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Monday Bird Droppings: Where the spotlight is on the new manager

Mike Elias had his turn to be introduced to Birdland. Today, it’s new manager Brandon Hyde.

MLB: Chicago Cubs-Media Day Jayne Kamin-Oncea-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 101 days remaining until the next Orioles game. At last, they have a manager, who will be getting introduced in a press conference at noon today. The rest of the coaching staff and the minor league staffs remain a blank slate for now. Presumably, that’s next.

It’s not going to be an easy task for the new manager, Brandon Hyde. As we all know, the Orioles were very bad this year, and as we can strongly suspect, the Orioles are not going to be doing much over the course of this offseason to significantly improve the talent pool that’s immediately available to them.

There’s nothing that Hyde can do to change that basic reality. What he can do, hopefully, is make better use of the remaining players in ways that are more suited to their physical abilities. That means - again, hopefully - no more of Trey Mancini in the outfield or other out-of-position experiments that sabotage the O’s defense nightly.

It also means actually making use of analytics provided by the front office to help the players be the best versions of themselves. Today’s links contain another anecdote that suggests that it was manager Buck Showalter and company who were road blocks to the application of more analytics, though there’s also the lack of a budget for advanced analytics from Dan Duquette’s staff that held the O’s back as well.

Fixing this stuff is not going to take a 47-115 team from the cellar to the playoffs over the course of one offseason. It’s going to be a multi-year effort. If O’s fans are lucky, the effort will progress well enough and quickly enough that Hyde is around to see the best days of it.

Around the blogO’sphere

Roster decisions developing slowly (School of Roch)
Roch lays out some of the other stuff that the Orioles have to deal with on top of starting to think about next season’s Opening Day roster.

For new Orioles GM, fixing Chris Davis is a daunting yet essential task (Washington Post)
It is not the first column about Chris Davis needing to do a lot better in 2019, and it surely will not be the last, either.

Winter meetings tech expo provides glimpse into Orioles data-driven future (Baltimore Sun)
In this case, the revolution itself will not be televised, but its effects will be - assuming, of course, that the Orioles are ever actually good again.

Sunday Notes: Elias on hiring a coaching staff (and more) (Fangraphs)
Included in the MLB-wide tidbits of the usual Fangarphs Sunday column is Mike Elias indicating he expects to defer to his new manager’s preferences for filling out the coaching staff.

Birthdays and anniversaries

In 2013, the Orioles agreed to a contract, pending a physical, with reliever Grant Balfour, who later failed the physical. Although the usual media suspects jumped on the Orioles for this, Balfour was bad in 2014 and pitched just six games in 2015, which is good enough for me to say that the O’s physical was right.

There are a few former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2012 three-gamer “Disco” Stu Pomeranz, 2008 infielder Alex Cintron, and 1958-66 second baseman Jerry Adair. Today was also the birthday of longtime coach/manager Cal Ripken Sr (1935).

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: novelist Ford Madox Ford (1873), sniper legend Simo Häyhä (1905), novelist John Kennedy Toole (1937), actor Ernie Hudson (1945), MMA man Chuck Liddell (1969), and actress Milla Jovovich (1975).

On this day in history...

In 497 BC, the people of Rome celebrated their first Saturnalia festival.

In 1538 AD, the pope of the day, Paul XII, issued an excommunication of King Henry VIII of England for sundry misdeeds, including the dismantling of some convents and monasteries.

In 1903, the Wright Brothers made their famous inaugural flight in Kitty Hawk, North Carolina, a 12-second aerial adventure that traveled a total of 120 feet of horizontal distance.

In 1938, German chemist Otto Hahn made the discovery of nuclear fission of uranium, which enabled all nuclear energy.

In 1989, The Simpsons aired its first episode on television, entitled “Roasting Simpsons on an Open Fire.”


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on December 17 - or at least, until something happens later. Have a safe Monday.