Good morning, Camden Chatters.
We’re two and a half weeks into 2019. How is your year going? Did you make any resolutions — and have you actually stuck to them so far?
Chris Davis’ new year’s resolution may well have been, “Try not to be the worst player in baseball again.” After batting .168 last season, the worst mark in major league history, Davis has a lot of work to do this winter if there’s any hope of the O’s getting a return on their remaining $92 million investment in him.
Davis’ offseason routine is facing a bit more scrutiny this year, after the brouhaha that developed in June when MASN broadcaster and Hall of Famer Jim Palmer ripped Davis for not working with then-hitting coach Scott Coolbaugh last winter. It wasn’t a good look for anyone involved.
Hopefully there will be no such controversy this winter. Davis, for his part, told MASN’s Roch Kubatko yesterday that he’s changed his workout routine, and that he’s picked the brains of several people around baseball for advice about his mechanics and hitting philosophy. The whole interview is worth a read. Davis sounds optimistic about what’s ahead, both for him and for the team.
Of course, it’s easy to say you want to improve. It’s considerably more difficult to, you know, actually improve. I’m not optimistic that Davis will take a big step forward this year, regardless of how hard he works. But if he can at least be slightly better to the point of not being a black hole in the lineup, I’ll take that.
O My! How Brandon Hyde’s long, unassuming climb up the baseball rungs led him to become the Orioles’ manager – The Athletic
Dan Connolly has an in-depth profile of the Orioles’ new manager. There are plenty of great stories in here, including how he wore his baseball cap so much as a kid that his parents had to consult the doctor to make sure it wouldn’t flatten his ears.
Brocail is an impressive addition to Orioles' staff - BaltimoreBaseball.com
An unnamed “observer” says Dylan Bundy will have a breakout year under Doug Brocail, but gives no explanation as to what it is about Brocail that will help Bundy in particular. Also, why couldn’t the observer give his or her name or occupation? I have questions.
How many top 100 prospects for the Orioles? - Steve Melewski
National publications will be releasing their top-100 prospects lists soon, and Steve Melewski predicts three Orioles to appear on most of them. Sounds about right to me, and somewhat disappointing that the O’s can't place a few more in the top 100 after trading away half their team last summer.
Baltimore Orioles: An objective look at Mark Trumbo - Birds Watcher
As Tim Smart notes, the Orioles are in a tricky position with Mark Trumbo. He clearly isn’t part of the team’s future, but they kind of have to play him if they have any hope of trading him. Of course his knee injury could make the whole thing a moot point.
Orioles birthdays and history
Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! You have a whopping seven Orioles birthday buddies, including two members of the O’s Hall of Fame.
Chief among them is the ageless wonder, Brady Anderson, who is turning 55 but could legitimately pass for 35. Brady was a mainstay atop the Orioles’ lineup from 1988-2001, and is the club’s all-time leader in stolen bases with 307. He also ranks in the Birds’ top five in hits (1,614), runs (1,044), doubles (329), and triples (64). Anderson now serves in some vague role in the O’s front office where it seems like he’s constantly just getting in the way. But Mike Elias has kept him around, so perhaps Brady can serve a purpose if he has an actual, specified job with clear accountability.
It’s also the 65th birthday of Scott McGregor, who spent his entire 13-year career with the Orioles from 1976-88, racking up a 20-win season in 1980. McGregor started more games with the Orioles (309) than any pitcher but Jim Palmer, Dave McNally, and Mike Flanagan, and threw 23 shutouts. His 138 wins are sixth-most in O’s history. McGregor, like Anderson, has been working in the O’s organization recently, serving as the pitching coach for several minor league affiliates.
Other O’s birthdays include spindly 2006-08 infielder Brandon Fahey (38), 1999 two-gamer Brian Falkenborg (41), 1993 five-gamer Kevin McGehee (50), 1962 and ‘67 infielder Mickey McGuire (78), and the late Mike Fornieles, a right-hander on the 1956-57 Orioles. Fornieles would have been 87 today.
On this glorious day in 2009, the Orioles acquired Stacey favorite Felix Pie from the Cubs. His O’s career didn’t quite pan out, but he’ll never stop being adorable.