BALTIMORE—The Orioles continued their rebuilding program by trading reliever Brad Brach to the Atlanta Braves while indicating that longtime center fielder Adam Jones probably would stay with the team beyond Tuesday’s 4 p.m. non-waiver trade deadline.
Brach, who was 27-15 with a 2.99 ERA and 32 saves in five seasons with the Orioles, heads to Atlanta for $250,000 in international signing bonus slot money.
It’s the first time the Orioles have received international money in a trade, and Executive Vice President of Baseball Operations Dan Duquette indicated that the team would use it immediately to sign prospects from the Dominican Republic and Venezuela.
Jones, who could have been playing his last game with the Orioles on Sunday, wouldn’t directly respond to questions about trade reports, but Duquette said he thought Jones would stay with the team for now.
“As far as the club’s concerned, we would expect that Adam would be with us after the trade deadline,” Duquette said.
Jones can veto any trade because he’s been in the majors for 10 years and with the Orioles for five. Duquette said that Jones had expressed an interest to stay with the team until the end of the season. Jones will be a free agent after the season.
“His contract is up,” Duquette said. “I don’t know whether Adam will be here or not, but the club is going in the direction of younger ballplayers, I can tell you that.”
Jones said: “We shall see” when asked if it was his last game in Baltimore and if he expressed his desire to stay.
While he’s treasured in Baltimore, Duquette said the club was ready to change its philosophy. Outfielder Cedric Mullins, who’s at Triple-A Norfolk, could be added to the team soon, Duquette told season-ticket holders at a Saturday session.
“I think the club is in the rebuild mode, and we’re going to be taking a look at some younger ballplayers going forward,” Duquette said on Sunday.
“We’ve made that clear. That’s the intent of the club, and that’s the direction we’re going to go in.”
The 32-year-old Brach, who was obtained from San Diego in November 2013, played a key role in his time in Baltimore. He was named to the All-Star team in 2016.
“There are not a lot of relief pitchers with Brad Brach’s experience and his pitches and ability to strike out hitters,” Duquette said.
“There were three clubs in particular that we were working on with this trade and ultimately we went with the Braves’ offer.”
Brach, who was also discussed in trade talks a year ago, expressed his own relief.
“I’m glad that this waiting period is done and I know I’m going somewhere,” Brach said.
Brach said he was happy going to the Braves because former Orioles pitching coach Dave Wallace and bullpen coach Dom Chiti are with Atlanta. He also played with Nick Markakis and Ryan Flaherty, who are with the Braves.
“I would sit there and kind of go over the divisions and go over their bullpens and stuff like that and see who needed what, and it seems like every contender needed at least somebody,” Brach said.
“So, the list was pretty long, but I knew Atlanta would probably be a good possibility because of the coaches we had there and some of the connections we had there.”
In the last 11 days, the Orioles have traded Manny Machado, Zach Britton and Brach. It seems as if Jones is staying, and Duquette is hoping for other deals, perhaps one involving infielder Danny Valencia.
“There’ll be some other opportunities for us,” Duquette said. “The club has established a clear direction, right. We have traded veteran players for younger players, and we’re going to, with the support of ownership, rebuild the roster, and we’re going to sign some international players, OK. We’re going to sign some this week, and that will be the start of it.”
Brach says goodbye
Brach was one of the most well-liked of all Orioles, and his wife, Jenae, is a country music singer and songwriter. She performed the national anthem before Friday’s game.
“I think it was kind of a rebirth of a career for me,” Brach said of his time with the Orioles.
“When I was in San Diego, I was not good in my last year there. Looking back and being a long man, then middle guy, then get a chance to go play in the All-Star Game and represent the Orioles was an incredible experience. It was something that I’ll never forget and just looking at the path that’s happened the last four years, it’s kind of crazy because it almost felt like it was dead and now I have all the opportunity in the world to get a world championship ring and continue my career after that.”
Schoop and the hot Oriole offense
Jonathan Schoop extended his hitting streak to 12 games, equaling his career high, with a seventh-inning home run in the Orioles’ 11-5 win over the Tampa Bay Rays. It was Schoop’s 17th of the season, and his sixth in seven games.
Schoop would’ve had homers in seven straight games, setting a club record, had the Rays’ Joey Wendle not robbed him of a home run in the eighth inning of Saturday night’s game.
Chris Davis homered twice, his first multi-home run game since July 18, 2017.
The Orioles, who won three of four from the Rays, scored in double digits for the third straight game for the first time since June 26-29, 2016. They had 15 hits in each of the three games.
Their three-game winning streak is just their second of the season. They had a four-game winning streak May 9-12.
Dylan Bundy continues to allow the home run ball, but little else. Bundy gave up three solo shots and one single in seven innings.
In his Wednesday start, which was truncated by rain, Bundy allowed three homers to the 10 Red Sox hitters he faced. Because the game was postponed, the records don’t count.
Bundy also allowed three solo homers to Toronto in his July 20 start.
In seven innings, Bundy struck out seven and didn’t walk a batter. It was just the second time in 20 starts this season Bundy hasn’t walked a batter.