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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles found someone you've never heard of

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Dan Duquette can strike with fringe signings at any time. In today's links, the continuing need for starting pitching, an unpleasant Billy Rowell reminder, and more.

Minnesota Twins Photo Day
Ryan O'Rourke is the newest Oriole. Maybe we'll see him again.
Photo by Mike Stobe/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 131 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2018. Free agency is wide open now! All nine qualifying offer players rejected the offers, so the market is set at last. Well... except for Japanese phenom Shohei Ohtani, whose posting from Nippon Professional Baseball is still a bit up in the air. So I guess we'll be waiting a little while longer for moves to start being made.

Thursday's excitement, such as it was, is that Jonathan Schoop came in 12th place in the American League MVP voting. Schoop received a pair of votes as high as sixth place from the 30 ballots - neither of which were from the Baltimore voters. Maybe an Orioles player will finish higher than that next season. That would be fun.

Even when nothing is going on, though, Dan Duquette can still strike with a random signing of somebody you've never heard of:

This poor fellow is obscure enough that Buster Olney initially didn't even get the guy's name right. I discovered this when I asked, "Who the heck is Ryan Rourke?" and found no such person. O'Rourke, 29, is a bullpen lefty who had Tommy John surgery back in April and the Twins outrighted him from the 40-man roster rather than wait out the whole of his recovery. Kind of a dick move.

Around the blogO'sphere

Duquette on Britton and the winter shopping list (School of Roch)
One of the standard bits of Duquettian patter is “He’s got a lot of value to our ballclub.” He deploys it here about Zach Britton.

For Orioles and rest of MLB, slow start to free agency in November is nothing new (Baltimore Sun)
It’s not just the Orioles who don’t jump on players right away! Although, that said, teams start signing guys by the end of November and the Orioles don’t tend to do that.

Two O's go from down the board on draft day to award finalists (Steve Melewski)
“Who is the other award finalist?” you might wonder, and the answer is Austin Hays for Baseball America’s Minor Leaguer of the Year.

Death, taxes, and the Orioles' need for starting pitching (Fangraphs)
Some things really are constants in life.

Explaining my 2017 AL Cy Young ballot (with gratuitous Billy Rowell mention) (Baltimore Baseball)
It’s true that Dan Connolly didn’t need to remind everyone that three-time Cy Young winner Max Scherzer was drafted two spots after Billy Rowell in 2006... but he did it anyway. (sob)

Weighing the odds for 2018 (Bird's Eye View)
The three-point plan from our pals over at Bird’s Eye View: Improve the rotation, improve team OBP, improve the outfield defense. Hey, is that all?

Birthdays and anniversaries

On this day in 1953, the St. Louis Browns officially became the Baltimore Orioles.

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: failed 2015 signing Everth Cabrera, 2007-10 spare part Scott Moore, 2006-14 outfield mainstay Nick Markakis, 2004 outfielder Darnell McDonald, 2005 catcher Eli Marrero, 1985-86 pitcher Brad Havens, and 1971/73 pitcher Orlando Pena.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Along with those former Orioles, your birthday buddies for today include: canning inventor Nicolas Appert (1749), British Field Marshal Bernard Montgomery (1889), Honda Motor Company co-founder Soichiro Honda (1906), Canadian folk rocker Gordon Lightfoot (1938), movie man Martin Scorsese (1942), Saturday Night Live creator Lorne Michaels (1944), RuPaul (1960), and actress Rachel McAdams (1978).

On this day in history...

In 1558, Mary I of England (Bloody Mary) died and was succeeded by her half-sister Elizabeth, beginning the Elizabethan era of English history.

In 1800, the United States Congress held a session in Washington, DC for the first time.

In 1869, Egypt's Suez Canal, linking the Mediterranean and Red Seas, was inaugurated.

In 1967, President Lyndon B. Johnson told the American people about the Vietnam War: "We are inflicting greater losses than we are taking. ... We are making progress."

In 1973, President Richard Nixon said, "I am not a crook."

In 1978, the infamous Star Wars Holiday Special aired on CBS.

**

And that's the way it is in Birdland on November 17 - or at least, unless something happens later. You never know when Duquette might find the next Ryan O'Rourke. Have a safe Thursday.