Orioles reach agreement with third-round pick Klein

Notebook

Deal with right-hander secured, club can turn its attention to top pick Machado

  • Nick Markakis receives congratulations from the Orioles dugout, including Felix Pie, Cesar Izturis and Alfredo Simon. Markakis scored the game-winning run in the 10th against the Chicago White Sox.
Nick Markakis receives congratulations from the Orioles dugout,… (Baltimore Sun photo by Karl…)
August 12, 2010|By Jeff Zrebiec, The Baltimore Sun

CLEVELAND —

Four days before the deadline to sign their 2010 draft selections, the Orioles reached an agreement with third-round pick Daniel Klein, allowing them to turn their attention to top pick Manny Machado.

Klein, a right-handed pitcher out of UCLA, flew to Baltimore on Thursday to take a physical and finalize the agreement. His deal will be for slightly more than the slot recommendation of $417,600 for the 85th pick.

When the deal becomes official, he'll become the 34th of the Orioles' 49 picks from the June draft to sign and join the system. Machado, the Florida high school shortstop whom the Orioles selected third overall, is the only pick taken in the first five rounds who hasn't agreed to deal, and the only other top-10 picks who remain unsigned are right-handed pitcher Dixon Anderson (sixth round) and left-handed pitcher Matthew Bywater (seventh round).

The Orioles will have until midnight Monday to agree to terms with picks before they lose their rights.

"We have some things that we're trying to get done, and we have some backup plans if we have to move on," Orioles director of scouting Joe Jordan said.

Asked specifically about Machado, who is represented by Scott Boras, Jordan said: "There's not anything to report on Machado. Nothing at all. We just have to get to the weekend. All that is difficult right now, but we'll get it going this weekend. The kid wants to sign, and I think we'll put it together."

Klein went 6-1 with a 1.90 ERA and 10 saves in 39 games while serving as the closer for a Bruins team that lost to South Carolina in the College World Series. However, the Orioles are planning to develop the 22-year-old as a starting pitcher, and he's expected to start his professional career at short-season Single-A Aberdeen.

He's the third Orioles pick to get an over-slot deal over the past week. The Orioles gave shortstop-third baseman Connor Narron, a fifth-round pick, a $650,000 deal, and right-handed pitcher Parker Bridwell, a ninth-round selection, a $625,000 deal. According to Baseball America, the slot recommendations for those two picks were $171,900 and $150,000 respectively, and the Orioles exceeded it with both players more than any other completed deals to date.

Revisiting Roberts' at-bat

Second baseman Brian Roberts' 12-pitch at-bat in the fifth inning Wednesday that ended with a solo home run largely became an afterthought with the complete-game, two-hit performance by Brad Bergesen. But it certainly was not lost on manager Buck Showalter, who has been impressed by a number of the leadoff man's at-bats.

"Very few times has he had an at-bat and the team's not better as a result of it," Showalter said. "He may see four or five pitches, but he's not the type of guy that other teams can just go in there and fire fastballs at him to get him out of the way. They got to do some things because he can hurt them. I think we've seen the product of what he means to our club to have him there.

Roberts, who had three hits Wednesday, including the homer off Cleveland Indians starter Josh Tomlin, said the at-bat is more proof that he is feeling "better and better" at the plate after missing 3 1/2 months with a herniated disk in his back.

"That's one of those at-bats that is fun when you are in the middle of it and then you're going, 'Oh man, if I don't get a hit here, it's going to be awful,' " Roberts said. "Not many of them end up in homers, so it made it even sweeter. I have some at-bats, maybe not 12 pitches, but seven, eight or nine. It was nice to have one, and it was nice to have something positive at the end of it."

All Buck all the time

The Mid-Atlantic Sports Network continues to experience a ratings spike since Showalter took over as manager. Since Aug. 3, the ratings are up in Baltimore from a 3.3 household rating to a 5.0, an increase of 52 percent. The ratings in Washington for Orioles broadcasts are also up from 0.7 to a 1.1, an increase of 57 percent.

In comparison, the Washington Capitals, one of the NHL's elite teams last season, drew a 1.5 rating in Washington during the 2009-10 season, while the NBA's Washington Wizards earned a 0.9 rating during the same span.

The Orioles' 3-1 win over the Indians on Wednesday drew a 5.9 household rating in Baltimore and a 1.4 rating in Washington. The Nationals' loss to the Florida Marlins on MASN2 the same night drew only a 0.86 rating in Washington.

The total numbers of households from both the Baltimore and Washington markets to tune in to Orioles games on MASN per night is 80,335, up from 52,414 since Showalter joined the club.

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