There are now 98 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. I have accidentally been putting the wrong number of days in this countdown up until now, as it turns out that for some reason I was two days ahead of what it actually is. So, you know, oops.
Maybe it's not a bad thing. The way that the last couple of weeks have gone for the Orioles, Opening Day being a little farther away than expected could be exactly what we need. I mean, there's definitely going to be no Zach Britton on Opening Day, after his freak Achilles injury suffered on Tuesday.
There might not be any Manny Machado still on the team. If we're to believe Dan Duquette, today is the day where the Orioles will be deciding whether to, in Duquette's own parlance, "fish or cut bait." Up until now, teams have apparently not come up to the O's price, and now the O's must decide whether a lesser return is better than plowing ahead with Machado into the 2018 season and possibly revisiting a trade to a contender in July.
This seems to be a path that only a mad person could go down. The Orioles - and I hope I don't sound like a broken record here - still have just two starting pitchers heading into next season, plus whatever they can mine out of their barren upper minors and starter-capable MLB bullpen guys. They aren't even signing guys like Jhoulys Chacin, who got two years and $15 million from the Brewers yesterday.
I don't even think I would have been happy if the Orioles signed Chacin. They really can't win. That's especially true thanks to their refusal to sign any of these pitchers for more than three years. Maybe it's not a good idea to have to rely on rotation free agents. In fact, it's almost certainly not. But that's where the Orioles are, all the same, so that's what they need to do... unless they're going to trade Machado today.
Other teams in the division have not been dormant while the O's have been twiddling their thumbs. The AL East was impacted yesterday when the Rays traded Evan Longoria to the Giants. Maybe that makes it safe for the Orioles to re-sign Chris Tillman, against whom Longoria has posted a .314/.360/.786 batting line in 75 plate appearances. I don't actually think it's safe for the O's to re-sign Tillman, but I still think they're going to do it anyway.
Around the blogO'sphere
A series of people telling the Orioles to trade Machado right now
Every O must go: After losing Zach Britton, it's time for the Orioles to trade Manny Machado (ESPN)
ESPN’s Eddie Matz says it’s time to make a deal. It’s hard to argue the point.
Manny Machado's time with the Orioles might soon be over (Yahoo Sports)
Yahoo’s Tim Brown also says it’s time to make a deal.
In wake of Britton injury, Orioles should consider all options (Baltimore Sun)
Peter Schmuck doesn’t quite say that it must be time to make a deal, but it’s definitely one of the options he considers.
The Indians should trade for Manny Machado (Fangraphs)
Dave Cameron makes the argument for the Indians to pull off the big trade. Coincidentally enough, they did just sign Machado’s brother-in-law, Yonder Alonso, on Wednesday night...
If Machado's gone, what's your next move as O's GM for a day? (Baltimore Baseball)
This one was posted Wednesday morning, before the Britton news was announced, so “Trade Zach Britton” was the answer for a few hours. Now it’s probably trade Brad Brach. The Orioles won’t do that either.
Britton: "This is not the way I envisioned ending my time here" (School of Roch)
The injury is sad for the hopes of seeing a competitive Orioles team and it’s also sad for Britton himself, the longest-tenured Oriole, who will now not get to put his best foot forward heading into free agency.
Jim Callis on what makes a player a good prospect (Steve Melewski)
It’s not an exhaustive explanation of prospect rankings, but it’s a pretty good idea of one long-time guy’s method.
Sleeper prospect: D.J. Stewart, OF (Minor League Ball)
One of our friends over at SB Nation’s Minor League Ball wants to make sure that people don’t forget about D.J. Stewart despite his initial tough pro debut.
Birthdays and anniversaries
On this day in 1995, the Orioles signed Robbie Alomar to a three-year contract. The future Hall of Famer hit .312/.382/.480 - a 122 OPS+ - in 412 games over the life of that contract, generating 12.4 WAR.
There are a few former Orioles today. They are: clutch-hitting 2012 backup catcher Taylor Teagarden, 2006 reliever LaTroy Hawkins, 1996 reliever and current pitching coach Roger McDowell, 1995 short-timer Andy Van Slyke, and 1977 reserve Elliott Maddox.
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: priest/terrier namesake Jack Russell (1795), actor Samuel L. Jackson (1948), tennis player Chris Evert (1954), and current French president Emmanuel Macron (1977).
On this day in history...
In 1361, during the Spanish Reconquista, a Castilian force defeated the Granadan Muslims in the Battle of Linuesa. The Castilian King, Peter, ordered all plunder be given to the crown with a promise that he would pay out later. He never did so, and is thus remembered to history as "Pedro I el Cruel" - Peter I the Cruel.
In 1872, the HMS Challenger expedition set sail from Portsmouth, traveling the world over the next five years in a journey that's credited with laying the foundation of oceanography.
In 1937, in Los Angeles, the world premiere of Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, which was the world's first full-length animated feature, took place.
In 1970, the F-14 Tomcat had its first flight. This aircraft is of interest as it was at the center of the action in Top Gun. The last Tomcat left active US service in 2006, but it's still used in Iran.
In 2012, the Mayan Long Count calendar reached its end and the world (as far as we can perceive it) did not stop existing.
And that's the way it is in Birdland on December 21 - or at least, unless something happens later. Will today be the day there's movement on Machado? If so, this will be a day remembered in the Birdland lore, for good or ill. If nothing happens today, we might be remembering that, too. Have a safe Thursday.