Orioles manager Buck Showalter led the Orioles to success as part of a wave taking over the game that emphasize bullpen usage and defense. That the rest of the league caught up and passed them on that front doesn't take away from the success it brought.
Another important offseason deadline will approach at the end of this week as teams must tender contracts to their arbitration-eligible players by Friday at 8 p.m., otherwise making them free agents. Last year, the Orioles signed catcher Welington Castillo after he was nontendered.
After throwing more pitches than he has all season in Monday's 3-2 win over the Seattle Mariners, Orioles closer Zach Britton's arm was heavily wrapped in ice. Britton threw a season-high 36 pitches in recording a five-out save against the Mariners — an outing that was extended because of a rare J.J. Hardy error and a Caleb Joseph passed ball on a strikeout that would have ended the game but instead yielded an unearned run.
Matt Wieters was out of the starting lineup for the first time since the All-Star Break in Sunday's 5-2 win over the Rays after complaining of back stiffness following Saturday's game against Tampa Bay.
Orioles fans still are undoubtedly reeling this morning from Wednesday's news that the team's longest-tenured player, right fielder Nick Markakis, is leaving Baltimore after agreeing to terms on a four-year, $44 million deal with the Atlanta Braves.
Behind the scenes, the Orioles front office relies on a range of contributors, from old-school scouts who gauge talent by watching players compete to younger executives adept at the statistics-driven approach captured in "Moneyball," the best-selling book and motion picture.
In the first year under pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti, the Orioles posted a 3.43 ERA this season. That was the third-best mark in the American League in 2014 and the club's best since a 3.28 ERA on the way to the World Series in 1979.
The beating the Orioles put on the Chicago White Sox bullpen last night -- five runs in the eighth inning off three relievers with ERAs over five -- was born of the same offseason strategy that the Orioles took with their bullpen.
The Orioles remain interested in bringing back former closer Jim Johnson on a minor league deal after the right-hander threw in front of minor league pitching rehab coordinator Scott McGregor on Monday.
Orioles executive vice president Dan Duquette would not comment on whether the club had any interest in reuniting with former closer Jim Johnson, whom Duquette traded to the Oakland Athletics in December.