Orioles notes and observations on free agency, arbitration eligibles, Machado and Schoop

Since the Orioles were knocked out of playoff contention earlier this week, there has been a whole lot of speculation about what this club is going to look like in 2016.

Much of that talk is centering on the Orioles' six pending free agents: Chris Davis, Matt Wieters, Darren O'Day, Wei-Yin Chen, Gerardo Parra and Steve Pearce.


The sense is that the Orioles certainly won't keep them all -- and might only re-sign one or two. And it wouldn't surprise anyone if all six go elsewhere.

Orioles manager Buck Showalter said he knows it's a topic of conversation, but he tries not to consider it, at least not while there are games to be played.


"It's tough. It's the world we live in," Showalter said. "It does tug at me, so I try to stay away from it."

** In talking about the potential changes in the Orioles roster for 2016, Showalter makes a great point: It's not just the six potential free agents that could be gone.

The Orioles have a bevy of arbitration-eligible players, and several might not be tendered contracts.

Pitchers Chris Tillman, Zach Britton and Brad Brach and third baseman Manny Machado are slam dunks to be tendered. But others -- such as lefty reliever Brian Matusz, starter Miguel Gonzalez, infielders Ryan Flaherty and Paul Janish and outfielders Nolan Reimold and David Lough -- are much more tenuous. It's not as much whether they are useful parts, but whether they are worth the money that they'll get in arbitration.

"A lot of decisions," Showalter said. "I'm sure our guys have it wired about the order in which those decisions need to be made."

** Machado keeps adding to what has been a tremendous season for the 23-year-old third baseman.

He now has done what only one Oriole in modern club history has accomplished. And that's hit at least 30 homers and steal at least 20 bases. The only person to do that was Brady Anderson in his seminal 1996 campaign.

Anderson, by the way, was 32 that year -- almost a decade older than Machado is now. But Showalter still connected the dots between the two players.


"Brady was a well-above-average defender, really good thrower, came to play every day," Showalter said. "It's something Manny should be very proud of and we're proud of him. It's hard to do. You can see why so few people have been able to do it."

After the game, Machado said he wanted to give "props" to all of his coaches for keeping him focused for a whole season. Nice touch to a nice accomplishment for Machado.

** There was a scary moment in the first inning when second baseman Jonathan Schoop was hit in the right hand by a Drew Hutchison pitch. He stayed in the game then, but didn't return in the second after the 3-hour, 25-minute rain delay.

Schoop left with what the team described as a right hand contusion and X-rays were negative. But Showalter said athletic trainer Richie Bancells "didn't like some of the descriptions [Schoop] was giving here. So, see what tomorrow brings."

Schoop told reporters he experienced some numbness in his hand and had trouble making a fist during the game. Afterward, he said it was a little stiff and swollen.

There might only be three games remaining, but the Orioles certainly don't want Schoop's season to end on a rough note, especially after he missed so much time with a knee injury earlier this year. He has been a bright spot since the All-Star break, and the club wants the year to end that way for their 23-year-old infielder.