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Saturday’s Bird Droppings: Where it’s Mike Mussina’s 50th birthday

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In other Orioles news: Ryan McKenna is jazzed about the fall, Mike Elias is focused on the winter meetings and Dylan Bundy knows he needs to be better.

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Mariners V Orioles

Morning, Birdland!

How is everyone’s offseason going so far? I have to be honest. As a fan of the reigning worst team in baseball, I feel pretty good. It’s kind of amazing considering the Orioles have still made no major changes to their big league roster, and that includes not yet naming a manager or coaching staff.

Even still, it would be cool to hear at least one or two fun rumors every now and then. That hasn’t happened since Mike Elias named as the club’s new GM. Don’t get me wrong, that addition alone was pretty awesome and made the whole offseason worth this current lull. Hopefully the upcoming winter meetings will inject some excitement into the life of us O’s fans. We don’t need a blockbuster signing or anything, but I need something to get overly excited about. If it’s a Rule 5 pick, so be it!

Links

O’s prospect Ryan McKenna on his strong play in the AFL
McKenna is progressing about as well as the Orioles could have hoped for when they selected him in the fourth round back in 2015. There’s an outside chance that he will make it all the way to Baltimore at some point in 2019. That would be a heck of an achievement for a player that had never been above Low-A heading into this year.

Evaluating the 2018 Baltimore Orioles using DRC+ - Birds Watcher
There’s really no reason to do such a thing. It’s borderline self torture. However, it is always neat to dip your toe in the latest advanced statistics, and DRC+ is so hot right now.

O’s new brass shifts focus to Winter Meetings - MLB.com
By this time next week, the Orioles will have at least one more player on their roster. They may even add a coach. The minimum expectation is that Mike Elias’s crew will select someone in the Rule 5 draft. Anything beyond that remains unclear.

Bundy crunches some numbers - MASN Sports
Dylan Bundy may be the Orioles best candidate to have a bounce-back season in 2019. The 26-year-old struggled mightily against left-handed hitters and with home runs last year. It would be good for everyone if he could get things together and prove that he is still capable of being a steady major league starter. Perhaps the O’s would offer him an extension if that happens, or maybe they trade him for a boatload of prospects. Either way, a new coaching staff will be quite interested to see Bundy live up to his potential.

How important is managerial experience in the selection of O’s skipper? - The Athletic
Based on who the Orioles are rumored to have interviewed so far, it certainly does not seem to be a top concern for Elias. The new GM may prefer player development skills over on-field experience. That makes sense to me, and a coach can’t get managerial experience unless one team first gives them a chance.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is it your birthday? Happy Birthday!

Two former Orioles are celebrating with you. One is a big deal, the other, well, isn’t. First, the small fry.

José León was an infielder for the Orioles in 88 games across three seasons from 2002 through 2004. He is 42 years old today. Yay!

Now, the main event. Current Orioles Hall of Famer and future Baseball Hall of Famer Mike Mussina hits the big 5-0 today. Mussina never won a Cy Young, but finished in the top five of voting six different times during his 18-season career spent with the O’s and New York Yankees. The right-hander received 63.5 percent of the vote for the hallowed Hall last year, and is trending in the proper direction to earn his deserved spot. He should get in soon, and when he does there will surely be an argument about which cap should adorn his dome on the Cooperstown plaque. It’s really no contest. He was at his best in Baltimore, spent more time there and is in the team’s Hall of Fame. Case closed.

1996 - Left-handed pitcher Jimmy Key signs a two-year deal with the Orioles worth more than $7.5 million. He would turn in a 3.64 ERA and 122 ERA+ across 291.1 innings in those two years with the Birds.