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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where Orioles spring training starts in 40 days

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Teams and free agents are waiting to see who blinks first. It probably won't be the Orioles. In today's links, looking ahead to minicamp, an unorthodox idea, and more.

Baltimore Orioles v Pittsburgh Pirates Photo by J. Meric/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 84 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day. Those with long memories and chips on their shoulders may recall the 1984 season as one in which Cal Ripken Jr. was even better than his MVP-winning 1983 season, more than 2 bWAR better than anyone else in the AL, yet he received only one tenth-place vote.

It's also a mere 40 days until pitchers and catchers report to spring training. Even in a year where there's reason to be excited about the Orioles, there's no reason to be excited for pitchers and catchers reporting except as a symbol of the spring to come.

Will Dan Duquette give us any reason to be excited between now and the start of spring training? I won't hold my breath on that, and you shouldn't either. That would be bad for your health. So might watching the Orioles next year. But there's nothing we, as fans, can do about that. The Orioles are going to be what they're going to be., and they're our team when they're good and when they're bad. It's just more fun when they're good.

The question of whether or not the Orioles will be good this season is not one that will be answered today. Yet every passing day that they do nothing to help answer the question makes it more likely that the ultimate conclusion ends up being that the Orioles, thanks to a dismal starting rotation, will be no good this year.

Around the blogO'sphere

Filling out the Orioles rotation with bench players (Camden Depot)
It says a lot about how bleak things were, and are, for the Orioles rotation that you can read this and think, “Hey, wait a minute...” Although I do think it undersells the extent to which this idea is insane.

Previewing next week's minicamp in Sarasota (School of Roch)
Reset the counter on “number of days since Roch brought up Hunter Harvey pitching for the Orioles this season,”

Once again, former Orioles finding free agent market unwelcoming (Baltimore Sun)
Turns out that when your departing free agents are mostly bad players, nobody else wants to sign them.

Dylan Bundy looks to keep improving in 2018 (Orioles.com)
The Orioles need a lot of people to have any hope this season. One of those people is Dylan Bundy.

MLB teams have learned to wait on free agents (Fangraphs)
What you get when every team starts looking at free agents like Dan Duquette does is this offseason.

The skipper's confidence in his middle-of-the-order hitter (Steve Melewski)
One might argue that this confidence cost the Orioles in 2017. Here’s hoping for a better Davis in 2018.

Please sign Jason Vargas before someone else does (Birds Watcher)
This is also not a very good sign for the hopes of improvement in the Orioles starting rotation.

Assessing the slow Orioles free agent market (Baltimore Baseball)
Dan Connolly thinks the slow market plays into Duquette’s hands. I’m less confident in this.

Birthdays and anniversaries

On this day in 2011, the Orioles signed Kevin Gregg, for whose pitching I still have not acquired a taste. Andy MacPhail was really bad at signing relievers.

One lone former Oriole has a birthday today: 1988-90 starter Jay Tibbs, who turns 56.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: mathematician/physicist Isaac Newton (1643), Braille inventor Louis Braille (1809), circus performer General Tom Thumb (1838), football coach Don Shula (1930), country artist Patty Loveless (1957), and R.E.M. singer-songwriter Michael Stipe (1960).

On this day in history...

In 1642, England's King Charles I attempted to arrest five members of Parliament, effectively sending the country towards civil war. Exactly seven years later, with Charles having lost that war, that same Parliament voted to put Charles on trial, a trial that ended with Charles then losing his head.

In 1853, Solomon Northup, who had been kidnapped and sold into slavery in the South, regained his freedom after twelve years. He wrote a memoir, Twelve Years a Slave.

In 1951, with United Nations forces retreating from the city following the Third Battle of Seoul, the city was captured for the second time during the Korean War by Chinese and North Korean forces. By the Ides of March, however, Seoul was recaptured by the south.

In 1974, President Nixon defied a Congressional subpoena, refusing to turn over documents demanded by the Senate Watergate Committee.

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And that's the way it is in Birdland on January 4 - or at least, unless something happens later, which as was discussed in the links, probably won't be today. Have a safe Thursday.