Diaz serving as the team's No. 1 prospect and Tate at No. 6.

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BALTIMORE -- No team in baseball has seen more of a turnover in its farm system the past two weeks than the Orioles. In the process, half of the club's first 10 prospects in its new Top 30, as released by MLB Pipeline Thursday, are made up of fresh faces for the organization.

The Orioles acquired eight prospects in return for Manny Machado and Zach Britton. From that haul, outfielder Yusniel Diaz and Dillon Tate are in the team's updated top 10, with Diaz serving as the team's No. 1 prospect and Tate at No. 6.

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From the 2018 Draft, the Orioles added three more names to the club's top 10 prospects: first-round RHP Grayson Rodriguez (No. 5), the club's competitive balance pick, shortstop Cadyn Grenier (No. 9), and third-round RHP Blaine Knight (No. 10).

Rounding out the top 10 are third baseman Ryan Mountcastle (No. 2), LHP DL Hall (No. 3), outfielder Austin Hays (No. 4), RHP Hunter Harvey (No. 7) and outfielder Cedric Mullins (No. 8).

Diaz and Mountcastle are the lone Orioles representatives in the MLB Pipeline Top 100, with the former coming in at No. 57 and the latter at No. 72. Mountcastle, who is hitting .315 with 11 homers and 41 RBIs with Double-A Bowie this year, also comes in as the No. 7 third base prospect.

Video: BAL@BOS: Mountcastle mashes three-run jack in the 9th

Of the other four players acquired in the Machado trade, RHP Dean Kremer ranks No. 13 in the Orioles system, followed by third baseman Rylan Bannon (No. 20) and RHP Zach Pop (No. 24). Infielder Breyvic Valera falls outside the Top 30.

As for the other two players in the Britton trade, RHP Cody Carroll comes in at No. 14 and LHP Josh Rogers is outside the Top 30.

From the 2018 Draft, one additional pick cracks the Top 30: fifth-round outfielder Robert Neustrom at No. 29.

As sellers in rebuild mode, expect the Orioles to potentially add -- not subtract -- to their list of Top 30 prospects as the non-waiver Trade Deadline on Tuesday approaches.

Worth noting
• Hays will return to action Friday with Class A Aberdeen for the first time since May 26 after dealing with an ankle injury.

• Outfielder Craig Gentry (rib) will begin a rehab stint with Low-A Delmarva on Monday.

• Infielder Steve Wilkerson (left oblique) will rehab in the Gulf Coast League on Monday and be transferred to High-A Frederick on Wednesday if all goes well.

Zachary Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore. Follow him on Twitter at @zachsilver .

Baltimore Orioles

O's net 3 prospects from Yanks for Britton

Tate, Carroll, Rogers acquired; 'It's been a great 12 years,' lefty says
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- When he first heard the rumblings during Tuesday's Orioles game, Zach Britton -- whose glance at his phone during the 27-minute rain delay provided reports of a trade to the Yankees -- started to realize this may be it.

So when the lefty returned to the bullpen and the Orioles' 7-6 win over the Red Sox resumed, Britton went on a trip down memory lane. To that first day flying to Rookie ball in Bluefield, W. Va., with Lenny Johnson waiting to pick him up at the airport. Being 18 and away from home for the first time. Getting that first promotion to Class A in Delmarva, High A ball in Frederick. The 30-year-old Britton, the longest tenured active Oriole, went stop by stop through his memories in the home bullpen at Camden Yards for the last time.

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BALTIMORE -- When he first heard the rumblings during Tuesday's Orioles game, Zach Britton -- whose glance at his phone during the 27-minute rain delay provided reports of a trade to the Yankees -- started to realize this may be it.

So when the lefty returned to the bullpen and the Orioles' 7-6 win over the Red Sox resumed, Britton went on a trip down memory lane. To that first day flying to Rookie ball in Bluefield, W. Va., with Lenny Johnson waiting to pick him up at the airport. Being 18 and away from home for the first time. Getting that first promotion to Class A in Delmarva, High A ball in Frederick. The 30-year-old Britton, the longest tenured active Oriole, went stop by stop through his memories in the home bullpen at Camden Yards for the last time.

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"It's been crazy. It's been a great 12 years," said Britton, who was dealt to New York for pitching prospects Dillon Tate, Cody Carroll and Josh Rogers.

"There are so many things, from baseball to getting married to having kids. It all happened with this organization, so it will forever be in my heart, and hopefully it's not the last time I play here. Hopefully, sometime down the road I can come back here and maybe finish it out."

Video: Britton reflects on time with O's after 12 years

The trade, made official just before midnight, is headlined by the 24-year-old Tate. Scratched from his scheduled Double-A outing, the righty is ranked as the Orioles' No. 4 prospect, according to MLB Pipeline.

Britton, who has made eight consecutive scoreless appearances, hit 97 mph with his trademark sinker in his last outing, and his market value skyrocketed. The O's wanted to move quickly on dealing the lefty -- owed just under $5 million this season -- after last week's trade of shortstop Manny Machado. With more than a half-dozen teams interested, the Orioles were intrigued by the Yankees' pitching depth and the trio being close to Major League-ready.

"Zach Britton, personally, I love the kid," Orioles executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said, reminiscing about when Britton welcomed him to his first Winter Meetings with the O's in Texas years ago.

"Great family, and we wish them a lot of luck with the Yankees. ... They got a good one, and we really appreciate the work Zach did for us over the years. He came up and got off to a great start to his career and then became one of the dominant closers in the league."

Tweet from @Orioles: We salute you, @zbritton. #Birdland pic.twitter.com/aQdJO7DoWz

Britton was an All-Star in 2015 and again in '16, when he was a perfect 47-for-47 in save opportunities. After a rocky start to this season off the DL from offseason Achilles' heel surgery, Britton allowed just three hits over his past eight innings. He was drafted in 2006 and made his big league debut in '11.

"It kind of happened the right way with the weather delay," said Britton, who was able to say goodbye to his teammates and thank athletic trainer Brian Ebel for being an integral part of his rehab. "I'm definitely sad to be leaving. I'm looking forward to the opportunity to win some games again, but it's never going to be easy coming back here and playing against these guys especially."

Video: Callis on prospects the O's acquired in Britton trade

The Yankees will pick up the remaining salary owed to Britton on the deal, as the O's make a rare intradivision trade to help jump-start their rebuild.

Tate is a right-hander with a 3.38 ERA over 82 2/3 innings at Double-A with an impressive 8.17 K/9 rate. He was acquired from the Rangers in the Carlos Beltran trade in 2016.

Tweet from @Orioles: Welcome Dillon Tate, @JoshRogers13, and @Cody_Carroll37 to #Birdland��� ���! pic.twitter.com/w5xdf5V2l7

"I guess he's probably the headliner, or the most publicized player that we're picking up in this deal," Duquette said of Tate, a former fourth-overall Draft pick who will report to the O's Double-A club. "He's having a good year. He's improved his control. We see him as a potential starting pitcher for us in the future."

The Orioles -- who were optimistic they could land a top 10 prospect for the lefty rental -- were also able to get Carroll (the Orioles' No. 15 prospect).

Carroll is a 25-year-old reliever who was a Triple-A All-Star this year. The righty owns a 2.38 ERA over 41 2/3 innings with nine saves this season. He throws hard and uses his slider as a primary second pitch. He -- along with Rogers -- will report to Triple-A Norfolk.

Rogers, 24, has a 3.95 ERA over 109 1/3 innings. The Yankees selected the southpaw in the 11th round of the 2015 Draft. He's a potential back end of the rotation candidate for the O's.

"Rogers is a left-hander, so I think that gives him a good opportunity to join our rotation on that basis," Duquette said. "He's really strong against left-handed hitters, and we don't have a lot of candidates for left-handed starting pitching."

Of particular note is that all three pitchers will have to be protected this winter in advance of the Rule 5 Draft.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Zach Britton, Cody Carroll, Josh Rogers, Dillon Tate

O's get Futures Game star in haul for Machado

Diaz highlights package of 5 prospects coming from Dodgers
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The rumors, speculation and wondering has come to an end. The barrage of questions over. Manny Machado exited Nationals Park after the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night as a member of the Orioles for the final time, with a deal between Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dodgers consummated on Wednesday night.

The trade nets the Orioles five prospects -- outfielder Yusniel Diaz, third baseman Rylan Bannon, right-hander Dean Kremer, righty Zach Pop and second baseman Breyvic Valera. And regardless of whether some, none or all of those prospects ultimately pan out, there will be no filling the shoes of the 26-year-old superstar Machado.

BALTIMORE -- The rumors, speculation and wondering has come to an end. The barrage of questions over. Manny Machado exited Nationals Park after the 2018 All-Star Game presented by Mastercard on Tuesday night as a member of the Orioles for the final time, with a deal between Baltimore and the Los Angeles Dodgers consummated on Wednesday night.

The trade nets the Orioles five prospects -- outfielder Yusniel Diaz, third baseman Rylan Bannon, right-hander Dean Kremer, righty Zach Pop and second baseman Breyvic Valera. And regardless of whether some, none or all of those prospects ultimately pan out, there will be no filling the shoes of the 26-year-old superstar Machado.

"This is a bittersweet day for the Orioles and our club. We watched Manny grow up in our franchise over the past eight years, we all know what an exceptional talent he is," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "From the great plays he made to his elite hitting, he's always going to be an important part of this club's history."

Since first hitting the big leagues at 19 during the Orioles' 2012 run to the postseason, Machado has been one of the faces of the franchise and a key cog in three playoff appearances over the past five years. A fan favorite, Gold Glove winner, All-Star and a guy who matured enough to come into his own on and off the field, deftly answering trade questions and handling the spotlight everywhere he went this season.

Remembering Machado's top Orioles moments

Machado, drafted third overall by the O's in 2010, spent the past seven seasons in the big leagues and is a free agent at the end of the season, expected to warrant a record deal. With the last-place Orioles headed into a rebuild, he was their biggest -- but far from only -- viable candidate to be dealt in advance of the July 31 non-waiver Trade Deadline.

Showalter fondly recalls Machado's O's tenure

Tweet from @Orioles: #ThanksManny pic.twitter.com/CGOdRpvDZD

"Today is the start of the rebuilding process," Duquette said. "Trading Manny is our first step in a multi-dimensional strategy to build a competitive club in the future."

That strategy involves much more than trades, as Duquette mentioned that ownership is committed to investing in the international market, beefing up scouting and analytics and strengthening several other components of baseball operations.

"The clubs that have been through it recently have given us an intrinsic road map of what to do. ... I think we have a good idea of what it takes to be consistently good," said Duquette, whose contract is up at the end of the year.

"Everybody understands some of the changes that we need to make. Orioles fans should know how deeply committed we are to making the important adjustments. Like I've said before, my heart is in Baltimore and I'd like to make the Orioles into a top contending organization again. Today is a new direction for the organization. I'm glad to be helping the club go in that new direction."

Without Machado, the Orioles are expected to move Tim Beckham to his original position at shortstop. The long-term answer may be more difficult to find and is part of several questions facing the club, which will also look to trade closer Zach Britton, center fielder Adam Jones and reliever Brad Brach to help accelerate the rebuilding process.

Duquette confirmed that the trade interest in Britton is heating up, saying several clubs have "renewed" their interest in the lefty this past week and it looks like he will be the next likely player to be moved.

O's will be central figure in Trade Deadline talk

Of the Machado haul, Diaz is considered the centerpiece. Ranked as Los Angeles' No. 4 prospect and the No. 84 prospect in the game by MLB Pipeline, Diaz is fresh off an impressive performance at Sunday's SiriusXM All-Star Futures Game, becoming the second player to homer twice in the showcase's 20-year history. He's currently playing at Double-A Tulsa.

"We like the depth of the Dodgers' package, we like the quality of the Dodgers package, and we like Yusniel Diaz," Duquette said.

Video: WLD@USA: Diaz clobbers 2-run jack, game-tying HR

Bannon was ranked as the Dodgers' No. 27 prospect and Kremer was No. 28. The 22-year-old Bannon is batting .296/.402/.559 with 17 doubles, six triples, 20 home runs and 61 RBIs in 89 games with Class A Advanced Rancho Cucamonga. Kremer had recently been promoted to Double-A. The 22-year-old had a 3.30 ERA and 114 strikeouts in 79 innings at Rancho Cucamonga this season. Pop, 21, is a combined 1-2 with a 1.04 ERA and 0.88 WHIP in 30 relief appearances between Class A Great Lakes and Rancho Cucamonga.

Valera is the oldest of the group at 26 and has appeared in 26 games for Los Angeles this season, going 5-for-29. He's hit .284/.350/.433 in 56 games with Triple-A Oklahoma City. The O's tried to acquire Valera this spring with no luck. He was optioned to Triple-A Norfolk on Wednesday, with the other four players headed to Double-A Bowie.

Tweet from @Orioles: Retweet to welcome @YusnielDiaz17, @RBannon4, @BreyvicV, @DJ_KREY6, and @pop_zach to #Birdland! pic.twitter.com/oEkeWwF1AF

While news leaked Tuesday night of an agreement, the official word was delayed as the O's looked over medicals. Duquette said it was a rigorous process, given that six players were involved, and that it wasn't concerning despite reports that the deal had hit a snag.

"The expectation that everyone had was this deal was done when we were still in the process created a timeline that we couldn't meet," he said. "We thought it was important for Manny to represent the Orioles in the All-Star Game."

That was also important to Machado, who walked off the field Tuesday knowing that it was likely for the final time in black and orange.

"Clubs have to make the hard decisions," Duquette said, "and when you do that, you can be rewarded in the future."

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Rylan Bannon, Yusniel Diaz, Dean Kremer, Manny Machado, Zach Pop, Breyvic Valera

Fry, Meisinger make MLB debuts for Orioles

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Ryan Meisinger fell in love with baseball playing tee ball, refusing to take off his jersey when he returned home from practice. He fell in love with the Orioles because of his aunt, Colleen, who finagled him out of school each year for Opening Day to watch his beloved team in person.

It made it extra special when Meisinger played in Maryland's Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game at Camden Yards in 2012. But on Friday night, when he and lefty Paul Fry made their Major League debuts in the O's 7-1 loss to the Angels, Meisinger felt a bit different from the kid playing in '12 and the fan attending Opening Day.

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BALTIMORE -- Ryan Meisinger fell in love with baseball playing tee ball, refusing to take off his jersey when he returned home from practice. He fell in love with the Orioles because of his aunt, Colleen, who finagled him out of school each year for Opening Day to watch his beloved team in person.

It made it extra special when Meisinger played in Maryland's Brooks Robinson High School All-Star Game at Camden Yards in 2012. But on Friday night, when he and lefty Paul Fry made their Major League debuts in the O's 7-1 loss to the Angels, Meisinger felt a bit different from the kid playing in '12 and the fan attending Opening Day.

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"There are people in the stands [now]," Meisinger said, fighting back a laugh. "Back in high school, it's just kind of a cool experience just to get on the field. Making my Major League debut is a totally different experience."

Friday's debut was even more meaningful for the Meisinger, who became the Orioles' 24th Maryland-born player. He had 19 immensely prideful and raucous family members in attendance.

"Our whole community and the county has just been a buzz," Meisinger's mother, Leanne, said.

Meisinger also made his debut alongside Fry -- his throwing partner who's been through the trials and tribulations of the Minors with him this past year.

Video: LAA@BAL: Meisinger retires Upton for 1st career out

"We've been talking about that ever since last night," Fry said of the possibility of debuting with Meisinger. "Crazy how it all worked out, being throwing partners and good friends. It's really cool."

The two were promoted on Friday with pitchers Yefry Ramirez and Jimmy Yacabonis optioned in corresponding roster moves. To make room on the 40-man roster, reliever Darren O'Day was moved to the 60-day disabled list and infielder Corban Joseph was designated for assignment.

Both Meisinger and Fry -- along with infielder Steve Wilkerson -- were with each other when they began the season at Double-A Bowie. Both were together for their promotion to Triple-A Norfolk. And now both were together for their debuts in Baltimore.

Meisinger came on in relief in the sixth inning and worked out of a jam created by starter David Hess before getting the seventh and part of the eighth. In the seventh, Meisinger faced Albert Pujols -- who doubled -- and recorded his first career strikeout before ending the inning unscathed. An eighth-inning homer by Martin Maldonado was the only major blemish on Meisinger's line, but Fry was right there to take the reigns as soon as he was done.

Side by side, just like the two close friends have become accustomed to.

"They both feed off each other," Fry's father, Brian, said. "It's been special for them."

Friday wasn't Fry's first time in the bigs, nor was it the first time his Michigan-based family made the trip to Baltimore. The Orioles brought Fry up in April 2017, but he warmed up twice without getting into game before he was sent back down.

Video: LAA@BAL: Fry whiffs Calhoun to record 1st career K

This time, they got to see Fry strike out Kole Calhoun and Mike Trout in 1 2/3 scoreless innings.

"It was a moment that I have anticipated for a long time now," said Fry, who joked before the game that was worried he was going to black out. " ... But as soon as you get out there, you realize it's just baseball."

Zachary Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles, Paul Fry, Ryan Meisinger

Machado sorry for lack of hustle; O'Day to DL

Orioles place Gentry on DL; Yacabonis, Wilkerson summoned from Triple-A
MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- Orioles shortstop Manny Machado walked into manager Buck Showalter's office on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the 25-year-old not running out a ground ball in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Mariners.

"I talked to Manny about it. He almost borderline beat me to the punch," Showalter said of Machado, who grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and drew boos for a half-hearted shuffle to first base.

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BALTIMORE -- Orioles shortstop Manny Machado walked into manager Buck Showalter's office on Wednesday afternoon to discuss the 25-year-old not running out a ground ball in the sixth inning of Tuesday's 3-2 loss to the Mariners.

"I talked to Manny about it. He almost borderline beat me to the punch," Showalter said of Machado, who grounded into a double play with the bases loaded and drew boos for a half-hearted shuffle to first base.

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"Some people express frustration in different ways," Showalter said. "Still, it was a bad presentation. He knows that. The tough thing about it was the presentation isn't what he's really about."

Machado, who leads all American League shortstops in All-Star voting, is having a career year at the plate and is in his final year under team control. Given that, his name has dominated midseason trade rumors, with last-place Baltimore already listening in on potential suitors.

Yacabonis, Wilkerson join O's

The Orioles added infielder Steve Wilkerson and pitcher Jimmy Yacabonis prior to Wednesday's game, replacing the injured Craig Gentry and Darren O'Day, both of whom were placed on the 10-day disabled list. Yacabonis will start Thursday. Dylan Bundy is currently on the DL with an ankle injury suffered running the bases in Atlanta, freeing up a rotation spot for the time being.

O'Day, who exited Tuesday's game with a hamstring injury, had an MRI on Wednesday morning that revealed a Grade 2 strain. He will not need surgery, but there is no timetable for his return. Gentry, who fractured a rib when he was hit by a pitch in the Braves series, will also miss more than the minimum 10 days, though there is no timetable for him, either.

Wilkerson, who made his Major League debut in Washington last week, adds versatility to the Orioles' bench. Yacabonis, who was stretched out as a starter following Spring Training, has made 16 career big league relief outings, but this would be his first career start. He was 3-2 with a 3.14 ERA in 13 starts for Triple-A Norfolk.

Worth noting

Top pitching prospect Hunter Harvey saw Dr. James Andrews on Wednesday for a consultation on his injured right shoulder. The O's are still collecting info on Harvey, according to Showalter. The injury was sustained while he was in the dugout trying to avoid a line drive.

Brittany Ghiroli has covered the Orioles for MLB.com since 2010. Follow her on Facebook and Twitter @britt_ghiroli, and listen to her podcast.

Baltimore Orioles, Manny Machado

Top pick Rodriguez excited to join Orioles

MLB.com

BALTIMORE -- The Orioles officially introduced 2018 first-round Draft pick Grayson Rodriguez at a news conference Tuesday. The high school righty will report to the club's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., for orientation and workouts before joining the organization's Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team.

Rodriguez, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, received a $4.3 million signing bonus, which was just under the bonus slot for his selection at $4.3751 million.

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BALTIMORE -- The Orioles officially introduced 2018 first-round Draft pick Grayson Rodriguez at a news conference Tuesday. The high school righty will report to the club's Spring Training complex in Sarasota, Fla., for orientation and workouts before joining the organization's Rookie-level Gulf Coast League team.

Rodriguez, who is listed at 6-foot-5 and 220 pounds, received a $4.3 million signing bonus, which was just under the bonus slot for his selection at $4.3751 million.

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"It's every little boy's dream to be drafted one day, and I got drafted by the Orioles, and that was a dream come true for me," said Rodriguez, who hails from Central Heights High School in Nacogdoches, Texas. "I couldn't be more happy to be a part of this great organization and I can't wait to get to work."

The 11th overall selection in this year's Draft said signing quickly was "very stress-relieving."

"For a lot of players, it's a lot longer of a process, but everything went smoothly with us and I couldn't be happier," said Rodriguez.

Video: Draft 2018: Orioles draft RHP Grayson Rodriguez 11th

After adding about 25 pounds of muscle last offseason, Rodriguez's fastball now sits in the mid to high 90s. Rodriguez said he plans to spend this summer further progressing down that path, and "get up into the triple digits and get there consistently," he said.

Rodriguez has also improved his command and sharpened his pitch selection this past high school season, in which he allowed just 21 hits, two runs and tallied 156 strikeouts in 75 innings.

"That's what we've seen all spring," said Orioles director of scouting Gary Rajsich. "That's why we include polish and finesse with power, because he has the ability to do that and he shows you that ability every time out. He can pitch in the strike zone, he can pitch out of the strike zone. It's very impressive for his age."

When asked about a big league comparison, Rodriguez said he's been told his delivery resembles that of former Orioles right-hander Ubaldo Jimenez, and his fastball has earned comparisons to Mets starter Noah Syndergaard.

"I try to pride my pitching on command," Rodriguez said. "I love to throw strikes. I don't necessarily like to mess around with a hitter. I try to go after him with my slider. I feel like that's probably my best strikeout pitch. I like to throw it hard. Curveball is more vertical movement. On an 0-2 count, I like to throw it in the dirt. Changeup, I like to throw it low and make hitters keep guessing."

Rodriguez has already started to make himself acquainted to Baltimore. Along with seeing Camden Yards in person for the first time -- "it takes your breath away with how pretty it is" -- he made a visit to a local seafood joint for crab cakes this week.

"I already liked seafood, and now I love it even more," he said. "I'll definitely be eating more of it."

Zachary Silver is a reporter for MLB.com based in Baltimore.

Baltimore Orioles

O's, first-rounder Rodriguez come to terms

Texas high-school right-hander drafted 11th overall
MLB.com

The Orioles have agreed to terms with their first-round selection of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, from Central Heights (Texas) High School. Rodriguez was selected with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

Rodriguez, 18, was a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game First Team Senior Preseason All-America selection and was named to the Texas-All Region First Team. In 2017 as a junior, he helped lead Central Heights (Nacogdoches) to the Texas 3A State title. Rodriguez went 14-1 with a 0.38 ERA and 178 strikeouts and was named the Texas Sports Writer's Association (TSWA) Player of the Year. He was also named a Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason Underclass All-America honoree in 2017. As a sophomore, Rodriguez was named a First Team Pitcher on the TSWA All-State Team. Additionally, he was named a Rawlings-Perfect Game High Underclass All-America selection in 2016.

The Orioles have agreed to terms with their first-round selection of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft, right-handed pitcher Grayson Rodriguez, from Central Heights (Texas) High School. Rodriguez was selected with the 11th overall pick in the first round of the 2018 First-Year Player Draft.

Rodriguez, 18, was a 2018 Rawlings-Perfect Game First Team Senior Preseason All-America selection and was named to the Texas-All Region First Team. In 2017 as a junior, he helped lead Central Heights (Nacogdoches) to the Texas 3A State title. Rodriguez went 14-1 with a 0.38 ERA and 178 strikeouts and was named the Texas Sports Writer's Association (TSWA) Player of the Year. He was also named a Rawlings-Perfect Game Preseason Underclass All-America honoree in 2017. As a sophomore, Rodriguez was named a First Team Pitcher on the TSWA All-State Team. Additionally, he was named a Rawlings-Perfect Game High Underclass All-America selection in 2016.

Rodriguez was ranked as the No. 13 overall pitching prospect and the No. 22 overall Draft prospect by MLB Pipeline. He becomes the second straight high-school pitcher to be selected by the Orioles in the first round of the Draft, joining DL Hall in 2017. Eight of the past 10 Orioles first-round selections have been pitchers, including five from the high school ranks.

Baltimore Orioles