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Wednesday’s Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are spending international money

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In O’s news: Branden Kline gets added to the 40-man, the Birds get weird and it’s Halloween!

MLB: Baltimore Orioles at Kansas City Royals Denny Medley-USA TODAY Sports

Happy Halloween, Birdland!

The Orioles deserve a lot of criticism for the way in which they have approached the international free agent market historically. It’s a process that they have almost entirely ignored, and the results have clearly shown themselves on the field.

Failing to sign any of the big three Cuban players (Victor Victor Mesa, Sandy Gaston and Victor Mesa Jr.) recently despite having so much money to spend was disappointing. It could be the result of inexperience in the arena or even self-imposed limits. Either way, it was a bummer.

But the Orioles are clearly making more of an effort this time around. They were in the discussion on both Mesas and Gaston. That’s progress. And they have now signed five international free agents this year with the latest coming on Tuesday. Will any of them be the next Jonathan Schoop? We won’t know for several years.

There may be even more to come. The team still has over $5 million that they can spend, and there is the possibility that some interesting prospects do come out of Asia or Mexico in the months to come, although that is far from a guarantee.

The organization has a long way to go in the international market. Simply being in the conversation for the big names won’t be acceptable. They need to land them, develop them and make them into franchise cornerstones.

It will happen eventually. Until then: baby steps.

Links

The free agent market is open for business - MASN Sports
Roch goes over all of the familiar faces hitting the open market. Odds are that the Orioles will sign none of them. Regardless of who the new shot-caller will be, it would be a shock to see the front office pursue anyone beyond a veteran depth piece on a short-term deal.

Orioles Select Contract Of Branden Kline - MLB Trade Rumors
This move felt like a no brainer. Kline was about to become a minor league free agent. The 27-year-old has fought through numerous injuries and wound up putting together an impressive season between Frederick and Bowie in 2018. He now finds himself on the doorstep of the bigs and may even have a chance to make the team in the spring.

O’s finalize deal with teen OF from Curacao - Orioles.com
Here’s something we can all agree on: it would be great to see J’Rudjeanon Isenia make it to Baltimore if only to hear Gary Thorne try (and fail) to pronounce his name. For now, we may have to settle for the occasional minor league reports on the MASN broadcasts.

10 weird things the Baltimore Orioles did in 2018 - The Athletic
It’s been a month since we last saw the Orioles play a game. That’s enough time to forget some of the awful things they did during the season. Matt Kremnitzer has been kind enough to help us relive those moments.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy Birthday!

-Utilityman Yamaico Navarro turns 31 today. He spent eight games with the O’s during the 2013 season.

-Outfielder David Dellucci is 45 years old. He was drafted by the Birds in 1995, but only played in 17 games at the big league level for them during the 1997 season before being selected by the Arizona Diamondbacks during the ‘97 expansion draft.

-Left-handed reliever Tim Byrdak is also 45 today. He appeared in 57 games and compiled a 5.88 ERA in O’s orange between 2005 and 2006.

-Starter Steve Trachsel had two stints in Baltimore. One in 2007 and another in 2008 with a trade to the Cubs in between. The now-48-year-old had a 5.34 ERA over 180.1 innings in Birdland.

-A pair of 55-year-olds are next: catcher Matt Nokes and right-handed pitcher Mike Smith. Nokes played in 26 games for the ‘95 team. Smith appeared in 15 games between ‘89 and ‘90.

-Finally, it would have been the 76th birthday of the late Dave McNally (d. 2002). The southpaw spent 13 seasons with the Orioles, including a four-year stretch where he never won less than 20 games in a year. He never won a Cy Young award, but finished in the top five in voting every season from 1968 through 1971.

1979 - Mike Flanagan is announced as the winner of the AL Cy Young award. He finished the season as the league leader with 23 wins and five complete game shutouts. He paired that with a 3.08 ERA and 190 strikeouts over 265.2 innings.

2010 - The Giants beat the Rangers 4-0 in game four of the World Series, becoming the first team since the ‘66 Orioles to throw two shutouts in one World Series.