Orioles great Mike Flanagan found dead outside home

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Tragic news out of Monkton, Maryland.

According to Baltimore’s WBAL 11, former Orioles pitcher, broadcaster and front office executive Mike Flanagan was reportedly found dead on a trail outside his home shortly before 4:30 p.m. ET Wednesday.

There aren’t many other details available at the moment and the Orioles have not issued a public comment on the unfortunate news.

That should change before the night is through.

Flanagan played basketball and baseball as a youth at UMass-Amherst. He was selected by the Orioles in the seventh round of the 1973 draft and made his debut as a starting pitcher in Baltimore on September 27, 1975.

Flanagan registered a 167-143 record, a 3.90 ERA and 1,491 strikeouts during an impressive 18-year major league career that lasted until 1992.

In 1979, Flanagan earned the American League Cy Young Award after posting a superb 23-9 record, 3.08 ERA, 1.19 WHIP and 190/70 K/BB ratio across 265 2/3 innings (38 starts). He found a job in the Baltimore front office soon after hanging up his cleats for good and eventually worked his way up to the position of general manger — or, as the Orioles call it, executive vice president of baseball operations.

Flanagan also did some broadcasting of O’s games for the Mid-Atlantic Sports Network. He was 59.

UPDATE, 10:37pm: The Baltimore Sun has more details now, along with reaction from old teammates.

UPDATE, 10:46pm: The Orioles have confirmed the tragic news, according to the Sun‘s Dan Connolly.

UPDATE, 10:51pm: Brent Harris of Comcast SportsNet heard from a source that “early indications of Mike Flanagan’s death point to suicide.” Michael Jenkins, also of Comcast SportsNet, passed along the report.

UPDATE, 11:03pm: The Associated Press has a bit more on Flanagan’s death, which has been confirmed.

Bryce Harper to Little League players: “No participation trophies, first place only”

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Nationals’ star outfielder Bryce Harper had some words of advice for a local Little League team on Saturday, telling a crowd of young players and their parents that winning matters far more than any participation trophies they might receive for their efforts on the field.

“As much as they might tell you, ‘Oh, it’s okay, you guys lost…’ No, Johnny, no,” Harper explained. “No participation trophies, okay? First place only. Come on.”

The panic over participation trophy culture has swelled over the last few years as studies continue to suggest that children are happier when they’re praised for their accomplishments, rather than rewarded for simply trying their best. The general idea is that kids aren’t motivated to succeed when they know they’ll receive a ribbon or medal celebrating their efforts at the end of the day — regardless of whether they win or lose. (Granted, it stands to reason that every kid can feel the difference between winning a championship trophy and receiving a participation ribbon.) Some have taken the idea to an extreme, claiming that when a child receives too many accolades for mediocre or poor performances, it can warp the way they view the world by generating a sense of undeserved entitlement.

Harper kept his tone light during the Q&A session, however, drawing cheers and applause from the majority of parents and a few of the kids. The 2015 NL MVP has routinely taken his own advice over the years, earning Rookie of the Year honors, four All-Star nominations and a Silver Slugger award since he broke into the major leagues in 2012. Next on his list? A World Series championship.

Indians to move Danny Salazar to the bullpen

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MLB.com’s William Kosileski reports that Indians starter Danny Salazar is being moved to the bullpen and will be available as soon as Wednesday or Thursday. The Indians will go on a five-game road strip starting on June 2, and manager Terry Francona said that Salazar could get a start during that trip.

Salazar, 27, has struggled to a 5.50 ERA over his first 10 starts this season. While none of those starts were absolute disasters, he failed to finish the sixth inning in seven of those 10 starts. It’s a far cry from his performance over the last two seasons, when he finished with a 3.45 ERA and 3.87 ERA.

Salazar’s walk rate is up to a career-high 11.9 percent, per FanGraphs, and he’s allowing many more line drives at the expense of ground balls. Compared to 2016, his line drive rate is up 8.9 percent and his ground ball rate is down 10.4 percent. All of that could explain Salazar’s struggles to some extent.