Orioles manager Buck Showalter, right, motions to the bullpen after removing starting pitcher Bud Norris, left, in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Baltimore.
Orioles manager Buck Showalter, right, motions to the bullpen after removing starting pitcher Bud Norris, left, in the seventh inning against the Boston Red Sox, Sunday, April 26, 2015, in Baltimore. (GAIL BURTON / Associated Press)

Tough exit for Norris: It's hard not to feel sorry for Bud Norris, even though he hasn't exactly been a warm-and-fuzzy guy during this difficult season.

He won 15 games last year and played a very key role in the Orioles' surge to the playoffs, which put him in an enviable position heading into the final year before he becomes eligible for free agency.

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If he had delivered even an average performance and pitched to a .500 record and a 4.50 ERA, he would have set himself up for a nice payday in this era of $50 million contracts for non-elite starting pitchers.

Instead, he suffered through a lengthy illness early in the season and never regained his 2014 form, which left the Orioles little choice but to designate him for assignment Friday.

Tough break, but he'll land somewhere and have an opportunity to re-establish himself as a solid starter next season.

Don't sleep on O'Day:Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette has made it a policy not to negotiate with potential free agents during the regular season, but if the Orioles are so obsessed with roster flexibility maybe they might want to be flexible when it comes to keeping some of their most valuable players.

Duquette should start with setup reliever Darren O'Day, who has given the Orioles more than their money's worth during his current contract and has reason to want to stay in the Mid-Atlantic area for the next few years.

He is a very valuable member of a bullpen that just got a bit thinner with the trade that sent Tommy Hunter to the Chicago Cubs, so it might make sense to make an overture to O'Day before he starts getting big multiyear offers from other clubs.

Duquette finds delicate balance: Duquette never wavered in his attempt to acquire outside help at Friday's deadline for making trades without passing players through waivers, but he managed to accomplish more than just acquiring solid outfielder Gerardo Parra.

He also shook up the roster, added an outfield prospect, and injected some youth into the pitching staff with the promotion Mychal Givens.

The Orioles will miss Hunter, but they also know that they are going to lose more veteran players over the next several months, and assimilating some younger guys now may make the process less painful.

twitter.com/SchmuckStop

Read more from columnist Peter Schmuck on his blog, "The Schmuck Stops Here," at baltimoresun.com/schmuckblog.

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