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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where it’s one week to Opening Day

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One week to go until real Orioles baseball, and they may finally have a real starting rotation! Today’s O’s stuff: A whole lot of Alex Cobb, Ryan Flaherty is set free, and more.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles
Last Opening Day ended up being fun. Hopefully this one will be too.
Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now seven days remaining until Orioles Opening Day! It’s just one week until there’s real Orioles baseball happening. This number is semi-retired by the franchise, as it belonged to Cal Ripken Sr. for a long time and has not been worn by a player since he passed away in 1999.

The spring training schedule rolls on today. The Orioles take on the Red Sox this afternoon. This is a home game for the O’s and will actually be on MASN and 105.7 - plus Boston TV and radio, if for some reason you are seized with the urge to inflict that upon yourself. Counting today’s contest, just four spring training games remain before the Orioles head north.

The signing of Alex Cobb has answered one of the big questions about who would make the Orioles roster, and the ripple effects of that signing are answering others. The Orioles designated one of their three Rule 5 picks, Jose Mesa Jr., for assignment to make room for Cobb. They also optioned Hunter Harvey to Double-A, with Cobb’s signing apparently ending the consideration of having Harvey break camp with the team.

There are a number of remaining unresolved roster battles with just days to go until spring training is over, though. Ryan Flaherty opted out of his Phillies deal on Wednesday, meaning a reunion is still possible there. There’s also the question of who exactly will fit in the outfield, in the bullpen, and in the catching tandem.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles’ deal with Cobb official, so when will he be ready? (Baltimore Sun)
It’s an important question when a guy signs so late. The Sun’s Eduardo Encina thinks Cobb will need three or four starts to get ready. Fortunately, he’s able to be optioned to the minor leagues to get that action.

It’s time for Orioles fans to meet Oscar, Alex Cobb’s adorable adopted stray dog (Cut4)
Sometimes the headline just speaks for itself.

O’s get Alex Cobb and the fans may get a contender (Steve Melewski)
In a development as shocking as the sun rising in the east, Steve Melewski is feeling pretty good about the Orioles rotation after the signing of Cobb.

Jones on Cobb: “We’ve long searched for someone of his caliber” (School of Roch)
Adam Jones seems happy whenever the Orioles sign anyone. As this includes the Chris Davis and Mark Trumbo contracts, he is not batting 1.000.

Beckham on Cobb: “It’s a good day for the Orioles” (School of Roch)
Tim Beckham was teammates with Cobb for a while in Tampa Bay. He sounds excited to be reunited!

Landing Alex Cobb fills the Orioles’ biggest void, but don’t call it a bargain signing (Baltimore Baseball)
For the special occasion of the Orioles actually signing someone who might be good, Dan Connolly breaks out multiple-sentence paragraphs.

Best- and worst-case scenarios for all potential contributors to Orioles’ 2018 rotation (Baltimore Sun)
I couldn’t have come up with these worst-case scenarios any better myself. I hope we don’t see too many of them.

Hearing from Cobb, Showalter, Duquette (School of Roch)
Cobb makes the Orioles sound a lot like the movie character whose persistence is romantic in the context of the movie but in the real world would be creepy and possibly illegal.

2018 Positional Power Rankings: Shortstop (Fangraphs)
Everybody thinks Manny Machado is going to be good. I know, really going out on a limb, right?

Birthdays and anniversaries

On this day in 1981, Earl Weaver was suspended for three games after removing his team from the field and forfeiting a game during spring training. Weaver was protesting not receiving an updated batting order after the other team, the Royals, made a bunch of substitutions. That sure sounds like Earl.

There are two former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 2013 non-answer Mike Morse, and the late Billy Goodman of the 1957 Orioles.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! Your birthday buddies for today include: Maryland Declaration of Independence signer Charles Carroll (1723), actor Chico Marx (1887), singer James Brown (1920), actor William Shatner (1931), sportscaster Bob Costas (1952), actor Keegan-Michael Key (1971), and actress Reese Witherspoon (1976).

On this day in history...

In 1784, the Emerald Buddha, then at least 350 years old, was moved to a temple in Wat Phra Kaew, Thailand, where it still remains today.

In 1871, the governor of North Carolina, then William Woods Holden, was impeached and removed from office, thus becoming the first governor to suffer this fate. Holden was impeached, essentially, for battling the Ku Klux Klan. In 2011, the North Carolina Senate posthumously and unanimously pardoned Holden.

In 1916, Yuan Shikai, the last Emperor of China, abdicated his throne, restoring the Republic of China. Conveniently for Yuan, he was the president of the restored Republic, though he died three months later before facing many consequences for this.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on March 22 - or at least, until something happens later. Even if it doesn’t count, it will still be televised, unlike the revolution. Have a safe Thursday.