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Friday Bird Droppings: Where the Orioles are taking off for the holidays

Now that the Orioles have a manager in place, they probably won’t be making much more news this offseason, at least for a while.

Baltimore Orioles Introduce Brandon Hyde Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

It’s a slow news day in Birdland. Have you heard that one before?

The inactivity is understandable, especially this time of year. Generally there’s not much baseball news around the holiday season, as general managers, players, agents, and everyone else takes a few days off to enjoy the festivities with their families. Even new O’s manager Brandon Hyde said in a recent radio appearance that he’s heading to Maui. Getting hired as a manager for the first time and then getting to vacation in Maui? It’s a pretty good week for Mr. Hyde.

There was a bit of free agent activity yesterday in a final burst before Christmas, including ex-Oriole Andrew Miller finding a new home with the St. Louis Cardinals. Miller will be out of the AL for the first time since 2010, which I’m sure is just fine with the Orioles. In the last six years, Miller has a 1.82 ERA against the Orioles, with 35 strikeouts in 25 games.

In the meantime, all is quiet on the free agent front for the Orioles, which is by design. If they do sign any veterans, expect it to come near the end of the offseason, when they can scoop up some low-cost guys who couldn’t get a better contract anywhere else. You might call it the Dan Duquette Method. Except Duquette used that strategy even when the O’s were trying to compete, while any free agents Mike Elias signs will simply be used to plug holes on the roster of a clearly non-contending team.

Exciting stuff, folks. Exciting stuff.


As Brandon Hyde becomes the Orioles’ 20th manager, how do the other 19 rank? -
If you’d like to reminisce about past Orioles managers both great and terrible, I ranked the Birds’ 19 previous managers from best to worst. Feel free to tell me which rankings I got laughably wrong.

How the MLB-Cuba agreement could affect the Orioles going forward - Baltimore Sun
Jon Meoli writes that the new agreement between Cuba and the MLB regarding free agents could open the door for Mike Elias to set up a scouting staff and infrastructure in that country. Perhaps one day the O’s will end up with Cuban signings better than Henry Urrutia and Dariel Alvarez.

More minors, Hyde and Mancini - School of Roch
With the Orioles still lacking a major league coaching staff, it’s easy to forget that almost their entire minor league coaching staffs still need to be filled out, too. As if Elias doesn’t already have enough on his plate.

Orioles may target Adley Rutschman in Draft -
Orioles shortstop prospect Cadyn Grenier positively raves about his former Oregon State teammate Adley Rutschman, whom the Birds might take with the No. 1 overall pick next summer. Of course, would anyone expect Grenier to say, “Nah, he’s not that great, pick someone else”?

Castro has found a home in the Orioles bullpen - Steve Melewski
Sometimes I kind of forget that Miguel Castro exists. But he’s a decent pitcher and seems like a good guy. #analysis

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have plenty of Orioles birthday buddies, including 2012-13 catcher Taylor Teagarden (35), a terrible hitter who was eerily good at getting game-winning extra-inning hits (he had three of them in 2012, out of just nine total hits). Other birthdays include 1996 reliever and ineffective 2017-18 pitching coach Roger McDowell (58); 1995 outfielder Andy Van Slyke (58); 1977 outfielder Elliott Maddox (71); and 2006 reliever LaTroy Hawkins (46), who spent one year with the Birds during his 21-year, 11-team career.

On this day in 1995, the Orioles signed Hall of Fame second baseman Roberto Alomar to a three-year, $18 million contract. Alomar was an All-Star for all three seasons of that deal and a Gold Glover in two of them, amassing a 12.5 WAR and becoming a lynchpin of the Orioles’ 1996-97 playoff teams. Still, his O’s tenure was tainted when he spit on umpire John Hirschbeck late in the ‘96 season, drawing national outrage and a five-game suspension.

On this day in 2005, Elrod Hendricks, who served in the Orioles’ organization for 37 years as a player and coach, passed away. He was one day shy of his 65th birthday.