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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the Rule 5 draft is the Orioles Christmas

The Orioles get to pick their own Christmas present today in the Rule 5 draft. Maybe soon they’ll announce a manager pick, too.

MLB: Toronto Blue Jays at Baltimore Orioles Evan Habeeb-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 105 days until the next Orioles game. They still do not have a manager, although if Tuesday night’s reports that were dismissed by GM Mike Elias as “premature” prove to be accurate, there could be a specific manager-in-waiting, in spite of the denials.

Today is, however, Christmas for the Orioles. It’s Rule 5 draft day. The Orioles have two open spots on the 40-man roster and Elias seems to have indicated that’s to give the O’s the option to pick two players if they want.

The Rule 5 draft was previous GM Dan Duquette’s particular strange obsession, not so much because of always making a pick or multiple picks as because of the way he made sure to twist and contort the roster to hang on to players who were not and possibly never will be MLB-ready. Elias, we can only hope, will not approach it quite the same way.

There’s not any harm in gearing up to take a player when you’ve got the first pick at every single eligible non-40-man roster player across all of MLB. Since the Orioles were the worst last year, they get the first pick, and they can insert themselves in to the draft a second time if another team that doesn’t care about their pick is willing to do a little cash trade.

Perhaps Elias has his eye on a particular player from his time with the Astros. Their highest-ranked prospect who’s eligible but not on the 40-man roster is right-handed pitcher Riley Ferrell, a strikeout-heavy reliever who also has problems throwing strikes. O’s fans are familiar with the type.

The action, such as it is, will pop off at noon Eastern time, and then the winter meetings will be officially over. Maybe they will actually announce this manager thing later or tomorrow. Stay tuned!

Around the blogO’sphere

The Orioles are in position to succeed in the Rule 5 draft (
Joe Trezza also flags Ferrell as a possible pick, but I think I’m most intrigued by the possibility of Oakland infielder Richie Martin.

Boras met with Orioles to discuss ways to improve Davis’s output (School of Roch)
One of the annual winter meetings traditions for some reason is Scott Boras holding court. This year, the jesters got him to talk about Chris Davis, of whom Boras offered the vague assurance, “we’re making great efforts and strides to get him being back to normal.”

Cubs’ Maddon has advice for Hyde (Baltimore Baseball)
Possible soon-to-be-Orioles manager Brandon Hyde’s possible soon-to-be-ex-boss offered a little bit of advice to his subordinate.

Orioles minor league affiliates poised to benefit from club’s rebuilding efforts (Baltimore Sun)
The Mike Elias process is probably going to mean some good baseball will be played elsewhere in Maryland before it gets back to Baltimore.

Baseball America’s J.J. Cooper weighs in on the No. 1 draft pick (Steve Melewski)
At present, it sounds like there are more proponents among the draft knowers of a switch-hitting catcher from Oregon State, Adley Rutschman. Now where have I heard excitement about a switch-hitting catcher before...

Birthdays and anniversaries

A pair of former Orioles had birthdays today, though neither is still alive. Born today were 1956-59 pitcher Billy Loes, and 1955 reserve infielder Hank Majeski.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: 16th First Lady Mary Todd Lincoln (1818), World War I Medal of Honor winner Alvin C. York (1887), American League color barrier shatterer and baseball Hall of Famer Larry Doby (1923), actor Dick Van Dyke (1925), composer Harry Gregson-Williams (1961), sportscaster Mike Tirico (1966), and pop star Taylor Swift (1989).

On this day in history...

In 1636, the then-Massachusetts Bay Colony, seeking to defend against the Pequot tribe of natives, organized three regiments of militia. Today, this is considered the founding of what’s now the National Guard of the United States of America.

In 1937, during the Second Sino-Japanese War, the Japanese defeated the Chinese National Revolutionary Army after the 12-day Battle of Nanking. This marked the beginning of the Rape of Nanking, a month-long atrocity that saw anywhere from 40,000 to more than 300,000 killed by the occupying Japanese.

In 1939, during World War II, three British Navy cruisers engaged the German pocket battleship Admiral Graf Spee in the Battle of the River Plate off the coast of Uruguay. It’s recognized as the first naval battle of the war. The outgunned cruisers succeeded in damaging Graf Spee enough that its captain chose to scuttle it outside of a nearby neutral port rather than risk capture.

In 1971, Ms. Jane Roe filed a lawsuit against Dallas County attorney Henry Wade, later culminating in a significant Supreme Court decision.

In 1972, Apollo 17 astronauts Eugene Cernan and Harrison Schmitt walked on the moon. 46 years later, they remain the most recent human beings to set foot on the moon’s surface.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 13 - or at least, until something happens later, which it almost certainly will, thanks to the Rule 5 draft. Have a safe Thursday.