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Thursday Bird Droppings: Where Jonathan Villar is in line for a raise

The Orioles second baseman is estimated for more than a $10 million salary in 2020. Others are in line for a raise too.

Baltimore Orioles v Toronto Blue Jays Photo by Mark Blinch/Getty Images

Hello, friends.

There are now 168 days remaining until Orioles Opening Day 2020. For tonight, at least, there will be Game 5 of the Rays-Astros series to entertain us. Before too much longer, there will be no baseball for months, so enjoy it while you can.

Last night saw its share of baseball action, although one of the games didn’t have much suspense. The Cardinals blasted the Braves out of the postseason after setting a new record by piling on 10 runs in the first inning of the game, eventually winning Game 5 of their series, 13-1.

The other was full of suspense, as Game 5 of the Nationals-Dodgers series saw both teams treating the game as all hands on deck, with great starters being used in relief of great starters in a game that was tied late after the Nationals had back-to-back jacks off of Clayton Kershaw in the eighth inning.

The baseball Internet take machine will be fired up today to argue about the decision to pitch Kershaw in relief. Also be on the lookout for takes from people who thought the Cardinals should not have used their top starter, Jack Flaherty, in their game after they took a 10-0 lead in the first inning.

As for the outcome of the Nats-Dodgers game, you are more aware of it than the past version of myself who wrote this at midnight and then went to sleep, because my life is not at a point where I go beyond midnight watching games that don’t involve the Orioles. If you were really counting on me to be the one to tell you who won, I’ll try to make it up to you.

For Orioles-related news, one set of things to think about today is the MLB Trade Rumors arbitration projections for 2020. These are typically reasonably accurate. They were a more urgent concern when it came to trying to figure out what the payroll would look like heading into free agency when the team had a limited budget with needs to address.

Now it’s more of a curiosity, and maybe a question about who might not be tendered a 2020 contract if their performance hasn’t been good. Yet even a guy like Richard Bleier, who was horrible, won’t cost much and could reclaim trade value with a rebound 2020. He had a sub-2.00 career MLB ERA before this season.

The Orioles could also trade a player if they deem him getting “too expensive,” though I don’t think any of these should reach that level:

  • Jonathan Villar - $10.4 million
  • Mychal Givens - $3.2 million
  • Dylan Bundy - $5.7 million
  • Hanser Alberto - $1.9 million
  • Miguel Castro - $1.2 million
  • Richard Bleier - $1.1 million
  • Trey Mancini - $5.7 million

Those are nice bumps for Villar and Mancini. I don’t think that either number makes either player more likely to be traded. The Orioles only have $35 million committed for next year, and some of that is deferred money anyway. If the arbitration numbers are accurate, that’s around another $30 million.

This year’s payroll was $80 million. There are not going to be any free agent expenditures, barring a surprise. The Orioles don’t need to trim further than this. Maybe they will, if a team offers a deal they like, but there shouldn’t be any salary dumping going on here.

Around the blogO’sphere

Because you asked - I want to believe (School of Roch)
Roch dips into the mailbag to answer that he thinks Chris Davis will be on the Opening Day roster and Ryan Mountcastle will not. I guess I’ve got six months to try to accept it.

John Means on his All-Star rookie year, his constant evolution, and what he’ll carry into 2020 (Baltimore Sun)
Here, Means reveals that back in spring training, he was asked about possibly being a set-up man. I’m happy that he showed he could be more than that.

Baseball would be better if Buck Showalter returns to the dugout (Baltimore Baseball)
The chief basis of this argument seems to be that Buck Showalter has a big personality, which Rich Dubroff finds is lacking among today’s managers.

Three needs for the Orioles, and maybe one more job for Showalter (Steve Melewski)
Steve is also interested in Showalter getting another job. He offers the opinion that Buck lost the clubhouse after not using Britton in the 2016 wild card game. I don’t remember hearing that much in 2017 or 2018.

MLB playoffs a reminder of how far the Orioles have to go (Press Box)
Getting good players is a good start. The Orioles aren’t quite there yet, at the MLB level anyway.

Rick Dempsey found success in baseball, but his boyhood friend and teammate struggled (Los Angeles Times)
Included in this story is a Dempsey anecdote I either never knew or forgot, namely that he dropped another Yankees catcher with one punch and after that, the team took him more seriously.

Birthdays and Orioles anniversaries

One lone former Oriole was born on this day: Gordie Sundin, who appeared in one game in 1956, walked two batters, gave up a run, and never pitched in MLB again, closing out his career with an infinite ERA. He passed away in 2016.

Is today your birthday? Happy birthday to you! Your birthday buddies for today include: hydrogen discoverer Henry Cavendish (1731), Union all-black regiment commander Robert Gould Shaw (1837), EGOT-winning actress Helen Hayes (1900), pianist Thelonious Monk (1917), author Nora Roberts (1950), Van Halen’s David Lee Roth (1954), actor Mario Lopez (1973), race car driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. (1974), and Halestorm singer/guitarist Lzzy Hale (1984).

On this day in history...

In 1845, the Naval School, which we know today as the United States Naval Academy, opened. It had 50 students at its inception.

In 1846, astronomer William Lassell made the discovery of Triton, the largest moon of Neptune. Triton is peculiar among large moons for having a retrograde orbit, leading to a belief that it was once a dwarf planet that was captured by Neptune’s gravity.

In 1913, major construction of the Panama Canal was completed, with President Woodrow Wilson pressing the plunger to blow up the Gamboa Dike.

In 1973, Vice President Spiro Agnew, former governor of Maryland and executive of Baltimore County, resigned after being charged with evasion of federal income tax.


And that’s the way it is in Birdland on October 10 - or at least, unless something happens later, which it probably won’t, but you never know. Have a safe Thursday.