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Friday Bird Droppings: Where it’s non-tender day

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Today’s the deadline for the O’s to extend contracts to their arbitration-eligible players. We could be bidding goodbye to at least a couple of veteran Orioles.

Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Patrick McDermott/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s the last day of November. This month really sailed by, didn’t it? Or maybe it went really slowly. I don’t know your life.

It’s also the deadline for teams to either offer a contract or non-tender their arbitration-eligible players, which means new Orioles GM Mike Elias will have his first major roster decisions to make today. The O’s have five arbitration-eligible players, and while three of them are slam dunks to be retained — Dylan Bundy, Mychal Givens, and Jonathan Villar — the two others are on the bubble: Tim Beckham and Caleb Joseph.

Beckham, other than his sizzling-hot first month with the Orioles after they traded for him in 2017, has been a disappointment all around. He didn’t fit in defensively at third base and has struggled at short, and his bat hasn’t been good enough to make up for his shortcomings with the glove. Unless Elias and his crew see some potential waiting to be unlocked in Beckham, they might part ways rather than give him a raise over the $3.35 million he made this year.

The 32-year-old Joseph is coming off another dreadful offensive season, two years removed from his infamous zero-RBI campaign. He’s considered a good game caller and clubhouse leader, which is nothing to sneeze at, and after making $1.25 million in 2018, he’s not going to break the bank if the O’s offer him arbitration. Still, he’s essentially a backup catcher, and the Orioles might figure they can cut him loose and find a cheaper version.

Oh, and there’s a non-tender candidate elsewhere in the majors you might find intriguing:

What do you say, Orioles fans? Anyone up for a reunion?

Links

Orioles deciding on terms for eligible players - Orioles.com
I’m not sure if Orioles.com has found a permanent replacement for Britt Ghiroli, but here MLB.com writer Joe Trezza offers his thoughts on which arbitration-eligible Orioles will and won’t be tendered a contract.

A deeper look at Gary Rajsich’s Orioles’ tenure shows change was needed – The Athletic
Gary Rajsich did a decent enough job at drafting but didn’t produce any stars. I like that Mike Elias is aiming for something better than “decent enough.”

Orioles making moves for present, but 2019 draft clearly already in focus for new GM Mike Elias - Baltimore Sun
Elias, who was essential in drafting Carlos Correa (among others) in Houston, already seems to have an idea of what he wants to do for the Orioles’ 2019 draft. Produce some stars, for starters.

Does Mike Elias face a tougher rebuilding task with the Orioles than with the Astros? - BaltimoreBaseball.com
A dashing writer compares the current state of the Orioles to the state of the Astros when Elias joined them in 2011. Which team had/has a bigger hill to climb to contention?

Sig Mejdal talks about his arrival in Baltimore and work that awaits - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko has a nice interview with the Orioles’ new assistant GM, analytics. Mejdal diplomatically states that the Orioles previously “didn’t have the reputation of being on the forefront of the analytics movement.” You don’t say!

So how will the Orioles get up to speed in analytics? - Steve Melewski
For those who are wondering exactly what analytics is, Steve Melewski offers a brief explanation of what it means and how the new Orioles front office intends to use it.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! And a very happy 25th birthday to outfielder DJ Stewart, who impressed in a 17-game sample with the Orioles last September. He figures to be in the mix for an outfield spot for the Birds in 2019, at least if the O’s can straighten out their defensive alignment and stop putting the likes of Trey Mancini and Mark Trumbo out there. Your other ex-Oriole birthday buddy is 2000 utility infielder Mark Lewis (49).

On this fateful day in 2000, the Orioles lost their homegrown ace, Mike Mussina, to the Yankees, who reached an agreement on a six-year, $88.5 million deal. Whether you blame Mussina for leaving the Orioles or ownership for not re-signing him, his departure was a huge blow for the Birds after a stellar 10-year career in Baltimore, where he was 147-81 with a 3.53 ERA and 45 complete games in a pitcher-unfriendly era.

With a 130 ERA+ to Jim Palmer’s 125, you could make a strong case for Mussina being the best pitcher in Orioles history. He’ll find out in January whether he’s been elected to baseball’s Hall of Fame this year.