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Tuesday Bird Droppings: Where Mike Elias gets a full offseason

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After an abbreviated winter as the head honcho last year, the Orioles’ general manager now has all the time he needs to implement his offseason plan.

Toronto Blue Jays v Baltimore Orioles Photo by Mitchell Layton/Getty Images

Good morning, Camden Chatters.

We’ve got 177 days remaining until the next Orioles regular season game. Get comfortable!

With the 2019 season now in the rearview mirror, and the players and coaches scattered to the winds, the focus shifts to O’s GM Mike Elias as he continues to implement his rebuilding strategy. And this year, unlike last, he gets an entire offseason to do his work.

Last year on this date, Buck Showalter and Dan Duquette were still employed by the Orioles. The Orioles didn’t begin a GM search until Oct. 3; they didn’t officially hire Elias until a month and a half later, on Nov. 16. And he had to spend a large chunk of the offseason just getting up to speed on the organization, not to mention hiring a new manager and coaching staff.

Now, Elias is here from the get-go. He’s had a full season to evaluate the organization from top to bottom, figure out what needs to be done, and, well, do it. He’s already done plenty, such as establishing a presence in the international amateur market where one didn’t exist before. But he was a bit limited in his capabilities last winter because of the abbreviated time frame, a restriction that no longer applies. It’ll be interesting to see what he does.

In the meantime, the MLB playoffs start tonight with the National League Wild Card Game, where the Nationals host the Brewers. So, Camden Chatters, are you rooting for or against the Nationals, the Orioles’ neighbors to the south? Keep in mind that there’s only one correct answer to this question, and if you answer wrong, you will be shunned. Shunned, I say!

Links

Now that the 2019 season is over, another challenging offseason begins - BaltimoreBaseball.com
If you’re looking for splashy offseason moves, well, you’re following the wrong team. As Rich Dubroff writes, the Orioles will probably stick to adding players through Rule 5 picks, waiver claims, and Nate Karns-level free agent signings.

Five questions for the Orioles this offseason - Orioles.com
Elias’ list of offseason tasks also includes hiring new personnel to replace the dozens of people he fired in the last few weeks. Again, it’s nothing that’s going to thrill the baseball hot stove watchers, but it’s pretty danged important.

Orioles outright Shepherd to Triple-A Norfolk - School of Roch
The Orioles have officially made their first roster move of the offseason, with Chandler Shepherd getting jettisoned from the 40-man two days after he started the season finale. There are going to be plenty more where that came from, since the O's need to clear some room to add the likes of Ryan Mountcastle and Keegan Akin to the 40.

Mike Elias finds positives in Baltimore Orioles rebuild after 108-loss season - ESPN
I’m going to have to disagree with the writer’s claim that “Orioles fans have not embraced the rebuild” because the attendance dropped. I think plenty of Orioles fans, especially die-hards, are on board with the rebuild. That doesn’t mean they want to buy tickets to witness the many losses in the early stages.

The O’s offense got better during the 2019 season - Steve Melewski
The offense was one of the few non-embarrassing features of the 2019 Orioles, and it could get even better next year with Austin Hays now on board and Mountcastle close to a promotion. Just don’t ask me about the pitching.

Orioles birthdays and history

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday! It’s the 25th birthday for Cedric Mullins, who did not have a 2019 season worth celebrating, going 6-for-64 and getting banished to the minors after starting the year as the Orioles’ everyday center fielder. Hopefully better things are still to come for Mullins. Other Orioles birthdays today include right-hander Mitch Atkins (34), lefty Chuck McElroy (52), and the late first baseman Bob Boyd (b. 1919, d. 2004).

Oct. 1 has been a good day in postseason history for the Orioles, who twice jumped out to 1-0 series leads in the AL Division Series. In 1996, in the first ever playoff game at Camden Yards (and the first in Baltimore in 13 years), the wild-card Orioles crushed the favored Cleveland Indians, 10-4. Bobby Bonilla smacked a sixth-inning grand slam that put the game out of reach, while B.J. Surhoff homered twice and Brady Anderson once.

And on this day in 1997, in a battle of Hall of Famers, the Orioles’ Mike Mussina bested the MarinersRandy Johnson, 9-3, to win the first game of the ALDS in Seattle. The O’s tagged Johnson for a four-run rally in the fifth that included RBI singles by Anderson and Eric Davis and a solo homer by Geronimo Berroa, while Mussina racked up nine strikeouts in seven strong innings.