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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where the prospects are coming to FanFest

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Without much present excitement, the Orioles will be adding prospects to the usual FanFest autograph sessions.

MLB: Oakland Athletics at Baltimore Orioles Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Hello, friends.

There are now 70 days remaining until the next Orioles game. If you’ve been counting down to when pitchers and catchers report to spring training, yesterday was like two days in one because the O’s announced that the report date is now February 12 when it had been February 13. Why everyone needs to arrive a day earlier to go on and lose 100 games this year is not something I know.

The hot stove season remains cold for the O’s. This is no surprise. More surprising is how cold things have been for everyone else. As we all know, the two big free agents, Manny Machado and Bryce Harper, appear to be nowhere near signing.

Yesterday, ESPN’s Buster Olney reported that the Chicago White Sox have offered Machado seven years and $175 million. While that is a hefty sum of money, it does approach what Machado is actually worth and what teams that are serious should be offering him. The fact that it’s mid-January and teams aren’t serious yet is weird.

If Machado’s price tag ends up being a lot lower than expected, just about every team’s fans should be disappointed that their front office did not get in on that contract. The Orioles might not have much use for Machado for the next two years, and he might not want to come back here knowing it’s going to be bad, but when they’re good again, he should still be good for years, and they could certainly need him then.

It’s worth noting that Machado’s agent, Dan Lozano, issued a bit of a fiery denunciation of the rumored White Sox offer, calling their reporting “inaccurate and reckless” and accusing their sources of either violating the Collective Bargaining Agreement or lying. This does not happen too often, although O’s fans with memories of recent years might recall Dexter Fowler’s agent getting salty with Dan Duquette after Fowler didn’t sign here in 2016.

Around the blogO’sphere

Orioles announce FanFest autograph session participants (Baltimore Sun)
There’s not much about the present Orioles to excite fans, so the autograph stations will be loaded up on Hall of Famers (Palmer, Brooks, Eddie) and prospects (DL Hall, Ryan Mountcastle, and more).

Hall among top left handed pitching prospects (MLB.com)
Speaking of Hall, he’s the #9 LHP prospect in the game, according to MLB Pipeline, for whatever that’s worth.

Cashner on his health and Hyde (School of Roch)
New manager Brandon Hyde made an impression on Andrew Cashner in the Arizona Fall League almost a decade ago.

Orioles will not play exhibition at Naval Academy in 2019 (Capital Gazette)
The Orioles were going to play a game in Annapolis this spring, except no other team would agree to play them. They’re scared of us! It probably doesn’t help that the closest team, Walgreens, was strong-armed out of their own exhibition at the Naval Academy by the O’s.

A dive into Hall of Fame ballot trends (Fangraphs)
There’s a lot of talking about Larry Walker here, but a lot of the tables show how Mike Mussina’s support has grown substantially, perhaps enough for election this year.

Buck Showalter sells Baltimore County home for $1.4 million (Baltimore Sun)
It would be rather funny if he sold it to Hyde. Probably not, though.

Birthdays and anniversaries

There are a pair of former Orioles with birthdays today. They are: 30-3 contributor Rob Bell, and the late Dick Brown, no relation, of the 1963-65 O’s.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: American legend Benjamin Franklin (1706), author/poet Anne Bronte (1820), mobster Al Capone (1899), actress Betty White (1922), hairdresser Vidal Sassoon (1928), actor James Earl Jones (1931), comedian Andy Kaufman (1949), actress Zooey Deschanel (1980), and DJ/whatever Calvin Harris (1984).

On this day in history...

In 395, the Roman emperor Theodosius I died, leading to the division of the empire into the Eastern and Western Roman Empires.

In 1377, the pope of the time, Gregory XI, moved the papacy back to Rome after the previous six popes had been residing in Avignon in today’s southeastern France.

In 1893, a group calling itself the Citizens Committee on Public Safety overthrew the Kingdom of Hawaii, up until then led by Queen Lili’uokalani.

In 1929, Popeye the Sailor Man made his first appearance. Creator E.C. Segar placed him in the comic strip Thimble Theatre.

In 1961, President Dwight Eisenhower delivered his farewell address, now remembered for his warning to the American people to guard against the accumulation of power by the military-industrial complex.

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And that’s the way it is in Birdland on January 17 - or at least, unless something happens later, which it might, because the Orioles have to announce a coaching staff eventually. Have a safe Thursday.