2016 Baltimore Orioles
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2016 Baltimore Orioles / Franchise: Baltimore Orioles / BR Team Page
Managed by Buck Showalter
History, Comments, Contributions
The 2016 Baltimore Orioles were relatively quiet during the off-season, as they mainly focused on re-signing their top hitter, 1B Chris Davis. It took until January 16th to get this done, and the result was the biggest contract in team history, for seven years and $161 million. Then the team suddenly got busy the first week of spring training, as news of two signings major were made, first that of P Yovani Gallardo for three years and $35 million on February 20th, quickly followed three days later by that of CF Dexter Fowler for similar terms. It looked like the the Birds had just made a major move towards being a contender again, but problems surfaced in the next two days. First, the physical exam on Gallardo turned up an unspecified concern, and the proposed deal was restructured, being reduced to two years and $22 million. Then, Fowler announced that he had in fact not signed the proposed contract but had had a change of heart and had decided to re-sign with the Chicago Cubs for one year and $13 million. That left the Orioles with still a big hole in their outfield, as Steve Pearce had departed via free agency during the winter.
With rookie Rule V draftee Joey Rickard and Korean import Hyun Soo Kim sharing the job in left field, and then veteran reclamation project Nolan Reimold joining them when CF Adam Jones had to sit out a few games, the Orioles got off to a surprisingly strong start as they were the last unbeaten team in the majors. They swept their first two series at home, facing the Minnesota Twins and the Tampa Bay Rays, then went to Fenway Park where they defeated the Boston Red Sox in their first two road games to find themselves atop the major league standings after seven games.
The Orioles' hot start was not a flash in the pan. They were still in first place in the AL East at the end of June, and it was not hard to find the reason behind their strong performance: they were hitting home runs at a record pace. With 124 home runs in 77 games at that point of the season, they were on pace to hit 262 homers, just two fewer than the all-time record set by the 1997 Seattle Mariners. They beat the record for most homers in June set by the 1996 Oakland Athletics with 56. The major league leader in the category was a resurgent Mark Trumbo with 23; he had been acquired in an off-season trade with Seattle after a very trying 2015 season had made him largely unwanted.
On August 19th, the Orioles set a modern record by hitting four home runs before making an out. Facing the Houston Astros at home and trailing 1-0 after George Springer had opened the game with a long ball off Wade Miley, Adam Jones hit Collin McHugh's first pitch out of the park. Hyun Soo Kim folowed with a single and the next three batters, Manny Machado, Davis and Trumbo all went deep in turn to make it 5-1 before McHugh had retired anyone. However, the Astros came back with 5 runs in the 2nd and ended up winning the slugfest, 15-8, as 8 homers were hit overall.
Awards and Honors
- All-Stars: Brad Brach, Zach Britton, Manny Machado, Mark Trumbo and Matt Wieters
- AL Silver Slugger Award: Mark Trumbo (OF)
- AL Comeback Player of the Year Award: Mark Trumbo
- Mariano Rivera Award: Zach Britton
- Wayne Coffey: "Relentless Orioles hammering home runs at a record pace", USA Today Sports, June 29, 2016. 
- Dan Connolly: "Five things that must happen for Orioles to make playoffs", USA Today Sports, August 16, 2016. 
- Richard Justice: "In tough AL East, don't count out O's: Gallardo addition latest move in stellar offseason for Duquette", mlb.com, February 20, 2016. 
- Richard Justice: "Surprising streak? Not to Orioles: Baltimore's 7-0 start to season is testament of team's winning vibe", mlb.com, April 13, 2016.