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One of the most popular questions fans ask is: Which of the current Orioles will still be with the club when they turn things around?
The most popular answers are Trey Mancini and John Means. Hunter Harvey has become another favorite choice.
The question seems simple, but the answer isn’t.
In 2010, the year that Buck Showalter became manager, the Orioles used 46 players. Most were gone by the time the team was in contention two years later.
Seven of those 46 played in the major leagues in 2019. Adam Jones, Nick Markakis and Matt Wieters stayed around to enjoy postseason success.
Justin Turner was dealt away early in the season, before Showalter became manager and has become a vital player on the Los Angeles Dodgers.
Three pitchers from that club pitched in the majors last season — Jake Arrieta, David Hernandez, who was traded after that season to Arizona for Mark Reynolds, and Matt Albers.
Arrieta and Hernandez were Orioles prospects who didn’t live up to expectations. Arrieta found great success with the Chicago Cubs, and Hernandez has had a decent career with the Diamondbacks, Angels. Phillies and Reds.
Albers seemed an unlikely candidate to have a prosperous major league career. He led the 2010 Orioles with 62 appearances and had a 5-3 record, a 4.52 ERA and an unimpressive 1.480 WHIP.
By then he was in his fifth major league season, having come to the Orioles along with Dennis Sarfate and Luke Scott in the Miguel Tejada trade in December 2007.
After the season, the Orioles didn’t offer a contract to Albers, who has played for seven teams since then.
In the nine seasons since leaving the Orioles, Albers has earned more than $16 million. He has pitched in 616 games, putting him in the top 10 of active pitchers.
Albers has never been a high-profile pitcher, earning just seven saves. His best season came in 2017 when he was 7-2 with a 1.78 ERA with the Washington Nationals. That was the only time in his career that he made the postseason.
That year earned Albers a two-year, $5 million contract with the Milwaukee Brewers. After an 8-6 record and a 5.13 ERA with Milwaukee, the 36-year-old right-hander is a free agent again.
Albers’ 2010 statistics weren’t much different than those Shawn Armstrong or Paul Fry compiled last season, but no one is suggesting that Armstrong or Fry will be an important part of future Oriole teams.
There will probably be an outlier or two from the 2019 Orioles who will have a respectable major league career elsewhere.
Jones, Markakis, Wieters as free agents: Markakis, who has played for Atlanta since 2015, will be returning to the Braves for a sixth season, signing on for another year.
Neither Jones nor Wieters was included on MLBTradeRumors.com’s list of top 50 free agents.
Jones hit .260 with a .728 OPS for Arizona in 2019 and slumped badly in the season’s second half. After the All-Star break, Jones had just three homers and 23 RBIs with a .680 OPS.
The 34-year-old should be able to continue his career with a team that will use him as a fourth outfielder.
Wieters hit just .214 in 67 games as Yadier Molina’s backup with the St. Louis Cardinals. At the end of the season, there was chatter that the Cardinals were interested in re-signing him.
Minor league free agents: According to Baseball America, the Orioles have 17 minor league free agents. Five played for the Orioles last season — right-handed pitchers Pedro Araujo, Ryan Eades, Tayler Scott, Jimmy Yacabonis and Gabriel Ynoa.
Araujo was a Rule 5 pick in December 2017. Eades and Scott were outrighted to Triple-A Norfolk on October 30, and Ynoa declared for free agency on Monday. Yacabonis was 3-4 with a 5.75 ERA in 55 games over the past three seasons.
The other free agents are right-handers Taylor Grover, who was selected in the Triple-A portion of the Rule 5 draft last December; Kieran Lovegrove and Marcos Molina; left-hander Luis Gonzalez; catcher Carlos Perez; infielders Christopher Bostick, Anderson Feliz, Sean Miller, Jack Reinheimer, Engleb Vielma and Zach Vincej ;and outfielder Adamar Rifaela.
Perez, who played with the Angels, Braves and Rangers from 2015-2018, received high marks for working with Bowie’s young pitchers.
Vielma had seven at-bats for the Orioles in 2018. Bostick, Reinheimer and Vincej have major league experience but played for Norfolk all season.
Miller, a Crofton native who attended Archbishop Spalding, was a Carolina League All-Star with Frederick.
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