BALTIMORE -- Country music superstar Brett Young got a VIP clubhouse tour and played catch with Orioles outfielder Trey Mancini at Camden Yards in a special interview that will air on Country Music Television's (CMT) Hot 20 this weekend.
The segment will air on both Saturday and Sunday at 9 a.m. ET, with Mancini and Young bonding and helping CMT host Katie Cook practice her grip. Mancini -- coming off a breakout season in which he was named as an American League Rookie of the Year finalist -- swapped baseball stories with Young, who was a college pitcher at the University of Mississippi.
BALTIMORE -- Orioles reliever Darren O'Day received the prestigious Bob Feller Act of Valor Award on Thursday night at the U.S. Navy Memorial in Washington.
"I think this award is a tremendous honor to win because of the character, courage and valor that Bob Feller displayed when he chose to enlist in the Navy the day after the Pearl Harbor bombing," O'Day said. "What might not be known is he was exempt from the draft, but he 100 percent chose to go fight, and I think it's just a great example of someone that values what it costs to maintain our freedom, the way we want to live. It's not cheap, it's not easy.
The Orioles finished last in the American League East this season, but they're planning to compete -- not rebuild -- in 2018.
How do we know? Rather than entertain trade proposals for three-time All-Star third baseman Manny Machado during the recent General Managers Meetings, sources say executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette used the time to contact agents representing free-agent starting pitchers.
Jon Paul Morosi is a reporter for MLB.com and MLB Network. He has also covered baseball for FOX Sports, the Detroit Free Press, and the Seattle Post-Intelligencer. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Justice: Time is right for Orioles to deal Britton
Richard Justice has been a reporter for MLB.com since 2011. Read his columns and follow him on Twitter at @RichardJustice. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Trey Mancini closed out his breakthrough season on Monday by receiving strong consideration for the Jackie Robinson American League Rookie of the Year Award.
Mancini finished third when ballots from the Baseball Writers' Association of America were revealed. Yankees outfielder Aaron Judge was the unanimous winner, and Boston outfielder Andrew Benintendi finished second.
With the conclusion of the 2017 regular season, the preliminary order for the 2018 Draft took some shape, thanks to the reverse order of the standings. The Tigers and Giants finished tied with the worst record in the Major Leagues last season, but Detroit was awarded the No. 1 pick in the 2018 Draft by virtue of having a lower winning percentage in 2016.
After the Tigers and Giants, the next eight picks go to the Phillies, White Sox, Reds, Mets, Padres, Braves, A's and Pirates.
BALTIMORE -- Orioles catcher Welington Castillo has declined his $7 million player option for 2018 and will re-enter the free agent market this offseason. The news, which came on Monday afternoon in advance of baseball's 5 p.m. ET deadline for free agency to begin, was long anticipated in Baltimore. Castillo, who made $6 million last year, had a career season at the plate in 2017 that will make him one of the top available catchers for '18.
"Castillo did a nice job for the Orioles in 2017 and had one of his best offensive years and threw out almost half of the basestealers, so it's no surprise he chose free agency," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "The Orioles appreciate Castillo's good work and wish him well in the future."
BALTIMORE -- With the Hot Stove season officially underway, the Orioles -- who have roughly $120 million committed in contracts and expected arbitration raises -- will look to find a solution to their pitching woes this offseason. Beyond the primary goal of adding rotation help, Baltimore could benefit from some outfield and bullpen depth, which will test the limits of the O's payroll (which ended the 2017 season north of $165 million).
It is a pivotal offseason in Baltimore, with the contracts of executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette and manager Buck Showalter up after next season, along with those of several key players, such as Adam Jones, Manny Machado and closer Zach Britton.
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- Typically, when Tanner Scott takes the mound, everyone looks to the radar gun expecting to marvel at 100-mph fastballs.
While Scott, the Orioles' No. 6 prospect, per MLBPipeline.com, did showcase his fastball, it was his slider that grabbed the attention as he helped lead the East to a 4-2 win over the West in the Fall Stars Game on Saturday night.
Buck Showalter was a fifth-round Draft pick of the Yankees in 1977 out of Mississippi State University. He was convinced he would spend his entire baseball career with New York. And for 19 years, Showalter did -- first as a player, then as a Minor League manager, a big league coach and finally as the Yanks' manager.
After the Yankees captured the American League Wild Card spot in 1995, ending a 14-year postseason drought, Showalter dealt with reality. In an act of support for his coaches, Showalter resigned, rather than follow orders to fire members of his staff.
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles will begin the holiday giving season by teaming up with the Mayors' Feed the Hungry program to collect and distribute food to help people in need in the O's spring home of Sarasota, Fla.
Beginning on Monday, the Orioles will collect nonperishable food items at Ed Smith Stadium, and they will host the charity's Thanksgiving Sorting Day at the ballpark on Friday, Nov. 17. Nonperishable food items can be dropped off on weekdays from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m ET. The collection station is located inside Cafe 54 on Euclid Avenue. The stadium will be closed on Friday, Nov. 10, in observance of Veterans Day.
With Showalter in stands, Baltimore's No. 3 prospect homers
By William Boor
MESA, Ariz. -- The numbers may not have been there, but Ryan Mountcastle felt good about the way he was swinging the bat in the Arizona Fall League. The Orioles' No. 3 prospect felt he was hitting the ball hard, but just happened to be hitting the ball at people.
Well, instead of hitting it at people, Mountcastle hit it over everyone as his two-run homer jump-started the Salt River offense and helped snap a three-game losing streak in an 8-2 win over Mesa on Tuesday afternoon.
BALTIMORE -- With the World Series over, it's time to turn the page on baseball in 2017. But that doesn't mean MLB goes quiet. Quite the opposite, actually, as the Hot Stove season has officially begun and the Orioles will be tasked with trying to learn from past mistakes and create a contender for next fall.
Yes, there is money coming off the books with as many as nine free agents, assuming certain player and team options are declined, but there are also big raises in line for players like Jonathan Schoop -- who is coming off a career year -- and Manny Machado.
Mountcastle continuing breakout campaign with trip to AFL
By Mike Rosenbaum
The Orioles are well represented in this year's Arizona Fall League, with five of their eight participants ranking among the team's Top 30 Prospects. Headlining that group is Ryan Mountcastle, who, at age 20, is adding on to an impressive season in which he reached Double-A.
"This is such a great opportunity to come out here against this competition," said Mountcastle, Baltimore's No. 3 prospect, about being chosen for the Fall League. "It's the best of the best out here from the Minors."
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles' September slide gave way to a finish in the American League East basement and an entirely different feel around Baltimore baseball for the season's final few weeks.
"It's been a long time since I've been through this the last two weeks of September. It's different. Actually been the first time in a long time a lot of us have been through it," Orioles manager Buck Showalter said of his team's slide and first last-place finish since 2011. "It's something that you don't want to do again. You realize how many teams have gone through it. It's painful. You may not think it is, but it's painful, trust me. It's not fun."
After selecting college players with their first Draft pick in back-to-back years, the Orioles shifted their focus toward younger, more high-ceiling talent in 2017, selecting a pair of prep standouts in DL Hall and Adam Hall.
The Orioles were thrilled to find DL Hall, ranked 14th on MLBPipeline.com's list of the Top 200 Draft Prospects, still on the board ahead of their first pick, No. 21 overall.
Mike Rosenbaum is a reporter for MLB.com. Follow him on Twitter at @GoldenSombrero. This story was not subject to the approval of Major League Baseball or its clubs.
Santander making up for lost time in AFL
By William Boor
SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. -- After a season marred with injury, Anthony Santander is looking to make up for lost time in the Arizona Fall League, and he showed off some of his offensive ability on Friday night.
Santander, the Orioles' No. 9 prospect, went 2-for-5 with two RBIs and led Salt River to a 6-4 win over Scottsdale.
BALTIMORE -- It's easy to chalk up the 2017 season as a disappointment for the Orioles, who were eliminated from postseason contention in mid-September after opting to be buyers at the non-waiver Trade Deadline and putting together a solid August.
But there were still some positive developments that shouldn't go without notice. So before you go counting down the days until 2018's Spring Training, let's appreciate some of the positives. Here are five things worth remembering from this season.
BALTIMORE -- The Orioles have given fans reason for hope for the future in September and Austin Hays is one of the biggest reasons why. Hays, who was called up to Baltimore as part of roster expansion, was honored as the Orioles' MLB Pipeline Hitting Prospect of the Year. Alex Wells, named Baltimore's Jim Player Minor League Pitcher of the Year last month, was also selected as Pipeline's Top Pitching Prospect.
Each team's Hitting and Pitching Prospects of the Year were chosen by the MLBPipeline.com staff. To receive consideration, players must have spent at least half the year in the Minors, appeared on the team's Top 30 Prospects list and played the entire year in the organization.
ST. PETERSBURG -- While the Orioles will undoubtedly reflect on what went wrong in 2017, the plan for '18 remains pretty clear.
"This is the big leagues. I don't know who rebuilds in the American League East," executive vice president of baseball operations Dan Duquette said. "In the American League East you reload, OK? And then you try to have as good a team as you can the next season, as you did the past season. Everybody has a certain level of talent, and our talent base here is still pretty good."
ST. PETERSBURG -- Blake Snell gave the Rays a quality start and the offense put away the game late as the Rays ended the season on a high note, defeating the Orioles, 6-0, Sunday afternoon at Tropicana Field.
The win completed the Rays' three-game weekend sweep, giving the team a third-place finish in the American League East with an 80-82 record, which matched Kevin Cash's best season as the team's manager. The Orioles finished at 75-87, losing 19 of their last 23 to end the season in last place in the AL East for the first time since 2011.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Orioles first baseman Chris Davis needed to vent. The slugger, who had one of the most frustrating seasons he can remember in 2017, was candid with the media as he discussed plans to revamp his swing by next spring.
"I just feel like as a veteran player you have to be able to make an adjustment, and I did not do a good job of that this year on a day-to-day basis and it showed," said Davis, who entered Sunday's season finale batting .216 with 193 strikeouts in 127 games.
Both the San Francisco Giants and Detroit Tigers had designs on the postseason in 2017. For a variety of reasons, things didn't work out as planned. The consolation prize? Getting to pick at the top of the 2018 Draft.
It came down to the final day of the season and both teams finished tied with 64-98 records. By virtue of the Tigers' .534 winning percentage in 2016 (the Giants finished that season at .537), they get the first pick. Detroit has had the No. 1 pick just once before, taking Matt Anderson in 1997.
ST. PETERSBURG -- Saturday night was about evaluating Miguel Castro while taking his first career big league start with a grain of salt. Good or bad, Orioles manager Buck Showalter stressed Saturday afternoon, the outcome was not going to be a definitive evaluation of what the righty could be for the O's come spring.
Still, Castro held his own in the 4-3 loss to the Rays, working out of several early jams before surrendering a three-run homer to Brad Miller in the fourth. His final line of 3 1/3 innings included six hits and a walk, with three strikeouts and a wild pitch in the 59-pitch outing.