10: Orioles blow it up at the trade deadline & reminiscing on the career of Ray Lewis

Welcome to Episode 10 of the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

It’s a loaded episode this week as the guys give their initial thoughts on the Kevin Gausman and Jonathan Schoop trades (29:15), but as always things start with the weekly numbers segment (6:00). It’s fitting that this is episode ten because Adam Jones has been making headlines recently as he decided to stay in Baltimore with the O’s. The guys look back on Jones’ career so far and give their takes on his decision (16:30).

After wrapping up all the Orioles news for the week, the conversation switches to the Ravens (39:50) and their big weekend coming up. It all starts with their first preseason game of the year on Thursday (41:20) and then concludes with a celebration when Ray Lewis enters the Hall Of Fame on Saturday night (45:30).

To honor Lewis’ big achievement, the Charm City Bird Watch crew gives their favorite memories of Ray’s career and have some fun talking about his famous pregame introduction and dance (52:22). The podcast concludes with some prop bets for Ray’s speech (58:23).

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Orioles trade Jonathan Schoop to Brewers

BALTIMORE — Minutes after the Orioles shipped Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to the Atlanta Braves for four prospects and international signing bonus slot money, the team dealt Jonathan Schoop to the Milwaukee Brewers.

For Schoop, the Orioles receive infielder Jonathan Villar (on the 10-day disabled list with right thumb sprain), right-handed pitcher Luis Ortiz (No. 7 prospect) and shortstop Jean Carmona (No. 14 prospect).

Hours before the 4:00 non-waiver trade deadline, it appeared that the Orioles would not deal any of their players with club control beyond the 2018 season. Things changed very quickly, with Gausman (two more years of club control), Schoop (one more year of club control), and O’Day (free agent in 2020) all on their way out of Baltimore.

Out of all the controllable players the Orioles let go of on Tuesday, Schoop is easily the hardest to see go. After the Orioles failed to lock Manny Machado down with a long-term deal, many assumed that they would try to correct their wrongdoing by signing Schoop to a new contract. Now, they give away their 26-year-old power-hitting second baseman who’s hitting .349 with seven home runs and 15 RBI in his last 14 games.

In Milwaukee, Schoop will get an opportunity to win the National League Central and compete for a playoff spot. As things stand now, the Brewers (62-47) sit one game behind the Chicago Cubs (61-44) for first place in the NL Central. The Brewers lead the NL Wild Card race by 2.5 games, but the Diamondbacks (59-49) are right on their heals with both Atlanta (56-47) and Colorado (57-48) a half-game back.

For the Orioles, Villar looks to join the major league roster once his thumb is healed. He’s projected to return in early August, so it should not be too long before he makes his Orioles debut. Villar plays every infield position except first base. In 257 at-bats this season, he owns a .261 average with six home runs, 22 RBI, and 15 stolen bases. He’s 27-years-old and won’t hit free agency until 2021.

The Rangers drafted Ortiz 30th overall in the 2014 MLB June Amateur Draft before trading him to the Brewers’ system in 2016. Ortiz is 22-years-old and 230 pounds. His fastball carries into the upper 90’s and he throws strikes. In 11 starts (16 appearances) at Double-A Biloxi this season, Ortiz is 3-4 with a 3.71 ERA in 68 innings pitched.

Like Villar, Carmona, 18, is versatile in the infield with the exception of first base. He’s a switch-hitter who carries a higher batting average from the left side (.250) than the right side (.194) so far in 2018 with the Helena Brewers, Milwaukee’s Rookie League affiliate. The best attribute of his defense could be his arm. Scouts say that Carmona’s arm is good enough for shortstop and even third base.

Although the non-waiver trade deadline has passed, players can still be moved through August. The main difference is that if the Orioles were to move a player now, they would need said player to pass through waivers, meaning that every other MLB team would get a look at the trade before passing it through.

Image Credit: Camden Chat

Orioles trade Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Braves

BALTIMORE — With Tuesday afternoon’s trade deadline looming, the Baltimore Orioles surprised everyone by agreeing to trade Kevin Gausman and Darren O’Day to Atlanta.

The Orioles received four prospects in return for Gausman and O’Day – Infielder Jean Carlos Encarnacion, catcher Brett Cumberland, left-handed pitcher Bruce Zimmermann and right-handed pitcher Evan Phillips. The Braves have one of the most loaded farm systems in baseball and sent two of their top 30 prospects to Baltimore in the deal.

Encarnacion headlines the group as one of the best infielders coming up in the Braves system. He was signed in 2016 at the age of 18 out of the Dominican Republic and has spent the past two years playing rookie ball. In 2018 he was moved to Single-A Rome where he is currently hitting .288 with 10 homers and 57 RBI’s in just under 100 games. His 100 strikeouts are a concern but Encarnacion has shown a lot of potential as a hitter.

Standing at 6’3″, he could grow into a power hitter but for now his ability to make contact is enough to earn him attention. Defensively, Encarnacion has settled into a role at third base after initially playing some shortstop.

Cumberland rounds out the Braves top 30 prospect list as one of a few young catchers in their farm system. As a switch hitter, Cumberland has shown some power from both sides of the plate but often swings and misses. The 23-year-old has spent time at Single-A and Double-A this season where he is hitting just .228 with 90 strikeouts in 87 games. His defense behind the plate is still a work in progress as well.

Outside of these top 30 pickups, the Orioles also acquired two pitching prospects. Zimmermann will likely make more headlines in this deal as a starter, while Phillips continues to develop as a reliever. Zimmermann is a lefty with good strikeout numbers. In 20 starts between Single-A and Double-A, he has a 9-4 record with a 2.96 ERA. His 9.9 strikeouts per nine innings is also a good sign.

Phillips is a right-handed pitcher who started his minor league journey back in 2015. He currently finds himself at the Triple-A level with a 1.99 ERA and eight saves in 40.2 innings of relief. Phillips also made his major league debut with the Braves earlier this season but struggled in his brief appearances.

Throughout the month of July the Orioles front office has been dead set on just trading the players with expiring contracts. Dan Duquette and company stated that the door was also open for offers on players like Gausman, Jonathan Schoop and Mychal Givens, but until Tuesday afternoon this just felt like a safe media answer. In addition to the Gausman deal, the O’s ended up trading Schoop to the Brewers.

However, with Adam Jones‘s recent decision to not waive his no-trade clause, the Orioles may have felt more pressure to deal Gausman and Schoop, despite having years left on their contracts, to ensure that their farm system gets the overhaul it desperately needs.

Gausman was selected by the Orioles in the first round of the 2012 draft and made his major league debut a year later. By 2014 he was a consistent member of the starting rotation, earning seven wins in 20 starts. The Orioles had seemingly turned the franchise around after 2012 and Gausman was projected to be their No. 1 pitcher as they became perennial contenders.

While the 27-year-old has certainly looked like an ace on many occasions, he has struggled with consistency. Over the past five seasons in Baltimore Gausman has gone 36-46 with a 4.12 ERA.

Gausman will join an Atlanta team right in the middle of a playoff hunt. He will also be greeted by some former teammates like Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty. Fellow pitcher Brad Brach was also traded to the Braves this past Sunday.

If Atlanta does end up making the playoffs, Gausman has some experience under his belt that could benefit his new team. During the 2014 playoff run, Gausman never started a game but he did toss eight innings of relief between three games. In those appearances Gausman surrendered just one run and struck out seven.

O’Day is an interesting addition to the trade considering he finds himself out for the rest of the year. It’s not surprising that his name never came up in trade conversations after suffering the injury but with the Orioles moving toward a full rebuild, it makes sense to add him to this deal as a sweetener.

In seven seasons with the Orioles, O’Day accumulated a 28-14 record with a 2.40 ERA as a reliever. His unique pitching motion helped make him a deceptive change of pace coming out of the bullpen. In recent years he performed well pitching in the setup role before Zach Britton would enter for a save opportunity.

Image credit: Evan Habeeb / USA Today Sports

Podcast Episode 6: July 2018 – Most crucial month in Orioles history?

Welcome to Episode 6 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell, editor Nolan McGraw, and author Ian Schultz.

July 2018 could possibly be the most crucial month in the history of the Baltimore Orioles franchise. This year’s team owns the worst record in baseball, people aren’t going to games (except for the giveaways), and several contracts to key people in the organization – both on and off the field – expire after the 2018 season. With an ownership team who’s reputation has been extremely tainted in the past due to several poor, mind-boggling decisions, the future of the Orioles looks dim once again.

With the July 31 non-waiver trade deadline now less than a month away, the Charm City Bird Watch team dissects the latest Orioles on-field action & injuries, and takes a peak into the Manny Machado rumor mill.

Also on the show, Jake, Nolan and Ian reflect on the best players to wear #6 in Orioles & Ravens history, and end the show with Don’t Be A Jerk. 

Visit Pro Stock Hockey to browse the largest online selection of real pro stock hockey equipment. At checkout, use the promo code CHARMCITY10 to take 10% off your order. Offer ends July 18. 

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

Orioles swept by Mariners in series full of frustration

Game 1 (5-3 SEA): The Orioles returned home this week after picking up just their third road series win of the season this past weekend in Atlanta. For the visiting Mariners, this series marked the final stop of a lengthy east coast trip. It also marked their third straight series against AL East competition after they got swept by New York and only took one in Boston.

Seattle got back on track in Monday’s series opener. Dee Gordon got the scoring started with a two-RBI single in the second. It was a slim lead for the Mariners but the Orioles would end up playing from behind for most of the night.

A Jonathan Schoop solo homer put the O’s on the board in the fifth, but Denard Span got that run back in the next half inning with a homer of his own. The Orioles kept the offensive momentum going in the sixth and managed to tie it up thanks to a series of quality at-bats. Manny Machado got it started with a leadoff single. Mark Trumbo followed that up with a walk and then Chris Davis was hit by a pitch to load the bases.

The O’s failed to record a hit through the rest of the inning but still managed to score a pair of runs on two sacrifice ground outs. The missed opportunity for a bigger inning came back and bit the O’s almost immediately with the Mariners scoring two runs in the seventh to retake the lead.

Miguel Castro replaced Andrew Cashner after the Orioles starter gave up three runs through six innings of work. Castro put himself in a jam by loading the bases to start the inning. A wild pitch allowed the first run to score and Mitch Haniger followed that up with a sacrifice fly to make it a 5-3 game.

Just like the O’s in the previous inning, the Mariners left some potential insurance runs on base but the necessary damage had already been done. Tanner Scott replaced Castro out of the pen and picked up a pair of strikeouts with the bases loaded to end the inning.

The Orioles offense failed to reach base in the final three innings as the Mariners bullpen made quick work of their lineup. Only 39 pitches were needed to retire the last nine Orioles hitters.

Game 2 (3-2 SEA):  Tuesday night saw another back-and-forth contest. This time the Orioles got on the board first when Danny Valencia hit a solo homer in the second inning. However, Kyle Seager responded by sending one deep to right field in the fourth.

The score would remain tied until the sixth inning when the O’s pushed a second run across. Unfortunately the inning played out very similar to the sixth inning of Monday’s game. The O’s opened up the inning by loading the bases but when Machado grounded into a double play, the momentum was killed instantly. The go-ahead run looks nice in the box score but there was some controversy surrounding the play since Machado did not run down the first baseline in an attempt to beat the relay throw.

The crowd responded by booing and Machado later apologized after the game. Whether Machado beats that throw or not, it doesn’t change the fact that the O’s offense has failed to cash in on some golden opportunities with these bases loaded situations.

This would become clearly evident once again when the Mariners mounted a small comeback in the eighth. With two runners on base, Seager got the best of the O’s pitching staff again with a two-RBI single to make it a 3-2 game. Seattle went on to close out the last two innings and walk away with another close win.

Darren O’Day was credited with both runs after putting them on base to start the inning. However, O’Day had to be replaced by Scott after re-aggrevating a hamstring injury during the second at bat of the inning. Jean Segura laid down a bunt toward the third base side of the mound but O’Day was not able to field it after taking a few steps and then slowing down with a limp.

After the game manager Buck Showalter spoke on the play and O’Day has been placed on the 10-day disabled list since. This is a huge loss for the Orioles who already had to watch their best reliever, Richard Bleier, go down with a season-ending lat tear a few weeks ago.

Game 3 (8-7 SEA): Wednesday’s game started and ended the same way as Tuesday’s game. Valencia struck first with a two-run homer in the first inning but the Mariners ended up coming out on top with a late inning comeback.

Seattle managed to tie the game up 2-2 in the third but Trumbo quickly put the O’s back on top with an RBI single in the bottom half of the inning. A second run scored on the play after a throwing error by Span and the Orioles had a 4-2 lead.

The Mariners would take it back in the fifth by jumping on the ever-inconsistent Alex Cobb. Seattle loaded the bases with just one out and later cashed in with a pair of runs via sacrifice fly and RBI single. The rough outing marked the seventh start this season where Cobb has surrendered at least five runs.

The score would remain 5-4 until the eighth inning when the Orioles got the best of Seattle reliever Alex Colome. Machado and Valencia led off the inning with a pair of first-pitch singles. However, the momentum slowed down significantly when Trumbo lined out and Schoop grounded into a fielder’s choice.

With runners on the corners, Davis came to the plate and worked himself in a favorable 3-1 count. Colome let his next pitch hang over the middle of the plate and Davis got all of it. The ball sailed down the right field line and landed on Eutaw street to give the Orioles a 7-5 lead going into the final inning.

In typical Orioles fashion, this would not be enough for a win. Zach Britton came in for the ninth and proceeded to throw away a late lead for the second time in a week. Haniger led off the ninth with a single and Seager followed with a two-run homer to tie the game up. The Mariners’ third baseman would go on to finish the four-game series with five hits and five RBI despite not starting on Thursday.

Britton did manage to close out the inning without surrendering the lead but the Orioles would end up losing in 11 innings. Span made up for his throwing error earlier in the game by driving in the go-ahead run in the eleventh.

Game 4 (4-2 SEA): With the first three games of the series all feeling like carbon copies of each other, it’s fitting that Thursday afternoon’s finale was another closely contested extra inning game.

With Dylan Bundy hitting the disabled list earlier this week, the O’s turned to Jimmy Yacabonis to make a spot start. The 26-year-old pitcher made his debut with the Orioles last season but didn’t appear in too many games. None the less, Yacabonis made a decent impression with a 4.35 ERA in a little over 20 innings of relief. However, that did not carry over into 2018 with Yacabonis struggling at the major league level so far this season.

Through the first three innings it looked like Yacabonis had a good grasp on the game. The Seattle lineup had proven deadly so far in the series but the young starter gave up just two hits while striking out four in the early innings. Yacabonis would get a rude awakening in the fourth, though.

After giving up a lead off walk to Haniger, Yacabonis fell victim to Nelson Cruz. The veteran slugger didn’t waste any time sending a fastball to right center field. Valencia made an attempt to snag the ball before it could get out, but Cruz’s towering shot came down fast and dropped just over the reach of Valencia for a two-run homer.

Yacabonis regrouped and finished off the fourth but his afternoon would come to an end in the next inning after giving up a pair of singles. With the O’s offense immediately responding in the bottom of the fourth, Buck was quick to pull his starter and go to the pen with the game tied 2-2. Solo home runs by Machado and Davis quickly erased the lead created by Cruz’s two-run blast.

Yefry Ramirez entered the game out of the pen and proceeded to turn in an amazing relief effort. Ramirez made a spot start a few weeks ago against Boston but did not fare very well against the Red Sox potent lineup. He made up for that on Thursday by tossing five scoreless innings of relief. Ramirez was outstanding and made quick work of the Mariners by getting 15 outs with just 52 pitches.

The Orioles offense could not take advantage of Ramirez’s impressive relief appearance and the two teams went to extra innings for the second day in a row. Once again the Mariners came out victorious thanks to their speed at the top of the order. Gordon led off the tenth with an infield single and Segura followed with a single to center field. Gordon got a great jump and was able to round second with ease but an error by Colby Rasmus allowed the speedy second baseman to keep going and head home for the go-ahead run.

Cruz added an insurance run later in the inning with an RBI single and the Mariners went on to close out another narrow win over the O’s and complete the four-game sweep. After their rallies in games three and four, Seattle is now 8-0 on the year in games that go to extra innings.

Image credit: Patrick Semansky / Associated Press

Podcast Episode 5: Is Terrell Suggs a future Hall-of-Famer? Ebony Bird’s Connor Brooks helps us find out

Welcome to Episode 5 of the new Charm City Bird Watch Podcast with site owner Jake McDonnell and editor Nolan McGraw.

The hot topic of this episode is trying to figure out if Terrell Suggs is already a future NFL Hall-Of-Famer. Along with an introduction to this subject from Nolan and Jake, Ebony Bird contributor Connor Brooks calls in to dissect Suggs’s career and whether or not his resume will be good enough to land him a gold jacket in a few years. Brooks, also a Braves fan, breaks down this weekend’s series in Atlanta, as well as Nick Markakis‘s soon-to-be first All-Star season.

In-case you missed it, Orioles play-by-play commentator Gary Thorne had Orioles fans cackling at their TV’s on Monday night with another word botch. With this transpiring, Nolan and Jake spent some time going over their favorite Gary Thorne botches/funny moments.

Also on the show: Jake rants about Colby Rasmus, Tim Beckham, & Chris Davis, breaking down the latest Orioles injuries, and famous #5’s in Baltimore sports history.

Subscribe to the Charm City Bird Watch Podcast on SoundCloud and iTunes. Please leave us a review, we love to hear your feedback and may read it on a future episode. Thank you for listening!

Orioles prepare to take on Braves in first trip to SunTrust Park

ATLANTA — The Orioles will continue their six game interleague road trip this weekend with a three game set against the Atlanta Braves. Earlier this week the O’s dropped two of three against Washington. This didn’t come as too much of a surprise but it did mark the first time since 2007 that the Orioles have lost their season series to the Nationals.

In a season full of disappointment and frustration, this coming series against Atlanta might be one of the toughest to watch for O’s fans. Not because of the Orioles terrible offense and inconsistent pitching, but because of who is in the opposing dugout.

Nick Markakis currently finds himself in the middle of a career year at the age of 34. It also marks the final season of his four year deal with the Braves. These past four seasons have been filled with regret for the O’s as Markakis has continued to be a consistent force in the Atlanta lineup and almost seems to be getting better with age.

Markakis is batting .323 with 44 RBI’s and just 32 strikeouts so far this season. On top of all of this is the fact that the veteran right fielder will most likely be making the All-Star Game for the first time in his career. The accomplishment is long overdue but if there was ever a year where he was deserving, it’s 2018

Last meeting: These two teams have not met since 2015 when Markakis made his return to Camden Yards for the first time in a different uniform. The Orioles ended up walking away from that series with a three game sweep.

Game Times and Pitching Matchups:

Game 1: Friday, June 22, 7:35 pm – Alex Cobb (2-9, 7.14 ERA) vs Sean Newcomb (8-2, 2.70 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 2: Saturday, June 23, 4:10 pm – Dylan Bundy (5-7, 3.81 ERA) vs Julio Teheran (5-4, 3.97 ERA) – MASN 2, 105.7 The Fan

Game 3: Sunday, June 24, 1:35 pm – David Hess (2-3, 4.82 ERA) vs Mike Foltynewicz (5-4, 2.16 ERA) – MASN, 105.7 The Fan

Notes on Orioles:

  • Adam Jones has been exceptional so far this season against national league opponents. Up until Thursday’s game against Washington, Jones had recorded at least one hit in every interleague game so far this season. Overall, Jones is batting .367 with one home run and four RBI’s in 12 interleague games so far this year.
  • Darren O’Day and Zach Britton both made their return to the O’s bullpen early this month. So far both have been able to jump back in and be highly effective. The duo has combined to strikeout 12 while throwing a little over eight scoreless innings since June 10.

Notes on Braves:

  • Markakis isn’t the only Braves player on a tear right now. Freddie Freeman should definitely be on the radar of every Orioles pitcher since he is also on his way to a career year at the plate. Freeman and Markakis both currently lead the national league in hits with 93 each.
  • The Braves will be happy to get Mike Foltynewicz back for this series. The Atlanta starter hit the ten day disabled list this past Sunday but he appears ready to return to the rotation this weekend. Foltynewicz is off to the best start of his career, with a 5-4 record and a 2.16 ERA through his first 14 starts.

Image credit: Carolyn Kaster / AP