Good morning, Camden Chatters.
The first full day of the winter meetings have come and gone, and if you were expecting any earth-shattering signings or trades, they didn’t happen. Manny Machado and Bryce Harper remain on the free agent market. Corey Kluber hasn’t been dealt yet. So far, general managers have been doing a lot of talking but not a ton of wheeling and dealing, but of course that could change in the coming days. The longer you stay in Las Vegas, the crazier things tend to get.
The Orioles, of course, don’t figure to be involved in any high-profile player moves. But they did have a couple of small roster tweaks yesterday. Mike Elias made his first outside addition to the 40-man roster by claiming infielder Rio Ruiz off waivers from the Braves. Elias is plenty familiar with Ruiz, whom the Houston Astros drafted in 2012 when Elias was their director of amateur scouting. The O’s also lost Maryland-born righty Ryan Meisinger on waivers to the Cardinals.
In the meantime, the Orioles are closing in on hiring a manager. Elias confirmed that he interviewed six people for the job and won’t be doing any further interviews, so a decision will presumably be made soon. The two most recent additions to the list of candidates are former MLB managers Mike Redmond, who managed the Marlins from 2013-15, and Manny Acta, who skippered both the Nationals (2007-09) and Indians (2010-12).
They join the previously reported candidates Chip Hale (the Diamondbacks manager from 2015-16) and Brandon Hyde, Pedro Grifol, and Mike Bell, who have no previous MLB managing experience, other than a single game Hyde managed for the Marlins in 2011.
None of the candidates has ever had a winning season as a big league manager, but that doesn’t particularly matter for an Orioles team that isn’t expected to win for several years. They just need a skipper who can pull a few levers, keep things organized, and not injure their young players. Oh, and someone who’s willing to implement analytics would be a plus.
Will the O’s have a new manager locked in place by the time they leave Vegas? I wouldn’t bet on it. But the search certainly seems to be winding down.
O's will choose manager from six candidates (and other notes) - School of Roch
Roch Kubatko passes along the latest on the managerial search, as well as some notes and tidbits from Elias’ media check-in after the first day of the meetings. You may be shocked to learn that Elias doesn’t expect the Orioles to be fast movers in free agency.
ESPN's Keith Law on the O’s hire of Mike Elias and more - Steve Melewski
Keith Law is a pretty polarizing figure around these parts, but he has plenty of praise for the new Orioles administration, particularly Sig Mejdal.
Harold Baines, Lee Smith share O's memories - Orioles.com
The two newest Hall of Famers spent some time with the Orioles -- Baines for seven years, Smith for one -- and both had glowing things to say about playing in Baltimore. I wonder what Albert Belle would have had to say if he’d made the cut.
Hall of Fame election for Baines draws criticism - BaltimoreBaseball.com
Baines was always one of my favorite Orioles and seems like a heck of a nice guy, so it’s kind of sad that he’s now the poster boy for unqualified Hall of Famers. Not that he should worry too much about that, of course. Enjoy the HOF, Harold!
Baseball’s Most Handsome Managers – HardballTalk
Craig Calcaterra unveils his annual ranking of MLB managers by handsomeness, and somehow the Orioles come in at No. 15 despite, you know, not having a manager.
Orioles offer lunch with Mychal Givens, Trey Mancini as part of MLB Winter Meetings auction - Baltimore Sun
If you want to hang out with two of the most well-known Orioles and give some money to a good cause, this might be the event for you. I feel like Trey Mancini is just geeky enough that you might be able to talk to him about, like, Game of Thrones.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have one O’s birthday buddy: Orioles Hall of Famer Hal “Skinny” Brown, who went 62-48 with a 3.61 ERA in eight seasons as a swingman in Baltimore. Brown died in 2015, six days after his 91st birthday. He would have been 94 today.
On this day in 1984, the O’s signed free agent outfielder Fred Lynn, a former MVP and Rookie of the Year who’d been an All-Star in nine of his first 10 seasons, to a four-year deal. Lynn was nothing spectacular for the Birds, but they traded him in 1988 for Chris Hoiles. Good trade.
In addition to Lynn, the O’s have made a number of free agent signings and trades on this date. They signed noted stats-hater Harold Reynolds in 1992 and washed-up former Cy Young winner Doug Drabek in 1997. In 1991, they reacquired former Oriole Storm Davis from the Royals. And in 2000, they traded Jayson Werth, then a minor league catcher, to Toronto. He went on to have a solid 15-year career as an outfielder.