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BALTIMORE ORIOLES
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Signed LHP Zach Phillips to a one-year, $510,000 contract; acquired LHP Edgar Olmos from the Cubs in exchange for a player to be named later. [3/26]

When we talk about the Orioles making moves at the end of the offseason, looking to add value during the fallow period after big names have come off the market…this is not what we have in mind. No, with Brian Matusz out with injury to start the season, Birdland needs another pitcher who uses his left wing. To start the season, the only left-handed reliever on the projected roster is closer Zach Britton, which has created a hole that the Orioles have decided to fill from without, rather than within.

Enter Phillips, whom I certainly did not expect to get a major-league contract for 2016, namely because I had forgotten he’d ever existed. After a few mostly-forgettable cups of coffee in the big leagues between 2011 and 2013, he jetted off to Japan for the 2014 season. Upon returning to the States last year, he actually put up some pretty nice numbers for the White Sox’s Triple-A affiliate last season–he struck out a healthy 10.4 batters per nine with a 61 percent ground ball rate and 2.21 FIP. Control has always been a struggle for this southpaw, but if he can maintain those types of peripherals and not go full Marmol, the Orioles may have just found another useful bullpen piece on a team that already looks pretty strong on that front. And it’ like no one ever said: you can’t have too many Zachs in a bullpen.

If Phillips washes out in a hurry, perhaps Olmos can get a shot. The former Marlin, Mariner, Ranger, Mariner, Cub, Oriole, and Cub—all since 2013, mind you­—has never been able to consistently get outs during his short shifts in the big leagues. He’s only made it to 19 innings in the majors, including two short starts for Seattle last year. His career DRA is 7.37, but all the small sample caveats apply there. But there’s an argument here that so many teams must have seen something they liked in him, and want to give him a shot. Of course, those same teams ended up cutting bait on him, sometimes in the span of a few days, so maybe we shouldn’t put so much stock in that after all. —Bryan Grosnick

ATLANTA BRAVES
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Acquired LHP Eric O’Flaherty from the Royals in exchange for cash considerations. [3/28]

Don’t call it a comeback! No, really. Don’t. O’Flaherty used to be a foundational piece in the Braves bullpen, all the way back in 2012. Unfortunately, a 2013 Tommy John surgery and follow-up elbow woes have transformed him from a lights-out, reliable LOOGY to a JAG … you know, “Just A Guy.” His time with the A’s between 2014 and 2015 was fine, I suppose, but upon arriving in New York last season, he cratered, allowing 18 hits and 14 runs in less than nine innings of work.

Now back in the colors of the team where he’s had the most success. Sure, it’s possible he could go back to his old ways of annihilating left-handed hitters now that he’s back where he belongs. But he also has a 90th percentile PECOTA projection of 0.4 WARP … and it’s a lot more likely he’s just a replacement-level arm or worse. However, every single southpaw reliever the Braves seem to acquire needs Tommy John surgery, and this new acquisition may find his way to the bullpen by default. And hey, if nothing else, he did his part to try and ruin the Mets’ magical 2015 season. If that’s not a true Brave, I don’t know what is. —Bryan Grosnick

CINCINNATI REDS
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Signed RHP Ross Ohlendorf to a one-year, $800,000 contract [3/16]

Since he first emerged with the Yankees in 2007, Ross Ohlendorf’s career has occurred in a series of fits and bursts. An old-school slinging delivery and a move to the bullpen in 2013 has helped the Princeton product find success, however. The right-hander spent his 2015 campaign in the Rangers system, and capped the year with 19.3 innings of 3.72 ERA ball operating out of the bullpen in Arlington. Jeff Bannister even deployed him at crucial junctures in the ALDS against Toronto.

Ohlendorf was picked up by the Royals on a minor league deal in February. He was always a long shot to make Kansas City’s bullpen and it wasn’t surprising to see him cut loose. The Reds have now signed him to a major league deal, and he’s probably the third or fourth best pitcher in the Cincinnati relief corps. The Reds are rather bad at baseball right now, so an older reliever like Ohlendorf is probably a candidate for a midseason trade if he pitches well. If he doesn’t pitch well, he can always take another internship with the Department of Agriculture.

Signed manager Pete Mackanin to a contract extension through 2017, with a club option for 2018 [3/16]

Mackanin took over for Ryne Sandberg in the City of Brotherly Love in June, and by September the Phillies saw fit to give him the keys to the car for good. He signed a contract that would see him serve as manager for all of 2016 with a club option for the following year. Now they’ve signed him to another extension that makes 2017 guaranteed and offers the team the chance to bring him back for 2018 as well.

It’s clear that GM Matt Klentak is very happy with what’s he’s seeing with his manager. Mackanin was initially put in place before Klentak was officially hired, but Klentak has now given him two new contracts in the span of six months. That’s a great sign for the future of a rebuilding Philadelphia organization that’s looking to build from the inside with young talent. It’s been a dismal few years for Phillies fans, but the light at the end of the tunnel is becoming brighter with each passing day. —Nicolas Stellini

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